“Spiritual disciplines” are things we do to stay in love with God and grow in faith. They can be things we do alone or together; they can be ways to spend time with God or to serve others. As the people of Sylva First UMC share one of their spiritual disciplines with you each week, we hope it will inspire you to new ways of loving God and growing in faith.
I am Wiley Harris and have lived in Sylva for 34 years, arriving from Louisiana in July of 1986. I have been a member of FUMC for 26 of those years. Being part of a loving church family is critical to my spiritual walk and journey in life. I was born into a Methodist family and remained for my 68 years of which I always believed in Jesus but not until I was the age of 38 that He became the Lord of my life. Christ changed my focus from self to Him which only He could do.
My spiritual discipline is one that has developed over the years while working, but in retirement it has grown in more depth, not because of more desire but available time and energy. Developing a spiritual discipline is essential for a time such as this in order to not be victimized by the world values and world events. Satan is the author of chaos and lies according to the bible and my experience, so the only armor that is sufficient is the Word of God and God’s power through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
As far as my daily spiritual journey, each day begins around 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. with an hour of devotions and prayer time. I use a minimum of 5 resources to help me center. From my cell phone I receive daily devotions from Dr. Jeremiah and You-Version App; Our Daily Bread and Upper Room; Bible Study Tools monthly scripture readings (1 or 2 verses) and journal my thoughts on them. Then I spend about an hour in prayer and listening to God. In the evenings I read the bible for about an hour before going to bed most nights (sometimes this is interrupted with life demands). Closing the day with prayer just before bedtime is also my routine. On select days of the week, I watch Spirit focused TV programs on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network), Day Stay and Hillsong. I am blessed by the teachings of Pastor Robert Morris and others. In addition to my daily discipline, I also attend the Men’s Bible Study at church one day a week (This is a blessing to be part of a group of men who hold each other accountable and provides different perspectives on understanding God’s Word) – I highly recommend getting involved in a bible study to help grow spiritually.
There has been a positive side to the Covid-19 pandemic. It caused me to review my over-commitment of things and focus on what is important to God and the health of my family and myself. It allowed me to spend more time in the Word – such as reading through the bible again in three months.
My focus presently is to be able to really Tune-In and Hear from God on a regular basis. Obeying God is what we are called to do along with other disciplines, therefore His Word and Voice are critical to life.
Blessings and Love, Wiley