Sunday, 21 August 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: August - Gift of Counsel (Right Judgement)

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Louise Crossley (No.215)


Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my thoughts.  Psalm 139:23

Counsel (Right judgement)
We tend to believe that good and bad is as blatantly clear as the sun and the moon. People who are polite, friendly, courteous, are good. People who are impolite, unfriendly and thoughtless are bad. 

Many times I've heard comments, as I'm sure we all have, like 'She's nice' or 'He's awful' from people, following their brief (positive or negative) encounters.

Recently I've changed my perspective. I now realise that good and bad to the mere human eye is inconceivable, no matter how it seems. Therefore, without good judgement, it would be easy to be led astray by actions confused for virtues. 

Right judgement is to fill our mind, to expose our body and to action out behaviour according to God's laws - inwardly.




In an effort to remind us to have the good judgement to not judge His children, as our eyes can only see a portion of the whole, our concentration should be on developing OUR best self.

I envision God reinforcing this gift through Kenneth Slessor's poem: William Street. 'You find it ugly, I find it lovely.'

   
Read the scripture slowly. 
Reflect on its meaning for you.
Listen for God's voice in the stillness. 
Pray for God's blessing upon you.



Louise Crossley













Sunday, 14 August 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: August - Gift of Counsel (Right Judgement)

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Malcolm Davies  (No.214)


Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
  


The primary way I have learned to know the will of God, and be graced to live out that will, is to prayerfully read the scriptures and the writings of those great Christians who have gone before us.

There are many challenges in this world and the are many complex political and social issues that come up for discussion, especially at work.

There are many persuasive arguments made by those who do not know the principles of the Kingdom of God.

By seeking to understand the scriptures through study of the Bible and the writings of great Christian writers such as Augustine, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena and Thomas More I have been able to apply their understanding and judgement to issues I have had to face.

All of these great Christians were people of prayer, study and service and that is what I have strived, with the grace of God, to imitate in my life. In that way I have come to discover the will of God and been able to follow his directions.


Read the scripture slowly.
Reflect on its meaning for you. 
Listen for God's voice in the stillness. 
Pray for God's blessing upon you.

Malcolm Davies













Sunday, 7 August 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: August - Gift of Counsel (Right Judgement)

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Jane Borg (No.214)
  
'…be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:2


When we have a decision to make, especially if it involves a moral response, we can feel this battle inside us – which way should I go? What action should I take? Should I give into temptation just this once?

I still think of the Disney cartoon with the little devil with the pitchfork. He sits on a character's shoulder while a little angel sits on the other, each whispering into the character's ear. It can feel like that, especially if we are not spending regular time with God so that he can teach us the right way to walk and the right decisions to make. Even if we do pray, these decisions will face us all the time.

Luckily one of the gifts God gives us through his Holy Spirit is the ability to judge whether a thought, word or action is leading towards God or away from God.

Let us pray for an increase in that gift so that we can move closer to God and bless others with every decision we make.


Jane Borg












Sunday, 31 July 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: July - Gift of Understanding 3

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Susanne Timpani No.213)




Life's path is never straight.  There may be smooth stretches, but they don’t last. A dead end causes our plans to screech to a halt. A fork in the road forces us to make an unexpected decision. A hidden obstacle trips us up.  If we fall hard enough, the injury is not only painfully inconvenient, but sometimes it signals the end.



Or does it? Would it make any difference if we followed the voice of a trusted Global Positioning System? (GPS) This examines all the possible routes and – within its robotic limitations – directs us away from the no through roads and back onto the path.

If we switched on our inner GPS, by sitting in quiet prayer, we are likely to hear the Voice of God. However, there is one significant difference. When we listen to the Voice of God, He might alert us that we’ve typed in the wrong destination.

If we trust in the Lord with all our heart and rely not on our own understanding, and acknowledge Him as we face all these detours, He'll take us to where He planned to all along. A deeper relationship with Him, where there is never an end.

Jesus said to His disciples, 
"I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the person whose ears are open to My words [who listens to My message] and believes and trusts in and clings to and relies on Him Who sent Me has (possesses now) eternal life." John 5:24 Amplified Bible


Read the scripture slowly.
Reflect on its meaning for you.
Listen for God's voice in the stillness. 
Pray for God's blessing upon you.


Susanne Timpani


Sunday, 24 July 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: July - Gift of Understanding 2

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Louise Crossley (No.212)


I have always endeavoured to make sense of experiences. As most people do, I understand people according to their behaviour. This is where understanding may get misinterpreted.  When we attempt to understand with our mere human minds, we decide, or more harshly, judge, at the same time.
We judge self by insisting on understanding experiences and why they happened.  

We judge others by understanding that their behaviour puts them into either the good or the bad basket. 

Sometimes we even judge God by understanding that when bad things happen to good people it isn’t fair.

Psalm 139:17

While understanding when we get-off-track in life is important so we can realign, I think there is much more to this skill.

Understanding, as a gift from God, is to comprehend that while we may have all the evidence in front of us, we do not have the qualifications to interpret life fully. This means we are not qualified to understand others.
We must acknowledge that Jesus died for all our sins so the sins of others is only His business. 

We must identify that the Holy Spirit is inside all of us and we can call on Him at any time.  
We must realise that the Trinity, if we look at it with human eyes, makes no sense at all so to try to understand it that way creates doubts.  

But, in the same way as understanding is more than meets the eye, the Trinity is too, and all we need to understand is that it is our salvation.
Therefore, understanding is simply and extraordinarily the knowing that we don’t know. 

It is to trust that only God can look into our hearts and into the hearts of others.
In essence, to realise that only God knows all and to fully trust in that, is the gift of understanding.

Read the scripture slowly.  
Reflect on its meaning for you. 
Listen for God's voice in the stillness.  
Pray for God's blessing upon you.







Sunday, 3 July 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: July - Gift of Understanding 1

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Malcolm Davies (No.211)

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.


When I was single, life as a Christian seemed relatively easy as I had few financial commitments, or obligations to take care of a family, and could do what I liked when I liked.

Of course I sought guidance from the Spirit, but primarily I only had to consider what was important to me.

One of the wonderful things about subsequently being married to a committed Christian was seeking the Lord together.

In seeking the Lord, we were of one mind to seek first the Kingdom of God and to make the decisions in our life that would allow us to love and serve the Lord.

In practice, that meant where we worked and lived would be where we could live out our faith. That meant not applying for jobs and therefore having less income than I could have earned because I wanted to be available to my family and the Church.

God has blessed us because we have tried, however imperfectly, to put him first in our lives.

Seek the Lord at every change in your life and trust him.


Read the scripture slowly.
Reflect on its meaning for you. 
Listen for God's voice in the stillness. 
Pray for God's blessing upon you.












Sunday, 26 June 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: June - Gift of Wisdom 5

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Susanne Timpani (No.212)

5 If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it.

 6 But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to tell you, for a doubtful mind will be as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind;

7-8 and every decision you then make will be uncertain, as you turn first this way and then that. If you don’t ask with faith, don’t expect the Lord to give you any solid answer



Do you find it difficult to make decisions? Or do you find yourself jumping into a new situation and then wonder how you got yourself there?

How many times do we find our minds being 'unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind'? v7

Do you have a mentor in your life who will calmly tell you to go away and 'pray about it'? Sometimes I find that response infuriating. I can't hear myself think, let alone sit still and listen for the voice of God.

I'm not sure how many decisions I've made where I've felt a definite nudge from God telling me yes or no. Yet the simple act of turning up for prayer makes us available to receive the perfect spiritual gift.

God 'is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him.' v 5

Reaching out to accept the gift activates its power to help us manage those waves. 'But if you 'don't ask with faith, don't expect the Lord to give you any solid answer.' v 8


Read the scripture slowly.
Reflect on its meaning for you. 
Listen for God's voice in the stillness. 
Pray for God's blessing upon you.

Susanne Timpani













Sunday, 19 June 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: June - Gift of Wisdom 4

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Susanne Timpani (No.211)


"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:33


I'm working on a new novel and I've struggled to understand the fundamental motivation of one of my own characters.

I know what he wants, but not why. I've had to 'interview' him virtually non-stop for over a week. While I walked, drove, cooked, stared into the computer…I've felt like shaking him, 'why? Why do you desire this goal? It's a crazy goal, but you desperately want it. Why?'

You and I desire many things; a healthy body, a successful novel, recognition in the workplace, a stable income, loving relationships. None of these are bad. Many of these God desires for us.

Wisdom is knowing that if our fundamental desire is for God, He knows best which of these desires He will satisfy.

'Seek first the kingdom of heaven, and all these will be given you.'

Wisdom is not a 'prosperity gospel.' It's a gospel of poverty. Complete emptying of all desire so that God alone is our heart's desire.

Read the scripture slowly
Reflect on its meaning for you
Listen for God's voice in the stillness
Pray for God's blessing upon you.





Sunday, 12 June 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: June - Gift of Wisdom 3

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Malcolm Davies (No.210)



                             The one who gets wisdom loves life; Proverbs 19:8 |
  


Wisdom is the integration of spirit and flesh.

When I was younger I went and listened to a talk on prayer by a person who tried to convince us that the ‘best‘ way to pray was how he prayed and when he prayed.

I was completely flattened by listening to him as I could not pray the way he described. I used the experience to reflect on the way I could be energised to pray based on my spirituality and lifestyle.

In one part of my working life I was traveling around the country and spent times waiting in airports. My prayer time was lacking as I was up very early and home late.

I reflected that the best way for me to pray was to use these spare times to pray. I found that there were quiet places in airports where I could read the bible and pray.

One of the powerful experiences of prayer was facing the rising sun out of the windows at Adelaide airport and offering my life to God in a new way before I travelled. That is how I integrated my spirit and flesh in that part of my life.


Read the scripture slowly.
Reflect on its meaning for you. 
Listen for God's voice in the stillness. 
Pray for God's blessing upon you.

Malcolm Davies












Sunday, 5 June 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: June Gift of Wisdom 2

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.

By Louise Crossley (No.209)


God never passes away
Theodore Tilton's  'Even this shall pass away' is one of my favourite poems. 

When I think of the Gift of Wisdom, I think of this poem. It follows the life of a king and his happy and sad occasions through life. 

While this king has many opportunities to satisfy his desires, he realises that everything in this world is temporary and so every stanza ends with: Even this shall pass away. What a useful mantra.

Would we desire riches if we remember: Even this shall pass away?

Would we desire recognition if we remember: Even this shall pass away?

Would we desire each other if we remember: Even this shall pass away?

With wisdom, we understand that everlasting life only exists with our desire to follow God and His teachings. 

Only this desire can eternally satisfy us. It is the only happiness that never ends. 

So next time we are tempted by a desire from this world, we would be wise to remember: Even this shall pass away.



Wisdom is knowing that...

'Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you.' Psalm 73:25

Wisdom is knowing that God alone can give us this desire...and that it's a free gift.

Read the scripture slowly.
Reflect on its meaning for you. 
Listen for God's voice in the stillness. 
Pray for God's blessing upon you.













Wednesday, 1 June 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: June - Gift of Wisdom 1

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.

By Susanne Timpani (No.208)





                                        As a deer longs for flowing streams,
                                        so my soul longs for you, O God.
                                        Psalm 42:1-2


Who doesn't enjoy a beautiful wedding? Our senses are delighted with music, food, flowers, the colours and textures of fabrics, the transforming impact of hairstyles and makeup and the elegance of jewellery. Our spirit is lifted by the palpable joy between the couple.

Like any event, weddings don't just happen. Hours of hard work, negotiation - conflict management - and careful planning have set the scene. My own wedding preparation was no different. When we requested a non-traditional hymn in the church repertoire, the musician obliged, but not before muttering, 'that's an odd choice of song for a wedding.'

As the Deer Pants
My heart's desire on my wedding day was for my husband, as was his for mine. But I knew that human desire can only last so long and I wanted our marriage to extend well beyond our wedding day.

If we truly want to fulfill our life's call, we must acknowledge the deep desire that we have for God. It is God who instills this desire in us.

Wisdom is choosing to place our longing for God above all else.



Read the scripture slowly.
Reflect on its meaning for you.
Listen for God's voice in the stillness. 
Pray for God's blessing upon you.