Number One (9 October)

Morning Encounter:

For most of us, the least simple aspect of our lives is our relationships with other humans. I am sure we have all entertained fantasies of becoming a hermit and never dealing with another person again - perhaps after a particularly fraught family Christmas, or in the midst of a messy dispute over bush-height with the neighbours. But as Christians, we can’t opt out of the commitment to love even when it is hard, because how we love others has everything to do with how we love God. 

This week we’ll be looking at ways to exercise the Discipline of Simplicity in our relationships, and in so doing, deepen our understanding of the One who is Three - a perfectly harmonious community.

Read:

Listen, Israel! The Lord our God is the only true God! So love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength.

Worship and obey the Lord your God with fear and trembling, and promise that you will be loyal to him.

Don’t have anything to do with gods that are worshiped by the nations around you. If you worship other gods, the Lord will be furious and wipe you off the face of the earth. The Lord your God is with you, so don’t try to make him prove that he can help you, as you did at Massah. Always obey the laws that the Lord has given you and live in a way that pleases him. Then you will be able to go in and take this good land from your enemies, just as he promised your ancestors.

Deuteronomy 6.4-5, 13-19

Reflect:

 No one is immune from desire for attention, approval and affirmation; some of us struggle with serious addictions to these things. If we aren’t anchored in the knowledge that God’s opinion counts above all others, those desires will lead to idolatry and disloyalty (6.14). 

God demands we love him with heart, soul and strength. He deserves this kind of love because he is the only true God (6:4). But he also knows that this kind of love will bring us freedom; freedom to relate to him and to others in the way we were made to. The way to shalom, wholeness and peace, is to love God first and most.

Respond:

I’m sorry Lord for sometimes caring more about what others think of me than what you think. I’m sorry that I don’t love you above all else. Please take hold of my heart - take all of me. I am yours.

Midday Meditation:

'External or interior, chosen or not, the desert is characterised by a soul suffering from withdrawal symptoms, a mind and body deprived of false securities and therefore left to explore the mystical terrain of personal willpower and divine grace…it is a testing ground where faith and love are tried by fire. And with grace, the desert can become a furnace of real repentance and purification where pride, complacency, and even some of the power of attachment itself can be burned away, and where the rain of God’s love can bring conversion: life to the seeds of freedom.' 

(Gerald G. May)

 

Evening Reflection:

'Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh…But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream' (NIV Jeremiah 17.5a, 7-8a)

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