Delighting in God is an essential practice for sabbath rest. In the Bible, delight and joy are both fruit of the Spirit and a choice or a practice we are commanded to have. Today, let Psalm 16 guide us deeper into sabbath delight.
Rugged individualism runs through the veins of American life and culture. But the Lord in His mercy invites us out of the exhausting futility of pulling ourselves up by our own boot straps and into a courage and strength found in the His presence.
Today we are crying out to the Lord through prayer and fasting, seeking God’s heart for racial reconciliation. And every move of God is accompanied by radical prayer, including confession and repent. Psalm 32 tells of the joys and freedom of acknowledging sin and it’s effects in our lives.
We are made to work. But our work can either work for or against us. With an awareness of the presence of God in the middle of each of our working moments, our work can be powerfully formative. And work detached from a need to identify with it can be lovingly and worshipfully carried out. Listen to the Psalmist and to the minister of Henri Nouwen invite us into a renewed way to work today
What does it mean for endurance to have its full effect? For it to be endurance, we have to want to quit first. In following Jesus, and walking faithfully with him, have we wanted to quit? So again we ask, What does it mean for endurance to have its full effect?
In this song of Ascent, one of the songs of the people of God as they made there way to worship on the Mountain of God in Jerusalem, we stare into the face of the God who promises to protect us as we’re on the path of obedience.
Today, let us hear the invitation from God through the prophet Isaiah: “Come, everyone who is thirsty, drink, and be satisfied.” Right now, let’s go the well of God, and learn to drink deeply from his endless supply.
Each sabbath day requires that we stop working, as an act of total surrender. This can expose our deep desires to control our lives, to provide for our needs, and to be productive. Is there something keeping us from fully leaning on and trusting in the good hand of God to care for us as we embrace Sabbath rest today? Is there some inner drive, like some sort of task-master, governing our decisions and days? What might it look like to surrender that inner drive in favor of trust in the kind heart of King Jesus?
When Jesus teaches us to pray, he shows us that the way of Jesus is meant to be lived day by day. Twenty-four hours at a time with Jesus - that's the goal. We aren't taught to pray, "Give us this day our five-year plan," but rather, "Give us this day our daily bread." Today, let the presence of God with us and guiding us, one day at a time, be enough. May we know him more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly, day by day.
The narrative of the Bible reveals to us women and men who learned to fight for joy in God in the face of great difficulty. Often times this fight look like passionate praise, serious worship, and deliberate gratitude. Let this meditation on Philippians 4 and Psalm 69:29-33 guide us into this fight for joy today.
Psalm 33 invites us to consider how to use our words - what the Bible calls the "tongue" - whether we are in a time of plenty or want. When things are hard, it can be so easy to use our words to complain, to wound others, or to just fill up the space so that we don't have to feel the effects of hard things. On the other hand, when things are going well, we can be tempted to aim our words in the direction of ingratitude, entitlement, or arrogance. Today, let 's use Psalm 33 to guide our words in a direction that brings life to us and those around us.
In this Psalm, we have the merging of the metaphorical and the real - the Psalmist is in a dry place, thirsty, and without drink. This mirrors the inner condition of the Psalmist who feels dry and weary on the inside as well. What is the instruction for those who would drink deeply and be refreshed? The Psalmist invites us to come, feast joyfully and drink deeply, at the table of God's love, which is better than life.
Hard things come and go in our lives all of the time. Sometimes, they come and stay. And most of the hard things in our lives we would never wish for or wish on others. But, what if in the hard things happening to us, God was doing something in us? What if our trials were transforming us from entitled to grateful people? Could this be why the Scriptures teach us to rejoice, even in the midst of our various trials?
Pete Scazzero gives us four actions that make up the practice of Sabbath Rest: for one, 24-hour period of time we cease all forms of work - both paid and non-paid - in order to 1. Stop 2. Rest 3. Delight and 4. Contemplate. All of this is centered in the person and presence of God. Today, what might it look like to actively practice resting in God alone, who himself is our rest?
Our days are filled with a thousand potential irritations and stressors. What if the remedy for these stresses and anxieties was found in our proximity to beauty? To combat out sense of worry, anxiety, irritation, and stress, we re invited to slow down and embrace the practice of paying attention. Psalm 19 is our prayer of invitation that guides us into this practice today.
There is a connection between the root system that gives life to trees and the rootedness of our own hearts in Christ. The decisions, habits, mindsets, and postures we embrace throughout our days constitute the source of our life, the direction of our roots. Where do I go to find life? Colossians 2v2-7 invites us to choose to be rooted and strengthened in Christ.
If I accomplish my to-do list but do not have love, what have I truly accomplish that will last? If I gain knowledge but do not grow in love, what have I really gained? What if our days were aimed at giving and receiving love from God and others, to become more patient, kind, and humble? To become less irritable, distrusting, and self-serving? What if today, right now, we slowed down and let the Spirit of God fill our hearts with the love of God?
Many are the plans in a person's heart. But the Lord, in the end, He's the one who directs our steps. Our plans and desires are connected. The more we plan on, count on something, the more we begin to desire it. With the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting stay-at-home order, our plans were fundamentally disrupted. So, our desires have been left unfulfilled. The Proverb gently teaches us that God holds our plans in his hands. So instead of setting our hearts on our plans, what if we walked in a posture of surrender, and set our hearts on God, who holds all things together? Let us respond to this invitation today - to make our home in the spacious and perfect sovereignty of God.
Rejoicing, thanksgiving, testifying, and expressing praise to God is a spiritual discipline. It's a decision that takes practice, and deeply affects us. Choosing to praise, to name the ways God has been good to us, and expressing gratitude, even in the darkest valleys and most difficult days, lifting our voices in song as we express praise to God lifts our spirits and changes the posture of our hearts. In this way, joy is not merely circumstantial or a feeling. It is the fruit of the Spirit that is born when, through praise, we abide in Christ.
Sabbath rest comes when we stop, pay attention, and be fully present to God, our place in the world, and the time we're in. It's so easy to have this sense that we're supposed to be somewhere else - that there's something more important, more significant somewhere else. Today, the invitation is to rest, delight, and be with God throughout the moments of this day of Sabbath rest. It may not be your formal Sabbath day. That's okay. Let Isaiah 43 bring comfort and rest to your heart and soul today.
Imitations are rarely ever as good as the real thing. They can be helpful, up to a point. But they can't deliver on the promises of the original. God identifies as the shepherd of his people, the one who is close, speaks to them, and lovingly guides them to a place of peace and restoration. There are others who promise the same thing. Our hearts run to substitutes all the time - work, entertainment, pleasure, food or drink, etc. But there is only one Good Shepherd who knows, loves, and cares for his sheep - and his name is Jesus. Will we spend this day walking with him, listening for his voice, and abiding in his presence?
"How long, O Lord?"
"I will wait for you, Lord."
Both of these sentiments match the reality of the one who is deeply rooted in the presence of God - we are free to ask God our deepest, most painful questions and wait for him to answer in gentleness and compassion. We must only make the time to slow down, speak to God, and listen to his voice. How might we need to cry out to the Lord, to open our hearts and pour them out to him, and to wait for him to speak? Join us today as we anchor ourselves in Psalm 13.
Psalm 27 is a rich and profound prayer, with piercing relevance for us in these days. Through this song-prayer, we're invited to face and name our fears, bring them to God who is good, kind, and compassionate and want us to come to him in worship just as we are. Responding to the invitation from God Almighty requires us only to wait - to slow down, take several deep breaths, and listen for the Spirit to apply the Word of God to the depths of our hearts. Listen as we read and reflect on Psalm 27.
Day two of 30 days focused on abiding with Jesus through scripture and prayer. Today, we meditate on Psalm 23 and practice slowing down, and breathing in and out, and letting the Spirit of God take the Word of God more deeply into our hearts.
This is the first episode of a 30-day, daily spiritual formation podcast to guide us through the official end of the stay-at-home order due to the novel Coronavirus and COVID-19 in the state of Virginia. Each day from Monday-Saturday (taking off Sundays) will have a short, less than ten-minute episode, focused on scripture and prayer. Episode 01 is an invitation to embrace rhythms of renewal, so that we might be rooted deep in Christ, like a tree planted next to a stream of living water.
What is this podcast? Why does it exist? In short, this isn't about the content, so much as the experience. Our great hope is that each episode, released daily for six out of seven days in the week, would help us to abide in Jesus. Welcome to the Gospel Audio Podcast.