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November 1st, 2009

Hearty Meal

Despite everything, I still struggle with the same inner wrestlings and my evening prayers often lead me to ask, "Lord, where do You want me? What is it that You would have me do?" I already know the answers to the questions, but I still feel as though I am missing something.

At the same time, my prayer and Bible study schedule has fallen into disrepair. I no longer get up early to pray like I did a few years ago and in the evenings before bed, I am often too sleepy to stay awake. One prayer habit has remained strong, though, and that's my meal time prayer. It's a simple little prayer that my family taught me when I was a kid, but over the years, I've found it to be a real blessing and I don't often miss it these days.

With that in mind, I decided to try something new. I'm not saying that it will turn out to be the best plan, but we'll give it a try and see how it goes. Since dinner is a daily part of my schedule and my pre-meal prayers have proven consistent, I plan to start a short prayer and study time just after dinner. I'm awake at that time of day and already sitting at the table, so it seems like the perfect time to spend meditating on God's word. At the moment, my plan is to start the study with four lines of prayer from Psalm 119:73 and 119:125, then read a passage of Scripture, and then end with the Lord's prayer. I've been reading the Sermon on the Mount lately, so I plan to restart that and take one passage a week. After re-reading it each day throughout the week, I hope to reflect on ways that I can apply the lesson to my actual daily life and keep notes about these meditations. I am really hoping that with more thoughtful study on God's word, He will have the opportunity to cleanse me and help me to grow. Then, I won't feel burdened with the need to find a mission because the kingdom of heaven will truly be within (Luke 17:20-21).

Psalm 119:73, 125
Your hands have made me and fashioned me;
Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.
...
I am Your servant;
Give me understanding, That I may know Your testimonies.

Maybe I will start making fresh mint tea to compliment my Bible study time. I'm debating whether I'm going to bring the mint plant inside during the winter months. I'm concerned that he won't like it indoors in the dry and warm apartment. If he does like the indoors just inside the balcony, though, I will have fresh mint all winter-long. Also regarding mint, I've heard a lot about mint juleps lately. I have never had one, but I've considering looking into where I might try one or else just attempt to make one here at the apartment with my own mint. I am not sure that would be such a good idea, though, since I wouldn't know whether I made it correctly or not!

The poor in spirit

My first after dinner Bible study was fascinating! I ended up stopping at the end of the first verse of the sermon and found that I had already bitten off more than I could chew. Matthew 5:3 - "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

The term "poor" also appears in:

Luke 4:17-18, 21
And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor..."
...And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Revelation 3:16-18
So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’-and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked- I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

The poor in spirit seem to be those who come to God with nothing to offer Him (except a contrite heart), and everything to receive from Him. Is this perhaps the first and most fundamental understanding that the Christian must have in understanding their relationship with God?

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