Daily Prayer :: Wind

First steps on the journey of faith and community

August 18 – Keeping in Step with the Spirit: Live your “Yes”

Saying Yes to God: How to Keep in Step with the Spirit is our summer reading for 2018. On August 23-24 we will have online ZOOM sessions to see how many people we can get talking about what God is giving us through our reading. Sign up here.

Today’s Bible reading

Simply let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No;” anything beyond this comes from the evil one. – Matthew 5:37

More thoughts for meditation

Throughout his book, Tim Geoffrion has been open about his own struggles with saying “Yes.” In this chapter he does not shy away from the big questions that often strangle “Yes before it is voiced.

I began to see that the appropriate meta-question for my life was not, “How much can I do for Christ and his kingdom, given that I will continue to serve myself as well as possible?” The question has increasingly become, “What could I do—or, better, what would God do through me—if only I would let go of my self-serving choices and behavior in every possible area of my life?” The former question attempts to follow the leading of the Spirit with shackles and weights around my ankles. The latter persistently pursues freedom from “everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” so that I can better “run with perseverance the race marked out for [me]” (Heb. 12 :1).

The more I kept asking questions like this one and was not afraid of what the Holy spirit might show me, the more God helped me to find answers. What the Spirit seems to do is work through a process of raising questions in my consciousness and drawing me to Christ to look for answers….

As we increasingly embrace the call to live in the sacred love flow in a world full of suffering and need, keeping in step with the Spirit necessarily requires saying “yes” to the Spirit in every way we know how, without artificial limits. We will keep cooperating with however God may be seeking to transform us and draw us into the sacred love flow. We will keep going in our day-by-day, step-by-step walk of faith, trusting that God’s grace will guide and empower us to fulfill all Christ has in mind for us to experience and to do.

Listen and cooperate. Listen and cooperate. Saying “yes” to God, one step at a time, over and over again. That’s how we keep in step with the Spirit.

Suggestions for action

Working through a book and having deep thoughts is a good exercise in itself. But real depth comes when we do something—if we take steps on the path to which we are directed.

Geoffrion’s basic questions deserve some pondering:

  • What is the Spirit saying to you that calls for your “yes?”
  • How are you going to respond?
  • What are you going to do specifically?
  • What help do you need? Where will you look? Whom will you ask?
  • What are your very next steps?

August 17 – Keeping in Step with the Spirit: Ask for the Help You need

Saying Yes to God: How to Keep in Step with the Spirit is our summer reading for 2018. On August 23-24 we will have online ZOOM sessions to see how many people we can get talking about what God is giving us through our reading. Sign up here.

Related image

by Mike Kiev

Today’s Bible reading

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:16

More thoughts for meditation

Self-reliance may be the American way, but it is not the way to life in Christ. Tim Geoffrion summarizes his chapter on the subject like this:

When we try to fulfill our callings on our own, we bolster our self-confidence by saying things to ourselves like, “I can do this!” Motivational, perhaps, but such a rally cry can easily throw us back on our egos, which may help us to accomplish the task at hand but may also sow the seeds for pride and self-reliance, which ultimately cannot take us all the way to where God is calling us. When we go to the other extreme and face our weaknesses, sinfulness, and powerlessness, we admit, “I cannot do this. I cannot be the person god is calling me to be.” Truthful and necessary for spiritual growth, for certain, but if we stay at this point we may become demoralized and give up altogether. A third option comes from the Apostle Paul, who said, “I can do all things through him [Christ] who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13). In context, Paul was communicating to the Philippians that, on his own, he might not be able to handle the trials and temptations that he had to face in his life – whether it was imprisonment, lack of food, or threat of death, on one extreme; or religious achievement, high status, or abundance, on the other. Paul models humble, but strong self-confidence that is rooted in unshakable God-confidence.

No matter what we may be struggling with, keeping in step with the Spirit calls for humbly putting ourselves in a posture of prayer to listen for the voice of God, remaining open to whatever the Spirit may say, and staying ready to take action. From day to day, keeping in step with the Spirit means living in the sacred love flow and doing what we already know to do, with or without a special prompting of the Spirit. When we feel stuck or confused, or find ourselves outside the flow of the Spirit, it’s time to reach out again for whatever help we need. Sometimes we will seek wisdom and guidance, other times support and encouragement. Sometimes it is mercy and grace, other times strength and courage. We must both acknowledge our imitations and simultaneously trust in what God can do in and through us. We must ask for the help we need.

Suggestions for action

Especially if you are a parent or leader, caregiver or mentor, or function in some service or advising role, you may be eager to help but reluctant to admit you need help. So take a minute: What help do you need right now, from God or others? Wherever you sense a lack or sense a desire to be more or do more, ask for the help you need. Whatever is taking you off track or holding you up, ask for the help you need. Even if you simply want some encouragement or greater support, ask for the help you need.

Your journal might be helpful, as usual. Make a list of how you answered the questions, trying to be somewhat specific. Where will you seek for the help you need? If you are not ready to take action, a preliminary step might be to ask a trusted adviser to help you sort out your resistance.

August 16 – Keeping in Step with the Spirit: Keep the Faith

Saying Yes to God: How to Keep in Step with the Spirit is our summer reading for 2018. On August 23-24 we will have online ZOOM sessions to see how many people we can get talking about what God is giving us through our reading. Sign up here.

The Bright Light Of The Heavens Poster

Light in the Sky by Barbara Snyder

Today’s Bible reading

Why are you so downcast, O my soul?
       Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God, for I will yet
       Praise him, my Savior and my God. – Psalm 42:5

More thoughts for meditation

Frontal attacks on our faith accompanied by our own disappointment challenge the best of us to keep our faith. Tim Geoffrion tries to confront that head-on in this chapter. He concludes:

Disillusionment can be a friend, if we do not get stuck in anger, bitterness or self-absorption. It helps us to face the truth about real life and forces us to ask important questions like, “What can I believe about God that will hold up in my experience?” “What can I look to God for?” “What is the meaning of a real relationship with God?” Disillusionment can be the first step toward looking to God for what God truly has to offer: a sense of meaning, purpose, and hope that can exist in the midst of suffering and loss, precisely because God points us to what extends beyond the suffering and loss. When we let go of needing God to fix our current problem or spare us from pain, we become more open to the Spirit’s comforting presence. We may start looking for the meaning of life in our relationship with God and in the scared flow of love rather than in pursuing the American dream, materialism, success, fame, pleasure, or any other inferior rival. We will pray for an ability to serve God’s purposes in the midst of our suffering—such as by focusing on the needs of others, who observe us or look to us as models of faith, hope, and love.

Suggestions for action

Consider the struggles that undermine your faith. Maybe you are suffering. Maybe you feel the pain of others. Perhaps your loves are not working as you would like. Maybe you are disappointed with God or others you have trusted. You might have troubling personal or intellectual questions that are unanswered. If so, make a list of these people and situations. Reflect on the questions raised for you and the effect these imponderables are having on your faith, motivation and faithfulness.

Without repressing your questions or denying your feelings, what would “keeping the faith” look like for you? What difference would it make if you chose to trust in God in the midst of your unanswered questions? Write down what you think in your journal. It might be good to share them with someone you trust to hear you.

Today is Charles Finney Day! Learn from his faith at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body.

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