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Feb 4, 2018

In this moment, loosen your focus. Feel the air around you. What is the temperature of the air as it gently surrounds you. Feel it as it eases into your lungs. As you breathe in you feel it bring calm. As you breathe out you feel the tension in your body escape. You feel your shoulders settle in, your face unflex, your shoulder blades soften. Each part of your body eases in. This moment, is for peace. This moment is your time with God’s spirit. Gently embrace this moment. No holding on too tightly, but enjoying it while it's here.
As you sit in this quiet relaxation, a growing feeling of contentment begins to fill your body. Little by little you feel the ease of body associated with this contentment. Hope builds inside of you. Take this in. Take it all in. Allow this feeling of calm to be absorbed into your body. The spirit of the Lord inhabits you. Breathe in calmly.

Bible verse for meditation:
Matthew 6:16-18
16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

Notice the similarities and differences in the translations presented.

What does this scripture mean to you?
Has it had a different effect this reading as compared to times past?
How does this scripture make you feel?

Continue breathing deeply as you ponder this meaning.

Meditation on scripture / bible verse meditation:

Something that I spend a great deal of time thinking about is the ideas of human suffering. In an effort not to be overwhelmed our efforts to accept suffering can confuse us and cause us to value suffering for its own sake. This scripture shows that suffering in and of itself is not a source of glory. We need not admire suffering, we need not relish in it. We endure suffering in the pursuit of God. We endure suffering to pursue something greater than this world. Willingness to endure suffering for the cause of God, does not equate to pursuit of suffering.
As you endure suffering in your life reflect for a moment, to what end do you suffer?
Are there areas in your life where you place a value on suffering for its own sake?
What way can you follow God while at the same time giving up any unnecessary suffering?
During the sermon on the mount Jesus tells us that the opinions of others, or arguably even ourselves, matter little when it comes to how we bear the hardships we encounter. We struggle for our Lord. Whether it is fasting, or any other aspect of religious devotion, we resist the things of this world to place value on the things of God and to do what He has asked us.
How can you follow God better?

Meditation of Prayer:
Pray as directed by the Spirit.
Pray now in a spirit of submission to Him.

Meditation of God and His Glory / Hesychasm:
I invite you to sit in silence feeling the comfort and Love of God

Meditate and Visualize Positive Change in Your Life:
This part is very important. It is no accident that scripture is so full of narratives. Our minds connect with narratives. Imagine a visualization of a Narrative of your life knowing the truths from this scripture.
Now visualize someone or a group of people who need this message. Imagine what their face would look like as they receive this scripture in their hearts. Imagine how you can share it with them.
Stay with me until the end for a final thought and the reflection question.
I have a couple of things to say and then I have a final thought so stay with me to the end.
I release a new episode of this every Sunday morning at 1AM Mountain time in the US.
I received a lot of input from so many of your regarding the answer to last week’s reflection question. I loved hearing about what things you consider as your still waters. So many things, including family, peace from God, ease from anxiety. There are so many things that he leads us to.
Here is the Final thought:
As social beings we desire the good opinion of others. Many times the people who are the most vocal about not wanting the approval of others are the ones who secretly want it the most. This is not a judgement because I experience the same human instinct. May this reflection be a guide to us to continually improve. As we let go of this form of pride, we are able to focus more clearly on the pursuit of obedience to God.
Later in this same chapter Jesus says that we should seek first the kingdom of God and all the blessings of God will be poured out upon us, in his time, and as we learn to endure the pains of this world. May God continue to bless us as we continually attempt to walk with His Spirit
I say that in Jesus’ name Amen.