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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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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