July 23 – July 29, 2019

WORD

1David spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.  2He said: “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, 3my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence.”

2 Samuel 22:1-3

24Jesus said, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock.”

Matthew 7:24-25

Reflection: The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock.

Think about those times in your life when it felt as if all the walls around you might come caving in to fall upon you.  What desperate or frightening times have you endured in life?  All of us have had such experiences.  When we give our lives to God we do not prevent such realities from happening.  In fact, one promise Jesus gave to his disciples was that “in this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33, NIV).  Notice that he doesn’t say might have trouble, but will have trouble.  But this promise is followed by an even greater reality – the assurance of Christ’s strength: “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We will face heavy rains of sorrow, floods of grief, winds of oppression, and the beatings of disappointments.  However, if we trust in the strength of Jesus Christ, then we will be able to endure all of these things and find the victory of resurrection life.  Jesus will hold us up in our weakest and frailest times.  This is because we are surrounded by Christ’s love and grace at all times.

St. Patrick put it this way: “Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.”*  Christ Jesus, in his love and grace, forms our foundation and the very sphere of our being.

Know this week that no matter what you face, no matter what difficulty besets you, the strength of Christ Jesus is your strength as well.  Plant yourself firmly upon the person and work of Jesus Christ and enter into the current of the Holy Spirit through prayer, fellowship with God, and reading the Word.  There is no better foundation to establish yourself upon for the days ahead – full as they will be with many blessings and challenges to come.

Journaling Focus: Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 

What does it mean for you to build your life upon Christ?  How can you live out this wise practice of hearing and acting upon the words of Christ?  This week, spend some time reflecting on these questions as you write.  How have you already been hearing and acting upon the words of Christ?  How might you hear them more clearly and build your life upon them more faithfully?  In what ways is your life still built upon shifting sand?

Sacred Reading:

This practice allows you to listen to the Scripture for the week (sometimes in larger context) and to open yourself up to God’s voice in that Scripture.

 

  • Click on the audio link above and listen to the Scripture.  As you listen this first time, ask God to point out to you a word or phrase from the Scripture.
  • Click on the audio link above again and listen to the Scripture a second time.  As you listen this second time, ask God to reveal to you the holy intentions for this word or phrase that is being spoken into your life.
  • Click on the audio link above again and listen to the Scripture a third time.  As you listen this third time, ask God how you might respond to this word or phrase being spoken into your life today.

Explore: If you would like to explore the Scripture more deeply, go to our Exploring Scripture page!

 

SPIRIT

Scripture Song:

Listen to the song, The Name of the Lord Is a Strong Tower.  This was my favorite praise chorus as a child.  As you listen, notice how the strength of God produces praise within us.  What is God communicating to you through this song? What might you communicate to God through this song?

Prayer Focus: You save me from violence.

Pray for those who are victims of violence – whether domestic violence, systemic violence from oppressive social situations or governments, or the violence of war.  Ask God to protect them and lead them into safety.  Trust that God is moving our world toward peace.  Consider getting involved in ministries and agencies that help victims of violence, such as shelters for abused women or refugee service organizations.

Meditation Focus: The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer.

NOTE: During these ten weeks, as we explore the images of God, the meditation will be an audio meditation. There are four pictures that will appear with each meditation. These pictures are referenced in the audio meditation and are intended to help bring focus to the audio meditation.

 

 

Examen:

Take some time to reflect upon your day or your week.  Follow the process below and open yourself up to the presence and work of God in your life this week.  Every week the structure is the same, but some specifics are changed to reflect the Scripture of the week.

  • Find a place and posture that will prepare you for prayer.
  • Begin by breathing in deeply through your nose and breathing deeply out of your mouth.
  • Invite God to lead you through the previous day or week.  For instance, if it is Tuesday night, reflect back on Tuesday morning, afternoon, and evening.  If it is Saturday or Sunday, reflect back on Monday through Friday.
  • Ask God to guide you through these questions:
    • In what ways have you been upheld and supported by God?
    • In what ways have you been in need of God’s strength?
    • How are you building your life upon the rock of Jesus?
    • How is God using you to be a source of strength for others?
  • Thank God for this journey of reflection on your day or week.  Ask God to continue to reveal Godself to you tomorrow.

Holy Action: 

Go outside, brave the heat, and find a rock – any rock that appeals to you.  Carry it with you as a reminder of God’s strong presence.  Hold it while you pray.  Show someone your rock and tell them how God has been your strength and foundation in life.

Breath Prayer: LORD God, we build our lives upon you.

 

 

 

 

 

*Quote accessed at https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/413139-christ-with-me-christ-before-me-christ-behind-me-christ.

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