This morning as I began my New Testament readings…I read this:
“FROM THE FULLNESS OF HIS GRACE WE HAVE RECEIVED ONE BLESSING AFTER ANOTHER.”
I’ve read that verse before…lots of times…I am sure that I have…but this morning…it just oozed with immense meaning…life…the very breath that I am able to take today…the penetrating reason that I can get out of bed each day…from the fullness of His grace…
Truly isn’t just the mere thought of the fullness of His grace enough…that could be the end of the verse…but there is more that reaches out from the length, breadth and depths of the fullness of His grace…we receive one blessing after another…whew!
At the end of church this past Sunday, the worship pastor reminded us that we would be celebrating the Lord’s supper the next time we gather. He encouraged us to ponder this question during the week:
What would my life look like without Christ’s sacrifice?
My life would be in shambles…it would probably not be characterized by words like fullness…grace…blessings.
I turned this verse over and over in my head…let it slide off my tongue…begging it to make a home within my heart…I thanked the Lord…I praised Him…I wept…I confessed…I smiled…He drew near…I felt joy…peace…hope…love…I whispered prayers for those I know and those I don’t…how could I not when I have received so many blessings…one after another…
Then I turned my attention to the book that I have been reading:
The book is called Spiritual Classics: Selected Readings on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines edited by Richard Foster and Emilie Griffin.
I have just started this book but it is divided up into 12 areas of spiritual discipline…there is a reading by different pilgrims of the faith, a scripture reading, some journal activities and questions and a short reflection by one of the editors.
This morning as I opened my book and read about meditation and contemplation by Joyce Huggett…I thought how great of the Lord to give me His Word first, drawing me to meditate and contemplate Him before I would read man’s words about God…
Some quotes of note:
“to muse” , “to ponder” ,”to reflect” ,”to consider”
“It means being attentive to God. The purpose of this attentiveness, this reflecting and this pondering is, among other things, to see ourselves in the light of God’s revealed word.”
“We meditate to give God’s words opportunity to penetrate, not just our minds, but our emotions–the places where we hurt–and our will–the place where we make our choices and decisions. We meditate to encounter the Living Word, Jesus himself. We meditate so that every part of our being, our thoughts and our affections and our ambitions, are turned to face and honour and glorify him. Yet another reason for learning to meditate is so that we may become conversant with the will of God…”
“Contemplation is nothing else but the perfection of love.” Thomas Merton
“Contemplation is the prayer of loving regard, the prayer of loving attentiveness, the art of paying rapt and loving attention to God and his world.”
“Contemplation is about growing in love. If we take the work of contemplation seriously, we cannot escape the theme of love–of God’s inexhaustible love for us, for people everywhere, for the whole creation…Contemplation is to know and love God perfectly in the depths of your being.” Jim Borst
“…its chief aim is to encounter Christ so that our love for him is rekindled.”
“It is impossible to contemplate until pressures have been handed over to God. When we transfer them to him, we find ourselves gloriously free with an uncluttered expanse of time in which to be met afresh by him. Perhaps that is one of the reasons Peter invites us to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7)”
“In the quietness, aware of his presence, we open our hearts to receive his love. The prayer is usually wordless and fed by a desire for him. This leads us on to a place where instead of seeking God, we are found by him. We discover that, long before we came to the place of prayer, he was seeking us. So we respond to our longing. We bask in the warmth of his love. We feel his gaze on us. He fills us afresh with his Spirit. We receive a new perspective on life–his perspective. We draw so close to his heart that we sense his concern for the world, and from our contemplation flows intercession as we catch his compassion for a hurting world.”
To that…all I can say is “Taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Psalm 34:8)
May God fill you with wonder and new revelations of who He is this week…
P.S. If you have never read a book by Richard Foster…I enthusiastically encourage you to read one or two or more…His book Celebration of Discipline was another world rocking moment in my life…I discovered it while in physical therapy school and to say that it made every textbook that I was supposed to be reading pale in contrast is an understatement…never read really great books while in graduate school…I repeat…never read really great books while in graduate school…but I am thankful I ignored that sentiment.
Emilie Griffin’s book entitled Clinging: The Experience of Prayer is one of my all time cherished books on prayer…It is not a “how to” book but an “oh…yes…” book…can’t really explain beyond that…
Tell me…what are you reading these days…and what books other than the Bible have left an indelible mark on your life…I would love to know!