Not for “good” Christians

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Jesus was not clearing the road so I could ride victoriously through life. He was becoming the road that would carry me through all the garbage, falls, failures, and disasters that were the inevitable results of my existence.

In trying to make myself lovable,
I had been distancing myself from true love.

In pretending to be a leading candidate for the religious life, I was abandoning the life of grace. In seeking to be a good Christian, I was deserting the truth that there is no gospel for “good” Christians, because the Lamb of God was nailed to an altar for those who are not good, and who are no good at pretending to be good.

-Michael Spencer

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Stunning grace

The gospel is not the news that we can accept an absent Jesus into our lives. The gospel is the news that the Father’s Son has received us into his. We don’t make Jesus part of our world; he has made us part of his. In bearing our scorn, Jesus has made room for the real us in his divine, trinitarian life. Adoption is not a theory or a theoretical doctrine; it is reality in Jesus Christ, for in him the Father himself has met, accepted and embraced us as we are forever. In a variation on Paul’s great statement, ‘For you know the stunning grace of the Father’s Son that though he was rich in the shared life of the blessed Trinity, yet for our sake he became poor, suffering our wrath to meet us, and now through his suffering we who were so poor have been included in Jesus’ own rich relationship with his Father.

–Baxter Kruger

Published in: on 08/31/2010 at 2:00  Comments (1)  
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A mere echo

The joy that sinners have at their first conversion, is but an echo of the joy of Christ concerning them.

–Thomas Shepherd  (1665-1739)

Published in: on 08/30/2010 at 21:28  Leave a Comment  

The right focus

When we are concentrated upon the primary purposes of God the secondary purposes will then serve the one.

If our eye is single, on Him, then the whole body will be full of light.

If our eye is not single but divided into the many secondary purposes, it will become darkness instead of light. Even though they may be truths they will still deceive us; they will become distorted and extreme if our focus is not on the Lord Himself.

–Rick Joyner

Christ changes everything

He walked into time and quickly divided it into before and after—B.C. and A.D. He walked into the realm of thought and altered all our conceptions about God and life and destiny. He walked into our moral conceptions and codes, and now we are good or bad according to whether we embody His spirit or not. He walked into our sundered relations with God and healed them by His cross. He walked into the chaos of human relationships and projected a Kingdom which is destined to gather all our chaos into cosmos, to be the goal and the end of human history.

-E. Stanley Jones

Deliver us

From the cowardice that shrinks from new truth. From the laziness that is content with half-truths. From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truths: O God of Truth, deliver us.

–Ancient prayer

Published in: on 08/27/2010 at 15:47  Leave a Comment  
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The gladdest thing of all

Repent and believe in the gospel, Jesus says. Turn around and believe that the good news that we are loved is better than we ever dared hope, and that to believe in that good news, to live out of it and toward it, to be in love with that good news, is of all glad things in this world the gladdest thing of all.

-Frederick Buechner

Published in: on 08/26/2010 at 16:06  Leave a Comment  
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Here and now

One of the fascinating titles Jesus applied to Himself is “I AM”. His name is not “I WAS” as if His working was mostly in the past. Nor is it “I WILL BE,” as if His activity lies only in the future. His Name is “I AM.” Present tense. If we live with regret in the past, He is not there. If we live with anxiety about the future, He is not there. His Name is “I AM.” He works in the here and now of the present. It is at this moment that His grace is sufficient, that His promises are true, that His presence is available. We have His attention; we are the objects of His love. Fully. Right now. His Name is “I AM.”

–Jurgen Schulz

Published in: on 08/25/2010 at 17:30  Leave a Comment  

Believing He is a lover

When we believe
that God is something
other than a lover,
it is inevitable that
we will sin.

–Peter Kreeft

Published in: on 08/24/2010 at 16:16  Leave a Comment  

What more do you desire?

I am Father, I am brother, I am bridegroom, I am dwelling place, I am food, I am raiment, I am root, I am foundation, I am all you could possibly desire. Be in need of nothing, I will be even a servant, for I came to minister, not to be ministered unto; I am friend, and member, and head, and brother, and sister, and mother; I am all; only cling closely to me. I was poor for you, and a wanderer for you, on the cross for you, in the tomb for you, above I intercede for you to the Father; I have come to earth for your sake as an ambassador from my Father. You are all things to me, brother, and joint heir, and friend, and member. What more would you desire?

–John Chrysostom (A.D. 347–407)

Published in: on 08/23/2010 at 14:55  Leave a Comment  

Gracious uncertainty

The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty… Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life— gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God — it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, “. . . unless you . . . become as little children . . .” (Matthew 18:3 ). The spiritual life is the life of a child.

We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next.

If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, “. . . believe also in Me” (John 14:1 ), not, “Believe certain things about Me”. Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in— but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.

–Oswald Chambers

Published in: on 08/21/2010 at 17:15  Leave a Comment  
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The gift of grace

The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you. There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you’ll reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.

–Frederick Buechner

Published in: on 08/20/2010 at 15:04  Leave a Comment  
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All sufficient grace

I would rather live on the verge of falling and let my security be in the all-sufficiency of the grace of God than to live in some kind of pietistic illusion of moral excellence. Not that I don’t want to be morally excellent, but my faith isn’t in the idea that I’m more moral than anybody else. My faith is in the idea that God and His love are greater than whatever sins any of us commit.

–Rich Mullins

Published in: on 08/19/2010 at 18:55  Leave a Comment  
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Common interlock

My fellowship is not concerned so much with what I hold but with Who holds me. Not so much with a creed but with the Christ. It rests not so much in an agreement on the doctrine of redemption but in a common interlock with the Redeemer. Not in an equality of light but in our sharing the eternal life of God.

-Geoffrey Bull

Published in: on 08/19/2010 at 0:04  Leave a Comment  
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Left at the door

The Psalms defy our notions of profane and sacred, proving that everything we feel, witness, do unto others, and have done to us is acceptable subject matter for conversing with the Divine. They invite us to bring every part of ourselves into our houses of worship. If we omit expressions of faith lost, of rage, of disdain, and of the desire for revenge, we leave parts of ourselves at the door.

-Kari Jo Verhulst

Published in: on 08/18/2010 at 15:42  Leave a Comment  
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To believe in God

Those who believe they believe in God, but without passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at times without despair, believe only in the idea of God, and not in God himself.

–Miguel de Unamuno

Published in: on 08/17/2010 at 13:57  Leave a Comment  

He never leaves

Some people say that God can’t dwell where there is sin. Jesus showed us he does. He walks through the streets, filled with death and loneliness, and kneels beside the empty faces. God is with us, sin or not, always. God never leaves, never looks away, even when we wish he would. God never leaves for a moment.

–Derek Flood

Published in: on 08/16/2010 at 16:57  Leave a Comment  

In plain language

I believe in being thoroughly irreverent with God! That’s putting it in extreme form, but what I mean is that a great deal of our pious talk and reverent attitudes and language is a cloak for insincerity. Men of God, God’s familiars, God’s friends, talk back and forth with Him in plain language.

–Norman Grubb

Published in: on 08/14/2010 at 23:32  Leave a Comment  

A symphonic piety

The discovery of God lies in the daily and the ordinary, not in the spectacular and the heroic. If we cannot find God in the routines of home and shop, then we will not find him at all. Ours is to be a symphonic piety in which all the activities of work and play and family and worship and sex and sleep are the holy habitats of the eternal. Thomas Merton urges us to have an “unspeakable reverence for the holiness of created things.”

–Richard Foster

Published in: on 08/12/2010 at 16:00  Leave a Comment  

Laws of nature

LITTLE-KNOWN, BUT OFTEN-EXPERIENCED LAWS OF NATURE
1. Law of Mechanical Repair – After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you’ll have to use the bathroom.
2. Law of Gravity – Any tool, nut, bolt, or screw, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.
3. Law of Probability – The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.
4. Law of Random Numbers – If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal and someone always answers.
5. Law of the Alibi – If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the very next morning you will have a flat tire.
6. Variation Law – If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in now (works every time).
7. Law of the Bath – When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.
8. Law of Close Encounters – The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone you don’t want to be seen with.
9. Law of the Result – When you try to prove to someone that a machine won’t work, it will.
10. Law of Biomechanics – The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.
11. The Starbucks Law – As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something that will last until the coffee is cold.
12. Law of Physical Surfaces – The chances of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a floor covering are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet/rug.
13. Brown’s Law of Physical Appearance – If the clothes fit, they’re ugly.
14. Wilson’s Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy – As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it.
15. Doctors’ Law – If you don’t feel well and make an appointment to go to the doctor, by the time you get there you’ll feel better. Don’t make an appointment and you’ll stay sick.
–Author unknown
Published in: on 08/11/2010 at 23:10  Leave a Comment  
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Finding Him bigger

When Lucy returns to Narnia and meets the great lion Aslan, in C. S. Lewis’s Prince Caspian, she immediately expresses her surprise. “Aslan, you’re bigger.”
“That is because you are older, little one,” he answers.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not,” the lion replies. “But every year you grow you will find me bigger.”
Published in: on 08/10/2010 at 14:37  Leave a Comment  

An ocean in a bottle

Jesus Christ is like a vast ocean. He is too immense to fully explore, and too rich to fathom. You are like a bottle.
The wonder of the gospel is that the bottle is in the ocean, and the ocean is in the bottle.

–Leonard Sweet, Frank Viola


Published in: on 08/07/2010 at 18:09  Leave a Comment  

He is a lover

crown of thorns 4God’s reaction to our waywardness is not that of a government worker obsessed with rules, he is Christ breaking rules on the Sabbath to help someone imprisoned and oppressed by the world. He is Christ being down-right rude and aggressive defending an outcast from the religiously arrogant. Passionate, involved, dying a messy death. He is not a gentleman concerned with form and proper behavior, he is a lover.

–Derek Flood

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