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Practicing the Presence of God
April 25, 2012

Inside this issue:
Presence
Emmaus for today
September Getaway

Presence
Currently on Facebook

There is a new series running at the Deeper Devotion Facebook page dedicated to the practice of the presence of God, one of my favourite (and most helpful) spiritual disciplines.

The season between Easter and Pentecost seems an appropriate time to focus on practicing the presence of God. It was during these weeks that Jesus showed up, unpredictably and remarkably, to a whole lot of people. Walking along a road, appearing in a room, cooking breakfast along a seashore … to an individual who needed his touch, to a group, to a crowd, his presence was needed and very real. We need the presence of the Resurrected Christ just as much today as his followers did then. And with us he is still!

Sometimes I flounder a bit with engaging spiritually after Easter. Maybe it’s a natural dip that comes with the season when, after engaging intentionally during Lent, fatigue or a bit of a ‘what’s next?’ sets in. So this year I decided to be highly intentional during this season. The Resurrection appearances make for some great biblical reflection and sure do inspire toward pressing into the presence of Christ in our here and now.

Brother Lawrence is famous for writing about his habit of practicing of the presence of God. Many others have walked the path and have written about it as well, so I have a deep well to draw from for this series in addition to my own reflections.

The Presence series hosts daily quotes, thought-provokers and biblical reflections on the theme of pressing into Christ’s presence. We’re currently one-third of the way into the series which continues until Pentecost (27/05) so there's already lots of content to feed your soul.

You don’t need to be on Facebook to read the page, though you do in order to comment. So head on over (there are new posts each weekday) and enjoy the input. If you are on Facebook, it would be great if you’d become a fan of the page and, as you feel inspired, interact with the content and share it with your network.

Emmaus for today
Walking in the presence of Jesus

The Emmaus Road story (recorded in Luke 24) is rich with possibilities for contemplation. Three aspects jump off the page at me. Each one speaks into a real possibility for experiencing Jesus' presence in the here and now of our lives. Maybe you'd like to choose one of the following to reflect upon today.

#1 The two disciples were in conversation about the here and now things of their lives. The events of Easter weekend were keeping them busy, and Jesus jumped right in there with them a s he joined them on the road. He listened to them, intently and very patiently, as he let them voice it all before he had his say.

Application: Jesus is also interested in the things that are keeping you busy. As you go throughout your day, are you aware of the opportunity to share those things with him?

#2 Jesus taught them from the Scriptures, unfolding the mystery of all that Moses and the Prophets had said about himself (v 27). Wouldn't you have loved to have been in on that conversation? (Personally I wish Luke had given a little less press to the disciples' explanation of what had happened that weekend and a little more to that of Jesus.)

Application: Is your need today to hear from Jesus about himself? What would meet it best: - To dive into the Old Testament to track what the prophets foretold? (Doing this yields more fruit than if Luke had recorded the conversation.) - To remember what you have learned already about walking in faith with Jesus, but have perhaps forgotten? - To quiet yourself in Christ's presence so that he can teach you what you need to hear from him? read the rest of the article ...

Getaways

I’m writing a lot about retreats these days, it seems, which reflects my enthusiasm about what God is doing. Last week I pulled away by myself, seeking some rest and refreshment along with uninterrupted time to prepare for next weekend’s Getaway. The monastery provided a welcoming environment in the beautiful province of Limburg and I quite quickly came into the rest and connection I was seeking.

Ank and I are pleasantly surprised with the interest for the Getaway with God weekends and how early this next weekend has filled up. Registration for the September 14-16 weekend is now open. Though it is still early, if you would like to guarantee yourself a place, I encourage you to register by July.

Of course this is intended for women who are within driving distance of the south of Holland, but if you know you would benefit from drawing away from the busyness of life and spending a weekend seeking the God's presence alongside like-minded women, consider joining us. Visit the Getaway with God or the Stilteweekend pages at my website.

In the shalom of Christ's presence,


Elizabeth de Smaele
MMus, MDiv, CSD
Amstelveen, The Netherlands



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