Listening Prayer

Matthew 14: 25-29

There are many aspects to Prayer.  Examples: procuring items, plea for healing, calm your mind.

the ideas
may be jumbled

Let’s look at Listening Prayer

When you place your thoughts in God
God places thoughts in you

If this seems daunting to you try a small amount.  Begin with a minute.  Set your timer if you want,

 

“Lord, if you want,
I will climb out of the boat”

“Come” Continue reading “Listening Prayer”

Submit to Each Other (Become One)

The Jesus – God relationship is what our relationship (you and me) is to reflect.

Ephesians 5:21

Also Philippians 2:3
John 17, verses 11 and 22
Romans 14:5,

Submission: one of the more difficult areas of Faith.  Submit to a group, organization, individual person, God alone.  What is God’s will?  How is it qualified, quantified?  Confusion and competition when so many people and organizations want our attention, obedience.

We need to focus on Christ.

I foster the personal side of our relationship with God; where God communicates with us (substitute the word “me” for “us”) directly, unencumbered, open, raw — a relationship available for believers and non-believers, on an individual level.  (Admittedly, it would be hard for an unbeliever to have this personal thing going on while not believing).

I consider this relationship:

higher – it lives in Heaven above Earthly standards
more important – directly influencing
deeper – the most meaningful
our story – what we were meant for
further – wears better, like some old tattered jeans
more encompassing – a relationship without bounds
beyond – not held by Earthly bonds

Example:  As a Christian Musician, an ability not mentioned very much in this blog, I run across songs and instrumentals, or let’s say, ‘some melodies with words attached’ and ‘melodies without words’.  I am inspired by both! and I know both would be inspiring to Christians in the context of worship.  Yet when meeting with church musicians and pastors, I usually discover a much different view of which piece of music is “inspiring”, with the vast majority are “melodies with words attached”.  It causes me to wonder if we are losing the art of instrumental music in our worship services?

Do I listen to what I deem an “urging”, the call of the “Spirit within”, or not?

Continue reading “Submit to Each Other (Become One)”

Purifying and the Yardstick

James: 4:8  “purify your hearts” (ease your double mindedness)
Mark 4:24  be careful how you measure — what you use in measuring

What is the criteria you use when measuring yourself?

When you take stock in who you are, or “judge” yourself, be mindful of the standard you are using and choose the Standard God would have for you.

Put Others First

But can you truly, always put others ahead of yourself?

Philippians 2:3

This passage reveals a mindset we are to nurture: place other people higher than yourself.

An intriguing principle, and a virtue residing in the arena of a “matured” Faith, carrying a high degree of difficulty because to achieve God’s standard, you attach reigns to yourself.

But can you truly, always rank others ahead of yourself?

 

something more than cleansing rituals

Consider Hebrews 5:11 through 6:3.

The mature Christian Faith is defined as “beyond the cleaning rituals” used in preparing for a worship service.  And for that matter, this Faith surpasses ‘judgement for eternity’, ‘laying on hands’, and ‘defining what eternity will be like’.  So, true Faith, the way I envision it, is not the ceremonial aspects or traditions; but is rather the motivations behind our actions.  Why we do something, sometimes, might be of greater importance compared to what we do.  (I invite your comments about this).

But as is said a few verses later,

“We should have a life in the Spirit.”  

(There are several verses on this Spiritual Life sewn throughout the New Testament).  This “life within God’s Spirit” is the life Jesus “let out of the bag” to us.

The Spirit takes our hand leading us to a deeper relationship with God and, thus, a renewed relationship to humanity around us: seats us in relationship with God.  I emphasize “with God” specifically because, for example, we can talk to a person and not be talking with that person.  Talking with a person is a 2-way connection.  We talk to God and God talks to us.

After elaborating upon the above these passages, Hebrews 6:10 reassures us in that God is aware of our (your) deeds and amid the dreams, trials and accomplishments of this life, rewards you (and me).

Loving, Thanking, & Assuming

These 3 aspects of the Christian faith have been on my mind recently.  So I will help us to be mindful about all 3.

We need to check ourselves every now and then to make sure what we are saying and doing have perception as loving acts.  Sometimes in the way we treat other people we say things or do things and the other people don’t see, may not perceive this as a caring act.  We can mean well but they may not take it that way.

To be thankful for everything is an overwhelming aspect of the Christian Faith.  It’s difficult to be thankful when things are not going, or at least you perceive they’re not going well.  In this world we suffer losses and setbacks, heart aches and failures, but move your attitude to a place where thankfulness arises.

And the third item, this morning: assuming, can catch us off guard.  We know that other people think differently than I / we think: have different terminology, define words differently.  But it is fairly easy for me to go through my daily life thinking that other people, since they’re doing the same things — get out of bed, eat breakfast, go to work, buy groceries, meet with friends or family, go to church, watch a movie, read a book — are gathering the same ideas that I am gathering.  And as such, are forming the same opinions and attitudes as myself.  But there is a good chance they are shaped differently by these same experiences.

Be mindful.

-Jeff

Evagrios the Solitary – On Passions and Thoughts #10

Evagrios the Solitary, also known as Evagrius of Pontus
Lived 346 – 399CE as an early ascetic pioneer
Texts on Discrimination in Respect of Passions and Thoughts
Number 10

Now what am I to say about the demon who makes the soul dull-minded? For I am afraid to write about him: how, at his approach, the soul departs from its own proper state and strips itself of reverence and the fear of God, no longer regarding sin as sin, or wickedness as wickedness; it looks on judgment and the eternal punishment of hell as mere words; it laughs at the fire which causes the earth to tremble; and, while supposedly confessing God, it has no understanding of His commandments. You may beat your breast as such a soul draws near to sin, but it takes no notice. You recite from the Scripture, yet it is wholly indifferent and will not hear. You point out its shame and disgrace among men, and it ignores you, like a pig that closes its eyes and charges through a fence. This demon gets into the soul by way of long-continuing thoughts of self-esteem; and unless ‘those days are shortened, no flesh will be saved’ (Matt. 24:22).

This is one of those demons that seldom approach brethren living in a community. The reason is clear: when people round us fall into misfortune, or are afflicted by illness, or are suffering in prison, or meet sudden death, this demon is driven out; for the soul has only to experience even a little compunction or compassion and the callousness caused by the demon is dissolved. We solitaries lack these things, because we live in the wilderness and sickness is rare among us. It was to banish this demon especially that the Lord enjoined us in the Gospels to call on the sick and visit those in prison. For ‘I was sick,’ He says, ‘and you visited Me'(Matt. 25:36).

 

But you should know this: if an anchorite falls in with this demon, yet does not admit unchaste thoughts or leave his cell out of lack of motivation, this means he has received the patience and self-restraint that come from heaven, and is blessed with good judgement. Those, on the other hand, who profess to practice godliness, yet choose to have dealings with people of the world, should be on their guard against this demon. I feel ashamed to say or write more about him.

 

Italics show my alterings
Translation from the Philokalia
found at:  Holybooks.com