Meeting God

LUTHER

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Leaning Back on God

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Prayer is not a way of making use of God; prayer is a way of offering ourselves to God in order that He should be able to make use of us. It may be that one of our great faults in prayer is that we talk too much and listen too little. When prayer is at its highest we wait in silence for God’s voice to us; we linger in His presence for His peace and His power to flow over us and around us; we lean back in His everlasting arms and feel the serenity of perfect security in Him.

–William Barclay,
The Plain Man’s Book of Prayers

Moments of Glory

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Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved
said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”
(John 21:7)

We don’t see Him, nor does it happen every day of the week, or every time we read the Scriptures or on every occasion that we do some work for Him, but from time to time in the midst of life’s studies, griefs, and duties, true to His promise, He comes to us and manifests Himself in a way that is overwhelmingly real to our hearts. We sense the glow of His presence, the vibrancy of His life. We hear with the heart’s inner ear the rustling of the Shepherd’s robes beside us, and we say with deep conviction, “It is the Lord!”

–David Gooding,
In the School of Christ

In the Father’s House

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He invites us into the living room of his heart, where we can put on old slippers and share freely. He invites us into the kitchen of his friendship, where chatter and batter mix in good fun. He invites us into the dining room of his strength, where we can feast to our heart’s delight. He invites us into the study of his wisdom, where we can learn and grow and stretch . . . and ask all the questions we want. He invites us into the workshop of his creativity, where we can be co-laborers with him, working together to determine the outcomes of events. He invites us into the bedroom of his rest, where new peace is found…

–Richard Foster,
Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home

Finding God

5ebd1769bf115773ad83803b29ea4bacOnly in love can I find you, my God. In love the gates of my soul spring open, allowing me to breathe a new air of freedom and forget my own petty self. In love my whole being streams forth out of the rigid confines of narrowness and anxious self-assertion, which make me a prisoner of my own poverty emptiness. In love all the powers of my soul flow out toward you, wanting never more to return, but to lose themselves completely in you, since by your love you are the inmost center of my heart, closer to me than I am to myself.  –Karl Rahner

Knowing God

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We do not know God
by defining him
but by being loved by him
and loving in return.

–Eugene Peterson

Not just survival

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It is worth mentioning . . .
that this God . . .
is the one who created kites,
and sex, and good wine,
and spring flowers,
and children’s eyes.
Coming home to him
will not just be survival—
it could turn out to be
an awful lot of fun.

–Adrian Plass
When You Walk

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)

In contact with Life

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Christ’s communion with His Father was the life-center, the point of contact with Eternity, whence radiated the joy and the power of the primitive Christian flock… When the young man with great possessions asked Jesus, “What shall I do to be saved?” Jesus replied in effect, “Put aside all lesser interests, strip off unrealities, and come, give yourself the chance of catching the infection of holiness from Me!”

–Evelyn Underhill

The hiddenness of God

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God, who is everywhere, never leaves us.
Yet He seems sometimes to be present,
sometimes absent. If we do not know Him well,
we do not realize that He may be
more present to us when He is absent
then when He is present.

–Thomas Merton

Costly relationship

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Relationships are costly.
Whatever it cost you
to be with God is nothing
compared to what it cost Him
to be with you.

–Tim Keller

Listen for Him

17582_603996602948044_422615885_nTHE QUESTION is not whether the things that happen to you are chance things or God’s things because, of course, they are both at once. There is no chance thing through which God cannot speak—even the walk from the house to the garage that you have walked ten thousand times before, even the moments when you cannot believe there is a God who speaks at all anywhere. He speaks, I believe, and the words he speaks are incarnate in the flesh and blood of our selves and of our own footsore and sacred journeys.

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We cannot live our lives constantly looking back, listening back, lest we be turned to pillars of longing and regret, but to live without listening at all is to live deaf to the fullness of the music. Sometimes we avoid listening for fear of what we may hear, sometimes for fear that we may hear nothing at all but the empty rattle of our own feet on the pavement.

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But be not affeard, says Caliban, nor is he the only one to say it. “Be not afraid,” says another, “for lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” He says he is with us on our journeys. He says he has been with us since each of our journeys began. Listen for him. Listen to the sweet and bitter airs of your present and your past for the sound of him.

–Frederick Buechner
The Sacred Journey

Burdensome faith

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If my religion is not based
on a personal history with Jesus
it becomes something
I suffer from, not a joyous thing,
but something that keeps me
from doing what I want to.

–Oswald Chambers
(1874–1917)

Our true home

cuadros-paisajes“Lord, You have been
our dwelling place
in all generations.”
(Psalm 90:1)

Even the best home is only a pale reflection of the perfect home: the shared life and love of Father, Son, and Spirit. The story of salvation can be understood in this way: God, our true home – the source and goal of all our longings – makes his home among us (John 1:1,14) in order to make his home in us (John 14:23; cf. Eph. 3:17) and to make us a fit dwelling place of God (Eph. 2:22). God wants us to abide in him and welcome his abiding in us. God wants us to share his life and love. In short, God wants us to find our home, not just with him but in him.

–Richard J. Vincent
Home: Life in God

Artwork: Stephen J. Darbishire

God’s artistic style

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Glory is to God what style is to an artist. A painting by Vermeer, a sonnet by Donne, a Mozart aria—each is so rich with the style of the one who made it that to the connoisseur it couldn’t have been made by anybody else, and the effect is staggering. The style of artists brings you as close to the sound of their voices and the light in their eyes as it is possible to get this side of actually shaking hands with them.

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In the words of Psalm 19:1, “The heavens are telling the glory of God.” It is the same thing. To the connoisseur, not just sunsets and starry nights, but dust storms, rain forests, garter snakes, and the human face are all unmistakably the work of a single hand. Glory is the outward manifestation of that hand in its handiwork just as holiness is the inward. To behold God’s glory, to sense God’s style, is the closest you can get to God this side of paradise, just as to read King Lear is the closest you can get to Shakespeare.

Glory is what God looks like
when for the time being
all you have to look at him with
is a pair of eyes.

~Frederick Buechner

Published in: on 10/12/2014 at 5:33  Leave a Comment  
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Lifelong journey

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To read the Bible for knowledge is tiresome. To read the Bible as a docudrama is boring. To read the Bible as a book of rules is deadening. But to read the Bible as a love letter from a Friend, and to meet that Friend in the text of Scripture, is to pack your bags for a lifelong journey.

–Leonard Sweet
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The communal life of God

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Trinity is a conceptual attempt to provide coherence to God as God is revealed variously as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in our Scriptures: God is emphatically personal; God is only and exclusively God in relationship. Trinity is not an attempt to explain or define God by means of abstractions (although there is some of that, too), but a witness that God reveals himself as personal and in personal relations. The down-to-earth consequence of this is that God is rescued from the speculations of the metaphysicians and brought boldly into a community of men, women, and children who are called to enter into his communal life of love, of emphatically personal life where they experience themselves in personal terms of love and forgiveness, of hope and desire.

Under the image of the Trinity
we discover that we do not know God
by defining him but by being loved by him
and loving in return.

–Eugene Peterson
Christ Plays in a Thousand Places
(emphasis added)

Untidy spirituality

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Surely there are guidelines to follow, principles to live by, maps to show us where to go, and secrets we can uncover to find a spirituality that is clean and tidy. I’m afraid not.

Spirituality is not a formula;
it is not a test. It is a relationship.
Spirituality is not about competency;
it is about intimacy.
Spirituality is not about perfection;
it is about connection.

The way of the spiritual life begins where we are now in the mess of our lives. Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives. Spirituality is not about being fixed; it is about God’s being present in the mess of our unfixedness.

–Mike Yaconelli
Messy Spirituality

Overflow of life

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The biblical story is driven by the love of the triune God, and in this love by the relationship between God, on the one side . . . and humanity on the other. In this relationship, the Father speaks. He reveals. He gives. Humanity is thereby summoned to hear, to know, and to receive the Father’s love.

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And in hearing the Father’s voice, in knowing His affirmation and receiving His love, humanity is quickened with an abounding life that it does not possess in itself, nor can it create. This abounding life is then to overflow into our relationships with one another and with the whole creation.

–Baxter Kruger
Across All Worlds

In the midst of life

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Jesus is apt to come, into the very midst of life at its most real and inescapable moments. Not in a blaze of unearthly light, not in the midst of a sermon, not in the throes of some kind of religious daydream, but…at supper time, or walking along a road…He never approached from on high, but always in the midst, in the midst of people, in the midst of real life and the questions that real life asks.

–Frederick Buechner
The Magnificent Defeat

The goal of faith

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The goal of faith
is not to create a set
of immutable, rationalized,
precisely defined and 
defendable beliefs
to preserve forever.
It is to recover
a relationship
with God.

–Daniel Taylor

Easy to live with

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Unfortunately, many Christians cannot get free from their perverted notions of God, and these notions poison their hearts and destroy their inward freedom . . . Their idea of God rules out the possibility of His being happy in His people, and they attribute the singing and shouting to sheer fanaticism. Unhappy sods, these, doomed to go heavily on their melancholy way, grimly determined to do right if the heavens fall and to be on the winning side in the day of judgment.

How good it would be if we could learn
that God is easy to live with.

He remembers our frame and knows that we are dust. He may sometimes chasten us, it is true, but even this He does with a smile, the proud, tender smile of a Father who is bursting with pleasure over an imperfect but promising son who is coming every day to look more and more like the One whose child he is.

–A. W. Tozer
The Root of the Righteous

Turning to Reality

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Prayer means turning to Reality, taking our part, however humble, tentative and half-understood, in the continual conversation, the communion, of our spirits with the Eternal Spirit; the acknowledg-ment of our entire dependence . . . For Prayer is really our whole life toward God: our longing for Him, our “incurable God-sickness,” as Barth calls it, our whole drive towards Him. It is the humble correspondence of the human spirit with the Sum of all Perfection, the Fountain of Life. No narrower definition than this is truly satisfactory, or covers all the ground.

–Evelyn Underhill
(1875-1941)

His passion is to share

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No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (Mt. 11:27 NIV)

Jesus is not another in the long line of religious leaders dispensing divine advice and direction. What is unique about Jesus is his knowledge of the Father. I don’t mean mere intellectual or academic or theological knowledge. I mean personal, experiential, relational knowledge. He knows the Father. He sees the Father’s face. He lives in communion with the Father in the Spirit. The shocker about Jesus is that he has no interest whatever in hoarding his exclusive communion with His Father: His passion is sharing.

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Mark it well, Jesus crossed all worlds to come to us, and he did not come to give us a religious manual to follow, or to leave us with fresh insights about a distant God. He came to give himself to us, and all he has and knows.

He crossed all worlds to establish
a personal relationship with us,
to include us in his own relationship
with his Father and Spirit.

He came to share his soul with us, and thus his own knowledge of his Father, his own peace, his own assurance and hope and joy, so that we could know what he knows, so that we could taste and feel and experience the life he alone lives with his Father in the fellowship of the Spirit.

–C. Baxter Kruger
Across All Worlds

God is the seeker

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I am beginning now to see how radically the character of my spiritual journey will change when I no longer think of God as hiding and making it difficult as possible for me to find him, but, instead, as the one who is looking for me while I am doing the hiding.

–Henri Nouwen
(1932 – 1996)

Image: Stephen Darbishire

Part of the Family

A God, heaven

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners,
but . . . members of the household of God.
–Ephesians 2:19 (NKJV)

The home-life of the Triune God overflows with hospitality. A gracious host, God warmly invites us into his accepting presence. We are not rejected or ignored; we are welcomed and embraced. This divine welcome gives us freedom to express ourselves fully. It is life-giving and liberating.

God not only loves us; God likes us! Like all good families, our uniqueness is affirmed and embraced. We are appreciated, valued, cherished, prized, treasured, adored, and desired. We share fully in the love between Father and Son in the bond of the Spirit. We are called into this relationship. And when we enter it, we are home!

–Richard J. Vincent

He still seeks

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As in paradise,
God walks in
the Holy Scriptures,
seeking man.

–St. Ambrose of Milan
(339 – 397)

Image: Lars van de Goor

Published in: on 11/12/2013 at 5:03  Leave a Comment  
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He still walks in the garden

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A loving Personality dominates the Bible, walking among the trees of the garden and breathing fragrance over every scene. Always a living Person is present, speaking, pleading, loving, working, and manifesting himself whenever and wherever his people have the receptivity necessary to receive the manifestation.

–A. W. Tozer
(1897-1963)

Image: Thomas Kinkade

Looking for a Person

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I do not approach
the Scripture looking
for principles to practice.
I approach the Scriptures
looking for a Person to know,
a Lord to worship, and
a King to yield to.

–Stephen Crosby

Seeking God

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Continue seeking God
with seriousness.
Unless He wanted you,
you would not be
wanting Him.

–C. S. Lewis

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