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Friday, April 30, 2021

awakened

Opening Prayer: Awaken us, Lord Jesus, to your life and your love.  For unless you do, we will never have any real hope of true and lasting change.  Amen.

Scripture: John 4:28-29

Journal: In what areas of your life are you longing for awakening?  How do you think this will come about?  Where (and how) are you still trying to do it yourself?

Reflection: Old patterns and dysfunctional habits are not broken through ought and should, through guilt and shame, or through doubling down on our own efforts to "do better."  They are broken when God pulls us to himself in a new and beautiful way.  When he awakens us to a new way of being.

Prayer

Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, I’m so tired of trying it on my own.  Change is hard, and I just can’t make it happen on my own.  I need for you to awaken me to a new way of being and seeing.  Pull me toward yourself in a way that changes everything about me.  Amen.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

come on down

Opening Prayer: Forgive me, Lord Jesus, for spending so much time and energy trying to be somebody, when you call us to be nobody.  Give me the courage and the strength and the grace necessary to walk the downward path to you.  Amen.

Scripture: Luke 18:9-14

Journal: Is your life mostly about ascending or descending these days?  Why?  How does that mesh with the call of Jesus to humility?  How is Jesus asking you to follow him downward?  What does that look like?

Reflection:

“Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)

Down is up in the kingdom of God.  Jesus said it himself, “He who humbles himself will be exalted.”  It makes me wonder why I still seem so hell-bent on climbing; on trying to exalt myself, rather than embracing the call of Jesus to downward mobility. 

The warning is clear.  Jesus doesn’t say, “Those who exalt themselves run the risk of being humbled.”  And he doesn’t say, “Those who exalt themselves sometimes get humbled.”  He says, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled.”  Did you hear that?  Everyone.  Not just most, or some, or the majority of, but everyone.  Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled.  No might or can or probably to it; he will be.

It seems to me, we can either humble ourselves, or it can be done for us.  The choice is ours.

Prayer

Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, you will get us to humility somehow, it is up to us exactly how we want that to happen.  Help us to accept your call, O Lord, downward.  For when we do, we will find you there.  Amen.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

peace

Opening Prayer: Rejoice in me, always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!  Do not, my children, be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to me.  And my peace, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

Scripture: Philippians 4:4-9

Journal: How do you typically fight fear and anxiety?  How well is that working for you?  What would it look like to think about the beautiful things, rather being consumed by the things that make you anxious and afraid?

Reflection: You don’t fight fear and anxiety by not focusing on the bad things, but by focusing on the good and beautiful things; not by reciting our woes, but by rejoicing in God’s goodness and blessing.  I think that’s why Paul starts this section of Philippians with the word rejoice.  He is trying to remind us that the battle against fear and anxiety is won or lost by what lenses we choose to look at life through.  Do we look at life through the lenses of fear and anxiety, or do we look at life through the lenses of joy and gratitude. 

And remember, Paul is writing this from prison.  He could easily be overwhelmed by sorrow and sadness and despair, but he’s not.  Instead, he is choosing to “Rejoice!”  And so can we. 

Prayer

Closing Prayer: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent and praiseworthy—think about such things.  And I, the God of peace, will be with you.  Amen.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

true self

Opening Prayer: “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise, you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all of my ways.” (Psalm 139:1-3) Help me to be exactly who and what you made me to be, for only you know who that is.  Amen.

Scripture: John 4:23-24

Journal: Where is your sense of self coming from these days?  Is it true?

Reflection:

     authenticity


if our sense of self
must be managed
or manufactured
it can most certainly
only be false

true self cannot
be attained
or achieved
but only bestowed

and it can only
be bestowed
by the one who made us
it is the gift of God

Prayer

Closing Prayer: Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive (false) way in me, and lead me in the way (truth) everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

Saturday, April 17, 2021

abundance

Opening Prayer: O Lord, please remind me that the road to abundance leads through the fire and through the water.  Forgive me when I try to avoid those two things, for when I do, I miss what you want to do in and through me.  Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 66:8-12

Journal: What is the fore and water for you right now?  Can you trust that God is leading you, through it, to a place of abundance?

Reflection:

psalm 66:12


there is a land
called abundance
on the other side
of the fire and water

take my hand
and I will
lead you there

Prayer

Closing Prayer: Help me to trust you, O Lord, even when the road is not an easy one; knowing that you are always leading me, ultimately, to a place of abundance.  Amen.

Friday, April 16, 2021

nets

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive me for continually trying to do things on my own.  Forgive me for trying to fill my own nets, for without you I will always come up empty.  When will I ever learn?

Scripture: John 21:1-13

Journal: How are your nets these days?  How are you trying to fill them?  What would it look like to stop trying and allow Jesus to do that?

Reflection: So, let me see if I’ve got this right: empty nets without you, full nets with you.  Why, then, do I keep trying to do it on my own?  Note to self: Stop trying to fill your own nets!

Prayer

Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, come and fill the nets of my life and my ministry, whatever that may look like, for I cannot do it on my own.  Amen.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

surrender

Opening Prayer: Forgive me, Lord Jesus, when I live as if this live was about me, rather than about you.  Give me the grace and the strength and the courage to truly surrender myself to you.  Amen.

Scripture: Mark 8:35

Journal: What does it mean to completely surrender to Jesus?  What would this look like in your life?

Reflection: Do I really have the desire for change in my life, if I constantly resist that change?  Do I really want to follow Jesus, if I continually refuse to surrender to him?  If I constantly try to manage and control my own life?  If I refuse to embrace the powerlessness and dependence necessary to be truly led by him?  If I refuse to be still and listen.  If I refuse to respond to his will and his direction, rather than forcing my own?  If I refuse to become nothing, so that he might become everything?  If I refuse to become forgotten, so that you can be remembered?  If I refuse to become small, so that you can become big?  If I refuse to be hidden, so that you might be seen?  If I refuse to become no one, rather than always trying to be someone? 

The answer: probably not.

Prayer

Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to know what it looks like to lose my life in order that you might save it.  Then give me the strength to do just that.  Amen.