Not interested in religion

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God is not interested in religion, but He is tremendously interested in life. You cannot read the New Testament without realizing that the Lord Jesus did not care a whit for the Sabbath regulations of his day when they were set against the need of a broken man for healing. God is not interested in stained glass windows, organ solos, congregation hymns or even pastoral prayers half so much as he is in producing love filled homes, generous hearts and brave men and women who can live right in midst of the world, and keep their heads and hearts undefiled.

–Ray Stedman

Photo: Navid Baraty

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The heart of every virtue

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If love is the soul of Christian existence, it must be at the heart of every other Christian virtue. Thus, for example, justice without love is legalism; faith without love is ideology; hope without love is self-centeredness; forgiveness without love is self-abasement; fortitude without love is recklessness; generosity without love is extravagance; care without love is mere duty; fidelity without love is servitude.

Every virtue is an expression of love.

No virtue is really a virtue unless it is permeated, or informed, by love.

–Richard P. McBrien

How to avoid a broken heart

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There is no safe investment.

To love at all is to be vulnerable.

Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken.

If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.

Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.

But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change.

It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation.

The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

—C. S. Lewis
The Four Loves

Published in: on 07/29/2013 at 6:10  Leave a Comment  
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The God of many colors

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God does not work
by only one method,
paint in only one color,
play in only one key,
nor does He make only one star
shine onto the earth.

–Eberhard Arnold

Published in: on 07/27/2013 at 21:48  Leave a Comment  
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Nothing to prove

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The gospel frees us
from the relentless pressure
of having to prove ourselves,
for we are already
proven and secure.

–Tim Keller

Image: Stephen Darbishire

It’s not for the living

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Grace . . . works
only on the untouchable,
the unpardonable,
and the unacceptable.
It works, in short,
by raising the dead,
not by rewarding the living.

–Robert Farrar Capon
Kingdom, Grace, Judgment

A cure for insomnia

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To be perfectly candid, there are few things that are as dull and boring in life as Christianity without the living, breathing, radiant, triumphant Christ. It’s a first-degree snoozer. If you could bottle it, you would have the cure for insomnia.

–Leonard Sweet
–Frank Viola
Jesus Manifesto

Banqueting with the King

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The eternal purpose of the Father is to bring us into existence, and not just into existence but into His house. And not just into His house but to His table, and not just to his table but to His right hand. And not just to His right hand but into conversation with Him, and not just into conversation with Him, but into face-to-face fellowship with God the Father Himself.

–C. Baxter Kruger

Published in: on 07/24/2013 at 4:07  Leave a Comment  
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Stepping out of the parade

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The moment we make up our minds that we are going on with this determination to exalt God overall, we step out of the world’s parade… We acquire a new viewpoint; a new and different psychology will be formed within us; a new power will begin to surprise us by its upsurgings and its outgoings.

–A. W. Tozer
The Pursuit of God

Surrendering to Life

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Prayer is fundamentally and essentially self-surrender . . . It is self-renunciation in order to find self-realization. Your petty self is renounced in order that your potential self might be realized. Prayer is the wire surrendering to the dynamo, the flower surrender to the sun, the child surrendering to education, the patient surrendering to the surgeon, the part surrender to the whole—prayer is life surrendering to Life.

A branch not surrendered to the vine, but cut off and on its own, it not free; it is dead. A person who doesn’t pray isn’t free; he is futile. He is a blind man who won’t surrender his blindness to the surgeon in order to see. He is free—to remain blind.

–E. Stanley Jones

A bottomless ocean

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Christ, the gift of God’s present forgiving love to every man and woman, is the door through which alone we can enter into our provision of hope.

Until we know the love
of our Father’s heart to us,
as manifested in Christ,
the future must always be to us
at best a dark and doubtful wilderness.

But when we know that all that we have conceived of our Father’s love, is as nothing to the reality—that he is indeed love itself—a love passing knowledge—a shoreless, boundless, bottomless ocean-fountain of love, of holy, sin-hating, sin-destroying love, which longs over us that we should be filled with itself—and be by it delivered from the power of evil—then, indeed, we are saved by hope, for we know that love must triumph and fulfill all its counsel.

–Thomas Erskine
(1750 – 1823)

A change of residence

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All the clutter that, like decrepit bachelors, we have allowed to pile up in the house of our living, all the hates, the lies, the lusts, and the lunacies – the whole lifetime’s accumulation of irretrievable mistakes – has been forgiven, absolved, put away, carted off.

If then we accept that absolution, that housecleaning that is a house-removal – and if we take up residence in the clean emptiness of Jesus’ death – we will have his life and have it abundantly. But if we try to hang onto the old house of our living we will have only hell . . . To go back to that life is to go back to nothing.

Palace 10

The only real dwelling we have now is the Father’s house of many mansions: hell is simply the stupid pretense that nowhere really would be a nicer place to spend eternity.

–Robert Farrar Capon
Kingdom, Grace, Judgment

Choosing the way to life

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When we want to be something other than the thing God wants us to be, we must be wanting what, in fact, will not make us happy. Those Divine demands which sound to our natural ears most like those of a despot and least like those of a lover, in fact marshal us where we should want to go if we knew what we wanted.

–C. S. Lewis
The Problem of Pain

Everyone surrenders

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If you don’t surrender to God,
don’t think you don’t surrender.
Everybody surrenders— 
to something.

–E. Stanley Jones

One day we shall ride

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To shrink back from all that can be called Nature into negative spirituality is as if we ran away from horses instead of learning to ride. There is in our present pilgrim condition plenty of room (more room than most of us like) for abstinence and renunciation and mortifying our natural desires. But behind all asceticism the thought should be, ‘Who will trust us with the true wealth if we cannot be trusted even with the wealth that perishes?’

Who will trust me with a spiritual body
if I cannot control even an earthly body?

These small and perishable bodies we now have were given to us as ponies are given to schoolboys. We must learn to manage: not that we may some day be free of horses altogether but that some day we may ride bareback, confident and rejoicing, those greater mounts, those winged, shining and world-shaking horses which perhaps even now expect us with impatience, pawing and snorting in the King’s stables. Not that the gallop would be of any value unless it were a gallop with the King; but how else – since He has retained His own charger – should we accompany Him?

–C.S. Lewis
Miracles

Intended for joy

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There is not one blade of grass,
there is no color in this world
that is not intended
to make us rejoice.

–John Calvin
(1509 – 1564)

Published in: on 07/16/2013 at 4:10  Leave a Comment  
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Without thankfulness

Country Road Sunrise

Life without thankfulness
is devoid of love and passion.
Hope without thankfulness
is lacking in fine perception.
Faith without thankfulness
lacks strength and fortitude.
Every virtue divorced
from thankfulness
is maimed and limps along
the spiritual road.

–John Henry Jowett
(1864-1923)

Not half so sure

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When I was young I was sure of everything;
in a few years, having been mistaken
a thousand times, I was not half so sure
of most things as I was before;
at present, I am hardly sure of anything
but what God has revealed to me.

–John Wesley
(1703 – 1791)

Published in: on 07/13/2013 at 16:42  Leave a Comment  
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The power of forgiving love

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Terror accomplishes no real obedience. Suspense brings forth no fruit unto holiness. No gloomy uncertainty as to God’s favour can subdue one lust, or correct our crookedness of will. But the free pardon of the cross uproots sin, and withers all its branches. Only the certainty of love, forgiving love, can do this.

–Horatius Bonar
God’s Way of Holiness

The full treatment

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When I was a child I often had toothache, and I knew that if I went to my mother she would give me something which would deaden the pain for that night and let me get to sleep. But I did not go to my mother–at least, not till the pain became very bad. And the reason I did not go was this. I did not doubt she would give me the aspirin; but I knew she would also do something else. I knew she would take me to the dentist next morning. I could not get what I wanted out of her without getting something more, which I did not want. I wanted immediate relief from pain: but I could not get it without having my teeth set permanently right. And I knew those dentists: I knew they started fiddling about with all sorts of other teeth which had not yet begun to ache. They would not let sleeping dogs lie, if you gave them an inch they took an ell (45 inches).

Now, if I may put it that way, Our Lord is like the dentists. If you give Him an inch, He will take an ell. Dozens of people go to Him to be cured of some one particular sin which they are ashamed of or which is obviously spoiling daily life. Well, He will cure it all right: but He will not stop there. That may be all you asked; but if once you call Him in, He will give you the full treatment.

–C. S. Lewis
Mere Christianity

Published in: on 07/10/2013 at 6:08  Leave a Comment  
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Gentle us, Holy One

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Gentle us, Holy One,
into an unclenched moment,
a deep breath,
a letting go of heavy expectations,
of shriveling anxieties,
of dead certainties, that,
softened by the silence,
surrounded by the light,
and open to the mystery,
we may be found by wholeness,
upheld by the unfathomable,
entranced by the simple,
and filled with the joy that is you.

–Ted Loder

Published in: on 07/08/2013 at 16:46  Leave a Comment  
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A great compliment

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That God is jealous for our love
is the greatest compliment
he could possibly pay us.

–Abraham Kuyper
(1837 – 1920)

Published in: on 07/07/2013 at 14:42  Comments (1)  
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Excessive grace

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It is a gift to be scandalized by Jesus.
When grace seems excessive
and love is absurd – we finally
are beginning to fathom the gospel.

–Jonathan Martin

Not just a system

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We must not offer people
a system of redemption,
a set of insights and principles.
We offer people a Redeemer.

–Paul David Tripp

A larger life

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If we will but let
our God and Father
work His will with us,
there can be no limit to
His enlargement
of our existence.

–George MacDonald

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