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#375371 - 11/15/11 08:02 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2590
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty
I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust".
Psalm 91:1-2

Imagine yourself traveling across a desert in the heat of the afternoon sun. You are desperate for a place to rest. You need shelter from the heat. You search the horizon for a tree or a large rock that could provide the comfort of shade.

During the process of recovery we become aware of our need for a sheltered place in which to rest. The journey can be exhausting and disorienting. But we don't know how to rest. It doesn't come naturally to us. We don't know where to find a safe shelter.

Now imagine yourself resting in God's shadow. You are sheltered, safe, at rest. The heat of the desert will not consume you because of God's protection. You can sit and rest in God's loving presence. God is a shade, a shelter, a fortress. You can draw strength and comfort from God's presence.

Rest has the potential of teaching us two essential truths. First, we are not God. God is God. We are creatures. We are limited, finite, dependent. It is a good thing to be a creature with needs. Second, when we rest we may learn in new ways that we are loved. Because we are God's children, God loves us. Not because of what we do, but simply because of who we are, we are loved.

I turn to you, Lord
from the heat of the sun
and the pressures of the journey of life.
I turn to you
for shelter
and refuge.
I want to rest in you today.
Be my shelter
O Most High.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#375492 - 11/16/11 08:02 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2590
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30

God desires to give us rest. But we resist this gift. No matter how badly we may want to rest, it is not an easy gift to receive. We may be weary. We may be burdened. But we are good at minimizing and avoiding our needs. As soon as we get this next task done, then we will rest. As soon as there's time for it, then we will rest. We want to rest, but we have to work real hard to make time for resting and then when we're back at work we will need to work real hard to make up for the 'lost' time.

While we resist the gift of rest, many of us welcome burdens. We find it easier to believe that burdens are the gift God really wants to give us. We will welcome a difficult mission from God, a task, a challenge. We welcome the opportunity to wear ourselves out in ministry.

But the heavy burdens, the weariness are not God's plan for us. God's burden is light. God's plan for us is not exhaustion but soul rest. God wants us to be so rested that it sinks down to the foundations of our person. God wants us to be rested down to our souls. In rest we find that many of the burdens of life do not belong to us. We find the freedom to give back to God those things over which we have no control.

Give me the courage to come and receive from you, Lord.
Burdens weigh heavy on my soul.
Give me the courage to come and receive from you, Lord.
My restless soul longs for you.
Give me the courage to come and receive from you, Lord.
Replace these burdens with your rest.
Share with me your easy yoke
so that I can find rest for my soul.
Amen

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#375677 - 11/17/11 07:59 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2590
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest . . .let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:9-11,16

God rested from his work.

And God invites us to rest from ours. In our time of need God invites us to experience the rest-full-ness that comes from receiving mercy and grace.

But we resist. Rest is such a reversal of our expectations. We don't expect mercy and grace. We expect criticism. We don't expect to be invited to approach with confidence; we expect rejection. We don't expect rest, we expect to receive a list of demanding tasks to perform. Becoming the kind of people who are capable of rest will require us to change. It will require effort on our part.

First, we will need to change the way we see ourselves. We are attached to the illusion that we have no limits. We may not claim to be immortal, but if you examine our behavior, we act as if we need less rest than God. God rested. We don't. Clearly something is wrong. If we are to become the kind of people who are capable of rest, it will take some effort to change the way we see ourselves.

Second, to increase our capacity for rest, we will need to change our behavior. Rest is not an idea. It is a behavior. It will take some effort to change the way we live. We will need to learn the skills that make it possible for us to say no to over commitment. We will need to build rest into the rhythm of our lives.

God rested. We need to do the same.

Help me to acknowledge my need for rest, Lord.
Help me to make quiet spaces in my life
when I cease all my doing
and allow myself to be.
Help me to make the effort to rest today.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#375877 - 11/18/11 07:51 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2590
The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
>Mark 2:27

The Sabbath is a day of rest. It is a day to stop working, to reflect, to remember, to celebrate. It is a day for quietness and a day for worship. God's concerns about the Sabbath do not come from a desire to control us. Jesus made it clear that Sabbath-keeping was not meant to be one more compulsion, one more "should", one more obligation. God does not ask us to rest because he wants to create one more burden for us.

Rest for people is like oil changes for internal combustion engines. A lot of careful engineering goes into the manufacturer's recommendations about oil changes. Maybe we can put it off for a while, but we can't put it off forever. The engine will stop working. Irreversible damage will be done. The manufacturer does not recommend oil changes because it has a vested interest in selling lots of oil. The manufacturer knows what the engine needs and wants it to run for us without breaking down.

God wants our experience with life to be a positive one. And God knows what we need for this to happen. God knows we can put off rest for a while, but we can not put it off forever. We will stop functioning. We will do irreversible damage.

Many of us have a history of taking days of rest and making them the most rest-less days of the week. We have an amazing ability to fill a day of rest with non-stop activity. But expressing our compulsivity in leisure activities is not the same thing as rest. It will take some creativity and discipline for us to find ways to keep the Sabbath that work for us. But that's what God wants. God wants Sabbath to be 'for' us. The Sabbath is God's gracious provision for us.

Help me not to become compulsive about rest, Lord.
I am compulsive about so many other things.
Spare me from adding this to my long list of things to do.
You offer me rest, Lord,
because you love me.
Let me, out of a growing love for you and for myself
allow myself to rest today.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#376028 - 11/19/11 09:18 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2590
In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength
Isaiah 30:15

Our work is an important part of our identity. We have a legitimate need to contribute and to feel competent. Too often, however, this legitimate need is distorted by a compulsion to work. We work and work and work because we want to prove ourselves, because we want to feel capable and strong. When our identity and value are primarily wrapped up in our productivity it provides us with an appearance of strength. But this strength does not go deep - it is only a matter of appearances. The more we achieve or produce, the more anxious we become. We wonder when it will all come crashing down. We wonder when we will be 'found out'.

This text suggests that strength comes from other sources. Probably the most surprising suggestions are that strength comes from quietness and salvation comes from rest. Why would rest and quietness be so important?

Salvation is not possible when we are in charge because we are not the Messiah. We cannot save the world. We cannot even save ourselves. When we rest, we are forced to abandon our messianic illusions. When we rest we accept our place as creatures in need of being saved by someone with power greater than our own. When we do this, repentance comes and salvation is possible.

Quietness has a similar effect. We cannot hear what God has to say when our lives are full of noise. The frenzy of life can drown out God's voice. But when we rest, we can again hear God's voice. And it is God's words of love that can make us strong.

Lord, I am not very strong.
All my striving, and doing and proving
haven't made me strong.
I long for the deep strength
that comes from quietness
and from trust.
I rest my weary soul in you today, Lord.
Give me the courage to be quiet.
Give me the faith to trust in you.
Strengthen me today
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#376219 - 11/20/11 03:40 PM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2590
All who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it
and who hold fast to my covenant -
these I will bring to my holy mountain
and give them joy in my house of prayer.
Isaiah 56:6b-7a

Rest can lead to joy because it creates a new perspective in us. Rest reminds us that we don't have to be compulsively responsible for the world and everything in it. Rest reminds us that God is in charge.

Rest also leads to joy because it leads to a renewed relationship with God. As this text puts it, God promises to lead Sabbath-keepers to his holy mountain. In rest we can be led to a place of joy in God's house of prayer. It is a beautiful image of God rejoicing with people who rest.

Rest can also lead to joy because it restores us. It renews and re-energizes us because it allows us to balance our "being" with our "doing". When we cease doing for a time, our senses are opened again to the world around us. We can see life with new gratitude and awe. And gratitude and awe produce joy.

Rest frees us to be what we are - creatures. We are creatures who can work and play, give and receive, weep and laugh. Today we can balance our working, giving and weeping with playing, receiving and laughing.

Lord, I want to stop doing for a time today.
I want to stop and remember that you are God.
Help me to experience the freedom and joy of being your creature.
Help to keep the Sabbath.
Bring me to your holy mountain.
Give me joy in your house of prayer.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#376286 - 11/21/11 07:53 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2590
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Hope is about the future. It may be oriented to the next hour, or the next day, or the next month or year or decade. But hope is always about anticipation.

Those of us who like to control things often find hope difficult because we do not control the future. Many of us are compulsive makers-of-plans. We are willing to work ourselves to death trying to make our plans become reality. But when our hopes and vision for the future are based only on what we can control, our vision is inevitably narrowed and impoverished.

We need to remind ourselves regularly, therefore, that God's vision for the future is better than our own. God sees possibilities and opportunities that we cannot see. The horizons of God's imagination are not bounded. When we root our hope in God, a totally different future is possible. It is not a future we can control. God's plans may not be the same as our plans. But we can return again and again to God as our source of hope.

God has been clear about our future. It is God's intention to give us a hope and a future. This is not a promise of a trouble-free life. It is not a promise of immunity from struggle. But it is a promise of hope. God has been with us in the past. God is with us in the present. And God will be with us in the future.

Thank you for paying attention to my future, Lord.
Thank you for making plans.
Help me today to rest in the thought that
your plans for me include blessing.
Open my heart today to the hope and the future
you have prepared for me.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#376433 - 11/22/11 08:05 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2590
Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'
Luke 15:4-5

It is easy for us to lose our way. We may start off with confidence. We think we know where we are and where we are headed. And, then, somewhere along the way in life we get lost. We find ourselves alone and we don't know where we are. We get confused and disoriented. We don't know how to find our way back, how to get 'on track' again.

Fortunately, God pays attention. God notices that we are lost. And, because of the great value God sees in us, God sets out to find us. God searches for us. God pursues us until we are found.

When God finds us, most of us expect God to say: 'Where have you been? I have been looking all over for you! Can't you follow directions? What's wrong with you? I don't want to have to come back out here again to find you. Try to pay attention from now on!'

But there is no hint of scolding, shaming, yelling or blaming in this text. When God finds us, God is full of joy. God picks us up and carries us home. God celebrates.

God pays attention. God notices when we are lost. God searches for us. And God celebrates when we are found. Recovery is the gift of being found by God.

I was lost, Lord.
Alone..
Disoriented. Confused. Afraid.
You found me.
I expected blame and rejection when you found me.
I expected you to be full of rage.
I expected you to see me as an inconvenience.
But you greeted me with joy.
With celebration!
Thank you for finding me.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#376564 - 11/23/11 08:25 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2590
I pray that you, being rooted and established in love may have power . . .to grasp . . . the love of Christ.
Ephesians 3:17

We all have root systems. Roots are life-lines. They seek out and drink in water and nutrients. And they provide stability in times of wind and erosion.

Unfortunately, many of us are rooted in the soil of shame. Roots in this rocky soil become bound. They cannot sustain growth. They are not able to provide nourishment or stability.

Recovery for many of us is like being transplanted. It is the process of allowing God to first pull us out of the parched and rocky soil of shame and to then plant us in the soil of love. In the rich soil of love our fragile roots can finally begin to stretch, grow and take hold. It is a soil in which real nourishment and real stability are possible.

But transplantation is not a simple matter. No matter how gently God pulls us up out of the soil of shame, there will be trauma. And sinking roots in new soil will feel like an unfamiliar and risky adventure.

As our roots sink deeper and deeper in the soil of God's love, however, we will begin to experience growth that never could have been possible in the soil of rejection and shame. We will become 'rooted and established' in love.

My roots are in poor soil, Lord.
They do not nourish.
They provide no stability.
My roots are bound, Lord.
Transplant me.
Give me grace-full soil, Lord.
Sink my roots deeply.
Give me stability.
Nourish me.
In your love.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#376686 - 11/24/11 08:38 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2590
I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
Psalm 131:1-2

A weaned child in the psalmist's culture is a child who can walk and talk. It is a child who for many months has been nourished day and night at it's mother's breast. Every time the pain of hunger came, the child enjoyed the powerful combination of having its stomach filled with warm milk while being held in a close, intimate embrace. Messages of love and valuing flowed into the child's spirit while the life-sustaining milk flowed into its body.

Love and nourishment are the soil in which security grows. A weaned child still needs to eat. But, it is not frantic about its next meal. It has learned that it's needs are important, that they will be noticed and that they can be met. Because of the love and nourishment it has received, a weaned child has grown secure.

Recovery is like being loved and nourished until we can be weaned. We don't grow out of having needs - our goal is not mere self reliance. Rather our goal is to experience love and nourishment. As we do so, we gradually become less frantic about our next meal. We grow. We heal. Eventually a new kind of security grows in us - not the security of toxic self-reliance, but the security that comes from nurture. We become less frantic, less fragile. Our souls become stilled and quieted.

Nourish me, Lord.
Nourish me with your love.
Calm the frantic feelings within me.
Grow a sense of security within me.
I want to be able to sit quietly.
Like a weaned child.
Nourished.
Secure in your love.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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