Do you live in community with others? Community seems to be a “buzz-word” over the past few years–often overused or misunderstood. But very honestly, would you ask yourself, “Am I truly living?” And then ask yourself, “Am I truly living in community?”
Truly living means that we fully become the person/people that God intends for us to become. We discern our false self from our true self. We walk in full assurance of our identity as a redeemed and beloved Child of God. We discover our gifts; we learn to listen and love; we confess and repent of our sinful deeds. This kind of life is best and most fully lived in the context of a Christian, spiritual community. So ask yourself, are you truly living? And, are you doing so in community?
Busyness. Fear of man. Fear or intimacy. Past wounds and pain. Prejudice. Arrogance. Each of these can keep us from authentically engaging in community.
But when we lay these aside, we are able to enter into intimacy with one another that “brings out the very best of what God desires to create, redeem, sustain or transform in our daily lives” (Crafting A Rule of Life, Macchia, 153). Indeed, we not meant to live in a “It’s just me and Jesus” mentality. No, we were meant to truly and fully live in community with one another. We come alive as we learn to live in community together.
As you create or re-evaluate your personal rule of life, would you consider how you are receiving God’s invitations to truly live in authentic community? Are you overcommitted and, therefore, unable to engage in community? Have you been hurt by a community before and find it too painful to re-enter? Are you prejudice towards those who are unlike you? Inquire of the Lord if there is anything that is keeping you from truly living in community with the people of God.
May we all be marked with humility as we seek to live together in the spiritual communities the Lord would have for us. May we learn to listen to and love one another well. And may we find ourselves truly living as we abide in community together.
We certainly know several purposes of a door–security, warmth, separation, privacy, etc. But a door may also represent a place of invitation. I’m sure you’ve said it before to someone else “I’m just praying for an open door.” And what most people are communicating in such a statement is this: “I’m looking for the right invitation that the Lord would have me to receive.”
The reality of our lives is certain: many doors are open to us and many invitations have our names on them. But discerning which door(s) to walk through and which invitation(s) to receive is much more difficult. It takes patience, quiet and prayerful reflection, deep discernment, and a true trust in the Sovereign God.
So, we encourage you to consider which doors the Lord may be asking you to open and walk through; which invitations are of and from the Lord? And which ones are for you (specifically) to receive?
Perhaps it’s a move to a new town…initiating a new friendship…taking better care of your physical body…engaging in a new rhythm of prayer…embracing the sabbath more fully.
As you look at this image, would you prayerfully consider which open doors the Lord would have you step through? Which invitations are of and from the Lord–that He would have you joyfully receive?
Blessings to you!
It’s Monday morning. 9:59 AM EST.
Have you had a frustrated and hurried morning? A disastrous circus of getting kids out the door to catch the bus? Is there a pile of emails awaiting you? A long to-do list that has likely spilled over from last week into this week?Maybe you have a dreadful work situation; unfriendly co-workers; a less-than-fulfilling occupation.
Monday morning can truly be a drag and dreaded occasion…we all know that. And especially if you expect it to be such.
But instead, what if you saw it in this light:
A new day of life; a thing of beauty; a gift; a grace. A beautiful, gracious gift. Monday? Really?
May you receive this day as a beautiful, gracious gift from a loving and kind Heavenly Father. May you find renewed strength this Monday in remembering the promised presence of our God. He is WITH YOU! And He longs to strengthen your feeble knees and restore your weary soul. Trust in the Lord; Find rest in God alone; Receive His good gifts and live in the abundance of His goodness–giving thanks and celebrating a new day.
Blessings and a happy Monday!
When is the last time that you found a quiet place to commune with God?
Putting away the distractions of technology.
Creating both an internal and external silence.
We encourage you to re-engage the practice of a soul care day if it has been some time since you have found a quiet place to deepen your intimacy with God. May some of these images serve as an invitation towards a spacious encounter with God.
We are most likely familiar with the Shakespearean masterpiece, Hamlet, that begins with the famous words: “To be, or not to be; that is the question.” That phrase comes to mind as we discern and pray through God’s unique initiatives in our lives. We inquire of the Lord how much shall we “be”…and how much shall we “do?” Some of us are much more prone towards the doing. The extreme of this person runs around ragged from sun-up to sun-down without a spare moment in the day for prayer, reflection, or silence. Maybe you find yourself in this mode of operation: striving, running, chasing, doing, achieving, accomplishing, producing. You are never satisfied, never content, never finished, and never at rest.
Others are much more prone towards the being. This person is in touch with his or her inner world and considers the complexities of the true and false self. Maybe you are one who enjoys days of silence and solitude where you can sit quietly and not lift a finger. Or perhaps you find it much easier to forget everything and everyone around you so that you can be alone, quiet, uninterrupted, unbothered, and unavailable to a noisy and demanding world.
It seems that both extremes of being and doing (especially apart from one another) miss the mark of what God invites us into. Our lives, instead, shall be a well-balanced marriage of both being and doing. It seems that our being shall inform the doing–we live and act and respond and serve the Lord [doing] out of our understanding that we are God’s beloved, treasured children of our Father and that we cannot earn his love for us [being]. But we certainly must pair action with reflection, for one without the other is unbalanced and we end up failing to produce lasting fruit.
So on your journey in the well-ordered way, we encourage you to pair action with reflection; spend vast amounts of time in silence, solitude, and listening prayer before the Lord. And then get to work joyfully(!)–laboring for the Lord and advancing the Kingdom in whatever unique ways he is calling you towards. Our action must be paired with reflection; and our reflection must be followed up with God-honoring action.
Blessings to you!
** To read more on the balance of being/doing and action/reflection, click here.
Have you had a chance to check out some of the amazing people who have journeyed on the well-ordered way? We invite you to take a few minutes and watch some of these videos here. Enjoy…and we pray that you would be encouraged to lean ever more closely into the life the Triune God is inviting you into. Blessings!
Acknowledging the gift and the Giver.
Each of these are rhythms that ought to mark us and be present in our lives. Is your heart a heart of gratitude? Is it filled with generosity and thanksgiving? Creating a rule of life includes becoming aware to all that God has lavished upon us….and in response, giving thanks! For further thoughts, continue reading here.
Good morning! The contest to win 3 FREE BOOKS ON SPIRITUAL FORMATION…Crafting A Rule Of Life (Macchia), Hearing God (Willard), and Discovering Lectio Divina (Howard and Wilhoit) will only run for a few more days! To enter, simply post a photo of the book on our Facebook Page. Here are some photos that have been submitted thus far:
There is still time to enter into the contest to win a bundle of three Formatio/IVP books! All you need to do is visit our Facebook page and submit a photo of your copy of Crafting A Rule Of Life in a compelling and unique location. The winner will be selected and receive THREE FREE BOOKS (Crafting a Rule of Life, Hearing God, and Discovering Lectio Divina). ENTER TODAY!! Only 6 days remain!
We have seen it again and again over the past few years. As men and women have disciplined themselves in the rhythms of prayerful silence and reflection, the Triune God has invited them into deeper communion with Himself and with His Body. What is the invitation they joyfully receive? Spiritual Direction.
If you have felt that same whisper or tug on your heart, maybe SELAH is for you. Perhaps you are being invited to be trained and instructed in a certificate program in order to be equipped to sit attentively with others. Or maybe spiritual direction is a foreign concept and is quite new to you. In that case, maybe part of your rule of life is to begin seeking out a spiritual director/friend to come alongside you in your journey.