Loved

Jonah 2:8
“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.”

Isaiah 30:15
“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:  ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.’”

Mark 10:17, 19a, 20-22
“As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him.  ‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’…Jesus answered, ‘…You know the commandments…’  ‘Teacher,’ he declared, ‘all these I have kept since I was a boy.’  Jesus looked at him and loved him.  ‘One thing you lack,’ he said.  ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.’  At this the man’s face fell.  He went away sad, because he had great wealth.”

God of grace, you answer our restless questions with a quiet look of deep love.

Fear prevents us from yielding to your open arms as we seek to protect our unworthy attachments.  We spurn your compassion in the belief that we can control a less intimate saviour.

lovedGive us the courage to relinquish our loyalties for a better love.  Lead us into peace as we permit you to tame our idols to your will.

We ask this for the sake of Christ, the embodiment of your divine passion who looks upon us and longs to give us rest.

Listen to ‘Loved with Everlasting Love’ by Mal Pope, Julie Costello and Esther Alexander

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Building

Haggai 1:3, 14, 2:4b-5
“Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai:  ‘Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses while this house remains a ruin?’…So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel…and the spirit of Joshua…and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people.  They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God… ‘Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work.  For I am with you.’”

Matthew 5:33
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Psalm 127:1
“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.”

Faithful Father, you are the loving architect of our only true home.

We have built houses that cannot shelter or save us.  In labouring to lay bricks upon an uncertain foundation we have neglected the work of your kingdom.

buildingStir in us a concern for constructing an everlasting home in which your Spirit is glorified. Even in our effort, humble us in the knowledge that you alone can create a dwelling place that will never suffer ruin.

This we pray in the strong name of Jesus, who from the nails and beams of the cross built a structure for our salvation.

Listen to ‘How Firm a Foundation’ by Darby Hughes

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Seasons

Daniel 2:21
“He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them.  He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.  He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…”

2 Corinthians 6:1-2
“As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.  For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’  I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”

Maker of all, you display your constancy and creativity in the re-creation of your world each year.

seasonsYou set times for planting and hoping, harvesting and sharing.  With all the elements our environment provides you call us to be faithful.

Help us weather harsh climates gracefully and rejoice in temperate seasons.  Give us the courage to trust when we sense you are calling for change.

We ask for mercy in your presence for Jesus’ sake, who has offered us this beautiful season of salvation.

Listen to ‘Doxology’ by Drew Collins

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Clothed

Genesis 3:7-11, 21
“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.  Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’  He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.  And he said, ‘Who told you that you were naked?  Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?’…The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.”

Zechariah 3:1-2a, 3-4
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him.  The Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan!…’  Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel.  The angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Take off his filthy clothes…See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.’”

Galatians 3:26-27
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

Benevolent Father, you are draped in beautiful righteousness.

When the Accuser triumphs, we stand ashamed, naked but for shreds.  We cannot hide the stain of forbidden fruit that make us unworthy to walk with our Creator.

clothedTake the garments we wear in guilt and clothe us with fabric rich in forgiveness.  Sew a new story for us, and wrap us in brilliant white.

We ask this because we are adorned with Christ, the purest robe, who washes our filth away.

Listen to ‘All Praise to Thee, Eternal Lord’ by Wen Reagan

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Small Things

1 Kings 18:41-44a
“And Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.’  So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.  ‘Go and look toward the sea,’ he told his servant.  And he went up and looked.  ‘There is nothing there,’ he said.  Seven times Elijah said, ‘Go back.’  The seventh time the servant reported, ‘A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.’”

John 1:45-46
“Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’  ‘Nazareth!  Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked.  ‘Come and see,’ said Philip.”

Zechariah 4:8a, 10a
“Then the word of the Lord came to me:  ‘…Who despises the day of small things?’”

Lord of heaven and earth, with delight and omnipotence you love the weak.

small thingsThrough apparent insignificance you display immense power.  You test us to see if we are small enough to contain your great strength.

Remind us that your kingdom advances disproportionately to our achievements.  To you we commit each humble act of service and wait for your blessing.

In the name of Jesus Christ we ask this, the Saviour despised in his day who altered endless ages.

Listen to ‘How Great Thou Art’ by Mark Smeby

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Crossroads

Jeremiah 6:16a
“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”

John 14:6
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

Isaiah 30:21
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”

Almighty God, our feet cannot stumble when our eyes are fixed on you.

Christ ahead of us commands us to follow; your Spirit behind us shows us the way.  Through treacherous terrain you clear a path marked by righteousness and rest.

crossroadsMeet us at the crossroads so that we may be reminded of your unchanging counsel.  Help us walk forward in faith, peaceful in the presence of a guide that cannot fail.

This we ask in the name of Christ, who gave his life upon the axis of our faith, the cross, to become the good way.

Listen to ‘Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah’ by Mark Smeby

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Moved

Genesis 43:29-31
“After [Joseph] looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son, he asked, ‘Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?’  And he said, ‘God be gracious to you, my son.’  Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep.  He went into his private room and wept there.  After he had washed his face, he came out and, controlling himself, said, ‘Serve the food.’”

John 11:33-36, 38-39a
“When Jesus saw [Mary] weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.  ‘Where have you laid him?’ he asked.  ‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied.  Jesus wept.  Then the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’…Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb.  It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.  ‘Take away the stone,’ he said.”

Isaiah 54:7
“For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back.”

God of compassion, your secret thoughts are filled with profound concern for your people.

You allow yourself to be intimate with our emotions but restrain your hand until the chosen moment.  While salvation delays, you acknowledge our bewilderment with tears of your own.

movedHelp us wait in trust and the anticipation of your greater glory.  Do not keep your face hidden in our time of grief.

We ask this in the name of the weeping Christ, who awaits the time when his power will no longer be paused.

Listen to ‘What Wondrous Love is This?’ featuring Matthew Smith

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