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September 28, 2016, 10:27 AM

Spiritual Disciplines



Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever (Hebrews 13:20-21). May we willfully choose to practice the spiritual disciplines (prayer, mediation, fasting, study, simplicity, solitude, submission, service, confession, worship, guidance, etc.) as well as the denial of self that we might experience and know our Heavenly Father in an intimate way.

There are no two ways around it, denying ourselves and the taking up our cross, in the full extent of the expression, is not a thing of small concern: It is not expedient only, as are some of the circumstantials of religion: but it is absolutely, indispensably necessary, either to our becoming or continuing His disciples. If we do not continually deny ourselves, we do not learn of Him, but of other masters. If we do not take up our cross daily, we do not come after Him, but after the world, or the prince of the world, or our own fleshly mind. If we are not walking in the way of the cross, we are not following Him: we are not treading in His steps; but going back from, or at least wide of, Him (A.C. Outler). The Lord has provided everything necessary to equip us for the Christ-life. We, however, must be willing to engage in those equipping practices. Therefore, what practices/disciplines will you pick up that you might know Him?

Annie Dillard writes: “God does not demand that we give up our personal dignity, that we throw in our lot with random people, that we lose ourselves and turn from all that is not him. God needs nothing, asks nothing, and demands nothing, like the stars. It is a life with God which demands these things. Experience has taught the race that if knowledge of God is the end, then these habits of life are not the means but the condition in which the means operates. You do not have to do these things; not at all. God does not, I regret to report, give a hoot. You do not have to do these things – unless you want to know God. They work on you, not on him."

I invite you to pray the following prayer with me: Lord, let my life be orderly, regular, temperate; let no pride or self-seeking, no covetousness or revenge, no little ends and low imaginations pollute my spirit and unhallow my words and actions. Let my body be a servant of my spirit and both my body and spirit be servants of Jesus, doing all things for your glory. Amen.

You are Loved!
Pastor Jason Stevens


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