4 Practices I’ve Found Helpful [When I’m Spiritually Stuck]

  1. Walks — If I find that my heart is having trouble engaging with the Lord and I can’t sit still… I don’t. I find ways to take walks with God. Even a lap around the neighborhood or the park is helpful. If I put in my iPhone ear buds, I can talk to God out loud and it looks like I’m just walking and talking on the phone [fantastic]
  2. Fasting — Fasting is such a powerful practice. Even if you’re just fasting breakfast and lunch, there’s something special about going without food in order to hear more clearly from God. He loves to come close as we reach for him. If you’re new to fasting, The Rewards of Fasting by Mike Bickle and Dana Candler is a fantastic resource. You can even get a free PDF version from Mike’s website. It’s a quick read and it’s full of gold!
  3. Get Specific — When I’m having trouble finding space in my schedule to be alone with God. I find it helpful to block out specific times in my calendar. It’s also helpful to come into these blocks of time with a plan, even if that plan is simply to sit and make room for God to speak. He Reads Truth and She Reads Truth have some really great Bible reading plans that my wife and I have found to be a helpful starting place.
  4. Shake It Up — Be spontaneous! Go be alone with God in a public place. Find a coffee shop, go to a wooded area, find a park bench, and be with God.

 

If you have any other practices that have been helpful for you, please continue the conversation in the comments section for all to benefit from!

Cheers,
Phil

 

 

find me social — Instagram — Twitter — Facebook — Soundcloud

find me here too — philrice.blog — Ember

How Do I Know I’m Hearing God?

In my introductory article to Practical Spirituality, I mention caring for ones body and mind  in order to thrive spiritually. But the key energy for actually thriving spiritually is regular [continual] communion with God. We reach for God and our spirits are fed by this communion and connection with him. So… here’s the big question…

How do we hear God’s voice?

Here are a few quick thoughts that help me navigate this question.

A filter for differentiating God’s voice from other voices:

  • A good tree bears good fruit, a bad tree bears bad fruit (Matthew 7). If submitting to an internal voice causes bad fruit, it is not the voice of God and we need never heed it ever again.
  • As we navigate our internal and external worlds, take note of the good fruit. God clearly articulates the fruit of experiencing him in scripture and as we are mindful of the good fruit, we are able to trace it back to him.
  • Jesus says of his followers, ‘My [followers] hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.’ (John 10). His promise to us is that as we follow him, we will know his voice and we will be led by him.

Hearing God applied…

  • Are there voices/influences that I am allowing to impact me that are growing bad fruit? If so, bring them before God in prayer and invite him to expose these voices for what they are. Ask him to give you the strength to stop receiving these voices as truth.
  • Jesus says, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. Take a few moments and invite Jesus to share the reality of his abundance with you. Invite him to speak.

 

And as Samuel postured himself before the Lord, may we all posture our hearts before him saying, speak Lord, your servant is listening.

Phil

 

 

find me social — Instagram — Twitter — Facebook — Soundcloud

find me here too — philrice.blog — Ember

3 Practical Ways To Thrive In Spirit.

In my article, How I Approach Practical Spirituality [a starting place], I communicate the need for body and mind to be cared for in order to thrive spiritually.

But, how does that look practically?

Again, there is no exact method, but here are 3 practices that surface when I process thriving spiritually through the framework of care for body and mind.

Sleep — as obvious as this sounds, if I’m not getting enough sleep, then I’m not thriving physically… in other words, the vehicle I’ve been given by God to house my spirit and to navigate life on this planet is out of gas and will not propel me anywhere. How’s this for practical? -> I own a fitbit watch that keeps track of how much I sleep at night. It tracks good sleep, restless sleep, and intermittent waking during the night. After using it for several months, I found that if I’m not averaging somewhere in between 7–7.75 hours of sleep a night, I’m immediately taken out of the thriving category and tossed back into the out of gas and propelled nowhere category.

Headspace [margin of the mind] — When I’m overwhelmed with work, projects, or new ideas for work or projects, it can be easy for me to become distracted during times that I do have carved out for meditation, prayer, and reading scripture [practices that help me cultivate a posture toward listening to God]. When I find that my mind doesn’t have room for it all [and it doesn’t take much], I cling to my bullet journal as a lifeline [I just make my own from the steps provided on their website]. In it, I have a calendar of my productive work and include little actionable steps for each project that allow me to focus on small anxiety free steps. In the back of my bullet journal, I also keep a section for notes and ideas that I can come back to when I have time blocked off to process new ideas or thoughts. As my mind begins to clutter, I simply jot ideas down and release them from my mind — especially effective at night when I’m trying to wind down and get to sleep.

Downtime [margin of the calendar] — When our family finds that we are too busy during the evenings, we get out the calendar and look to the coming month and book evening after evening with what we call the no fly zone. These are evenings that we are committed to nothing. We try to make a habit of having two no fly zone boxes each week. This doesn’t mean we have to sit quietly on these evenings, but just means we can do whatever sounds fun to our family on those nights. You may be way better at this than we are, so you may not need the boxes, but this has been SO clutch for us.

And that’s it! Just a quick group of practices that first come to mind when I think about being intentional in caring for body and mind create internal environment for the spirit to thrive. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and process. Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section so that all can benefit from our continued conversation!

Cheers,
Phil

 

 

find me social — Instagram — Twitter — Facebook — Soundcloud

find me here too — philrice.blog — Ember

How I Approach Practical Spirituality [a starting place]

Spirituality is one of those words that we hear a good amount, but what is it’s substance? How do we participate in a spiritual activity? What does it mean to be a spiritual person? Ask one hundred people, get one hundred answers. I don’t think there is one overarching answer the questions of how to interact spiritually, but in any case, here are a few of my introductory thoughts on spirituality.

Spirituality — the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.

While I agree that concern with the human spirit is [of course] the basis of spirituality, I also believe that in order to thrive spiritually, one cannot stop with this one demential definition. The condition of my spiritual experience is completely tied to the condition of my physical and mental condition. So, what does that actually mean in practical terms?

God is spirit. We connect with him in spirit. Humans are both spirit and body, so we have some additional pieces, given to us by God [intentional on his part] in which to care for — our physical and mental capacities. And for some crazy reason, God made us this way on purpose! So, I assume there must be something to this whole mind, body, spirit equilibrium. To be a spiritual is not to ignore body or mind, but rather, to care for and harness body and mind, in order to thrive and increase in spirit. One cannot ignore the body and mind and expect the spirit to thrive. It’s a matter of stewardship. God gave us each piece and each piece has a purpose in connecting spiritually to the father [God].

This is a cornerstone piece of the way I process and experience life, an important filter as we move forward. So as we continue to increase spirit, my hope and prayer is that we continue to make room for God to speak to our care of body and mind.

May God continue to disclose himself to you in deeper and more intimate ways.

 

 

Phil Rice — philrice.blog
Executive Director of Ember

intention for philrice.blog

I thought I would take a moment and briefly articulate my intention for philrice.blog.

I created this space as a way to give my music and my thoughts on practical spirituality a place to live, as a resource for people looking for additional perspective on living normal life, in-tune with self and connected to God.

And that’s it, really…

Practically speaking…
If you don’t currently follow my written content regularly, but would like to, you’re welcome to join in here -> CLICK

Or if you’ve been following for a while, but would like to jump into my membership community, you can join my membership community [$3/mo] here -> CLICK

The philrice.blog membership community is the place I’m able to give more personal interaction around my writing, along with monthly worshipful music content. If you’d like more details, you can find them here -> CLICK

 

Cheers!

Phil Rice — philrice.blog
Executive Director of Ember

 

excerpt: On Knowing God — Colossians 2

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form (Colossians 2).

To know Christ is to know the Father. To know Christ is to know the fullness of the Deity – the fullness of God. Wild, yeah? Take a little time tucked away and read through this excerpt from Colossians 2. Think about what it means. What does fullness mean? What does Deity living in bodily form mean? As you begin to connect those dots back to the third word in this excerpt — Christ — ask Holy Spirit to give you understanding on who he is. Ask him to help you connect Christ and fullness and Deity lives in bodily form. Write down some of your thoughts about who Christ is and what it means for him to be both Deity and human being.

Spend a few moments thanking God specifically for each new phrase of understanding he gives you.

Whisper

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Sarah Bingaman’s Heart Living content has been incredibly impactful to me these last 12 months. One of my big take aways is her content on the Journey out of Religiosity. I wouldn’t have considered myself a destructively religious person, but as I continued to relate with the Lord through the last 12 months I realized that in many areas I was hanging on to self constructed scaffolding instead of responding to the movement of his Spirit.

The idea that I was actually created to hear and respond to the whispers of his spirit so challenges my desire for consistency and control. I began to take inventory of all of the places that structure and scaffolding was actually perpetuating my regular connection with God and then the realization… there’s another way.

A mold is put in place in order to set that which is inside. The mold is not the final experience. The intention from the beginning [like Adam + Eve beginning] was that we would commune with God in a fluid natural experience of relational response.

I found it to be a helpful process to begin to ask the questions: In what areas am I simply leaning on my scaffolding? Is this scaffolding still necessary for the season that I’m in? Does God want to relate to me more naturally? God… do you want to relate to me differently… if so… how?

excerpt: On Knowing God — Psalm 27

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple (Psalm 27).

A few things that stick out to me in this passage are the phrases — [one thing I ask] and [only do I seek]. Take a few moments and think through the single mindedness of these phrases. Take them to the Lord and ask him, Lord, is this how I seek you? Is this how I gaze on your beauty? Or are there other things that take my attention?

As things come to mind, write them down. Invite Holy Spirit to show you how to take these distractions and set them aside, so that you will more fully be able to pray to the Lord, One thing I ask…

ulcerative colitis update

I’m so thankful to all of you for the support and encouragement as I’ve expressed where I am in my journey battling Ulcerative Colitis (UC), and I thought it was time for an update.

After many years of subduing my body with pharmaceuticals, I thought it was time to take a different approach. I started seeing a naturopath in October of 2016 and began my journey equipped with food choices and supplementation. I began with a blood test and a 90 day elimination diet called the Autoimmune Protocol Diet (AIP), eliminating all probable inflammatory food suspects [imagine if Paleo was on a diet… it’s like that].

My blood test came back with a CRP level [a measure of your body’s overall inflammation] of 6/10 [0 = fine and dandy, 10 = Snap! You should already be in the ER w an IV drip … so a 6 is not so hot.]

The AIP diet after 90 days didn’t prove to reduce my symptoms by much, but when my blood test came back at this point, my CRP levels had reduced to 1.8… which is absolutely astounding. Especially considering by the end of the 90 days I was no longer on any of my previous medication [I was fully medicated when I took my initial blood test @ 6/10 CRP]

So, at the suggestion of my naturopath, I’ve continued with a simple Paleo Diet, along with some light supplementation.

While my current experience with UC has not reached remission status, I am feeling much better than I have in over 3 years. I am continuing with the Paleo Diet over the next 12 months and then, depending on where I find myself, we will begin to think through next steps.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support, and know that I feel and experience you all in very impactful ways.

Cheers.

 

Phil Rice — philrice.blog
Executive Director of Ember

excerpt: On Knowing God – Exodus 33

So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend (Exodus 33).

Find a quiet place away from distraction [whether a park bench near the office or a pair of headphones in a crowded cafe]. Read over this section from Exodus, and take a moment and reflect on a few questions: What do I like to do with friends? What do we talk about? Where do we go? What do we do?

Then, shifting gears a little, ask God [out-loud or in your thoughts], God, what do you like to do? What do you like to talk about? Where do you like to go when we talk? Allow yourself some additional quiet space to wait. Does anything come to mind? Does any place stand out to you in this moment? Plan some time to think through your next few weeks and see where you can incorporate some time with God in these places, doing these things [be sure to pick things from both your list and his].

Before you end your session, read over this passage from Exodus one more time and invite the Lord to bring you into deeper friendship with him.

 

Phil Rice — philrice.blog
Executive Director of Ember