Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Devotional reading 010311

Dear brothers and sisters,

Good morning. Thank God for spring like weather – cool but filled with sunshine. God is doing amazing thing each day. He plans to use His children to become channels of His blessing to the whole world. We are blessed when we become His blessings to others. In order to experience this kind of blessing, we need to encounter Him in silence. Silence is not an easy practice – it directs you into the spiritual realm, which is unfamiliar territory to most of us. It may be scary for beginners. But once you familiarize this encountering, you will enjoy the beauty of it.

Out of silence disturbing emotions often come to the surface which are difficult to control. They can range from vague apprehension to terror and panic. Or they may vary from bitterness and indignation to aggressive hatred and rage… Most of our lives are constricted by half-conscious fears of some kind extreme reaction like becoming rigid at the thought of seeing the doctor or the fear of losing a job, or exploding with anger over some imagined slight.

It is not easy to accept that these violent and disturbing emotions are a part of our being and not caused just by some situation in die outer world. Realizing this, however, is not the end of the difficulty. Since these feelings do arise essentially within us, it seems on the surface that we should be able to still them to the point of extinction. And once they are under control, why should we let human passions disturb our meditation at a we should be able to reach a state of perfect relation to God that will free us from any disruption m our emotional life.

We forget that the real task is to bring the totality of our psychic being to God and not just to repress and split off those parts of ourselves that we cannot change. If we deny our emotions, we do one of two things. We may successfully repress them and so cut ourselves off from one vital source of energy, becoming zombis, half dead. Or else we dam these emotions up to the point where they break loose on their own and use up that valuable energy, usually in the most destructive ways. Easterners deny the value of the physical world and so there is little legitimate reason for emotion.

The difficulty lies in making these reserves of psychic energy available for our best use. This is possible through meditation and the effort to grow up spiritually and emotionally. In the silence one can allow feelings to arise, disconnect from their ordinary targets in the outer world, and learn to deal with the depth of the psyche directly. Meditation requires silence, and silence opens a person to the direct impact of emotions and to knowing the autonomous images that arise along with them…

People who have tested the use of silence in this way often speak of finding the transforming power of God. By making an effort to bring as much of themselves as they can to the encounter, they almost always find a plan for their lives. They often emphasize their realization that God’s greatest desire for the individual is to find wholeness, the integration of every aspect of personality into a whole. This work of redemption and salvation goes on in the silence when one is free to allow something besides ordinary occupations and ordinary levels of being to have an effect. The net result is spiritually mature individuals who have something to give to God, as well as taking something from Him.

Sometimes people have a profound experience of God and then fail to realize its full meaning for their lives because they do not stop long enough to listen. Unless such an experience is brought into relationship with one’s desires and fears and angers, it inevitably loses most of its force. An experience of God can begin to change our old feelings into new strengths—for instance, our desire for power over our children or employees, or our fear of the government or of a hostile universe, or our hostility toward our neighbors or people in the club— but only if we will bring these feelings into relationship with that experience of God. Few people find this way of integration until they try to be still.

Realizing the dividends of silence is like eating. Few of us quibble about our need to keep on eating. We can even sense the dangers of starvation. In much the same way, the life of the soul in most people needs to be sustained by the regular practice of silence, day after day, month after month, year after year. One cannot go in for silence in a big way, make a pile and then retire. It would be better to settle for a more modest undertaking so that one could stay in business and keep at it. Otherwise the profits soon dry up. One loses the capacity to have a sustained relationship with the world of the Holy Spirit and with the Father. Silence, for many people, allows the soul to grow and develop in its spiritual dimension. In fact, the more one finds the reality of silence, the more significant it becomes. While this in itself is a danger, the same is true of anything else we touch which has such real value.

This kind of soul search is very challenging. It takes time to quiet before the Lord, and emotional maturity to handle. If our devotional practice is simply Scripture reading and prayer for only 5 minutes a day, we cannot even touch the surface of our soul. We need time to dig deep, and it requires time. Modern people just don’t have the time to do such kind of soul searching…as a result we miss the transforming power of God, and experience Him in a most intimate manner. Yes, we may not have enough time to meditate and pray each day. We need to at least set aside time to encounter God in silence during weekend. Otherwise, our inner being remains undelivered from Satan’s bondage, even though we claim that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come (2 Cor 5:17). We need to take our spiritual life seriously, or else we will not be able to grow and stumbling other people along the way. Have mercy on us O Lord! We need your help to transform us on a daily basis…

Encourage you in His love,


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