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How to Spend a Day With Jesus

One of the spiritual disciplines we need most in this fast-paced world is the practice of silence and solitude. This practice centres us back to God and reorients us to see things from the Lord’s heart and will. We suggest finding a place where you can focus for half a day or a full day. The suggested guide below is based on Isaiah 55.

Listening Prayers: A Spring of Life for the Thirsty

“Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink… Come to Me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life” (Isa 55:1-3a).  God knows your weariness and burdens. Isaiah 55 supplies a guiding rhythm in four movements of prayer for you to grow in intimacy with God and find life.

Although some may be seeking guidance for a decision, you need not have a specific agenda.  Centering down, come away from your normal routines to listen to God. God knows your need and bids you to pray. Set aside your bible-study preparation or reading books for information for another time.

Start each movement with a prayer for God’s grace, biblical verses (from Isaiah 55, Psalms etc.), a spiritual exercise (e.g. thanksgiving), followed by an extended silence. Make space to hear God speak. Journal your thoughts. Silence forms a significant part of a prayer retreat.

First Movement: From emptiness to being filled with God’s love (Isa 55:3b-5).

God loves you immeasurably. You are hidden in Christ. You share in Christ’s Kingdom. You are co-heir as His beloved, which means “bestowed with His inheritance”.  Emptiness comes when you cannot see His inheritance for you.  Enter now into His Presence (His courts, His gates) through thanksgiving and praise. Recount His blessings. Spend time acknowledging God’s love revealed in the Scriptures, allowing that reality to strengthen you. Move from emptiness to beloved-ness.

Second Movement: From guilt to forgiveness and freedom (Isa 55:6-7).

Encountering God requires awareness of your unworthiness and God’s generous forgiveness. Acknowledge your failures in thought, word and deed, by what you have done, or failed to do. Confess sincerely, and confidently receive His mercy. The Spirit convicts but does not condemn. He liberates you from your burdens and draws you into life-giving freedom. Do not hold on to self-imposed false guilt, for God has already forgiven you.

Third Movement: From lies to redemptive truth (Isa 55:8-11).

True freedom is found in truth. The Spirit renews and transforms you as you engage and wrestle with His truth.  The deceptions from the world, the devil and the flesh cannot be managed, but must be removed and replaced with God’s truth. Meditating on Scripture, you grow to know Jesus as the Author of truth. Dwell on the truths that God impresses on you in your reading and meditation of your chosen text.

Fourth Movement: From aimlessness to joyful purpose (Isa 55:12-13).

This movement re-engages you in God’s world, recognising that God has ordained you for a specific purpose to play in His Kingdom. Discern to answer a specific call from God. Sense His guidance to go forward. Let the Spirit speak to you deeply, along with the peace of His presence. Guard your heart against self-glorifying plans and fears. Be prepared that where Jesus calls you, there is a shadow of the cross (Luke 9:23).

Finally, review what you have heard from God during the retreat. End in worship. Share your thoughts with a spiritual director, your spouse or a close friend.

Go with joy and be led by His perfect peace! To God be all the Glory!

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Daily Devo

Daily Devotional Journal

Scripture:
1 Thessalonians 5:13c-14
Sat, 25 June 2022

The “Peace and Patience” Frame

Observation:

What is the significance of Paul framing his exhortation with “be at peace” and “be patient”?

Deeper Reflection
PAUL IS SPEAKING TO BELIEVERS IN HIS EXHORTATION, See that no one repays anyone evil for evil” (1 Thess 5:15). These words point to a hard reality and a great temptation in the Christian community. The hard reality is, Christians do hurt one another, intentionally or unintentionally, by words, acts or attitudes. The great temptation is when we are offended and badly hurt, we hold a grudge until we are able to pay back the one who hurt us. Thus, Paul is particularly emphatic: “See that” – “Make sure that this does not happen!”We prevent the negative by practising the positive: “always seek to do good to one another and to everyone” (1 Thess 5:15). The action called for in “do good” is “seek”. “Seek” speaks of conscious intentionality, proactiveness and effort. It takes a good heart to have this “seek to do good”. It is a matter of the heart: “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good” (Lk 6:45). And this seeking to do good is “always” there in the good heart. Along with this is the readiness to forgive those who hurt us. The foundation and starting point of forgiveness is “as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph 4:32).“Be at peace among yourselves” and “be patient with them all” frame the constructive actions toward the “idle”, “weak” and “fainthearted”, and those who hurt us (vv.13c-14). “We have no excuse for becoming impatient” with such problematic people “on the grounds that they are difficult, demanding, disappointing, argumentative or rude”62. “Love is patient” (1 Cor 13:4). And peace and patience go hand in hand.
62 John R. W. Stott, Thessalonians, 122
Application:

What does it mean for me to be at peace and be patient with people in the Christian community?

Prayer:
Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application of the Scriptures.
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise
  • Pray for Church Board: To lead the church together in peace and with patience
  • Pray for significant people
  • Pray for those in need
  • Pray for self

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