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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Reflection: Blessed: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

Reflection Questions

1. Have your family’s expectations for you ever been changed by the Lord’s plans?

2. Or your expectations for another family member or close friend?

3. Which took priority in that instance: faith or anxiety? Why?

4. Looking back can you identify the spiritual inheritance you received?

Share: How does it affect your perspective on new possibilities now?

Monday, July 29, 2019

Blessed: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

Hebrews 11: 21, “By faith, Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, ‘bowing in worship over the top of his staff.’”


As Jacob blessed from a heart of worship, he also brought about the unexpected. He gave a blessing to two grandsons claiming them as his own from Joseph. Whatever plans Joseph had intended for these sons, Jacob changed.

He reversed the blessings of the birth order and when Joseph tried to correct him, Jacob made it clear that he was not an old man mistaking identity, but giving the Lord’s prophecy on them.  And his actions guaranteed that future generations could never reject Ephraim and Manasseh from Israel because of their Egyptian birth and family connections. They belonged to his family and were given the same privileges of all his people under God’s authority.

He built a bridge of kinship effectively erasing all barriers of country, language, status, education and wealth. He faithfully communicated God’s truth to his descendants in the one way they could not counteract or deny—blessings of inheritance.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” Gal 3: 28-29

Unexpected inheritance. Undeniable future. Unshakeable faith.


Your thoughts,

Friday, July 26, 2019

By Faith: Prayers and Poetry


Isaac watched,
listened, held
the words as a deep
well’s sounding echo
resonates into silence.

Memory of cold rock
glistened knife, rough cords,
emblazoned on soul—
God’s redemption.

Cupped with trust
precious seed
invoked blessings
upon future generations.

Psalm 104:21, “The young lions roar after their prey, And seek their food from God.”

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Reflection: Invoke: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

Reflection Questions

1. What words has God given you that sound deep in your heart?

2. Do they enable your faith now or only as a future hope? Why?

3. What blessing from God would enable you, or does enable you, to tie present and future together as a conscious faith reality?

Share: What prayer blessing do you invoke for your family?

Monday, July 22, 2019

Invoke: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

Hebrews 11:20, “By faith Isaac invoked blessings for the future on Jacob and Esau.”


Invoked is a strong word. One we might think of today in terms of a court order. One dictionary refers to it as calling upon or calling down—almost a demand upon what is possible and irrefutable.

It is a word of strength based on facts, on knowledge, on premise—a declaration.

Inner surety of completion of obligation to render a response—even without a full understanding of the consequences. For Isaac, his personal preferences were overturned by God’s purpose. But that was not the heart of his request.

Instead trusting in the rightness of the authority.

Isaac claimed blessings by words of faith for his own sons, as his father Abraham had trusted God’s word for him. For the future. For a promise made by God and experienced for himself at the edge of death.

Inherited legacy that demanded intentional willingness to pass along.

Intercession for sons who still had no clear comprehension of the magnitude of the promise before them. Or their obligation to uphold it. Or the loss they faced if discarded.

Intervention to ensure they both lived under God’s rule—secure in His kingdom, protected in their ignorance and their emerging faith. He asked for God’s provision and expected a positive answer.

Imperishable words based on God’s character invoked for the present and the future.

Your thoughts,

Friday, July 19, 2019

God Could: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

God Could

Without empiric proof
beyond common sense
denied scientific theories
grief ransacking comprehension
still Abraham knew
deep down assurance.

God could.

Relinquished his son.
Received him back.
Restored vision.

Comforts our conflict.

Psalm 104: 20, “Thou dost appoint darkness and it becomes night, In which all the beasts of the forest prowl about.”

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Reflection: Restore: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

Reflection Questions

1. What impossible decision do you need to make?

2. Where in this turmoil does your belief/unbelief meter register?

3. Where does your obstacle lie—in your heart or in your will?

4. How has the Lord restored you in the face of great loss before?

5. Why, or why not, do you consider God able this time?

Share: How has God comforted your conflict?

Monday, July 15, 2019

Restore: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

Hebrews 11:19, “He considered the fact that God is able to raise someone from the dead—and figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.”


Time and time again, Jesus asked, or implied the need to believe in Him so that a healing could take place. At Nazareth, in His hometown, He “could do no miracle” and “He wondered at their unbelief.” Another desperate father heard Jesus’ words, but recognized his own doubts so he brought them in prayer as, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

Abraham believed. He had no idea how. No concept of what would happen in the next few moments or weeks or years, but he did know God’s faithfulness and so he trusted in his belief. Even to letting go of a promise he had clung to for his whole life. A promise God Himself had given. A promise that if taken would result in loss and anguish beyond all measure.

We learn, often reluctantly, to learn to let go of situations and attitudes that are harmful to us. And sometimes we are able to loosen our grip on what is good in our lives for something better. But after an entire lifetime of obedience—to be asked to give up the very blessing from God—perhaps one we uprooted our entire lives for?

In Jesus’ parable a single grain of wheat must be dropped into the earth and die in order to multiply. (John 12:20-26) In reference to this image, Herbert Lockyer comments, “Out of death comes life. A harvest comes from a grain. Jesus used this analogy of a natural law to illustrate what happens in the moral and spiritual worlds alike.”

Oh Lord, only You alone can restore life from loss. Sometimes the pain is so great that a shadow remains forever. Yet with You, all things are possible. Help us to live in resurrection reality.

Your thoughts,

Friday, July 12, 2019

Obeyed: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry


Who has the strength
to release a dream
held life-long.

Worked steadily towards
through grief, joy, expectations,
hope. Obedience daily.

Wondering why this change
to plans and promises
honored in faith.

Withheld nothing
to walk in worship on
hallowed ground.

Psalm 104: 19, “He made the moon for the seasons; The sun knows the place of its setting.”

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Reflection: Command: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

Reflection Questions

1. What is your reflex attitude towards any command?

2. Does it change according to the speaker? Why or why not?

3. Are there areas in your life where you need to become more obedient or less obedient to people authority?

4. When is heartfelt obedience easy for you, or is it ever?

Share: How do you determine when it is God leading you through human messengers?

Monday, July 8, 2019

Command: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

Hebrews 11:18, “of whom he had been told, ‘It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named for you.’”


How willing are you to be obedient? Does it depend on who is asking? Will your attitude match your actions?

If a parent, we usually have no difficulties establishing our ‘authority’. And our children can tell if a command is open for discussion or not by our voice. Through their growing years they often test those boundaries to see when they achieve more responsibility. They know our tone so well that sometimes they recognize they may have pushed too far before we do. We have the power to send young children to bed early and withhold car keys from teen-agers.

Sometimes can our attitude towards others exercising their authority over us influences our attitude towards God, either in ensuing obedience or outright rebellion. Will we run away like the prodigal son and end up in mire, or stick close like the elder son and nurse a grudge for years?

Abraham faced the most heart-rending choice imaginable. Yet he made it based on his understanding of God’s character, and so entrusted to Him his most precious gift.

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.” John 4:34

Lord, please give us courage to follow and obey with complete trust, knowing that your promises and Your commands overflow with Your redeeming love.

Your thoughts,

Friday, July 5, 2019

Relinquish: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry


When the day calls

to test a heart

who will stand firm

for a promise still distant

willingly release

all that one values

with tears cascading

hold open hands.

Psalm 104:18, “The high mountains are for the wild goats; The cliffs are a refuge for the rock badgers.”

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Reflection Questions: Test: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

Reflection Questions

1. What do you consider your greatest treasure in different areas of your life: personal, vocational, spiritual?

2. Has God ever asked you to relinquish any?

3. Why? And what was the result?

4. Are you willing to do it again? Why or why not?

5. Is there one area you find yourself holding back from?

Share: How do you seek God’s will for your loved ones?

Monday, July 1, 2019

Test: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

Hebrews 11:17, “By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He who had received the promises was ready to offer up his only son.”


This passage brings up so many mixed memories that it is not a once for all decision to relinquish that which we hold as treasure, but may need to be repeated many times. We can so easily confuse a promise with an end result done our way and miss the blessing, or healing.

We might resist the desire to leave a highly stressful job situation, because we know beyond a shadow of a doubt God had called us there, and in our mind to leave would be breaking a commitment. Despite the fact that everyone praying for us may all agree that a change needs to be made as we face increasing despair every day. Then a wise person quietly mentions that although God had called him to a particular role, He had also guided him when it was time to leave for another location. We can cling for the wrong reasons. And when we finally open our hands to new possibilities, a whole new season opens up, still using the same skills yet in a fresher and deeper manner.

However if a child is born in distress, we have no hesitation handing his care over to an unknown pediatrician. We trust immediately that this complete stranger would do whatever necessary to bring relief to our newborn. Contrary to an anxiety-ridden personality, we have complete peace. Because God steps in and covers us in His care. If we are a newborn in faith we may not be ready to be tested, only protected.

Often we may need to double check just how tight-fisted we are with the people around us, or time, or resources. We resist change and like safety. One Resurrection Sunday, our pastor referred to the reality of  “Christ is Risen” as dangerous hope. It can take awhile to process that concept into our daily life. Could that be exactly why Abraham was able to meet God’s test of faith? He recognized the danger but trusted with a whole heart as well.

Lord, please forgive us when we hold too tightly to anyone, or to any dreams You have given us, with self-centered clenched fists instead of open hands of trust. Help us to recognize You and follow Your plans with dangerous hope.

Your thoughts,

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