Thanks for your patience in waiting for the next
SpiritualDisciplines.org newsletter. I have been finishing the
manuscript for Simplify Your Spiritual Life. The folks at
NavPress are excited about the book and have put it on a
"fast-track" to publish it in time for the annual meeting of CBA
(formerly the "Christian Booksellers Association") in July. They've
given permission to put chapters from the book in my newsletter as a
means of creating interest in the book. So for the next several
issues, the SpiritualDisciplines.org newsletter will include
chapters from Simplify Your Spiritual Life. There are ninety,
two-page chapters in the book, all designed to provide insight into
the theology and practice of simplifying the spiritual part of life.
The two chapters in this edition of the newsletter will likely be
the opening chapters.
Simplify Your Spiritual Life
Does your spiritual life sometimes seem more like a burden than a
blessing? Does your spirituality seem to exhaust you as often as it
refreshes you? Have your spiritual practices become "just another
thing to do" in an already overcrowded, stress-filled schedule? If
so, then you need to simplify your spiritual life.
We should expect part of true spirituality to exhaust us, for it
exists not merely for our own edification, but to serve the glory
and purposes of God. Jesus' spiritual labors occasionally so
fatigued Him that He could fall asleep in an open boat in the middle
of a lake during a life-threatening storm (Luke 8:22-25). Likewise,
the Apostle Paul knew the depletion of inner resources that results
from the willingness to "spend and be spent" for the sake of the
souls of others (2 Corinthians 12:15). All aspects of externalized
spiritualityserving people's needs, doing good works, taking the
Gospel to the spiritually lost, working in church ministriesall
these expend the reserves of both body and soul.
There's a problem, though, when the inflow of spiritual renewal
doesn't replenish the outflow of spiritual ministry. Click HERE to
finish reading this article.
Rest Your Soul in
"the Simplicity and Purity of Devotion to
In the early morning dim of March 29, 1849, a sympathetic
storekeeper in Richmond, Virginia nailed the lid on a crate
containing a slave. A two-hundred pound man had folded himself into
a wooden box just three feet, one inch long, two feet wide, and
two-and-a-half feet deep. Cramped in a suffocating darkness, the
slave enduredoften upside downa grueling three hundred and fifty
mile shipment via railroad freight car, steamboat, and wagon.
Twenty-seven hours later in a Philadelphia abolitionist's office,
Henry "Box" Brown emerged from his coffinlike confinement to begin
life as a free man. The news of his stunning appearance encouraged
the hopes of freedom in countless slaves.
Everyone is born a slave of sin. Jesus Christ said, "Most
assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin"
(John 8:34). We cannot free ourselves from this oppressive master,
for no one can live without sinning against God. But the sinless
Jesusnot for His own sake, but for otherscame from Heaven to
deliver His people. Jesus allowed godless men to nail Him to a Roman
cross, and three days later rose from the dead so that "we should no
longer be slaves of sin" (Romans 6:6). And all those who trust in
His work (and not their own) as the way to freedom will find
emancipation from sin. "Therefore," declared Jesus, "if the Son
makes you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:36).
I wonder if Henry Brown ever suffered nightmares of being back in
his box? I do know that Christiansthough freed from the penalty of
all sin and declared righteous in God's sightsometimes feel a
Click HERE to
finish reading this article.
The Godly Person is a Busy Person
I've come to the conclusion that, with rare exceptions, the Godly
person is a busy person. The Godly person is devoted to God and to
people, and that leads to a full life. Though never frantic in pace,
Jesus was a busy Man. Read Mark's gospel and notice how often the
word immediately describes the transition from one event in
Jesus' life to the next. We read of Him sometimes ministering all
day and until after dark, then getting up before dawn to pray and
travel to the next ministry venue. The gospels tell of occasional
nights when He never slept at all. They tell us He got tired, so
tired that He could sleep in an open, storm-tossed ship. Crowds of
people pressed upon Him almost daily. Everyone wanted time with Him
and clamored for His attention. None of us knows "job-related
stress" like the kind He continually experienced. If Jesus' life, as
well as that of Paul, were measured against the "balanced life"
envisioned by many Christians today, they would be considered
workaholics who sinfully neglected their bodies. Scripture confirms
what observation perceives: laziness never leads to Godliness.
[Taken from page 236 of the paperback edition of Don's book,
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Click HERE to
read a chapter from this book.]