What is it about cycles that fascinate us? Our need to calculate linear time in a fashion that helps us track, catalogue, and monitor our existence is wired in us. Think about the creation story; six days create, one day rest and then renewal. But perhaps it was John the Revelator that heard first and began to understand this need for renewal.
“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” Rev. 21:5
Day 39 – Will you pray and seek God’s renewal?
The only true sense of newness that any of us ever need is that which comes from the Lord. Goals, ambitions, and dare I say resolutions must all be weighed against what Jesus has for us. Our sense of identity and purpose must be married to the eternal tapestry the Father is weaving. Our desire for a fresh perspective is part of how God designed us. Our job then, is to wed that desire to activities and actions that are Kingdom building.
Re: Verse reading–Luke 14:25-35 (day two)
I got the news this past week. The FBC Preschool/Children’s Minister Search Team is ready for us to meet a candidate! We will have an opportunity to do so on the weekend of January 12. There will be scheduled moments for parents and workers and for the church as a whole. Exciting answer to prayer. Made me remember all the times (over the years) that God has blessed by sending leaders to us.
Day 38 – Will you pray for the Ministers of FBCSA?
They serve so well. Without complaint. Odd hours. Will you thank God for their gifts and their energy? Will you ask Him to fill them with His Spirit and to protect and prosper their families? Will you ask for wisdom and vision? Will you hold them (by name) before God’s throne? If we are glad when new ministers come, we should also be faithful to pray for the ones who are already here. Will you? “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would not be profitable for you. Pray for us.” (Hebrews 13: 17-18)
Re: Verse reading – Luke 14:25-35 (day one)
In 2 Samuel 5:19, the Bible says that David “inquired of the Lord” re a military decision. It was his pattern to seek and to follow the Lord’s guidance. Perhaps the best explanation for his unique success. In order to say,”The Lord is my shepherd” one must have a seeking and surrendered heart.
Day 37 – Will you ask the Lord for His guidance re. 2014?
On January 18 leaders and members of FBC will gather for our annual Strategic Planning Saturday. We will ask the Lord to guide us. What new ministries and innovations are we to embrace? What familiar ideas/patterns is He ready for us to retire? What is His path of blessing for us? But what of our individual lives? Don’t we all need to ask the same questions privately? “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10) As the new year approaches, will you hold your life before the Lord in quiet surrender? Take time with this assignment. Be still! A new year begins with a renewed heart and a clear grasp of God’s assignment. “Then Jesus was lead by the Spirit.” (Luke 4:1) Will you ask God to guide you in the same powerful way?
RE Verse reading – Luke 13:10-17 (day seven)
One of the ways the Bible describes the church is by comparing it to family. In Galatians 6:10, Paul calls it “the household of faith”. When Jesus teaches us to pray, He sets this image in our mind by teaching us to say “our Father which art in heaven”.
Day 36 –Will you pray for FBCSA to be a family of faith?
Difficult assignment for sure. Busy lives. Generational differences. Language, cultural barriers. Single adults, Senior adults, teenagers and college students, children, internationals, different worship services. Yikes! Apart from the work of the Spirit (and some serious obedience on our part) we will not know each other, much less love each other. Family is a loyalty/love that is deeper than circumstance/convenience. Family is a group of people to which we belong. Will you pray for the Spirit of God to create this in us? Will you ask Him to bless every intergenerational activity? Spring Area Fellowships? FBC Family camp at HEB? Will you ask Him to assign you someone to love as your own contribution to this miracle? “God sets the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6)
Re: Verse reading – Luke 13:10-17
As 2013 comes to a conclusion, I wonder how these 40 days of prayer, meditation, and scripture reading have shaped our hearts. Better yet, what will our lives look like “on the other side” of the “40 days of Prayer”.
When reading the Christmas Story in Luke and in Matthew, I am intrigued by the different directions that the Shepherds and the Magi took when leaving their encounter with Jesus. The Shepherds go right back to familiar settings and circumstances with hearts filled and over-flowing with wonder and worship. The Magi are instructed to take a different course. Same wonder and worship. New chapter and change of direction required.
Day35- Pray for God’s direction and leadership as you conclude this encounter (40 Days of Prayer). Proverbs 3:5-6
Whether the Lord requires new roads and new steps, or a renewed heart in familiar patterns, may our lives be filled with the same wonder and worship described over 2000 years ago.
Re: Verse reading- Luke 13:10-17 (day five)
Our Re: Verse passage this week is Luke 13:10-17. Jesus confronts a situation that seems impossible. A lady has been sick for 18 years and was even physically deformed from the disease. The inference is that she has suffered greatly and no one had been able to provide relief. Jesus often does the ‘impossible’. We look at a situation and believe it to be completely impossible…God looks at the same situation and He sees it as an opportunity. He is wanting His children to act in faith and look to Him for the provision. Do your prayers reflect His limitless resource and power? What about when we face things like very expensive building programs?
Day 34 – Pray for God to direct our planning in our building program and then, to provide the resources for its completion.
When we attempt things for God that are only within our resources, we get the glory. When we trust God for the ‘impossible’, the world recognizes His provision and He (God) gets the glory! Verse 17 says, “and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by Him.”
Re: Verse reading–Luke 13:10-17 (day four)
The word of God, the deeds of God, the love of God, the works of God – these are things on which the Bible admonishes us to meditate. Meditation is a dimension of prayer. How do we do it, though? We already know.
Day 33 – Where is your mind?
We are quite familiar with a form–a negative form–of meditation. It’s called worry. Consider: Worry focuses our mind on every contour of the object of our anxiety. We call to mind all conceivable scenarios of further loss, failure, and trauma. Dread expands in our minds until it crowds out all other thoughts and feelings. This is exactly how the mechanics of meditation work. Therefore, to “be transformed by the renewing of [the] mind”, we take these mechanics and put them to work as we pray and contemplate God’s goodness: We focus our mind on every contour of whatever is good. We call to mind all conceivable scenarios of all that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy. And God’s glory expands in our minds until it crowds out all other thoughts and feelings. We can do this.
Re: Verse reading – Luke 10:25-37 (day three)
It’s Christmas Eve! This means different things to everyone, but it is sure to include some combination of: travel, family, food, church, presents, food, memories, and food. All of these can present so much stress that is artificially created. Whether it be the time-frame, the expense, the waistline, or the family dynamics, we tend to go on overdrive during the next few weeks.
Day 32 – Will you pray that these next few days will be filled with JOY?
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.” “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told” Luke 2:10, 20
I don’t know about you, but it seems that often when the whole family gets together we all revert to the roles we embodied 20 years ago. Then afterwards I feel as though I missed an opportunity to really cherish that time. I have found that I must begin by CHOOSING Joy. The shepherds could have went back to their sheep and slept off their supernatural encounter, instead they chose JOY. It may not be easy, Heaven certainly knows that the road laid for Jesus was not an easy one, but the opportunity the share and love should not be hindered by some artificial or manufactured stress. Today, tomorrow, this week, and next year will you pray to find joy? Pray not just to find it but to live it, and share it. That’s what the shepherds did.
May this be the most blessed and merriest of Christmases ever!
Re: Verse reading–Luke 13:10-17 (day two)
The Eternal One does not think like we do. “My thoughts are not your thoughts” And one place that the difference is very obvious is the choice between hate and love. Hate, if we are honest, comes in various forms. Aggressive and cruel. Cool and dismissive. Anything that falls short of love qualifies. The requirement is broad. Not only my friends, but my enemies are included. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” (Jesus-Matthew 5:44-45)
Day 31 – will you pray for your enemies?
It was a very dark world when the Light first shined into it. Christmas Eve is always a reminder to me. And one of the ways that Light conquers the darkness is by loving it. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died.” Today in your quiet time will you lift before the Lord those people who have hurt you? Your critics, your opponents? Someone who has disappointed you? It may be the holiest moment of your Christmas season, and the most Christ-like.
Re: Verse reading – Luke 13:10-17 (day one)
It is a profound (and instructive) irony. When God became a man, He came as a poor and homeless man. Not a king’s palace. A manger to be born in. Makes a clear statement, doesn’t it? Value and dignity have nothing to do with wealth! Poverty is not a death-sentence for holiness or hope.
Day 30 – Will you pray for Haven for Hope?
Several years ago, the city of San Antonio, in cooperation with faith-based benevolence organizations opened a place for people in our city who are hungry and homeless. It is a place of refuge. A place where food, shelter, drug/alcohol addiction treatment, counseling, dental care, job training and many other needed forms of assistance are provided to the poorest citizens of our city. Since compassion for the poor is part of God’s command, will you pray for the workers and leaders of Haven for Hope? Will you plan a visit in the new year? The best way to celebrate Christmas is to remember the poor and one of the best ways to assist the poor is Haven for Hope.
RE Verse reading – Luke 12:13-34 (day seven) I will see you in worship in a few hours!