He walks everywhere

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We may ignore, but we can’t
evade the presence of God.
The world is crowded with Him.
He walks everywhere
incognito.

–C. S. Lewis

Image: Ramunas

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Published in: on 02/25/2013 at 3:41  Leave a Comment  
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God at work

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Remember God is acting
on your soul all the time,
whether you have spiritual
sensations or not.

–Evelyn Underhill
(1875 – 1941)

Meeting the real God

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Only if God can say things
that make you struggle
will you know that you have met
a real God and not a figment
of your imagination.

–Tim Keller

Published in: on 02/17/2013 at 4:25  Leave a Comment  
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The pianist continued to play

CENTRAL PARK TRAFFIC

Imagine a family of mice who lived all their lives in a large piano. To them in their piano-world came the music of the instrument, filling all the dark spaces with sound and harmony. At first the mice were impressed by it. They drew comfort and wonder from the thought that there was Someone who made the music–though invisible to them–above, yet close to them.

They loved to think of the Great Player 
whom they could not see.

Then one day a daring mouse climbed up part of the piano and returned very thoughtful. He had found out how the music was made. Wires were the secret; tightly stretched wires of graduated lengths which trembled and vibrated. They must revise all their old beliefs: none but the most conservative could any longer believe in the Unseen Player.

Piano strings1

Later, another explorer carried the explanation further. Hammers were now the secret, numbers of hammers dancing and leaping on the wires. This was a more complicated theory, but it all went to show that they lived in a purely mechanical and mathematical world. The Unseen Player came to be thought of as a myth.

But the pianist continued to play.

– from the London Observer 
(emphasis added)

He came to show us God

Because of Jesus…I must adjust my instinctive notions about God. Perhaps that lay at the heart of his mission? Jesus reveals a God who comes in search of us, a God who makes room for our freedom even when it costs the Sons life, a God who is vulnerable. Above all, Jesus reveals a God who is love.

–Philip Yancey

Not the God we imagined

Jesus reveals a God
entirely different
to the monstrous bore
we routinely imagine
God to be.

–Mike Reeves

Ultimate power

Omnipotence is not to be understood
as the power of unlimited coercion,
but as the power of infinite persuasion,
the invincible power of self-negating,
self-sacrificial love.

–G. B. Caird
(1917 – 1984)

Our terrible freedom

And because God’s love is uncoercive and treasures our freedom — if above all he wants us to love him, then we must be left free not to love him — we are free to resist it, deny it, crucify it finally, which we do again and again. This is our terrible freedom, which love refuses to overpower so that, in this, the greatest of all powers, God’s power, is itself powerless.

― Frederick Buechner

Who does the knocking?

Most of us have grown up visualizing God as ensconced behind the thick walls of His heavenly fortress while we’re banging our fists on the door trying to persuade Him that we’re good enough for Him to let us in. But Revelation 3:20 pictures us inside and God outside knocking on the door, trying to persuade us that He is good enough for us to let Him in. God is the one on trial, not us. We are deciding whether He’s the kind of God we want to spend forever with.

–Dan Smith

Which god do you not believe in?

A young chaplain at one of the colleges of Oxford University made it his practice every year to interview each new student in his college. He wanted to get to know each one and to explain something of the religious program in that college. On occasion, after the chaplain had made his case for the program, a freshman would explain a bit awkwardly that he did not believe in God and probably would not be active in the chaplain’s program. The chaplain would than reply, “How interesting! And in which god do you not believe?” The student then would try to explain his atheism. The chaplain would smile and comment on the fact that he and the student had a great deal in common, for he did not believe in the existence of that god either.

–Dennis F. Kinlaw

A faith worth losing

Sometimes when I listen to people who say they have lost their faith, I am far less surprised than they expect. If their view of God is what they say, then it is only surprising that they did not reject it much earlier.

Other people have a concept of God
so fundamentally false that it would be better
for them to doubt than to remain devout.

The more devout they are, the uglier their faith will become since it is based on a lie. Doubt in such a case is not only highly understandable, it is even a mark of spiritual and intellectual sensitivity to error, for their picture is not of God but an idol.

― Os Guinness

Terrifying and Tender

Our world is . . . longing
to see people whose
God is big and holy and frightening and gentle and tender . . . as ours;
a God whose love frightens us into His strong and powerful arms where He longs to whisper those terrifying words, “I love you.”

–Mike Yaconelli

The divinest thing about God

For the divinest thing in God is love, and the true ‘glory of God’ is neither some symbolical flashing light nor the pomp of mere power and majesty; nor even those inconceivable and incommunicable attributes which we christen with names like Omnipotence and Omnipresence and Infinitude, and the like. These are all at the fringes of the brightness. The true central heart and lustrous light of the glory of God lie in His love, and of that glory Christ is the unique Representative and Revealer, because He is the only Begotten Son, and ‘full of grace and truth.’

–Alexander McLaren
(1826 – 1910)

What makes God glorious

God’s glory does not lie
in self-aggrandizement
but in self-giving.
God glories not in domination
but in loving.
What we see most centrally
in God is the shining
radiance of love.

–Clark H. Pinnock
(1937 – 2010)

His pleasure is to give

It is written that God has “created all things for His pleasure.” At first thought that sounds selfish, until one realizes that His pleasure is that of giving His all. He’s not looking for something to get from us to fulfill His desires or to please Himself, but rather His pleasure is to give.

–Christopher Bernard

He is the seeker

Another picture that our Lord loves to use is that of the shepherd who goes out to look for the sheep that is lost.

So long as we imagine
that it is we who have to look for God,
then we must often lost heart.
But it is the other way about:
He is looking for us.

And so we can afford to recognize that very often we are not looking for God; far from it, we are in full flight from Him, in high rebellion against Him. And He knows that and has taken it into account He has followed us into our own darkness; there where we thought finally to escape Him, we run straight into His arms.

So we do not have to erect a false piety for ourselves, to give us hope of salvation. Our hope is in His determination to save us. And He will not give in!

–Simon Tugwell

He keeps knocking

Jesus also wants very much to have rich fellowship with us today, for he declares, “Here I am! I [always] stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20). God himself thus wants nothing so much as to have fellowship with each of us; otherwise he would not keep knocking twenty-four hours a day.

–Daniel P. Fuller

This is not heaven

For now we see in a mirror dimly,
but then face to face;
now I know in part,
but then I shall know fully
just as I also have been fully known.
(1 Cor. 13:12)

God wants us to know right up front that this is not heaven on earth. He knows me intimately, and He also knows that I don’t know Him in the same way.

Sometimes we can fatigue ourselves greatly
in a never-ending quest to feel
closer and closer to God.

We feel second-rate, because our knowledge of God is so imperfect. Of course we are right in one sense; none of us knows our Creator the way we should, the way we long to. But the true fulfillment of those desires awaits another age. To know that my present dim apprehension of God is only to be expected is incredibly comforting. I am eager for more, but I don’t have to thrash myself with guilt for not knowing God better.

The important thing now is not that I know God,
but that He knows me.

One day He will lift the veil totally and irrevocably in a way that all my spiritual strivings never could.

–Ron Julian
(emphasis added)

Tender and terrible

I want neither a terrorist spirituality that keeps me in a perpetual state of fright about being in right relationship with my heavenly Father nor a sappy spirituality that portrays God as such a benign teddy bear that there is no aberrant behavior or desire of mine that he will not condone. I want a relationship with the Abba of Jesus, who is infinitely compassionate with my brokenness and at the same time an awesome, incomprehensible, and unwieldy Mystery.

–Brennan Manning

The fish that discovered water

Some scientists at Smolensk University decided to develop a fish that could live out of water.

So, choosing some healthy red herrings, they bred, crossbred, hormoned and chromosomed until at length they had a fish that could live—at least exist—out of water.

The local commissar was not satisfied. True, these fish had survived till now on rarefied gas, but what about reactionary tendencies? He suspected a secret yen for water.

“You have neglected education,” he said, “Start over, and this time do not neglect education.”

So again they bred, crossbred, hormoned and chromosomed, and this time they did not neglect education—down to the veriest reflex.

The result? A red herring that would rather die than get its tail wet. The slightest suggestion of humidity filled the new herring with dread. Thought control had done its perfect work, and with the possible exception of the red herring, everyone was happy. Surely this year’s Lenin Prize would go to the scientists of Smolensk University.

But the world must see this triumph of Russian research. The commissar who had thought of education must take the fish on tour.

Somewhere in Hungary the tragedy occurred. Quite accidentally, according to official reports, the red herring fell into a pool of water.

Deep in the green translucent stuff it lay—eyes and gills clamped shut—afraid to move lest it become wetter. And, of course, it could not breathe—every reflex said no to that. Never did a fish so wet feel more like a fish out of water.

But breathe it must, and there was nothing else to breathe. Only water. So the red herring drew a tentative gillful.

Its eyes bulged. It breathed again. Its jaw flew open. It flicked a fin . . . then another . . . and wiggled with delight. Then it darted away. The fish had discovered water!

And with that same kind of wonder, men, conditioned by a world that rejects Him discover God. “For in Him we live and move and have our being.”

–Harold Bredesen
(1918 – 2006)

Not home yet

Our Father refreshes us
on the journey
with some pleasant inns,
but will not encourage us
to mistake them for home.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 09/20/2012 at 5:57  Leave a Comment  
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The quest is over

Man in his homesickness for his Heavenly Father has looked at nature to see the image of God. He views sunrises and sunsets and mountains and flowers and wonders if God is like that. But the storm rages, thunder rolls, flood arise, and the earthquakes shake; nature is cruel, and man’s faith in God’s being, like Nature is shaken with it all. No, God is not like that! The nature-worshipers are confused—and empty.

Then man looks on the works of his hands—on idols. He goes through austerities to wring out of the idol some favor or attention. For instance, in the hottest period with the thermometer 115 digrees in the shade devotees in India will measure their length on the ground for 50 miles to get to the temple to ring the bell, and thus get the attention of the idol. But the idol sits attentionless.

Then man looks to his books for some word from God. But the letters are letters, not life. He drinks of the words, but knows in his heart of hearts that this is not the Word.

Then he looks on the face of Jesus, and in one look he knows his quest is over. Jesus is “the Stamp of God’s very image.” The doubt now is not whether Jesus is like God, but rather is God like Jesus? If He is, then He is a good God and trustable.

If the best of men should try to think out what kind of God they would like to see in the universe, they could not imagine anything better than that He should be like Jesus. 

–E. Stanley Jones

Rumors of another world

I began to listen to my own longings as rumours of another world, a bright clue to the nature of the Creator. Somehow I had fallen for the deception of judging the natural world as unspiritual and God as antipleasure.

But God invented matter, after all,
including all the sensors in the body
through which I experience pleasure.

Nature and supernature are not two separate worlds, but different expressions of the same reality.

–Philip Yancey

The Creator’s design

“The highest heavens belong to the Lord,
but the earth he has given to mankind.”
(Psa. 115:16)

Why did You create all these things? They were all made for man and man was made for You. That was the order which You established. Woe to the one who reverses it, who would that all should be for him and turns in upon himself. He breaks the fundamental law of creation.

–François Fenelon
(1651 – 1715)

Awe and familiarity

Awe is the condition of a man’s spirit realizing Who God is and what He has done for him personally. Our Lord emphasizes the attitude of a child; no attitude can express such solemn awe and familiarity as that of a child.

—Oswald Chambers
(1874 – 1917)

The sublime wonder of living

The surest way to suppress
our ability to understand
the meaning of God
and the importance of worship
is to take things for granted.
Indifference to
the sublime wonder of living
is the root of sin.

–Abraham Joshua Heschel
(1907 – 1972)

The wisdom of wonder

The Greek philosophers . . . called the deepest ground of knowing wonder. In wonder the senses are opened for the immediate impression of the world. In wonder the things perceived penetrate the sense fresh and unfiltered. They impose themselves on us. They make an impression on us . . .

People who can no longer be astonished, people who have got used to everything, people who perceive only as a matter of routine and react accordingly: people who live like this let reality pass them by . . .

Wonder is the inexhaustible foundation of our community with each other, with nature, with God.

–Jürgen Moltmann

The Creator and his creation

Any error about creation
also leads to an error
about God.

–St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)

Published in: on 07/03/2012 at 7:56  Leave a Comment  
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Mistaken belief

It is a great mistake to think
that God is chiefly concerned
with our being religious.

―William Temple

Published in: on 06/22/2012 at 7:11  Leave a Comment  
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The fundamental truth about God

The early Church saw that what was fundamental about God was the Trinity. But in the development of Western theology, the holiness of God was substituted for the Trinity as the fundamental truth about God. In truth, it was a false view of the holiness of God that was substituted. For the holiness of God, properly understood, is simply beautiful. If we took the joy and the fullness and the love of the Father, Son and Spirit, their mutual delight and passion, the sheer togetherness of their relationship, its intimacy, harmony and wholeness, and rolled them all into one word, it would be “holiness.”

The holiness of God is one of the special words we have to describe the wonder and the beauty, the uniqueness and health and rightness of the Trinitarian life.

But in the Western tradition, the holiness of God was detached from the Trinity and reconceived within the world of law and order, crime and punishment, blind and cold justice. Reconceived within this stainless steel world of pure law, “holiness” came to mean “legal perfection” or “moral rectitude.” The notion of holiness was then taken back into the doctrine of God and substituted for the Trinity as the deepest truth about God—the driving force of divine existence.

When that happened, the whole logic of the universe changed, and with it the logic of creation, the logic of incarnation and the death of Christ, the logic of human existence and that of the Holy Spirit. It all got twisted, skewed, terribly confused.

–C. Baxter Kruger

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