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FASTING

 

Self-denial is profoundly contemplative for it works by the process of human subtraction and divine addition.  – Brian Taylor

Leadership Transformations releases a free, monthly resource titled Silencio…targeting a specific spiritual practice and discipline. In the month of April, Silencio’s issue focuses on the practice of fasting.

As you examine your Rule of Life and whether or not you are walking and living in a well-ordered way, we invite you to consider the practice of fasting.

Is it a regular rhythm in your life with God?

Fasting provides opportunities for us to back away from excess (perhaps frivolous delights), allowing God to form healthier pathways in our unforced rhythms of grace. In doing so, we intentionally step back from culture and into the presence of God with a posture of open hands.  In releasing self-directed desires, we are rid of distractions and actions that dominate our lives.

As we engage in fasting and self-denial, we are able to begin to see what is fueling or controlling us.

What might God be inviting you to fast from?

To assist you in this journey, we’re providing April’s issue of Silencio here.

Blessings!

4 Essential Rhythms

When we speak of Crafting a Rule of Life and walking in a well-ordered way, we believe first and foremost that we must develop rhythms of Scripture, Prayer and Reflection in our personal prayer closets. These foster a spaciousness which allows us to attentively listen to the Triune God who is at work in us. So, friends, are you practicing these means of grace on a regular basis? May it be so!

Equally important is another rhythm: sabbath. It is crucial that we understand and embrace the joy of Sabbath rest – as a day of the week, and as a lifestyle. Marva Dawn, Mark Buchanan, and others have written about Sabbath. And they outline several movements of Sabbath in this way:

1. We cease from what we normally do throughout the week.

2. We rest with the delight of the work we’ve accomplished.

3. We celebrate the life we enjoy in Christ.

4. We embrace the call of God on our lives to continually contribute to building up the Kingdom of God in all areas of life and service.

Take a few minutes today in prayerful reflection to consider how these rhythms are present in your life. If they are underdeveloped or inconsistent, how might God be inviting you to more fervently pursue these things? Blessings to you on the journey!

 

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HUMILITY: the fruit of knowing the TRUTH

“The fruit of the knowledge of truth is humility.”
                – Bernard of Clairvaux, “The Steps of Humility and Pride.” 

During this season of Lent, we invite you into a spiritual practice of confession and appropriation. Adapted from Bill Bright’s Have You Made The Wonderful Discovery Of The Spirit Filled Life?, this is an exercise in spiritual breathing. Perfect for this Lenten season, may you enter into deeper humility as you discover the truth about yourself. And in that place, you will find that you are loved by God more than you could ever hope or imagine!

 

Exhale = Confession (James 5:16)
    1. Agree with God about your sin (be specific) and confess to a trusted friend, if willing     

    2. Repent

Inhale = Appropriation

  1. Receive His Spirit anew (Eph 5:18)

  2. Receive His promise of forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9)

 

SPIRITUAL PRACTICES IN SILENCE AND SOLITUDE

Each of us has much room to grow in the disciplines of silence and solitude. Below are a few suggested practices that might help you engage in more meaningful and regular rhythms in these means of grace. Blessings to you!

  • Set aside ten minutes each day for silence. Breathe deeply and become aware of God’s presence. Afterwards, journal about your experience.
  • Designate a “sacred space” in your home where you can retreat into silence and solitude.
  • Drive to work without talking on your phone or turning on the radio.
  • Spend an entire day without the use of technology (i.e. computer, iPhone, iPad).

BE STILL MY SOUL : A HYMN

If you’ve never engaged in the spiritual practice of allowing the lyrics of a hymn to become a prayer, we invite you to do so! Sit quietly and prayerfully with this beautiful hymn/poem, and let it begin to shape a prayer within. May these lovely words of Katharina vonSchlegel encourage you towards deeper silence and rest. And may you find yourself with a renewed faith and trust in the Triune God.

“Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.”

RESOLUTION: BE STILL. BE SILENT

Monday, January 14, 2013.

How are you doing with your 2013 resolutions?

It is certainly important that we resolve to be more organized, more healthy, more kind, and more generous (and we hope that you’re able to pattern your life towards these goals!). But it seems even more important to resolve to be silent and be still. For it is in the silent and quiet moments where we become most fully alive, aware again of our true selves. 

So, on this Monday, would you resolve to take 10 minutes of silence to listen to the voice of the Holy One speaking His affirming words of love to you? May you do so! And in the spacious silence, may you find again your truest self. 

Blessings to you!

THE WONDER OF THE PRESENT

Stillness and silence are rare in a world of clamoring noise and distraction. 

Enter in and be quiet. 

Be still.

Inhale. 

Exhale. 

Experience the wonder of the present. God is here.

AN EXAMEN OF 2012 | LOOKING TO 2013

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Christmas is drawing near and 2012 is coming to a close, bringing a new year and some new rhythms for 2013. What new rhythms does this bring to your personal Rule of Life? What rhythms will mark your life in 2013 as you look to a new year?

If you find it helpful, use this year end ‘Examen’ (click here for the PDF Year End Examen 2012) to remember and reflect upon what God has done in your life in 2012. And let that influence your desires, longings, and intentions for the coming year. Grab a journal, a hot cup of tea, and see what the Lord has in store for you as you ‘Examen’ your life.

Blessings to you and yours!

YOUR PERSONAL RULE OF LIFE

YOUR PERSONAL RULE OF LIFE

Your personal rule of life is just that….yours…and personal! God has beautifully and wonderfully made you as a unique person. And thus, you’re wired and fashioned like no other human being on the planet. How incredible is that?!

The above example not only represents a personal rule of life…it represents a unique expression of one’s rule. Everyone seems to have their own way of crafting and shaping their rule. And we most certainly celebrate and rejoice in that! When you begin crafting your own rule, however, we recommend the ‘grid.’ It’s extremely helpful to those who are just beginning their journey.

But once you’ve lived with a rule for many years (as our friend has done), you may find the freedom to express and display your rule in similar fashion. Bottom line–whatever works for you…go for it!

May you continue living fully in the life that God is inviting you into. And may you find great joy as you journey on the well-ordered way!

Blessings to you!

** Click here for more unique examples and templates to help you create your own Rule of Life.

ADVENT: GOD WITH US

A wonderful video by The Village Church to remind us of the beauty of Advent. Watch. Wait. Remember the First Advent. And may you long for the Second Advent of our Lord.