7/23 A Labyrinth, a Journey Discerning the Voice of the Good Shepherd

Discerning the Voice of the Good Shepherd ...one step at a time, one day at a time, one verse at a time, one crisis at a time, one story at a time, one season at a time, one decision at a time!

Eph. 5:15-21 "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ."

 

TLCC’s Labyrinth—  is focused on the cross.  Starting at the bridge head west toward the road. As we begin life we see the cross as a reflection in the lives of our parents.

 

By the time we enter school we zigzag through life learning from our parents as we go to church, youth group, church camp and VBS learning about the cross. By the time we have finished 6th grade we are well aware of right and wrong and hopefully ready to contemplate our personal commitment to Christ and baptism. Through this we identify with his death, burial and resurrection to a new life in Christ. Ultimately through His grace and our decision to embrace Jesus Christ we resolve to make the Cross & new life our life’s pursuit.

Our life in Christ begins, sometimes feeling intentional, at other times feeling random in direction.

As we enter mid-life we begin to accept that sometimes we can’t see the cross, but in faith we learn that it never moves, it is us that hides, not the cross. We allow some things to come between us.  Wait for it…. Wait for it! Repentance, celebration, prayer, meditation and other spiritual disciplines make sure we never ultimately loose the influence of His work in our life.

 

As we leave mid-life we enter a time of looking over at those younger prodding along at a distance. We long to help, enjoy and be a part of their path but we whimsically look on at a distance.  It’s not that we wish we were there, we wish we could help them avoid consequences of bad decisions. The best we can do now is to encourage anyone that will listen. Most importantly we must be evidence to them that spiritual success is worth pursuing!

 

By the time we reach the “Sr. Adult” stage we are understanding more and more that life is preparing for our next life. The way is narrow, the most dominant sight for those that know Jesus becomes the cross.  Finishing well becomes the priority.  The power, the lure, the anticipation of what lies beyond the cross affects you everyday because the sensations of mortality long to control our soul. But hope and faith cries out for the peace that Jesus secured on the cross and from the empty tomb .  The only other option is fear and depression. You must learn now to trust that God will finish the work He has begun in the lives of your loved ones.  Spiritual disciplines throughout the Journey will help us discern His plan and learn to trust in his eternal purpose.  Therein lies our ability to sing when the time comes "It Is Well with My Soul."

 

Celebration, spirit-filled living that shows deep gratitude for the richness of God’s love and mercy. Jn 15:5-7 

Prayer, allowing the Holy Spirit to cultivate a deeper understanding of what it is to be in communion with Him.  Mt 6:9-13

Worship, true heart expression of adoration, gratitude and appreciation demonstrated through song, prayer, writing, serving, etc. … not  just an event but a lifestyle.  Psalm 33:1-3

Study, to prayerfully ‘wrestle’ with the Word of God, in all it’s teaching of truth, love, grace and holiness.  Ps 1:2-3; Jn 20:31

Calendar, The calendar you live reflects His Lordship of your life, not man’s ‘lordship’ over you. Ecc. 3: Mt. 7:24-27  Check out some ideas at: “A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays

Sabbath, to rest in the Lord outside of our “todo” list.  Dt 6:4-9 2 Co 7:1 

Fasting, trusting in the strength of the Spirit from immediate gratification. Ps 1:2; Mt 4:4; Mt 6:16

Meditation, focused reflection on the truth of God’s Word and allowing the Spirit to sanctify us into His likeness.  Ps 19:7-11;  Jn 17:17-18  

Solitude, to be away from the multiple layers of noise…seeking stillness and quiet with the Lord. Ps 46:8-10; Mk 1:35-38

Contemplation, to reflect on the working of the Spirit in our life: heart, mind and soul. Ro 12:1-2; Col 3:1-2

Intimacy w/the Lord, To grow in oneness with Him in spirit, mind and action.. His Word in our heart and seen in our life.  Jn 13:34-35;  Heb 3:1

 

Dr. James Dobson’s Method of Listening to God... is a simple, very practical way of praying to help him listen to God and receive his guidance:

“I get down on my knees and say, “Lord, I need to know what you want me to do, and I am listening.  Please speak to me through my friends, books, magazines I pick up and read, and through circumstances” (quoted by Dallas Willard in Hearing God, p. 199).

  • The Celebrations Begin (What might you celebrate on the journey with HIM?)
  • The Challenges Begin (What are some key challenges you might face with HIM?)
  • The Study Begins (What are some important topics you will likely need to study along your journey through life with HIM?)
  • The Decisions Begin (What are some key decisions you might make with HIM?)
  • The Responsibility Begins (What are some key responsibilities you will likely face with HIM?)
  • The Opportunities Begin (What are some key opportunities you anticipate having with HIM?)