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

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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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Heaven Is Not Hostile

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The heavens are not filled with hostility. The sky does not express a frown. When I look up I do not contemplate a face of brass, but the face of infinite good will. Yet when I was a child, many a picture has made me think of God as suspicious, inhumanly watchful, always looking round the corner to catch me at the fall. That “eye,” placed in the sky of many a picture, and placed there to represent God, filled my heart with chilling fear. . . . Heaven overflows with good will toward us! Our God not only wishes good, he wills it!

– John Henry Jowett
(1863–1923)

Published in: on 04/07/2019 at 15:03  Leave a Comment  
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Daily Dependence

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Relying on God has
to begin all over again every day
as if nothing had yet
been done.

– C. S. Lewis

The Definitive Word

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“In the beginning was the Word,” says John 1:1 “and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Before all other things, before anything else existed, there was God, and there was his Word, who was God. And with that little sentence, a revolution has just happened. Want to see how?…

Here, then, is the revolution: for all our dreams, our dark and frightened imaginings of God, there is no God in heaven who is unlike Jesus. For he is God. “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father,” he says, for “I and the Father are one” (Jn. 14:9; 10:30). God cannot be otherwise…

Let us then be rid of that horrid, sly idea that behind Jesus, the friend of sinners, there is some more sinister being, one thinner on compassion and grace. There cannot be! Jesus is the Word. He is one with his Father. He is the radiance, the glow, the glory of who his Father is…

In him we see the true meaning of the love, the power, the wisdom, the justice and the majesty of God… And in fact, if we do not go to this Word to know God, then all our thoughts about God, however respectful, worshipful or philosophically satisfying, will be nothing but idolatry.

— Michael Reeves,
Rejoicing in Christ

What does God want from me?

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Our thinking about life with God inevitably confronts us with this crucial question: What does God want from me? When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment, he answered clearly: love God with all you have. If we asked Jesus, What does God want from me? I believe he would answer, God wants you to know and to love him. This narrative tells of a God who is loving and merciful, whose desire is to love and to be loved. This in no way negates the fact that God is unflinchingly against sin. God hates sin because it hurts his children. But God is crazy about his children.

The Westminster Larger Catechism, written in 1648, opens with a question and an answer:

Question: What is the chief and highest end of man?

Answer: Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy Him forever.

I love the concept of fully enjoying God forever. Do you think that God wants you to enjoy him? Though many people do not believe this, I think it is what God most wants. Julian of Norwich once wrote: “The greatest honor we can give God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.” That statement shocked me when I first read it. The greatest honor we can give God? Isn’t it to die for him on the mission field? Julian offers another narrative: “What God most wants is to see you smile because you know how much God loves you.” My mission-field narrative does not describe a God I would naturally love. Julian’s narrative tells me of a God I cannot help but love. The God Julian knew is a God who delights in us.

—James Bryan Smith,
The Good and Beautiful God

Coworkers With God

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When our will goes hand in hand with God’s,
then are we fellow-workers with him in the affairs
of the universe – not mere discoverers of his ways,
watching at the outskirts of things, but labourers
with him at the heart of them.

– George MacDonald

Working With God

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If I can put one touch
of rosy sunset into the life
of any man or woman,
I shall feel that I have
worked with God.

― G.K. Chesterton

The Power of Gratitude

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Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic. This is a most searching and true diagnosis. Gratitude can be a vaccine that can prevent the invasion of a disgruntled attitude. As antitoxins prevent the disastrous effects of certain poisons and diseases, thanksgiving destroys the poison of faultfinding and grumbling. When trouble has smitten us, a spirit of thanksgiving is a soothing antiseptic.

John Henry Jowett

Published in: on 02/11/2019 at 15:52  Leave a Comment  
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The God Who Comes Running

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God is the father who watches and waits for his children, runs out to meet them, embraces them, pleads with them, and begs and urges them to come home.

It might sound strange, but God wants to find us as much, if not more, than we want to find God.

– Henri Nouwen

Artist – Jorge Cocco

Encouragement

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One of the highest of human duties is the duty of encouragement…It is easy to laugh at men’s ideals; it is easy to pour cold water on their enthusiasm; it is easy to discourage others. The world is full of discouragers. We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a man on his feet. Blessed is the man who speaks such a word.

—William Barclay

Published in: on 01/12/2019 at 17:41  Leave a Comment  
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Patience

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Patience with others is love,
Patience with self is hope,
Patience with God is faith.

– Adel Bestavros

Published in: on 01/01/2019 at 9:35  Leave a Comment  
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Living In Hope

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“According to his great mercy,
he has caused us to be born again
to a living hope…”
–1 Peter 1:3

Hope is more than feeling.
Hope is more than experience.
Hope is more than foresight.
Hope is a command.
Obeying it means life,
survival, endurance,
standing up to life until death
is swallowed up in victory.

–Jürgen Moltmann

Published in: on 12/31/2018 at 17:21  Leave a Comment  
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The Ultimate Paradox

The Incarnation Changed Everything

A mass of legend and literature has repeated and rung the changes on that single paradox; that the hands that had made the sun and stars were too small to reach the huge heads of the cattle. Upon this paradox, we might almost say upon this jest, all the literature of our faith is founded. It is at least like a jest in this, that it is something which the scientific critic cannot see. He laboriously explains the difficulty which we have always defiantly and almost derisively exaggerated; and mildly condemns as improbable something that we have almost madly exalted as incredible; as something that would be much too good to be true, except that it is true.

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When that contrast between the cosmic creation and the little local infancy has been repeated, reiterated, underlined, emphasized, exulted in, sung, shouted, roared, not to say howled, in a hundred thousand hymns, carols, rhymes, rituals, pictures, poems, and popular sermons, it may be suggested that we hardly need a higher critic to draw our attention to something a little odd about it; especially one of the sort that seems to take a long time to see a joke, even his own joke.

– G. K. Chesterton

B.C. / A.D.

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No longer is God simply on high,
he is now down below.
No longer does God intimidate,
he now lies helpless in a manger.
No longer should we surmise that sin shuts down
God’s love, Bethlehem tells us otherwise.
No longer does death reign,
the Giver of life has appeared.
No longer must we remain “lost and ruined
by the Fall”, redemption has come.

B.C. / A.D.

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No longer is God simply God,
he is also man.
No longer should we ask what God is like,
he is present in our midst.
No longer must we inquire what love looks like,
he has come to dwell among us.
No longer does darkness rule unchecked;
the Light of the world has come.
No longer should we retreat in fear;
Bethlehem invites us to draw near.

B.C. / A.D.

Bethlehem changes all

No longer is God far off;
he has drawn near.
No longer is God invisible;
he has become tangible and observable.
No longer is God out of reach;
he has become approachable and touchable.
No longer should people attempt
to find God; God has found us.
No longer is deity separate from humanity;
they have become one.

Only Two Places

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For sin has only two places where it can be:
it is either with you, so that it lies on your shoulders,
or it lies upon Christ, the Lamb of God.
And if it lies on your back, you are lost,
but if it rests on Christ, you are free and blessed.
Chose then, and take which you will…

–Martin Luther

The Divine Weaver

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Trust God to weave your
thread into the great web,
though the pattern
shows it not yet.

— George MacDonald

Photo by Lida

Love Made Manifest

ARTWORK FOR EASTER SEASONIf you reject him,
he answers you with tears;
if you wound him,
he bleeds out cleansing;
if you kill him,
he dies to redeem;
if you bury him,
he rises again to bring resurrection.
Jesus is love made manifest.

– Charles Spurgeon

Not Always Punishment

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Published in: on 11/14/2018 at 21:30  Leave a Comment  
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Centered In God

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Worship is a meeting
at the center so that
our lives are centered in God
and not lived eccentrically.

–Eugene Peterson‏

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