State of Our Souls

Scripture Focus: Psalm 86.11-13
11 Teach me your way, Lord,
    that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
    that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
    I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me;
    you have delivered me from the depths,
    from the realm of the dead.

Reflection: State of Our Souls
By Erin Newton

Once again, these are unprecedented times. We have been jarred emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. We need an anchor. There are times that we typically set aside to refocus our lives and assess any shortcomings. We see this in the state of the union, new year resolutions, or annual work performance reviews. In the same way, the church has often used the liturgical calendar to mark Ash Wednesday as a day of reflection and prayer.

The early church often held baptisms only once a year and the period between Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday was meant to be a time when solemn reflection was made. Time to think about salvation. Time to ponder the depths of the sacrifice of Christ. Time to resolutely commit to the lordship of Jesus.

Reflecting on the work of Christ in our lives is something we must repeat. Remembering our need for salvation, confessing our sin, and rejoicing in the grace of God is an anchor in these storm-tossed waves of life.

Psalm 86 is a wonderful hymn to pray for this purpose. The verses guide us. We acknowledge our need for God’s help. Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Our resources are shrinking; our mental and emotional capacity to endure wains. We need our Lord to intervene.

We must remind ourselves that we do not trust in an empty god as other nations do. Among the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. We anchor our souls in no false hope or pseudo-savior. We know that Christ alone is Lord.

We meditate on the character of God. You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you… But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. We need to remember his goodness and love for us. Our world is always angry and hateful, but he abounds in love and is slow to anger.

So, with this, we recenter our hearts and minds on him. As we move toward the solemn remembrance of the crucifixion of Christ and his joyous resurrection, we recommit our lives. We pray for an undivided heart. No person, cause, or ideology should vie for the supremacy of Christ in our lives. Take this time to remember the anchor of our souls.  

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
I will confess you among the peoples, O Lord; I will sing praises to you among the nations. — Psalm 108.3

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Proverbs 21 (Listen – 3:12)
Psalm 86-87 (Listen – 2:26)

Read more about The Church’s One Foundation — Lenten Hymns
“The Church’s One Foundation” is Stone’s attempt to expound upon article nine of the Apostle’s Creed.

Read more about Examine the Examen
The simplest, shortest way to summarize the Examen may be the following five words: Awareness, Analysis, Admission, Acceptance, Anticipation.

Generational Faith Transfer

Deuteronomy 4.9
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

Deuteronomy 6.6-9
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Reflection: Generational Faith Transfer
By John Tillman

Moses, as he commissioned the Israelites to move in and begin to establish the nation, could see that the failure or success of the nation would depend on intergenerational transfer. In 1986, John Paul II, said, “As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.” I would, echo that in a smaller way. As the family goes, so goes the church in which we worship.

Whether you are a parent or not, a part of every Christian’s faithfulness is to ensure that intergenerational transfer is enabled and supported by the church.

The following tips are condensed from a blog by Jason Tilley that was written specifically to be shared with parents:

Take Your Own Faith Seriously
You cannot expect your kids to see the effects of the gospel in your life if you are not pursuing God in everything you do. Spend time in God’s word, make prayer an active part of your life. Apply what you are learning to your life. Talk about God and how he influences everything in your life often and out in the open. Your kids can tell if you believe what you say you do.

Have a Plan For Your Child
Be intentional with your child’s spiritual development. Set aside time during the day to engage your child. It could be Bible reading in the morning, prayers before bedtime, a weekly walk where you talk about how God made the world, how he loves us, how he gave his son for us. Make a plan and follow it through.

Make Church Participation A Priority
Active involvement in the church is a powerful force for shaping your child’s spiritual growth. So is not participating. Your child values what you value, so if soccer practice or lazy Sunday mornings always win over going to church, don’t be surprised when they value sports over God. Between the ages of 4 and 14 what a child learns, informs their thinking for the rest of their life.

Participation involves connecting with the living body (read: the people of the church) on a regular basis. This includes (in no particular order) attending services and other programs, serving somewhere in the church, spending time with other believers, and being generous.

*For Jason’s full post see the link above the condensed section. Jason is one of our ministry partners and board members and we work with him to aid and support children’s ministers and parents. You can find more information about Jason and Ministry Accelerator at Ministry

Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Everyone will stand in awe and declare God’s deeds; they will recognize his works. — Psalm 64.9

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Deuteronomy 4 (Listen – 4:33) 
Psalm 86-87 (Listen – 2:26)

This Weekend’s Readings
Deuteronomy 5 (Listen – 4:25) Psalm 88 (Listen – 1:58)
Deuteronomy 6 (Listen – 3:13) Psalm 89 (Listen – 5:29)

Thank You!
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Read more about Cultivation Must Be Learned
Spiritual wisdom and knowledge, like agricultural knowledge, must be passed on, with its seeds, from one generation to the next.

Read more about A Generational Lament
For many Millennials and those in Gen Z, prior generations of prosperity and ease have melted into a constant fear of scarcity.