An Uphill Climb

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You want to grow in virtue, to serve God, to love Christ? Well, you will grow in and attain to these things if you will make them a slow and sure, an utterly real, a mountain step-plod and ascent, willing to have to camp for weeks or months in spiritual desolation, darkness and emptiness at different stages in your march and growth. All demand for constant light . . . all the attempt at eliminating or minimizing the cross and trial, is so much soft folly and puerile trifling.

― Friedrich von Hügel

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Dangerous Heights

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If your path had been smooth

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If your path had been smooth, you would have depended upon your own surefootedness; but God roughened that path, so you have to take hold of His hand. If the weather had been mild, you would have loitered along the watercourses, but at the first howl of the storm you quickened your pace heavenward and wrapped around you the warm robe of a Saviour’s righteousness.

–Thomas De Witt Talmage
The Pathway of Life

Not an easy journey

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There are no
safe paths in this
part of the world.
You are over the Edge
of the Wild now,
and in for
all sorts of fun.

–J.R.R. Tolkien,
The Hobbit

Artwork: Ninjatic

Published in: on 08/01/2015 at 17:42  Leave a Comment  
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This day we fight

Map-Of-Middle-font-b-Earth-b-font-The-Lord-Of-The-Rings-Nice-Silk-FabricI see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. This day we fight.

–Aragorn, The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King

Published in: on 07/26/2015 at 19:15  Leave a Comment  
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My Father’s world

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This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

–Maltbie D. Babcock
(1858 – 1901)

Against the wind

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You find out
the strength
of a wind by trying
to walk against it,
not by lying down.

–C. S. Lewis

Not an easy road

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No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered by the time we reach home, but the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean clothes in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one’s temper and give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us: it is the very sign of His presence.

–C. S. Lewis

Light out of darkness

awakening-light-meditation copyWe find God continually at work turning evil into good. Not, as a rule, by irrelevant miracles and theatrically effective judgments–Christ was seldom very encouraging to those who demanded signs, or lightnings from Heaven, and God is too subtle and too economical a craftsman to make very much use of those methods. But He takes our sins and errors and turns them into victories, as He made the crime of the crucifixion to be the salvation of the world.

–Dorothy Leigh Sayers
Creed Or Chaos?

On the Crushing of Grapes

grapes_narrowweb__200x263God can never make us wine if we object to the fingers he uses to crush us with. If God would only use his fingers to make me broken bread and poured out wine in a spiritual way! But when he uses someone whom we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we would never submit, we object. We must never choose the scene of our own martyrdom. If ever we are going to be made wine to drink, we shall have to be crushed. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed. You can not drink grapes.

–Oswald Chambers

Three things promised

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Jesus promised
the disciples three things–
that they would be
completely fearless,
absurdly happy and
in constant trouble.

—G. K. Chesterton

Nowhere else to go

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How often do we look upon God as our last and feeblest resource! We go to Him because we have nowhere else to go. And then we learn that the storms of life have driven us, not upon the rocks, but into the desired haven . . . to the best, the only, the central help, the causing cause of all the helps to which we had turned aside as nearer and better.

–George MacDonald
(1824 – 1905)

Trust the engineer

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When a train goes through
a tunnel and it gets dark,
you don’t throw away
the ticket and jump off.
You sit still and trust
the engineer.

–Corrie Ten Boom

Published in: on 06/20/2014 at 9:18  Leave a Comment  
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Losing your faith—finding Jesus

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Sometimes you have to lose your faith to find Jesus.

Two travellers on their way to Emmaus had a collection of beliefs. They were confident about their doctrinal positions, secure in their theological convictions. It was all so Scriptural.

Everything looked so promising.

When suddenly the whole thing collapsed.

Their convictions fell apart at the seams when their Messiah didn’t set up his kingdom as expected. He got himself crucified.

Not exactly a Grand Finale.

It all ended in disaster.

And now with hopes dashed, they were going back home. Faith was gone and despair had taken its place. It was all over.

And that’s when they met Jesus.

The Jesus who breaks out of sealed tombs and overcomes invincible enemies. The Jesus who surprises, shocks and astounds. The Jesus who overthrows our preconceived ideas. The Jesus whose ways are bigger, deeper and richer than ours. The Jesus who shows up where we least expect him.

The Jesus who brings hope to troubled hearts.

The Jesus who still meets bewildered people on Emmaus roads.

–Jurgen Schulz

Stretches of darkness

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If anyone tells you that the life of prayer is one uninterrupted experience of being happy with Jesus, do not follow him. He is not a safe guide. Those who follow the Lamb know that there are stretches of darkness and loneliness and perplexity along the way, and they know that Jesus himself went that way.

–Lesslie Newbigin
(1909-1998)

The life of faith

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The life of faith is a happy life,
and if attended with conflicts,
there is an assurance of victory;
if we sometimes get a wound,
there is healing balm near at hand;
if we seem to fall, we are raised again;
and if tribulations abound,
consolations shall abound likewise.

–John Newton
(1725-1807)

The journey ahead

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Do not give into fear in the face of the changes and chances of this life. Rather, as they arise, look at them with full trust in God, to whom you belong, who will enable you – through His powerful love – to profit from them. He has guided you thus far in life; so hold fast to His dear hand, and He will lead you safely through every trial. Whenever you cannot stand, he will carry you in his loving arms. Do not be anxious about what may happen tomorrow. The same Eternal Father who takes care of you today will take care of you tomorrow, and every day of your life. He will either shield you from suffering, or give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then, and put aside all useless thoughts, all vain dreads and all anxious imaginations.

–St Francis de Sales

His faithful presence

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Our life is full of brokenness—
broken relationships,
broken promises,
broken expectations.
How can we live with that brokenness
without becoming bitter and resentful
except by returning again and again
to God’s faithful presence
in our lives?

–Henri Nouwen

In strong hands

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The strong hands of God 
twisted the crown of thorns 
into a crown of glory; 
and in such hands we are safe.

–Charles Williams
(1886 – 1945)

Faithing storms

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Faith does not lie in trusting God
to stop the storm, but in trusting Him
to enable us to walk through the storm.

–Jill Briscoe

Image by Craig Stevens

Published in: on 06/14/2013 at 7:11  Leave a Comment  
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Getting to the heart

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There are only two things
that pierce the human heart,
beauty and affliction.

–Simone Weil

Published in: on 05/14/2013 at 4:04  Comments (1)  
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It will end well

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[T]he God who came in history and comes daily in mystery will one day come in glory. God is saying in Jesus that in the end everything will be all right. Nothing can harm you permanently, no suffering is irrevocable, no loss is lasting, no defeat is more than transitory, no disappointment is conclusive. Jesus did not deny the reality of suffering, discouragement, disappointment, frustration, and death; he simply stated that the Kingdom of God would conquer all of these horrors, that the Father’s love is so prodigal that no evil could possibly resist it.

–Brennan Manning

Rebuilt faith

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A rebuilt faith is superior to an inherited faith that has never stood the strain of a great testing storm. If you have not clung to a broken piece of your old ship in the dark night of the soul, your faith may not have the sustaining power to carry you through to the end of the journey.

-Rufus Jones (1863–1948)

Of this we can be sure

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The day may bring many strange things to us,
perplexing or painful or disappointing;
but this stands strong: our prayer
has not been turned away,
nor His lovingkindness.

–Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)
 Edges of His Ways

It’s worth fighting for

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Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.

Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?

Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.

― J.R.R. Tolkien
The Two Towers

Why did this happen?


We have no right to ask, 
when a sorrow comes, 
“Why did this 
happen to me?” 
unless we ask 
the same question 
for every joy 
that comes our way.

– Philip E. Berstein

The most beautiful people

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

–Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Not the cause but the cure

God is often faulted for creating a world full of suffering and evil. The issue is complex, both philosophically and theologically; but surely it is inappropriate to blame God for a problem He did not initiate, and [that is] in fact, one which He has sought to alleviate, at great cost to Himself. God sent His Son to inaugurate the Kingdom and to “destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14). God is not the cause of suffering and sickness; He is its cure! Jesus’ ministry and death guarantee this.

–George Mallone

Published in: on 10/13/2011 at 18:30  Leave a Comment  

Scratches are inevitable

Sin has turned the world
from a paradise into a thicket,
there is no getting through
without being scratched.

–Thomas Boston

Published in: on 10/12/2011 at 22:43  Leave a Comment  

Joy and sorrow

 

Sorrow is one of the things that are lent, not given. Joy is given; sorrow is only lent. Sorrow is lent to us for just a little while that we might use if for eternal purposes. Then it will be taken away and everlasting joy will be our Father’s gift to us. So let us use this lent thing to draw us nearer to Christ; and let us use it to make us more tender to others.

–Amy Carmichael

Published in: on 10/12/2011 at 9:12  Leave a Comment  
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