THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES :: PRAYER

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DIFFERENT FRIDAY OF THE MONTH.

In The Spiritual Disciplines series we’re learning 12 disciplines that will guide us as we grow deeper in our walk with God. These columns post on the second Friday of each month in 2020.

Spiritual Disciplines are not a list of religious duties but rather habits that nurture and mature our spiritual growth. They are inward, spiritual attitudes walked out by behaviors and actions. These habits are critical for lasting spiritual growth and true life transformation.

PRAYER: Interactive conversation with God about what we and God are thinking and doing together. ~ The Life With God Bible

Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.  ~ Psalm 141:2

The Spiritual Discipline of Prayer is the most important of the disciplines because it brings us into direct communion with our heavenly Father. Prayer is a foundational discipline and in some way involves the other disciplines especially solitude, study, worship, and fasting.

Prayer is a deeply personal experience. Each of us have our own idea of spending time with God. There is no right or wrong way to pray. While our prayer time is often shaped by external and internal circumstances out of our control, we mustn’t allow life to keep us from spending time alone with God.

How, when, or where we pray is between us and God. Whether we pray out loud, silently; with music or without; kneeling, sitting or standing; in a group or alone… The most important thing is that we take time to pray and are sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading in our communication with our Father.

Three points to consider about Prayer:

      • Expect and answer. 

Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. ~ Mark 11:24

      • Listen.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. ~ John 10:27

      • Keep an attitude of prayer.  

Pray without ceasing. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Prayer is simply talking to God. It’s something we can do all day long. In-between different activities take a minute to check in with God. Or when you think of someone just lift up a little prayer for them.

God uses prayer to change us. And through prayer God allows us to partner with Him to change the future.

Pray boldly believing you will change things.

Maybe even God’s mind!

“Units of prayer combined, like drops of water make an ocean which defies resistance.” ~ E. M. Bounds

Take a few minutes and enjoy this uplifting song by Tauren Wells!

THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES :: SILENCE

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DIFFERENT FRIDAY OF THE MONTH.

In The Spiritual Disciplines series we’re learning 12 disciplines that will guide us as we grow deeper in our walk with God. These columns post on the second Friday of each month in 2020.

Spiritual Disciplines are not a list of religious duties but rather habits that nurture and mature our spiritual growth. They are inward, spiritual attitudes walked out by behaviors and actions. These habits are critical for lasting spiritual growth and true life transformation.

SILENCE: Closing off our souls from sounds, whether noise, music, or words, so that we may better still the inner chatter of our noisy hearts and be increasingly attentive to God.~ Life With God Bible

The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him!  ~ Habakkuk 2:20

While all the Spiritual Disciplines are important, to me Silence is one of the most critical. Without our times of silence and solitude we will rarely have the opportunity to grow individually or in our relationship with God.

Most of us today, especially those under the age of 30, have never had a serious period of complete silence. Some avoid silence at all cost. When I was younger I would do anything to keep from being alone with my thoughts. It took going through addiction recovery for me to learn that silence can help me. It is my friend, not my enemy.

As much as I thought others would dislike the “real” me if they knew me, I also disliked myself. I didn’t want to be alone with me. I didn’t want to hear the negative thoughts from the childhood programming that would invariably surface in times of silence and solitude.

Now after recovery and learning the wonderful spiritual practice of contemplation, I have learned the value of just sitting with the trees and clouds, while listening for the still small voice of God to speak to my heart and soul.

If we are too busy to find some quiet time with God, we will soon be too busy for ourselves or anyone  else for that matter.

I encourage you to carve out some time to be alone not only with God, but with yourself. Take advantage of the opportunity to be outside during the beautiful fall weather and sit with God under a tree and just… be.

                                                            BE

                                                     BE STILL

                                          BE STILL AND KNOW

                              BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM

                       BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.

                                               ~ Psalm 46:10 ~

 

Take a few minutes and be encouraged to find some quiet time with God as you watch/listen to this beautiful song by Elevation Rhythm.

THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES :: SERVICE

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DIFFERENT FRIDAY OF THE MONTH.

In The Spiritual Disciplines series we’re learning 12 disciplines that will guide us as we grow deeper in our walk with God. These columns post on the second Friday of each month in 2020.

Spiritual Disciplines are not a list of religious duties but rather habits that nurture and mature our spiritual growth. They are inward, spiritual attitudes walked out by behaviors and actions. These habits are critical for lasting spiritual growth and true life transformation.

SERVICE: Loving, thoughtful, active promotion of the good of others and the causes of God in our world, as we experience the many little deaths of going beyond ourselves.

God remembers the love you demonstrate as you continually serve his beloved ones for the glory of his name. ~ Hebrews 6:10

Some of us are gifted with service. But gifted or not, as Christians, we are all called to service as His followers. The Spiritual Discipline of service is a radical self-denial in humble service to others for Christ.

Relationship vs. Results

Service is more about our relationship with God than the results of the particular action we are performing. It’s not about working for God but rather working with God, allowing Him to work in and through us. Our service for God may not come packaged in some beautifully wrapped ideal of success. It may come as something as simple as helping an elderly neighbor with their groceries or trash.

Bloom Where You Are Planted

This is most important in the Spiritual Discipline of Service. We can serve God wherever He has put us. Instead of waiting for the next grand opportunity, serve God today with your whole heart, even in the simplest of tasks.

Much Is Given And Required

God uses our reaction to our life circumstances to fulfill His purposes. We will never be able to fully measure or know how God uses us because it’s His power not ours at work. We can’t measure our usefulness for God by what we’ve done for Him.  Rather He will measure us by how we’ve shown Christ’s love by humbly allowing Him to work through us for the benefit of others.

Spiritually, we cannot measure our life by success, but only by what God pours through us, and we cannot measure that at all.  Oswald Chambers

The Spiritual Discipline of Service is a lifestyle reflected often in hidden, modest tasks unseen by many. As we take our eyes off our selves and put them fully on Christ in service to others we will experience a full and meaningful life we’ve not known before.

Take a few minutes to reflect on your service to others for Christ with this lovely classic song by the Maranatha Singers.

THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES :: SACRIFICE

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DIFFERENT FRIDAY OF THE MONTH.

In The Spiritual Disciplines series we’re learning 12 disciplines that will guide us as we grow deeper in our walk with God. These columns post on the second Friday of each month in 2020.

Spiritual Disciplines are not a list of religious duties but rather habits that nurture and mature our spiritual growth. They are inward, spiritual attitudes walked out by behaviors and actions. These habits are critical for lasting spiritual growth and true life transformation.

SACRIFICE: Deliberately forsaking the security of satisfying our needs with our own resources in the faith and hope that God will sustain us. ~ The Life With God Bible

I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. ~ Romans 12:1 NLT

The Spiritual Discipline of Sacrifice is nourishment to our faith. As we step out into the uncertainty of giving up something we need to help a more needy person, we can be sure God will step in and reward our efforts in surprising and unusual ways.

As we give sacrificially out of our own need to meet the needs of others we are putting our security in God’s hands and not our own. We’re showing Him that we trust He will provide for our needs even when we don’t know how.

Sacrificing our comforts to help others becomes an act of worship. It takes our relationship with God to a different level. Not only for the purpose of our salvation, we’re giving God a sacrificial trust for provision of our needs. Then the needs of others can be met through the blessings God has provided for us. Sacrificing our comforts to help others becomes an act of worship.

We can’t out give God. The more we give, the more He will give to us.

Give generously and generous gifts will be given back to you, shaken down to make room for more. Abundant gifts will pour out upon you with such an overflowing measure that it will run over the top! Your measurement of generosity becomes the measurement of your return. ~ Luke 6:38 TPT

Contemplate the level of sacrifice in your walk with God as you listen/watch this lovely song by Planetshakers.

THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES :: GUIDANCE

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DIFFERENT FRIDAY OF THE MONTH.

In The Spiritual Disciplines series we’re learning 12 disciplines that will guide us as we grow deeper in our walk with God. These columns post on the second Friday of each month in 2020.

Spiritual Disciplines are not a list of religious duties but rather habits that nurture and mature our spiritual growth. They are inward, spiritual attitudes walked out by behaviors and actions. These habits are critical for lasting spiritual growth and true life transformation.

 

GUIDANCE: Experiencing an interactive friendship with God that gives direction and purpose to daily life. ~ The Life With God Bible

The Spirit shows what is true and will come and guide you into the full truth. ~ John 16:13 CEV

The Spiritual Discipline of Guidance is critically important whether we are giving guidance or following guidance from others. We can receive guidance from God through Scriptures, directly from the Holy Spirit and also from other believers in our community. At all times advice from other people should be checked to make sure it lines up with God’s Word.

If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous and won’t correct you for asking. ~ James 1:5 CEV

All through Scripture we see examples of the importance of good counsel. These examples show us what to do and what not to do. Old Testament kings repeatedly followed bad advice from their advisors which inevitably cause the nation and people of Israel to suffer painful consequences.  The kings who heeded godly advice from God fearing counselors were less likely to make fatal errors in judgement.

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. ~ Galatians 5:25 NLT

Whether we are leaders in our community, church, or family, our decisions effect more than just ourselves. It’s critical we have a sensitive spirit that is listening for the gentle whisper from the Holy Spirit,  looking for direction in Scripture faithfully, or when necessary seeking counsel from a trusted godly advisor.

One thing we know for sure is that we can trust Jesus to always lead and guide us into the way of truth!

Take a few minutes to contemplate how you can trust Jesus to guide you at all times with this classic hymn sung by Casting Crowns.

THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES :: STUDY

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DIFFERENT FRIDAY OF THE MONTH.

In The Spiritual Disciplines series we’re learning 12 disciplines that will guide us as we grow deeper in our walk with God. These columns post on the second Friday of each month in 2020.

Spiritual Disciplines are not a list of religious duties but rather habits that nurture and mature our spiritual growth. They are inward, spiritual attitudes walked out by behaviors and actions. These habits are critical for lasting spiritual growth and true life transformation.

 

STUDY: the intentional process of engaging the mind with the written / spoken Word of God and with the world God has created; conforming the mind to that on which it concentrates. 

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. ~ Psalm 119:105

At the foundation of all The Spiritual Disciplines is God’s Word. The best way we can learn more about God and grow closer to Him is to study the Bible. As a young boy Jesus studied the Torah. Scripture records him spending time with the teachers in the Temple. We must follow Jesus’ example and spend time studying Scripture. What we study becomes implanted in us. And the best way to be transformed from the inside out is to not just study but meditate on and even memorize Scripture.

Quality Time With God

When we spend time alone with God in His Word we can learn about God’s love for us and the truth that will bring us salvation. Through our faithful study of God’s Word we will be taught, directed, protected and even healed. God wants a relationship with us and a healthy relationship takes time to build.

Be Intentional About Study

The Spiritual Discipline of Study encompasses more that just learning about God from the Bible. We can spend time in nature and with other valuable books to grow closer with God. What’s most important is that we are intentional about what we study, making sure that where we spend our time and energy, what we focus and meditate on, is what we want to be planted in our heart, mind and soul. We will become like what we meditate on.

Transformation Will Come

God’s Word can speak to our circumstances/pain/heartache in the most mysterious way. However, for that to happen requires that we sacrifice our time to study. When we do, with the help of the Holy Spirit, the Living Word of God will bring about the transformation that’s needed.

Watch/listen to this touching song by MercyMe and allow the Word of God to speak to your heart today.

THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES :: CONFESSION

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DIFFERENT FRIDAY OF THE MONTH.

In The Spiritual Disciplines series we’ll be learning 12 disciplines that will guide us as we grow deeper in our walk with God. These columns will post on the second Friday of each month in 2020.

Spiritual Disciplines are not a list of religious duties. But rather habits that nurture and mature our spiritual growth. They are inward, spiritual attitudes walked out by behaviors and actions. These habits are critical for lasting spiritual growth and true life transformation.

CONFESSION: Sharing our deepest weaknesses and failures with God and trusted others, so that we may enter into God’s grace and mercy and experience His ready forgiveness. ~ The Life With God Bible

Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.~ James 5:16

The Spiritual Discipline of Confession is a difficult one for most of us. We’d rather hide our sins and weaknesses from ourselves, our friends and God. We think if we ignore them maybe they will go away.

We’re Not Alone In Our Sin

We often believe we’re alone in our sin. Satan whispers in our ear that we can’t possibly tell our secret to anyone. We feel if someone knows the truth about us they won’t like or love us anymore. This is when we need a friend or counselor who will listen to our heart in confidence without judgement.

“We are sinners together. In acts of mutual confession we release the power that heals. Our humanity is no longer denied, but transformed.” ~ Richard Foster

Release Your Burden to God

When we’re living under the burden of hidden sins, it holds a power over us. Rather than carrying this burden alone we must ignore the devil’s taunts and cry out to God and share our weaknesses, pain and heartache.

If we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away. ~ 1 John 1:9

We mustn’t be afraid of offending God with our confession. After all He already knows about it. Confession is more for us than for God. It is a great opportunity for deep internal and spiritual growth.

*For a good confession three things are necessary:

      1. An Examined Conscience: Invite God to move on our hearts and show us where we need His healing and forgiving touch.
      2. A Sorrowful Heart: A deep regret at having offended the heart of our Father. Being sorrowful in emotions without a godly sorrow will destroy our confession.
      3. A Determination to Avoid Future Sin: In confession we seek the will to be delivered from sin. We must desire to be ruled by God. If we do not desire it, ask for the desire to desire it. This desire itself is a gift of grace from God.

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. ~ Philippians 2:13 

Following the steps above. Prayerfully examine your heart and conscience. As you listen to this beautiful song by Chris Tomlin lean in to the Lord. Ask Him to give you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. God is here for you.

*These three points on Confession are taken from Richard Foster’s excellent book Celebration of Discipline.

THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES :: SOLITUDE

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DESIGNATED WEEK OF THE MONTH.

In The Spiritual Disciplines series we’ll be learning 12 disciplines that will guide us as we grow deeper in our walk with God. These columns post on the second Friday of each month in 2020.

Spiritual Disciplines are not a list of religious duties but rather habits that nurture and mature our spiritual growth. They are inward, spiritual attitudes walked out by behaviors and actions. These habits are critical for lasting spiritual growth and true life transformation.

At the time of this writing we are experiencing the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. Thankfully God is protecting my husband and myself. We are healthy and safe.

When preparing to write this column I found it quite appropriate that Solitude was next on my schedule. While often silence and solitude are taught together, today we will focus only on the Spiritual Discipline of Solitude.

SOLITUDEThe creation of an open, empty space in our lives by purposefully abstaining from interaction with other human beings, so that freed from competing loyalties, we can be found by God.    ~ The Life with God Bible ~

Jesus said, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” ~ Mark 6:31

Many times in Scripture Jesus draws away from people:

    • Alone in the desert for 40 days He prepared to begin his ministry.
    • He spent a night alone in the hills before He chose the Twelve.
    • After feeding the five thousand He went up to the hills alone.
    • As He prepared for the cross He sought solitude in the Garden.

Solitude Prepares Us for Fellowship

We see the pattern that Jesus shows us of filling up in God’s Presence to prepare Him for His next ministry work. Each time, Jesus is being refreshed by precious time of solitude with Father God.

During these challenging times we must discipline ourselves to practice true solitude. To not only draw away from others but to find a quiet space where we can hear The Divine Whisper speaking to our spirit.

Having refreshed our spirits with God in solitude, when we are in the presence of others we will be more able to enjoy their company and better prepared to minister where needed.

“Loneliness is inner emptiness. Solitude is inner fulfillment… Jesus calls us from loneliness to solitude… If we possess inward solitude we do not fear being alone, for we know that we are not alone.”~ Richard Foster

Over the next few days find some time to be still with the Lord. You may want to listen to the relaxing instrumental music of the video or you may choose rather to simply be still in silence. Either way, I pray you will be blessed in your refreshing time of solitude with God.

THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES :: SIMPLICITY

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DESIGNATED WEEK OF THE MONTH.

In The Spiritual Disciplines series we’ll be learning 12 disciplines that will guide us as we grow deeper in our walk with God. These columns will post on the second Friday of each month in 2020.

Spiritual Disciplines are not a list of religious duties. But rather habits that nurture and mature our spiritual growth. They are inward, spiritual attitudes walked out by behaviors and actions. These habits are critical for lasting spiritual growth and true life transformation.

 

SIMPLICITY: The inward reality of single-hearted focus upon God and His kingdom, which results in an outward lifestyle of modesty, openness, and unpretentiousness and which disciplines our hunger for status, glamour and luxury. ~ The Life With God Bible ~

It requires determined intentionality to live a life of simplicity amid the growing chaos of this world. The importance of the spiritual discipline of simplicity isn’t just about our mental and physical health. It is intrinsically connected to our ability to hear from God and enter into His Kingdom.

…Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom.  ~ Matthew 18: 2-5 (MSG)

When we think about a very young child, one that has yet to be influenced much by society, we can recognize their simplicity of thought and behavior. They exhibit a sense of wonderment and an ability to enjoy even the simplest of things. This is what Jesus is asking us as adults to do.

Let’s break it down…

Simplicity of Body: Examine yourself as you are today, accepting your body as it is not as you wish it could be.

Simplicity of Mind: Lean into the uncomfortable quietness of a moment without social media distractions or entertainment. 

Simplicity of Heart: Embrace contentment in anonymity without desiring attention and acknowledgement from others. 

Simplicity of Spirit: Experience the presence of God in nature; walk among the trees, listen to the birds, watch the clouds, smell a flower.

As with all the spiritual disciplines simplicity must begin with an inner heart change, one that is focused on God and His Kingdom. The result will be a sincere, uncomplicated lifestyle that has a deep appreciation for creation, and by refusing to be a slave to anything but God becomes free of the attachments to material possessions.

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

~ Matthew 5:8

Following the words of Jesus, let’s come with the simplicity of a child’s heart and worship God with this beautiful song by Rend Collective.

THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES :: WORSHIP

AT RHW WE PUBLISH A NEW COLUMN EACH FRIDAY. WE’RE GOING THROUGH FOUR SPECIFIC STUDIES WITH EACH SERIES BEING PUBLISHED ON A DESIGNATED WEEK OF THE MONTH.

In The Spiritual Disciplines series we’ll be learning 12 disciplines that will guide us as we grow deeper in our walk with God. These columns will post on the second Friday of each month in 2020.

Spiritual Disciplines are not a list of religious duties. But rather habits that nurture and mature our spiritual growth. They are inward, spiritual attitudes walked out by behaviors and actions. These habits are critical for lasting spiritual growth and true life transformation.

Worship: expressing in words, music, rituals, and silent adoration the greatness, beauty, and goodness of God, by means of which we enter the supernatural reality of the glory of God.” ~ The Life With God Bible

The Spiritual Discipline of Worship is a vital habit to our personal spiritual growth and our relationship with God. It is so important that Jesus makes it his first commandment:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.~ Mark 12:30

We worship God for Who He is and for what He has done. For every type of person there are as many individual ways of worshiping God.

Worship involves our whole being. As we present ourselves in worship it’s important that our posture be consistent with our inner spirit.

In a humble spirit of adoration we quietly kneel before the Father.

In a spirit of praise we dance with joy and thanksgiving to God.

In honor of God’s greatness and majesty we can lie prostrate on the floor or we can rejoice in fellowship with singing for God’s goodness.

Worship music for anyone is available. To go with the different types of worship experiences we have a plethora of worship music available to us today. Personally, worship music is my favorite music to listen to on a regular basis. It fills my spirit and prepares me to meet my work day.

Some helpful steps for worship:

        1. Seek God’s Presence Daily.
        2. Develop a holy dependency on God.
        3. Try different types of worship experiences.
        4. Prepare your heart  in advance for corporate worship.
        5. Worship even when you don’t feel like it.
        6. During worship let the distractions roll off.

Worship isn’t for the faint of heart. But for the obedient it strengthens our relationship with God and prepares us to face whatever comes our way. It builds us up and propels us through this exciting life in the Spirit.

“If we long to go where God is going, and do what God is doing, we will move into deeper, more authentic worship.”  ~ Richard Foster

Lift up your voice to God in worship with this beautiful new favorite song of mine performed by Kanye’s Sunday Service Choir.