On Experiencing God — Matthew 5 [a practical, biblical study of scripture]

Excerpt from Devotional Sessions | Practical Spirituality

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-17, prompted from Devotional Sessions – Phil Rice).

Take a few moments away from the busyness of life. After a long breath… and then another, read through these words of Jesus a few more times.

Jesus said that we are light in our world. Take some time and sit with Holy Spirit in this question, What does it look like for me to be light in my world? Allow him to speak to you about the characteristics of light. Is light loud or soft? Subtle or demanding? Safe or dangerous? How is Holy Spirit leading you to be light in your world?

Thank Holy Spirit for any understanding he has given. If you feel like there is more for him to show you about being light in your world, take another day or two with this session. There’s no need to rush.

My personal engagement with this session

I love this picture of light. Jesus has called me as light in my world and he has invited me to burn — burn with his goodness, love, hope, adventure, longing, desire, passion. I’m continually asking Holy Spirit what it looks like for me to be light along the path God has given me to walk. Light looks different from medium to medium, it looks different from environment to environment. This is why it’s so necessary for me to continually ask the question. Lord, what does it look like for me to be light here and now?

An added note from Phil Rice

I hope you’ve benefited from this excerpt from Devotional Sessions | Practical Spirituality. Share this session with anyone you think would be impacted and don’t hesitate to leave questions or comments for our mutual benefit of continued conversation.

Thanks for journeying alongside,
Phil Rice

 

find me social —Instagram —Twitter —Facebook —Soundcloud

find me here too —philrice.blogPractical Spirituality —Ember

On Experiencing God — Revelation 5:9 [a practical, biblical study of scripture]

Excerpt from Devotional Sessions | Practical Spirituality

You [Jesus] are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation… (Revelation 5:9, prompted from Devotional Sessions – Phil Rice).

Jesus, you are worthy to complete the things that you have set out to do from before the beginning of time. You are worthy because you gave up your own life on our behalf and you reconciled us to yourself through your sacrifice.

Take a moment and ask God to give you greater understanding of himself, the one who has saved us. Ask him to give you greater understanding of himself, the one who is completely worthy to complete that which he set out to accomplish.

Jesus, I want to experience you as savior. My desire is to experience you as the one who is worthy of the course you have set in motion. I am not offended by your actions. You are worthy of all you set out to accomplish. I am fully yours God.

 

My personal engagement with this session

As I join in with the heavenly scene, communicating the worthiness of Jesus because of what he has done, I lay down my right to be offended. I am laying down my right to disagree with how he is accomplishing all he has set out to accomplish. When I say, Jesus, you are worthy to complete that which you set out to complete, I am also saying that, whether or not I understand your ways, I am with you, I follow you, I belong to you.

When I align myself with the truth of his work, I experience him as my salvation. This does not mean that I blindly follow that which I do not understand. It means that as I journey with God, I meekly ask for understanding regarding that which I do not understand. It means that I seek to know his ways and to experience him as the one who is worthy.

 

An added note from Phil Rice

I hope you’ve benefited from this excerpt from Devotional Sessions | Practical Spirituality. Share this session with anyone you think would be impacted and don’t hesitate to leave questions or comments for our mutual benefit of continued conversation.

Thanks for journeying alongside,
Phil Rice

 

find me social —Instagram —Twitter —Facebook —Soundcloud

find me here too —philrice.blogPractical Spirituality —Ember

On Experiencing God — Ezekiel 1:16 [a practical, devotional study of scripture]

Excerpt from Devotional Sessions | Practical Spirituality

…above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking (Ezekiel 1:26–28, prompted from Devotional Sessions – Phil Rice).

Ask God to give you the capacity to experience him as you read and meditate on this scene. Read through this passage several times. What stands out to you about this depiction of God? The beauty? The intensity?

Now, invite God to settle this reality in your heart. This was a real moment in Ezekiel’s experience. He saw God here. God is really in heaven, a physical place. He is seated on a physical throne, actual glory and color emanating from his very being. This is not a symbol. This is reality.

Meditate on this reality a little longer. How does it make you feel? Does it change the way you perceive God? Does it change the way you perceive your life? your experience?

Write down anything that comes to mind and thank God for this new experience of him.

 

My personal engagement with this session

I am impacted by the reality of this scene. The more completely I come to experience this scene as a real event in a real place at a real time, the more I am able to transcend beyond the worries of this life. In the moments I can grab onto the reality of God in this way, my focus moves from my circumstances toward his glory. In following Christ, I have become grafted into communion with this God, with this glorious being.

God, allow me to more fully experience you as you are and less as I’ve made you to be. Break into my understanding with greater perspective and knowing.

 

An added note from Phil Rice

I hope you’ve benefited from this excerpt from Devotional Sessions | Practical Spirituality. Share this session with anyone you think would be impacted and don’t hesitate to leave questions or comments for our mutual benefit of continued conversation.

Thanks for journeying alongside,
Phil Rice

 

find me social —Instagram —Twitter —Facebook —Soundcloud

find me here too —philrice.blogPractical Spirituality —Ember

On Experiencing God — Exodus 33 [a practical, devotional study of scripture]

Excerpt from Devotional Sessions | Practical Spirituality

And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle… So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend (Exodus 33:9-11, prompted from Devotional Sessions – Phil Rice).

Go ahead and read through this passage several times. As many times as you need to let the scene settle into your heart. Moses and God experienced one another in friendship. They experienced one another face to face.

Jesus says, I no longer call you servants, I call you friends. Jesus is friendship with God. He came to the earth to call us to friendship with him. What does friendship look like between you and him? Is that a new thought for you? Why don’t you take some time and ask God what friendship looks like for you two. Write down any thoughts that come to mind and thank him that he wants to relate to you in these ways.

My personal engagement with this session

What do I have if not friendship with God? This is the very purpose of Emmanuel [God with us]. He no longer calls us servants, but friends. For me, to only experience God as a far off and distant creator is to entirely miss what Jesus came to us to restore. He is Emmanuel, God with us! This is staggering to me. What is my response? I begin with friendship as a primary filter for my process. God, my friend, I want to know what you think about this situation/circumstance/individual/etc. God, my friend, this is how I think about…

I have been brought into the family/community of God and into real conversation with God. I’m not just saved from death. I am brought into a community of friends. Friendship is an ever evolving experience. My experiencing God continually evolves. He is not summed up in the words of a devotional text. Nor is he a far off, distant God. He is my friend. I experience him and he experiences me.

 

An added note from Phil Rice

I hope you’ve benefited from this excerpt from Devotional Sessions | Practical Spirituality. Share this session with anyone you think would be impacted and don’t hesitate to leave questions or comments for our mutual benefit of continued conversation.

Thanks for journeying alongside,
Phil Rice

 

find me social —Instagram —Twitter —Facebook —Soundcloud

find me here too —philrice.blogPractical Spirituality —Ember

On Experiencing God — Revelation 1:18 [a practical, devotional study of scripture]

Excerpt from Devotional Sessions | Practical Spirituality

Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen (Revelation 1:18, prompted from Devotional Sessions – Phil Rice).

In the quietness of the morning [or evening] take some extended time to experience Jesus as the one who is first and as the one who is last. Meditate on Jesus, the one who has always been, who was within the the fullness of God before the earth was even created… so wild. Meditate on Jesus, the one who will always be, the ruler, the king, the Lord of Lords and the God of Gods, the one who will be worshipped forever… [like forever forever].

 

My personal engagement with this session:

I mean… if this doesn’t completely fry my mental capacity, then I’m not really listening. I love this. In this passage of scripture, Jesus is absolutely communicating that he is God, he is the great being who is beyond our comprehension, the one who’s throne resides in heaven, in unapproachable light. He is not simply a man who did amazingly noteworthy things while on the earth. Nor was he simply a man who had a special connection to God. Jesus has always been God and there is no one like him. What a powerful distinction.

As I meditate on this reality, I realize that I know so little about him. Nor can I experience the fullness of him. I am grounded by his vastness and his power. I am astounded by his meekness. God, the one who spoke all that exists into being, came into his creation, unnoticed by mankind. God, left his omnipotence in the form of a man, he left his palace, and he came to be with us.

Thank you Jesus. You are glorious. You are more than I can comprehend or experience. As I meditate on you, the one who has always been and will always be, let me experience you, God, just a little more. Open my heart to know you more and more. Open my heart to experience you in a greater capacity.

 

An added note from Phil Rice

I hope you’ve benefited from this excerpt from Devotional Sessions | Practical Spirituality. Share this session with anyone you think would be impacted and don’t hesitate to leave questions or comments for our mutual benefit of continued conversation.

Thanks for journeying alongside,
Phil Rice

 

find me social —Instagram —Twitter —Facebook —Soundcloud

find me here too —philrice.blogPractical Spirituality —Ember

4 Practices I’ve Found Helpful for Spending time with God

These are a few practices I’ve found helpful for spending time with God.

Walks — If I find that my heart is having trouble engaging while spending time with God and I can’t sit still… I don’t. I walk with God [literally]. Even a lap around the neighborhood or the park is helpful. If I put in my iPhone ear buds, I can talk to God out loud and it looks like I’m just walking and talking on the phone [fantastic].

Fasting — Fasting is such a powerful practice. Even if you’re just fasting breakfast and lunch, there’s something special about going without food in order to hear more clearly from God. He loves to come close as we reach for him. If you’re new to fasting, The Rewards of Fasting by Mike Bickle and Dana Candler is a really helpful resource. You can even get a free PDF version from Mike’s website. It’s a quick read and it’s full of gold!

Get Specific — When I’m having trouble finding space in my schedule to be alone with God. I find it helpful to block out specific times in my calendar. It’s also helpful to come into these blocks of time with a plan, even if that plan is simply to sit and make room for God to speak. The Read Scripture App from the Crazy Love team has been something I’ve really been enjoying. I don’t read everything and check all the boxes, it’s just a nice, consistent rhythm when I need one.

Shake It Up — Be spontaneous! Go be alone with God in a public place. Find a coffee shop, go to a wooded area, find a park bench, and be with God.

That’s my short list. How about you? What does spending time with God look like?

If you have any other practices that have been helpful for you, please continue the conversation in the comments section for all to benefit from!

Cheers,
Phil Rice

 

find me social —Instagram —Twitter —Facebook —Soundcloud

find me here too —philrice.blogPractical Spirituality —Ember

On Experiencing God — John 6 [a practical, biblical study of scripture]

Excerpt from Devotional Sessions | Practical Spirituality

But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life (John 6:68, prompted from Devotional Sessions – Phil Rice).

Take some quiet space, away from distraction and ask the question… How do I experience Jesus? Do I experience him in a compartment of my life? As an auxiliary experience or luxury? Or is he my end, the fullness of my experience?

Jesus, I want to experience you as my all, my end. I want to be one who says, where else could I go? I have searched and I have found no other like you. I have searched and I have found no other thoughts like your thoughts. You are my end.

My personal engagement with this session:

This passage of scripture brings such refreshing dimension to my conversation with God. It’s as if all of the little things feeding the worries of this life are set aside for a moment and we begin interacting around real things… deep things, the things well below the surface. These thoughts allow me to experience Jesus for who he truly is, not commodity, not auxiliary. But all.

Thank you Jesus that you have invited me to be with you where you are. Thank you that you’ve invited me to know you as the fullness of life, as the beginning and as the end.

What life. What refreshment.

An added note from Phil Rice

I hope you’ve benefited from this excerpt from Devotional Sessions | Practical Spirituality. Share this session with anyone you think would be impacted and don’t hesitate to leave questions or comments for our mutual benefit of continued conversation.

Thanks for journeying alongside,
Phil Rice

 

find me social —Instagram —Twitter —Facebook —Soundcloud

find me here too —philrice.blogPractical Spirituality —Ember