Take, Lord, receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will – all that I have and call my own. You have given it all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace. That is enough for me.
~Ignatius of Loyola – Prayer for the conclusion of his Spiritual Exercises
The Spirit-filled life is not a special deluxe edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people.
We must have the Holy Spirit’s power and presence, otherwise our religion will become a mockery before God, and a misery to ourselves.
HOW CAN DISCIPLESHIP HELP THOSE OF US WHO ARE ALWAYS IN A HURRY?
We can learn how to act quickly without hurrying. Quickness is an attribute of action. Hurry is an attribute of the spirit. First, we need to recognize when we’re being drawn into hurry. At that point, stop and take time out. Then we go over how God is with us and we’re acting with Him at our side.
Hurry involves the idea that something is out of control and we must take control. Hurry is an act of unfaith.
Silence, solitude, fasting and Scripture memorization train us to respond differently to events when an immediate response is required
in “Apprentice To The Master: Interview With Dallas Willard” by Jan Johnson
To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. This is hard; … how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering were we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night, ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it means to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves.
Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.
God is God. Because he is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will, a will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.
Obedience to God’s will is the secret of spiritual knowledge and insight. It is not willingness to know but willingness to DO (obey) God’s will that brings certainty.
Happy is the soul which … holds itself ceaselessly in the hands of its Creator, ready to do everything which he wishes; which never stops saying to itself a hundred times a day, “Lord, what would you have me to do?”
Holiness is a most beautiful and lovely thing. We drink in strange notions of holiness from our childhood, as if it were a melancholy, morose, sour and unpleasant thing; but there is nothing in it but what is sweet and ravishingly lovely.
Holiness is not something we are called upon to do in order that we may become something; it is something we are to do because of what we already are.
Christian holiness is not a matter of painstaking conformity to the individual precepts of an external law code; it is rather a question of the Holy Spirit’s producing His fruit in the life, reproducing those graces which were seen in perfection in the life of Christ.
(these quotes are from Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Tim Grissom)
Grace is a dynamic force that does more than affect our standing with God by crediting us with righteousness, Grace affects our experience as well … Grace is a way of life.
Your worst days are never so bad that you’re beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you’re beyond the need of God’s grace.
(both quotes are from Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Tim Grissom)
The essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, greed, drunkenness and all that, are mere flea-bites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil. Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.
If any one would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud …. If you think you’re not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.
Aronis, Alexander Basile. 2003. Developing intimacy with God : an eight-week prayer guide based on Ignatius’ “Spiritual exercises”. 1st ed. Makati City, Philippines: Union Church of Manila. (book review)
The book has developed out of the author’s dissertation about Ignatius’ “Spiritual Exercises” as a model for spiritual direction 20 years before writing the book. During this time the author refined his understanding and teaching about ‘Devotional Prayer’ by serving as a spiritual director for many people.
The book includes prayer exercises for every day of the eight-week period, teaching and using different types of prayer and skills necessary to reach the goal:
“increase your love for Christ, broaden your self-understanding, connect you with vital spiritual principles, intensify your desire to become more like Jesus, and strengthen your commitment to serve him by serving others.” (1)
It can be used by individuals or by groups. Ideally an individual working through the book could have a mentor or spiritual director for feedback, but the book is written in a way that it can be used as the only spiritual guide.
The author defines ‘Devotional Prayer’ as the objective to develop “intimate knowledge of Christ that I might be with him, become like him, and live for him.” This theme of “with – like – for” him helps to keep the perspective. The threefold perspective is reflected in nearly every exercise.
The book is divided into five parts:
Part I – seeing yourself as God sees you (week 1)
Part II – the life and ministry of Christ (week 2-6)
Part III – the suffering of Christ (week 7)
Part IV – the resurrection of Christ (week 8 )
Every week starts with some introductory teaching about different prayer styles and related topics, which are then practiced during the exercises of the week. Each daily exercise focuses on a biblical passage using different ways of reflecting on it.
For example, in one week the author explains the different types of prayer, such as preparatory prayer, meditative reading, imaginative contemplation, heart prayer, prayer of petition, prayer of adoration, prayer of rest and infused prayer. In another week he introduces the reader to four types of insight – principle insight, attachment insight, interior insight and detachment insight. Another time the author expands on themes such as the “Four Degrees of Humility,” why we experience desolation, or how to rest in the Lord. Every week finishes with experiences from “Friends on the Journey” which can help answer certain questions or responds to problems many people have.
Listing these concepts may sound very theoretical and overwhelming, and it can be difficult to remember the different terms. However, since they are introduced gradually and practiced for one week before other new concepts are presented, one is able to grow into them and absorb them into one’s personal practice. Not every style is for everybody but practicing all the styles for a time helps to discover new approaches to prayer and find out which ones are most beneficial for oneself. The goal is not theoretical knowledge but real intimacy with God so as to reach the objective:
“be with him, become like him, and live for him.”
The book has been a real blessing to me and I recommend it highly. I believe that every individual working through it will grow in their relationship with Christ, even though the effects will be different for each person.
In closing, I want to mention and underline one aspect that I found especially interesting:
When reading the Bible or listening to a sermon most insights fall into four categories – principle insights (general principle, fundamental truth), attachment insights (something that inspires me to love God more), interior insights (increases self-understanding), and detachment insights (things that we need to let go of, that hinder our devotion to God). We need all of these types of insights, but it is the Attachment Insights that we need most because they motivate us to become more like Christ. Many of us, especially pastors and teachers tend to focus on Principle Insights but spiritual principles will not lead to increased delight in or intimacy with the Lord during prayer, and therefore not have the same transformational effect as an Attachment Insight. The reality of Christ’s love and presence shines best through people who know how to cherish Attachment Insights.
Does this surprise me? No, not really but until now I had not made this connection. It is nothing new that rules and principles rarely lead to transformation but relational modeling and healthy attachment can do that. Therefore we are more likely to grow in our relationship with God and be transformed into his image when we let our hearts be attracted to the person and work of Jesus than when we just focus on general principles. In practical terms, this means if a text triggers different types of insights in us, and we sense no special guidance by the Spirit to focus on one of them, it is best to focus on an Attachment Insight if you want to become more like Christ.
A truly humble person is sensible of his natural distance from God; of his dependence on Him; of the insufficiency of his own power and wisdom.
Standing Under the Cross
Standing erect, holding our heads high, is the attitude of spiritually mature people in face of the calamities of our world. The facts of everyday life are a rich source for doomsday thinking and feeling. But it is possible for us to resist this temptation and to stand with self-confidence in this world, never losing our spiritual ground, always aware that “sky and earth will pass away” but the words of Jesus will never pass away (see Luke 21:33).
Let us be like Mary, the mother of Jesus, who stood under the cross, trusting in God’s faithfulness notwithstanding the death of his beloved Child.
~ Henri J.M. Nouwen in Bread for the Journey
received through “Daily Meditation” from HenriNouwen.org
An Enabler Asks for Help
Someone I love is buried
beneath fear and paralysis.
She has forgotten how gloriously You made her.
And I seem to have forgotten that Your love for her
far exceeds my limited version.
Forgive me for the many years I’ve rushed in to do Your job. (As if!)
My trust in You has been wavering and impatient.
But how do I watch a train-wreck like this?
How do I resist the crazy urge to stand in front of the train
that threatens the life of my loved one?
Watching her suffer has moved me to act.
But has it moved me to sit and seek Your solution?
Not until now. Finally. The uncertainty scares me, though.
Putting ‘my rescue-plan’ on hold makes me feel uncaring
and negligent. But I am actually trying to practice radical trust
in You. Please help me be strong enough to be with her
without feeling responsible for her life.
This grip is horrible to hold, and so hard to release.
May my faith in You be sufficient
to stop this train, and get these filthy whites clean.
– Erika Harris
Meditating and prayer – Laundry + Prayer: I Don’t See the Difference – Prayables