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Pray: Dear Lord Jesus, You make my life whole and worth living. Please continue to strengthen my faith and grow me up in my love for You. Pour out Your Spirit that I might find comfort in Your presence and the ability to live as the new creation You have made me to be through the washing of Your blood. In Your name I pray. Amen.
Read: 2 Peter 1:2–11 http://www.esvbible.org/2 Peter 1:2-11
Think about It: Having the knowledge of God’s presence in our lives makes each day a little easier to face. God’s presence brings purpose and direction to our words and actions. But there is one other benefit that isn’t about us at all. It is about those who witness our lives every day. When we live practicing the presence of God, others can see that in us and it shouts of God’s love to the world.
Galatians 5:22-23a says that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” The life that exudes these qualities speaks loudly to a world…

Unshaken

Pray: Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.
Read: Psalm 16 http://www.esvbible.org/Psalm 16:1-11
Think about It: The last 10-15 years have been tough. We haveexperienced natural disasters (Earthquakes, Hurricanes, and Tsunamis) of epic proportions. We have seen war and famine that bring feelings of horror and sorrow. We have witnessed as mass shootings have killed dozens of people at a time. The world watched as the World Trade Centers crumbled to the ground in a terrorist attack. And all of this happens right in our living rooms as the media brings it to us live. The overriding emotions are hard to describe. We arehorrified, shocked, and shaken. It can take days and weeks (if ever) to get back to a place of normalcy after these tragic events occur.
The One who is not shaken or shocked when these things happen is the Lord. He knows all that is coming and is present with us in the midst of the trial. But in our hum…

Roadblocks

Pray: Dear Lord God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thank You for making a path from me to You. Thank You for the blood of Jesus that restores me to Your side as a redeemed child. Please use this time of prayer and study to bring me to a deeper understanding of Your love and sacrifice so that my relationship with You may only improve. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Read: Genesis 3:1-13a http://www.esvbible.org/Genesis 3:1-13 Think about It: In the words of Genesis 1-2 we find the story of God’s creation of the entire universe, as well as of the first man, Adam. In Genesis 2:19, we are given a glimpse into the life that God and Adam had together during those first fantastic days.
Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature that was its name.
God has created everything and now He brings it all before Adam like a proud Father to sh…

Abide

Pray: Gracious Lord Jesus, please be praised in my heart and mindtoday. May Your name be on my lips in adoration as I dwell upon Your goodness and Your gracious work in my life. May this time of prayer and study bring inspiration and insight to me and joy to You. In Your name I pray. Amen.
Read: John 15:1-11 http://www.esvbible.org/John 15:1-11
Think about It:“. . . apart from me you can do nothing” The discipline being emphasized this week is that of practicing the presence of God. In fact, most of the disciplines actually lead us in this very direction, so it is well that we focus on this early in the series. Each of the disciplines, in their own way wake us up the fact that God is ever present in our lives. If we don’t “feel” His presence or experience Him in real ways the fault is ours, not His.
With that thought in mind we focus on Jesus words to His disciples in the upper room just before He enters the Garden of Gethsemane. He speaks to them very directly about the need to abide in …

Even Jesus

Prayer: Dear Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You are God, the only God, my God. There is no other Name by which I can be saved but Yours.I worship You, praise You and thank You for saving me. Take this time and make it Yours. Teach me and instruct my heart, that I might draw near to You. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
Read: Mark 6:30–46 http://www.esvbible.org/Mark 6:30-46 (Especially - And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.)
Think about It: The two natures of Christ are True God and True Man. As true God it is hard to imagine that He needed time alone. After all – He’s God. But as true Man, we can hardly blame Him. As Jesus walked the earth during those three years of ministry, he became a “rock star” in terms of popularity. Everyone knew who He was! He was the guy who could heal the blind and provide a meal, all in the sameafternoon. He was probably mobbed on a regular basis. We know how we treat our celebrities and how their lives are constantly fil…

Silence in Heaven

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, be praised in my heart today. Please join me in a time of meditation and prayer, that I might grow in my faith and You might beglorified. Pour out understanding of Your Word, that I might know You better and love You more. In Your holy name I pray. Amen.
Read: Revelation 8:1-5 http://www.esvbible.org/Revelation 8:1-5
Think about It: In the Book of the Revelation of John, we find adescription of the End Times, told from three different angles. At the end of the first vision (The Seven Seals), we have the reading for today. “When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” (Rev. 8:1) This silence is incredibly dramatic, as it comes immediately on the heels of the destruction of the world.Suddenly, there is silence in heaven where normally one hears the praises of God sung and chanted by the angels. Why the silence? Some commentators suggest that it mirrors the seventh day ofcreation, when God rested. This silence invokes th…

Arriving at Silence

Prayer: For God alone, O my soul,
             Wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
             He only is my rock and my salvation My fortress;
             I shall not be shaken.
             On God rests my salvation and my glory;
             My mighty rock, my refuge is God.
             Trust in him at all times, O people;
             Pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. (Psalm 62:5-8)
Read: Psalm 62 http://www.esvbible.org/Psalm 62:1-12
Think about It: Have you ever met a truly quiet person? Chances are you don’t know very many. We are born with the desire to communicate and get our point across. That is not a bad thing. But, like all traits, taken to the extreme it becomes a problem. Then there are those few who are truly able to remain quiet while everyone around them are talking and filling up the air with sound. Some of those quiet people use silence as a defense mechanism. If you don’t say anything, no one can fault you. Nor can they get to know you. S…

Remembering

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, You are awesome and the model of perfection. I praise You and worship at Your feet today. Please fill this time with the knowledge of Your presence bringing me to a deeper understanding of Your love and faithfulness. Holy Spirit, You are always welcome to deal with my heart and challenge my thinking about what it means to declare that Jesus is Lord of my life. In His Holy name I pray. Amen.
Read: Lamentations 3:19–26 http://www.esvbible.org/Lamentations 3:19-26
Think about It: One of the very positive results of spending time insilence is that we have time to remember the goodness of the Lord. In those moments we are able to reflect upon the past and remember where God has brought resolution, forgiveness, peace, and themiraculous. We avoid the quiet because of the negative things that come to mind, but that is a shame, because the good stuff surfaces as well.
It has been said that God uses the negative circumstances in our lives to shout at us, not in anger, but i…

Silence Stolen

Prayer:  Create in me a clean heart, O God, Andrenew a right spirit within me.Cast me not away from Thy presence; And take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; And uphold me with Thy free spirit. Amen. (Psalm 51)
Read: Mark 6:30–46 http://www.esvbible.org/Mark 6:30-46
Think about It: It is a part of our national ethos that we are a busy people. A great number of people who would call themselves committed Christians would also admit that they have very little time to pray. And the whole idea of having some times of silence? Well, that’s just too difficult to evenimagine. 
Apparently, the disciples had the same problem! We probably don’t often think of them as “busy” but according to this reading, they were too busy to even sit down and eat. Jesus admonishes them, “‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” In order for them to gain that space, where does Jesus sugges…