March 14 – March 20, 2017

WORD

1O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!  2Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!  3For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.  4In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.  5The sea is his, for he made it, and the dry land, which his hands have formed.  6O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!  7For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.  O that today you would listen to his voice!

Psalm 95:1-7

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?

Scripture Reads Me:

  • This passage makes me feel…
  • This passage makes me think about…
  • This passage reminds me of…
  • This passage teaches me that God is…
  • This passages teaches me that I am…
  • This passage challenges me to…

Reflection: O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!  Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! 

We have made a mistake in the Church when we equate worship merely with singing.  Singing is a powerful manifestation of worship, but it is not worship alone.  Our joyful noises can come in many different forms.  The laugh of a family around the dinner table can be a joyful noise of worship.  So too can the sound of a husband and wife discussing their day, or neighborhood children playing in their yards, or the sound of tractors readying a field for planting.  When we live in such a way that our activity is directed toward God in love and thanksgiving, our life noises can be joyful hymns of praise.

Pay attention this week to the little joyful noises that we too often take for granted or hush or speak over.  Where is worship bursting forth in your soul, in your relationships, or in your home?  How might you make even the most mundane tasks acts of worship?

One simple way to do this is to be overtly thankful.  Walk around your home this week touching the different items around you.  As you do, silently speak a word of thanksgiving to God for that particular blessing.  This is an act of worship!  For instance, when you place your laundry in the washer, whisper “Thank you God for providing me with the means to be clothed and clean.”  As you stroke the head of your cat or dog, think “Thank you God for the companionship and loyalty of this furry friend.”  Hold the hand of your spouse, give a family member or friend a hug, or brush your child’s forehead, all the while breathing this prayer: “Thank you God for the treasure of this beloved one’s life.”  Let your life – especially your reactions to what life brings – sing songs of praise to the one who creates you, redeems you, provides for you, and sustains you.

Daily Readings: 

  • Tuesday, March 14 – Galatians 6
  • Wednesday, March 15 – Ephesians 1
  • Thursday, March 16 – Ephesians 2
  • Friday, March 17 – Ephesians 3
  • Saturday, March 18 – Ephesians 4
  • Sunday, March 19 – Ephesians 5
  • Monday, March 20 –  Ephesians 6

SPIRIT

Prayer Focus: O that today you would listen to his voice!

How do you know that the voice you hear leading you is God’s voice and not your own or someone else’s?  Pray for open ears this week and a discerning spirit.  God wants to speak to you, but there are many distractions.  As you pray, listen for overt distractions.  What character do they have.  Then pause and read a favorite passage of Scripture.  What character does the voice of God’s Word have?  How are they different?  Listen specifically in your prayer times for those voices that resonate with the voice of that favorite Scripture passage.  Avoid those voices that sound eerily like the voice of distraction.  Train your ears, heart, mind, and spirit to hear God’s true voice.  Commit to listening as an act of prayer today, enjoying God’s voice solely for the sake of hearing God’s voice.

Meditation Focus: In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.

I am sure we all remember the children’s song, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.  This was one of my absolute favorites as a child (and still is!).  I wonder, though, if we have at times lost this childlike faith of God’s providence.  Take a silent moment to inventory all of the burdens, joys, and tasks you carry around with you today.  Imagine yourself holding them all.  Then picture a giant set of hands undergirding you, giving you strength and stability upon a foundation of love and grace.  Notice that these are the hands of God.  Look down at your feet.  They are not placed upon thin air.  You are not holding yourself up by your own power.  You are safely upon the rock of God’s hands.  Now slowly and intentionally, lay down each burden, joy, and task, naming them as you place them in the security of God’s hold.  Look at the firm foundation upon which they now rest.  You can enjoy and endure them all now.  You are no longer tied to them.  They still remain in your context, but they are no longer yours to bear.  God has your whole world in his hands.  And you are there too.  Today will be a day of God’s power and might made manifest in your life.  You are in God’s hands and you will not fall.

Journaling Focus: O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

What does worship look like for you?  To worship means to magnify God’s primacy and importance in your life.  How can you demonstrate God’s primacy and importance to you?  Remember that worship is directed toward God and not done for others to notice.  Write this week about the character and nature of worship and how you might integrate regular worship into your life.  Perhaps you will be led to write out a list of worshipful activities.  You will have the opportunity to practice that this week in our new section below, Holy Action.  Anytime is appropriate for worship though.  Be sure to explore different worship activities that might be appropriate to different contexts and environments.  How might you worship in the noise of the marketplace?  In the silence of your office?  In the comfort of home?  In the car as you drive?  Discover new ways and places to worship God, remembering that God alone is your audience and God alone is the foundation of your life.

Holy Action: 

Find a way this week to worship in a very personal way.  Perhaps you would like to sit outside in a quiet place and sing a song to God.  Maybe you will feel drawn to an act of service for a neighbor.  It could be that worship for you involves taking small moments of silence and mindful awareness of God’s presence every day or every hour.  Practice the holy act of worship this week by intentionally communing with God and communicating your love for God and dependence on God.

Breath Prayer: Father, we praise you.

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