This morning I have been drawn to learning more about prayer, of course, but also about sanctification. I have been thinking and learning about being aware of what I’m choosing in the moment. Yesterday it was brought to my attention the scripture that talks about what flows from the heart comes out of the mouth. Matthew 15:18, But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. I realized how evil I really am. How our nature really is sinful and our natural inclination is to choose that. I realized how very important it is to be still and think through what comes out of my mouth. Today after reading about Centered Prayer, I read that silence is God’s language. He asks us to be still and know He is God. Being still in His presence is what it takes to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us.
An analogy just came to me. We are setting up our above ground pool and we are still filling it with water this morning. My daughter just said to me to look at the pool, that it’s getting fuller. I said,” Yes, it takes time, but gradually it will be full.” God instantly showed me how this pertains to the filling of the Holy Spirit. The pool is being filled with a water hose and we all know how long this takes, right? So, if I’m only allowing a small opening for the Holy Spirit to dwell in me then it’s going to take some time to see the change. But if I can learn how to be still and open myself up completely to God, I could be flooded with God Himself, as it says in the Bible. Ephesians 3:19, 19 and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].
I’m believing that through Centered Prayer I could do this. I want to be flooded with God Himself. I want my words to reflect my heart, my heart for God. I don’t want to reflect the sinful nature. I pray for God to keep me aware of the difference so that I will be able to keep choosing Him. Help me Lord, to choose You. You know my nature and even Paul spoke about how he does what he doesn’t want to do. Help me to do what I want to do and say things that are only pleasing to You. Help me remember Your presence is everywhere all the time. I am on a stage where You are my audience. I only want to be pleasing in Your sight, Lord. Amen.
In Isaiah 58:1-14, God talks of the people’s idea of fasting which isn’t His idea. He then gives examples of what fasting looks like to Him. He doesn’t say to “give something up” but to give to other people. To make burdens light on others, feed them, clothe them, help them. Then He will be with you and help you and your light will shine among the darkness. Keep the Sabbath holy and delight in the Lord and don’t pursue your own interests on that day.
When we help people with the right motives God blesses us. If we don’t particularly want to do these things but override the flesh and do them knowing we are doing them for God then it becomes fasting. Romans 8:6-11, The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
Lent to Repent
The scripture reading today is Romans 8:12-17. It’s talking about our sinful nature and if we have the Spirit of God living inside us we will be able to overcome the sinful nature. We are no longer slaves to it. With God’s Spirit joined to ours we become children of God.
Ann says: Today we will practice our faith- because we will practice joy. Practice thankfulness. Practice smiling, practice Counting Gifts. We will repent of forgetting we are the Resurrection People.
The scripture reading sheds new light on what God calls fasting. I see that what He considers fasting is “giving up” our way and living His way. Living His way goes against our nature but if His Spirit is truly living in us and guiding us we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. We can live holy as He is holy. This is how we do it. 1 Peter 1:16, For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” Giving up our sinful nature ( doing it our way) and doing life His way is what makes Him glad.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the worlds way and forget God’s way. This is the fight we wrestle with every day. Choosing God’s way. As Paul said we do what we don’t want to do. Romans 7:15-20, 5 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. We know God only looks at the heart of a person. 1 Samuel 16:7,But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lordsees not as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” So what I need to be concerned with in myself is determining whether my heart is clean, not if I look good physically. True beauty comes from within. If my heart is troubled or hard it shows on my face. If I have been spending time in the Word and in the presence of God it shows on my face. Just like when Moses glowed after receiving the 10 Commandments. Exodus 34:29-32, When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. 32 Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai. This is true beauty, when people see Jesus inside of us.