Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bands of Love

Repeat and or meditate on this verse until your thoughts are centered on God.
But God will yet redeem my soul,
and from the greedy grave
his greater pow'r shall set me free,
and to himself receive.
 —Psalm 49:15
Suggested tune: Horsley (CM)

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the more they went from me; they kept sacrificing to the Baals, and offering incense to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them. They shall return to the land of Egypt, and Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me. The sword rages in their cities, it consumes their oracle-priests, and devours because of their schemes. My people are bent on turning away from me. To the Most High they call, but he does not raise them up at all.
—Hosea 11:1-7
Our heavenly Father often leads us with the bands of love; but ah! how hesitant we are to run towards him! How slowly do we respond to his gentle impulses! He leads us to exercise a more simple faith in him; but we have not yet attained to Abraham’s confidence; we do not leave our worldly cares with God, but, like Martha, we cumber ourselves with much serving. Our meager faith brings leanness into our souls; we do not open our mouths wide, though God has promised to fill them. Is he not this day leading us to him? Can we not hear him say, Come, my child, and trust me. The veil is rent; enter into my presence, and approach boldly to the throne of my grace. I am worthy of your fullest confidence, cast your cares on me. Shake yourself from the dust of your cares, and put on your beautiful garments of joy.
 —Charles Spurgeon (alt.)
Be my rock and fortress, Lord; be my strength and stay;
like a tender shepherd lead me, lead me safely all the way...
 —Louise Emanuel
Allow the above to help guide your own confession, praise, thanksgiving, and/or petition.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
 —Matthew 6:9-13

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