Rooted in the Love of God

Oak tree in full leaf in summer standing alone

 Won’t the awareness that
God loves us no matter what lead to
spiritual laziness and moral laxity?
Theoretically, this seems a reasonable fear,
but in reality the opposite is true…
The more rooted we are in the love of God,
the more generously we will live our faith.

–Brennan Manning,
Lion and Lamb

Isa 6

Isaiah says that the child
to be born would have:

1. The ability to carry the government faithfully.
2. The wisdom to counsel us wonderfully.
3. The might to uphold us powerfully.
4. The tenderness to father us eternally.
5. The peace to heal the world majestically.

–Rich Villodas

 

Published in: on 12/25/2019 at 3:48  Leave a Comment  
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Light shines

Joy has come:JS

The Birth of the Eternal One

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No beginning that is the least
bit temporal can be applied
to the Only Begotten because He is
before all time and has
His existence before the ages.

– Cyril of Alexandria
(378 – 444)

Why Did He Come?

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Why did He come to an Earth so marred
When far better worlds were to be found
Where one is not billeted in a barn
Nor assailed by spit and nails and thorn.

Why did He come on that dark night
If not to finally set things right
To pierce the darkness with His light
And put our foes and fears to flight.

Why did He come to this sad shore
To love and heal and weep and groan
It was to topple evil’s throne
And bring his wandering children home.

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Our Starting Point

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The Gospel then begins with the incarnation. All religions are man’s search for God; the Gospel is God search for man; therefore there are many religions—there is but one Gospel. All religions are the Word become word; the gospel is the Word become flesh. Therefore all religions are philosophies; the Gospel is a fact. Philosophies may be good views; the Gospel is Good News. The Gospel is not primarily a philosophy— it is a Fact. The philosophy grows out of the Fact.

The Fact of Jesus is our starting point and is our Gospel. It is the Gospel of Jesus before it is the Gospel of God or the Gospel of the kingdom. The Gospel lies in his person—He didn’t come to bring the Good News—He was the Good News. This gospel is not spelled out, therefore verbal; it is lived out, therefore vital. Jesus didn’t come to bring the forgiveness of God—He was the forgiveness of God. There is no other way to God, for Jesus is the way from God. He is God coming to us. Therefore there can be no other way.

–E. Stanley Jones,
Mastery

Unity and Diversity

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Every once in a while in my discussions someone asks how I can believe in the Trinity. My answer is always the same. I would still be an agnostic if there were no Trinity, because there would be no answers. Without the high order of personal unity and diversity given to us in the Trinity there would be no answers…

[God is] three Persons in existence,
loving each other, in communication
with each other, before all else was.

If this were not so, we would have had a God who needed to create in order to love and communicate. In such a case, God would have needed the universe as much as the universe needed God. But God did not need to create; God does not need the universe as the universe needs him. Why? Because we have a full and true Trinity. The persons of the Trinity communicated with each other and loved each other before the creation of the world.

This is not only an answer to the acute philosophical need of unity in diversity, but of personal unity and diversity. The unity and diversity cannot exist before God or be behind God, because whatever is farthest back is God. But within the doctrine of the Trinity, unity and diversity is God himself—three persons, yet one God. That is what Trinity is, and nothing less than this.

. . . Let us notice again that this is not the best answer; it is the only answer. Nobody else, no philosophy, has ever given us an answer for unity and diversity. So when people ask whether we are embarrassed intellectually by the Trinity, I always switch it over into their own terminology—unity and diversity. Every philosophy has this problem and no philosophy has an answer. Christianity does have an answer in the existence of the Trinity. The only answer to what exists is that he, the triune God, is there.

–Francis Schaeffer,
He Is There and He Is Not Silent

Published in: on 12/02/2019 at 11:18  Leave a Comment  
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Hilarious Grace

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He does not come to see if we are good: he comes to disturb the caked conventions by which we pretend to be good. He does not come to see if we are sorry: he knows our repentance isn’t worth the hot air we put into it. He does not come to count anything… He cares not even a fig for any part of our record, good or bad. He comes only to forgive. For free… We are saved gratis, by grace. We do nothing and we deserve nothing; it is all, absolutely and without qualification, one huge, hilarious gift.

–Robert Farrar Capon
Kingdom, Grace, Judgment

Published in: on 11/18/2019 at 17:01  Leave a Comment  
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Isn’t It Odd?

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Isn’t it odd, that a Being like God,
Who sees the façade,
still loves the clod
He made out of sod;
now isn’t that odd?

–Author unknown

Traveling Confidently

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All that lies behind me, all the wrong I have done can no longer separate me from him. He sets it all straight. What lies ahead of me . . . I accept from his hand. And nothing can happen to me, nothing can touch me that has not first passed his inspection and proved to be for my best welfare.

— Helmut Thielicke

The Liberator Has Come

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The Liberator has come. Jesus Christ, Lord of creation and redemption, gathered all His enemies in one nail-driven hand and routed them. Then He made a spectacle of them. He shackled them and dragged them bruised and stumbling behind cartloads of plunder taken from their own tents (see 2 Corinthians 2:14; Colossians 2:15). And we’re free.

—Mark Buchanan,
Things Unseen

Majesty and Humility

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Jesus is worshiped because he was and is God. He is the creator Word, the saving Lord, the reign-of-God-establishing pantokrator, Lord of all. There is no secret God hiding behind the back of Jesus, furtive and unknown, whom we must periodically reimagine to suit our changing ideology. Jesus, in the flesh of his Mary-given humanity, is God. God is none other than who he is for us and for our salvation in, through and as the man Jesus. Through him, in union with him, which is the principal work of the Holy Spirit, we know the Father, serve the Father and worship the Father in spirit and in truth.

– Andrew Purves,
The Crucifixion of Ministry

He Does It Well

Enjoying_Freedom_3rd_by_Jo copyHe that will not believe in Christ must see to it how he can get along without him. As for you and me, we cannot. We need someone who will lift and hold us up when we are alive and who will lay his hand beneath our heads when we must die, and this he can do abundantly according to what is written, about him, and we know of nobody whom we’d rather have do it.

– Matthias Claudius

Published in: on 09/23/2019 at 20:30  Leave a Comment  
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Living Confidently

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From The Message Bible:

With God on our side . . . how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

“They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.”

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

Romans 8:31-39
The Message Bible

The Gracious Mystery

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Prayer . . . is either the primary fact or the worst delusion. If God is not, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short, prayer is the veriest self-deceit. If God is, yet is known only in vague rumor and dark coercion, prayer is whimpering folly: it were nobler to die. But if God is in some deep and eternal sense like Jesus, friendship with Him is our first concern, worthiest art, best resource, and sublimest joy.

Such prayer could brood over our modern disorder, as the Spirit once brooded over the void, to summon a new world. Prayer would not then dispel the Mystery: worship requires Mystery. . . . But the Mystery then would be a gracious Mystery, inviting and needing the friendship of our humanity, granting us light for life here and “authentic tidings” of life hereafter.

— George A. Buttrick,
Prayer

Rooted In God

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Seek to have your life in God,
not in things, not in people,
not in places, not in circumstances,
not in arguments, not in human
intelligence, but in God.

– T. Austin Sparks

The Choice

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Every time you experience the pain of rejection,
absence, or death, you are faced with a choice.
You can become bitter and decide not to love again,
or you can stand straight in your pain and let the soil
on which you stand become richer and more able
to give life to new seeds.

— Henri Nouwen

Seeking The Source

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Only when your heart
experiences love from a new source
beyond anything it’s ever known before
will your heart start to move
toward that source, and begin
to be deeply changed.

– Tim Keller

Published in: on 08/16/2019 at 6:30  Leave a Comment  
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Love Is A Decision

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Published in: on 07/31/2019 at 6:45  Leave a Comment  
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Living In God

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Nothing in all nature is so lovely and so vigorous, so perfectly at home in its environment, as a fish in the sea. Its surroundings give to it a beauty, quality, and power which are not its own. We take it out, and at once a poor, limp dull thing, fit for nothing, is gasping away its life. So the soul, sunk in God, living the life of prayer, is supported, filled, transformed in beauty by a vitality and a power which are not its own.

– Evelyn Underhill

This Is Grace

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Grace is more than mercy and love. It super-adds to them. It denotes, not simply love, but the love of a sovereign, transcendent Superior. One that may do what He will. That may wholly choose whether He will love or no. Now God, who is an infinite Sovereign, who might have chosen whether ever He would love us or no; for Him to love us, this is Grace.

– Thomas Goodwin
(1600 – 1680)

Published in: on 06/23/2019 at 18:37  Leave a Comment  
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I AM HIS

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Walking With God

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This is where I find myself now on the journey that God and I have been on, at the station called hope, the one that comes right after gratitude and somewhere not far from journey’s end. It has been “God and I” the whole way. Not so much because he has always been pleasant company. Not because I could always feel his presence when I got up in the morning or when I was afraid to sleep at night. It was because he did not trust me to travel alone. Personally I liked the last miles of the journey better than the first. But, since I could not have the ending without first having the beginning, I thank God for getting me going and bringing me home. And sticking with me all the way.

― Lewis B. Smedes,
My God and I: A Spiritual Memoir

An Expulsive Focus

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As long as I am alive to God—alive to His suggestions, His urges, His leadings, His love—I am by that very expulsive fact dead to sin. The higher expels the lower. I don’t fight sin. I expel it by preoccupation with the Higher.

– E. Stanley Jones

Falling Into A Fairy Tale

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A first experience of God’s grace could feel as if we have landed in a world where 2+2 might knock at our door and introduce herself as 5, where when a wrench falls out of our hand, it rises to the ceiling. There is a weightlessness about grace. It has the feel of a fairy tale; what makes it a very special fairy tale is that it is true.

– Lewis B. Smedes,
Shame and Grace

Published in: on 05/13/2019 at 5:19  Leave a Comment  
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Endless Waves

Wave in Pacific Ocean breaking in northern California

Our hope does not lie
in achievement or success,
but in forgiveness.
Endless waves of forgiveness.
And afterward, waves
of joyful laughter.

– Peter Kreeft

Published in: on 05/01/2019 at 6:06  Leave a Comment  
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A New Day Dawned

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On the third day the friends of Christ coming at daybreak to the place found the grave empty and the stone rolled away. In varying ways they realized the new wonder; but even they hardly realized that the world had died in the night. What they were looking at was the first day of a new creation, with a new heaven and a new earth; and in a semblance of the gardener God walked again in the garden, in the cool not of the evening but the dawn.

– G. K. Chesterton

Longing To Forgive

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Love, not anger,
brought Jesus
to the cross.
Golgotha came
as a result of God’s
great desire to forgive,
not his reluctance.

— Richard Foster

When The Judge Was Judged

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There is water in the world that once flew out of the mouths of guards and flecked the face of the Word Himself. There is iron that once tore at His back and iron that once coursed in His blood before it fell to the stones, left for the small animals to feed on in the night. Animals were born and spent a lifetime before being slaughtered, having their hides tanned and cut into strips, interwoven with stone and glass and lashing the skin off the One Poet’s back, baring ribs full of calcium. There are proteins still, somewhere in this world, that were used in His beard before soldiers clutched, not know how close their fingers came to the Infinite, and tore hard.

But there is nothing now made from His flesh decomposed. That seed spouted long ago, the firstborn, sprung from the womb of death on the first real day of Spring.

― N. D. Wilson

Published in: on 04/18/2019 at 14:39  Leave a Comment  
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