A Seaman's Quest

One man's search for truth

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Spiritual Practices

Gratitude

One of the great tragedies of modern life is our loss of appreciation for what we have. It is all too easy to spend our mental energy on the things that we wish we had but still lack. This can blind us to the many benefits that we experience everyday.

Gratitude is the simple act of pausing and appreciating. In this act we naturally remember to say, "Thank you". Expressing thankfulness is a natural consequence of experiencing it. A person that inhales air will naturally exhale without a reminder.

Pause several times today and make room for gratitude. Take a few moments to savor the things that you value most in your life. Tell the people around you how much you treasure them.

This simple act will release unimaginable joy. Then tomorrow you can go back to your old grumpy self if you really want to.

Contentment, Simplicity, Generosity

These three words have been constantly on my mind recently. These are the core issues of everyday life. This is where our vague desire to follow God is tested, and where spiritual transformation takes place.

We live is a society that is obsessed with getting more. We need more money, more time, more recognition, more stuff, more control over others, and even more control over God. This self-centered orientation lies at the heart of our unhappiness.

Let's face it. How much is enough? If you are honest, you probably believe that you could be happy if you had 20% more than you have right now. But the horizon keeps moving.

If you are discontent now you will remain discontent until Jesus transforms your desires. There is no point at which the false gods actually satisfy us. The issue exists inside our skin.

When we trust in the wrong things, then it is not possible to be at peace. No amount of success will make us feel approved, and no size of bank account will make us feel secure.

We actually long for Jesus, but don't know it. He is our only hope. He is the provider, sustainer, healer, and the security that we need.

God is calling us to accept his truth about ourselves and his role in our lives. This leads us to humbly acknowledge him and surrender the control over our lives.

This drama plays out in every area of our lives. Materialism compels us to work long hours and build complex plans to scratch the unscratchable itch. We place demands on those around us to meet our every need, while at the same time being unwilling to sacrifice for their benefit. Ultimately, we poison our relationships with our unending thirst for more recognition and control.

Jesus offers us freedom from this vicious cycle of destruction and dissatisfaction. God always meets each true need we ever have. He is the one who brings people into our lives. He grants to each of us the opportunities aligned with his plans. He leads and guides us on the right path to take.

Being in control is only an illusion. God desires to replace this illusion with his actual presence. He will give us the provision, security, recognition, and peace that we need.

This is the work of spiritual transformation. God changes us from the inside out. The truest measure of the Spirit's work is seen in how we live out Contentment, Simplicity, and Generosity.

Solitude

In the quietness of our inner being, thoughts are carefully nurtured. That is where hope and dreams can be persistently sustained. In the solitude resolutions are forged and difficult commitments made. There intimacy can flourish and our life is renewed and transformed. We must maintain our inner life or our strength will weaken and our resolve will dissipate.

In the solitude we must meet with God and wrestle with the issues that threaten to destroy us. This is the place where we truly find him. It is ironic that it is also where we discover our true selves as well. Knowing God reveals things about us that we would rather hide.

There is no substitute. If we don't take time to be alone with God, then we will never grow very deep. Youth is fleeting, but immaturity can last a lifetime. We need time to connect at an emotional level with our creator.

This is the most valuable time that we will ever spend. Yet, we so often miss out on it for lesser activities. Take care of your inner life. Let God attend to your deepest needs.

Sabbath Rest

A day without work is hard for someone with Achiever Talent. I have an internal drive to always be proving my worth by doing. I need to practice the Sabbath. During this time I cease from trying to control and win.

You are the source of every perfect gift and untainted blessing. You supply all that I need. You guide the details of my life in a way that will bring You glory, and me to maturity. For all this I don't need to strive. Help me rest in Your care and acknowledge You for all that You do on my behalf.

A day of rest is also important because it causes us to pull back from the things that consume our attention. It is easy to believe that work is all there is to life. But the To Do List never relents. The Sabbath forces a break to this thinking. It lets us recreate to re-create our souls. Thank You for this gift.

I want to just "be" in Your presence. I want to live In The Present and the Sabbath is a good way to start. You are God, I am not.

To have a meaningful Sabbath Rest it is important to do activities that are fundamentally different than the regular work activities. I work on computers for a living, so working on computers as a break is insane. I need activities that involve working with my hands, riding bikes, hiking, or playing guitar. These are legitimate activities that would feed my soul by giving me a break in my routine.

Quiet Time

The most important thing that we can do to follow Jesus is to invest time to be alone with God. Our lives are filled with so much business that the critical moments are crowded out. There is a direct correlation between the hours spent in God's presence and the health of our emotions.

An hour spent basking in the Father's love and listening to the voice of the Spirit is a luxury that is available to each of us. Even ten minutes alone with God can have a dramatic affect.

Being alone with God is one thing, but being still before him is quite another. Short periods of being alone with God often fail to produce the true connection that feeds our souls. This is because our minds are so noisy with what we bring to the encounter that we seldom have a really true meeting.

What truly changes us is when we experience the emotions that accompany God's Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control). It takes time to rid ourselves of all the turmoil rattling around our heads to receive the Lord (like receiving visiting royalty).

When is the last time that you knew without a doubt that you were in the throne room of the Creator? Is it time for you to have another visit?