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Friday, November 29, 2019

Wandered: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry


Constantly alert to danger

sounds of pursuit

drummed a march in their ears

continuously moving


setting false trails

 adept animal mimics


faith in heart

a conscience hold on reality

despite cave dwellings.

Hebrews 12:4, “You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;”

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Reflection: Wanderers: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

Reflection Questions

1. How would you cope with silence from God over a period of years? Or have you?

2. Do you find your strength in reading Scripture? What promises sustain you during season of trial?

3. Would you be willing to live in caves for Jesus? What might a cave look like in today’s world?

Share: Have you ever had to run from danger? Were you able to trust God in the midst of it? How?

Monday, November 25, 2019

Wanderers: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

Hebrews 11:38, “of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.”


Merrill F. Unger refers to the time between the testaments as The Four Hundred Silent Years counting from the prophet Malachi to the arrival of the prophet John the Baptist. Most Biblical records for this era come from Jewish historians.

A the end of one portion of historical Jewish history, sometimes referred to as the time of the Maccabees, they cleansed the Temple and, “They celebrated it for eight days with rejoicing, in the manner of the festival of booths, remembering how not long before…they had been wandering in the mountains and caves like wild animals.” According to the records this self-banishment lasted almost thirty years.

Their faith took them into this harried lifestyle with no guarantee that they would be rescued, or ever able to return home. They fled in order to remain true to God in worship. They gave up everything they knew and loved to follow faithfully God’s words of truth.

And that day may come again to God’s people.

Would we be as ready to stand up with this level of courage? We who some days get upset over changes to our schedules, perceived intrusions in our lives, and fragile egos at hints of disagreement?

Not apart from the Word and the Spirit to sustain us.

During those silent years the words and stories of Yahweh as told by His prophets carried on through generation-to-generation waiting and hoping for Messiah. And each Lenten season we remember the real deliverance fulfilled. We often choose to give up something during this season, either a habit that has become a hold on us, or time so as to spend more fellowship in prayer.

Sometimes though that focus on making it through Lent without … becomes our primary concern. Or during any other season of life when we face loss and can only manage to make it through the days. Instead, perhaps we should choose to celebrate that Jesus has won the victory for us and that regardless of loss or gain, He supplies true hope every day. His courage every day. His faith every moment.

Lord, please write your words into our hearts, so that we can pass on Your stories to the next generation so that they will know Your hope.

Your thoughts,

Friday, November 22, 2019

Recant: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry


A prison cell,

bread and butter,

conditions intended

to break prophet down

recant his words

speed false peace.

Did not waver.

Knew to utter false hope

a greater dungeon

forging spiritual


Hebrews 12:3, “For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Reflection: Hostility: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

Reflection Questions

1. Whether telling some white lies or not continues to be a ongoing debate, how do you think a consistent pattern of telling white lies can weaken a person’s capacity to tell the truth in a costly confrontation?

2. What is your internal conversation when a friend or mentor gives you negative feedback? What makes you accept it if you do?

3. How willing are you to give honest feedback? Is your style confrontational or compassionate?

Share: Have you spoken truth in a public setting knowing there could be severe consequences? Why? What was the result?

Monday, November 18, 2019

Hostility: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

Hebrews 11:37, “…persecuted, tormented—”.


When asked to bring forth a prophet to confirm the word of the Lord, King Ahab of Israel reluctantly acknowledged Micaiah. Then added, “but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil.”2 Chronicles 18:26

The prophet once again spoke the words the Lord gave and Ahab angrily ordered Micaiah to prison, to be fed sparingly until his safe return. To which the prophet added, “If you return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me.”

We can’t help but consider that the prophet’s answer had a touch of dry irony to it, yet regardless of tone he continued to speak the truth, no matter the consequences. He fully acknowledged his own capacity for error while affirming the undeniable truth of God’s words. And he stood firm on God’s words—willing to accept dire outrage.

What a contrast to the king who kept insisting Micaiah change his words to please him and refusing to listen to truth. So set on his own desires that he willfully chose to react with persecution over honest petition for direction.

Persecution seems a little beyond our own reactions to negative feedback, but is it? How often do we accuse others of malice or envy or misunderstanding or self-serving intent when we receive negative replies? Especially when we have sought out counsel. We may not actually say the words out loud; yet internally argue to mask our refusal to accept truth.

Lord, please give us integrity of heart to choose to listen and speak Your words, instead of refusing them for self-interest.

Your thoughts,

Friday, November 15, 2019

Guilt: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry


Failure to rely on God

burrows into soul

regrets fester,

rise to volcanic surge

with public knowledge.

Unleash blame outward

angry whippings

innocent suffer

their visible scars a

continued witness to guilt,

shame-dug grooves.

Hebrews 12:2, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Reflection: Accusation: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

Reflection Questions

1. What is your immediate reaction to accusation?

2. If there is truth to it do you immediately go to God in prayer, or try to explain it away to yourself?

3. How do you speak truth in love within your family, or workplace, to keep relationships open and honest?

Share: Have you had to take a public stand to expose a lie? What was the result?

Monday, November 11, 2019

Accusation: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

Hebrews 11: 36, “Others suffered mocking and flogging and even chains and imprisonment.”


Often in the Old Testament when prophets and seers spoke God’s truth, they received anger, retaliation, and punishment as a response. Ahab threw Micaiah into prison because of his prophecy. King Asa threw Hanani into prison “for delivering an unfavorable word from the Lord.” Jeremiah was placed in prison and into a miry pit for speaking God’s truth. King Herod into the New Testament had John beheaded, and Peter arrested with the intent of a death sentence.

Even today when truth is spoken in public in opposition to leaders in any forum, the retaliation often comes as legal defamation of character or accusations of slander. Real facts get buried under mud-slinging and false witness.

And personally when a truth is spoken personally that we don’t want to hear we almost immediately come up with excuses, blame others, blame circumstances—anything so as not to take responsibility.

Yet God continues to speak truth into our world and into our lives to bring us light, and hope, and restoration. His love confronts the lies we sometimes don’t even recognize we have absorbed, and removes the poison before it takes hold—if we are willing to listen.

Your thoughts,

Friday, November 8, 2019

Refuse: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry


Despite continued failure

to hide deeds in darkness,

ignorance, to contain perhaps

a season under lies, only

to explore in light of day

exposed motive, deceit,

distorted vision; attempt

continues—fractured by

uncooperative victims

demanding a public witness.

Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Reflection: Endurance:By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

Reflection Questions

1. Jesus Himself chose silence a few times when faced with bullying. How can we know when it is right to be still or necessary to speak out?

2. What criteria should be used in either private or public occurrences? Or is there a difference?

3. Which is most difficult for you to deal with personally—veiled threats or outright confrontation? Why?

4. Are you willing to defend others but not yourself if necessary?

Share: Under what circumstances have you overcome your own fears or anxiety to make sure others heard words of truth?

Monday, November 4, 2019

Endurance:By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

Hebrews 11:35, “….refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection.”


Many churchgoers have heard the story of Paul and Silas, arrested—beaten—chained—saved the jailor from suicide. Their faith and witness brought resurrection truth to his whole household. But there is even more to the story.

After the jailor cleaned their wounds and received baptism, Paul and Silas returned to their cells. When the word came down to release them the jailor rushed to give them the good news. Imagine his astonishment when Paul refused.

“..Paul replied, ‘They have beaten us in public, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and now are they going to discharge us in secret? Certainly not! Let them come and take us out themselves.’” 

Paul and Silas knew full well that even greater penalties could be ahead of them, but they would not accept back alley bullying to go unnoticed, or hide in the dark. Paul put aside personal fear and pain to make clear his belief and trust in Messiah. He demanded to be heard so that the truth be spoken out loud. Shown visibly in action.

So many years have past but world history continues the use of fear, anxiety, meritocracy, and intimidation to rule and silence honest conviction whenever possible.

Lord, give us courage to be silent when we need to be, and to be publically vocal when You so direct. Help us to be faithful witnesses of Your truth—Your words in all circumstances.

Your Thoughts,

Friday, November 1, 2019

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego

Three men whose

names are often set to song.

Their stories told from

early years.

Wide-eyed listeners breathless

with anticipation.

Feel the flames’

heat in rising cliffhanger.

They started with courage,

conviction to stand true

no matter the consequences.

Their beginning often blurred

behind victory.

Psalm 104:35, “Let sinners be consumed from the earth, And let the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord!”

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