Good and Ready

Welcome to Journey 6 – Good and Ready

Continue your Omniallinfinitude™ Journey Here

 

Good and Ready is the sixth of the twelve Omniallinfinitude™ Journeys.  Each Journey is presented through 16 blog posts.  Even though we are now pausing or blogging a different Journey,  we highly recommend completing the journeys in order at your own pace.

Each Journey is made up of Journey Elements  (click for more information).  You can also view or download the PDF version of this Journey by clicking the Good and Ready graphic at the top of the right sidebar.

 

Here’s how to participate:

  1. Read each blog post in the order they were posted.
  2. Complete the Journey Elements contained in each post.  Each Journey covers one attribute group and one spiritual practice.  All of the Elements relate to these in some way.
  3. Return to the Blog Post – we encourage you to comment based on the specific assignment.  Read other’s comments and engage in an online conversation. These posts and comments are ongoing.
  4. For more information see How Does This Work on the Main Omni page.
  5. Then move on to the next post.  You can access the individual post pages from the top menu bar under Journey Elements, or by clicking the links below in this post.
  6. When you complete a Journey – move on to the next Journey.  The format and Element structure will be the same in all the Journeys.
  7. Each Journey will also have its own blog,  and each post will have its own page,  in addition to appearing in the complete blog.  This will make it easier to complete the blog at your own speed,  as well as for others who start later.  We will eventually have 12 active blogs with people participating in all of them at the same time.

 

Complete the Blog Posts below in this order:

Click on the links to go to the individual blog posts with their respective comments.  Once you click to the Journal pages,  scroll up to get to the beginning of the blog post.  Each Journal post will also appear on the Journey Element Page that it follows.  For example,  Journal 6.1 will appear on the same page and directly under Remember and Read.

 

Good and Ready: What comes to your mind?

Good and Ready 1: Remember and Read

Good and Ready 2: Journal 6.1 – Oh My Goodness!

Good and Ready 3: Analyze – Comparing the Old and New

Good and Ready 4: Journal 6.2 – The Good Life

Good and Ready 5: Investigate – Goodness and Patience

Good and Ready 6: Journal 6.3 – Once Upon A Time in the Garden

Good and Ready 7: Practice – Service and Why?

Good and Ready 8: Journal 6.4 – Ready and Waiting

Good and Ready 9: Inventory – What Fills You? What Drains You?

Good and Ready 10: Journal 6.5 – Why are You Here?

Good and Ready 11: Adventuring – Pay It Forward

Good and Ready 12: Journal 6.6 – The Four Captives

Good and Ready 13: More Cool Stuff – Strengthen Your Core – The Resurrection

Good and Ready 14: Journal 6.7 – Nitty Gritty

Good and Ready 15: Lyrics

Good and Ready 16: Closure

 

While we encourage you to leave Comments,  we totally understand if you want to participate anonymously.  This format also works well for small groups meeting in person.  It’s ok to print out the PDF – just remember to keep a copy on your computer so you can use the links.

 

Credits for quotes,  music,  lyrics and videos appear in the Credits section in the back of the PDF.  Omniallinfinitude™ material may be reproduced as long as credit is given.  There is no fee for using this material.

 

Enjoy the Journey…..take your time….but take the Journey!

 

Good and Ready – What comes to mind?

 

What comes to your mind?

 

GOOD…on a scale of 1 to 10, it’s like a 7
Somewhere in between OK and WOW!
Good things are good enough,  maybe not the best;  but better than average
Good….as opposed to evil,  or bad or blah and boring
We evaluate and label and judge….play good cop/bad cop
Is it just a matter of opinion?

 

 

We teach our children and pets to be good
We seek good employees,  who perform and behave,  and do a good job
We like good…..we especially like others to be good.
We say Good Boy!,  Good Dog!,  Good Morning and Good Night
Sometimes we say Good Bye and even Good Riddance.

 

 

GOOD….we have a good feeling about it and want to feel good.
We hope we have good genes so we can look good and have a good long life.
A life where we have good intentions,  perform good deeds,  be the Good Samaritan,  all with good luck and good weather.
We fight that good fight realizing a good man or woman is hard to find.
Sometimes,  things are too good to be true,  while other times they are as good as gold.

 

 

Good times – Good food – Good wine
Often we have too much of a good thing
Is this as good as it gets?
Why can’t we be good as new?

 

 

 

Life is good…..very good.
In fact,  we’ve never had it so good.
Soon we discover no good dead goes unpunished and sometimes no news is good news.
Then,  all good things come to an end and we’re gone for good.
We wonder why do the good die young?

 

 

Only God knows and only God alone is truly GOOD.
He is the source of all good.
It’s His High Purpose.   He seeks only good for us.
On a scale of 1 to 10,  His Goodness is off the charts.

 

 

He’s ready,  ready to act,  prepared,  patiently waiting for us to turn to Him
Giving us chance after chance.
We,  on the other hand,  are not ready,  even though some think they were born ready
Ready or Not!
Ready, Set…….Wait!

 

 

We wait,  our patience is tested,  tried and found lacking
We stand in line,  sit in traffic,  wait on hold
We watch the pot that never boils – Holding our breaths and our horses
At the ready!  Sit tight!
Please Stand by,  Stand Down,  take a number – twist in the wind.

 

 

Waiting….For people…..To do……What they say they will do
Waiting for God ……For answers,  healing,  and solutions
Don’t all good things come to those who wait?
Now we’re all on the edge of our seats and can’t wait any longer
It’s enough to try one’s patience and our patience has run out.

Are you ready?
God is Good and Ready!      And waiting…… on us.

 

COMMENTS:

(In the PDF,  your journal,  or in the Comment section of this post)

Before you begin Journey 6, what comes to your mind as you ponder Good and Ready?

 

Good and Ready 1: Remember and Read

remember

Psalm 145: 8-9

“The LORD is gracious and compassionate,  slow to anger and rich in love.  The LORD is good to all;  He has compassion on all he has made.”  (NIV)

 

Additional verses to remember :

Psalm 34:8 – Taste and see that the LORD is good.  Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. (NIV)

Nahum 1:7 – The LORD is good,  a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in Him. (NIV)

Psalm 27:13 – I am still confident in this:  I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. (NIV)

2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise,  as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you,  not wanting anyone to perish,  but everyone to come to repentance. (NIV)

 

We always begin by memorizing the theme verse for each journey  (including Book,  Chapter and Verse).  Think of this as the necessary foundation for future excellence – like practicing scales on the piano or doing wind sprints or swimming laps,  or taking your vitamins,  or eating your vegetables.

What is that I hear? – OH NO!  Not memorization….

We actually recall or remember all kinds of things we’ve memorized without really even trying.  Can you think of any?

How about your phone number,  email address,  street address,  zip code,  social security number,  birthday,  names of your family,  how to get to work,  how to drive a car,  that secret recipe….or how to spell or multiply,  song lyrics,  movie scenes,  jokes,  what someone was wearing,  what car they drove,  sports statistics,  what chocolate tastes like,  what the ocean smells like,  and on and on.

That’s why we call this element Remember – it’s the remembering that is important.

 

Why do we remember what we remember?

Actually,  recollection is just the tip of the memory iceberg.  Within our marvelous and mysterious brain the memory works in collaboration with us and the world – it uses all our senses and emotions.  We associate smells,  colors, places,  rituals,  symbols,  landmarks,  even people,  with memories and when we sense the trigger,  we remember.

For now you will just have to take my word for it – there are tremendous spiritual benefits from Remembering Bible verses:

  • Strengthens our faith
  • Shapes how we view the world
  • Makes God’s Word immediately accessible
  • Guards our minds

Here are some hints to help you get started.  We all learn differently – so don’t be afraid to try some of the more unusual methods.  Plus – some of them are just plain fun.  And not only do we need to remember the verse,  we need to remember to work on remembering the verse….double whammy!

  • Write the verse on several post it notes or index cards and put it where you will see it such as the car,  the bathroom mirror,  the kitchen sink,  a bulletin board,  your computer screen saver,  your cell phone,  your Facebook status,  by your bed…..Or use one of the many Scripture Memory APPs now available for phones and tablets.  Scripture Typer is one of our favorites.
  • Make plans to spend five minutes,  twice a day (usually as you get up and before bed) to review.  Review often…..
  • Say it slowly, 15 times in a row,  emphasizing each word.
  • If you have already learned it in another translation,  review that one.  Once you know it in one,  look it up in a couple of others to see what is different.
  • Review it when you are waiting in line,  or on hold on the phone.
  • Sing it – make up a tune to go with it,  or say it with an accent.
  • Rap it,  paint it,  draw it,  doodle it,  or diagram it like in Pictionary
  • For extra credit,  add the verse before and the verse after.

I like to think of this remember process as Texting or Tweeting My Brain and then having my brain Text or Tweet me back.

 

Also,  remember there is a downloadable PDF available for this Journey – click on the graphic at the top of the right sidebar.   You can download it and save it on your computer where it will link to the online Bible,  a dictionary,  the videos and the songs for this Journey.  You can also type into it and of course you can print it out.  We highly encourage,  however you chose to record your discoveries and experiences,  everyone to periodically comment online and read each other’s comments.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post)

Don’t forget the REMEMBER verses from Journeys 1,  2,  3,  4 and 5 – What were they?  Keep reviewing them daily.  Try to use them in conversation and to encourage others.

 

read

Matthew 5-7, Exodus 20

(you can change translations after you click the blue chapter links to read in other translations)

 

Please read through these four chapters in one sitting,  on three separate days;  once from a modern translation,  once in a modern paraphrase,  and then finally with a pad and pencil by as you record your thoughts and observations.   It is also helpful to read the selections aloud.  As you read,  underline words that describe who God is or the names He is called.  The blue Bible Chapter links above will bring up an online Bible and you can change the translation to whatever you want.

This element is about reading what it says – try to put aside any preconceived ideas about what you think it says,  or what you may have concluded based on other studies or classes.  We are not saying those ideas are wrong,  but for this Element,  we just want to read it as if for the first time.  Please read for the storyline – and see if you can then faithfully retell it in your own words.

 

We suggest you record your answers in your own journal,  the downloadable PDF version or in the Comment section for this post,  below.

First Reading:  Modern Translation – which one did you use?

Second Reading:  Modern Paraphrase – which one did you use?

Third Reading:  Reading Notes

Matthew 5:

Matthew 6:

Matthew 7:

Exodus 20:

Descriptions of God:

Names used for God:

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.)

Share with us any names or descriptions of God you discovered.  Also share any personal observations or experiences from just reading to see what it says.

Our next blog post will be Good and Ready 2: Journal 6.1 – Oh My Goodness!

 

Good and Ready 2: Journal 6.1 – Oh My Goodness!

 

Our journey,  so far,  has revealed that the transcendent,  One and Only God – the God of the Bible – is also infinite,  eternal,  immutable and omnipresent.

Or in simpler terms,  He exists beyond and outside of time and space.
There are no limits to any of his never changing attributes.

 

Eventually He gets very personal with us as we experience how God’s attributes and our lives collide.

He is in charge,  working out His plan,  because
He has all the Power,
all the Knowledge
and the ability to work them together;
to use the right means to the right ends for the right reasons.
These include turning evil and suffering into ways to work out our Good and His Glory.

 

God’s attributes not only impact our lives,  He rubs off on who we are at our very core.  We are made in His Image….He created us,  and as a result,  a human sized portion of some of his attributes can be seen in us.  As He is perfectly Faithful and Trustworthy,  we also show glimpses of these very attributes in our relationships with others.

 

But we still have this problem with Evil.

In fact,  calling Evil a problem assumes a standard of Goodness,  but not one based on shifting sands,  or feelings,  or the whims of modern culture or celebrity.

How do you deal with evil if your worldview provides no basis for believing in it?

 

Many use the existence of Evil as evidence that God does not exist,  or if He does,  He is not a Good God and worthy of belief and worship.

So how do they determine Evil?

If Evil is evidence against God,  shouldn’t Goodness be evidence for God?

If there is no God,  why is there so much Good?

Remove God from the equation and human rights disappear.

Our horrors at Evil and suffering testify to Good as the norm.
We are shocked at gratuitous Evil – it is unexplainable and grabs our attention.
Yet,  extreme Goodness is never questioned.

 

 

Where does Good come from?

Why are we grateful?

Why do we see life as a gift from God,  a gift we will suffer great injustice and pain to hold on to?

Why does Good thrive in the darkest and most unexpected places,  in darkness and persecution?

 

We use Good to evaluate,  things are good or bad,  good or evil.  But Good is not a measuring stick – it is a force,  a quality from God.  Only God is Good.  When we allow the Good in us to be corrupted,  evil sneaks in to destroy.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.) 

When you say that something is good – what do you mean?

List some good things?  Some bad things?

Our next blog post will be Good and Ready 3: Analyze – Comparing the Old and New.

 

Good and Ready 3: Analyze – Comparing the Old and New

analyze

Comparing the Old and New

 

Below is a paraphrased version of the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20.  Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount,  Matthew 5-7,  is considered by many to be an application,  amplification or restatement of them.  Read through Matthew 5-7 and find ideas and verses that amplify or restate each commandment below.  Write the verse numbers and a short explanation for each example you find.  There will be more than one for each.  The first one is completed for you.  Take some time with this.

 

1.  You shall have no others gods but ME.

6:24 – No one can serve two masters – cannot serve both God and money

6:33 – Seek first His kingdom and His righteous

7:13 – Narrow gate leads to life

7:25 – Build foundation on the rock so you do not fall

 

2.  You shall not make for yourself any idol,  nor bow down and worship it.

 

3.  You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.

 

4.  You shall remember and keep the Sabbath Day holy.

 

5.  Respect and honor your father and mother.

 

6.  You must not murder.

 

7.  You must not commit adultery.

 

8.  You must not steal.

 

9.  You must not give false evidence against your neighbor.

 

10.  You must not be envious of anything that belongs to your neighbor.

 

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.)

This is a difficult exercise.  It may require some additional study on the original purposes of the 10 Commandments within the culture of the period and then on how Jesus expanded on and applied those purposes into his own culture and period as we are to do today – without changing the core teaching and standards.

Which commandments were the most obvious to discover in their Sermon on the Mount application?

Why ones were the hardest?

Which ones make the greatest impact on your current situation?

Our next blog post will be Good and Ready 4: Journal 6.2 – The Good Life.

 

Good and Ready 4: Journal 6.2 – The Good Life

 

Blessings,  Beauty,  Family,  Fun,  Happiness,  Health,
Laughter,  Creativity,  Purpose,  Accomplishment,
Compassion,  Love,  Peace,  Provision,  Community……God.

 

Goodness,  Good Things,  Good Times,
Doing Good,  Being Good….
All Good is from God because only God is good.
He is the source of all good.
He gives us good things,
Works in our lives for good,
Accomplishes His good purposes.
There is nothing about HIM that is not good.

 

Goodness,  the attribute,  is the essence of all HE isthe motivation behind all HE does.
It is the perfection of His nature,  that which predisposes Him to be kind,  benevolent,  and generous.
All His attributes are good.
We like this attribute.
We appeal to His goodness and then take it for granted.

 

Goodness is why He blesses us – just because,  for no reason,  no merit required.
It’s why the sun shines on both the good and the evil – because God loves to give.

 

It’s why He provides all that sustains life,  the care and preservation of his people.
If He wasn’t good,  He wouldn’t bother.

 

His goodness breeds generosity,  giving to all in a way that has no mercenary motive,  not limited by what is deserved,  going way beyond in order that those He blesses are blessed.  And our true response to His goodness is gratitude and thankfulness.  We marvel at His goodness expressed through the beauty of creation.

 

 

He encourages us through His goodness to not be afraid of Him.  He is welcoming and inviting,  yet His goodness will not force His affection on us.  His goodness is unselfish.
He cares about our welfare.

 

 

Love is Goodness in action toward a Beloved.

Righteousness is Goodness observed,  attractive in its moral excellence.

Viewed from our distorted human perspective we often see good as only the absence of pain,  difficulty,  trouble, sorrow,  poverty or ill health or the living in a state of comfort, power and prosperity.

 

Yet is God’s dictionary – the Highest Good is that which draws us closer to Him,  into deeper fellowship, greater knowledge and trust.
How God acts toward people is Good.
Jesus is our supreme example.
God’s goodness is why He came.

It’s also why He died.
All so we could have the Good life.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.)

What does the Good Life look like for you?

How do we take the Goodness of God for granted?

Our next blog post will be Good and Ready 5: Investigate – Goodness and Patience & 10 Things.

 

 

Good and Ready 5: Investigate – Goodness and Patience & 10 Things

investigate

Goodness and Patience

 

Define:  Please write a brief definition for each word below in your journal or the PDF using a regular dictionary,  not a Bible dictionary.

(Click on any word to link to dictionary.com for the word’s definition) 

 

∞     Good

∞     Goodness

∞     Patience

∞     Longsuffering

∞     Benign

∞     Benevolence

∞     Forbearance

∞     Blessing

∞     Goodwill

∞     Kindness

∞     Excellence

∞     Moral

∞     Virtuous

 

Now write your own definition for Good and Ready.
Share it as a COMMENT. 

  

Review: 

Answer the following questions using the Bible references that follow each question.  Clicking on the Bible reference will take you to an online version for easy reading.

 

What good does God do?

Genesis 1:31

Genesis 2:18

Genesis 50:20

Exodus 18:9

Joshua 21:45

Psalm 18:50

Psalm 86:5

Psalm 103:1-5

Psalm 145: 8-9, 15-16

Nahum 1:15

Luke 2:10

Acts 14: 7

1 Timothy 4:4

James 1:5, 17

 

Who receives or benefits from God’s goodness?

Psalm 145:9

Lamentations 3:25

Nahum 1:7

Zechariah 8:15

Matthew 7:11

 

Why is God patient?

Nehemiah 9:17, 30-31

Psalm 103:8-12

2 Peter 3:9

Romans 9: 22-23

 

Conclude:

How is the Goodness of God different from the Good Things he provides?

List some of the Good Things he provides.

List some of the characteristics of His Goodness.

How does He use us as the distribution network for His Goodness and Good Things?

 

COMMENT:

(In the PDF,  your journal, or the Comment section for this post.)

Share your definition for Good and Ready.  Then share some of your answers to the questions in the Conclude section for this post as well as any other insights you gained from investigating the verses above.

 

10  things

Good and Ready

 

  1. Yahweh Yireh – This is the Hebrew name for God that describes His ability to provide for all our needs in advance.  He delights in blessing his people inwardly and outwardly,  beyond what we could even imagine.  Nothing is a surprise to Him.
  1. A. W.  Pink – “Gratitude is the return justly required from the objects of His beneficence;  yet we often withhold it from our great Benefactor simply because his goodness is so constant and so abundant…It is not felt because we daily experience it.”
  1. A. W. Tozer – “The greatness of God arouses fear in us,  but His goodness encourages us to not be afraid of Him.  To fear and not be afraid – that is the paradox of faith.”
  1. J. I. Packer – “Goodness points to generosity and is the focal point of God’s moral perfection which determines everything else He is and does.  Generosity is a disposition to give to others in a way which has no mercenary motive and is not limited by what the recipients deserve,  but consistently goes beyond it.”
  1. Stephen Charnock –“Whatever is truly goodness in any creature is a resemblance of God.  As man was made for the honor of God,  so the world was made for the support and delight of man in order to perform the service due from him to God.”
  1. Creation itself points to the goodness of God.  His wisdom directed the process,  His power performed the process,  but His goodness motivated the process.  Hence,  the Highest Good,  is the cause of all Good.
  1. A. W. Pink – “We would define Divine patience as that power of control God exercises over Himself,  causing him to bear with the wicked and forebear so long in punishing them.”
  1. Stephen Charnock – “God is slow to anger because He has great power.  He has no less power over Himself than over His creatures.”
  1. The Cross dispels all doubt as to the Goodness of God.
  1. The goodness of God has made bountiful provision for our full satisfaction and delight.  Through His abundant creation He has provided pleasures of all kinds for our senses of sight,  touch, hearing,  taste,  and smell.

            References for the above quotes can be found in the back of the PDF version of Good and Ready.

 

COMMENT:

(In the PDF,  your journal, or the Comment section of this post.)

Pick one or two of the above quotes or statements and share any insights or challenges it presents to you.

Continue to review the Remember Verses and make sure you are up to date on all the prior postings.

Our next blog post will be Good and Ready 6:  Journal 6.3 – Once Upon A Time in the Garden.


Good and Ready 6: Journal 6.3 – Once upon a Time in the Garden

 

 

 

Where did we go wrong?
How did we miss the Goodness of God?
How did things get so messed up,  corrupted,  cruel,  unkind,  selfish,  hateful,  power hungry,  insensitive….so evil?

 

It all began in the garden with Adam and Eve,  and the snake called Satan,  the great enemy of God.  After God created Adam and Eve and declared them ”very good” he placed them into the Garden of Eden,  a beautiful and bountiful place,  where they could eat freely of every tree  (including the Tree of Life),  except for the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

 

The Tree of Life provided just that – eternal life with God’s presence and provision,  purpose,  beauty and creation,   all His Goodness.

But what about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?

They were warned not to eat from it because then they would surely die.

 

The serpent,  who did not have their highest Good in mind,  set about to deceive and separate them from God.  To make a long story short,  Satan undermined Eve’s confidence in the goodness of God.  He eventually convinced her to change her opinion of God to being less than good and to the forbidden fruit as now being good.  It was much easier for her to disobey Him when she doubted His Goodness.  She forgot that He prohibits things out of His Goodness and acted independently for her own good.

 

She chose her own wisdom over God’s revelation and instruction.  This is what she gained when she ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil:  moral discernment and human wisdom,  a grasp for autonomy and wisdom that were God’s alone.

She rebelled and took God’s rightful place in her life.  She became like God – just like the serpent.

 

Enter death and destruction,  and sin,  separation from God.  And not just for herself,  for all generations to come.  All because she doubted the goodness of God.

 

Original sin – it permeates the human race.  It’s so obvious that it cannot be ignored.  It was the beginning of the corruption of good,  the crack that ushered in the wisdom of man that let loose evil.

Non Christian worldviews come up with other explanations and solutions for this problem.

  • Materialism sees it as merely biological dysfunction
  • Evolutionism explains it as whatever hinders the perceived progress of the human race
  • Psychologism says it is just a result of low self esteem
  • Humanism sees it as attitudes or actions that hurt other people
  • Environmentalism  – not acting on truth the earth is our mother and all living things are equal
  • Pantheism and Panentheism – it happens when one is out of balance or harmony with rest of creation

Even some Christians get it wrong when they simply see sin as breaking the rules of God.

Sin is fundamentally violating our relationship with God,  the core of our being, the attitudes of our hearts.

 

Some equate sin with fun,  when in reality it eventually leads to shame,  guilt and death.

Some say if it doesn’t hurt anyone,  it doesn’t matter – yet since it is ultimately rebellion against God,  it matters to Him.

Some say if sin is popular or accepted – it can’t be sin…..but if a majority agree,  then it is.  We legislate morality.

 

It’s very hard to live with the idea there is no sin,  even if we believe we,  personally,  aren’t sinners,  other people sure are.  Our God given moral code deep within knows better.  But our human wisdom causes us to rationalize, minimize,  blame shift,  divert,  joke,  plead victimization,  illness,  or coercion.  We ignore,  look the other way, excuse,  and make excuses.

And nothing changes.

But out of God’s Goodness,  His morally attractive,  admirable,  beneficial and appealing being and doing – He provided a solution.

The Goodness of God provided the Good News of Jesus.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post) 

In what ways do we doubt the Goodness of God?

Why do so many struggle with the idea of original sin?

Our next blog post will be Good and Ready 7:  Practice – Service. 

 

 

Good and Ready 7: Practice – Service & Why?

practice

Service

 

The Spiritual Practices put us in a place where we are better able to interact with our environment and God.  God can then reach inside our spirits and transform them.  Just as our body needs to eat,  breathe,  exercise,  drink,  sleep,  etc.,  so our spiritual self needs to make sure it is being sustained,  cared for,  and trained.  The results include spiritual growth,  a life controlled by the Holy Spirit,  evidence of the fruit of the spirit,  and the ultimate goal,  living life like Jesus did.

The Spiritual Practices are not:

  • Meritorious laws that earn favor with God
  • A way to show how spiritually mature we are
  • Unpleasant or difficult

Instead, they are:

  • Intentional
  • Activities we do that when practiced allow us to do activities we cannot now do.
  • Adaptable to work with our temperaments and gifts
  • Adjustable according to the rhythm and seasons of our lives

 

There are two kinds:

Abstinence – when we stop doing something that is perfectly normal to allow ourselves to focus more on God,  His Word,  and growing in godliness.  These also help us resist our tendency toward sins of commission  (when we do something we shouldn’t do).  We withdraw to breathe in all that God can provide to us,  breaking the hold that the world has on our lives.  Practices of Abstinence help ready us and create room for the Practices of Engagement.

Engagement – when we do certain activities that help us grow in Christ and obey his commandments.  The Practices of Abstinence have opened up the time and broken up the preoccupations so we are now free to learn of,  focus on,  and practice those things that God commands us to do.  These assist in keeping us from our tendency toward sins of omission  (not doing the things we should do).  We engage to breathe out all that God commands us.

This Journey Element requires more time than most to complete so break it down into sections.  The two opportunities to Comment provide obvious breaking points.

 

Service

Living Humbly

 

For our purposes in this journey we are going to distinguish between the practice of Service as opposed to Calling and Gifting for ministry.  The practice of service or servanthood is necessary to deal with our natural tendency toward pride.  The solution is to replace it with Godly submission and humility.  It requires that we put aside our vanity and stubbornness and allow God and other people to resume their rightful relationships to us.

It keeps us from thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought.

 

WE ARE COMMANDED TO LOVE GOD and others,  and pride will destroy our ability to do that.  The practice of Service over time will put these relationships back in their proper places.

 

SERVICE IS NOT ABOUT THE BIG THINGS,  and is best done in secret,  not expecting thanks.

It is about helping people we come in contact with.

It requires we are available and paying attention.

It does not worry about being taken advantage of.

It is not a list of things to do,  and doesn’t worry about the results.

It is helping people with the mundane things of life;  the simple things,  the ordinary,  everyday things that we might ordinarily not even notice.

 

BE INTENTIONAL,  PAY ATTENTION,  listen to the Spirit’s prompting,  be available.  Below are some areas of service that you might consider during this journey unit.  It could be as simple as opening a door to watching a child,  or driving someone to the airport.  It can be to anyone,  anywhere.

  1. Small things – what do they need at this moment in time?
  2. Defend a Reputation – Watch your tongue,  or speak up in their defense if someone slanders them
  3. Let someone serve you
  4. Be courteous – civility,  manners,  respecting elders,  please and thank you,  RSVP,  be on time,  letter or appreciation,  etc.
  5. Hospitality – Open your home
  6. Listening and Bearing Burdens – struggles,  comfort,  sorrows,  etc.
  7. Sharing a Word from God

 

 Ways to Begin to Practice Service

  1. Pray for God to provide you with opportunities every day.
  2. Pay attention as you go through your daily activities.
  3. Respond as the Spirit leads.

 

Personal Reflections on Service: 

  1. Generally speaking,  explain how the following issues could become roadblocks to service or servanthood.
  • Need for credit,  appreciation or thanks
  • Need for reciprocity
  • Need for control
  • Expectations
  • Using service to shame,  guilt or nag
  • Busyness
  • Over commitments

2.  What are some self-centered motives for serving others?  For not serving others?  For determining who and when to serve?

 

3.  It’s true we can’t do everything,  be everywhere,  and serve everyone at the same time.  How do you decide between conflicting service opportunities?  What would you consider to be legitimate reasons to not serve,  say no,  walk on by?

 

4.  Sometimes it’s easier to serve complete strangers than it is to serve our family and closest friends.  Why do you think that is?

 

5.  Share some personal benefits that come from practicing service and developing an attitude of servanthood.  How has this changed you?  What stumbling blocks do you need to overcome?

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post)

Share your answers to the Personal Reflections on Service questions.  Also share anything you learned from practicing Service.

 

why?

Service 

 

Rick Warren – “Great opportunities to serve never last long.  They pass quickly,  sometimes never to return again.  You may only get one chance to serve that person, so take advantage of the moment.”

John Wesley – “Do all the good you can,  by all the means you can,  in all the ways you can,  in all the places you can,  at all the times you can,  to all the people you can,  as long as you ever can.’

Jesus“Then the righteous will answer him,  ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,  or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in,  or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  “The King will reply,  ‘I tell you the truth,  whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine,  you did for me.’ “  Matt 25:37-40  NIV

John Ortberg – “At the deepest level,  pride is the choice to exclude both God and other people from their rightful place in our hearts.”

Dallas Willard – “In service we engage our goods and strength in the active promotion of the good of others and the causes of God in our world…Such discipline is very useful for those Christians who find themselves in the ‘lower’ positions in society….It alone can free us from resentment.”

Richard Foster – “As the cross is the sign of submission,  the towel is the sign of service.  When Jesus gathered his disciples for the Last Supper they were having trouble deciding who was the greatest …..Whenever there is trouble over who is the greatest,  there is trouble over who is the least. ….Most of us know we will never be the greatest;  just don’t let us be the least.”

John Ortberg – “When Jesus came in the form of a servant,  he was not disguising who God is.  He was revealing who God is.”

Jesus“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,  and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served,  but to serve,  and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Matt 20: 25-28  NIV

Dallas Willard – “The discipline of service is even more important for Christians who find themselves in positions of influence,  power,  and leadership.  To live as a servant while fulfilling socially important roles is one of the greatest challenges any disciple ever faces.”

Paul Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,  but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests,  but also to the interests of others.”   Phil 2: 3-4 NIV

References for the above quotes can be found in the back of the PDF version of Good and Ready.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the PDF,  or the Comments section of this post)

Pick one or two of the above quotes or statements and share any insights or challenges it presents to you.

The next post is Good and Ready 8: Journal 6.4 – Ready and Waiting.

 

 

Good and Ready 8: Journal 6.4 – Ready and Waiting

 

Prepped,  planned,  ducks in a row,  and then you wait…

The seriousness,  or value of what you’re waiting for,  might determine the quality of your waiting…..

Is it worth it?
Do you care that much?
How long will you wait on hold?
Or in line,  or by the phone?
What happens if you don’t wait?
Speak to soon,  leave the room,  give up,  hang up,  accept a substitute?

 

What’s the big hurry,  anyway!

We wait for people,  for love,  for our turn,
For the money to show up,  the phone to ring,  or the email to come thru,
To sign the papers,  for the call back or your big break,
For others to change,  to grow up,  for our day in court,
For our dreams to come true,
To get well,
For God to fulfill His promises and answer our prayers.

 

Waiting is irritating,  frustrating….It makes us angry,  lose our tempers,  lose perspective,  and lose control.  We’ve done our part,  we’re ready,

Why is it taking so long?

Who keeps cutting in line?

It didn’t happen when it was supposed to.

How many more chances?

Sometimes others delay on purpose,  sometimes there are extenuating circumstances,  sometimes it’s just plain old incompetence,  disinterest,  or forgetfulness….So many excuses.

 

How long can you wait?

God is the model of patience.  He is very slow to anger.  In fact,  His patience is the attribute that uses His Goodness to restrain His Wrath.  It is the power God exercises over Himself that causes Him to bear with the wicked and wait so long in punishing them.  It allows him to sustain great injury without immediately avenging Himself.

 

While mercy pities the misery,  patience bears with the sin that causes the misery.  Patience allows it to continue.  Whatever for?  His perspective is so far beyond ours,  He sees the whole road at once…..God is patient because He does not want anyone to perish and be eternally lost.  The quality of His waiting is perfect.

What is He waiting for?

Maybe you,  maybe me?

But lest we think we have a good thing going…..that we can take advantage or exploit the Goodness of God – He will not be patient forever –  as He has demonstrated below.

 

And perhaps the hardest part of all  – we are to emulate His patience.

And not just the patience of Job,  but the Patience of God.

Calm,  self possessed,  waiting.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post)

List some things you are waiting for.  How long can you wait?

What determines the quality of your patience?

What makes you lose your patience?

Our next blog post will be Good and Ready 9: Inventory – What fills you? What drains you?