What I did in  Retreat2011





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What I did in My Personal Retreat 2011

15-19 August


There have been some interest in my recent personal retreat and some questions. In this post, I shall share what I did. It is one of the many ways a person can make a retreat.

I took a 5 days personal retreat in the middle of August this year. This is not unusual as I have been making retreats for many years. My retreats are either guided (someone who directs the retreat and me) or self-guided. I prefer self-guided retreats but for someone who is new to retreats, I will suggest a guided retreat as there are certain inherent spiritual dangers in self guided retreats.
There are many reasons why I do a retreat. It may be to seek the Lord in some decision-making, spiritual dryness and times of desolation, times of extreme stress, life-events, empowerment for ministry, frustration and disappointments, soul care or just to enjoy uninterrupted time in His presence.
I take retreats in many locations but I love doing it in my own home. However, it takes more discipline take a retreat in your own home for the possibility of distraction is greater. To plan for a retreat, I usually plan ahead to block off time and take leave from my job. I also plan ahead as to the purpose of the retreat. For example, for this retreat my purpose is to listen to the Lord. I chose the Gospel of John as my main text and Gordon MacDonald’s Building Below the Waterline for my spiritual reading. Usually I journal my thoughts but this time I decided to mind-map on sheets of paper.
I start the day about 6am with a prayer of welcoming and centering prayer. I will sing the hymn which I have chosen which highlights the theme for the day and repeat this through the day.
Day 1:
Cleanse me
Day 5:
Then I read the Gospel of John using lectio divina. I also use lectio divina to read MacDonald’s book, stopping at time to reflect and wait upon the Lord. I try to keep my environment as quiet as possible. I do not fast on my retreats as I find fasting usually become a distraction. Interspersed with the praying and reading is times when I will just sit quiet and be still. At other times, I pray the Jesus Prayer. I usually end the day around 8pm when my family arrives home.
I find the time of reading and praying very refreshing and the presence of the Lord very powerful. These are many high wonderful mountain top experiences . However there are times when I experience extreme anxiety and fear (that’s why it is better to do guided retreat). This may be when the Holy Spirit performs surgery on my soul to drive out my ‘inner demons’. It may also be an attack from the Enemy. In a retreat there are good and bad moments but it is in such times of silence and solitude that soul-care takes place.
The later half of the final day is when I prepare for re-entry. I often find it jarring and disorienting to emerge from a retreat and come back to my present lifestyle. Therefore I take the time to slowly readapt.
This is how I did my retreat.

Spent my recent five day retreat with these three items. Prayer(candle), Bible and MacDonald's book.




Retreat daily themes:




Yet, O Lord, you are our Father, We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)

This hymn, Have Thy Own Way, Lord was written by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862–1934
An elderly woman at a prayer meeting one night pleaded, “It really doesn’t matter what you do with us, Lord, just have your way with our lives.” At this meeting was Adelaide Pollard, a rather well-known itinerant Bible teacher who was deeply discouraged because she had been unable to raise the necessary funds for a desired trip to Africa to do missionary service. She was moved by the older woman’s sincere and dedicated request of God.

At home that evening Miss Pollard meditated on Jeremiah 18:3, 4:

Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, he wrought a work on the wheels, and the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

Before retiring that evening, Adelaide Pollard completed the writing of all four stanzas of this hymn as it is sung today. The hymn first appeared in published form in 1907.

Often into our lives come discouragements and heartaches that we cannot understand. As children of God, however, we must learn never to question the ways of our sovereign God—but simply to say:

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
while I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
as in Thy presence humbly I bow.

 Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

Osbeck, K. W. (1990). Amazing grace : 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions (246). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications.





  Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. (James 4:8 KJV)

This well-loved hymn was written by a talented and charming English woman, Sarah R. Adams (1805–1848) who lived only 43 years. In spite of her delicate health, Sarah Flower Adams had an active and productive life. After a successful career on the London stage as Shakespeare’s Lady MacBeth, she began to write and became widely known for her literary accomplishments. The cross mentioned in the first stanza of her hymn text may have been the physical handicaps that limited her many ambitions.

Sarah’s sister Eliza was gifted musically and often composed melodies for her sister’s poems. Together they contributed 13 texts and 62 new tunes for a hymnal that was being compiled by their pastor. One day the Rev. William J. Fox asked for a new hymn to accompany his sermon on the story of Jacob and Esau. Sarah spent much time studying Genesis 28:10–22 and within a short time completed all of the stanzas of “Nearer, My God, to Thee.” Since that day in 1840, this hymn has had an unusual history of ministering spiritual comfort to hurting people everywhere.

These lines picturing Jacob sleeping on a stone, dreaming of angels, and naming the place Bethel, meaning “the house of God,” seem to reflect the common yearning—especially in times of deep need—to experience God’s nearness and presence in a very real way.

Nearer, my God, to Thee,
nearer to Thee!
E’en tho it be a cross
that raiseth me;
still all my song shall be,
nearer, my God, to Thee,
nearer, my God, to Thee,
nearer to Thee!

Tho like the wanderer,
the sun gone down,
darkness be over me,
my rest a stone,
yet in my dreams I’d be
nearer, my God, to Thee,
nearer, my God, to Thee,
nearer to Thee!

Then with my waking thoughts,
bright with Thy praise,
out of my stony griefs.
Bethel I raise;
so by my woes to be
nearer, my God, to Thee,
nearer my God, to Thee,
nearer to Thee!

Or if on joyful wing,
cleaving the sky,
sun, moon, and stars forgot,
upward I fly,
till all my song shall be,
nearer, my God, to Thee,
nearer, my God, to Thee,
nearer to Thee!

Osbeck, K. W. (1990). Amazing grace : 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions (247). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications.




So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

In this day of self-centered living and pleasure-oriented lifestyle, the total commitment to God of body, mind, and possessions portrayed in this text is difficult for many Christians to achieve. Even though we realize that we have nothing we have not received and that we are only stewards of the good gifts God has entrusted to us, we often fail to apply this basic truth to our daily lives:

The gold that came from Thee, Lord,
to Thee belongeth still;
Oh, may I always faithfully
my stewardship fulfill.

It was said of Frances Ridley Havergal, author of this text, that the beauty of a consecrated life was never more perfectly revealed than in her daily living. She has rightfully been called “The Consecration Poet.”
“These little couplets that chimed in my heart one after another” were for Frances Havergal the result of an evening in 1874 passed in pursuing a deeper consecration of herself to God. “Take my voice and let me sing always only for my King” was personally significant for Frances. She was naturally very musical and had been trained as a concert soloist with an unusually pleasant voice. Her musical talents could have brought her much worldly fame. However, she determined that her life’s mission was to sing and work only for Jesus. The line “Take my silver and my gold” was also sincerely phrased. At one time Frances gathered together her many fine pieces of jewelry and other family heirlooms and shipped them to the church missionary house to be used for evangelizing the lost. Nearly fifty articles were sent with “extreme delight.”

Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of Thy love;

Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for Thee;
take my voice and let me sing
always only, for my King.

Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages for Thee;
take my silver and my gold—
not a mite would I withhold.

Take my love—my God, I pour
at Thy feet its treasure store;
take myself—and I will be
ever, only, all for Thee,
ever, only, all for thee.

Osbeck, K. W. (1990). Amazing grace : 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions (256). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications.




  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

The inspiration of a thrilling revival in New Zealand prompted the late J. Edwin Orr to blend the 23rd and 24th verses of Psalm 139 with a lovely Polynesian melody that has since become one of our most challenging hymns of revival. Dr. Orr’s text opens with the prayer that the revival begin in him. Then he reminds us that revival begins only after God’s people recognize their sin, receive cleansing from it and surrender their “will, passion, self and pride.” The hymn ends appropriately with the assurance of knowing that God will hear and supply our needs.

J. Edwin Orr has been widely known as a challenging evangelist and a noted scholar of historical revival movements. He has written many textbooks and was a professor of world missions. He also lectured and held workshops throughout the world while visiting 150 countries.

“Cleanse Me” was written in 1936 after a stirring Easter convention in Ngaruawahia, New Zealand. Fervent meetings sprang up throughout the city. Inspired by this intense movement of the Holy Spirit, Dr. Orr took time as he left New Zealand to write the verses of “Cleanse Me” on the back of an envelope in the post office. The tune he used was the lovely Maori Song of Farewell, sung to him by four Aborigine girls as he was leaving. In following campaigns in Australia and other parts of the world, Dr. Orr often used this hymn to encourage new spiritual awakenings. His ceaseless prayer was that the people of God would be stirred to pray for yet another world-wide awakening.

Search me, O God,
and know my heart today;
try me, O Savior,
know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me;
cleanse me from ev’ry sin
and set me free.

I praise Thee, Lord,
for cleansing me from sin;
fulfill Thy Word
and make me pure within.
Fill me with fire
where once I burned with shame;
grant my desire to
magnify Thy name.

Lord, take my life
and make it wholly Thine;
fill my poor heart with
Thy great love divine.
Take all my will,
my passion, self and pride;
I now surrender, Lord—
in me abide.

O Holy Ghost,
revival comes from Thee;
send a revival—
start the work in me.
Thy Word declares
Thou wilt supply our need;
for blessings now,
O Lord, I humbly plead.

Osbeck, K. W. (1990). Amazing grace : 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions (251). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications.




For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end. (Psalm 48:14)
Often we become discouraged because we cannot see God’s long range plan of guidance for our lives. We need to remember that God has promised to guide our steps, not the miles ahead. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Psalm 37:23)

This beloved hymn came from the grateful heart of Fanny Crosby after she had received a direct answer to her prayer. One day when she desperately needed five dollars and had no idea where she could obtain it, Fanny followed her usual custom and began to pray about the matter. A few minutes later a stranger appeared at her door with the exact amount. “I have no way of accounting for this,” she said, “except to believe that God put it into the heart of this good man to bring the money. My first thought was that it is so wonderful the way the Lord leads me, I immediately wrote the poem and Dr. Lowry set it to music.” The hymn was first published in 1875.

No one knows the importance of guided steps as much as a blind person like Fanny Crosby, who lost her sight at six weeks of age through improper medical treatment. A sightless person is keenly aware that there will be stumbling and uncertainty as he continues on his way. As Fanny wrote, “Cheers each winding path I tread, gives me grace for every trial,” she has reminded us that God has never promised to keep us from hard places or obstacles in life. He has assured us, however, that He will go with us, guide each step, and give the necessary grace.

All the way my Savior leads me;
what have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
who through life has been my Guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort,
here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me,
cheers each winding path I tread,
gives me grace for ev’ry trial,
feeds me with the living bread.
Though my weary steps may falter,
and my soul athirst may be,
gushing from the Rock before me,
lo! a spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me;
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
in my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
wings its flight to realms of day,
this my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.

Osbeck, K. W. (1990). Amazing grace : 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions (259). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications.


Soli Deo Gloria


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