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Week 8 in our “Best Christian Practices” series. “Examen for Kingdom Work”

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Published by WVUMC, 2019-03-02 16:31:50

Week 8: WVCF Prayer

Week 8 in our “Best Christian Practices” series. “Examen for Kingdom Work”

Due to some formatting challenges last week,
we will be working through Week 8 again.
If you feel you have already adequately absorbed the Week 8 material, then please feel free to go back to previous weeks and revisit any of the Christian "Best Practices" you have been learning.
We will be back on track with Week 9 material next week. Thank you for your patience.

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Day 50:
Introducing “Examen”
1. Center Down
Our breath prayer for today: As you inhale, whisper, “We remember Your loving-kindness...” As you exhale, whisper, “...and cling to hope.”
2. Slowly read aloud the following Scripture passage
I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember— the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
His merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left.
God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
to stick it out through the hard times.

When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst.
Why? Because the Master won’t ever walk out and fail to return.
If He works severely, He also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. He
takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way:
Stomping down hard on luckless prisoners,
Refusing justice to victims in the court of High God, Tampering with evidence—
the Master does not approve of such things.
Who do you think “spoke and it happened”? It’s the Master who gives such orders. Doesn’t the High God speak everything,
good things and hard things alike, into being? And why would anyone gifted with life
complain when punished for sin?
Let’s take a good look at the way we’re living and reorder our lives under God.
Let’s lift our hearts and hands at one and the same time, praying to God in heaven....
(Lamentations 3:19-42, MSG)

For further exploration:
Videos: Article:
3. Kingdom Prayer
Amazing Father, we thank You for preparing us for Kingdom work through the spiritual discipline of Examen. Thank You for drawing us into a more intimate relationship with You through the practice of these disciplines. We will sing songs of joy to You. We will sing a new song of praise to You and play skillfully on the harp. Your Word, Lord, holds true and we can trust everything that You do. You love whatever is just and good; Your unfailing love fills the earth. We put our hope in You, Lord. You are our help and our shield. In You do our hearts rejoice, for we trust in Your holy Name. Let Your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in You alone.
Holy Father, You loved the world so much that You gave Your only begotten Son as Redeemer sacrificed on the altar of the cross, freeing all believers from slavery to sin. We will examine ourselves and confess our sins to You, that we may be forgiven. In our homes, we and our families vow to serve You alone. We will carefully examine our homes, just as we examine ourselves, to be certain that there is no unclean thing that would separate us from Your Presence.

Holy Spirit, as we study God’s Word, instruct us in preparing for the Spring Feasts. Bring to our remembrance areas in our lives that need to be transformed in order to be cleansed of sin or idolatry. Help us to develop a greater appreciation for the blessings the Father has given us. Father, bless our families and enlarge our territories so that we may have even more to bring back into Your Kingdom. Help us to share our experience with the practice of Godly Examen with our friends and family members and use it as a tool to witness Your love and salvation.
Redeeming Father, forgive us corporately and individually for our sins. Forgive us for holding on to our old ways and for being reluctant to follow Christian practices that are new to us. Forgive those who choose not to participate. Forgive us for being timid and afraid to share our experience with You with our friends, family members and co-workers. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed).
Holy Spirit, remind us all of those we need to forgive and help us to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He reveals them say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)

Holy Spirit, help us all not to yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
Almighty King, You created the heavens and stretched them out. You created the earth and everything in it. You give breath to everyone, life to everyone who walks the earth. You alone are the Lord! You will not give Your glory to anyone else, nor will You share Your praise with carved idols. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
4. Concepts to Consider
As we see in the Scriptures above from Lamentations 3, examination of the self is not a new thing. In order to see ourselves rightly, we must stop and “take a good look at the way we’re living and reorder our lives under God.”
The context of Lamentations is the traumatic aftermath of the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem in 597 BC by Nebuchadnezzar II. Lamentations 3 is a poetic and stylized “individual response” that echoes elements of the Psalms, Job, and Isaiah. One of the things all of these books teach us is that the healthiest Biblical response to trauma, disappointment and/or loss is lament, not rage. It takes a certain amount of self-awareness and honesty to process the emotions surrounding painful events.
But thanks be to God, He has provided us a way through the storm and the desert that can lead to life!
This week we will be using a spiritual organizational tool called the “Examen” developed by a Renaissance-era priest Ignatius of Loyala (1491-1556, Basque, Spain;

video biography: He, along with two other fellow priests created the Society of Jesus, or the "Jesuits." As Ignatius grew in the Lord and helped others to do the same, he kept a journal that was eventually gathered into a work he called “Spiritual Exercises.” He stated that they “have as their purpose the conquest of self and the regulation of one’s life in such a way that no decision is made under the influence of any inordinate attachment” outside of God, of course. These exercises emphasize many of the Christian “best practices” we have been exploring over the past few weeks. Among these practices, brother Ignatius crafted a tool for self examination and reflection in prayer, known as the “Examen,” and that is our emphasis for this week.
From the outset, it must be clearly stated that while the Examen is indeed a tool for personal, spiritual examination, it is not for the benefit of the self only; but rather, it is meant to equip the Jesus-follower for his/her work in the world around them. It is another stone in the foundation of spiritual practices or “means of grace” that give one the strength and integrity to have a loving, Christ-like impact in the world.
Over the next few days we will accent certain elements of the Examen and also practice the Examen each day. Don’t worry about “doing it wrong.” There are several versions of it that have evolved over the past few hundred years, but the basic ideas have remained the same. As always, you are encouraged to record your interactions with God as you practice the discipline of the week. I have provided a suggested "Lunchtime Examine" from for your daily use and consideration. (Obviously, the Examine can be done anytime of the day that works best for your schedule, and you can choose to use another format that you find more appealing). God bless you in your journey with Jesus this week!


Day 51:
“Practicing the Presence of God”
1. Center Down
Our breath prayer for today: As you inhale, whisper, “We attend to your Presence...” As you exhale, whisper,“... most merciful and loving Lord.”
2. Slowly read aloud the following Scriptures
oses said to the “ook ou say to me ring this people up ut ou have not informed me whom ou will send with me. nd ou said have known you by name and you have also found favor in y eyes. nd now if have indeed found favor in our eyes pray let me know our ways so that may know ou so that may find favor in our eyes and consider that this nation is our people.”
So [The LORD] said, “My Presence will go [with you], and I will give you rest.”
nd oses said to im “f our resence does not go with us do not take us up from here. or how then will it be known that have found favor in our eyes and our people s it

not in that ou will go with us Then and our people will be distinguished from every other nation on the face of the earth.” nd the said to oses “ven this thing that you have spoken will do for you have found favor in y eyes and have known you by name.”
nd oses said “how me now our glory” The said “ will let all y goodness pass before you will proclaim the ame of the before you and will favor when wish to favor and will have compassion when wish to have compassion.” nd e said “ou will not be able to see y face for humanity shall not see e and live.” nd the said “ehold there is a place with e and you shall stand on the rock. nd it shall be that when y glory passes by will place you into the cleft of the rock and will cover you with y hand until have passed by. Then will remove y hand and you will see y back but y face shall not be seen.”
nd it came to pass when oses descended from ount inai and the two tablets of the testimony were in oses hand when he descended from the mountain and Moses did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while [the LORD] had spoken with him, that Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses and behold! the skin of his face had become radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. ut oses called to them and aron and all the princes of the community returned to him and oses would speak to them.
xodus udaica)

For further exploration:
udioook: racticing the resence of God by rother Lawrence: http://presence.ideo/LawrencePresence1
3. Kingdom Prayer
Wonderful Father, we thank You for Your love and presence at speak the name of your school). Thank You for Your provision for our educators and students. We thank You, Lord, for safety and protection for every educator and student at speak the name of your school). Thank You for blessing our community with Your peace. We, Your people, come before You clapping our hands and shouting with joy unto You. You are awesome, Lord Most High! You subdue nations before us and put our enemies under our feet! Father, we thank You for choosing a promised land for our inheritance. We sing praises to You, our Father, and declare that You are the King over all of the earth!
lmighty Father, we decree that ou are the Light and Salation of our educators and students at speak the name of your school, so they will not be afraid. ou are their fortress, protecting them from danger, so they will not tremble. Our educators and students will hae

peace and safety at (speak the name of your school) and their homes will be places of rest and relaxation. We decree that our community is vibrant and prosperous. In Jesus’ Name, we confess that our educators and students, as well as the residents of our communities and the surrounding communities, will depart from evil and do good; we will all search for peace and work to maintain it. In the authority given to us by Jesus Christ, we rebuke every spirit of fear, intimidation, murder, theft, vandalism, violence, bullying, destruction, discord and perversion from (speak the name of your school).
I confess the following promises of God upon (list the name of your school):
Holy Spirit, give us courage and help us as Christians to share Christ with the unsaved educators and students at (speak the name of your school). Remove the scales from the eyes of those who cannot see Your glory and faithfulness. Use us as Your instruments to be a blessing at (speak the name of your school). Build a hedge of protection around our school. Help each educator and student to walk in love and unity towards one another. Remind all of us to watch out for one another. Let Your Spirit of love permeate our school and community. Holy Spirit, unify our community and help us to stand against violence, crime, and injustice at (speak the name of your school).

Merciful Father, forgive our educators and students at (speak the name of your school) for any acts of sinfulness, including theft, strife, discord, jealousy, rivalries, violence, injustice, hatred, oppression, greed, idolatry, pride, slander, sexual immorality, lewd behaviors, selfish ambition, abuse of any type, drunkenness, wild parties, division, and other sins like these. Forgive those at (speak the name of your school) and in our communities who do not trust in You. Forgive those of us who are Christians for not sharing Your Gospel with our educators, students and neighbors. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed).
Holy Spirit, remind our educators and students at (speak the name of your school) of those they need to forgive and help them to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He reveals them say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help our educators and students at (speak the name of your school) not to yield to temptation but deliver them from the evil one.
Eternal Lord, You are the blessed and Sovereign One; the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man can see. Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

criture eerences or te ritten et salm salm saiah salm ob Galatians atthew imothy
4. Concepts to Consider
In his famous book on discipleship, racticing the resence of God rother Lawrence aka icholas erman c. a former soldier and layminister in a armelite monastery in rance) famously said, “the most holy and necessary practice in our spiritual life is the presence of God. hat means finding constant pleasure in is ivine company speaking humbly and lovingly with im in all seasons at every moment without limiting the conversation in any way.”
Today we will inestigate the opening section of the xamen “sk God for ight” in other words, “ractice the resence of God.” When we ask od for His light, we are asking to see things His way and in concert with His Presence.
n odus 33 and 34 aboe we see od promising that His intimate, manifested Presence or face “pahnay” פּני in
ebrew) will go with oses and the People called srael into the desert and beyond. oses realies that without the manifested, coenantal Presence of od moing with him and the people that they are ulnerable to enemy attacks, hopelessness, and staration. The Hebrews are a disparate group of people who hae spent the last 400 years being taken care of, in a sense, by their oppressors, and they hae

limited experience in protecting and feeding themselves. They must learn to walk “on their own two feet” as inter-dependent, image-bearing partners with the Lord God Who brought them out of Egypt “with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm” xodus ).
And God does not disappoint. He has already revealed Himself to Moses and the Israelites through this immanent Figure known as “the Angel of the LORD/God” ho is accompanied often by fire and cloud) and through His Personal Divine Name xodus xodus ). And in Exodus 34, God manifests Himself to Moses via His Glorious Reality on God’s terms, not Moses’. He wants to see the Lord’s face, but He instead says, “ shall make y all y goodness pass in front of your face and will invoke y sacred ame in front of your face.” xodus ). He protects Moses from being “blown away” by the overwhelming Presence but allows him to see “is back” xodus ). God’s face--or full expression of His Divine Essence--cannot be seen or tolerated by humanity at this juncture (Jesus comes later).
So what do we take away from all of this? God knows us intimately as He knew Moses xodus “ have known you by name...” know your character your family your history your desires the good the bad the ugly and even stuff you dont know about yourself.) And God desires to reveal Himself to us, but on is terms, not ours. We may want God to show up in a certain way, but God alone is able to best manifest His Presence to us because He knows us better than we know ourselves (Psalm 139). So, when we ask for Yahweh’s Presence we are not calling on some god from a faraway place. He is always already “present” wherever we are, but what we are truly in need of is for

God to make His Presence known in the way He knows we need it most.
Today as you practice the xamen, ask God to surprise you with the gift of His Presence as He sees fit. How will God in His mercy and love “show up” to you today? Let us prepare our hearts to “see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2).


Day 52:
Cultivating an “Attitude of Gratitude”
1. Center Down
Our breath prayer for today: As you inhale, whisper, “We breathe in thanks...” As you exhale, whisper, “...and exhale fear.”
2. Slowly read aloud the following Scripture
m thanking ou God from a full heart
m writing the book on our wonders.
m whistling laughing and jumping for joy m singing our song igh God.
he day my enemies turned tail and ran
they stumbled on ou and fell on their faces.
ou took over and set everything right
when needed ou you were there taking charge.
ou blow the whistle on godless nations ou throw dirty players out of the game wipe their names right off the roster.
nemies disappear from the sidelines their reputation trashed
their names erased from the halls of fame.

God holds the high center,
He sees and sets the world’s mess right.
He decides what is right for us earthlings, gives people their just deserts.
God’s a safe-house for the battered, a sanctuary during bad times. The moment you arrive, you relax;
you’re never sorry you knocked.
Sing your songs to Zion-dwelling God, tell His stories to everyone you meet:
How He tracks down killers
yet keeps His eye on us,
registers every whimper and moan.
Be kind to me, God;
I’ve been kicked around long enough.
Once You’ve pulled me back from the gates of death,
I’ll write the book on Hallelujahs; on the corner of Main and First I’ll hold a street meeting;
I’ll be the song leader; we’ll fill the air with salvation songs!
(Psalm 9:1-14, MSG)
For further exploration:

3. Kingdom Prayer
Precious Father, thank You for allowing us to benefit from the beauty of all that Your hand has created. Thank You for our seas, forests, and skies. Thank You for all the beautiful and fragrant plants, and for the power and wonder of every animal. Thank You for the seasons and the rains that keep our earth reproducing. We will wake the dawn with our song. O Lord, our Lord, Your majestic Name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. When we look at the night sky and see the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars you set in place; what are mortals that You should think about them, human beings that You should care for them? The highest heavens and the earth and everything in it all belong to You. We are blessed to be the recipients of all the beauty that surrounds us and testifies of Your awesome glory. We will sing to You as long as we live. We will praise You until our last breath! May all our thoughts be pleasing to You, for we rejoice in You, Father.
Holy Father, we, the Body of Christ, decree that You have made us only a little lower than Yourself and crowned us with glory and honor. You have given us charge of everything You made. All things – flocks and herds, wild animals, birds, fish, and everything that swims in the ocean – is under our authority. But, we will not boast in our authority, but in the fact that our names are registered in heaven. We confess that we will not defile the land that You have given us, but we will guard against wasting our natural resources. Lord, we will adopt better, cleaner practices and teach them to our children so that we can

bless the earth for future generations. We declare that we will obey the laws of the land when we enjoy the outdoors, and we will not fail to give You glory for the beauty of all that You’ve created. It is our honor and privilege to care for all the creatures of the earth and we will respect and value all that Your hand has made.
Take a moment to reflect on all that you love about nature and praise God for it right now:
Holy Spirit, keep us always aware of how we treat the Father’s creation. Help us to find the amazement we once had as children when we look at the awesome beauty of our world. Show us, once again, the simple joys of walking barefoot on a sandy beach, playing in the rain, and touching the cool earth with our hands. Remind us to share these joys with our children and to teach them to value all that the Father has made so that generations to come can benefit from these things, too. Help us to make the most of opportunities to experience sanctified times of solitude while enjoying the peacefulness of nature. Help us to keep the Lord’s commandments to preserve the earth and care for all that is in it. Teach us to regularly do our part to respect and protect all living creatures as an act of love and gratitude to our Heavenly Father.
Father God, forgive us for our sins against nature. Forgive us when we flippantly complain about the weather. Forgive us for being lazy and refusing to participate in recycling and conservation efforts. Forgive us for being critical of those who have been appointed to lead the charge in promoting a return to conservatory practices. Forgive us for overlooking

and trampling underfoot even the most delicate flower. Forgive us for failing to teach our children the importance of showing appreciation and giving thanks for everything the earth offers to sustain us. Forgive us for borrowing from their future with our selfish greed. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that You have committed).
Holy Spirit, remind us all of those we need to forgive and help us to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal toYou names or faces of people that You may need to forgive. As He reveals them say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in Your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help us all not to yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
Sovereign Lord, You made the earth by the power of Your Word and preserve it by Your Wisdom. With Your own understanding You stretched out the heavens. When You speak in the thunder, You announce that the heavens are filled w ith w ater. You c ause t he clouds to rise over t he earth. You send the lightning with the rain and release the wind from Your storehouses. Holy, holy, holy are You the Lord of Heaven’s Armies; the whole earth is filled with Your glory! In Jesus Name, Amen.
Scripture References for the Written Text: Psalm 8:3-4, Deuteronomy 10:14, Psalm 104:33-34, Psalm 8:5-8, Luke 10:20, Numbers 35:34, Genesis 2:15, Matthew 6:13, Jeremiah 51:15-16, Isaiah 6:3

4. Concepts to Consider
Psalm 9 is a psalm of David celebrating God’s justice. The opening line, “ will thank the with all my heart will tell all our wonders” reveals that “thankfulness” grows best when...
1. We focus on His Name. As we discussed yesterday, one of the ways God makes Himself present is through His Name, which is the Self-revealed, intimate Essence of His character and attributes. We can cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” through recognizing how and where God is acting faithfully in our lives. Where is God showing Himself faithful to you right now?
2. We wholeheartedly engage with God. We must consciously make every effort (empowered by God’s grace and Spirit) to “hit the mute button” on our distracting or damaging internal and external habits ebrews ). The “noise” of certain distracting habitual thoughts and emotional indulgences e.g. mentally “rerunning” scenes of hurt injustice and selfloathing of being lauded and praised) and/or outward, physical habits and responses e.g. everything from spending too much time looking at a screenphone tv computerto the extremes of reactionary physical violence.) can keep us from fully engaging in our relationship with God as the primary Source and Ground of our life. What needs to be “muted” or set aside in your life in order to more fully engage with God?

3. e oen our mouts. n order to tell of ods wondrous and miraculous acts we actually hae to open our mouths. This action seems self-eident, but how often do we stop to just say thank you to od and others
4. We are aware of His wonders. These refer to the ordinary and extraordinary miracles of God. Train yourself through the Christian “best practices” to become more aware that every breath, every flower, every rain drop, every star, every moment of comfort, every healing (with or without medication), etc. are all miraculous and wondrous. When we are more sensitive to God’s ordinary action in our lives then we are better equipped to receive the extraordinary. But for all of it, we give our thanks and praise! What ordinary wonders did you see today?
As we’ve observed, cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” requires watering the “seed of thanksgiving” with awareness and willingness. As you practice the xamen today allow the soul of your being to be scattered with seeds of gratitude.



Day 53: “The Good”
1. Center Down
Our breath prayer for today: As you inhale, whisper, “Holy Spirit, make us aware... As you exhale, whisper, “...of Your goodness.”
2. Slowly read aloud the following Scripture
e good to your servant God be as good as your ord. rain me in good common sense m thoroughly committed to living your way. efore learned to answer you wandered all over the place but now m in step with your ord. ou are good and the source of good train me in your goodness. The godless spread lies about me but focus my attention on what you are saying; Theyre bland as a bucket of lard while dance to the tune of your revelation. y troubles turned out all for the best they forced me to learn from your textbook. ruth from your mouth means more to me than striking it rich in a gold mine. salm G)
For further exploration:

3. Kingdom Prayer
Glorious Father, we thank You for the blessing of employment. Thank You for Your favor that surrounds Your children like a shield. Thank You for Your goodness and mercy which follow closely behind us. Lord, Your Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations. You always keep Your promises; You are gracious in all that You do. You help the fallen and lift those bent beneath their loads. The eyes of all look to You in hope; You give them their food as they need it. When You open Your hand, You satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing. We bless and praise Your holy Name!
Almighty Father, we declare that Your Word will be operative in the lives of our Church Family members who work in unpleasant environments. We confess that as they commit their works to You, their plans will succeed. Holy Spirit, we declare that our Church Family members who work in unpleasant environments will yield to Your leading and guidance so that they will be empowered to be light in the midst of their dark work environment. They are peacemakers in contentious situations so they will be blessed. Lord, we confess that they will walk uprightly and do what is right so no good thing will be withheld from them. We decree that as employers treat their employees and customers with dignity, fairness and respect. They will be blessed as they endure persecution for doing what is right.

Holy Spirit, I will declare the following scriptural blessing for my employer:
Holy Spirit, please fill our Church Family members who work in unpleasant environments with Your wisdom, understanding, counsel, and power. Give them dreams and visions that exceed their expectations and provide them with the resources they need to successfully accomplish Your purpose(s) for them. As they perform their assigned tasks, help them to always work as unto You. Holy Spirit, help them to be peacemakers in their work environment and to not to participate in any negative conversations or behaviors. Father, help their supervisors and managers to communicate and write down the mission, vision and job descriptions and make them plain to their employees so that they can implement it. Help our Church Family members to not grow weary while doing well at their jobs and remind them that they will reap a harvest of blessings if they do not give up.
Merciful Father, forgive the employees and employers who work in unpleasant environments for all acts of sinfulness. Forgive those who have not been diligent in seeking Your guidance and leadership in their workplaces. Forgive those who do not trust in You, but lean to their own understanding. Forgive those who have compromised Your Word in order to make a profit. Forgive those employers who have not treated their employees and customers fairly. Forgive those who have not properly taken care of or shown respect for one another. Lord, forgive me for (list any
sins that you have committed).

Holy Spirit, remind us all of those we need to forgive and help us to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal faces or names of people that you may need to forgive. As He reveals them say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help us all not to yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
Eternal King, You are the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. You never grow weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of Your understanding. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
4. Concepts to Consider
Today we are investigating the aspect of xamen wherein we focus on life-giving moments, what we will call “the good.” It is sometimes difficult to determine what was “good” about our day if we’re not clear on how to define it. The Biblical definition of “good” tov in ebrew agathos in Greek)in Greek) could be summed up to mean what gives you life and joy as God is given room to breathe new life into your experiences and interactions.”

In the Psalm 119 passage above, “the good” is linked inextricably with God and His Word. Practicing the Presence of God through our willingness to be aware and humbling ourselves to have a teachable spirit hones our spiritual eyes and ears to perceive God’s goodness in our lives and in the lives of others.
“Goodness” can arise out of both positive and negative experiences. Generally we think of “the good” as being those joyful moments where something went well: The coffee tasted good this morning. My outfit came together nicely and I could find both earrings. The traffic wasn’t as bad as I expected. My interview went well. I heard a bird singing at lunch. My son gae me a hug when I came home, etc. And indeed, these are all good things, but Biblical “goodness” is independent of circumstance since it flows from the innately good Presence of God.
This is why it can be confusing when we read in the text, “it was good for me that was afflicted so that might learn our ways” salm lter) How in the world can affliction be “good? Let’s be clear. It’s not Go d directly causing the affliction, but rather God is on the scene when bad things happen and is available to bring good out of the affliction as we choose to turn to Him and His Word. For instance, on the surface it’s not a “good thing” to have a fender bender in the grocery store parking lot, but “the good” is when we stop and breathe and allow God into the situation. As a result, the experience could be a good opportunity to respond graciously rather than react angrily, to become a

more attentive and patient driver, perhaps to be a catalyst for the store to improve traffic flow markings that may prevent future accidents, or even to get a new paint job on the car.
All of these things are simple examples, but the common denominator is the Presence of God. Having gratitude for His Presence in every situation hessalonians ) can make room for the Holy Spirit to help us remember or go search for Scriptures that gives us clarity, comfort, or calm.
Take the leap of faith today to “taste and see that the Lord is good” salm ) no matter what your day brings.


Day 54: “The Bad”
1. Center Down
Our breath prayer: As you inhale, whisper, “Your face, O Lord... As you exhale whisper, “ we seek.”
2. Slowly read aloud the following Scripture
[The Apostle Peter encourages,] Finally, all of you, be like-minded and show sympathy, love, compassion, and humility to and for each other—not paying back evil with evil or insult with insult, but repaying the bad with a blessing. It was this you were called to do, so that you might inherit a blessing. It is written in [Psalm 34],
“If you love life and want to live a good, long time, then be careful what you say. Don’t tell lies or spread gossip or talk about improper things. Walk away from the evil things in the world—just leave them behind, and do what is right, and always seek peace and pursue it. For the Lord watches over the righteous, and His ears are attuned to their prayers. But His face is set against His enemies; He will punish evildoers.”

Why would anyone harm you if you eagerly do good? Even if you should suffer for doing what is right, you will receive a blessing. Don’t let them frighten you. Don’t be intimidated, but exalt Him as Lord in your heart. Always be ready to offer a defense, humbly and respectfully, when someone asks why you live in hope. Keep your conscience clear so that those who ridicule your good conduct in the Anointed [Messiah] and say bad things about you will be put to shame.
For if it is the will of God that you suffer, then it is better to suffer for doing what is right than for doing what is wrong. The Anointed One [Jesus] suffered fo r si ns on ce fo r all time—the Righteous suffering for the unrighteous—so that He might bring us to God. Though He died in the fl esh, He was made alive again through the Spirit. And in the Spirit, He went and preached to those [rebellious angelic] spirits held captive. It was these [rebellious angels] who long ago lived in disobedience while God waited patiently as Noah was building the ark. At that time, only a tiny band—eight people—was spared from the flood. (see Genesis 6)
The water through which the ark safely passed symbolizes now the ceremonial washing through baptism that initiates you into salvation. You are saved not because it cleanses your body of filth but because of your appeal to God from a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King. Now He has entered heaven and sits at the right hand of God as heavenly messengers and authorities and powers submit to His supremacy. Since the Anointed suffered in the flesh, prepare yourselves to do the same—anyone who has suffered in the flesh for the Lord is no longer in the grip of sin— so that you may live the rest of your life on earth controlled not by earthly desires but by the will of God. (1 Peter 3:8-22; 4:1-2, VOICE)

For further exploration:
Videos: scholarly min)
Books: he ook of orgiving he ourfold ath for ealing urselves and ur orld by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu
vil and the ustice of God, by N.T. Wright 3. Kingdom Prayer
ost Holy Father, thank ou for all of our disabled eterans. We thank ou for their unstoppable spirit and loyal serice to The nited States of merica. Thank ou for our hand of grace which has presered their lies. What awesome miracles ou perform for our people Our lies are in our hands and ou keep our feet from stumbling. ou hae tested us and purified us like siler. We glorify our wonderful ame. our faithfulness to our children is neer-ending. We are grateful to belong to ou. our salation surrounds us like city walls and praise flows from the lips of all those who enter our Presence. ou are our eerlasting Light and lory.

Almighty Father, we decree that the disabled veterans in our Church Family are the apple of Your eye. You are faithful to them and have delivered them from the wicked with Your sword. We confess that they are Your treasured ones whose hunger You always satisfy. We declare that their children have plenty and they will leave an inheritance for their descendants. We decree that when our disabled veterans are surrounded by troubles, You will protect them from the anger of their enemies. The power of Your right hand saves them. We declare that You will work out Your plans for their lives. Because of Your faithful, enduring love they are never abandoned, for You made them. It was nobody but You who redeemed their lives and snatched them from the power of the grave. We declare over them that despite physical loss, they are overwhelmingly victorious through Christ who loves them. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither their fears for today nor their worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate them from Your love, Father.
Holy Spirit, I commit to pray for the needs of the following disabled veterans today:
Holy Spirit, please encourage and uplift the hearts of those disabled veterans who feel lost, unappreciated, and rejected. Save those who don’t know the Lord Jesus in the pardon of their sins. Please help our Church Family to embrace our disabled veterans with

love and honor for their sacrifices on our behalf. Help us to incorporate them into the ministry, encouraging them to use their gifts to Your glory. We ask You to lead and guide President Donald Trump, and our military and congressional leaders to develop and implement effective programs that will aid in sheltering our homeless veterans, providing proper mental and physical healthcare to them, and supplying them with fair funding for their continued education. Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in the hearts of our disabled veterans. May they always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill their lives.
Gracious Father, forgive the sins of our disabled veterans. Forgive those who are so scarred with disappointment and confusion that they reject Your love. Forgive those who have not been obedient to follow the instructions of their physicians. Forgive them for purposely neglecting their mental and physical health needs. Forgive those of us, Lord, who have ignored and abandoned our disabled veterans. Forgive us for not honoring them for their service to our nation. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed).
Holy Spirit, remind our disabled veterans of those they need to forgive and help them to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He reveals them say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)

Holy Spirit, help our disabled veterans not to yield to temptation but deliver them from the evil one.
Magnificent Lord, You are a warrior. Yahweh is Your ame! Your right hand is glorious in power. It smashes the enemy. In the greatness of Your majesty, You overthrow those who rise against You. The strong right arm of the Lord is raised in triumph. The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
4. Concepts to Consider
Sometimes things happen that are much more devastating or unjust than a fender bender in the parking lot. Today we consider what happens to our life in Christ when truly painful and horrible things occur. When bad things happen to good people.
In the book of 1 Peter we see that in the early church suffering and persecution has been eternally redeemed in Jesus. No longer do the righteous suffer without hope. No longer will the unjustly accused go without justice forever. No longer does the blood of those wrongly killed (the martyrs) cry out for justice in the streets. No, in Jesus, God’s “New Creation” begins to take shape. In Jesus the hope of being resurrected with Him comes into full view. In The Risen Lamb of God hope dawns on the truth that

all the accumulated injustice of the ages will be finally and firmly dealt with in the court of “the One Seated on the Throne.” (Revelation 20)
So as you think back on perhaps some painful and horrific things that may hae happened at some other point in your past recent or distant, today you hae a choice. Will you choose bitterness or the harder road of forgieness Will you choose intractable anger or a posture of listening Will you choose to hold onto a raor blade of pain and sorrow instead of opening your hand and allowing ahweh apha the LO who heals to begin binding your wounds
Choosing to let go does not lessen the truth of the injustice or disregard anyones responsibility. What it does do is begin to allow you to heal. esus came to heal our diseases saiah ), including our social, relational, and political ones.
As you practice the xamen today, if there are bad things you are holding onto, consider releasing them into the love and justice of God and dare to begin the journey of healing. In doing so you are not only helping yourself, but those around you.


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