Volume. XXXI, No. 50
Sunday, 11 June 2017


Spiritual Disciplines Part Four


What are the different Spiritual Disciplines? We will be looking at eight Spiritual Disciplines: Abstinence, Simplicity, Stillness, Meditation, Prayer, Reticence, Stability and Worship. Stillness The discipline of stillness is a response to the Lords command in Ps 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God. It is to remove ourselves from the hustle and bustle of our daily activities, so that we can place ourselves, alone and silent, in Gods presence. This discipline is not about prayer, it is not about daily devotions and certainly not about quiet time (which really isnt that quiet anyway). It is a time of silence and stillness to simply wait on the Lord. Remember this is not a time of prayer. When we pray, we always end up sending our petitions to God. This is really a time where we set aside everything and just enjoy Gods presence. Why would we want to practice it? When we let go of work, busyness, and socializing for a time, we start to also let go of ambitions, jealousy, unhealthy self-reliance and a sense of self-importance. We learn patience. We can discover tranquilty. Gods command to keep the Sabbath reveals to us how important it is rest and lay aside our work and busyness. Just as we can become too attached to our pleasures (Abstinence) and our possessions (Simplicity), we can become too attached to our activities. Have you come across people who cannot sit still, who must seize every moment of the day to do something useful? Why do you think we find it so hard to wait in a queue? When we want something, we want it now! No wonder its so difficult for us to accept Gods answer of WAIT, to our prayers. We wish God would just tell us 'yes' or 'no' so that we can move on. Keeping still is not something that we do well. This discipline is more than regular rest from our daily work. It calls for a regular withdrawal from social contact and conversation. Jesus set the example of withdrawing from people to pray. Mark 1:35, Luke 5:15-16, 6:12-13, Matt 14:13 and 33, Mark 9:2, Luke 22:39-41. (Even in the Garden of Gethsemane, we see that He separated Himself from the people around Him to pray alone). He also did this to prepare Himself for important events, such as the beginning of His public ministry (Luke 14:14-15) and the appointing of Apostles (Luke 6:12-16). What does it look like in practice? This discipline requires us to regularly withdraw from all activity into Gods presence. Theres a saying from the early desert monastic communities, sit quietly alone in your room and your room will teach you everything. In silence and solitude, we can encounter God and ourselves in powerful ways. With modern technology mobile phones, computers, tv, etc - this discipline has become much more difficult to cultivate. All the more reason for us to learn to be still and silent. What are some indicators that we might need this discipline? Always rushing from one thing to another. Wanting a constant noise in the background (music, radio or tv). Being workaholics or overly ambitious. Taking on more tasks than is advisable. Refusing to rest when sick. Having the mentality that if we dont do something it doesnt get done, or, no one else can do it. Not wanting to be alone, even for a short time. How might we start? Find a regular time and place where we can be quiet and alone for 30 min each week. During that time, turn off mobile phones, consciously set aside any thoughts that have to do with our daily activities (dont use that time to plan what were going to do). Begin with a short prayer and devote that time to be in Gods presence. Then sit still in silence (no background music) and listen for Gods voice. Regularly turn off music, tv or radio and learn to enjoy the sound of silence. Rest quietly when sick, place ourselves in Gods presence and pray for others who are ill too. If possible, take a real Sabbath. Before making any important decisions or any important events, spend some stillness time to contemplate, discern and prepare ourselves. To be continued Deacon Kevin Low Letter from The Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions God led them. Exodus 13:17 Every real saint of God, whether a Bible personage or not, has been truly conscious of Gods leading in his life. Joseph in Egypt, Moses in the wilderness, Paul on his missionary journeys, etc. all could testify to the fact that God had led and was leading. Though the leading was sometimes hard to understand and not always easy to find and follow, the fact remained that God led them. The certainty of Gods leading is precious to the Christian and especially to the foreign missionary. In Exodus 13:17 we note that Gods leading was a direct result of and sequel to His delivering His people from the bondage of Egypt. When Pharaoh had let the people go, God led them. Nothing is more logical, nothing more obvious than the fact that God, the Father, who spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, shall guide, lead and care for that for which He paid such a high price. Yes, He has promised that His all-seeing eye which discerns the needs of all His creatures shall be our guide, even unto death. A very precious part of our salvation is the certainty of Gods leading in our lives. The ministry of foreign missions encompasses many unknowns, as you can well imagine. Pauls own missionary journeys were filled with trials, tribulations, and an assortment of unknown factors that could have derailed the apostle had it not been for Gods leading. The same is true today among your Independent Board missionaries, and in your own life to the praise of His Name. In appreciation of your kind and generous gift, received in todays mail, I recognize that God has led you to make such a contribution. So, Hopefuls, thank you for your generous gift of US$14,187.00 for famine relief in Kenya. May our Lord bless these gifts as well as you, the gracious giver. A receipt will be mailed shortly. Yours for Missions Rev. Keith Coleman Executive Director

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Announcements

 Cry & breast-feeding Room has been set up. The room is adjoining the Sanctuary, next to the pulpit, with a sink & toilet facility.  Newcomers Welcome Night, Sun, 25 Jun, at 5pm.  Candidates for Baptism, Re-Affirmation of Faith & Membership Transfer: Please submit testimonies to Pastor Ki by 2 July.  Kenya Famine Fund established to help those suffering from famine. Fund closes on 6 Aug.  Cambodia Missions, Jan 2018. For details, please see Elder Michael D Lee.  Kitchen Duty helpers - This week: Team A. Next week: Team B. Looking ahead  Annual Congregation Meeting, Sat, 5 Aug.  Baptism, Re-Affirmation & Membership Transfer, Sun, 6 Aug. Prayer Items  Healing: Rev George van Buuren; Bro Yick Ho Lams father (cancer & salvation); Sisters Peng Moi Gan (Sis Peng Ha Yeos sister), & Christabelle Selvanayagam.  Gods comfort in their grief: Bro Warren & Sis Amanda Khoo & family.  Gods help & guidance to set up Bible College next year.  Journey mercies: All who are travelling.

 

 

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