Lent daybook, 39: I still haven't found what I'm looking for

A Lent daybook for these 40 days of prayer. (You can see previous Lent daybook 2017 posts here)

The Red Mill  by Piet Mondrian ( source )

The Red Mill by Piet Mondrian (source)


Song for today: I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (cover) by Jenny & Tyler and Sara Groves

Listen to all of the Lent Daybook 2017 songs at this playlist on Spotify:  Lent 2017


Alongside Babylon’s rivers we sat on the banks; we cried and cried, remembering the good old days in Zion.

Alongside the quaking aspens we stacked our unplayed harps; That’s where our captors demanded songs, sarcastic and mocking: ‘Sing us a happy Zion song!’

Oh, how could we ever sing God’s song in this wasteland? If I ever forget you, Jerusalem, let my fingers wither and fall off like leaves. Let my tongue swell and turn black if I fail to remember you, If I fail, O dear Jerusalem, to honor you as my greatest.
*
’The time is coming when I will make a brand-new covenant with Israel and Judah. It won’t be a repeat of the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took their hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant even though I did my part as their Master.’ God’s Decree.

’This is the brand-new covenant that I will make with Israel when the time comes. I will put my law within them—write it on their hearts!—and be their God. And they will be my people. They will no longer go around setting up schools to teach each other about God. They’ll know me firsthand, the dull and the bright, the smart and the slow. I’ll wipe the slate clean for each of them. I’ll forget they ever sinned!’ God’s Decree.
*
Before it’s all over, there will be a complete Israel. As it is written, ‘A champion will stride down from the mountain of Zion; he’ll clean house in Jacob. And this is my commitment to my people: removal of their sins.

In one way or another, God makes sure that we all experience what it means to be outside so that he can personally open the door and welcome us back in.

Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom?
*
All these God-signs he had given them and they still didn’t get it, still wouldn’t trust him. This proved that the prophet Isaiah was right:

God, who believed what we preached? Who recognized God’s arm, outstretched and ready to act?

First they wouldn’t believe, then they couldn’t—again, just as Isaiah said:

Their eyes are blinded,
their hearts are hardened,
So that they wouldn’t see with their eyes
and perceive with their hearts,
And turn to me, God,
so I could heal them.

Isaiah said these things after he got a glimpse of God’s cascading brightness that would pour through the Messiah.

On the other hand, a considerable number from the ranks of the leaders did believe. But because of the Pharisees, they didn’t come out in the open with it. They were afraid of getting kicked out of the meeting place. When push came to shove they cared more for human approval than for God’s glory.

Jesus summed it all up when he cried out, ‘Whoever believes in me, believes not just in me but in the One who sent me. Whoever looks at me is looking, in fact, at the One who sent me. I am Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won’t have to stay any longer in the dark.’

’If anyone hears what I am saying and doesn’t take it seriously, I don’t reject him. I didn’t come to reject the world; I came to save the world. But you need to know that whoever puts me off, refusing to take in what I’m saying, is willfully choosing rejection. The Word, the Word-made-flesh that I have spoken and that I am, that Word and no other is the last word. I’m not making any of this up on my own. The Father who sent me gave me orders, told me what to say and how to say it. And I know exactly what his command produces: real and eternal life. That’s all I have to say. What the Father told me, I tell you.’
— Psalm 137:1-4 * Jeremiah 31:31-34 * Romans 11:26-27, 32-33*John 12:37-50 (MSG)

Prayer for today:

Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light. John 12:36, NIV

Dear Father in heaven, as your children we come into your presence so that you may lead us with the light that streams out from you. We come to your light seeking an inner birth to make us what your children ought to be. Bless us as we thank you for all your goodness and for the powerful help you have given many among us. Accept the thanks we offer you, and grant that we never forget the good you are doing for us. Help us to go forward, always forward, until your kingdom is completed. May it not be in vain that we live in the Lord Jesus and in love to you, the God and Father of all. May it not be in vain that we bring you our requests and prayers for your kingdom to come soon. Yes, Lord Jesus, come! Come soon to this earth so that all people may acknowledge the true God and may love you. Amen.
— Evening Prayers: For Every Day of the Year by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

Spiritual practice for today:

Use the guide below to examine your heart and look for meaningful ways to put your faith into practice.

Prayer of Examination:

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!(Psalm 139:23-24)

Take a moment to quiet your heart and reflect upon the past week. Look especially for ways to express gratitude and thanksgiving to God for his goodness and love, as well as genuine sorrow over your own sin and brokenness. Close this time of prayer by expressing your hope in the power of the Holy Spirit who is faithful to forgive, cleanse, and transform you into his likeness (2 Cor. 3:18). (source)


(see all Lent daybook posts from 2016 here)

Lent daybook, 38: Lord, if you had been here

A Lent daybook for these 40 days of prayer. (You can see previous Lent daybook 2017 posts here)

David Kirby and His family, 1990  (The Photo That Changed The Face of AIDS)   by Therese Frare ( source )

David Kirby and His family, 1990 (The Photo That Changed The Face of AIDS) by Therese Frare (source)


Song for today: Psalm 23 by Mahalia Jackson

Listen to all of the Lent Daybook 2017 songs at this playlist on Spotify:  Lent 2017


My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws. You lay me in the dust of death.

For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet — I can count all my bones — they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.

But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!

I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.

From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever!

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.

All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive.

Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.
*
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
— Psalm 22 (ESV) * John 11:21-27 (MSG)

Prayer for today:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11, NIV

Lord Jesus, we look to you on the throne beside your Father in heaven and ask that you be Lord of peace in our hearts. Help us to overcome ourselves again and again and to remain at peace. Then your will may be done in your disciples, a power of peace may be around us that goes out into the whole world, and your name may be glorified on earth. For you are Lord of peace, and we await you. In difficult times faith and hope will take hold in our hearts all the more firmly, to your glory, Lord Jesus. For you will suddenly come according to your promise as the One who does God’s will on earth among all people. Amen.
— Evening Prayers: For Every Day of the Year by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

Spiritual practice for Friday & Saturday:

On Friday, choose one of the following fasts in honor of the crucifixion of our Lord:

  1. No meat

  2. Skip one meal

  3. No caffeine

On Friday or Saturday, use the guide below to examine your heart and look for meaningful ways to put your faith into practice.

Prayer of Examination:

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!(Psalm 139:23-24)

Take a moment to quiet your heart and reflect upon the past week. Look especially for ways to express gratitude and thanksgiving to God for his goodness and love, as well as genuine sorrow over your own sin and brokenness. Close this time of prayer by expressing your hope in the power of the Holy Spirit who is faithful to forgive, cleanse, and transform you into his likeness (2 Cor. 3:18). (source)


(see all Lent daybook posts from 2016 here)

Lent daybook, 37: A spirit of stupor

A Lent daybook for these 40 days of prayer. (You can see previous Lent daybook 2017 posts here)

Lunch  by George Tooker ( source )

Lunch by George Tooker (source)


Song for today: Teach Me to Know by The Lone Bellow

Listen to all of the Lent Daybook 2017 songs at this playlist on Spotify:  Lent 2017


What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written,
“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that would not see
and ears that would not hear,
down to this very day.”
And David says,

“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them;
let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
and bend their backs forever.
*
Jesus said, “I’m only quoting your inspired Scriptures, where God said, ‘I tell you—you are gods.’ If God called your ancestors ‘gods’—and Scripture doesn’t lie—why do you yell, ‘Blasphemer! Blasphemer!’ at the unique One the Father consecrated and sent into the world, just because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I don’t do the things my Father does, well and good; don’t believe me. But if I am doing them, put aside for a moment what you hear me say about myself and just take the evidence of the actions that are right before your eyes. Then perhaps things will come together for you, and you’ll see that not only are we doing the same thing, we are the same—Father and Son. He is in me; I am in him.”

They tried yet again to arrest him, but he slipped through their fingers.
— Romans 11:7-10 (ESV) * John 10:34-39a (MSG)

Prayer for today:

May God himself order my days and make them acceptable in his sight. Blessed be the Lord always, my strength and my redeemer.
— The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

Spiritual practice for today:

This week, fast criticism. From the clerk moving slowly to the homeless vet on the streets, consider carefully that Jesus knows them by name. Today, seek to know more, assume less, and air prayers for Jesus' "least of these" boldly in the presence of your shared Father God. (source: 40 Days of Decrease)


(see all Lent daybook posts from 2016 here

Lent daybook, 36: Wail, Shepherds!

A Lent daybook for these 40 days of prayer. (You can see previous Lent daybook 2017 posts here)

Agnus Dei by Willem Zijlstra (source)

Agnus Dei by Willem Zijlstra (source)


Song for today: O Lord Hear My Prayer by Simply Taizé

Listen to all of the Lent Daybook 2017 songs at this playlist on Spotify:  Lent 2017


Wail, shepherds! Cry out for help! Grovel in the dirt, you masters of flocks! Time’s up—you’re slated for the slaughterhouse, like a choice ram with its throat cut. There’s no way out for the rulers, no escape for those shepherds.

Hear that? Rulers crying for help, shepherds of the flock wailing! God is about to ravage their fine pastures. The peaceful sheepfolds will be silent with death, silenced by God’s deadly anger. God will come out into the open like a lion leaping from its cover, And the country will be torn to pieces, ripped and ravaged by his anger.
*
“I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary. You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too. They’ll also recognize my voice. Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd. This is why the Father loves me: because I freely lay down my life. And so I am free to take it up again. No one takes it from me. I lay it down of my own free will. I have the right to lay it down; I also have the right to take it up again. I received this authority personally from my Father.
— Jeremiah 25:34-38 * John 10:14-18 (MSG)

Prayer for today:

I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. John 10:16, NIV

Lord our God, bring us together as one. Give us your Spirit so that we may know you, so that joy may fill our hearts, not only for ourselves but also for others. Root out evil from the earth. Sweep away all that offends you, all lying, deceit, and hate between nations. Grant that all people may come to know you, so that disunity and conflict may be swept away and your eternal kingdom may arise on earth and we may rejoice in it. For your kingdom can come to people even while on earth to bring them happiness and to make them your own children. Yes, Lord God, we want to be your children, your people, held in your hand, so that your name may be honored, your kingdom may come, and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.
— Evening Prayers: For Every Day of the Year by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

Spiritual practice for today:

This week, fast criticism. From the clerk moving slowly to the homeless vet on the streets, consider carefully that Jesus knows them by name. Today, seek to know more, assume less, and air prayers for Jesus' "least of these" boldly in the presence of your shared Father God. (source: 40 Days of Decrease)


(see all Lent daybook posts from 2016 here)

Lent daybook, 35: The whole land will become a ruin

A Lent daybook for these 40 days of prayer. (You can see previous Lent daybook 2017 posts here)

Man of Sorrows  by James B. Janknegt ( source )

Man of Sorrows by James B. Janknegt (source)


Song for today: Zion by Kings Kaleidoscope

Listen to all of the Lent Daybook 2017 songs at this playlist on Spotify:  Lent 2017


Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!”
For my brothers and companions’ sake I will say, “Peace be within you!” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.
*
“Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: Because you have not obeyed my words, behold, I will send for all the tribes of the north, declares the Lord, and for Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these surrounding nations. I will devote them to destruction, and make them a horror, a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. Moreover, I will banish from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the grinding of the millstones and the light of the lamp. This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
*
Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.
— Psalm 122:6-9 * Jeremiah 25:8-11 * John 9:35-41 (ESV)

Prayer for today:

God, you have prepared in peace the path I must follow today. Help me to walk straight on that path. If I speak, remove lies from my lips. If I am hungry, take away from me all complaint. If I have plenty, destroy pride in me. May I go through the day calling on you, you, O Lord, who know no other Lord.
— an Ethiopian prayer from Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

Spiritual practice for today:

This week, fast criticism. From the clerk moving slowly to the homeless vet on the streets, consider carefully that Jesus knows them by name. Today, seek to know more, assume less, and air prayers for Jesus' "least of these" boldly in the presence of your shared Father God. (source: 40 Days of Decrease)


(see all Lent daybook posts from 2016 here)