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Friday, February 26, 2021

Protection: Prayers and Poetry

                Protection

                Daily He went before them                
                for forty years
                leading them each day
                from within a pillar of cloud.

                Every night
                Every step, every day
                He continued from
                a pillar of fire. Every year.

                Daily He stays with us too
                within our hearts, our souls,
                never leaving, still watching,
                with us--every moment.

Matthew 5:10: "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom oh heaven."
                
                

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Reflection: And Do Not Lead Us: Prayers and Poetry

 Reflection Questions

    1. What temptations continue to whisper or attack your relationship with the Lord?

    2. What has kept you from seeking His help to resist, or forgiveness to return?

    3. What word, or promise, from Jesus could become your daily hope to shelter you?

Share: What does a firm foundation look like for you?

Monday, February 22, 2021

And Do Not Lead Us: Prayers and Poetry

And Do Not Lead Us

Matthew 6:13: "And lead us not into temptation,"

Temptation

Why would we think that God would lead us into temptation, when Jesus came to save?

Then we remember that even in the perfection of the Garden Adam and Eve chose temptation. And then in the wilderness Satan again tried to turn Jesus from His call of redemption for everyone.

Jesus reminds us here to ask for strength to resist whatever allure or wrong direction is acting as a siren song to turn us away from His truth and His protection.

"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Provision. Protection. Prepared.

Will we remember? Will we ask for help? Will we recognize the lies? Will we stay on the path He calls us to regardless of the cost?

Jesus did not hesitate to turn to God in prayer, for Himself and for others.

Your thoughts,

Friday, February 19, 2021

Seventy: As We Forgive: Prayers and Poetry

                 Seventy    

                Times seven

                Jesus said,

                must forgive from

                your heart.

            No exceptions.

                His grace is for all

                regardless of

                their response

                we are to relinquish.

                All resentment.

 Matthew 5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God."


                


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Reflection: As We Forgive: Prayers and Poetry

 Reflection Questions

                1. Read Ephesians 4:30-32

                2. How can we recognize when we grieve the Holy Spirit in our thoughts and        attitude? 

                3. What are some ways we can overcome our bitterness and anger--especially when we are victims of deliberate malice?

                4. What act of kindness have you received as a response to your own anger against  someone?

Share: How have you found a way, or words, to actively forgive as Christ had forgiven us?

Monday, February 15, 2021

As We Forgive: Prayers and Poetry

 Matthew 6:12: "As we forgive them that trespass against us." (or our debts)

Absolve

Every time. Over and over. From our hearts.

Whether debts, of false accusations, or lies, or hatred, or condemnation.

In his study of parables, Herbert Lockyer shares that: "The word forgive actually means 'forth-give,' that is, to dismiss absolutely from thought."

No grudges. No retaliation. No gossip. No revenge.

One of the most detailed and well-known parable from Jesus is in His response to Peter's question as to how we must forgive another. "Up to seven times?" Seventy times seven was the answer.

Then Jesus shared the story of a man who had been forgiven an enormous debt from the king. But when released he in turn sent a fellow slave, who owed him a much smaller amount, into prison. When the king heard he became extremely angry at the man's lack of mercy and wickedness to another, and so removed his decree and sent him to the torturers. Matthew 18:21-35

In Luke 7:1-4, Jesus again reminds His disciples that repentance is ongoing and to be on guard to forgive. No matter how many times.

Lockyer also shares that: "The truth unfolded in the parable, then, is that forgiveness must be, as it is with God, a constant attitude."

Your thoughts,

Friday, February 12, 2021

Mercy: Prayers and Poetry

                 Mercy

                Sin absolved

                within and without

                when we acknowledge

                our faults--our failures

                own the iniquity.


                Love absorbs

                within and without

                whispers hope

                opens new paths

                offered through His grace.

Matthew 5:8: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God."

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Reflection: And Forgive Us: Prayers and Poetry

 Reflection Questions

    1. Read Psalm 103's Praise for the Lord's Mercies.

    2. Which of these mercies have you received from a person, from the Lord?

    3. Which of these acts of forgiveness have you been able to give to your loved ones, to friends, or to strangers?

Share: How has embracing forgiveness changed your daily perception?

Monday, February 8, 2021

And Forgive Us: Prayers and Poetry

Matthew 6:12: "And forgive us our trespasses (or debts)" 

Forgive

Trespasses--sin--debts--often intertwine in the Bible verses and stories. But when Jesus gave these words to His disciples they still had no true concept of the price Jesus would pay to open the door to a forgiveness beyond any human ability.

In every aspect of our lives--from the inside out.

"He does not treat us according to our sins nor repay us according to our faults." Psalm 103:10

"As far as the east is from the west so far does He remove our sins." Psalm 103:12

In Ephesians Chapter 2 Paul reminds his readers that they were dead in their sins when they walked in the course of this world that desires power and personal ambition.

Many people throughout history and present times still reject this gift of life, like Saul who would not accept God's grace and looked only to human methods to attempt to gain power.

Yet the Lord offers His mercy again and again. Free will. Free choice.

We only need to accept His costly offering.

"Sin is the refusal of love, whether to give love or to receive it." Thomas Merton.

Your thoughts,

Friday, February 5, 2021

Wonder: Prayers and Poetry

                 Wonder

                Sometimes splashes

                us with surprise

                stunned in awe.

                Or quietly nudges

                us with beauty in

                one small sight.

                Gently washes

                us with His ongoing

                grace and love.

                Whispers daily to comfort

                us when we pause

                with wonder.

Matthew 5:7: "Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy."

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Reflection: Daily Bread: Prayers and Poetry

 Reflection Questions

        1. Make a list of some astonishing glimpses of God's grace in your life that caused you to be curious or thankful or both?

        2. How many of them were seen through simplicity, or briefly, yet changed your whole perspective?

        3. What are some ways we can begin to sense His ongoing wonder in our routine days?

Share: In what ways can different types of art also give us brief reminders of how to engage in awe in the ordinary?


Monday, February 1, 2021

Daily Bread: Prayers and Poetry

 Matthew 6:11: "Give us this day our daily bread..".

Daily Bread

Manna, "food of the desert".

"And He rained down manna upon them to eat, And gave them food from heaven. Man did eat the bread of angels; he sent them food in abundance." Psalm 78:24

Completely mystified by the flaky fiber carpeting surrounding their camp, Israel asked Moses "what is it?"

God's provision given one day at a time. Morning by morning. For forty years. Did they still marvel in awe every day or began to take it for granted? Or annoyed when it stopped and they had to learn to provide for themselves?

Bewildered disciples struggled to understand Jesus' kingdom too. Not of this earth, but sufficient for the needs of each day. Not a fact explainable, but a fact undeniable.

A different reality, sent from God, delivered by Jesus' own hand--then and now.

Thoughts crowd, convict our minds. God's kingdom present here? Can we grasp it? Explore it? Live it? What does it mean?

Far reaching implications that extends beyond only physical food but extends to heart and mind and soul hunger as well. Daily we are given this gift of wonder--even in times of deep grief and sorrow.

Open our eyes Lord to see bright glimpses of Your presence clearly, and live each day nourished by Your spiritual daily bread.

Your thoughts,

 
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