CONSTANTLY DEVOTED

devoted relationship
  • What relationship in your life would you describe as constantly devoted?
  • What other words would you use to describe the relationship in addition to constantly devoted?
  • Persistent?
  • Faithful?
  • Loyal?
  • Others?
  • What elements of the relationship make it one that is constantly devoted?
  • Are you someone else’s constantly devoted relationship?
  • What does Romans 12:12 have to do with being constantly devoted in relationship?
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FLASH FLOODING

flash flooding

This past week has had five straight days of rain in my area.

Flash flooding alerts were prevalent.

Power outages occurred from the flash flooding in some cases.

In addition to the literal flash flooding of the past week there has been emotional flash flooding in my extended family.

  • What flash flooding have you been dealing with recently?
  • Emotional, spiritual, physical, or mental flash flooding?
  • Maybe several flash floods are occurring in your life or someone you know simultaneously?
  • How can Psalm 69 help us with the flash flooding that occurs in our lives?
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BALCONY TIME

Balcony Time

 This morning included some balcony time.

The weather was just cool enough with an occasional breeze to be able to enjoy while simply being.

Balcony time is precious to me.

Whether shared with my husband, canine(s), others, or just the Lord it is a therapeutic place for me.

At times the just me and the Lord time on the balcony is critically needed.

It is a time of solitude and isolation from all the pressures I face throughout a day, week, month, year and so on.

In other words, a place to hideout and be refreshed by the Lord.

Kind David in the Old Testament expresses in his many psalms a need to have an audience with the Lord.

Today we will look specifically at Psalm 54.

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EFFECTIVENESS IN PRAYER

squirrel effectiveness

Several years ago, my husband hung a large birdfeed er from a tree limb in our yard.

We were eager to see what birds would find their way to this bountiful buffet of seeds.

Yes, we got birds, but we also got squirrels.

These squirrels, and possibly one specific rodent, were quite effective at getting seed from the feeder even though it had a rounded dome on top that was meant to deter them.

They were quick to figure out that if they simply chewed through the wire that the feeder was hanging on it would drop to the ground causing the domed lid to come off and spill all the seed on the ground.

My husband even hung the feeder with a stainless-steel cable that they chewed through before trying an 6- gauge copper wire.

This last wire was looking good for a while. But then we noticed that a squirrel was trying to chew through it too.

What does the effective tenacity of these squirrels have to do with effectiveness in prayer as discussed in James 5:16?

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What Does it Take to Succeed in Prayer?

Chickadee

Have you ever watched a chickadee learn to land on a feeder?

One morning when I looked out our window to check the status of our bird feeder, I had the opportunity to see baby chickadees attempting to master this exact skill.

They would sit on the tree branch nearby and ruffle their feathers several times before making each attempt to land on the feeder.

Mostly that day they kept missing the mark, skidding, and fluttering down to the ground.

But then, after a moment to compose themselves, they would swoop back up to the tree branch and try again.

Yes, at times they would miss the tree branch too!

I marveled at their tenacity and resilience to keep trying.

Even more amazing, by the next morning these tiny creatures had mastered this new skill.

It was astonishing to see them zipping from branch to feeder to branch to ground and back again looking like total experts at what just the day before was filled with so much failure.

What can we learn from the example of the chickadees above and Matthew 21:22 to succeed in prayer?

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THE CHALLENGE OF RECIPROCITY

Last week we looked at the importance of reciprocity as found in Matthew 6:14 where Jesus elaborates on one of the petitions within the sample prayer we refer to as the Lord’s prayer. (See Matthew 6:12.)

After concluding the sample prayer, Jesus confirms with Matthew 6:14 that the Lord to whom one should pray will forgive us as we forgive others.

Then comes the “but” or what I’m referring to as the challenge of reciprocity found in Matthew 6:15.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF RECIPROCITY

reciprocity

At the end of June 2021, we began a series about prayer starting with the followers of Jesus asking to be taught how to pray. (See Teach us to….)

We then turned our attention to Matthew 6:5-13, taking a verse per week of Jesus’ instruction, first on how not to pray, that is then followed with an example of how to pray.

Today we turn our attention to Matthew 6:14 where Jesus elaborates on one of the petitions within the sample prayer we refer to as the Lord’s prayer. (See Matthew 6:12.)

We will learn a surprising principle of the importance of reciprocity applied to forgiveness.

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NAVIGATING LIFE

navigation

When was the last time you used a compass for navigating?

Are you someone who is naturally gifted at navigating without the use of an external compass?

I have never been in a situation where a compass was critical for navigating.

Compass use for me has been more recreational than a necessity.

Navigating streets and trails is one thing.

  • What about navigating life in general?
  • How do you know you are on the correct path for your life?
  • Who is leading you in navigating life?
  • What does Matthew 6:13 share about navigating life?
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SOMETHING OWED

forgiveness

What does a picture of two children hugging have to do with the phrase “something owed”?

  • Did you notice the expression of the visible face is sad?

The phrase “something owed,” is frequently used to define a debt of some kind.

It is common to connect the phrase “something owed” with financial debts.

  • Do you agree that the “something owed” in the picture above is likely not financial?

We are going to study what Matthew 6:12 has to say about a broader concept of “something owed”.

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SUPPLIES FOR BREADMAKING

daily bread

What is your favorite bread?

Have you ever made that bread yourself?

Have you ever grown the ingredients needed to make that bread for yourself?

If you’re not into bread for some reason, what do you use instead?

What are the supplies you need for your “breadmaking”?

Could “supplies for breadmaking” refer to things other than food provisions?

Clothing? Shelter? What else?

What does this have to do with Matthew 6:11?

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