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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Reflection: Ways: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

Reflection Questions:

                1. What images do the words "no escape," "chains," and "blocked ways" evoke? 

                2. What walls have barricaded you in?"

                3. What walls have you built up against yourself? Against others?

Share: How has the Lord released you from them?

Monday, June 14, 2021

Ways: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Lamentations 3:7-9: ".... Even when I cry out for help, He shuts out my prayer. He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; ...".

Ways

It often can take a long time, Lord, for each of us to even begin to understand these words and others like them. Especially when Your words also invite us to come directly to You in prayer.

In all circumstances and situations.

But then maybe we are still like toddlers crying and asking for things that are not safe. Or will lead us into temptations and destruction. Because we have not grown enough to recognize the imitation lures.

So You over-ride our cries to keep us safe and turn instead to seek Your truth.

Please help us to accept closed prayers and closed doors with as much thankfulness as we respond to open ones.

Keep us only on Your road. The one not even a fool can fall off.

And show us how to recognize  and respond to any words Your Spirit speaks into us.

Please keep us listening--Your way.

Your thoughts, 

Friday, June 11, 2021

Distress: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

                           Distress

                        Walls breached
                        streets empty
                        silent distress
                        wails throughout.

                        Shadows creep
                        living dead
                        linger as corpses in
                        stricken city.

                        Lamentation
                        weaves darkness
                        wounded stagger
                        left to mourn.

Psalm 37:11: "But the meek shall inherit the land, and delight themselves in abundant prosperity."

                         

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Reflections: Walls: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

 Reflection Questions:

                1. Have you had a season of bitterness, either within yourself or from another?

                2. In what ways did it taint all aspects of your days?

                3. How did you find your light in that situation?

 Share: How does that experience guide you now in times of darkness?

Monday, June 7, 2021

Walls: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

 Reading: Lamentations: 3:4-6: "... He has besieged and encompassed me with bitterness and hardship. In dark places he has made me dwell....".

Walls

Sometimes in difficult situations, and sometimes in our thoughts alone, we think we have been abandoned. But He is always with us.

It has taken many years for some of us to recognize why these pulls into dark places, but now we hope to turn to You immediately, or not wait too long to seek Your guidance.

We have not always understood and still may not fully grasp why. But maybe even without being able to identify the reason of the darkness we can truly understand there will come the power and the blessing of Your light in Your time.

And maybe instead of building a cold heart to others we can begin to understand and act with compassion?

Lord, please keep us in Your silence in all situations.

Your thoughts,


Friday, June 4, 2021

Driven: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

                         Driven

                        The light has left.

                        Alone now in
                        darkness, cut off
                        from wisdom
                        driven into affliction
                        by wrath
                        day to day
                        His words
                        disappear in emptiness
                        alone now barren.

                        The light has left.

Psalm 37:10: "Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there."

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Reflection: Walk: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

Reflection Questions 

    1. When did you feel driven into darkness--into affliction--into a sense of "against me alone"?

    2. Did you believe that God purposely sent you? Why? Why not?

    3. How do our reactions to darkness affect us when we believe that God is making us walk alone, or is walking by our side throughout?

Share: What promise from the Lord helps you cling to His light?

Monday, May 31, 2021

Walk: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

 Reading: Lamentations 3:1-3: "... He has driven me and made me walk In darkness and not in light.  ...".

Walk

In all our times of darkness, Lord, You have been with each one of us. Especially in times when we remain so angry at You that we would not listen, or accept Your truths.

And the darkness still comes.

But now we know that You are always present. And we need to keep on walking daily, sometimes one step at a time.

Holding on to Your hand. Holding on to Your words in our hearts and soul every moment.

Thank you for holding on to each one of us--to being with each of us--in all circumstances.

May we focus on Your living light even in the darkest places.

Your thoughts,

Friday, May 28, 2021

Stands: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

                Stands

                She stands now
                before each watch
                pouring out her heart
                for her dying children
                faint from hunger
                perishing under famine
                of body and soul
                separated from God
                their protector by
                her actions.

                She stands now
                pleading His mercy
                upon their future
                upon His promises.

                Hands raised high in prayer.
                She stands before each watch.

Psalm 37:9:"For the wicked shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land."

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Reflection: Wail: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

Reflections Questions

                1. What can happen to our grief when we bury it?

                2. Have you ever hidden your emotions from yourself? What did it do to your prayers, your heart?

                3. In what ways can our suffering numb us to other's suffering, instead of exercising compassion? 

Share: Do you believe that God will redeem your "soul" in peace from the battle which is against me" if you ask? (Psalm 55:18)

Monday, May 24, 2021

Wail: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Lamentations 2:19-22: "... Pour out your heart like water Before the presence of the Lord; Lift up your hands to Him For the life of your little ones Who are faint because of hunger...". 

Wail

Lord, there is so much hunger today in our hearts and souls as so many lies are distorting and blocking Your words. And twisting Your truths and Your mercy.

Please protect each one of us from believing in the false deceptions, especially our younger generations who may not yet have experienced real danger and consequences.

May Your Spirit speak into their hearts with Your heart to shatter the fabrications.

Show each one of us how to truly walk in prayer lifting us to You by Your Spirit. To live the life You choose for us and be Your children even in sorrow and grief.

Your thoughts,

Friday, May 21, 2021

Ruin: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

                Ruin

                She did not heed
                warnings given in
                abundance.

                Chose instead oracles
                filled with false
                blessings
                deceptive visions
                misled promises of
                fortune.

                Vast now the ruin
                exposed iniquity
                bountiful
                with fruit from
                forbidden tree.

Psalm 37:8: "Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret--it leads only to evil."

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Reflections: Word: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

Reflection Questions 

                1. Have you ever been caught by false advice, or false vision, which led you into wrong decisions?

              2. What voices of truth do you usually heed?

              3. Looking back, what warnings did you not heed? Why?

Share: How did the Lord break through your personal captivity and allow tears to dissolve your deception?

Monday, May 17, 2021

Word: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Lamentations 2:13-18: "How shall I admonish you? To what shall I compare you? ... For your ruin is as vast as the sea; ... The Lord has done what He purposed; He has accomplished His word which He commanded from days of old."

Word

Forgive us Lord, for the many, many times we only see tumult and ruin and refuse, or fall apart, as we forget Your promises and Your words--both of warnings and restoration.

Your purpose is to restore each one of us and that may first cause total destruction as our lies are exposed.

In this current pandemic we have seen it happen so much as false responses and excuses mix and twist the true words building up more confusion and misunderstandings.

Our personal fears and weaknesses come into the light for each one of us.

We pray to be able to let go of the surrounding tumult and still take steps into You presence and Your purpose. To live into each day on Your road with You.

Please continue to give us Your strength into our hearts and words and prayers.

Your thoughts,




Friday, May 14, 2021

Sorrow: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

                 Sorrow 

                Soul light is gone
                prophets cannot see
                vision to guide
                all removed.

                Sorrow engulfs
                tears, stand in
                despair as children
                faint from lack of
                nourishment.

                Spent with weeping
                she wanders over
                broken walls
                unprotected.

Psalm 37:7: "Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices."

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Reflections: Woe: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

Reflection Questions:

                1. How do you give access to unholy forces in your own life?

                2. Have you been able to hold onto your vision of the Lord in time of great sorrow? How?

                3. If you too found your vision blinded in grief, what restored you?

Share: How does either insight help you comfort or pray for another who is in distress?

Monday, May 10, 2021

Woe: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Lamentations 2:7-12: "..... My eyes fail because of tears, My spirit is greatly troubled; My heart is poured out on the earth, Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, When little ones and infants faint In the streets of the city."

Woe

It is often so hard to see the depth of our sins, and false desires, and recognize how far we have walked away from the Lord.  

And yet if we cannot recognize the truth we cannot return.

In our country--in our world--we each need to remember His truth. To keep each of us from shouting blame at others.

And begin to kneel before the Lord one by one to seek His forgiveness, His mercy, His light, and His path.

Lord, please show us how to pause whenever we need to, so that we don't forget or stray or let weakness take hold of us--no matter in what situation we find ourselves.

Please hold all our tears and restoration in Your hands.

Your thoughts,

Friday, May 7, 2021

Destroyed: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

               Destroyed

               Did she think her protector 
               immune from righteous anger
               decide him too gentle, too loving
               unaffected by her flirtations.

               Did she not recognize his pain 
               at her betrayal.

               Destruction the wake of rage
               uncontrolled fury
               demolishing all he had built
               with such tenderness, such labor
               devoted commitment;
               tabernacle removed, relationship severed
               desolations remains.

Psalm 37:6: "And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, And Your judgement as the noon day."


     

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Reflection: Wrath: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

 Reflection Questions:

                1. Have you ever experienced completer silence from God in the wake of personal destruction whether of your own making or not?

                2. How did you react to the silence? Did it feel like more betrayal? Or punishment? Or confusion?

                3. Why is silence more difficult to handle than outright accusations?

                4. What does God's wrath over Jerusalem's actions tell us about His love?

Share: When did you personally remember God's forgiveness?

Monday, May 3, 2021

Wrath: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Lamentations: 2:1-6: "How the Lord has covered...With a cloud in His anger!...The Lord has swallowed up; He  has not spared All the habitants of Jacob...In fierce anger he has cut off All the strength of Israel; ...The Lord has become like an enemy."

Wrath

Lord, too often we forget that, like our earthly parents did, we still cross the line. And then experience anger and consequences in our rebellion.

We cannot ignore our sins and actions and try to blame others.

But even in Your anger You remain present to turn us back to Your love. To guide us to recognize our vulnerability is a reminder to stay on Your path only.

Without Your presence Lord, we sin.

Show us, we pray, how to be honest before You in all our thoughts and actions.

So that we will walk in faith on whatever path You choose for us.

Your thoughts,

Friday, April 30, 2021

Alone: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

                 Alone

                She stands alone
                at the center of her city
                empty now of tears
                dried up. Loves deceived,
                friends disappeared,
                elders and priests
                perish for sustenance
                empty now of solace
                refused human compassion
                she stands alone/

Psalm 37:5: "Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it."

  

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Reflection: Wrongs: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

 Reflections Questions:

                1. In what way has an act of rebellion on your part broken a loving relationship?

                2. Did the ramifications affect others around you? How?

                3. How has that experience affected decisions you make now?

Share: Do you believe God has been in your situation?  Have you accepted the Lord's forgiveness?

Monday, April 26, 2021

Wrongs: Lamentations: Prayer and Poetry

 Reading: Lamentations: 1:18-22: "The Lord is righteous; For I have rebelled against His command; .... My Spirit is greatly troubled; My heart is overturned within me; ... For all my transgressions; For my groans are many, and my heart is faint."

Wrongs

Sometimes we often see the Lord's light only as bringing hope and healing, which it does, through Him. But sometimes light is also needed to bring us out of our wrongs as well.

So that we can recognize them as the danger they are. So that we can seek to repent and be made clean and whole despite our brokenness.

Any relationship needs total honesty. And the Lord already knows all of us from the inside out.

And He is the only one who can fully restore our hearts and our lives--no matter how shattered.

Lord, please help us to see what we are still hiding from ourselves, or refusing to acknowledge as sin. Then bring us to fully seek Your word and choose Your forgiveness. And then become Your lights when You send us.

Your thoughts, 

Friday, April 23, 2021

Consumed: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

                Consumed

                Fires swept her streets
                hot dragon's breath
                consuming any obstacle
                rushing over buildings
                searing trees
                unstoppable
                survivors left too weak to stand
                shackled into yokes
                chattel
                cries frozen in shock
                song silenced in
                captivity.

Psalm 37: 4: "Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart."

                


                
                

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Reflection: Weakened: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

 Reflection Questions

                1. Have you experienced a time when you felt utterly consumed and helpless physically, emotionally, or spiritually?

                2. Did you ever feel that the Lord Himself has crushed you? Why?

                3. How did that experience change your faith, or your attitude towards the Lord?

Share: What is your response now when you are completely unable to stand?


Monday, April 19, 2021

Weakened: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Lamentations 1:13-17: ..."For these things I weep; My eyes run down with water; Because far from me is a comforter,  One who restores my soul; My children are desolate Because the enemy has prevailed.' ...".

Weakened

There are so many areas where we see or experience the attacks of the enemy: through our own sins, or from others, or caught up in the battleground around us.

And through our losses and tears we do think that the enemy has prevailed.

But not really.

Yes the grief and the loss are very real, but our Lord is always present to be with us throughout the danger and throughout the chaos. He protects us and guides us to turn away from anything false so that we can see and return to His truth.

To protection. To healing. To restoration. To hope.

He protects each of us not only from attack without but also from our own sins hiding within.

Please teach us Lord, to truly know You and walk Your paths as You lead--especially when our tears flow in grief.

Please restore our souls.

Your thoughts,

Friday, April 16, 2021

Forlorn: Prayers and Poetry

                  Forlorn

               With no thought
                for tomorrow she followed
                whims chasing treasure
                fickle as a child
                watching butterflies.

                Forlorn stands before sanctuary
                weeping at destruction
                fouled by graffiti
                willful desecration
                filled with debris.

                Wanders searching
                food for strength to
                withstand another day
                fervently praying sorrow be
                wiped away, sin
                forgiven, restore broken
                faith.

Psalm 37:3: "Trust in the Lord, and do, good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness."

                
                


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Reflection: Wandered: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

 Reflection Questions

                1. What sin in your past (or present) would make you feel naked if exposed, even though you know the Lord has forgiven you?

                2. Do you still try to make amends to earn forgiveness?

                3. In what ways do you attempt to restore yourself before seeking God's grace?

Share: Why is it difficult? Or why is it not?





Monday, April 12, 2021

Wandered: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Lamentations 1:8-12: "...She did not consider her future; Therefore she has fallen astonishingly; She has no comforter. 'See, O Lord, my affliction, For the enemy has magnified himself!' The adversary has stretched out his hand Over all her precious things, For she has seen the nations enter her sanctuary, The ones whomThou didst command That they should not enter into Thy congregation. ...".

Wandered

Forgive all of us Lord for seeking our days and our futures through our own ideas of ownership instead of seeking Your will.

Thank You for still waiting for us to see Your words, Your truth, and Your open doors inviting each of us to return.

We pray for all our precious ones to follow Your light and ask You to break any chains that still keep anyone from a relationship with You. For You to be each one's heart center.

Please guide all our prayers as You remind us and lead us to dissolve all that is error. We pray Lord, that as Lent has reminded us, to recognize Your truth. And that all Your children from all ages, all countries, and all heritages be restored to You.

Your thoughts,
















Friday, April 9, 2021

Empty: Lamentations: Prayers and Poetry

                 Empty

                She wanders through
                familiar streets
                empty.

                Children's laughter
                once vibrant
                echoes hollow
                in the silence.

                Her hands trace
                shells of
                past pleasure
                as she walks
                by
                homes, shops
                now shapeless haunts.

                Turns quickly
                at sudden noise
                only wind blown debris
                clanging.

                Resumes penance
                walk
                hungry for days of old
                remembering precious
                things,
                lost
                captured by
                her transgressions.

Psalm 37:2: "for they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb."
 
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