Blog: Forest Lake Talks

Holy Week – Wednesday

April 8, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor PRAYERS FOR HOLY WEEK In the middle of this holiest of weeks, distraction creeps close and we are tempted to act as if nothing exceptional is afoot. Lord, we forget that you are on the cusp of crucifixion and that we are to be intent on following you. Nudge us from obliviousness and heighten our awareness of the divine in the midst of the ordinary, in the center of this exceptional week. Amen.

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Nightly Prayer – April 7, 2020

April 7, 2020

Lord, we come before you tonight aware of your mercy and grace. Knowing you have heard our prayers, understanding that you are at work though we cannot always see it, and believing in your promise to not forsake us, thank you. We thank you that you are a God who bends down, inclines your ear to hear us, and sends the Holy Spirit to nudge us when we get off track. Thank you. Tonight, Lord, we pray not just for our city, state, and nation; we pray for our world. We give you thanks for the millions across this globe…

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When I Survey The Wondrous Cross

April 7, 2020

This beautiful hymn was written by Isaac Watts, the “Father of English Hymnody,” for communion.  Of the hundreds of hymns Watts composed, this is one of his most beloved texts. When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.  To survey something is more than to simply look at it.  When we survey something we appraise it – we measure its value.  How can we possibly put a value on the cross?  Philippians 3:7-8 says, “But whatever was to my profit I…

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Holy Week – Tuesday

April 7, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor PRAYERS FOR HOLY WEEK Lord Christ, how did you feel after your triumphant entry into Jerusalem, as you readied for the last meal with your friends and contemplated the betrayal and cross yet to come? Were your thoughts fraught with doubt and pain? Knowing you took on all our humanity, we thank you that none of our feelings or prayers, our questions or suffering, is unknown, off limits or unredeemed. Amen.

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Nightly Prayer – April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

Lift up our heads, O Lord, to let us see you at work. Open our eyes, God, to see the light in a time of darkness. Unify our voices, eliminate our divisions, Lord, so we can ultimately speak what we confess we believe. Cleanse our ears, Lord, to tune out our selfish desires and instead hear the cries of your people in need. As we approach a time of rest, a time of calm, a time of peace, may we take comfort in your presence. Lord, we give you thanks for the many ways your people have come together during…

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Holy Week – Monday

April 6, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor PRAYERS FOR HOLY WEEK Gracious God, as we begin this Holy Week, we stop to reflect on our Lenten journey. We remember the times we felt your close presence and the moments when we could not sense you near. Help us to abide in you, even as you abide in us, assuring us that you are here, even when we cannot feel your presence. Amen.

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Nightly Prayer – April 5, 2020

April 5, 2020

Dear God, Hosanna, Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! It is once again we come before you with thanksgiving in our hearts. A day with warm weather, sunshine, time for worship. Time spent at the table. Time spent resting. As a deer longs for flowing streams, so our souls long for you, O God. By day you command your steadfast love, and at night your song is with me, a prayer to the God of our lives. We find our hope in you, O God. Therefore let all who are faithful, offer prayer to…

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Holy Week – Letting Go of Death and Holding on to Life

April 5, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor JOHN 10:7-10 So Jesus spoke again, “I assure you that I am the gate of the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and outlaws, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest. Jesus brings life abundantly. God never skimps or withholds. Over and over again, we…

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The Fifth Week of Lent – Saturday

April 4, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor 2 TIMOTHY 1:8-10 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and…

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The Fifth Week of Lent – Friday

April 3, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor ROMANS 3:21-25a But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. There is no distinction…

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The Fifth Week of Lent – Thursday

April 2, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor ROMANS 8:1-2 So now there isn’t any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. Jesus sets us free from sin and death. Truly, nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing. Sit with this astonishing truth for a few minutes. We are not destined to languish in the consequences of sin. In this very moment, in every moment, you are united to God. Remember this truth today. Liberating God, you…

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A Message from Ellen

April 1, 2020

April 1, 2020 Dear Friends, The new normal is . . .  whatever I did thirty minutes ago.  I know that we are all in this together, but upside down on a roller coaster is still tough.  Yes?  The church is still here and we want to respond when you need us.  Our church staff has worked very hard in the last two weeks to figure out how to support and to strengthen our community of faith.  And you have been phenomenal at reaching out to each other.  Did you know that several women in our congregation made several hundred…

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The Fifth Week of Lent – Wednesday

April 1, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor JAMES 4:12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, and he is able to save and to destroy. But you who judge your neighbor, who are you? The Book of James refuses to be theoretical about our faith, always calling us back to how our faith should shape our actions and interactions. Notice today how and who and what you judge. Make note of your assumptions and attempt to suspend them. Be open to meeting each person as the beloved child of God they are. God, you alone are the judge of people and…

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The Fifth Week of Lent – Tuesday

March 31, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor MATTHEW 9:13 Go and learn what this means: I want mercy and not sacrifice. I didn’t come to call righteous people, but sinners. Jesus tells us to go and learn what it means that he desires mercy and not sacrifice. What does this mean? In one sentence write down what you think Jesus wants us to learn from this phrase. Now, how do you practice our Savior’s admonishment? How can you extend mercy, rather than requiring sacrifices? Lord Christ, we live in the hope that you came not for the righteous but to save…

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The Fifth Week of Lent – Monday

March 30, 2020

by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor LUKE 6:37-38 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” What are you struggling to forgive today — in yourself or in others? Why are you holding on to regret or grievances rather than accepting God’s forgiveness and opening yourself, your relationships, your…

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