Friday, March 4, 2011

Devotional Reading 040311

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Thank God for this spring like weather, even though Daly City was covered by fog. Praise God for His daily presence and work in the lives of His children. In my quiet journey to work, I enjoyed His words of encouragement whispering to my soul. He surfaced the concerns and struggles that I had from within. He called me to repent and relinquish all my concerns to Him…then the peace of Christ that surpasses all understanding sprang up in my soul. I need this kind of cleansing work of God that helps refocus my life in the midst of my busyness.

There are some similar forms of prayer found in the West, but without concentration on the name of Jesus or on any particular words. One of them which has had an influence halfway around the world was developed by a lay brother who remained a cook and servant. In The Practice of the Presence of d Brother Lawrence told how he tried to make the least thought or the leanest task an offering in the presence of Jesus, even to picking up a straw from the scullery floor as he went about his job of cleaning up after others.

There is no finer description of this way of quiet, of realizing the presence of God, than the writing of Thomas Kelly, another Westerner who practiced this kind of prayer. Kelly died as a relatively young man, and his writing were brought together by Douglas Steere. A Testament of Devotion tells essentially of living on two levels at the same time, being aware of the outer world of business and people and at the same time being in touch with a deeper level and with a quiet and living presence. In it Kelly clearly suggests that this joining of awareness does not make one less adequate in dealing with outer things, but more responsive and able to act.

Our understanding of the Holy Spirit or the actual presence of the Christ Spirit forms a bridge ‘to the use of the Jesus prayer. This prayer can then become a way of entering and reinforcing our inner stillness so that this Spirit can be heard and given leeway to accomplish two things in us. First, we can allow it to work upon the images of divided parts of our own personalities, helping us to become integrated or whole. Second, we can then allow it to form a deep pool of quiet within to which we can return again and again for refreshment, renewal, regeneration.

Researchers have demonstrated that people have the capacity to receive information from other minds without ordinary communication (telepathy), and to be in touch with both the future and the past (pre- and post-cognition). Other students are working on psycho kinesis (the capacity to influence objects by mind power alone) and psychic healing. Each of these capacities has been verified by research using careful scientific controls. Almost overnight we are being forced to realize that we have the ability to receive knowledge which does not come through ordinary perception and consciousness, and that the way this happens most often is in a relaxed condition of mind and body, either in the natural state of dreaming or in a meditational state.

Each of the ways toward silence that we have considered is an external vice, a method meant to help the individual find a way to seek an individual experience of God through silence. Any of these practices can be helpful so long as one is fairly sure that this is a method that fills one’s own personal need then follows it consistently and sincerely toward the goal of being silent. Christianity suggests there is more to life (in Christ) than silence and detachment and if this is clear to us, we can make use of these practices without becoming lost.

Prayer is more than words, meditation far more than a rational or cognitive process. It involves the whole person, the entire being—breathing, moving, acting, rising up and lying down, entire days and nights. Only as the whole person is turned toward the meditative process does the experience of God in Jesus Christ become a reality.

It is true that the scientific community has not fully explored the dynamics of our mind. There are so much in the “spiritual” consciousness of our mind that we have not used. In silence we are in touch of the untouchable (physical sense). We recognize the work of the Holy Spirit within and among us, yet we have not really tasted the beauty and power of His presence. Satan would do whatever to stop us from exploring not to mention exercising the power of God, which has been bestowed upon us in Christ. Jesus made it very clear as He commanded the disciples to do the Great Commission, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:18-19). It is not by our own power and might to fulfill the Great Commission. Jesus knows well that our human effort is limited. We need super-strength or super-perseverance to meet this challenge. Spiritual authority is available to us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the question is whether we are aware of the authority and exercise the authority against the evil resistance. Charismatic movement recognizes the spiritual power from within and focuses on exercising the power to reach out or to grow the church. Evangelical community tends to be more intellectual and concerns the danger of this “unknown” spiritual power which may lure us away from the passion for God’s word. To me, we cannot serve without the power from above, and this power is fed or charged by God’s word. In silence we recognize the reality of a spiritual warfare from within. The more we engage in this spiritual warfare, the more we agree with Paul that we need to put on the full armor of God which include truth, righteousness, peace of the gospel, goodness, salvation and God’s word. And to Paul, the battle field of this spiritual warfare is within our mind (2 Cor 10:5b). So if we do not resist Satan in our mind, we surrender to his dominion even though we claim to be on God’s side. Have mercy on us, O Lord. We give up too easily before we have not even engaged the spiritual warfare. Help us draw close to you through meditation and prayer in silence…

Your fellow comrade in Christ,

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