Treasures of Darkness

Job 28:1-3, 10-12
“There is a mine for silver and a place where gold is refined.  Iron is taken from the earth, and copper is smelted from ore.  Man puts an end to the darkness; he searches the farthest recesses for ore in the blackest darkness…He tunnels through the rock; his eyes see all its treasures.  He searches the sources of the rivers and brings hidden things to light.  But where can wisdom be found?  Where does understanding dwell?”

Matthew 13:44
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.  When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

Isaiah 45:3
“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”

Your love, O Lord, is a pure and priceless gemstone set in earth’s dark rubble.

We who endlessly search for gold fail to strike true treasure.  Hidden in the narrow way lies the precious wisdom of your word.

treasures of darknessReveal the glint of glory to our dimmed sight.  May we with joy part with all we have to belong to the kingdom we have discovered.

Thank you that we can ask this in Jesus’ name, who was buried in darkness for us so that we might find a beautiful treasure in him.

Listen to ‘Gladly Would I Leave Behind Me’ by Sovereign Grace Music

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Mother

Isaiah 49:15
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”

Luke 1:5, 6a-7, 13a, 16
“…there was a priest named Zechariah…his wife Elizabeth was also a descendent of Aaron.  Both of them were upright…But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years…But the angel said to him:  ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.  Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son…Many of the people of Israel he will bring back to the Lord their God.’”

John 1:12-13
“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

Lord of love, more than any earthly mother you desire to hold your children in your arms.

motherYou demonstrate a bias for the barren woman to fill your household.  The long-awaited offspring calls to the long-departed children to return home.

Make our hearts as maternal as yours, O God.  In knowing your longing help us foster new birth in those around us.

We ask this in the name of Christ, conceived after generations waited, born to begin the family of God.

Listen to ‘The Love of God‘ by Dave Hunt

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Foundation

Luke 6:47-49
“As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like.  They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock.  When the flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.  But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation.  The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

1 Corinthians 3:10b-11
“But each one should build with care.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Hebrews 3:6
“But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house.  And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.”

Lord of all, you are the immovable God who moves with mercy towards us.

foundationWe leave behind the soft work of sand to carve our footings into your solid truth.  When tested by the torrent we find your word outlasts the storm.

Anchor us deeply into the rock of Christ.  May we build sheltering places upon the granite of your grace to house the dislodged prodigal.

In the sure name of Christ we pray, the foundation we fix upon and the cornerstone that brings us to life.

Listen to ‘How Firm a Foundation’ (track 9) by Enfield

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Race

Ecclesiastes 2:10-11
“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure.  My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor.  Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

Hebrews 12:1b-3
“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

2 Timothy 4:7
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Mighty God, your presence is our ultimate goal and only resource.

We have pursued trophies as insubstantial as the breeze.  The chase has wearied our hearts.

raceBe our focus to ensure we run the race with consistent purpose.  Lay a course before us that finishes only to begin a new and everlasting joy.

We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, who persevered through pain because he prized us as his reward.

Listen to ‘Higher Ground’ by the Hymn Remix Project

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Mystery

Daniel 2:47
“The king said to Daniel, ‘Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.’”

Colossians 2:2-3
“My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

1 Timothy 3:16
“Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.”

As a deity, O Lord, you are entitled to enigma, and yet you generously impart your deep wisdom.

mysteryYou own the secret knowledge of love and life.  Hidden in humanity, Christ revealed divine truth, shining light where darkness shrouded understanding.

Thank you for entrusting us with the key to unlock your beautiful mystery.  As we receive clarity may we be humbled with even more profound questions.

In the name of Christ, the complete answer and the great mystery, we lift our prayers to you.

Listen to ‘God Moves in a Mysterious Way’ featuring Jeremy Casella

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Exile

Jeremiah 29:12-14
“‘Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.  I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you…and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.’”

Luke 15:15-20a
“So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.  He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.  When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!  I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.  So he got up and went to his father.”

Lamentations 3:19-23
“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.  I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.  Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.”

God our Father who seeks and saves, you do not abandon the children your heart treasures.

exileIn our wandering we stumble across your far-reaching love.  The further our exile, the closer we find you.

Call us home when we kneel in the desolate places.  Turn us from our empty rebellion.

For the sake of Jesus Christ, displaced from his Father’s home to seek us in captivity, have mercy on us we pray.

Listen to ‘Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing’ by Ordinary Time

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Stars

Daniel 12:3
“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.”

Philippians 2:14-16a
“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life…”

Numbers 24:17a
“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near.  A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.”

King of the heavens, you adorn the earth with galaxies like bright garlands.

You have placed us in the dark night to shine clear and pure.  Our light glows with the glory of your true light.

starsLet us be guiding stars that point the way to life.  May we, by our love, become a constellation of Christ.

Because he has risen high to pierce death’s midnight sky, we pray this by the power of his eternal name.

Listen to ‘Creator of the Stars of Night’ by High Street Hymns

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Welcome

Genesis 18:2-5
“Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby.  When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.  He said, ‘If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by.  Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree.  Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.’”

John 14:2-3
“‘In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.’”

1 Peter 4:8-9
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, by the power of your eternal love you create the only home where we can truly rest.

welcomeYou welcome us, refresh our weary feet and serve a meal to share together.  The hand that framed the beauty of the heavens prepares a room for us.

Remind us to invite the stranger to take shelter.  Enlarge our hearts so that we draw the home-seekers in through our open door.

Thank you that we can ask this in the name of Christ, who though he did not receive a welcome into our world, longs for the day he will return to take us home.

Listen to ‘Come and Welcome’ featuring MP Jones

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Follow

Ruth 1:11a, 14, 16-17a
“…Naomi said, ‘Return home, my daughters.  Why would you come with me?’…At this they wept again.  Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by, but Ruth clung to her…‘Don’t urge me to leave you or turn back from you.  Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.  Your people will be my people and your God my God…’”

John 6:66-69
“From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.  ‘You do not want to leave, too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve.  Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’”

Zechariah 8:7-8
“This is what the Lord Almighty says:  ‘I will save my people from the countries of the east and west.  I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.’”

Righteous One, following you is a journey to abundant life.

followYou have chosen us and we long to remain your companions, devoted to your ways and intent on your destination.  Our footsteps are loyal because you are faithful.

Do not let us turn aside when the path becomes lonely and unfamiliar.  Keep us in our true family despite discouragement, so that we discover the rich heritage we have in you.

In the name of Christ we pray, who chose to be obedient even on the road to death, and rose to life to bring us home.

Listen to ‘Come Come Ye Saints’ by the Lower Lights

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Mirror

Mark 8:22-25
“…some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.  He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.  When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’  He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’  Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes.  Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.”

1 Corinthians 13:12
“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

Job 19:25-27
“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.  And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another.  How my heart yearns within me!”

Redeemer and Lord, your light brings healing with its radiance.

mirrorYou release us from darkness, and guided by your patient hand we begin the blurred journey of faith.  Though we have been graced by your first touch, we long for the perfect second sight we will one day enjoy in your presence.

Continue to heal our clouded vision so that we gaze clearly upon your beauty.  Where we are blind, restore the eyes of our heart to understanding.

In the name of our Saviour we ask this, who lost sight of your face to enable us to become truer reflections of you.

Listen to ‘Windows of Thy Grace‘ by Red Mountain Music

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