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Abide in Prayer

Maybe people that we work with in spiritual direction/mentoring find it hard to be still with Jesus. When they get alone and quiet themselves for prayer they have trouble settling down. Their bodies are antsy. Their minds are restless and wander from one thought to another. Many distractions seize hold of their attention, sidetracking them from connecting meaningfully with Jesus.

I can relate! People are often surprised to hear this. I have always been an active, energetic, productive person.  And that’s putting it mildly! For years I was a workaholic, thriving on adrenaline and plagued with feelings of inadequacy and anxiety. (You can read my story of recovery: Hurry Up and Be Still!)

Learning to be quiet, still, unhurried, and focused on Christ in my midst hasn’t come easy for me. I’ve had to discipline myself to slooooow down and appreciate God’s Word to me. I’ve had learn to heed the advice of the writer to Hebrews: “Be careful!… Make every effort to enter God’s rest” (Hebrews 4:1, 11).

To Abide in Prayer is to Be Still with Jesus

Jesus said, “Abide in me and you will bear much fruit” (John 15:5, paraphrase). But what does it mean to abide in Christ? To abide is to remain. It’s to stay connected like the branch to the vine. We remain connected to Christ in trust, dependence, and worship — in our thoughts as much as possible and in the deep attitude of our heart, most of which is unconscious to us at any given time.

Using short phrases from Scripture is a way to practice our abiding in prayer. It’s a way into contemplative prayer in which we seek to be still with Jesus and grow in his peace and power. Marinating in some beloved words of the Bible helps us to grow deeper in our understanding of God and his life that he invites us into. It helps us to center ourselves in Christ, the Word of God made flesh.

As Jesus taught, we want to be like the grapevine branch that yields clusters of juicy grapes! The way to bear fruit, Jesus says, is to “abide” in, or remain interconnected with him and his words. Jesus is our Vine, the Father is our Gardener, and the Holy Spirit is the life of Christ flowing into us and through us to others so that we bear fruit for his kingdom (John 15:1-7).

We all want to bear good fruit in our lives, to make a positive difference by loving and helping other people. But Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). We can’t bear fruit for God’s glory just by trying hard! But neither can we bear fruit by doing nothing! Jesus could have also said, “If you do nothing it will be apart from me.” That’s the same thing as Jesus saying, “Abide in me.”

To Abide in Prayer is a way to work at resting in God’s grace. We start by praying Scripture in intensive “quiet times.” And this helps us to learn to interact with and rely on Christ with us (abiding) as we do whatever we’re doing.

While driving my car or listening to a friend or writing this article now I remind myself to appreciate God’s goodness, submit to his will, listen to the Spirit, and share the love of Christ.

You can appreciate Christ with you teaching and loving you right now as you read these words… Just shoot up a little “arrow prayer” with me:

Father, I long to live in communion with you… Jesusteach me to pray… Holy Spirit I rely on you now…

Being in tune with Christ and walking with him as we do whatever we’re doing is what gives us the capacity to bless others naturally, joyfully, and for God’s glory (not our own).

Pray Scripture Deeply

“Abiding Prayers” are simple, and yet profound, Bible-based prayers that help us to trust and follow Christ as his disciples.

When we Abide in Prayer we pray Scripture deeply from our hearts by focusing on the words in quiet prayer, slowly repeating them to yourself over and over. As you turn God’s Word over in your mind you “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16). With the Psalmist you open your heart to the Lord and you open yourself to hear his invitation: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

When you go into quiet, meditative prayer to still your body and calm your mind with God’s Word you will experience inevitable antsiness and distractions — don’t get troubled by this!  The reason to set aside time to Abide in Prayer is to practice re-centering your focus to the Bible phrase you’re meditating on and applying to your life.

By prayerfully reflecting upon and re-centering yourself on a short, beloved phrase of Scripture you can tune out the worries and distractions and tune into God’s peace.  Then you can pray for the inspired words of God to seep down from your mind into your heart (which is your will) so that you are formed more into the image of Christ.

In Abiding Prayer we’re doing “soul work” to submit our will more fully to God’s will and to follow Christ wholeheartedly in daily life.

Join the Selah of the Psalmist

Something like Abiding Prayer goes back to the forming of the Hebrew Psalter, a thousand years before Christ.  In the Psalms we often see short prayers repeated over and over like “His love endures forever” or “Lord, have mercy.”

Also, 71 times in the Psalms — often in the middle of a sentence! — we find the word, “Selah.”  This word was inserted into the Psalms by the prayer masters who taught the people of Israel to pray the Psalms of David.  “Selah” probably means something like, “Pause to reflect and pray.”

Selah… Right in the middle of the Psalm — as it was being read or sung — a sacred space was made to be still and quiet before the Lord, to abide in God’s presence.

Selah…

Use Your Imagination

Many people find it helpful to imagine a Scripture as they’re praying. Imbedded in our language are symbols and metaphors. The Bible is full of wonderful pictorial images and illustrations. Imaging the Scripture you’re praying helps you to keep your mind focused and appreciative of God’s wisdom and grace. When your mind wanders you can use the Biblical image to help re-focus your mind on your prayer and take God’s Word deeper into your heart and soul.

For instance in meditating on Psalm 23 it’s easy to visualize the scenes. I visualize the Lord as my Shepherd and myself as his sheep and I follow along with the the imagery imbedded in this wonderful Psalm. I pray, “The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want” and I picture Jesus as my Shepherd and myself as his sheep… I’m happy to be near him in his green pasture… I drink from his still waters… I follow him on his path… (For an example of how to meditate on the imagery in the Shepherd Psalm see my popular article, “Psalm 23 Pictures to Pray.”)

Praying God’s Word to abide in Christ in this way gives us peace and power to love others effectively.

Practice God’s Presence

Try practicing Abiding Prayer in silence and solitude for five minutes or so at the beginning of your day to settle yourself in God’s presence. It’s best to do this in a quiet corner of your home or in a beautiful nature setting, but you can even learn to do this while you’re getting ready in the morning, driving your car, or waiting somewhere. By immersing our consciousness in Christ and submitting to his kingdom we come to rejoice in the Lord and find that his peace as a guards our mind and heart (Philippians 4:4-7). We are then in position to love others as Christ has first loved us (1 John 4:16,19).

When the word of God (words of Scripture that remind you of Jesus’ gospel that the kingdom of the heavens is open to you right where you are) dwells in you richly and deeply then you can carry it with you all day (Colossians 3:16-17). During the day briefly come back to your Abiding Prayer as often as you can remember. In the midst of whatever you’re doing just shoot up a little “arrow prayer.” (That’s what Ray Ortlund called it when he discipled me.) In this way you can learn little-by-little to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and to “practice the presence of God.”

Learning to do whatever we’re doing with an appreciation of Christ loving us, guiding us, and empowering us is the secret to a fruitful life. Prayer must come before and encompass service. In other words, we must live with Christ in order to live for him.

Abide in Prayer for Others

When we intercede in prayer for others we normally describe their needs and make specific petitions to God on their behalf, often going into great detail. Of course, this is a good way to pray.

Another way to intercede for someone is to use a verse or phrase of Scripture to abide in prayer for them. Praying Scripture for others helps us to form effective prayers and to stay focused.  And it’s a delightful, peaceful, and powerful way of participating in intercessory prayer. Using the words of Scripture to help us interceded reminds us that prayer is always initiated by God; when we pray we are joining in with the prayers of Christ at the right hand of God and the prayers of the Holy Spirit from deep within us.

To abide in prayer for someone else is to hold him or her in God’s presence with you, praying for him or her to be as the branch abiding in the Christ-vine, tended by our loving Father, and bearing fruit by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s Abide Now!

There are hundreds of Abiding Prayers that I’ve used to get settled and centered in Christ. They are all simple, compelling phrases (or paraphrases) from the Psalms and other places in the Bible.

Many people that consult with me in therapy, spiritual direction, seminars, and retreats have found that Abiding Prayers help them to rest in Abba’s love and to do the soul work that is needed for them to be formed more into the image of Christ.

Let’s try a few Abiding Prayers now! (You may want to print this article out and go to a quiet place so you can be undistracted and give at least a few minutes to praying.)

You might practice warming up yourself for prayer by focusing on your bodily posture before God. It greatly helps to engage your mind and heart on God when you’re intentional about putting your body into your prayer.

Sit comfortably…  Relax…

You may want to let your rhythm of breathing in and out become a prayer…

You may want to hold out your hands to open yourself to the Lord…

Breathe in God’s Peace

Hear the word of God to the Psalmist: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

You probably know this prayer. But did you know that it’s context in Psalm 46 is war and devastation? That’s the real test of our peace — can we rest in God’s care in the midst of distress and pain?

Let’s so some soul work and practice being still in Christ’s presence now. Consider something that scares you or makes you anxious… Name this to the Lord… Picture yourself in that situation…

Then sloooowly pray God’s Word to yourself as a “Simplifying Breath Prayer”:

Be still and know that I am God…

Be still and know that I AM…

Be still and know…

Be still…

Be…

Focus on Jesus

Here’s another favorite Abiding Prayer of mine: “Jesus, be the center.”

This little prayer of the heart is based on Matthew 17:6-8 (MSG), “The disciples saw Jesus, only Jesus,” and Matthew 21:9 (NLT), “Jesus was in the center.” It’s a simple little prayer that says it all! You might try gently repeating this prayer to yourself now: “Jesus, be the center…”

It’s helpful to use an Abiding Prayer to do some soul work in which we open ourselves to God in order to be formed more into the image of Christ. “Watch and pray,” Jesus taught us. We’re seeking for Jesus to be our focus and our desire in the activities of the day ahead. Consider your schedule and pray: “As I _________, Jesus, be the center.”

Submit to God

Jesus prayed on the cross: “Father… into your hands I commit my spirit” (Psalm 31:5 & Luke 23:46). This is another powerful, little prayer for our spiritual formation.

Try offering this prayer to submit the parts of yourself and your life to God: “Father… into your hands I commit my ________…” (e.g., thoughts… desires… health… relationships… dreams).

Remember we can also abide in prayer for others. Intercede for people the Lord brings to your mind: “Father… into your hands I commit __(name)__”

More Soul Shepherding

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man [or woman] of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). But some Scriptures seem to be especially anointed to minister God’s grace to us! Read Breath Prayers from the Bible for more some favorite Scripture based Abiding Prayers.

By

Conexión Medio de Semana – 13 de marzo de 2019

Silencio y Centrado

Escucha atentamente mi oración, oh Señoroye mi urgente clamor. Salmo 86: 6

Confesión:

Señor Dios, Tú eres el Creador del universo; Nos hiciste a tu imagen como tus socios. Usted sabe cómo funciona realmente el mundo y, en beneficio de toda la creación, nos ha llamado a una forma particular de estar en este mundo. En nuestra arrogancia, creemos que conocemos un camino mejor. Despreciamos la forma en que nos has llamado y asumimos nuestros propios deseos e ideologías, imaginando que sabemos mejor que tú. Perdónanos, Señor, por nuestra vida al revés. En tu amorosa bondad, enséñanos que tu camino es bueno. Cambia nuestros corazones para desear lo que deseas y para buscar lo que buscas. Señor, gracias por tu gracia y tu misericordia. En el Nombre de Jesús oramos. Amén.

PAUSA DE 2 MINUTOS DE SILENCIO

Lectura y devocional:

“El amor debe ser sincero. Aborrezcan el mal; aférrense al bien.  Ámense los unos a los otros con amor fraternal, respetándose y honrándose mutuamente”. Romanos 12:9-10

En Romanos 12 Pablo comienza su descripción de cómo es un verdadero discípulo de Cristo con una frase fundamental: “El amor debe ser sincero”. El amor sincero es una de las fuerzas más poderosas de toda la creación. El amor genuino condujo a Jesús a través de su vida, muerte y resurrección. El amor genuino hizo que el evangelio avanzara, llevando a la salvación de miles de millones. El mundo busca incansablemente el amor genuino. Y es el amor sincero el que hace que tú y yo seamos apartados para ser discípulos de Jesús. La Biblia dice en 1 Juan 4:7-11:

“Queridos hermanos, amémonos los unos a los otros, porque el amor viene de Dios, y todo el que ama ha nacido de él y lo conoce. El que no ama no conoce a Dios, porque Dios es amor. Así manifestó Dios su amor entre nosotros: en que envió a su Hijo unigénito al mundo para que vivamos por medio de él. En esto consiste el amor: no en que nosotros hayamos amado a Dios, sino en que él nos amó y envió a su Hijo para que fuera ofrecido como sacrificio por el perdón de nuestros pecados. Queridos hermanos, ya que Dios nos ha amado así, también nosotros debemos amarnos los unos a los otros”.

Pablo resume su hermosa descripción del amor en 1 Corintios 13:13 de esta manera: “Ahora, pues, permanecen estas tres virtudes: la fe, la esperanza y el amor. Pero la más excelente de ellas es el amor”. Y Jesús, cuando se le preguntó cuál es el mayor mandamiento, dijo: “‘Ama al Señor tu Dios con todo tu corazón, con todo tu ser y con toda tu mente’ …  Este es el primero y el más importante de los mandamientos. El segundo se parece a este: ‘Ama a tu prójimo como a ti mismo’. De estos dos mandamientos dependen toda la ley y los profetas”. (Mateo 22:37-40).

Fuiste creado para dar y recibir amor. El amor es tu llamado más importante. Dios te ha apartado para ministrar a otros, compartiendo el amor genuino que él te ha mostrado. Solo viviendo por amor encontrarás verdaderamente paz y propósito. Solo dando y recibiendo amor genuino te sentirás completo y satisfecho. La Biblia es clara sobre el plan de Dios para ti: Dios tiene la intención de derramar su amor sobre ti hasta que desborde, para que otros vean su gran amor a través de tu vida.

Entonces, ¿cómo puedes ser una persona que muestra amor sincero a quienes te rodean? ¿Cómo es una vida vivida por amor? Esta vida comienza pasando tiempo con Dios diariamente, encontrando el vasto océano de su amor por ti. En Juan 13:34, Jesús dice: “Este mandamiento nuevo les doy: que se amen los unos a los otros. Así como yo los he amado, también ustedes deben amarse los unos a los otros”. Los discípulos solo podían amarse unos a otros porque habían experimentado de primera mano el increíble amor de Jesús. No podrás amar genuinamente si no estás recibiendo el amor de Dios. Debes tomarte un tiempo todos los días simplemente para encontrar el amor de tu Padre celestial. Su amor está diseñado para sentar las bases de las buenas obras que tú haces. Él nunca te pide que des lo que no has recibido. Romanos 12: 9-10 nos instruye muy bien sobre cómo vivir una vida de amor genuino. Pablo escribe: “El amor debe ser sincero. Aborrezcan el mal; aférrense al bien. Ámense los unos a los otros con amor fraternal, respetándose y honrándose mutuamente”. Elige comprometerte con el bien y no con el mal. Llena tu vida con todo lo que es bueno. Muestra gracia y respeto a los demás porque eso es lo que tu Padre celestial ha hecho por ti. Vive intentando ser mejor que los demás en mostrar amor y honor.

Dios ha elegido revelar su amor al mundo a través de tu vida; se ha comprometido a usarte para atraer a otros a sí mismo. Él tiene un plan perfecto para formarte y moldearte para que seas una persona que naturalmente muestra un amor sincero a los demás por estar desbordado por su amor en tu propia vida. No tienes que colocar el peso de la salvación de los demás sobre tus hombros; solo encuentra el amor que Dios tiene hoy para ti. Deja que su forma de mirarte cambie la manera en que te ves a ti mismo y a los demás, y simplemente ama a los que te rodean con el amor que él te ha mostrado. Elige vivir una vida de amor genuino y descubre cuán ancho, largo, alto y profundo es el amor de Cristo por ti y por los que están a tu alrededor (Efesios 3:8-19).

PAUSA DE 2 MINUTOS DE SILENCIO

El Padre Nuestro (reza lentamente esto)
Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos, santificado sea tu nombre. Venga tu reino, hágase tu voluntad en la tierra como en el cielo. Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día. Y perdona nuestras ofensas, como nosotros perdonamos a los que nos ofenden. Y no nos dejes caer en la tentación, sino líbranos del maligno. Porque tuyo es el reino, el poder y la gloria para siempre, Amén.

Midweek Connection – March 13, 2019

Silence and Centering     

Lord, hear my prayer, and listen when I ask for mercy.

Psalm 86:6

Confession:

Lord God, You are the Creator of the universe; You made us in Your image as Your partners. You know how the world truly works and, for the benefit of the whole creation, You have called us to a particular way of being in this world. In our arrogance, we think we know a better way. We despise the way to which You have called us and we take up our own desires and ideologies, imagining that we know better than You. Forgive us, Lord, for our backwards living. In Your loving-kindness, teach us that Your way is good. Change our hearts to desire what You desire and to seek what You seek. Lord, thank You for Your grace and Your mercy. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

PAUSE FOR  2 MINUTES OF SILENCE

Reading & Devotional:

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Romans 12:9-10

Paul begins his description of what it looks like to be a true disciple of Christ in Romans 12 with a foundational phrase for this passage: “Let love be genuine.” Genuine love is one of the most powerful forces in all of creation. Genuine love drove Jesus through his life, death, and resurrection. Genuine love started the advance of the gospel, leading to the salvation of billions. The world tirelessly searches for genuine love. And it is genuine love that is meant to set you and me apart as disciples of Jesus. Scripture says in 1 John 4:7-11:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Paul sums up his beautiful description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:13 this way: “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” And Jesus, when asked what the greatest commandment is, said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).

You were created to give and receive love. Love is your highest calling. God has set you apart to minister to others, sharing the genuine love you’ve been shown. It’s only in living for love that you will truly find peace and purpose. It’s only in the giving and receiving of genuine love that you will feel whole and satisfied. The Bible is clear about God’s plan for you. God intends to pour his love out over you to the level of overflowing, enabling others to get a glimpse of his vast love for them through your life.

So, how can you be a person who shows genuine love to those around you? What does a life lived for love look like? It starts with spending time daily encountering the vast ocean of God’s love for you. In John 13:34, Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” The disciples could only love each other because they had experienced firsthand the incredible love of Jesus. You will not be able to love genuinely if you aren’t receiving God’s love for yourself. You must take time every day to simply encounter the love of your heavenly Father. His love is designed to lay the foundation for the good works you do. He never intends for you to give what you haven’t received. Romans 12:9-10 proves to be great instruction for living a life of genuine love. Paul writes, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Choose to engage in good over evil. Fill your life with all that is good. Show grace and respect to others because that is what your heavenly Father has done for you. Live a life of outdoing those around you in showing love and honor.

God has chosen to reveal his love to the world through your life. He’s committed to using you to bring others to himself. And he has a perfect plan to mold and shape you through his love into a person who naturally shows genuine love to others out of the overflow of God’s love in your own life. You don’t need to place the weight of others’ salvation on your shoulders. Instead, encounter the love God has for you today. Let his perspective of you change the way you see yourself and others. And simply love those around you with the love you’ve been shown. Choose to live a life of genuine love today and find out just how broad, long, high, and deep is the love of Christ for both you and others around you (Ephesians 3:18-19).

Devotional By First15

PAUSE FOR 2 MINUTES OF SILENCE

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Conexión Medio de Semana – 6 de marzo de 2019

Silencio y Centrado

Escucha atentamente mi oración, oh Señoroye mi urgente clamor.Salmo 86: 6

Confesión:

Padre eterno y amoroso, nos consuelas, apoyas y animas. Tu bondad y bondad van más allá de nuestro entendimiento. Tu gracia es más rica y más profunda de lo que podemos comenzar a comprender. Sin embargo, a pesar de Tu amor amable y cuidado fiel, buscamos seguir nuestro propio camino y confiar en nuestros propios recursos. Una y otra vez, elegimos nuestros planes sobre tu voluntad. Una y otra vez, nuestro orgullo, autosuficiencia y egocentrismo nos llevan por mal camino. Confesamos que somos pecadores que necesitan perdón. Admitimos que somos personas imperfectas y quebrantadas que necesitan misericordia. A través de la persona y obra de Jesucristo, perdónanos por todas las veces que te hemos fallado. Limpia nuestros corazones y haz que sean nuevos y frescos. Renueva nuestras mentes por amor a tu Reino. Danos poder para ser discípulos de tu Hijo para su gloria. Oramos a través de Jesucristo nuestro Señor, en el poder del Espíritu Santo, Amén.

PAUSA DE 2 MINUTOS DE SILENCIO

Lectura y devocional:

“Así que no temas, porque yo estoy contigo; no te angusties, porque yo soy tu Dios. Te fortaleceré y te ayudaré; te sostendré con mi diestra victoriosa”. Isaías 41:10

El Dios creador en su infinita sabiduría y amor eligió crear a la humanidad sabiendo muy bien que elegiríamos nuestros caminos en lugar de los suyos. Fuimos hechos con una increíble capacidad para vivir con nuestras propias fuerzas. Como resultado vemos tanto en la Biblia como en nuestras propias vidas, increíbles fracasos que muestran ante nuestros ojos claros ejemplos de nuestra debilidad colectiva. Lo vemos en la moralidad decreciente de la sociedad, lo vemos en la vida misma de quienes nos rodean y ante este cuadro simplemente parecería que no somos capaces de cambiarlo. La debilidad parece estar enredada en el tejido mismo de nuestro mundo. Un mundo que está plagado de la debilidad de quienes lo habitan.

Pero la Biblia también contiene historias increíbles de las victorias del pueblo de Dios. La lista es muy larga: Moisés y los egipcios, David y Goliat, Sansón y los filisteos, y la iglesia primitiva difundiendo el evangelio en todo el mundo a pesar de dificultades aparentemente insuperables. Ahora, junto con todas las historias de victoria, las Escrituras también contienen muchas historias de fracaso. Entonces, ¿qué hizo la diferencia? ¿Qué separa las historias de éxito de las historias de fracaso? La diferencia se encuentra en que el pueblo de Dios le permitió a él que sea su fortaleza. El éxito en las Escrituras se produjo únicamente cuando Dios se fortaleció en la debilidad del hombre.

El Salmo 103: 13-14 dice: “Tan compasivo es el Señor con los que le temen como lo es un padre con sus hijos. Él conoce nuestra condición; sabe que somos de barro”. Dios nos creó. Él conoce nuestra debilidad y sabe que lejos de él no podemos hacer nada. Pero la belleza del evangelio reside en que como creyentes ya no estamos separados de él. A través de la muerte de Jesús  ahora somos uno con Cristo envueltos en su historia de redención. Hemos sido salvados de tener que vivir la vida por nuestra cuenta y en nuestras propias fuerzas.

Tu Padre celestial te dice hoy: “Así que no temas, porque yo estoy contigo; no te angusties, porque yo soy tu Dios. Te fortaleceré y te ayudaré; te sostendré con mi diestra victoriosa”. (Isaías 41:10). Tu Dios es el mismo Dios de David, Sansón, Pablo y Juan. El éxito que tuvieron ellos fue el resultado directo de haber elegido la fuerza de Dios por sobre la de ellos. Pablo escribió en 2 Corintios 12: 9: “Pero él me dijo: ‘Te basta con mi gracia, pues mi poder se perfecciona en la debilidad’. Por lo tanto, gustosamente haré más bien alarde de mis debilidades, para que permanezca sobre mí el poder de Cristo”. Pablo eligió jactarse de su debilidad porque sabía de la fuerza inquebrantable de Dios en su propia vida. Sabía que su éxito era únicamente por la fuerza de su Dios.

Tu Padre celestial te promete su fuerza hoy. Así como él trabajó para ayudar a Pablo a difundir el evangelio y al igual que ayudó a David a matar al gigante Goliat, desea ayudarte hoy en lo que sea que esté por venir. Reconoce tu debilidad pero al mismo tiempo apégate al conocimiento de la increíble fuerza de tu Padre celestial. Deuteronomio 31:6 dice: “El Señor su Dios siempre los acompañará; nunca los dejará ni los abandonará”. La fuerza de Dios está siempre contigo. Todo lo que tienes que hacer es elegir sus caminos en lugar de los tuyos. Vive a la luz de la revelación de tu propia debilidad y de la fuerza de Dios, y experimentarás el poder del Creador del universo trabajando directamente en tu propia vida.

¿Dónde necesitas la fuerza de Dios? ¿Qué área de tu vida parece estar plagada de debilidad? Pídele a Dios que trabaje en tu vida y experimenta el fruto de colaborar con tu Padre celestial hoy mismo.

PAUSA DE 2 MINUTOS DE SILENCIO

El Padre Nuestro (reza lentamente esto)
Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos, santificado sea tu nombre. Venga tu reino, hágase tu voluntad en la tierra como en el cielo. Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día. Y perdona nuestras ofensas, como nosotros perdonamos a los que nos ofenden. Y no nos dejes caer en la tentación, sino líbranos del maligno. Porque tuyo es el reino, el poder y la gloria para siempre, Amén.

Midweek Connection – March 6, 2019

 

Silence and Centering     

Lord, hear my prayer, and listen when I ask for mercy.

Psalm 86:6

Confession:

Eternal and loving Father, You comfort, support, and encourage us. Your goodness and kindness go beyond our understanding. Your grace is richer and deeper than we can begin to comprehend. Yet despite Your gracious love and faithful care, we seek to go our own way and to trust our own resources. Time after time, we choose our plans over Your will. Over and over again, our pride, self-reliance, and self-centeredness lead us astray. We confess we are sinners in need of forgiveness. We admit we are flawed, broken people in need of mercy. Through the person and work of Jesus Christ, forgive us for all the times we have failed You. Cleanse our hearts, and make them fresh and new.Renew our minds for Your Kingdom’s sake. Empower us to be Your Son’s disciples for His glory. We pray through Jesus Christ our Lord, in the power of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

PAUSE FOR  2 MINUTES OF SILENCE

Reading & Devotional:

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Creator God in his infinite wisdom and love chose to create mankind knowing full well that we would choose our ways over his. We’re made with a terrible capacity to live out of our own strength. As a result, we see in both Scripture and our own lives incredible failures—examples of our collective weakness played out before our very eyes. We see it in the declining morality of society. We see it in the very lives of those around us that just can’t seem to get it together. Weakness seems to be threaded into the very fabric of our world. The world is plagued by the weakness of those who inhabit it.

But, the Bible also contains incredible stories of the victories of God’s people. The list goes on and on: Moses and the Egyptians, David and Goliath, Samson and the Philistines, and the early church spreading the gospel across the world despite insurmountable odds. And along with all the stories of victory, Scripture also contains many stories of failure. So, what made the difference? What separates the stories of success from the stories of failure? The difference is found in the people of God allowing God to be their strength. Success in Scripture came solely when God was made strong in man’s weakness.

Psalm 103:13-14 says, “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” God created us. He knows our weakness. He knows that apart from him we can do nothing. But the beauty of the gospel is that as believers we are no longer apart from him. Through the death of Jesus, we are now one with Christ, wrapped up in his story of redemption. We have been saved from having to do life on our own, in our own strength.

Your heavenly Father says to you today, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). Your God is the same God of David, Samson, Paul, and John. The success that they had was the direct result of their choosing God’s strength over their own. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Paul chose to boast of his weakness because he knew of the steadfast strength of God in his own life. He knew that his success was solely by the strength of his God.

Your heavenly Father promises his strength to you today. Just as he worked to help Paul spread the gospel, just as he helped David slay the giant Goliath, he desires to help you today in whatever lies ahead. Acknowledge your weakness but at the same time, hold fast to the the knowledge of the incredible strength of your heavenly Father. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “He will not leave you or forsake you.” The strength of God is always with you. All you have to do is choose his ways over your own. Live in light of the revelation of your own weakness and God’s strength, and you will experience the power of the Creator of the universe working directly in your own life.

Where do you need God’s strength? What area of your life seems to be plagued by weakness? Ask God to work in your life, and experience the fruit of co-laboring with your heavenly Father today.

Devotional By First15

PAUSE FOR 2 MINUTES OF SILENCE

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

DAILY RHYTHM OF TIME WITH GOD! – March 2019

Silence & Centering

 I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.

  • Psalms 9:1 

Prayer:

Dear Lord, You made me for good works. You gave me the desire to always learn and grow in my ability to love You and my neighbors. Help me to make progress on my goals each day and not to worry about the conclusion that you may bring out of that obedience. Remind me regularly that your conclusions of every matter will always bring fruit even though the conclusion may be different than I was thinking. Your ways are above my ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

  • Read Scripture – (Devotional of your Choosing)