RohAnjali 2018 New Year’s Prayer

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Dear God,

Thank you that our family belongs to you.

We confess we need you to free us from our sin and shame so we can love like Jesus.

Give us the grace to:

  • Trust you with our desires
  • Face our fears
  • Reflect on our anger
  • Speak the truth in love, and
  • Ask for help along the way

We ask this by the blood of Jesus, Amen.

LEAD! C.5 Studying Scripture

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boIn Which Diligently Searching God’s Word Leads Us to Truth

Few disciplines are as essential — or as dangerous! — as studying the words and works of God. Used in the wrong spirit, theology can become a heavy burden or a useless distraction (cf. Matthew 23:4). But when taught by the Holy Spirit, God’s word becomes the very source of life itself (cf. Luke 4:4). The challenge to us, as to Timothy, is whether we will apply God’s word rightly

Memory Verse: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)

Assigned Reading
  1. Richard Foster: Celebration of Discipline

    • 5. Study
  2. Donald Whitney: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

    • 2. Bible Intake (Part I)
  3. Eugene Peterson: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

    • 6. Help: “Oh, Blessed Be God! He Didn’t Go Off & Leave Us!”
  4. Ruth Haley Barton: Sacred Rhythms

    • 3. Scripture: Encountering God Through Lectio Divina

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LEAD! B.3 From Mockery to Hope

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In Which Our Souls Find Hope Amidst Suffering

theo_hope

Hope is the primary virtue of the Soul. It provides Reasons to encourage positive Emotions, and the Emotional energy to search for better Reasons. It can be defined as “the ability to joyfully pursue a higher purpose — even when painful.”

Hope is particularly needed by the Mocker, who is driven by both the need to control (due to fear) and the illusion of control (due to pride). Yet if they can unclench their soul enough to hope in God’s wisdom, Mockers may yet discover that true freedom comes from giving up control.

Though such learning usually only comes after great suffering…

Assigned Reading
  1. Peter Kreeft: Back to Virtue

    • 5.B (Hope) The Three Theological Virtues
  2. Dick Hockett: Foundations of Wisdom
    • 5. The Mocker

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Song: GraceFather

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This song was inspired by the narrative idea of “creation-corruption-redemption” as illustrated in The Grace Cycle. I awoke that Sunday with a heart full of praise, but didn’t have the words to express how I felt. The word “GraceFather” (a la GodFather) came to mind, but it was intertwined with my increasing appreciation for God’s law. The final progression looks like this:

O Precious Lord
Reveal to us Your Law
For You’re the one
Who gave to us Your Law
O Precious Lord
Who saves us from Your Law
O GraceFather
You will fulfill Your Law

[Read more] for the plaintext lyrics, or go to my site for the “microformat” lyrics to GraceFather. I’m still working with a friend to find the music to match this message.

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Death, Part II: I Am Risen In Christ

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It is cold and dark in the upper room where the three disciples are gathered; together in body, yet each lost in private reverie. Emotion huddles in a corner, weeping tears of Sorrow. Reason lies on a cot, staring up into empty space, his head resting on an uncomfortable cushion of Contradiction. Intention paces the room, chafing under the cloak of Guilt he wears. Suddenly, there is a knock on the door, a pounding. A familiar voice calls out: it is Hope, bearing vital news. The disciples all stand and look at each other, wary. The doors are heavily barred against the agents of Fear and Shame, which even now must be seeking to destroy them. To open the door to Hope may give them entry as well.

Emotion appeals to Intention, who looks at Reason. Reason shrugs, so Intention squares his shoulders and heads to the door. With a deep breath, he opens the door, and Hope comes rushing in, followed by Joy. Both women are covered in deep cloaks of Mourning, but the hoods have been thrown back, and their faces are excited. They shout as one, “He is risen!”

The disciples are stunned. Emotion looks at the two women, then the other disciples. He embraces Hope, then takes Joy by the hand and runs to the tomb. Intention follows slowly, more to keep an eye on Emotion than because he trusts Hope. Reason shakes his head sadly, and returns to staring at the blank walls, turning his back on Hope.

[Read More] for the story of what they find at the tomb, as the follow-up to my crucifixion in Part I.

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