Okay, so we are supposed to do a “best of” for the month of August. I think I want to be the rebellious one and create some new “best of.” Life is a journey and so is our walk with the Lord. It’s all journey. The journey can be very stressful and long at times. At other times, like on your birthday and you realize how old you are and that life is moving fast, you wonder where the time went.
I have been to lots and lots of retreats. I often wonder why some of the things we call retreat, are called that. Picking up on David’s use of the battle/warfare metaphor yesterday, retreating doesn’t sound like a good idea either. Often we go to retreats that should probably be called motivational or pep-talk events. Nothing wrong with them, we like them, we need them; yet, sometimes we mistakenly call them retreats.
Last weekend I went on a retreat. I went to a Catholic Abbey with a group of women. We had no famous named speaker. We didn’t sit in chairs for hours listening to someone teach us. We didn’t have any showmanship. Excuse the sarcasm, I don’t mean to sound as harsh as this might sound. I like those things and perhaps showmanship is a bad word. But I can’t think of another one right now.
So often we go to meetings, events and retreats to see the stuff…To get excited. We are like the crowd following Jesus waiting to see Him cast out another demon, raise the dead or heal someone. That’s okay. I want to see more of that stuff because I believe Jesus is alive and still does miracles.
However, that activity is very passive. We just wait to see someone demonstrate the power of God. We get excited. We go home. We talk about it for days. Then it becomes a memory that fades.
What if we were like Jesus? What did Jesus do? Oh yeah, you have a bracelet for that, don’t you? What would Jesus do? I have one of those also, it’s in the bottom of a drawer somewhere. In order to be the One who had compassion on people, the one with the energy to stand and preach and proclaim the deliverance of God – Jesus took retreats. Someone probably has counted how many times the Gospels record that Jesus withdrew to a quiet place. I don’t know how many that is, but I am sure it is a lot.
At the Abbey we did something quite radical for a bunch of charismatics. We were still before the Lord. We let the Lord alone be our main speaker. For the next few Tuesdays, as my turn to blog comes, I want to invite you to a retreat like the one I just led at the Abbey.
Here’s what we are going to do. I am going to post the same scripture each week but in a different translation. That is going to be followed by some questions. The questions are called reflections. As you reflection on these things, they are going to lead you to places of quiet, of knowing, know yourself and God, places of peace and calm, places of repentance and intimacy.
- Read the scripture out loud.
- Take a half an hour or so to reflect on the questions.
- Put on worship music if that helps you.
- Get in the presence of God and you’ll be amazed at how He will speak to you.
2 Corinthians 3:12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the LORD, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the LORD is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the LORD's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the LORD, who is the Spirit. (NIV)
Lord, remind me of time and places when I have powerfully encountered Your presence.
Please help me to see what practices have been (or could be) truly fruitful in helping me spend time in Your presence. (Are there practices that seem to work for other people, but not for you? Talk with God about those too).
Lord, please help me see the obstacles occurring right now that are a veil to my eyes. I want to see you this month. What are some of those obstacles? In prayer, bring them to the Lord and ask Him to remove them.
As the month goes on, I’ll share some of my reflections as we journey together on a virtual Tuesday retreat.