Weekly Thought – January 28, 2020
Fred had a heart connection with the Elliott Class of Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas. His long time friend (and no relation) Jim Smith invited him to substitute when he was out of town. Fred constantly thought about what he would say when he was “up to bat” the next time. Deep friendships developed, and outstanding content emerged from these years. This week is an excerpt from a lesson in June, 1988.
As plans solidify for the mentoring “deep dive” for BWFLI your prayer support is greatly appreciated. We also know how you stand with us in praying for the schools. If you haven’t joined the monthly prayer network, please sign up and pray with us for our network of twelve schools.
I want to review the five steps of developing a devotional life which counterbalances the stress we all experience in daily living.
1) Contemplation – In this step we establish our understanding of who God is. We acknowledge and participate in the fact of His infiniteness and our finiteness. We experience the awe of God. Until we see our relative position vis a vis God, we are handicapped in our search for peace.
2) Meditation – While contemplation is just between God and ourselves, meditation is generally augmented by the thought and writings of great men and women of the faith. For me, personally, the old saints who help us drive our roots deeper into faith. I learned a great word which covers this – agrapha – meaning spiritual writings which are orthodox, but not in scripture. I like to distinguish between meditation and inspiration. Although there is a place for inspirational writings they do not have the lasting quality of meditation. Think of it this way: inspiration sprinkles the grass; meditation waters the roots. In times of high stress, the well-watered root system better serves us. I am not belittling the value of inspiration, merely recommending the further step of serious meditation.
3) Prayer – the attitude of gratitude is a requirement for healthy prayer. When we say, “Yes, but…” we have not come to the place of gratitude. Prayer isn’t a technique for manipulating God. Until we see that it is to ultimately change us, not God, we are not fully understanding prayer. The opportunity to be in constant communication with the sovereign God puts our situations into perspective.
4) Bible Study – in the secular we learn, then do while in the sacred we do and learn. So many are refusing to obediently do. They hold to the intellectual pursuit of scripture not seeing that it is to be transformational, not just informational. In high stress situations head knowledge unaccompanied by experiential action is of little help. “O, taste and see that the Lord is good.” We study in order to more fully feed on Him.
5) Fellowship – Christianity is not a “loner” religion. It is a community, a body, a fellowship of believers. This concept consists of both giving and receiving. There are those who haven’t matured to the point past wanting to only receive. And those who compulsively give out of egotism are equally unworthy. It is only in recognizing what others need and willingly accept what we need that we experience the inhale/exhale function of fellowship.
Stress and anxiety are part of the human condition. To live in Dallas in the mid-80s without experiencing the push/pull would certainly be living in denial. However, these spiritual disciplines can help counterbalance the pressure.
This week think about: 1) It is not 1988, but stress is still real. What can I do to create a counterbalance? 2) Who can help me develop spiritual disciplines? 3) How can my faith stabilize my work, family, and community life?
Words of Wisdom: “Christianity is not a ‘loner’ religion.”
Wisdom from the Word: “May my words and my thoughts be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my sheltering rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14 NET Bible)