7 :: “I am thirsty”

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“7” Last Statements of Jesus
Spoken from the Cross: Week 5

Cup of Blessing

Cup of Blessing by Matt Durbin (C) 2011 http://www.mattdurbinart.com

“Later, knowing that
all was now completed,

and so that the
Scripture would be fulfilled,

Jesus said,
‘I am thirsty.’”

– John 19:28

Drink 

The fount of living water

bellows drought. I want

to lift a ladle, cold and pure,

so you could be relieved.

But I’m deceived with ease.

My cup is sour, dilute

the wine from dirty

cisterns. Nothing I

can offer satisfies.

Are you glad you chose

to filter septic water,

offer your body to be

my purifier? How I love you. Continue reading

Lenten Reflection: Reconciled for Reconciliation

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Scripture Reading: 

For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazingFor we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago.

So never forget how you used to be. Those of you born as outsiders to Israel were outcasts, branded “the uncircumcised” by those who bore the sign of the covenant in their flesh, a sign made with human hands. You had absolutely no connection to the Anointed; you were strangers, separated from God’s people. You were aliens to the covenant they had with God; you were hopelessly stranded without God in a fractured world. But now, because of Jesus the Anointed and His sacrifice, all of that has changed. God gathered you who were so far away and brought you near to Him by the royal blood of the Anointed, our Liberating King.

He is the embodiment of our peace, sent once and for all to take down the great barrier of hatred and hostility that has divided us so that we can be one. He offered His body on the sacrificial altar to bring an end to the law’s ordinances and dictations that separated Jews from the outside nationsHis desire was to create in His body one new humanity from the two opposing groups, thus creating peace. Effectively the cross becomes God’s means to kill off the hostility once and for all so that He is able to reconcile them both to God in this one new body. The Great Preacher of peace and love came for you, and His voice found those of you who were near and those who were far away. By Him both have access to the Father in one Spirit. Eph 2:8-18 The VOICE

Reflections:

Our church is working through passages in Ephesians through the Lenten season, and yesterday our message was brought to us by ATS student Shauna Rushing. Shauna shared her testimony of answering an unexpected calling, revealing that sometimes our vision isn’t God’s vision. Paul is a perfect example of this. He was on a mission to eradicate all followers of the “The Way” (Christ-followers), but an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus  left him answering an unexpected calling, but one that was God’s vision for Paul’s life—a vision that included the reconciliation of two groups that stood opposed to one another—Jews and Gentiles. Continue reading

EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise, Day 4, Hands Together

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Postures of Prayer & Praise are
“outer representations of an inner reality”

Exploring: Hands Together – Prayer

Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Colossians 4:2 – Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

When we are anxious, our hands are wringing, but notice the attitudes of thankfulness and watchfulness that are to accompany our prayers. It’s not about what He can give us, but acknowledging and being thankful for what He has already given us and being watchful to see how He will answer our prayers, sometimes in ways we don’t expect.

Putting It Into Practice

Palms together or folded/clasped together is a posture we typically think of when we think of a posture of prayer. This posture has been used by many religions as a posture of prayer, and there are some that even postulate that Jesus learned this prayer posture from Buddhist monks during his time as a young child in Egypt.

Palms together

This posture can be done standing, sitting or kneeling. With palms together, thumbs can come to your heart or your forehead. As you can see in this photo, my friend Amy is both kneeling and has prayer hands at her forehead. Continue reading

7 :: “My God, my God, why…?”

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“7” Last Statements of Jesus
Spoken from the Cross: Week 4

“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned (forsaken) me?”   Mark 15:34

M Durbin 2010 My God

Matt Durbin (c) 2010

Fear

I taste the juice of forbidden fruit

dripping from Adam’s mouth.

And in my hand, the dagger

that killed Cain’s brother. My arms

are sore from building Babel.

Abraham’s fear rolls in my gut.

I cling to Sodom as it burns, connive

for the birthright at Isaac’s bedside,

stand by as my sons slaughter a city,

hear the roar of weeping women Continue reading

Lenten Reflection: Spirit-Empowered

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Scripture Reading:

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Eph 6:10-18

Reflections:

Our Lenten journey through Ephesians continued yesterday with Pastor John telling us that to live a Christ-Centered life, one that is rooted in love, is impossible

…save for God!
For with God all things are possible! Continue reading

EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise, Day 3, Palms Up

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Postures of Prayer & Praise are
“outer representations of an inner reality”

Exploring: Hands Extended Palms up – Receiving

Ezra 9:5-6 – Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the LORD my God and prayed: “O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.”

Ezra is asking for grace and mercy from God. Verse 5a indicates that he is in mourning because of his sin. As we seek forgiveness, we receive forgiveness from God. With palms open before the Lord, we can fully expect to receive what God so lavishly pours out upon his people. We can also receive from others by allowing them to be the hands and feet of Christ when we are in need.

I Peter 5:7 – Cast all your cares upon him because he cares for you.

When someone offers us a gift, we open our palms and extend our hands in order to receive the gift they offer. We can’t receive a gift with clenched hands—we must open in order to receive. As we cast our cares upon Jesus, we empty our hands so they are open to receive strength out of the glorious riches by the power of the Holy Spirit (Eph 3:16).

Psalm 141:2 – May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

As we lay (set) down those things that God has asked us to give up, it frees our hands to lift them up again in worship—hands that are empty. Not worshiping because of what He’s done, but simply because He is worthy of our praise. As we let go, we are free to worship without worldly hindrance.

Putting It Into Practice 

Palms upThis posture can be done standing, seated or kneeling. With palms up, the backs of the hands can rest on your legs, lap, the floor, or a table in front of you. In this picture, my friend Krystal is kneeling before God. What a beautiful picture—emptying her hands of her burdens, she finds rest in the peace of his presence. Continue reading

7 :: “Dear woman…”

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“7” Last Statements of Jesus
Spoken from the Cross: Week 3

[Jesus] said to [Mary], “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.”  John 19:26

M Durbin 2010 Woman

Matt Durbin (c) 2010

Mary at the Cross

I am not old. A bewildered mother

since conception who stored up

each moment. Now I will recall

the way you reached for me, a babe,

and only see your outstretched arms. Continue reading