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Sunday, May 31, 2015

letters from God, sunday

Sunday, May 31

Opening Prayer: O Lord, my God, protect me from ever having a tepid form of devotion to you.  Guard me from having a lukewarm heart.  Keep me from ever putting my spiritual life on cruise-control.  By your Spirit create a burning desire for you deep in my soul; one that controls and determines the way I live my life.  In the name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.

Scripture: Revelation 3:14-22

Journal:  How are you like the church at Laodicea?  What parts of this letter speak to your heart?  What disrupts you?  What challenges you?  What is your spiritual temperature right now?  If God wrote you a letter today, what would it say?

     The church at Laodicea was tepid. They had allowed their wealth and prosperity to lull them to sleep spiritually.  Or, to use the metaphor the book of Revelation itself uses, they had become lukewarm.  And lukewarm-ness is a trait that God doesn't care for at all.  Come to think of it, nobody cares for it.  Because being lukewarm wreaks of apathy.  It has no backbone to it, no commitment, no passion, and no zeal.  Which is one of the things God asks the church to become—zealous.  The word zealous in the Greek is zēloō, which means "to boil."  God longs for their hearts to boil with love for him.  In other words, God is telling them to turn up the heat of their affection for him; be lukewarm no longer.
     The image of stove comes to mind immediately.  God is saying, "Right now your passion and desire for me is about a four or five (out of ten).  Is that good enough for you?  Because it is not good enough for me.  I didn't create you to be just a four or five— turn up the heat.  I want more for you and I want more from you, don't settle for less."  I think that's why I love this passage.  It is an invitation.  God is inviting me into a deeper, more intimate, more passionate relationship with him.  God wants my inner life to boil with affection and desire for him. 
     The reality is that we all boil inside for something.  There is something in our lives that is getting our passion, that is on the front burner.  It might be work, it might be family, it might be a significant relationship, it might be wealth (like it was for the Laodiceans), or it might even be ministry.  Something is on the front burner of our lives, receiving all of the heat of our passions and desires that only God deserves.  Our challenge is to take the time and space to figure out just what that is, to name it, and to return (repent) him to his rightful place on the front burner of our lives.
     One of the ways we do that is given right in the text; by simply opening the door to him, the One who knocks and knocks.  We must consistently open the door of our hearts and souls, and invite him into our days and our lives, to spend intimate time with us around our inner table, feasting on the Bread of Life.  He will not intrude.  He will wait (and knock) until space has been made and the door has been opened and he has been welcomed in.  May we all hear the knock and open the door each day to make space and time for him. 


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, turn up the heat of my inner fires for you.  Let my life boil with affection and desire for you and you alone.  Amen.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

questions, saturday

Saturday, May 30

Opening Prayer: O Lord my God, how incredibly tragic that we went from naked and unashamed to I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid.  O how far the fall.  Forgive us.  Renew us.  Restore us.  Have mercy on us, O Lord.  Amen.

Scripture: Genesis 3:1-13

Journal: Where are you?

     Did God not know where Adam was?  Of course he did.  After all, he’s God, right?  Why then the question?  Most likely because God wanted Adam to know where Adam was.  God wanted Adam to recognize that just moments before that first bite was taken, he and his new wife stood before God (and each other) naked and unashamed.  And now, as a result of their choice, everything had changed.  In the blink of an eye they had gone from totally known and totally loved to fearful, hiding, and filled with shame.  God knew it oh too well, he just wanted Adam to know it too.
     Knowing where you are is a very important part of any journey.  Just try using a map to find a desired destination without knowing your starting point.  It just doesn’t work.  It is the same with the spiritual journey.  In order to get where we long to go, we must know where we are.  That’s why God asked Adam, and that’s why God asks us, “Where are you?”
     Where are you these days?  What is the state of your life?  What is the state of your soul?  And where do you think God wants to take you?


As a culture, we have to be taught the language of descent.  That is the great language of religion.  It teaches us to enter willingly, trustingly into the dark periods of life.  These dark periods are good teachers.  Religious energy is in the dark questions, seldom in the answers.  Answers are the way out, but not what we are here for.  But when we look at the questions, we look for the opening to transformation.  Fixing something doesn’t usually transform us.  We try to change events in order to avoid changing ourselves.  We must learn to stay with the pain of life, without answers, without conclusions, and some days without meaning.  This is the path, the perilous dark path of true prayer. (Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr)


Closing Prayer: Late have I loved you, O Beauty, so ancient and so new, late have I loved you!  And behold, you were within me and I was outside, and there I sought for you, and in my deformity I rushed headlong into the well-formed things that you have made.  You were with me, and I was not with you. ~St. Augustine

Friday, May 29, 2015

questions, friday

Friday, May 29

Opening Prayer: Here, Lord, I abandon myself to you.  I have tried in every way I could think of to manage myself, and to make myself what I know I ought to be, but have always failed.  Now I give it up to you.  Do take entire possession of me.  Work in me all the good pleasure of your will.  Mold and fashion me into such a vessel as seems good to you.  I leave myself in your hands.  Amen. (The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith)

Scripture: John 13:1-15

Journal: Do you understand what I have done for you?

     There are questions, lots of questions.  And it is good to live in the question.  A pat answer is closed, it is finished; that’s it.  It goes nowhere and leaves little room for hope.  A question, the mystery, opens the space for us.  It is full of possibility.  It gives hope of life and even more abundant life.  Our faith, solid as it might be is full of questions.  And therefore full of life and hope. (Living in the Question by M. Basil Pennington)


Closing Prayer: Take, Lord, and receive all that I am and have.  You’ve given it all to me; I give it all back to you.  Do with me as you want.  Just give me your love and your grace and that’s enough. ~St. Ignatius

Thursday, May 28, 2015

questions, thursday

Thursday, May 28

Opening Prayer: You, O Christ, are my wealth.  All those things I thought I couldn't live without "dissolve" in a glance from you.  They are nothing when considered in the larger light of your intimate presence.  How difficult it has been to come to this moment!  The moment of letting go!  I, who have learned so well to hoard, grasp, clutch, and control!  Now I want only to be grasped by you.  All my possessions are empty when they become obstacles to my union with you.  O Glance of God, prepare my heart for the Great Surrender.  Enable me to surrender my ego self so that I may put on Christ.  Then I will begin enjoying heaven on earth.  Amen. (Abide by Macrina Wiederkehr)

Scripture: John 21:15-19

Journal: Do you truly love me more than these?

I don’t know Who—or what—put the question.  I don’t know when it was put.  I don’t even remember answering.  But at some moment I did answer Yes to Someone—or Something—and from that hour I was certain that existence is meaningful and that, therefore, my life in self-surrender, had a goal. (Markings by Dag Hammarskjold)


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, you know everything; you know that I love you.  Help me to love you more and more.  Amen.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

questions, wednesday

Wednesday, May 27

Opening Prayer: O God of peace, who has taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in trust shall be our strength: by the power of your Spirit lift us, we pray, to your presence, where we may be still and know that you are God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. (The Book of Common Prayer)

Scripture: Mark 8:27-30

Journal: Who do you say that I am?

     “Why do you weep when you pray?” Moshe asked me, as though he had known me a long time.
     “I don’t know why,” I answered, greatly disturbed.
      The question had never entered my head.  I wept because—because of something inside me that felt the need for tears.  That was all I knew.
     “Why do you pray?” he asked me, after a moment.
     Why did I pray?  A strange question.  Why did I live?  Why did I breathe?
     “I don’t know why,” I said, even more disturbed and ill at ease.  “I don’t know why.”
     After that day I saw him often.  He explained to me with great insistence that every question possessed a power that did not lie in the answer.
     “Man raises himself toward God by the questions he asks Him,” he was fond of repeating.  “That is the true dialogue.  Man questions God and God answers.  But we don’t understand His answers.  We can’t understand them.  Because they come from the depths of the soul, and they stay there until death.  You will find the true answers Eliezer, only within yourself!”
     “And why do you pray, Moshe?” I asked him.
     “I pray to the God within me that He will give me the strength to ask Him the right questions.” (Night by Ellie Wiesel)


Closing Prayer: Lord I so want to make all of me ready and attentive and available to you.  Please help me to clarify and purify my intentions.  I have so many contradictory desires.  I get preoccupied with things that don’t really matter or last.
     I know that if I give you my heart whatever I do will follow my new heart.  In all that I am today, all that I try to do, all my encounters, reflections, even the frustrations and failings and especially in this time of prayer, in all of this, may I place my life in your hands.  Lord I am yours, make of me what you will. ~Ignatius of Loyola

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

questions, tuesday

Tuesday, May 26

Opening Prayer: O Lord Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!

Scripture: Mark 10:46-52

Journal: What do you want me to do for you?

     A possibility I would like to suggest is this: live with the questions the Lord asks.  Take up a Bible and open to the Gospels.  Look for the questions Jesus asks of us: Who do you say that I am?  What do you want?  Are you not worth more than many sparrows?  Why do you not believe?  Living with these, one after the other—and there are many in the Gospels—can bring us to wholly other, much richer perspective on our lives, maybe to seeing our lives the way God sees them, shot through with light, the joy, the fullness of the risen life of Christ. (Living in the Question by M. Basil Pennington)


Closing Prayer: Look upon us, O Lord, and let all the darkness of our souls vanish before the beams of thy brightness.  Fill us with holy love, and open to us the treasures of thy wisdom.  All our desire is known unto thee, therefore perfect what thou hast begun, and what thy Spirit has awakened us to ask in prayer.  We seek thy face, turn thy face unto us and show us thy glory.  Then shall our longing be satisfied, and our peace shall be perfect. ~St. Augustine

Monday, May 25, 2015

questions, monday

Monday, May 25

Opening Prayer:
It seems to me Lord
that we search
much too desperately
for answers
when a good question
holds as much grace
as an answer.
(Seasons of the Heart by Macrina Wiederkehr)

Scripture: John 5:1-9

Journal: Do you want to get well?

You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient with all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.  Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.  And the point is, to live everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. (Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke)


Closing Prayer: Most High, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart, and give me right faith, certain hope, and perfect charity, wisdom and understanding, Lord, that I may carry out your holy and true command.  Amen. ~St. Francis of Assisi

Sunday, May 24, 2015

questions, sunday

Sunday, May 24

Opening Prayer: O God, our Father, Creator of all that is, give us the courage to wrestle with the questions you ask us rather than jumping to some immediate answer—thereby cutting off any possibility of real growth or struggle.  Help us stay in the question long enough to hear what it is you have for us there.  In the name of Jesus.  Amen. 

Scripture: John 1:35-42

Journal: What are you seeking?

     It seems like we are people always in search of answers, which, in and of itself, is not an entirely bad thing.  But I think the problem with always being in search of answers is that sometimes it makes us miss a really good question.  An easy answer stops the conversation, whereas a question keeps us in it longer.  A good question can keep us seeking—in a great way—for a long, long time. 
     Jesus was great at asking questions.  And when we let his questions find their way into us, without trying to rush too quickly to an answer, something beautiful happens.  Take the question he asks here in the first chapter of John for example, “What are you seeking?”  What a great question!  Especially given the context.  These men had been drawn out into the desert because of the ministry and message of John the Baptist.  What was it, exactly, that caused them to journey to such an obscure place, to listen to such a strange man?  Why had they ventured out to the desert?  What were they looking for?  What were they hoping for?  What, indeed, were they seeking? 
     And one of the most beautiful things about the questions Jesus asks is that they are timeless.  They are not only relevant to the people he originally asked them to, they are relevant to us as well—in our context.  So, as a result, allow yourself today to go out to the desert with Andrew and Simon Peter.  Allow yourself to see Jesus turn your direction and ask. “What are you seeking?”  What is your answer?
Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, let us truly hear these questions you ask us, and let them touch us at our deepest core.  May they help us to discover what is really going on in the depths of our hearts.  Amen.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

sent, saturday

Saturday, May 23

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to live a life of such deep union with you that it simply pours forth from every part of our lives.  That is what true witness is all about.  Amen.

Scripture: Colossians 4:2-6

Journal: How are your prayer and your gratitude and your attentiveness and your witness all tied together?  What does a life full given to God and to his service look like?

     Ministry is the least important thing.  You cannot not minister if you are in communion with God and live in community.  A lot of people are always concerned about:” How can I help people?  Or help the youth come to Christ?  Or preach well?"  But these are basically nonissues.  If you are burning with the love of Jesus, don't worry: everyone will know.  They will say,” I want to get close to this person who is so full of God." (from an interview with Henri J.M. Nouwen in Christianity Today, October 3, 1994)


     God wants not only to be God for us, but also to be God with us.  That happens in Jesus, the Emmanuel who walks with us, talks with us, and dies with us.  In sending Jesus to us, God wants to convince us of the unshakable fidelity of the divine love.  Still there is more.  When Jesus leaves he says to us, "I will not leave you alone, but will send you the Holy Spirit."  The Spirit of Jesus is God within us.  Here the fullness of God's faithfulness is revealed.  Through Jesus, God gives us the divine Spirit so that we can live a God-like life.  The Spirit is the breath of God.  It is the intimacy between Jesus and his Father.  It is the divine communion.  It is God's love active within us.
     This divine faithfulness is the core of our witness.  By our words, but most of all by our lives, we are to reveal God's faithfulness to the world.  (Here and Now by Henri J.M. Nouwen)


Closing Prayer: We beseech Thee, O Lord, let our hearts be graciously enlightened by Thy holy radiance, that we may serve Thee without fear in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life; that so we may escape the darkness of this world, and by Thy guidance attain the land of eternal brightness; through Thy mercy, O blessed Lord, Who doest live and govern all things, world without end. Amen. ~Sarum Breviary

Friday, May 22, 2015

sent, friday

Friday, May 22

Opening Prayer: Keep me from being an ineffective, ordinary Christian; challenge me to be among those who are ready to fling their lives away for Jesus Christ, to be utterly careless of what happens to me in order that he may be glorified.  I pray in his name.  Amen. (Jesus Teaches on Prayer by Ray C. Stedman)

Scripture: Acts 8:26-40

Journal: Who is God calling you to walk alongside these days?  How is he calling you to be more like Philip?

     The fundamental building blocks of the kingdom are relationships.  Not programs, systems, or productivity.  But inconvenient, time-consuming, intrusive relationships.  The kingdom is built on personal involvements that disrupt schedules and drain energy.  When I enter into redemptive relationships with others, I lose much of my "capacity to produce desired results with a minimum expenditure of energy, time, money, or materials."  In short, relationships sabotage my efficiency.  A part of me dies.  Is this perhaps what our Lord meant when He said we must lay down our lives for each other? (Theirs is the Kingdom by Robert D. Lupton)


Closing Prayer: Loving Father, teach me to love and care for those that need you today.  Those who are passed over and do not feel love unless I love them for you.  May Christ’s love for others be felt through me today.  In your name and by your power I pray these things.  Amen. (Disciplines for the Inner Life by Bob Benson and Michael W. Benson)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

sent, thrusday

Thursday, May 21

Opening Prayer: Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
     O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life. ~St. Francis of Assisi

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

Journal: What does it look like to do ministry the way it is pictured in these verses?  Who has invested in you in this way?

     More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, and be known as someone who wants to live with them.  It is a privilege to have the time and the freedom to practice this simple ministry of presence.  Still, it is not as simple as it seems.  My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or be a part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets.  It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around the urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social or spiritual progress.  But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn't be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.  (Gracias! by Henri J.M. Nouwen)


Closing Prayer: Today, O Lord—let me put right before interest; let me put others before self; let me put things of the Spirit before things of the body; let me put the attainment of noble ends before the enjoyment of present pleasures; let me put principle above reputation; let me put you before all else.  Amen. (A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

sent, wednesday

Wednesday, May 20

Opening Prayer: Lord, deliver me from the small loyalties of habit or tradition that would keep me from larger loyalties of the spirit.  Let me so incline myself to you that your presence in my life determines both what I think and what I do.  Through Jesus, who understood the deeper meaning of freedom.  Amen. (A Devotional Guide to the Gospels by John Killinger)

Scripture: Acts 1:6-11

Journal: What is the relationship between being empowered and being sent?  Shouldn’t the two of these always go hand-in-hand?  What is your sense of being empowered by God to do his work?  What does this look like?

     Transformation and intimacy both cry out for ministry.  We are led through the furnace of God's purity not just for our own sake but also for the sake of others.  We are drawn up into the bosom of God's love not merely to experience acceptance but also so we can give His love to others.
     The world writhes under the pain of its arrogance and self-sufficiency.  We can make a difference, if we will.
     In earlier days, we tried to serve out of our spiritual bankruptcy, and we failed.  We now know that ministry must flow out of abundance. 
     Bernard of Clairvaux writes, "If then you are wise, you will show yourself rather as a reservoir than a canal.  For a canal spreads abroad water as it receives it, but a reservoir waits until it is filled before overflowing, and thus communicates, without loss to itself, its superabundant water.  In the Church at the present day, we have many canals, few reservoirs."  We have determined to be reservoirs. (Prayer by Richard J. Foster)


Closing Prayer: Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will.  Whatever you may do, I thank you: I am ready for all, I accept all.  Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures.  I wish no more than this, O Lord.
     Into your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father. ~Charles de Foucald

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

sent, tuesday

Tuesday, May 19

Opening Prayer: Heavenly Father, as the day dawns and calls me to my labors I ask you to enable me to gladly do the work to which you beckon me.  May I do it as a servant of Christ doing the will of God from my heart.  Amen (Disciplines for the Inner Life by Bob Benson and Michael W. Benson)

Scripture: Matthew 10:1-20

Journal: What does it mean to be sent?  What words or phrases in this passage help capture the nature of our mission and our calling?

     The more I think about the meaning of living and acting in the name of Jesus, the more I realize that what I have to offer others is not my intelligence, skill, power, influence, or connections, but my own human brokenness through which the love of God can manifest itself.  The celebrant in Leonard Bernstein's Mass says: "Glass shines brighter when it's broken...I never noticed that."  This, to me, is what ministry and mission are all about.  Ministry is entering with our human brokenness into communion with others and speaking a word of hope.  This hope is not based on any power to solve the problems of those with whom we live, but on the love of God, which becomes visible when we let go of our fears of being out of control and enter into His presence in shared confession of weakness.
     The great paradox of ministry, therefore, is that we minister above all with our weakness, a weakness that invites us to receive from those to whom we go.  The more in touch we are with our own need for healing and salvation, the more open we are to receive in gratitude what others have to offer us. (Gracias! by Henri J.M. Nouwen)


Closing Prayer: Lord, take my lips and speak through them; take my mind, and think through it; take my heart, and set it on fire.  Amen. (Little Book of Prayers by W. H. Aitken)

Monday, May 18, 2015

sent, monday

Monday, May 18

Opening Prayer:
Dear Jesus,
     Help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go.  Flood our souls with your Spirit and life.  Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly that our lives may only be a radiance of yours.  Shine through us and so be in us that every soul we come I contact with may feel your presence in our soul.  Let them look up and see no longer us but only You.  Stay with us and then we shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be light to others.  The light, O Jesus, will be all from you.  None of it will be ours.  It will be you shining on others through us.  Let us thus praise you in the way you love best by shining on those around us.  Amen.  (The Daily Prayer of Mother Teresa)

Scripture: John 20:19-23

Journal: What does it mean to be sent by God?  What does the phrase “as the Father has sent me, so I am sending you” do within you?  What does it mean for you today?

     God wants not only to be God for us, but also to be God with us.  That happens in Jesus, the Emmanuel who walks with us, talks with us, and dies with us.  In sending Jesus to us, God wants to convince us of the unshakable fidelity of the divine love.  Still there is more.  When Jesus leaves he says to us, "I will not leave you alone, but will send you the Holy Spirit."  The Spirit of Jesus is God within us.  Here the fullness of God's faithfulness is revealed.  Through Jesus, God gives us the divine Spirit so that we can live a God-like life.  The Spirit is the breath of God.  It is the intimacy between Jesus and his Father.  It is the divine communion.  It is God's love active within us.
     This divine faithfulness is the core of our witness.  By our words, but most of all by our lives, we are to reveal God's faithfulness to the world.  (Here and Now by Henri J.M. Nouwen)


Closing Prayer:
Dear Jesus,
     Help me to realize the many voices of hunger, the many sounds of thirst, the many cries of loneliness, the many callings of sickness and nakedness and imprisonment.  Help me to hear in all of them something of You calling to me to become more than I am.  More understanding.  More compassionate.  More involved.  More like You. (Reflections on the Word by Ken Gire)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

sent, sunday

Sunday, May 17

Opening Prayer: Almighty God, cause your good gifts to flow in and through my life and ministry this day and always.  Amen. (A Guide to Prayer by Rueben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck)

Scripture: Matthew 28:16-20

Journal: What does the call to go and make disciples look like in your life today?  Who are you going to these days?

The main place you do the work of God is as you go along.  It doesn't have to be in high-profile, important positions.  It will happen, if it happens at all, in the routine, unspectacular corners of your life.  As you go along.  (Love Beyond Reason by John Ortberg)


Closing Prayer: Go forth now as God’s servant.  Remember God’s presence often and draw strength from the knowledge that the One who calls and sends also sustains.  Amen. (A Guide to Prayer by Rueben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

encounter, saturday

Saturday, May 16

Opening Prayer: May we be forever mindful today, O God, that you are in your dwelling place.  Give us full knowledge and awareness of your saving presence, a presence that surrounds us at all times and reveals itself in love, compassion, and truth.  Make yourself known to us today so we may dwell in you and you in us.  Amen. (A Guide to Prayer for All Who Walk with God by Rueben P. Job, Norman Shawchuck, and John Mogabgab)

Scripture: Exodus 3:1-12

Journal: What do you think God is trying to say to you today through this story?  How might you be more attentive today for burning bushes in the midst of your daily routine?

     Isn’t it interesting that God waited until Moses had gone over to look at the bush before he called out to him from the midst of it?  I mean, what if Moses would not have turned aside and come over to see this strange sight?  What then?  Would God never have spoken to him?  Would he have missed his chance at this incredible encounter with God?  It kind of highlights the importance of paying attention and tuning aside doesn’t it?
     And I love that God calls to Moses from inside the bush.  God calls to him from within a created thing.  How fun is that?  It makes me wonder, "Where else might He be?  What things this day, or this moment, is He hiding inside of, just waiting to call out to me the minute I turn aside and go over to find Him?"  Could it be that everything in creation holds the possibility of such an encounter?  Could it be that if I pay careful attention I might find Him within most of the places and conversations and tasks and circumstances that I find myself in today?  And could it be that I might find Him hiding even in the midst of the hard things of this life?  Perhaps God even calls to me—to us—from within our sorrow and pain, all we need to do is look for Him.  For as soon as we do, we are likely to hear our names upon his lips and have to take off our shoes because we are standing on holy ground.  


Closing Prayer: My God, in these quiet moments I caught a glimpse of your vision for me.  Inspire me, my God, to carry into the everydayness of my life all to which I aspire at such a moment as this.  May my faith have feet and hands, a voice and a heart, that it may minister to others—that the gospel I profess may be seen in my life.  Amen. ~Norman Shawchuck

Friday, May 15, 2015

encounter, friday

Friday, May 15

Opening Prayer: Lord, teach me to listen.  The times are noisy and my ears are weary with the thousand raucous sounds which continuously assault them.  Give me the spirit of the boy Samuel when he said to Thee, “Speak, for thy servant heareth.”  Let me hear Thee speaking in my heart.  Let me get used to the sound of Thy voice, that its tones may be familiar when the sounds of earth die away and the only sound will be the music of Thy speaking voice.  Amen.  (The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer)

Scripture: 1 Samuel 3:1-11

Journal: What does God’s voice sound like?  How do you know when he is speaking to you?  When was a time where you felt like, in your Spirit, that you had clearly heard from God?  What did he say?  How did Samuel finally figure out God was calling him?  Who is an Eli in your life?

     There are four ways in which He reveals His will to us—through the Scriptures, through providential circumstances, through the convictions of our own higher judgment, and through the inward impressions of the Holy Spirit on our minds.  Where these four harmonize, it is safe to say that God speaks.
    For I lay it down as a foundation principle, which no one can gainsay, that of course His voice will always be in harmony with itself, no matter in how many different ways He may speak.  The voices may be many, the message can be but one.  If God tells me in one voice to do or to leave undone anything, He cannot possibly tell me the opposite in another voice.  If there is a contradiction in the voices, the speakers cannot be the same.  Therefore my rule for distinguishing the voice of God would be to bring it to the test of this harmony. (The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith)


Closing Prayer: Speak, O Lord, as we come to You, to receive the food of Your holy word.  Take Your truth, plant it deep in us; shape and fashion us in Your likeness, that the light of Christ might be seen today, in our acts of love and our deeds of faith.  Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us all your purposes, for Your glory. (Speak O Lord by Stuart Townend, Keith Getty)