Meeting God

LUTHER

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Bring Your Weariness

looking-at-sunset-over-lake“Jesus does not say, ‘Come to me, all you who have learned how to concentrate in prayer, whose minds no longer wander, and I will give you rest.’ No, Jesus opens his arms to his needy children and says, ‘Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’ (Matthew 11:28 NASB) The criteria for coming to Jesus is weariness. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy.”

–Paul E. Miller,
A Praying Life

When God’s Beauty Shone

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God is beauty, and nowhere is he lovelier
than in the winning tenderness
and the prevenient grace
which comes to meet us
in Christ.

–Jürgen Moltmann

You cannot blot Him out

Hagai Sophia

The Mosque of Saint Sophia in Constantinople [now Istanbul] is a transformed Christian church. It was one of the most beautiful churches in the world. All the Christian inscriptions and symbols have been painted out and Moslem inscriptions and symbols put in their places. As we stood under the great dome we could see that the figure of the ascending Christ with out stretched hands in blessing, which had been painted out, was coming back through the wearing off of the covering paint. I turned to a friend and said: “He is coming back. You cannot blot him out. Through the accretions and daubs of the centuries he is coming back again. He shall reign. The future belongs to him.”

–E. Stanley Jones,
Christ at the Round Table

Uncommon coronation

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WHEN Christ uttered, in the judgment hall of Pilate, the remarkable words—”I am king,” he pronounced a sentiment fraught with unspeakable dignity and power. His enemies might deride his pretensions and express their mockery of his claim, by presenting him with a crown of thorns, a reed and a purple robe, and nailing him to the cross; but . . . [a] higher power presided over that derisive ceremony, and converted it into a real coronation. That crown of thorns was indeed the diadem of empire; that purple robe was the badge of royalty; that fragile reed was the symbol of unbounded power; and that cross the throne of dominion which shall never end.

–J. L. Reynolds

 

The power of humility

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Loving humility
is a terrible force:
it is the strongest
of all things,
and there is nothing
else like it.

–Fydor Dostoyevsky

Overcoming the world

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The best way to overcome the world
is not with morality or self-discipline.
Christians overcome the world
by seeing the beauty
and excellence of Christ.
They overcome the world
by seeing something more attractive
than the world: Christ.

–Thomas Chalmers
(1780–1847)

Everything changes

index copy 3If the Lord is indeed our shepherd, then everything goes topsy-turvy. Losing becomes finding and crying becomes laughing. The last become first and the weak become strong.

Instead of life being done in by death in the end as we always supposed, death is done in finally by life in the end. If the Lord is our host at the great feast, then the sky is the limit.

–Frederick Buechner
Secrets in the Dark

Glimpses of paradise

Healing blind man

Jesus is like a walking,
talking garden of Eden –
a sphere of paradise on earth.
With him wrongs are righted,
darkness is dispelled
and everything that’s twisted
gets smoothed out again.

―Glen Scrivener

The way, the truth, and the life

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Any lights shining on the wrong subject will mislead you. I focus on my Lord Jesus, the true light that enlightens every man. He does not blind me, dazzle me, or confuse me. He shines on my path to show me the way, shines on my thoughts to show me the truth, and shines on my life to lead me to Life, because He is the way, the truth, and the life. His light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot resist it.

–Luis Fernando Aragon 
Pilgrim: One Thousand Days on the Road

Knowing Christ

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To know Jesus
is the shortest description
of true grace;
to know him better is
the surest mark
of growth in grace;
to know him perfectly
is eternal life.

–John Newton
(1725—1807)

Too good to believe

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Indeed the mystery
of Christ runs the risk
of being disbelieved
precisely because
it is so incredibly
wonderful.

–Cyril of Alexandria
(412—444)

Wonderful, plentiful grace

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Christ’s boundless grace confronts our deep necessities. Christ’s promised presence confronts our sad and gloomy loneliness. Jesus thus filled with grace so overflowing, with love so tender, with sympathy so exquisite, with power so illimitable, with resources so boundless, with a nature so changeless, stands before us and says to each trembling heart, “Fear not!”

―Octavius Winslow
Evening Thoughts

The unsurpassed life

Christ 9JBA principle without a concrete illustration is a person without feet—it gets nowhere. I don’t know whether a principle is true until it is put under life to see whether life will approve of it. A principle is only a hypothesis until it is verified by life. All the principles of the Christian faith have been verified in the life of Jesus—they work and have produced the character of Jesus. And “in any battle of ideas the victory will go to those ideas guaranteed by the facts.” In the Christian faith all its ideas have been guaranteed by the fact of Jesus. So the final victory goes to Him. For you will never get better ideas than Jesus held until you live a better life than Jesus lived. That can’t be done. He is the standard.

–E. Stanley Jones
The Word Become Flesh

Brokenness, hope and joy

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Brokenness is realizing
Jesus is all we have.
Hope is realizing
He is all we need.
Joy is realizing
He is all we want.

–Larry Crabb

Published in: on 03/02/2015 at 17:09  Leave a Comment  
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Meekness and majesty

Christ 68

He was the meekest and lowliest of all the sons of men, yet he spoke of coming on the clouds of heaven with the glory of God. He was so austere that evil spirits and demons cried out in terror at his coming, yet he was so genial and winsome and approachable that the children loved to play with him, and the little ones nestled in his arms. His presence at the innocent gaiety of a village wedding was like the presence of sunshine.

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No one was half so compassionate to sinners, yet no one ever spoke such red hot scorching words about sin. A bruised reed he would not break, his whole life was love, yet on one occasion he demanded of the Pharisees how they ever expected to escape the damnation of hell. He was a dreamer of dreams and a seer of visions, yet for sheer stark realism He has all of our stark realists soundly beaten. He was a servant of all, washing the disciples feet, yet masterfully He strode into the temple, and the hucksters and moneychangers fell over one another to get away from the mad rush and the fire they saw blazing in His eyes.

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He saved others, yet at the last Himself He did not save. There is nothing in history like the union of contrasts which confronts us in the gospels. The mystery of Jesus is the mystery of divine personality.

– James S. Stewart
(1896–1990)

All these toys

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All these toys
were never intended
to possess my heart.
My true good
is in another world,
and my only real treasure
is Christ.

–C. S. Lewis
The Problem of Pain

Did the Lamb succeed?

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Try this one on for size..read all of it. Under the old covenant when a man sinned he could have his sins taken care of by taking a lamb to the temple to be sacrificed. The priest representing God would inspect the lamb to make sure it was spotless and without fault. HE WOULD NEVER EXAMINE OR SCRUTINIZE THE SINNER ONLY THE LAMB.

If the lamb was perfect it would be sacrificed in place of the sinner to pay for the sin of the man who was guilty. The man would go away from God with a clear conscience….In the book of John, JESUS IS CALLED THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD. I guess the only question that remains is: did the Lamb do what He was sent to do or did He fail?

–Don Keathley

Why would he do that?

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When Jesus was approached by soldiers to be arrested and killed, Peter picked up a a sword and cut off the ear of a man named Malchus. Jesus told Peter to put his sword away, then picked up the ear and put it back on Malchus’ head. We imagine the dialogue: “I’m sorry about my disciple Peter. I’ve been work on him for three years, haven’t gotten very far. I apologized about the ear thing.”

Imagine when Malchus got home for dinner that night, and his wife asked, “How did work go today?” Malchus: “Well, my ear got cut off, but the strangest thing happened. The man who I came to have crucified healed me. Why would he do that?”

–John Ortberg
Who is This Man?

Published in: on 01/09/2015 at 10:21  Leave a Comment  
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Water into wine

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For truly, before Jesus,
the scripture was water,
but after Jesus
it has become
wine for us.

–Origen of Alexandria
(182-254)

Published in: on 11/29/2014 at 18:50  Leave a Comment  
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Challenging Caesar

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In every worship service, the Christian ekklesia is renewed in her unique story and language, her unique political experience and vocation. Every worship service is a challenge to Caesar, because every Lord’s Day we bow to a Man on the throne of heaven, to whom even great Caesar must bow. O’Donovan claims that all political order rests on a people’s homage to authority, which is to say, on an act of worship. Every Lord’s Day, the Church is reconstituted as a polity whose obedience is owed to Christ, and we are taught to name Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords.

―Peter J. Leithart

Grace upon grace

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“From his fullness we have all received,
grace upon grace” (John 1:16).

The achievements of the Saviour, resulting from His becoming man, are of such kind and number, that if one should wish to enumerate them, he may be compared to men who gaze at the expanse of the sea and wish to count its waves.  For as one cannot take in the whole of the waves with his eyes, for those which are coming on baffle the sense of him that attempts it; so for him that would take in all the achievements of Christ in the body, it is impossible to take in the whole, even by reckoning them up, as those which go beyond his thought are more than those he thinks he has taken in.

–St. Athanasius
(296 – 373)

Image: Tim Curtis

Grace and Truth

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Never did word and work so blend in harmony as they did in him. They blended like the words and music of a song. He taught men, and this words had the ring of reality about them. Others quoted authorities; he taught with authority of his own insight. Others came seeking truth; he came proclaiming it. Truth gushed forth from his soul like a fountain from a hillside… and men listened to these words as if they were hearing some long-lost chord, something that belonged to them, that belonged to the very structure and make-up of their being. They felt that this was the soul’s homeland.

–E. Stanley Jones
The Christ of Every Road

The magnificent defeat

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He compelled their dark achievements to subserve His end, not theirs. They nailed Him to the tree, not knowing that by that very act they were bringing the world to His feet.

They gave Him a cross,
not guessing that
He would make it
a throne.

They flung Him outside the gates to die, not knowing that in that very moment they were lifting up all the gates of the universe, to let the King come in. They thought to root out His doctrines, not understanding that they were implanting imperishably in the hearts of men the very name they intended to destroy. They thought they had defeated God with His back to the wall, pinned and helpless and defeated: they did not know that it was God Himself who had tracked them down. He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.

James S. Stewart
(1896–1990)

Published in: on 06/24/2014 at 19:09  Leave a Comment  
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The Light Giver

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Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”

If anyone has any light,
it comes from Him.
If anyone finds truth,
it comes from Him.
If anyone possesses wisdom,
it comes from Him.
If anyone encounters beauty,
it comes from Him.
If anyone experiences goodness,
it comes from Him.

— J.O.S.

Image: Lars van de Goor

Published in: on 06/23/2014 at 8:32  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

One clear message

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Everything Jesus said
and did and suffered
is nothing else but a chain
of pointers that keep saying
one thing over again:
“The Father is
seeking you.”

–Helmut Thielicke

Image: Emil Nolde

Published in: on 02/13/2014 at 7:36  Leave a Comment  
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The shocking affirmation

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Among these Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He was God. He claims to forgive sins. He says He has always existed. He says He is coming to judge the world at the end of time. Now let us get this clear. Among Pantheists, like the Indians, anyone might say that he was a part of God, or one with God: there would be nothing very odd about it. But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of God. God, in their language, meant the Being outside of the world, who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else. And when you have grasped that, you will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips.

–C. S. Lewis
Mere Christianity

Published in: on 12/27/2013 at 4:26  Leave a Comment  
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Truth, Goodness & God

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All other teachers have pointed beyond themselves to truth. Jesus pointed to Himself and said: “I am the truth.” And somehow or other we believe it; for if we could sit down and try to imagine a perfect illustration of abstract truth translated into life and action, we could not think for the life of us of a better illustration than Jesus of Nazareth.

A man lived two thousand years ago; and now when I think of truth, I do not add truth to truth to get Truth—I think of Jesus. When I say Truth, I think of Jesus. When I say Goodness, I think of Jesus. And when I say God, I think of Jesus. If I don’t, I miss Truth; I miss Goodness; I miss God.

–E. Stanley Jones
Mastery

More than you think

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Truth is more important,
freedom is more complex
and Jesus is more liberating
than you think.

–Tim Keller

Image: Brett Maurer

Published in: on 11/29/2013 at 14:17  Leave a Comment  
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