TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL: PART TWO
Thanks for joining us again to hear part 2 of ‘Ohana Groups Pastor Kyle Knight’s devotional! If you missed part 1, check out our blog post from yesterday.
UNITED PRAYER: THOSE WHO ARE BATTLING THE EXPOSURE
Let’s pray for vulnerable communities around the world that are battling exposure to the virus, those who are less likely to receive healthcare when in need, and those who are affected by economic loss (unable to pay bills, loss of jobs, unable to provide for their family, etc.). Pray for the Lord’s provision over the downtrodden and overlooked during this time of crisis as well as opportunities for the church to rise and take care of those in need.
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’”
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
FAMILY RESOURCES: GODLY MINDFULNESS EXERCISE
In a time where it is so easy to focus on these hard times in the world, it is crucial to slow down to be able to see how God is working in our lives. When our minds are busy, rushing a million miles an hour, it is certainly difficult to identify the blessings right in front of us. It’s imperative to exercise our spiritual awareness to truly find rest in the presence of the Lord amidst the chaos. Here are some “best practices” to have spiritual clarity in our lives. Even the smallest of exercise can make a difference in order for us to become mindful of God’s continuous grace in every given circumstance.
Disconnect from the media
The thought can be daunting at first to unplug. Fears of “boredom” or “not being in the know” immediately come to mind for some of us. However, taking away certain distractions can lead to lower anxiety and greater mental clarity. Devoting a significant amount of time to this can be beneficial, however we understand everyone’s schedules/work looks different. Evaluate the need for this in your own life, and try to make a decision based on what you or your family needs. This practice can apply to any movies, TV, social media, video games, etc. This may look like disconnecting one day a week, or not using media in the mornings, or perhaps cutting it out altogether. Use your best judgment for how this best works for your own life.
Pay attention to all of your senses
Pay attention to all five of your senses (sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch). Slowing down to notice your senses allows you to be more present in the moment. You’re much more likely to remember special moments whenever they’re associated with your senses. It’s easy to sometimes run on autopilot, however acknowledging the gifts that God has given you to experience life helps us to be thankful.
List some ways God has provided for you in the past.
What ways has God provided for you? Has He kept you safe by giving you a home? Has He given your family food to eat? Has He graced you with comforts, such as a warm blanket and a good book? The little things are sometimes the things that we are most appreciative of. Whether it be big or small, when we recount all of the ways God has taken care of us, we begin to understand that he is sovereign over every facet of our lives and that we are in His hands. Take some time to list off His provisions in your life. This can be in a journal, in prayer, or sharing it with the rest of your family over a meal.
Pray throughout the day
…not just when you wake up and go to bed – Maybe you’ve fallen into the ritual of only praying before you go to sleep or before a meal. It’s not that you shouldn’t pray then, but we would encourage you to pause and come to the Lord as often as you can. 1 Thessalonians tells us “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” The more we lean on His understanding and rest in His presence, the more we will be able to truly see Him in everything we do! Seek Him through all things as He wants every hour of your day.
HOW-TO: Fast & Pray
As we prepare to fast & pray on Fridays, here’s some practical tips to help you get started.
Fasting can be daunting, especially if you’re new to this spiritual practice. Our flesh loathes the idea of abstaining from food (or really anything we want to indulge in) which is exactly why it is called a “discipline”. Jesus does not say “if you fast”, but rather “when you fast” in Matthew 6:16. This implies that fasting for the believer in Christ is not just optional but imperative. It is our constant reminder of our hunger for Jesus, much more than for the physical needs of this world. We instead long for Christ and the promises He lays before us, knowing His eternal life & His springs of living water are more satisfying than anything this world can offer. If you are unsure where to even begin, here are some tips to help you hone in this spiritual practice.
Start small– Don’t push yourself past your own limits. Understand what your body can handle before jumping headfirst into a day long or even week long fast.
Plan what you’ll do instead of eating– Create a purpose and a plan for why you are fasting. Dedicate the time you would normally spend eating to prayer and meditation on scripture.
Consider how it will affect others– A change in your diet can oftentimes affect your moods. Even if there might be times you are more prone to take it out on others, be considerate and turn to God in moments of hardship & hunger.
Try different kinds of fasting– Fast with your family, your ‘ohana groups, your church, by yourself, privately, regularly, occasionally, there are so many ways! Seeking God under different circumstances may call for you to seek His wisdom in different ways.
Fast from something other than food– Health conditions may step in the way of you being able to fast food. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “Fasting should really be made to include abstinence from anything which is legitimate in and of itself for the sake of some special spiritual purpose.” Consider fasting from some other regular enjoyment that would bend your heart toward greater enjoyment of Jesus.
Don’t just focus on your hunger– Acknowledge your denial, it’s okay to feel it but don’t let that rule over you. Our minds should be fixed on Jesus and long for Him even more than our desire to be fed. We take the pains of hunger and transpose them into our longing for the eternal.
For more, here’s Desiring God’s article on fasting for beginners: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/fasting-for-beginners