excerpt from On Trusting God – Psalm 25

To you, O Lord, I lift up my souls. O my God, in you I trust (Psalm 25).

Trusting in God is at the core of being his disciple. If we do not trust him, then we do not rest in him. If we cannot trust him, then we cannot receive love from him. If we will not trust him, we will not follow him.

Take a few quiet moments and meditate on this excerpt from Psalm 25. Then take a few deep breaths and ask God the following question: God, in what places am I not trusting you?

If something comes to mind, write it down. If nothing comes to mind, set an alarm for a later time in the day and ask again. Continue asking in a regular way until something comes to mind. When you do have something, ask God for the next step in trusting him in this area. Continue to ask for next steps as you are obedient with the last step.

May we all experience his gentle leadership as we continue to trust him.

 

note: I’m currently in the process of writing and compiling some devotional resources. I thought it could be helpful for some to include snapshots of my process. Enjoy!

Phil Rice — philrice.blog
Executive Director of Ember

Turnkey organization and the great American detox

Here’s a starting place:

google search turnkey defined -> of or involving the provision of a complete product or service that is ready for immediate use

A complete product or service that is ready for use. I walk into one grocery store to get all the groceries I need. Oh yeah, and I’ll grab a pack of batteries while I’m there… and maybe throw in a pack of white v-neck tee’s while I’m here… Oh… and I’ve been meaning to get my oil changed. I’ll do that here too. Convenient.

Why should’t I get my oil changed while I get my groceries and the newest blu-ray release? What’s wrong with capping a burger and fries with a McLatte? Nothing is necessarily wrong with it… it’s convenient. And if you don’t mind your latte tasting kind of like that burger and fries, then go for it.

There we have it… a complete product or service that is ready for IMMEDIATE use — so convenient.

But, do we lose something in the turnkey rat race? Do we lose something when we can walk into a place and get everything we need and everything we want? Does some inner fortification of my soul die within me when I open a single iPhone application to make 99% of my purchases, promising to arrive at my doorstep within 48 hours? I mean… it’s totally convenient… but is there a hidden cost somewhere flying just below the radar?

I love the german originated Aldi Grocery Stores for this very reason. It’s the consumer’s AA rehab protocol. Americans Anonymous — My name is Phil … Hi Phil… and I’m American. I feel entitled to get anything I want, whenever I want… I need help. Aldi stocks one kind of most — not necessarily all — grocery items. One week they may have lightly salted cashews and only lightly salted almonds the next. No apology. They have found a way to simplify their business model and have somehow convinced their patrons that we are not entitled to get everything we want. Thank you Aldi… I needed that. Want a shopping cart? That will be $.25. Oh, don’t worry, you’ll get your quarter back… after you return your shopping cart exactly where you found it. Grocery sacks? That will cost you a few pennies as well. Or, you can use these boxes that we have lying around after stocking the shelves. Need something that Aldi didn’t actually carry in stock this week? Sorry, maybe try next week. The best way I can describe this transcendent experience is #thegreatamericandetox — sometimes… it’s healthy for my soul to not get what I want.

Thanks Aldi.

 

Phil Rice — philrice.blog
Executive Director of Ember

excerpt from On Trusting God – Proverbs 3

Session three – On Trusting God

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3).

From your heart, turst the Lord. Through this passage, God is inviting us to trust him from the deepest place and set aside the things we think we know. His promise to us is that if we give him full permission and leadership of our hearts, instead of trying to have it all logically sorted, he will direct us. This is an incredible relief! We don’t have to have the answers or the navigational bearings. He does. He will direct us. But, as this proverb says, he won’t necessarily direct us from what we know logically… but rather from our hearts.

If I understand all that is going on in my Christian life, I have an inferior Christian life. The walk of faith is to live according to the revelation we have received, in the midst of the mysteries we can’t explain (Dreaming with God, Bill Johnson).

Take a moment with Holy Spirit. Take a deep breath, and then ask… Holy Spirit, are there areas that I am not living primarily from your prompting, but rather from my own intellect? Father, I repent of hiding behind what I already know and I ask you to lead me into the unknown.

note: I’m currently in the process of writing and compiling some devotional resources. I thought it could be helpful for some to include snapshots of my process. Enjoy!

Phil Rice — philrice.blog
Executive Director of Ember

Communicating Glory

Continual Glory

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world (Psalm 19).

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse (Romans 1).

Changing My Perspective

Scripture communicates that the heavens announce God’s glory and the skies reveal his work. Since the beginning, since the creation of the world, God’s eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen. God is continually worshipped through all creation, who bares witness to his divinity and lordship in a continual way. It will never stop. So, in it’s most overarching sense, humans are not necessary for the displaying of God’s never ending glory. His glory already emanates from the whole of his creation. We are not a hinge point in this process, the job will get done. It is already being continually accomplished.

Joining Creation

This perspective is helpful for me. Not because it removes responsibility, but because it really helps me put the first things first and everything else after that. To try and relate to God in friendship under the pressure of work for me or else, in my experience, stifles the cultural nutrients necessary for friendship to be cultivated. If our relational connection to God begins as obligatory carriers and conveyers of God’s glory to the world around us, then there is no margin left for us to carry and communicate his glory out of creative, authentic love for Him. Obligatory pressure leads to fear or guilt based reaction to carry out procedures, rules, and laws. But there is another way.

Because of Love

We must begin with love and our natural response to that love. We must allow the reality of the manner of love the Father has bestowed on us to reorder our reality. We must allow him to come and love us, while we were still sinners, while we were [his] enemies, while all we had to offer him was our very selves. Because this truly, even now, is all we have to offer him — weakness, normalcy, brokenness.

Our unique and appropriate response

To carry his glory must become an act of love joining in as a new member of the continual orchestra of creation — our response to his love, his moving on our behalf by the pouring out of his precious blood that we might live and not die. We realize that to carry and communicate his glory is what we were made to do. We were created to emanate his glory, through every aspect of our created being — experiencing his love, we give the most natural response.

Sharing the gospel is not limited to a rehearsed speech or a five step presentation, but rather at its roots, it is the act of communicating and radiating his glory in the midst of those who have not yet known that he is glorious (as well as among those who have).

My response

As I’ve begun working out these thoughts practically — and I have by no means worked them out to fullness — I have come back into quietness with God. This path leading me again to him. It has led me to repentance. Forgive me for doing before abiding. Forgive me for working apart from the experience of your love. Be near to me. Remind me of your worth, again. Show me your beauty, again. Bring me back to you, my first love.

Phil Rice — philrice.blog
Executive Director of Ember