Genesis 1:27

So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
 
You reveal Yourself to us. God our Creator, as an all-powerful God whose very Word calls creation into existence. You are a God of perfection, whose incomprehensible goodness is mirrored in the wonder of Your creation. An even greater wonder is this: We reflect You, having been created in Your image, the very image of God! You have made us a little lower than the heavenly beings. You have crowned us with glory and honor. You have given us authority over Your creation, to fill it and to rule over it for Your purposes. Yet when we allow the magnificence of Your creation to show us just a bit of Your unique majesty, what are we that You are mindful of us? What are we that You should care for us?

John 4:4-18

4 Now he had to go through Samaria.
5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”
8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?
12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,
14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.
18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
A Samaritan. An outcast. A nobody. Living in shame. Living with failure. She was not looking for You on this day. But You were waiting for her. Thank You, Lord, for the surprise of grace. Thank You for reaching out to the “wrong” people – people who know they are sinners, people who have given up hope, people like me. In Your mercy You penetrate beneath my carefully polished veneer to touch my heart, to expose my sin, to heal my pain. You offer healing and forgiveness far beyond what I would dare to seek. You quench the thirst of my soul. All praise be to You, my gracious, saving Lord.

Ezekiel 5:11-17

11 Therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your vile images and detestable practices, I myself will shave you; I will not look on you with pity or spare you.
12 A third of your people will die of the plague or perish by famine inside you; a third will fall by the sword outside your walls; and a third I will scatter to the winds and pursue with drawn sword.
13 “Then my anger will cease and my wrath against them will subside, and I will be avenged. And when I have spent my wrath on them, they will know that I the Lord have spoken in my zeal.
14 “I will make you a ruin and a reproach among the nations around you, in the sight of all who pass by.
15 You will be a reproach and a taunt, a warning and an object of horror to the nations around you when I inflict punishment on you in anger and in wrath and with stinging rebuke. I the Lord have spoken.
16 When I shoot at you with my deadly and destructive arrows of famine, I will shoot to destroy you. I will bring more and more famine upon you and cut off your supply of food.
17 I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will leave you childless. Plague and bloodshed will sweep through you, and I will bring the sword against you. I the Lord have spoken.”
Sovereign Lord, You are slow to anger, abundantly merciful, full of love and grace. But You are also a jealous God. What horror then, to think that Your people could be so stubborn as to exhaust the resource of Your patience and drive You to anger. Your mercy that had so long been abused was now silent. It had surrendered its cause to the hand of judgement. The sword that had been drawn for Your people’s defense would now be drawn for their punishment. Those who forgot You in their prosperity would remember You in their captivity. If You are against us, O God, who can stand for us?

1 Kings 17:7-15

7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.
8 Then the word of the Lord came to him:
9 “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.”
10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?”
11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”
12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”
13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son.
14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”
15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.
O Lord, You have chosen “the foolish things of the world to shame the wise” and “the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” To fully trust You often requires us to set aside our “common” sense and to choose instead uncommon obedience. The widow’s simple faith in the words of Your prophet caused her to “foolishly” give up the last of her food. In doing so, she saved her own life and the life of her son. O Lord, give me this kind of “foolish” faith, the kind of faith that says, “Here, take everything,” so that I may see the wonders of Your power.

Revelation 7:9-17

9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”

11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,

12 saying:

“Amen!
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Amen!”

13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”

14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”

And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15 Therefore,

“they are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
will shelter them with his presence.
16
‘Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
nor any scorching heat.
17
For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”

Great Lamb of God, Your blood purifies us, protects us from eternal death and grants us entrance into the presence of Your Father. Just as the Passover Lamb fed Your people log ago, giving them strength for their journey, so You, our Paschal Lamb, sustain us and enable us to follow You wherever You lead. We bow before You, Jesus, for You have clothed us in righteousness. You have put palm fronds in our hands and placed words of praise and worship on our lips.

Live Eagle Hatching

Hosea 2:14-15

“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
    I will lead her into the wilderness
    and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her back her vineyards,
    and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will respond as in the days of her youth,
    as in the day she came up out of Egypt.”

 

Lord, I confess that I have been the wandering, unfaithful one. My heart has been enticed by so many glittering illusions. But Your amazing love will not let me go! You lead me to the wilderness. One by one You take away the illusions and reveal them to me for what they are. The empty world that I have created falls down around me. Lead me once again to the place where I may hear the tender call of Your love. By Your grace, renew my heart to sing Your name with the zeal of my first love.