Lenten Meditation Day 4 2017

Scripture
Psalm 25:1-11
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

2 O my God, in you I trust;

let me not be put to shame;

let not my enemies exult over me.

3 Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;

they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord;

teach me your paths.

5 Lead me in your truth and teach me,

for you are the God of my salvation;

for you I wait all the day long.

6 Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love,

for they have been from of old.

7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;

according to your steadfast love remember me,

for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!

8 Good and upright is the Lord;

therefore he instructs sinners in the way.

9 He leads the humble in what is right,

and teaches the humble his way.

10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,

for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

11 For your name’s sake, O Lord,

pardon my guilt, for it is great.

Prayer

God of my salvation lift up my soul. I am brought low by the enemies without and the enemy within. Expectations missed and negative self talk lead me to doubt your steadfast love. Let me praise you for your faithfulness; let me dance in your pardon. Amen

Meditation

I understand that if you are going to adventure in the wild there are things called “trail maps” that give you guidance on your nature walks. I say that I understand this because I am more of an urban explorer. The Google Maps “explore what is near me” button that directs me to some hidden, local-only restaurant is my speed.

The Lord has a path for us. He is our salvation and He has the trail map for us to discover His goodness and mercy. We can call on Him to recall His steadfast love toward us and in doing so remember it for ourselves. We are the ones who are most adept at remembering our failings. We are crushed by our failings.

Many of my friends are in recovery and for many of them the hardest part is to forgive themselves. They might fear that in forgiving themselves they give permission for the bad behavior and might fall again. They might believe the damage done is to great and should not be forgiven. I can fall into this path and it is easy to explore it.

The path of the Lord, the one we want to discover and have Him reveal, is steadfast love and faithfulness. And it doesn’t rest on anything from us but solely on His goodness.

Action:

It is good during Lent to recognize our fallenness and our sin, but do not allow yourself to miss that we are on the other side of the cross and resurrection. God’s goodness is revealed in our living lives of celebration. Find a way to celebrate God’s steadfast love and faithfulness to you today.

Lenten Meditation Day 3 2017

Scripture

John 17:1-5

“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.”
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Prayer

Father, you have received glory and given glory to the Son.  Let our lives reflect that glory today.  Guide us to be in your presence and be your presence in this world.  We long to see ourselves glorified; break us from this quick and false end.  Our glory is for a moment but yours is for eternity.  Let us follow after you through Jesus. Amen

 

Meditation

When someone is speaking in third person it can be a huge turn off.  How important does this person think they are?  Lee Hinkle really loves people.  Lee knows how to connect well with them.  Lee likes to eat.  Lee is a good eater. See what I mean?  Now while some of those things or even all of those things might be true it is odd to have it spoken in that way.  

 

So what is going on at the beginning of this prayer?  Is it just John on his relaying of the prayer he heard, forgetting to quote Jesus?  Is this an attempt to make sure we, the listeners/readers, are aware that Jesus is the son of God?  That He is glorified, sent and the way of eternal life?

 

I don’t know for sure why it is this way but it does cause me to pause each time I read this prayer.  It draws me toward the words that are being spoken by Jesus.  It challenges me in how easily I practically forget that eternal life is to know God and Jesus.  Mentally I assent to it quite easily but practically I think it is more on me to gain eternal life.  Teach me to know you Father through Jesus Christ.

 

Action

Ask God to reveal where you are practically removing His completed work in your life.  Those places where you are relying on your good work or clean living or right thinking is producing eternal life for you.  Seek repentance and to know Him fully.

Lenten Meditation Day 2 2017

Scripture:

John 17:1-5

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

Prayer:

Father, we call you Father following after the example of Jesus Christ.  We have been brought into His life by His work and you have become our Father.  We cry out to you to give us strength to enter into your throne room and see our brokenness. Give us courage to see our wholeness in you.  As we walk this season give us rest in your approval and love.  Give us hope in your redemption and purifying peace.  Open our hearts to hear your love song.  Empower us through the Spirit to shake off those things that entangle us to the world and set our eyes on you.  Through Jesus we pray. Amen.

Meditation:

The hour has come.  The story of Jesus in the book of John has really been building to this moment.  The hour has come.  Jesus has just told the men who have been walking and talking with him for three years that He is leaving. He has let them know that they have peace; that trouble will come but that He has overcome the world so they can take heart, have courage, and not falter.  The hour has come.  

How often we live our lives in the anticipation of what is to come.  If this happens or when that takes place then it (whatever it is) will take place.  We may put off conversations with people because the timing is not right.  We may hold back in pursuit of relationship mending because we just aren’t ready.  Someday will be the time to find the right place to worship, but not today.  Waiting for the right time gives us permission to stay in isolation.  It gives us permission to hedge our bets and assume a stance of protection.  If it’s not quite time yet then nothing bad can happen.  

The hour has come.  Our lives are lived on the other side of this prayer, this statement.  In our linear understanding of time, this prayer is past and we are living in its reality. This hour has come.  Those of us in Christ are in the epilogue of this statement.  Jesus has received glory as the Father has received glory and we are part of that. Life is given, unity is promised, love is abounding.  In this place we have nothing to fear, no place for fret, and no time to wait for it to happen.  The hour has come.  We are resting in the Risen Jesus, the death slayer, the hostility killer.  The hour has come and all things have been made new.

Action:

What have you been waiting on?  Is there a hard truth that you need to share with someone?  Seek God to guide you as you posture yourself in the place of For and love in your approach.  Is there a hurt that you need to forgive and release to the One who has taken all offense?  Is there a journey away from business and to the rest Jesus provides?  Do you need to stop so you can hear the Father tell you His love for you?  Ask the Father to guide you to the place where you have waited and move you to action.

Lenten Meditation Day 1 2017 (Ash Wednesday)

The Lenten Season is upon us.  It is 40 (46 days including Sundays) days of reflection on Christ’s life and death, a time of repentance for our sin and preparation for Easter and the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection.  This year I am going to be focused on two parts of scripture during these meditations.  The first part is Jesus’ prayer found in John 17.  This is known as the “High Priestly prayer” and it is one that has always challenged me.  When we speak of prayer we often say, “God answers all prayers.  Sometimes with a no, sometimes with a yes, sometimes with a maybe and sometimes with a wait”; and this might be true for us.  But Jesus is completely in tune with the work of the Father and the answer to His request must be, “Yes.”  But sometimes it does not seem like this prayer has been answered with a yes!  Maybe it is a waiting yes, but I don’t think so.  This season we will be wrestling through this prayer.  

The other place in scripture we will be looking is the book of Psalms, and particularly the words “steadfast love.”  The format will be similar to years past.  There will be a scripture, prayer, meditation and action. Each Sunday will be a Psalm for reflection.  

This first day of Lent I ask that you pray for God’s direction as we walk together during this season and read through John 17.  

Scripture

John 17

“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[a] 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them[b] in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself,[c] that they also may be sanctified[d] in truth.

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”