Truth To Sink Our Roots Into

These words penned by Jeremiah are like bedrock which can hold our roots of faith. They affirm our identity, sense of belonging and purpose. Give yourself the gift of a slow steep in these phrases. What affirmation do you most long to hear from God today?

Jeremiah 1:4-10 NLT

The LORD gave me this message:
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
Before you were born I set you apart
and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
“O Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”
The LORD replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the LORD, have spoken!” Then the LORD reached out and touched my mouth and said,
“Look, I have put my words in your mouth!
Today I appoint you to stand up
against nations and kingdoms.
Some you must uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow.
Others you must build up and plant.”

Listening Prayer – An Experience of Lectio Divina

Listen In a comfortable, quiet place, slowly and carefully listen to or read the Bible passage. Notice any words or phrases or images that seem alive to you at the moment. Allow yourself to stop and hold them in your heart before God.

Meditate Repeat the words or phrases slowly to yourself. Or linger with the image. Allow them to interact with your inner world of memories, ideas or concerns. Ask yourself what meaning they may have for you.

Conversation Share what you are discovering with the words and/or images and how they touch your heart with Jesus. Ask Jesus what the Father is saying to you through this prayer time.

Contemplate When words or pictures are no longer needed, allow yourself to rest in God’s tender embrace. Feel the strength and tenderness of the Father’s love for you. Allow it to pour into your heart and fill you up. Linger here, resting in God’s compassionate care for you.

Cooperative Action Ask Jesus to show you what the Father wants to do from this prayerful listening time with you. If you desire it, ask him to cause that change to happen by the Spirit’s power and your cooperative action working together from this point.

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Completing the Work

The complete confidence with which Jesus lived out his assignment from his Father is inspiring and compelling. How often do we long to have such confidence in living out our purpose? All along Jesus has kept his ears tuned to his Father's voice and has simply enjoyed the company of his Father. He shows us how to listen, trust and act, moment by moment. In this 17th chapter of John he will let us hear the longings of his heart expressed to his Father.

John 17:1-5 (NLT)
After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. 2 For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. 3 And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. 4 I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.
John 17:1-5 (TMG)
Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said:
Father, it’s time.
Display the bright splendor of your Son
So the Son in turn may show your bright splendor.
You put him in charge of everything human
So he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge.
And this is the real and eternal life:
That they know you,
The one and only true God,
And Jesus Christ, whom you sent.
I glorified you on earth
By completing down to the last detail
What you assigned me to do.
And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor,
The very splendor I had in your presence
Before there was a world.

For Reflection and Prayer:
What did you hear as you listened or read the text? Did something particular catch your attention? Bring it into conversation with Jesus.

Give yourself room for the word to affect you. What are you feeling or sensing? Gently bring this awareness into your prayer with Jesus.

What is it like for you to listen in on Jesus’ prayer with his Father? What do you notice?
Savor any consoling words or pictures as you quietly rest in God.

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Misunderstood and Falsely Accused

Being misunderstood by friends and family or falsely accused by others could cause us to be deeply discouraged or to shrink back and give up.  How do we stay the course and persevere in the face of adversity?

Jesus had come into knowing who he was and whose he was, and thus his life purpose. He was not deterred. In fact, he gave a warning to those accusing and judging. He spoke with logic and common sense to make his point. He taught truth as well as offered warning against the sin of falsely accusing what was activity of Holy Spirit as being evil. 

Hold back on judgment and accusation; watch for the fruit that comes from another’s heart and actions. Ask God to give you a firm and steadfast sense of yourself and of God's wisdom for how and when to respond to another's fears or judgement. 

Mark 3:20-30  The Message
Jesus came home and, as usual, a crowd gathered--so many making demands on him that there wasn't even time to eat His friends heard what was going on and went to rescue him, by force if necessary. They suspected he was getting carried away with himself.

The religion scholars from Jerusalem came down spreading rumors that he was working black majic, using devil tricks to impress them with spiritual power. Jesus confronted their slander with a story: "Does it make sense to send a devil to catch a devil, to use Satan to get rid of Satan? A constantly squabbling family disintegrates. If Satan were fighting Satan, there soon wouldn't be any Satan left. Do you think it's possible in broad daylight to enter the house of an awake, able-bodied man, and walk off with his possessions unless you tie him up first? Tie him up, though, and you can clean him out.

Listen to this carefully. I'm warning you. There's nothing done or said that can't be forgiven. But if you persist in your slanders against God's Holy Spirit, you are repudiating the very One who forgives, sawing off the branch on which you're sitting, severing by your own perversithy all connection with the One who forgives." He gave this warning because they were accusing hiim of being in league with Evil.

For Reflection and Prayer:
What did you hear as you listened/read?
Did a word or phrase stand out to you??
Have your experieced being falsely accused? How did you respond?
What might God be inviting for you through these words?

Why Are You Here?

The time that Jesus spent in solitude and prayer seems to be connected to how anchored he was in knowing his purpose and why he came. He was unaffected by the cries that "everyone is looking for you." He remained undeterred from what he knew he was to be about. 

It is when we spend time alone with God, connecting and conversing, that we remain on point with why we are here. This kind of time with God anchors and centers us. God speaks, ministers to us, loves on us, comforts, befriends, strengthens, renews and refreshes us. 

Would you consider making this kind of time with God a primary intention for your life and growth? This is how we reenter the world steeped in the awareness of being as Christ, God-centered,  in our everyday encounters.

MARK 1:35-39
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!"

Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else--to the nearby villages--so I can preach there also. That is why I have come." So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

For Reflection and Prayer:
Lord, what are you pointing at for me in this passage?

How is my heart being spoken to at this moment?

Where might this word intersect with my life right now?