Monthly Archives: December 2013

Daily Devotional Diary

Apologies for the break. Moving house is an entirely disruptive experience! Have posted a prayer diary this week. From next week the blog will be up and running proper. Hope you had a good Christmas and all the best for the new year! god bless. James

Prayer Diary 30 Dec – 5 Jan 2014

Lectionary Readings for Sunday 5 January 2014 (Thanks to gbod.com)
(Epiphany Sunday/Second Sunday After Christmas Day)

Isaiah 60:1-6 Isaiah prophesies to a people just returning from exile that the day would come when all nations would stream to their light, and the wealth of the nations would come to them.
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14.
In praise of the righteous king who would receive tribute from all nations.
Ephesians 3:1-12. Paul’s imprisonments have enabled the Gentiles and their leaders to know the mystery and receive an invitation to become fellow heirs in Christ Jesus.
Matthew 2:1-12 Magi see a sign in the heavens leading them to inquire and bring gifts for the birth of a new king. They later cooperate with God to subvert Herod’s plan to destroy the king they came to seek.

Monday:
Adoration Focus: How big is a mountain? …God?
Confession: Nurturing the seed. Your life is a precious seed. How will you nurture this gift? Small steps (2 degrees at a time). Acknowledge your failings and ask God to guide you in choosing your next 2 degree change.
The Word: See readings above or use your own devotional guide/readings.
Seeking the Kingdom
Shared Focus: Praying for the year ahead. This is it, we are having it! Life abundant is God’s gift. Each day pray for different ways that this life can find its expression in your life and in the community and world around you.
Personal prayers: (Use this section to list people you need to pray for or situations of personal concern that you need to bring before God in prayer)

Dedication: Deuteronomy 6:4-6 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. (New International Version, ©2010)

Tuesday:
Adoration Focus: How powerful is a wave? …God?
Confession: Nurturing the seed. Your life is a precious seed. How will you nurture this gift? Small steps (2 degrees at a time). Acknowledge your failings and ask God to guide you in choosing your next 2 degree change.
The Word: See readings above or use your own devotional guide/readings.
Seeking the Kingdom:
Shared Focus: Praying for the year ahead. This is it, we are having it! Life abundant is God’s gift. Each day pray for different ways that this life can find its expression in your life and in the community and world around you.
Personal Prayers:

Dedication: Deuteronomy 6:4-6 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. (New International Version, ©2010)

Wednesday:
Adoration Focus: How mysterious is the wind? …God?
Confession: Nurturing the seed. Your life is a precious seed. How will you nurture this gift? Small steps (2 degrees at a time). Acknowledge your failings and ask God to guide you in choosing your next 2 degree change.
The Word: See readings above or use your own devotional guide/readings.
Seeking the Kingdom:
Shared Focus: Praying for the year ahead. This is it, we are having it! Life abundant is God’s gift. Each day pray for different ways that this life can find its expression in your life and in the community and world around you.
Personal prayers:

Dedication: Deuteronomy 6:4-6 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. (New International Version, ©2010)

Thursday:
Adoration Focus: How awesome is an ant?…God?
Confession: Nurturing the seed. Your life is a precious seed. How will you nurture this gift? Small steps (2 degrees at a time). Acknowledge your failings and ask God to guide you in choosing your next 2 degree change.
The Word: See readings above or use your own devotional guide/readings.
Seeking the Kingdom:
Shared Focus: Praying for the year ahead. This is it, we are having it! Life abundant is God’s gift. Each day pray for different ways that this life can find its expression in your life and in the community and world around you.
Personal prayers:

Dedication: Deuteronomy 6:4-6 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. (New International Version, ©2010)

Friday:
Adoration Focus: How tall is a giraffe? …God?
Confession: Nurturing the seed. Your life is a precious seed. How will you nurture this gift? Small steps (2 degrees at a time). Acknowledge your failings and ask God to guide you in choosing your next 2 degree change.
The Word: See readings above or use your own devotional guide/readings.
Seeking the Kingdom:
Shared Focus: Praying for the year ahead. This is it, we are having it! Life abundant is God’s gift. Each day pray for different ways that this life can find its expression in your life and in the community and world around you.
Personal prayers:

Dedication: Deuteronomy 6:4-6 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. (New International Version, ©2010)

Saturday:
Adoration Focus: How regular are the seasons?…God?
Confession: Nurturing the seed. Your life is a precious seed. How will you nurture this gift? Small steps (2 degrees at a time). Acknowledge your failings and ask God to guide you in choosing your next 2 degree change.
The Word: See readings above or use your own devotional guide/readings.
Seeking the Kingdom:
Shared Focus: Praying for the year ahead. This is it, we are having it! Life abundant is God’s gift. Each day pray for different ways that this life can find its expression in your life and in the community and world around you.
Personal prayers:

Dedication: Deuteronomy 6:4-6 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. (New International Version, ©2010)

Sunday:
Adoration: “Let everything that has breath praise the lord!”
Confession: Nurturing the seed. Your life is a precious seed. How will you nurture this gift? Small steps (2 degrees at a time). Acknowledge your failings and ask God to guide you in choosing your next 2 degree change.
The Word: See readings above or use your own devotional guide/readings.
Seeking the Kingdom:
Shared Focus: Praying for the year ahead. This is it, we are having it! Life abundant is God’s gift. Each day pray for different ways that this life can find its expression in your life and in the community and world around you.
Personal prayers:

Dedication: Deuteronomy 6:4-6 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. (New International Version, ©2010)

It is happening!

1487114_10152132577319789_1439278034_oYearly Rhythm

Sunday 22nd December 2013

 This is the 4th Sunday of Advent Year A

 A shortened version of the resources this week due to relocating to Cape Town! The blog will return to normal in January.

The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in His First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in His Second Advent…whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God (the culmination of all things in Christ). Scripture readings for Advent will reflect this emphasis on the Second Advent, including themes of accountability for faithfulness at His coming, judgment on sin, and the hope of eternal life.  Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing. There is a yearning for deliverance from the evils of the world, first expressed by Israelite slaves in Egypt as they cried out from their bitter oppression. [Source]

 

Advent in Year A is about getting back to basics. We remember the end of all things the first week. The second week, we focus on the righteousness and justice God calls for, creates, and re-creates. The third week, we encounter just how full of “reversals” and “subversion” our God is. And in the fourth, we hear Matthew’s story of the birth of Jesus, and we are reminded it is this God of that kind of end, of this passion for righteousness and justice, and of such reversals who was and is and ever will be “with us.”  (gbod.org)

Weekly Rhythm

Engaging with the weekly Lectionary Readings

Readings thanks to www.gbod.org

Isaiah 7:10-16.
Prophecy in a time of national crisis: “Your problems will be resolved by God, Ahaz, by the time the child born to the pregnant woman over there can make moral choices.”

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

Romans 1:1-7.
Paul introduces himself and his ministry to the house churches in Rome.

Matthew 1:18-25.
Matthew’s account of the circumstances leading to the birth of Jesus.

 

Daily Rhythm

Devotional Diary 16 – 22 December

               A resource for the Daily Rhythm of Worship (focussed on the Lectionary Readings, above.)

Preparing to bow before our Lord: the infant in the manger.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: “He is the Lord and He reigns on high.”  (In our adoration focus this week we focus on words that we sing.)

Confession: This Christ Child is our Lord.  “He is Lord, He is Lord.  He has risen from the dead and He is Lord. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”  This week allow God’s Spirit to examine your heart and show you where there is a stubbornness that stops your knee from bowing and your tongue from confessing.  Pray that in your life Jesus may be proclaimed as Lord and King.  Bow before your Lord in a manger.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: Pray for all those who know nothing of God’s love for  them.  Pray that this Christmas that love may penetrate their hearts.

Personal prayers: (Use this section to list people you need to pray for or situations of personal concern that you need to bring before God in prayer)

                Dedication: Today be the cloud that leads me by day and the pillar of fire that leads me by night.  I will face you in every moment of this day: You are my Lord and King!

 Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: “To God be the glory great things he has done!”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for a world that needs to share God’s love with each other.   Pray that as we realise that all people are loved by God that we may in turn love each other.

Personal Prayers:

               Dedication: Today be the cloud that leads me by day and the pillar of fire that leads me by night.  I will face you in every moment of this day: You are my Lord and King!

 Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray that God’s saving power may be known in our lives.   The biblical term “to save” carries with it the sense of being made whole.  Pray that you may know this wholeness in your life.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: Today be the cloud that leads me by day and the pillar of fire that leads me by night.  I will face you in every moment of this day: You are my Lord and King!

 Thursday:

Adoration Focus: “He is the King of kings, he is the Lord of lords.”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for our world as we embrace the coming of the Prince of Peace.  Being aware of your world, pray God’s peace into any situation you are led to.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: Today be the cloud that leads me by day and the pillar of fire that leads me by night.  I will face you in every moment of this day: You are my Lord and King!

 Friday:

Adoration Focus: “He has risen from the dead and He is Lord.”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray that on this day we may all know that Jesus in with us.  Pray this particularly for those who are in grief and alone at this time.

Personal prayers

               Dedication: Today be the cloud that leads me by day and the pillar of fire that leads me by night.  I will face you in every moment of this day: You are my Lord and King!

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: “Jesus is the Lord, my Master and my Saviour.”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray for those whom the church sometimes chooses to “forget”.  Pray for the shut-ins, the poor, the homeless, the hungry, the powerless, the lost.  Thank God that He never forgets.

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: Today be the cloud that leads me by day and the pillar of fire that leads me by night.  I will face you in every moment of this day: You are my Lord and King!

 Sunday:

Adoration Focus: “Lift Jesus higher, lift Jesus higher, life him up for the world to see; He said, “If I am lifted up, I will draw all people unto me.”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Pray that this day of rest may be one in which we are empowered by the God who has come to us.   In what way would you pray for this empowering in you life?

Personal prayers:

               Dedication: Today be the cloud that leads me by day and the pillar of fire that leads me by night.  I will face you in every moment of this day: You are my Lord and King!

 

 

 

 

The future is now (Advent 3, Year A)

babyYearly Rhythm

Sunday 15th   December 2013

 This is the 3rd Sunday of Advent, Year A

 

 The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in His First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in His Second Advent…whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God (the culmination of all things in Christ). Scripture readings for Advent will reflect this emphasis on the Second Advent, including themes of accountability for faithfulness at His coming, judgment on sin, and the hope of eternal life.  Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing. There is a yearning for deliverance from the evils of the world, first expressed by Israelite slaves in Egypt as they cried out from their bitter oppression. [Source]

Advent in Year A is about getting back to basics. We remember the end of all things the first week. The second week, we focus on the righteousness and justice God calls for, creates, and re-creates. The third week, we encounter just how full of  reversals and subversion our God is. And in the fourth, we hear Matthew’s story of the birth of Jesus, and we are reminded it is this God of that kind of end, of this passion for righteousness and justice, and of such reversals who was and is and ever will be “with us.”  (gbod.org)

 

Weekly Rhythm

Engaging with the weekly Lectionary Readings

Comments and Questions

PDF Download

Readings thanks to http://www.gbod.org/

Isaiah 35:1-10
A song of hope to exiles in Babylon…. “Waters shall break forth in the wilderness, streams in the Syrian Desert… a highway shall be there.

For reflection

1)      Imagine you are with the Jews in exile in Babylon.  You think back to your homeland: it is destroyed and the land is desert-dry. You are far away with your people, captive in a foreign land, forced to be part of these ‘foreign’ people.  Surely the pendulum has swung too far to ever return to normal?  Surely this is it.  Then you receive these words from God: Isaiah 35:1-10.   How would it speak to you?  How would it challenge you?  How would it give you hope?

2)      Do you face similar situations of “exile”?  (Both personally and in the larger context of your life.)  Does this passage have anything to say to you?  How does this call fatigue you?  How does it inspire you?

Luke 1:47-55
Canticle (Song) of Mary (the Magnificat).

For reflection
1)                Personalise this canticle.  Imagine that its cry of praise, wonder and worship is yours.  Then ask why you would sing out in this way?  Then cry it out again.

James 5:7-10
“Be patient . . . until the coming of the Lord.”

For reflection
1)                “The central metaphor is one of farming.  Those of us who live in more urban or suburban settings might think of it as gardening. The moment you plant the seed in the earth, and even before, you are already tasting the juicy, ripe tomatoes, the buttery sweet corn, the complex musky tones of fresh broccoli, the comforting zucchini bread, and the crisp lettuces and spinach that you will enjoy in days to come – if you wait for it. Harvest too soon and what you will get will pale in comparison to what it would have become.” (Source)
2)                What is the purpose of this call to wait patiently?  How should it affect the way we live and feel?

Matthew 11:2-11. 
John the Baptist in prison sends a question to Jesus: “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”

“Sometimes when people see John they are reminded of the last time God’s people had wandered in a wilderness—after the exodus from Egypt. John is all about wilderness. He preaches in the wilderness, and he wears clothes just like the prophet Elijah had worn. They think perhaps John is inaugurating a new exodus. Actually, that is a pretty good way to think of it. The Anointed One, whose way John comes to prepare, will call humanity away from comfort and status; He will call His followers to challenge their assumptions and the things they take for granted.” (Commentary from The Voice on Matthew 11)

For reflection
1)                How does this passage indicate that it is already happening?  That the time has arrived?
2)                We are called to wait and yet we are also told that it is happening.  How do we live in this tension of the already and the not yet?    Do you experience this as a dynamic way of living? How does living in this tension shape our actions and inspire our actions?  How does it inform our hope?

 

Weekly Rhythm

Praying the Lectionary Readings

These resources are for preparing to lead or attend Sunday Worship

 

Call to Worship

(Luke 1:47-55, The Voice)

 My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator!

For though I’m God’s humble servant, God has noticed me.

Now and forever,   I will be considered blessed by all generations.

For the Mighty One has done great things for me; holy is God’s name!

 

Or

We enter Zion with singing;

Everlasting joy crowns our heads.

Gladness and joy overtakes us,

Sorrow and sighing will flee away.

(NIV Isaiah 35:10 adapted)

Praise

(Based on Luke 1:47-55, The Voice)

 Today our spirits celebrate God, our Liberator!

For though we are God’s humble servants,  God has noticed us.

Now and forever, we will be considered blessed by all generations.

For the Mighty One has done great things for us; holy is God’s name!

From generation to generation, God’s lovingkindness endures

for those who revere Him.

 

Intercession

(Isaiah 35:1-10 NIV)

 Are you the one or should we wait for another?

Yes, you are the one and now is the time.

And so our lives are turned inside out.

Lord you have come to make a highway for us,

A way of holiness.

And so our lives are turned inside out.

This highway is one where the desert and the parched land will be glad;

the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.

Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;

it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.

And so our lives are turned inside out.

On this highway we see the glory of the Lord,

the splendour of our God.

And so our lives are turned inside out.

You strengthen the feeble hands,

And steady our knees that give way;

You say to those with fearful hearts,

“Be strong, do not fear; your God will come.

And so our lives are turned inside out.

The eyes of the blind be opened

and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

The lame leap like a deer,

and the mute tongue shouts for joy.

And so our lives are turned inside out.

Water will gushes forth in the wilderness

and streams in the desert.

The burning sand becomes a pool,

the thirsty ground bubbling springs.

And so our lives are turned inside out.

And your highway is here; the Way of Holiness;

We walk on that Way, we are the redeemed,

You have rescued us

And so our lives are turned inside out.

We enter Zion with singing;

everlasting joy crowns our heads.

Gladness and joy have overtaken us,

and sorrow and sighing will flee away  (NIV)

Sending Out

Lord you give the blind sight,

make the lame walk,

cure lepers,

make the deaf hear,

raise the dead,

and preach the good news to the poor.

We are your humble servants

Catch us up in your mission.

  

Daily Rhythm

 Devotional Diary 

9 – 15 December 2013

A resource for the Daily Rhythm of Worship focussed on the Lectionary Readings

Get the PDF download here.

 Reading for this week (thanks to www.gbod.org) 

Isaiah 35:1-10   A song of hope to exiles in Babylon…. “Waters shall break forth in the wilderness; streams in the Syrian Desert… a highway shall be there.”

Luke 1:47-55 Canticle of Mary (the Magnificat).

James 5:7-10  “Be patient . . . until the coming of the Lord.” Consider singing “Wait for the Lord”

Matthew 11:2-11  John the Baptist in prison sends a question to Jesus: “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”

This week’s theme: God’s love in advent

Monday:

Adoration Focus: Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his love in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Confession: Mark 12:28-31: “Of all the commands which is the most important? ‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.’  This week examine your life using these two commandments of Christ.  It may be a good idea to write down some of the insights God brings to your life as you do this.  Pray that you may be set free to love!

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: This week simply pray as God’s love leads you.  First pray that God would fill you with his love and then reflect on your world through that heart of love.  You will find that your prayers soon flow.

Personal prayers: (Use this section to list people you need to pray for or situations of personal concern that you need to bring before God in prayer)

Dedication:

Lord, I pray that today I may love you with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind and with all my strength; and that I may love my neighbour as myself.

 Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: “Love is a vulnerable infant reaching out with a tiny hand.”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week simply pray as God’s love leads you.  First pray that God would fill you with his love and then reflect on your world through that heart of love.  You will find that your prayers soon flow.

Personal Prayers:

Dedication:

Lord, I pray that today I may love you with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind and with all my strength; and that I may love my neighbour as myself.

 Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: “Love was when God became a man…” (A Christian song)

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week simply pray as God’s love leads you.  First pray that God would fill you with his love and then reflect on your world through that heart of love.  You will find that your prayers soon flow.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Lord, I pray that today I may love you with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind and with all my strength; and that I may love my neighbour as myself.

 Thursday:

Adoration Focus:  “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” (Mark 10:21)  This is how Jesus looks at you today.

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week simply pray as God’s love leads you.  First pray that God would fill you with his love and then reflect on your world through that heart of love.  You will find that your prayers soon flow.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Lord, I pray that today I may love you with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind and with all my strength; and that I may love my neighbour as myself.

Friday:

Adoration Focus: “O Love that wilt not let me go, I scares can take it in.” (A hymn of worship)

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week simply pray as God’s love leads you.  First pray that God would fill you with his love and then reflect on your world through that heart of love.  You will find that your prayers soon flow.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Lord, I pray that today I may love you with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind and with all my strength; and that I may love my neighbour as myself.

Saturday:

Adoration Focus:  “God’s love never stops searching.”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week simply pray as God’s love leads you.  First pray that God would fill you with his love and then reflect on your world through that heart of love.  You will find that your prayers soon flow.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Lord, I pray that today I may love you with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind and with all my strength; and that I may love my neighbour as myself.

 Sunday:

Adoration Focus: “God’s love stoops down to pick up the pieces.”

Confession: See Monday’s confession.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week simply pray as God’s love leads you.  First pray that God would fill you with his love and then reflect on your world through that heart of love.  You will find that your prayers soon flow.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Lord, I pray that today I may love you with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind and with all my strength; and that I may love my neighbour as myself.