Greetings, brothers and sisters in Christ! We pray that everyone is safe and well and continue to spread the love of our Lord all the way you can, not germs and viruses. :)
Of course, we miss going to our beloved church and miss you all! It kind of saddens me that we cannot get together to see each other and learn from one another tonight. Every Tuesday night, I've been truly enjoying studying the Bible, having discussions, and sharing lives with you all. Especially for this holy season of Lent, we started our Spiritual Formation Program and we've been learning different ways to pray and dwell in the presence of God. And it is certainly unfortunate that we could not finish this program due to the current crisis.
On the other hand, however, I am also grateful for this opportunity to share today's lesson in this way. Thanks to Nathan's commitment to continue to lead us, even though we all are in different places we can continue our spiritual journey together. Thanks to his video, I was able to practice Centering Prayer more than couple of times last week! Also, I realize that more people could benefit from this online resource since those who cannot make it to Tuesday night bible study for various reasons now can take advantage of this program.
Therefore, be strong and take heart, all who hope in the LORD (Psalm 31:24)! We pray that you will have a wonderful and peaceful time with God and fully enjoy this program at your place.
Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 3:3-10
3. Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David; only, he sacrificed and offered incense at the high places.
4. The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the principal high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.
5. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, "Ask what I should give you."
6. And Solomon said, "You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today.
7. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.
8. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted.
9. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?"
10. It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this.
* Take a moment to reflect on the Word of God that is given us today. From the reading, is there a word or phrase that caught your attention today?
* Why do you think Solomon asked ability to discern between good and evil more than anything he could ask for?
* If there is one thing you could ask to God today, what would it be?
* Do you think God will be pleased with your wish? Why or why not?
Instructions for Consciousness Examen by Nathan Nakamura:
What is Consciousness Examen?
It’s about learning to discern God’s voice to guide our lives
Given that we don't have enough time to reflect due to constant distractions these days, Consciousness Examen is actively looking at how God is working in our day to day lives and trying to discern where He is leading us day to day lives.
So, How Do We Do It?
Prayer of Openness: ask God to come and be open to where the Spirit might lead us
Prayer of Thanksgiving: be thankful to all the great things God is doing in our lives
Prayer of Confession: Just openly going before God and confess sins
Prayer for Guidance: just praying for God's continuous guidance
* Do NOT evaluate your experience. Simply let the Spirit who is already dwelling in you lead this time for you.
Recently, you may have heard some fake news floating around about the COVID-19. About a week ago I found a news from a Facebook post that a 17-years-old boy in Korea without any preexisting medical condition died due to the virus. That article not only warned everyone to be careful and but also accused the Korean government for concealing some important information from the public. However, it turned out to be a fake news. You can imagine how that inaccurate information might have caused more anger, fear and anxiety to the people who are already suffering from the difficult situation.
In our spiritual life, I believe that this is why we need to practice Consciousness Examen: to learn how to discern God's voice from other distracting voices around us. Like the fake news I mentioned above, some of those voices in the world might try to trick us and make us to make wrong choices out of fear, anger, or hatred. However, we believe that God's voice will always lead us to love... to love God and love our neighbors. The more we practice to discern God's voice the better we will become to practice the unconditional love of God for all people in our day to day lives. Let us remember the reason why Solomon wanted the ability to discern between good and evil was to serve his people better, and that request was pleasing to God. May we all seek this kind of wisdom to know God's heart and to serve and love the people around us. Amen.
* Please feel free to comment, ask questions, or share your prayer requests.