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The Spiritual Disciplines-
Door to Liberation
The Spiritual Disciplines are intended for ourgood. They are meant to bring the abundanceof God into our lives.
Celebration of Discipline, p. 9*
Reading: Celebration of Discipline, Chapter 1
Reflecting on the Spiritual Disciplines
Read through the chapter in one sitting, and, in the space provided, write down any significant thoughts or questions that occur to you. After you have finished this first reading, take time to gather your thoughts about the journey ahead into a deeper life. You might find it helpful to read the chapter through a second time a little later on, and then return to portions of it throughout the week--as often as time and desire permit--to refresh your thoughts. Use the following questions to help guide your thinking.
A Light for the Path
In Psalm 42:1-2, the psalmist beautifully expresses one of the most elemental of all human longings:As a deer longs for flowing streams,
-- Karl Barth
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.... But that freedom of Christian living does not come from the human spirit. No human capacities or possibilities or strivings of any kind can achieve this freedom.
When it happens that man obtains that freedom of becoming a hearer, a responsible, grateful, hopeful person, this is not because of an act of the human spirit, but solely because of the act of the Holy Spirit. So this is, in other words, a gift of God.
THE PRACTICE OF THE DISCIPLINES
The Disciplines are means to receiving Divine grace, not exercises in selfimprovement. As you begin your journey through the Spiritual Disciplines, take time this week to prepare by affirming God's presence with you.
Consider spending ten minutes in silent listening to God or taking a short "prayer walk." Use any of the following suggestions as you find them helpful for focusing your time with God:
Use this section to write down your most significant thoughts or experiences from this week, unless you prefer to use a personal journal you may already be keeping. If you would like, use the following "reflection points" as springboards for your thoughts.
Posted March 9, 2009
This workbook is a wonderful companion to the hardcover "Celebrations". It is organized so that it can be used for a year-long study. The first section takes the reader through each of the disciplines during the first quarter of the year; then extended study time is given to each group of disciplines.
The questions are thoughtful; and he gives practical suggestions for beginning to incorporate each discipline into your life.
It is a highly effective workbook. If you are going to read Celebrations, or if you have already read it, I recommend buying this and giving yourself the luxury of a year spent in becoming familiar with these disciplines, so that you may place yourself in the path where God can find you.
As Foster says, in and of themselves the disciplines are useless; and, if they are pursued for themselves alone they can be dangerous. But if you study and practice the book in the way he suggests and intends, you will indeed find yourself walking down that path of grace.
Go for it!