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Monday, October 31, 2011

Kingdom Manna


Luke 6:20, Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”

Blessed is not a term often used toward the poor. Pity, or anguish, or despair, perhaps better describes their situation. Despite advanced health, technology and agriculture the poor worldwide suffer. Scripture repeatedly exhorts care and concern toward the poor.

“Blessed are you”, says Jesus. He who looks into the hearts of men and sees hope. A poor man accepts a gift with gratitude, perhaps with humility. A poor man recognizes value in a simple object, shared goods, a hand of help.

Blessed is the name given to Mary, “she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” She who looked beyond even the boundaries of nature to see the Creator Himself, to accept His work in her life, perhaps with trembling. A poor young woman to carry God’s priceless gift.

Blessed are we Lord for Your salvation. For not leaving us empty and hungry in poverty of spirit but instead opening to us Your storehouse of life. Life with You.

Anytime I seek other than You Lord, please set poverty in my heart that I may know to return.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 22:26

The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord.

May your hearts live forever!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kingdom Manna


John 18:36, Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

Israel’s history, like much of the ancient world, included a long list of battles. They fought for the land of Canaan against the Philistines and Amorites and Chaldeans. They fought wars within their lands for territory and kings. Often they fought at God’s call—as an arm of His command.

When outright challenge was thwarted, they went underground as freedom fighters, watching for opportunities to hinder, stab, and sabotage their conquerors, such as Rome. Right seethed within them. God given rights of land and nationality and religion.

In turn Rome diligently sought out insurrection. Stamped out the leaders. Knew who were the rabble-rousers and who the serious contenders. And Pilate believed Jesus’ claim. And trembled. And tried to release Him. This man of no worldly threat to Empire—Pilate recognized.

Why would Jesus need to fight for that which was already His? He stood calm before the tirade against Him. Preparing for the greater need. The battle for mankind’s deliverance. Religious and political leaders saw only an immediate threat to their territory and their influence. Not the spiritual war for reconciliation. Not the grace of God. Not the return of His kingdom.

Instill in me the discernment, Lord, to recognize Your rule.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 103:19

The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,

and his kingdom rules over all.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kingdom Manna


Acts 28:31, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

Cowering in fear, behind locked doors, Jesus’ disciples hid. Cringing at each knock, burrowing into sorrow. Grief over His death, lost hope over dreams; their desire now only to hide from authorities and gossipmongers.

Preaching boldly before crowds. Teaching in the temple. Speaking publicly to their rules, elders, scribes and people. Uncowed by prison, unmoved by threats, unstopped by whippings.

Changed by the realization of Christ’s resurrection. Cloaked in the power of the Holy Spirit, the disciples recognized and accepted the fact—the reality—of Jesus’ deliverance. Internal hindrances removed, exterior hindrances overcome; they spoke.

Push away my fears and timidity. Prompt me Lord to speak Your words openly as I follow Your leading. Nature proclaims You. No one can stop its witness to You. Help me to be as obvious.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 97: 6-7

The heavens proclaim his righteousness; and all the peoples behold his glory.

All worshippers of images are put to shame, those who make their boast in

worthless idols; all gods bow before him.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Kingdom Manna


Luke 9:60, But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Time came for Israel to choose, again. Forty years of wilderness wandering ended. A generation died. Moses died, buried by God’s own hand. Go forward, they were told—into the Promised Land.

Did they hesitate? Did they remember the disobedience of their elders that had caused the wilderness wait? Did they anticipate the promises ahead, or cling to the dryness they knew?

To take the first step, Lord, requires a big gulp of air. No matter how faithful You remain. No matter the growing evidence of prayers You answer; the fear in me rises like a hot lava bubble.

Deliver me from faltering feet. From focusing on the ‘what ifs’ instead of Your victories. From clinging to the familiar, and missing the opportunity to grow.

Teach me Lord to proclaim Your deliverance. Teach me to go forward carrying with me all the words of Your successes.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 22:31

and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn,

saying that he has done it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kingdom Manna


Matthew 18:18, Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

The key of the house of David—salvation. Power over sin and death through Jesus. Shared with us. Purpose—to rout the enemy. S.D. Gordon says “prayer concerns three…God to whom we pray, the man on the contested earth who prays, and the evil one against whom we pray.” A battle in doubles—one seen—one unseen.

“For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

The key not only delivers us from Satan’s realm but also includes us in the opportunity to free others. To bind and loose. The prospect sets my teeth chattering Lord.

For building a closer relationship to You, I long to learn to pray. For fighting spiritual enemies, I shrink. But then I remember that I was freed by another’s prayer, brought to You by prayer, given new life by prayer.

Teach me to pray Lord, with Your love.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 109:21

But you, O Lord my Lord, act on my behalf for your name’s sake;

because your steadfast love is good, deliver me.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kingdom Manna


Matthew 16:19, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever You bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Keys unlock doors. Keys unlock chains and motors and treasure chests and journals. Or they snap shut vaults, secure buildings, store valuables.

Word keys open dreams and hearts and secrets. Offer challenges for puzzles and mysteries. Follow the clues. Where will they take us?

King of king and Lord of lords, Creator of the universe who holds all power in His control offers to share His kingdom. To give His keys into our keeping.

“Whatever.” No restrictions? How can He trust us? With our history of greed and war. Our disregard for life and land. Our intense self-interest.

Kingdom keys. Faith keys, kindred keys. Given to those He loves. Given to those who believe with eyes of hope. Hope in His name.

With trembling lips I pray Your name Lord. And unlock Your sanctuary.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 91:14

Those who love me, I will deliver;

I will protect those who know my name.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kingdom Manna


Mark 9:1, And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.

Two deaths—physical and spiritual. We rage against the first pouring medicine, research, prayer into the battle. We know it will have its way but not yet—not before its time. And even then we grieve at our separation from loved ones.

We can forfeit the second. When we deny Christ’s words, His cross, His counsel. “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and the sake of the gospel, will save it.”

To grasp tightly to life that fades draws me inward. A reflex motion of protection, of fear. To loose myself to You, Lord releases me to walk free.

Whether for a moment, a day, or eternity. Free to love life embracing both the joy and the pain with the assurance that in Your name, Your glory, all the pieces will become whole.

To follow You now begins the journey toward Your kingdom. To follow now means a willingness to accept and see Your power at work. To follow now prepares me to approach death’s door as entry.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 79:9

Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name;

deliver us, and forgive our sins, for your name’s sake.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kingdom Manna


Mark 9:47, And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell,

Desperate situations often require desperate measures. We shrink in abhorrence at the concept of deliberate mutilation. As did Jesus’ listeners. For many physical imperfections-blind, deaf, crippled-were indications of sin. A punishment. A penance.

Better, though, Jesus says to publicly acknowledge our sinfulness than to allow it interior growth. We do not hesitate to cut out a cancer or stop gangrene to save a life.

Disobedience of God’s truths lead us into a deeper death, an eternal death. And so Jesus sends His words to warn us-to alert us to the danger. “Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Blind me to pride and power and prestige Lord. Keep my sight set on Your kingdom, on Your desires. Deafen my ears to false values. Cripple my chase after empty goals.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 18:27

For you deliver a humble people,

but the haughty eyes you bring down.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Kingdom Manna


Mark 3:27, But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.

Scenes flash across the news broadcast. Bold headlines slash the newspaper. Injury, mayhem, war, murder. Mankind grasping more, stealing from one another. “Survival of the fittest”.

Left behind in the wake lie innocent, poor, helpless. Silent sufferers. Casualties of the battle. “Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.”

Strong, ruthless but subject to one still stronger. Jesus. The name that stops Satan cold. The name from which his demons flee. The name that upholds all boundaries.

Lord, it has taken me a long time to recognize I have no protection from lies and envy and greed except by Your strength. They may not be of the stature that reaches recognition by others but can be as deadly. Deliver me I pray, from insidious desires. From worldly fare that ignores Your love. From the power of darkness that breeds in concealed corners.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 91:3

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler

and from the deadly pestilence;

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