Spiritual Formation – Forming Habits

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is obfuscate, which means, “To cast into darkness or shadow; to cloud, obscure.”

Today is Train Day.

What? Not that “Train?” Oh, well. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can . . .

Well, C wound up not going to the ladies’ gathering last night, because she had a bad headache and some vertigo. But she’s feeling better this morning. Yesterday was an okay day, over all. Work was pretty normal, with no real issues. C had a rather stressful day, though. There’s not much else going on.

Except, yesterday, I found out that the Alan Parson Project is going to be in Dallas at the Majestic Theater, in November. The tickets go on sale next Friday (the 20th). We just might try to get tickets for that. C and I both love them, and have never had an opportunity to see them. I didn’t even know they ever toured, as it has mostly been a studio project. The only downside might be who they choose to do the vocals. I’m sure everyone that has sung for them, over the years, will not be available for the tour.

Both the Red Sox and the Rangers dropped a game yesterday. Red Sox lost to the Astros 7-6, and the Rangers go shut out by the Boo Jays, 5-0. Baltimore won, so the Sox dropped to a game out of first place. Seattle lost, so there was no change for the Rangers. Both teams continue their series today.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

The Lord gives the word; the women who announce the news are a great host:
“The kings of the armies—they flee, they flee!” The women at home divide the spoil—

though you men lie among the sheepfolds— the wings of a dove covered with silver, its pinions with shimmering gold.
When the Almighty scatters kings there, let snow fall on Zalmon.

Psalm 68:11-14

“The strongholds of evil have been ransacked by the word of God.” This holds true everywhere and at all times. We may not fully realize it, in our time, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is true. We can, and have, traditionally, announce the victory of God and enjoy the fruits thereof. “We know something that we are eager to tell, and we have something that we are glad to share.”

“Great God, your victorious work reverses everything I have ever thought about the world: all the evil I was afraid of is now a reminder of your power; all the things I was greedy for are now spoil to be shared. Thank you, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

“The Habit of Enjoying the Disagreeable”

. . . so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
2 Corinthians 4:10

In order to show what God’s grace has accomplished in us, we must form habits. Remember my favorite definition of grace: It is God working in us to accomplish what we cannot accomplish on our own. “It is not a question of being saved from hell, but of being saved in order to manifest the life of the Son of God in our mortal flesh, and it is the disagreeable things which make us exhibit whether or not we are manifesting His life.” This idea of manifesting the life of the Son of God, I believe Dallas Willard would refer to as walking in the Kingdom. And the only way I will “enjoy the disagreeable” is if I possess “keen enthusiasm of letting the life of the Son of God manifest itself in me.”

There can be no debate. I must obey the light immediately, and allow the Son of God to press through me. I must keep myself fit to allow his life to manifest through me, and if I allow self-pity to come in at all, I cannot be fit. “Our circumstances are the means of manifesting how wonderfully perfect and extraordinarily pure the Son of God is.”

Now let me say that I fail at this daily. This is good stuff for me and a good reminder of what I am NOT doing on a daily basis at work. Disagreeable things happen to me at work every day. I complain; I moan; I throw hissy fits. I react in ways that do not reflect the Kingdom of God. I need to pray more effectively, more fervently. I need to work on developing these habits. And I am starting on that journey. After I finish reading Living in Christ’s Presence, by Dallas Willard and John Ortberg, I’m going to re-read Celebration of Discipline, by Richard Foster, followed by The Spirit of the Disciplines, by Dallas Willard.

Now, reading these books won’t help me, if that’s all I do. But I plan to put into practice the disciplines that will most help me fix the parts of my self that need fixing, heart, soul, mind, and body. Spiritual Formation. Developing good habits that will make behavior follow along.

Father, I pray for the help of your Spirit as I embark on this journey of spiritual formation. Empower me to form habits that reflect the life of Christ in my life. Form his life within me. I know that there are some already in there, that have, perhaps, been pushed down over the years. But I cannot live on memories. I must, as it were, begin anew, and seek your Kingdom in the now.

Come, Lord Jesus!

The Kingdom of God is available now! This is the Gospel.

Grace and peace, friends.

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