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July 27 — Slowing Down

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Soul training is about creating rhythms and space for connecting with our Creator.  We live in a culture that values speed and pushes many of us to hurry.  Demands of work, family and even church, if left unopposed, tend to cultivate the habit of being in a hurry. Many people find it difficult to slow down, even if they understand the harm done to their souls and relationships by always being in a rush.  Slowing down takes margin.  You might want to check out the Soul Training about Margin if you missed it.  Slowing down takes intentionality and practice.

Read more: July 27 — Slowing Down

July 20 — Solitude

blue blossomWhat does the word solitude evoke in you?  For introverts, feelings of comfort and peace often are associated with solitude.  Among some extroverts on the other hand, the simple thought of solitude can create anxiety.  What does the practice of solitude involve?  How does solitude help us in training our souls?

The experience or practice of solitude can help us learn and remember that we, as Christians, are first and foremost those in whom Christ dwells.  We are not the sum of what we do or who we are with.

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July 6 — Reading a Gospel

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"The key, then, to loving God is to see Jesus, to hold him before the mind with as much fullness and clarity as possible.  It is to adore him". — Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, p.334

 It is in the gospels we can most fully see Jesus.  The gospel writer's vivid descriptions of Jesus bring his teaching and his relationships with his disciples, followers and enemies into focus.  Most important, the gospels portray for us Jesus' relationship with his heavenly Father.  The soul training exercise this week is to read a gospel through at a single sitting. 

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June 28 — Praying Psalm 23

Still WatersThe 23rd Psalm may be one of the most familiar passages in the Bible, bringing comfort to many.  Incorporating the 23rd into our prayer life reminds us that it isn't just to be read at funerals, but for everyday life.  The soul training exercise this week is to recite the 23rd Psalm as you go to sleep each night and again as you waken.  Cal it to mind as you walk through each day to remind you that because God is your shepherd you are always safe in his strong and capable hands.

How does this Soul Training Exercise affect us?

Read more: June 28 — Praying Psalm 23

June 15 — Margin

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About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. — Acts 10:9

Margin is the extra space surrounding text on a page or screen.  Margin can seem to be 'wasted' space, but it really is essential to make text readable.  Margin can also serve as a metaphor for the space we give to ourselves to experience a wholesome and healthy life.  Is there time and space in your life to tend to the things you believe are truly important?  Or are you in a constant battle, always reacting to the urgent?

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June 22 — Praying Scripture

Praying ScriptureFrom the days of the early church until now, Christians have been praying Scripture. Praying Scripture is a soul training exercise that allows the Holy Spirit to shape us through the Word of God. Our heart can open as we pray the prayers, psalms and teaching of the Bible. One ancient pattern for praying Scripture is called lectio divina, or ‘holy reading’.  Try these simple steps...

Read more: June 22 — Praying Scripture

May 18 — Counting Your Blessings

BlessingsPraise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits... (Psa. 103:2)

 This week's Soul Training Exercise is very simple.  Take time this week to make a list of things that make your life good.  You may reflect on relationships that are important to you, the material ways God has provided for you, or things in the good world God has created, that you especially appreciate.  Also think of things God has done for you personally. 

Give some thought to remembering those things you are truly thankful for, but often overlook. 

Read more: May 18 — Counting Your Blessings