Deuteronomy 8:7-9a
“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing…”

Matthew 7:16-17
“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.”

Galatians 5:22-23a
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…”

Jehovah God, who leads us forward into spacious places, you have planted us in a beautiful land.

fruitDespite our barren, wandering ways you have blessed us with regeneration by your Spirit.  Your providing hand nurtures life—we blossom and ripen because we are filled by you.

May the fruit that we bear be rich in love, tasting of the promised Spirit.  Let us be orchards of joy and peace in your kingdom.

For the sake of Jesus we pray, who bore a season of suffering to bring us a harvest of salvation.

Listen to ‘O Lord, I Will Delight in Thee’ by Luke Morton

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Exodus 3:2, 4
“There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush.  Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up…God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’  And Moses said, ‘Here I am.’”

Luke 24:31-32
“Then their eyes were opened and they recognized [Jesus], and he disappeared from their sight.  They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’”

2 Timothy 1:6-7
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

Great I AM, you ignite the blaze that does not devour, declaring your presence with a tongue of fire or the glow of an eternal ember.

burningYou touch our passionless lives with the flame of your Spirit, setting our hearts alight with courage and compassion.  Our steps fall on holy ground when you walk by our side.

Kindle upon us that we might shine as lights in a dark world, radiant with both power and love.  Turn our timidity into a mighty torch.

This we ask in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who burned with an everlasting love for us, offering himself up so that we would not be consumed.

Listen to ‘Undone’ by Redemption Hill Music

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Sealed Stone

Daniel 6:16-17
“So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den.  The king said to Daniel, ‘May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!’  A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.”

Matthew 27:65-66
“‘Take a guard,’ Pilate answered. ‘Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.’  So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.”

1 Corinthians 15:54b-55
“…then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’  ‘Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?’”

Immortal God, you cannot be contained nor will you ever be conquered.

Your power subdues the roar of lions, the command of kings and the rule of death.  Your name cancels the authority of all other names.

sealed stoneForgive us when we presume to assign you to the dark corners of our lives, and with arrogance mark the line we forbid you to cross.  When we feel the sting of fear and isolation roll back the stone, reversing the verdict and claiming the victory.

We remember the truth that Christ broke the seal of the tomb and the inevitability of death, and have confidence we are heard for his sake.

Listen to ‘Dead Friend Rising’ by the weak & the few

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Luke 1:18-20
“Zechariah asked the angel, ‘How can I be sure of this?  I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.’  The angel answered, ‘I am Gabriel.  I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.  And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.’”

Acts 9:5-8a
“‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked.  ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied.  ‘Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.’  The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone.  Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing.”

Romans 6:5, 8
“If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection…Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”

Lord of life, you designed our eyes to see your light and ears to hear your word.

loss lifeWhen our physical senses keep us spiritually insensitive it is only by your silencing that we receive a voice to speak, and by your blinding we receive new sight.

Take away our small strengths and transform them into gifts sharpened by the Spirit.  Replace our limited insight with your vision for this world.

We speak this request in the name of Christ, stricken with death to gain for us the full restoration of life.

Listen to ‘Thou, Whose Almighty Word’ by Summit Church

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Isaiah 49:15b-16
“…I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

John 20:26b-27
“…Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’  Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it into my side.  Stop doubting and believe.’  Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’”

Psalm 139:1-3
“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.”

Tender Father, you surround us with compassion and never-ending love.

Our names are as familiar to you as the contours of your hand.  You cup us to yourself despite all our weaknesses and wanderings.

palmSecure us in the certainty that we are never forgotten by you.  Center us with the truth that we are known by you, that we might exchange our doubt for joy.  Remind us that you know our brothers and sisters as intimately as you know us, and love them as deeply.

We owe a debt of gratitude to you, Jesus, for receiving the nails in your palms, eternally engraving our names within those scars and leading us into a saving knowledge of you.

Listen to ‘O Lamb of God Who, Bleeding’ by Community Presbyterian Church

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Genesis 24:11b-17
“…it was toward evening, the time when the women go out to draw water.  Then [Abraham’s servant] prayed, ‘O Lord…give me success today…See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water.  May it be that when I say to a girl, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac…’  Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder…The servant hurried to meet her and said, ‘Please give me a little water from your jar.’  ‘Drink, my lord,’ she said…‘I’ll draw water for your camels too…’”

John 4:6b-7
“…Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well…When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’”

Isaiah 12:2b-3
“The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.  With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”

Faithful God, your divine imagination is the source of deep springs of hope.

wellsYou, the true Servant, chose these women at the well to respond to a calling and become mothers of faith.  By parting from the past they inherited your future.

When you find us and request a cup of cold water, may we recognize that our obedience leads us into a challenging new loyalty.  Quench our thirst at the well of faith, so that we can pour ourselves out in soul-refreshing service to others.

This we ask in the name of Jesus, who drew a cup he drank on our behalf, that we might never suffer thirst again.

Listen to ‘The Sweet Well of Bethlehem’ by Red Mountain Music

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Under the Tree

Genesis 3:6
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.  She also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.”

John 1:47-48
“When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, ‘Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.’  ‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked.  Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig tree…’”

Deuteronomy 30:19-20a
“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.  For the Lord is your life…”

Creator God, the fruit of your Spirit is the true taste of life.

under treeYou place us with purpose into the unique complexities of our lives.  As we explore this carefully designed landscape we waver between plucking the fruit of self-fulfillment or yielding to your commands.

In that moment under the tree of choice may we remember that your eye is upon us, loving and longing for us, and may we choose to be free from guile as your true children.

Thank you for your merciful response to our stubborn wanderings.  We are humbled that upon the tree of death you endured the curse to bestow the blessings of the eternal Branch.

Listen to ‘Decide This Doubt for Me’ by Red Mountain Music

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