December 4, 2013

The Spiritual Disciplines: An Introduction

Toward the end of November, I bombarded you with a few posts about the Spiritual Disciplines as Richard Foster lays them out in his book, Celebration of Discipline.  There was not enough time in the series to give each proper attention, so over the next few months, once a week, I will share a post about one of the disciplines.

The title of this blog, Life in the Valley: Pressing on with Great Hope, is meaningful to me.  People often speak of "mountain top experiences" with God, longing for life to have more of them.  We want to live on the mountain top, really experiencing God, feeling spiritual intimacy and intensity more regularly.  But most of life is lived in the valleys - home, work, play, chores, relationships, and responsibilities - where the intimacy and intensity can be quickly swallowed up by the mundane.  The hope?

Jesus is Lord on the mountain tops and in the valleys!

As we walk the valley of life, what I would call normal life, we can press on with great hope because God is with us, right where we are, relating to us and willing and able to transform us more into His likeness.  Sure, we should desire mountain top experiences with God and we should look forward to eternity in heaven with Him.  But we can also know and experience Him now, right now, in our kitchens at home, at our desk at work, in our cars in traffic, and, well, you get the idea.

How do we do that?  Well, the Spiritual Disciplines are your answer!  I don't want this to sound like an infomercial; I am perfectly serious.  God has given us many ways to grow in relationship with Him.  None of them are complicated or only for an elite, ultra-spiritual few.  They are for me and YOU.  There is a reason they're called disciplines, though - they require effort and regular practice.  The Good News?  God provides all we need!  We take the gift and, rather than admire it from afar, we use it.

I will not be writing to you as an expert to novices.  Many of Foster's disciplines are areas in which I need to grow - a lot - or try for the first time! So let's learn together, eh?  It should be fun to feel stretched and challenged, all the while remembering our gracious God who is our Savior, Provider, and Sustainer.

This is your invitation to join me on Wednesdays for the next three months as we peek into avenues the Lord has opened up to us to grow in relationship with Him.  What a good and gracious God!

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.  2 Peter 1:3-4

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