Have you looked upon the face of Jesus yet today?
The keenness of profoundest contemplation, on the other hand, once it has perceived the countenance of the truth, neither hesitates, nor slips, nor is ever darkened by any cloud.
- Eriugena, Homily on John 1.1-14 (Irish, 9th century)
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
- 2 Corinthians 4.6
Have you gazed into the face of Jesus today, and seen the glory which can be known there?
Jesus is alive from the dead and reigns at the right hand of God in a glorified body of flesh and bones. He has a face, and His face is the most beautiful face anyone could imagine.
His face reveals the glory of God. The glory of God is the very presence of God, which weighs on those who encounter it with a spiritual joy and pleasure that cannot be described. The Scriptures describe the face of Jesus for us, so that we know what to seek as we turn, through profoundest contemplation, to behold Him.
Paul prayed that we might have this experience (Eph. 1.15-23). He commanded us to seek it (Col. 3.1-3). As we look, with the eye of faith, on the unseen face of Jesus, we grow to know and love Him more, and we find the Spirit working in us to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ.
But profoundest contemplation is required - taking the time, summoning up every glimpse of the face of Jesus given to us in the Word of God, holding those images together in our minds, and focusing, with the eye of the heart, until the glory comes forth to meet and engulf us.
To see the face of Jesus, and to know the glory emanating from it, is our privilege and calling.
Have you looked upon the face of Jesus yet today?
Everything depends on how we respond to trials.
A Framework for Faith/Spiritual Disciplines
Cherish every practice of devotion greatly.
- Anonymous, A Rule for Hermits (Irish, 9th century)
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
- Psalm 42.1,2
Consider how much is bound up in that word, "cherish." What we cherish we delight in and enjoy. Things cherished are precious treasures, to be cared for diligently and shared proudly. Cherished things occupy our minds, thrill our hearts, and never fail to satisfy. We tend to spend a good deal of time and invest much in the way of attention in the things we cherish most.
Do we cherish prayer? Time in God's Word? Moments of solitude or of quiet reflection on the Lord's presence in created things? Does our heart yearn with the yearning of the psalmist, "When shall I come and appear before the Lord?"
Wouldn't that be wonderful? What can make it so? Well, it would help us to cherish our devotional practices if through them we actually engaged the Lord in His glory, partook of His presence, and knew His Spirit working within us to will and do of God's good pleasure. In the presence of the Lord, when we know we're there and we're seeing His beauty and experiencing His glory, then we know fullness of joy and pleasures forever more (Ps. 16.11). Whatever brings us to such a heightened sense of the knowledge of the Lord we will surely cherish, and resort there again and again.
But if our devotions are perfunctory, dutiful, or merely intellectual and academic, we will not cherish them much. We might continue to do them, but not with the kind of joy and intensity of focus that comes from actually meeting the Lord in prayer and in His Word.
In your times of devotions, seek the Lord.Wait patiently and expectantly on Him. Strive to know His presence and to engage His glory. Don't let Him go until He blesses you. If your disciplines and devotions don't yield this, then get some help revamping and retooling them. Because this is what they're for.
God longs for us to know Him and to experience His glory in transforming ways. Spiritual disciplines are the arena for this, and, when they yield that sweet and awesome encounter with the glory of God, we will know joy and pleasure, and we will cherish those times more and more.
Today at The Fellowship
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Do not practice long-drawn-out devotions, but rather give yourself to prayer at intervals, as you would to food.
- Comghall, Rule (Irish, 6th century)
Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.
- Psalm 119.164
We are mistaken if we believe that the few minutes we spend in morning devotions will suffice to nourish and sustain our souls throughout the remainder of the day. Even if we increase our morning prayer and reading to an hour or more, still, we will need to be resupplied before the day is finished.
The saints of Scripture understood this, and we frequently find them praying at intervals throughout the day, as Daniel (chapter 6) and the apostles (Acts 3). Praying at various times, even set times, throughout the day can help us to approximate the idea of praying without ceasing, which Paul commands (1 Thess. 5.17).
But how shall we do this? Well, we should make appointments with God, to meet Him for prayer. Then, come to each time - no more than 5-10 minutes - with some specific prayer item to use: a psalm to pray, or the list of the people in your Personal Mission Field, or just random reasons to praise the Lord as the Spirit leads.
Use these prayer intervals also to thank God for the day thus far and to seek His will and help for the things that remain. Hang your day on prayer and you will know greater strength, joy, and sense of the Lord's presence with you.
The hard part of this is being willing to take the time, to interrupt whatever you're doing, or somehow, in the midst of doing it, find a way to focus your thoughts on God and to offer your prayers to Him. But it's a worthwhile discipline which will enrich your walk with the Lord and your awareness of the larger, unseen realm.
Try it for a week, and you'll see just how beneficial this discipline can be.
Today at The Fellowship of Ailbe
Please keep us in your prayers. Our Members meet next Monday night in The Gathering, and we have some important matters before us, as we consider more effective ways of serving the men in ministry to whom God has called us.
Thank you very much for sharing your prayers and gifts with us. Your support is greatly appreciated. If you'd like to contribute, simply use the donate button here or on the web page, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 100 Lamplighter Ct., Hamilton, VA 20158.