Encountering Faithfulness

In the midst of truth telling - while being known and loved, we witness the Samaritan women encounter faithfulness, perhaps for the first time. She remains vulnerable in the presence of Jesus and boldly asks her big questions about God. Jesus meets her in her questions, her wondering and graciously invites her home to I AM.

The first appearance of I AM recorded in the Scriptures is at the burning bush in Exodus 3:14. Moses is invited to take off his sandals and be at home with God. There God makes himself known as I AM. Moses comes to know God relationally. Now Jesus offers the same invitation to this woman from Samaria, in essence saying, 'you who have never experienced faithfulness...come home to me. You will find me faithful'.

As you enter your prayer, consider the true you God is inviting home. Be there with God, as simply and honestly as you can.

John 4:19-26 (NLT)
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”
21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus told her, “I AM the Messiah!”

For Reflection and Prayer:
What resonated within you as you listened? What feelings seemed to accompany this? Journal your thoughts and impressions.

When do you notice yourself being simply and honestly yourself before God? How does God receive you at those times?

Rest in the presence of Jesus, just as you are in this moment.

Waking the Dawn with Our Song

In a burst of heartfelt expression, Psalm 108 might compel us to consider the song in our own heart to God. Some people literally waken each morning with a song humming from somewhere deep inside the soul. These songs speak to the core of our longings, placed inside of us for ourselves and God. They might sound the purpose of our lives or provide anchoring from which we live out the day. Pause to listen each morning as you waken and notice the song lodged deep within your spirit. Linger in the gentle awaking of this song within. May it be fully released.

Psalm 108:1-5 NLT

My heart is confident in you, O God;
    no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart!
2 Wake up, lyre and harp!
    I will wake the dawn with my song.
3 I will thank you, Lord, among all the people.
    I will sing your praises among the nations.
4 For your unfailing love is higher than the heavens.
    Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
5 Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens.
    May your glory shine over all the earth.

For Reflection and Prayer:
What words or phrases stood out to you as you listened to the text? What pictures formed in your mind? Bring them into your prayer with Jesus.

Reflect on your "confidence in God meter". What affects your rating? Where does God, life experiences and prayers reside within this? Bring these reflections into your prayer.

Pause and give names to the blessings that encircle you today. What blessings do you seek?

Living Large

Psalm 138, a resounding "thank you" to God, reminds us again just how good the Good News truly is. God is ever the initiator. And we always have the choice of our response. The moment we accept God's invitation by calling out, God steps in and "makes our life large with strength" (TMG).

May you be encouraged by these words of testimony spoken by those around the table:

"It's so no all up to me"
"The Lord will work out his plans for my life - I'm resting in that"
"Thank you God for cutting off this shackle in my life"
"Both hands hold me"
"I really like being alive in Christ"
"For me it used to be that if it was not all good, it's not good. Now I am thankful"
"I'm anticipating the Advent of God's grace afresh this year"
"I can fall and rest in God's presence"

May the Spirit meet you as you dwell with Psalm 138.

Psalm 138 (NLT)
1 I give you thanks, O LORD, with all my heart;
    I will sing your praises before the gods.
2 I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.
    I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness;
for your promises are backed
    by all the honor of your name.
3 As soon as I pray, you answer me;
    you encourage me by giving me strength.
4 Every king in all the earth will thank you, LORD,
    for all of them will hear your words.
5 Yes, they will sing about the LORD’s ways,
    for the glory of the LORD is very great.
6 Though the LORD is great, he cares for the humble,
    but he keeps his distance from the proud.
7 Though I am surrounded by troubles,
    you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.
You reach out your hand,
    and the power of your right hand saves me.
8 The LORD will work out his plans for my life—
    for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever.
    Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

For Reflection and Prayer:

What word, a phrase, image, or feeling caught your attention as you listened? Bring it into your prayer. Journal what Jesus says in response to you.

What gratitude arises out of your whole heart towards God? What are you most thankful for in this season? Consider the smallest of things you are grateful for and make your own gift list.

Where have you experienced God making your life “large with strength”? Is there a place now within you which cries out for this again to God? Bring it into your prayer.
 

Holding on to God's Hand

Bring all your senses into this time of prayer.

In a safe place, allow God to take you by the hand and tenderly show you God’s ways of mercy, love and truth. Notice how God’s hand feels. Is there a safe place you would like God to take you? Where are God’s ways of mercy, love and truth intersecting with your life? Enjoy God’s gracious company. Is there a particular member of the Trinity whose company you are most drawn to today?

Be at rest in God’s company. Take your shoes off. You are home.

Psalm 25:1-10 (NIV)
1 In you, LORD my God,
    I put my trust.
2 I trust in you;
    do not let me be put to shame,
    nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one who hopes in you
    will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
    who are treacherous without cause.
4 Show me your ways, LORD,
    teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love,
    for they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth
    and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
    for you, LORD, are good.
8 Good and upright is the LORD;
    therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right
    and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful
    toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.

For Reflection and Prayer:
What words or phrases stood out for you?  What pictures were formed in your mind while reading/hearing the scriptures?

In this passage the reader looks at waiting as a spiritual practice.  What are your experiences of waiting for God?  Are you waiting for something right now?  What does waiting feel like? Look like?  How do you feel about waiting for anything? Draw a picture of what waiting looks like for you now.

Who were your spiritual teachers in your past?  What did you learn from them? Who are the teachers and guides on your spiritual path today? What are you learning from them?  What would you wish to learn from them? 

Pause for a moment and give names to the blessings that encircle you today. What picture(s) comes to mind as you ponder blessings and gratitude? Let gratitude make its home in you as you remain focused on the One who protects you.