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Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

Spiritual toolbox part 7: the Daily Audio Bible

In Bible, Spiritual Toolbox on August 15, 2011 at 7:35 pm

 

How hard can it be to stick to my inspirational Bible reading everyday! No time, too tired, no patience, bad concentration, ‘naah, I don’t want to read the line of descendants, or Leviticus: it’s all too tedious!’ and the biggest deception: I can live my life in my own strength, I don’t really need this old book anyway…

Since 2006, I have been listening to the Daily Audio Bible (DAB) on the internet or on my mp3-player or iPod. Lying in bed, listening to Brian Hardin reading the Bible to me, with his slightly husky, friendly and soothing voice to a backdrop of calming meditational music and adding great little devotionals at the end of each podcast.

I witnessed the DAB growing from being one guy behind a mic with a few hundred listeners, to a movement of faith, community and mission with the daily Scripture reading in its epicenter.
Currently there are DAB podcasts in English, Hindi, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish…DAB podcast for kids (English) and DAB Proverbs.
So many lives are being touched continuously and increasingly by the Word of God. Prayer is going around the world around the clock via the Windfarm‘, the prayer and worship network of DAB (with a radio channel).
The internet forums are lively and crowded with people from all over the world, every nation, every tongue praying for each other, giving out encouragement and hope, spreading the gospel to one another, being family.

God is using the internet and new technologies for His glory. Brian just obeyed, when God told him in 2005 to go podcast the Bible.

Daily Audio Bible and its community have meant so much in my life, but suddenly, 1,5 years ago I stopped listening and my faith life had reached a very dry season. I withdrew slowly from Jesus and my life became increasingly self-destructive and painful. Something had to change.
A few months ago I started praying again and reading some snippets of the Bible, it was a good start…

A few weeks ago I got an email from an American DAB family member asking me to organize a DAB family get-together at Schiphol Airport Amsterdam (where I live), because Brian and his awesome wife Jill would be having a lay-over before returning to their home in the US, as well as Mike and Jason from the mission’s team. They were just returning from a mission in Africa.

And so it happened. It was a truly warm and inspirational and loving encounter with the DAB leader Brian and I also loved meeting awesome sister Jill for the first time. She is an amazing singer (Jill Parr – Me again) and her lyrics have helped me through many times.
Humble, loving, caring and sweet I found the both of them.

Family members from all across Europe flew in or drove by: from Scotland, England, Germany and the Netherlands.
Instantaneous connection took place, hugs were exchanged.

It was short but sweet!

I am so happy to be part of this community (again)! Yesterday I recommitted to listening to the DAB podcast. I was walking with my dog along a typical Dutch landscape: water, windmills (Windfarm!) and grass, with a backdrop of a fiery, passionately red sunsetting glow spun out across the sky.
I felt the Holy Spirit really living in me and moving me once again, washing over me and rekindling in me the love of Jesus and His living Word.

You won’t regret it if you’ll give it a try to listen.
Go to www.dailyaudiobible.com

‘After a week you’ll notice something shifting inside. After a month you’ll WANT to be in the Bible. After a year you won’t look in the mirror and see the same person. You will have been changed from the inside out.’

Please leave a question or comment below, suscribe to this blog via email or rss, or forward a link to this blog to people who might like it. Thanks so much! God bless.

Spiritual toolbox part 5: Lectio Divina meditation

In Spiritual Toolbox on May 10, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Lectio Divina

What is it?
The first time I heard about Lectio Divina was two years ago on a silent retreat. I read this book by Anselm Gruen: ‘Bronnen van spiritualiteit’ (sources of spirituality) which handled the topic of this ancient Benedictine meditation practice.

Daily life in a Benedictine monastery consisted of three elements: liturgical prayer, manual labor and Lectio Divina: a quiet prayerful reading of the Bible. This slow and thoughtful reading of Scripture, and the ensuing pondering of its meaning, is their meditation. This spiritual practice is called “divine reading”, “sacred reading”, or lectio divina

Lectio Divina has been likened to “Feasting on the Word.” The four parts are

  1. first taking a bite (Lectio),
  2. then chewing on it (Meditatio).
  3. next is the opportunity to savor the essence of it (Oratio).
  4. finally, the Word is digested and made a part of the body (Contemplatio).

What do you need?

  • the decision to take some time out of your day every day, for example 20 to 30 minutes.
  • a candle, an image or an icon of Christ or a Bible to look at
  • a dedicated space to sit down comfortably
  • a passage from the Bible
  • pen and paper

How to do it?
Preparation

  • Sit somewhere comfortable (like on a pillow) and breathe slowly.
  • Close your eyes or keep them open. Do whatever gives you the least distraction.
  • Be silent.
  • Be present to God/Jesus and focused on Him alone. If you experience thoughts, imagine throwing them in a stream of water and letting them float along.
  • Accept all your present emotions: stress, restlessness… They are present. Accept them and they will lessen.
  • Greet God, thank Him that He loves you. Open your heart to Him. Trust that He wants to be with you too.

Meditation


Lectio (reading)

  • Read a small passage from the Bible out loud.

Meditatio (reflection)

  • Start pondering a word (or a few words) from the text that particularly speaks to you. Chew and re-chew it so that it can do something to you. It is more important that the word is doing something to us than that we do something to the word. Let the word sink into your heart.

Oratio (response)

  • Every time you are distracted, you speak the word in order to let it bring you back into silence. Then be silent. Be focused on Him, be present in the moment, you don’t have to do anything. Let your heart speak to God.

Contemplatio (rest)

  • Let go of your own ideas and plans. And you can go deeper: let go of your holy words and thoughts. Simply rest in the Word of God. Listen at the deepest level to God who speaks within you with a still, small voice.

Conclusion
Conclude with a simple prayer of thanksgiving, greeting or signing yourself with a cross: in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Of course all of this takes practice. I personally find it really hard to take the very first step to find the rest to actually sit down and be quiet. I often feel a fear of failure or an urge to be busy. I ask God to help me with this and to grow in intimacy with Him despite my own thoughts and feelings.

What are your experiences in Christian meditation? Please feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter.

Sources:

  1. wikipedia.org
  2. ‘Nieuwe wegen, oude bronnen’ by Victor van Heusden (‘New paths, old sources)
  3. United Church of Christ

Spiritual toolbox part 4: Journaling

In Spiritual Toolbox on May 3, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Joshua 4:4-7 (New International Version)

4 “So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

Life goes fast. We blow by it everyday. Faster paced all the time. Hurry hurry move on!
‘God where are you? I can’t see you, I can’t hear you!’, we say.
Rush rush, strive, work…

Today I’m proposing a tool to remember, to build stones to remember what the Lord has done in your life. Building rocks by journaling.
First and foremost I am telling it to myself, because I fell off the journaling-wagon two months ago, and I know how it used to help me in the past to feel connected to God and to remember everything he has done in my life by looking back in my old journals whenever I doubted or lost hope.
That’s why I challenge myself and you to pick it up again.

What kind of journaling-tools do I have?

For 2010 I bought myself a nifty Moleskine journal with an elastic strap. In addition I use an easily flowing pen: the ‘uniball eye’ which is also waterproof/fadeproof.

What kind of entries do I make?

Here are some examples:

  • pieces of Scripture to speak to me
  • dreams
  • sense of direction from God: events that trigger me, seem to be led by Him. (It’s nice to review these regularly to see God’s plan for my life, or in this year)
  • prayer requests and answers to prayer
  • questions, struggles
  • quotes from people I meet or spiritual authors
  • everyday events I cherish
  • prayers
  • thanksgiving
  • praise to God
  • pictures
  • newspaper article-snippets
  • poems/songs
  • printed blog posts
  • excerpts of sermons
  • pieces of forumposts with prayer requests or faith related questions with their answers.

My journal looks like a hogdepodge of cut and pasted little notes from my notebook (since my journal is too big to carry around with me and my notepad isn’t). That’s where the elastic strap comes in handy to bind it together neatly.

How to make a habit of journaling?

Make an entry every day for 30 days and tick it off on a little calendar to hold yourself accountable.
What’s my challenge?
I’m going to write in my journal every day from 1st of May to 1st of June 2010 and check my progress every day.
What’s my goal?
To become closer to God again, more attuned to Him and better able to discern his will for my life. Another goal is to collect beautiful stuff from my walking with God for the dry ‘wilderness’ times.

Do you have any experience with journaling?

If so, do share it with me in the comments or on twitter.
And please ask now and then how I’m doing journaling-wise!

Spiritual toolbox part 3: The Examen Prayer

In Spiritual Toolbox on April 9, 2010 at 6:21 pm

First of all, I hope you had a fabulous Easter. Jesus is truly risen!!!

Today I want to continue my 10-part series with the Examen Prayer of St. Ignatius de Loyola.

In the beginning of Lent my  Twitter-friend Tara told me she was doing the daily Examen Prayer for Lent, as I was giving up luxury foods and goods.

She made me very curious and I looked up what it was. The Examen was constructed by Ignatius de Loyola, who was the founder of the Roman Catholic Jesuits.

The Examen of Consciousness is a simple prayer directed toward developing a spiritual sensitivity to the special ways God approaches, invites, and calls. Ignatius recommends that the examen be done at least twice per day, and suggests five points of prayer:

  1. Recalling that one is in the holy presence of God
  2. Thanking God for all the blessings one has received
  3. Examining how one has lived his or her day
  4. Asking God for forgiveness
  5. Resolution and offering a prayer of hopeful recommitment
  6. the Examen is usually concluded with the Lord’s prayer

It is important, however, that the person feels free to structure the Examen in a way that is most helpful to him. There is no right way to do it; nor is there a need to go through all of the five points each time.
The basic rule is: Go wherever God draws you.

And this touches upon an important point: the Examen of Consciousness is primarily a time of prayer; it is a “being with God.”

1. Become aware of God’s presence.
2. Review the day with gratitude.
3. Pay attention to your emotions.
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
5. Look toward tomorrow.

  • If you want to have a neat overview of the process you have a look at this handout I found on ignatianspirituality.com that you could print on as a handy leaflet.
  • Lastly I’d like to recommend a very nice resource: an mp3-file of the Examen where you are lead through the whole Examen via audio. You can listen to it if you click on this link:

The Examen prayer audio

Just sit back and pray along. I really love it, although I don’t pray it everyday. And I really appreciate the thanksgiving part of it. It makes me count my blessings. I’d love to get deeper though and really connect with God, lying on the sofa with the Father.

I’d love to hear your experiences with the Examen. Please drop me a comment below or find me on Twitter.

Spiritual Toolbox part 1: the Daily Prayer

In Spiritual Toolbox on March 9, 2010 at 8:22 am

Rublev's Christ

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how to improve my prayer life. I’ve been feeling uninspired, dull and unfocused to pray. Still I think prayer is the most important part of our spiritual life. That’s why I decided to dedicate a 10-part series to the matter: The Spiritual Toolbox, exploring different types of prayer and other spiritual practices with wisdom from Christian spiritual teachers and Christian denominations like: John Eldredge, Neil Anderson, the Anglican Church, the Benedictines, Brian Hardin, Ignatius de Loyola and Henri Nouwen.

My goal is to inspire myself to pray more regularly and in a more engaged fashion to strenghten my relationship with the Lord and to inspire you along the way!

After all in the New Testament Jesus withdrew very often from the crowd to pray. To spend time with the Most High is key to your faith!

Have a great journey!

Here’s the outline of the contents of the series:
Spiritual toolbox part 1: the Daily Prayer

Spiritual toolbox part 2: Book of Common Prayer

Spiritual toolbox part 3: The Examen Prayer

Spiritual toolbox part 4: Journaling

Spiritual toolbox part 5: Lectio Divina

Spiritual toolbox part 6: Practicing Silence

Spiritual toolbox part 7: The Daily Audio Bible

Spiritual toolbox part 8: Praying with the names of God

Spiritual toolbox part 9: Setting up a morning devotion

Spiritual toolbox part 10: Setting up an evening devotion

In this first post I want to share with you two of my favorite prayers, which are especially helpful if you feel uninspired to pray or are at a loss for words.

I encourage you to experiment with them. Here they are:

1. Daily Prayer

by John Eldredge of Ransomed Heart Ministries, presented by Windfarm: The Prayer Initiative of the Daily Audio Bible Community

My dear Lord Jesus I come to you now to be restored in you, to be renewed in you, to receive
your love and your life, and all the grace and mercy I so desperately need this day. I honor you
as my Sovereign, and I surrender every aspect of my life totally and completely to you. I give
you my spirit, soul and body, my heart, mind, and will. I cover myself with your blood—my spirit,
soul, and body, my heart, mind and will. I ask your Holy Spirit to restore me in you, renew me in
you, and to lead me in this time of prayer. In all that I now pray, I stand in total agreement with
your Spirit, and with my intercessors and allies, by your Spirit alone.

[Now, if you are a husband, you’ll want to include your wife in this time of prayer. If you are a
parent, you’ll want to include your children. If this doesn’t apply to you, jump to the paragraph
after this one.]
In all that I now pray, I include (my wife and/or children, by name). Acting as their head, I bring
them under your authority and covering, as I come under your authority and covering. I cover
(wife and/or children, by name) with your blood – their spirit, soul and body, their heart, mind
and will. I ask your Spirit to restore them in you, renew them in you, and apply to them all that I
now pray on their behalf, acting as their head.

Dear God, holy and victorious Trinity, you alone are worthy of all my worship, my heart’s
devotion, all my praise, all my trust and all the glory of my life. I love you, I worship you, I trust
you. I give myself over to you in my heart’s search for life. You alone are Life, and you have
become my life. I renounce all other gods, all idols, and I give you the place in my heart and in
my life that you truly deserve. I confess here and now that this is all about you, God, and not
about me. You are the Hero of this story, and I belong to you. Forgive me for my every sin.
Search me and know me and reveal to me where you are working in my life, and grant to me
the grace of your healing and deliverance, and a deep and true repentance.

Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me and choosing me before you made the world. You are
my true Father—my Creator, my Redeemer, my Sustainer, and the true end of all things,
including my life. I love you, I trust you, I worship you. I give myself over to you to be one with
you in all things, as Jesus is one with you. Thank you for proving your love by sending Jesus. I
receive him and all his life and all his work, which you ordained for me. Thank you for including
me in Christ, for forgiving me my sins, for granting me his righteousness, for making me
complete in him. Thank you for making me alive with Christ, raising me with him, seating me
with him at your right hand, establishing me in his authority, and anointing me with your Holy
Spirit, your love and your favor. I receive it all with thanks and give it total claim to my life—my
spirit, soul, and body, my heart, mind and will. I bring the life and the work of Jesus over (wife
and/or children, by name) and over my home, my household, my vehicles, finances, all my
kingdom and domain.

Jesus, thank you for coming to ransom me with your own life. I love you, I worship you, I trust
you. I give myself over to you, to be one with you in all things. And I receive all the work and all
of the triumph of your cross, death, blood and sacrifice for me, through which I am atoned for, I
am ransomed and transferred to your kingdom, my sin nature is removed, my heart is
circumcised unto God, and every claim made against me is disarmed this day. I now take my
place in your cross and death, through which I have died with you to sin, to my flesh, to the
world, and to the evil one. I take up the cross and crucify my flesh with all its pride, arrogance,
unbelief, and idolatry (and anything else you are currently struggling with). I put off the old man.
I ask you to apply to me the fullness of your cross, death, blood and sacrifice. I receive it with
thanks and give it total claim to my spirit, soul and body, my heart, mind and will.

Jesus, I also sincerely receive you as my life, my holiness and strength, and I receive all the
work and triumph of your resurrection, through which you have conquered sin and death and
judgment. Death has no mastery over you, nor does any foul thing. And I have been raised with
you to a new life, to live your life – dead to sin and alive to God. I now take my place in your
resurrection and in your life, through which I am saved by your life. I reign in life through your
life. I receive your life – your humility, love and forgiveness, your integrity in all things, your
wisdom, discernment and cunning, your strength, your joy, your union with the Father. Apply to
me the fullness of your resurrection. I receive it with thanks and give it total claim to my spirit,
soul and body, my heart, mind and will.

Jesus, I also sincerely receive you as my authority, rule, and dominion, my everlasting victory
against Satan and his kingdom, and my ability to bring your Kingdom at all times and in every
way. I receive all the work and triumph of your ascension, through which you have judged Satan
and cast him down, you have disarmed his kingdom. All authority in heaven and on earth has
been given to you, Jesus. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to you, and you
are worthy to receive all glory and honor, power and dominion, now and forevermore. And I
have been given fullness in you, in your authority. I now take my place in your ascension, and in
your throne, through which I have been raised with you to the right hand of the Father and
established in your authority. I now bring the kingdom of God, and the authority, rule and
dominion of Jesus Christ over my life today, over my home, my household, my vehicles and
finances, over all my kingdom and domain.

I now bring the authority, rule and dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the fullness of the
work of Christ, against Satan, against his kingdom, against every foul and unclean spirit come
against me. (At this point you might want to name the spirits that you know have been attacking
you). I bring the full work of Jesus Christ against every foul power and black art, against every
human being and their warfare. I bind it all from me in the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and
in his Name.

Holy Spirit, thank you for coming. I love you, I worship you, I trust you. I sincerely receive you
and all the work and victory in Pentecost, through which you have come, you have clothed me
with power from on high, sealed me in Christ. You have become my union with the Father and
the Son, become the Spirit of truth in me, the life of God in me, my Counselor, Comforter,
Strength, and Guide. I honor you as my Sovereign, and I yield every dimension of my spirit, soul
and body, my heart, mind and will to you and you alone, to be filled with you, to walk in step with
you in all things. Fill me afresh. Restore my union with the Father and the Son. Lead me in all
truth, anoint me for all of my life and walk and calling, and lead me deeper into Jesus today. I
receive you with thanks, and I give you total claim to my life.

Heavenly Father, thank you for granting to me every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ
Jesus. I claim the riches in Christ Jesus over my life today, my home, my kingdom and domain.
I bring the blood of Christ over my spirit, soul, and body, my heart, mind and will. I put on the full
armor of God – the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the gospel, helmet of
salvation. I take up the shield of faith and sword of the Spirit, and I choose to wield these
weapons at all times in the power of God. I choose to pray at all times in the Spirit.

Thank you for your angels. I summon them in the authority of Jesus Christ and command them
to destroy the kingdom of darkness throughout my kingdom and domain, destroy all that is
raised against me, and to establish your Kingdom throughout my kingdom and domain. I ask
you to send forth your Spirit to raise up prayer and intercession for me this day. I now call forth
the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout my home, my family, my kingdom and my
domain, in the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, with all glory and honor and thanks to him.

This prayer was developed over many years and from many sources but is in its current form directly from the ministry of
ransomedheart.com
. For additional resources, books and events please visit the ransomed heart website. The Daily Audio Bible
fully endorses the teachings and writings of John Eldredge and the ministry of the Ransomed Heart team.

2. Daily Prayer

by Dr. Neil T. Anderson from Freedom in Christ Ministries taken from the e-book Restored

Daily Prayer and Declaration

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You and honor
You as my Lord and Savior. You are in control of
all things. I thank You that You are always with
me and will never leave me nor forsake me. You are
the only all-powerful and only wise God. You are
kind and loving in all Your ways. I love You and
thank You that I am united with Christ and spiritually
alive in Him. I choose not to love the world or
the things in the world, and I crucify the flesh and
all its passions.
Thank You for the life I now have in Christ.
I ask You to fill me with the Holy Spirit so I can be
guided by You and not carry out the desires of the
flesh. I declare my total dependence upon You, and
I take my stand against Satan and all his lying
ways. I choose to believe the truth of God’s Word
despite what my feelings may say. I refuse to be
discouraged; You are the God of all hope. Nothing
is too difficult for You. I am confident that You
will supply all my needs as I seek to live according
to Your Word. I thank You that I can be content
and live a responsible life through Christ who
strengthens me.
I now take my stand against Satan and
command him and all his evil spirits to depart
from me. I choose to put on the full armor of God
so I may be able to stand firm against all the devil’s
schemes. I submit my body as a living and holy
sacrifice to You, and I choose to renew my mind by
Your living Word. By so doing I will be able to prove
that Your will is good, acceptable, and perfect for
me. In the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus
Christ, I pray. Amen.

Bedtime Prayer

Thank You, Lord, that You have brought me into Your
family and have blessed me with every spiritual blessing
in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Thank You
for this time of renewal and refreshment through sleep.
I accept it as one of Your blessings for Your children
and I trust You to guard my mind and my body during
my sleep.
As I have thought about You and Your truth during
the day, I choose to let those good thoughts continue in
my mind while I am asleep. I commit myself to You for
Your protection against every attempt of Satan and his
demons to attack me during sleep. Guard my mind
from nightmares. I renounce all fear and cast every
anxiety upon You, Lord. I commit myself to You as my
rock, my fortress, and my strong tower. May Your peace
be upon this place of rest. In the strong name of the
Lord Jesus Christ I pray. Amen

You can follow me on Twitter and please leave a comment below if you like, I would love to hear from you!