August 16 – August 22, 2016

WORD

4Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, 5“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”  6Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.”  7But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you.  8Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.”  9Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me, “Now I have put my words in your mouth.  10See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Listen: 

Reading Scripture to Know:

  • What is happening/being said? (Observation)
  • Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
  • What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
  • What does it mean? (Understanding)
  • What does it mean for us? (Application)

Reading Scripture to Grow:

  • What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
  • Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
  • How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
  • How does this Scripture reveal God?
  • How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
  • What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?

Reflection: The picture above is very special to me.  It is a sonogram image from June 22, 2009, one of probably thousands taken across the world on that same day.  Yet, it is special because the little child pictured is mine.  However, all of those other children imaged by a sonogram on that day, and every other day, are special to the one to whom we all belong – the LORD, Yahweh.  Remember for a moment if you have ever been in the room when such an image is taken.  Or if you have never been in such a situation, imagine the scene.  You are the expectant parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or friend of the family.  Feel the excitement well up inside of you as the first blurry image appears on the screen.  For the first time you can see this little person springing into life before you.  Movement is tracked; faint lines form the shape of a head or feet or fingers.  You might have known all along over the early months of the pregnancy that something, someone, was there, but now you see with your own eyes the special one inside the womb.  How do you feel in such a moment as that parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or friend?  Pure love builds within you!  Joy fills your soul!  Excitement bubble up inside you!  This, beloved, is how God feels about you and has felt since the very moment you were conceived!  You are God’s child and God has formed every part of you with care.  The LORD Yahweh has looked upon you with joy and has consecrated you (set you apart for his love and for his glory).  Live today knowing that you are the beloved child of God.  Open yourself to others, knowing that they too are God’s child, made for a purpose.

Daily Readings: 

  • Tuesday, August 16 – Proverbs 2
  • Wednesday, August 17 – Proverbs 3
  • Thursday, August 18 – Proverbs 4
  • Friday, August 19 – Proverbs 5
  • Saturday, August 20 – Proverbs 6
  • Sunday, August 21 – Proverbs 7
  • Monday, August 22 – Proverbs 8

 

SPIRIT

Prayer Focus: God has always shown a deep concern for the vulnerable.  The Old Testament is filled with reminders to care for widows, orphans, and aliens.  In the New Testament Jesus reminds us to care for the least and the lost.  Pray for those who are vulnerable in our world: the unborn, the elderly, the disabled, those who are displaced from their homes and living as refugees.  Ask God how you might be a living advocate for those who cannot speak and act on their own behalf.  May we all remember that God loves the weak and cares for the helpless.

Meditation Focus: “I am only a…”  What a powerfully destructive statement, for we usually complete the statement with a self-deprecating qualifier.  Jeremiah completed the statement with the word “boy.”  In that statement he was disqualifying himself from his calling to serve God.  “Who will listen to a boy?” he probably thought.  Yet, this “boy” turned into one of the great prophetic voices of all time.  What was more important to God was whether Jeremiah would accept the fact that he was God’s child and whether Jeremiah would be faithful to God’s calling with all of his might.  Take some time to breathe deeply, in through your nose and out through your mouth.  Ask the Spirit to call to mind one of those times in which you or someone else hurt you with an “I am only a…” statement.  What word was used to defeat you in that moment?  Picture that person (or yourself) saying those hurtful words.  Look at their face.  Confront the pain of that moment.  Then picture God standing face to face with you.  Every time you imagine that other person speaking those words of defeat to you, look to God’s face and hear God speak these words of truth: “You are my child whom I love.”  Continue to do this as you breathe in God’s grace until the only voice you hear and the only face you see is God’s.  Let his love heal and replace the pains and scars of the “I am only a…” statements of your past.

Journaling Focus: Jeremiah feared that his youthfulness would hinder God’s plan for Jeremiah’s promised life of prophetic action.  Yet God had been setting him aside for this work from the very beginning of Jeremiah’s life.  Indeed, Jeremiah was created for this work.  What has God created you for?  Have you ever struggled with fulfilling God’s purpose for you?  If so, how has that struggle manifested itself in your life?  Have you ever felt as if God is calling you to do something, but you felt as if you were ill equipped for that holy work?  How have you overcome those struggles?  Can you look back through the years and identify the thread of God’s formative activity within your life story?  Take some time this week to ponder these questions.  Write your responses and then pray that God will reveal to you how that formative work is continuing in the present.  Write down what God reveals to you.  How is God fulfilling the divine will within you now?

Breath Prayer: Father, put your love in our hearts and your word in our mouths.

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