Judges 6:36-38
“Gideon said to God, ‘If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised—look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor.  If there is dew on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.’  And that is what happened.  Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.”

John 1:35-39a
“The next day John was again with two of his disciples.  When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’  When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.  Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, ‘What do you want?’  They said, ‘Rabbi…where are you staying?’  ‘Come,’ he replied, ‘and you will see.’”

2 Corinthians 13:5-6
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.  Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless of course you fail the test?  And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.”

Gracious Father, you gently and calmly redirect our questions into a conversation.

When we are anxious you provide a sign of salvation.  In centering on the Lamb who laid down his life we are reminded that your promises are secure.

fleeceStay with us, as we seek shelter with you, so that your presence provides the clear guidance we long for.  Test our hearts, and turn our hesitant worry into humble following.

In the name of Christ we pray; the Lamb whose marked skin is the sign of your word faithfully fulfilled.

Listen to ‘In Tenderness He Sought Me’ by Kevin Burrill

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Curses to Blessings

Numbers 23:27-28, 24:2, 5-6
“Then Balak said to Balaam, ‘Come, let me take you to another place.  Perhaps it will please God to let you curse them for me from there.’  And Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, overlooking the wasteland…When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came upon him and he uttered his oracle: ‘…How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel!  Like valleys they spread out, like gardens beside a river, like aloes planted by the Lord, like cedars beside the waters.’”

Galatians 3:13
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’”

Psalm 109:26-28
“Help me, O Lord my God: save me in accordance with your love.  Let them know that it is your hand, that you, O Lord, have done it.  They may curse, but you will bless; when they attack they will be put to shame, but your servant will rejoice.”

Faithful God, though the world stings in hate, you have not withdrawn your hand.

curses to blessingsYou have bowed beneath the curse and with a righteous reversal pronounced a blessing.  The oracle spoken over us now rings of hope.

By your Spirit plant a river garden in our wasteland.  Transform the valley of deceit and contempt into a passageway to your peace.

In the name of Christ Jesus, who can make life an innovation of death, we offer ourselves in prayer.

Listen to ‘Christ, of All My Hopes the Ground’ by Psalms and Hymns

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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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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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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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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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