Stronger Cords

Praying

Grace binds you with
far stronger cords than
the cords of duty or obligation
can bind you.

–E. Stanley Jones

Outrageous Grace

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When people realize that they have received a gift they can never repay, they notify their faces and their actions, and the tenor of their lives becomes one of humble and joyful thanksgiving. They simply rejoice in the gift. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love is everlasting” (Ps. 107:1).

–Brennan Manning,
Ruthless Trust

Published in: on 05/30/2017 at 16:59  Leave a Comment  
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The Critical Thing

Gratitud:Chesterton

Published in: on 05/28/2017 at 14:44  Leave a Comment  
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Pleasure Was God’s Idea

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Pleasure is designed to
raise our sense of God’s goodness,
deepen our gratitude to him,
and strengthen our hope of
richer pleasures to come.

–J. I. Packer

Celebrating God’s Goodness

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Receive every day as a resurrection from death, as a new enjoyment of life; meet every rising sun with such sentiments of God’s goodness, as if you had seen it, and all things, new-created upon your account: and under the sense of so great a blessing, let your joyful heart praise and magnify so good and glorious a Creator.

–William Law (1686-1761),
A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life

Lost in Wonder

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We must recognize the fact that true wonder is not a passing emotion or some kind of shallow excitement. It has depth to it. True wonder reaches right into your heart and mind and shakes you up. It not only has depth, it has value; it enriches your life.

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Wonder is not cheap amusement that brings a smile to your face. It is an encounter with reality – with God – that brings awe to your heart. You are overwhelmed with an emotion that is a mixture of gratitude, adoration, reverence, fear, — and love. You are not looking for explanations; you are lost in the wonder of God.

–Warren Wiersbe

Published in: on 07/09/2016 at 17:55  Leave a Comment  
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The potency of thankfulness

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THANKFULNESS takes the sting out of adversity. That is why we should give thanks in everything. There is an element of mystery in this transaction: We give thanks (regardless of our feelings), and God gives us Joy (regardless of circumstances). This is an act of obedience—at times, blind obedience. To people who don’t know God intimately, it can seem irrational and even impossible to thank Him for heartrending hardships. Nonetheless, those who obey Him in this way are invariably blessed, even though difficulties may remain.

Thankfulness opens your heart to God’s Presence and your thoughts to His thoughts. You may still be in the same place, with the same set of circumstances, but it is as if a light has been switched on, enabling us to see from His perspective. It it this Light of His Presence that removes the sting from adversity.

–Adapted from Jesus is Calling

Published in: on 11/27/2015 at 13:15  Leave a Comment  
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Grace and gratitude

lightening-3

Grace evokes gratitude
like the voice an echo.
Gratitude follows grace
like thunder lightning.

–Karl Barth

Photo credit: chrlngeer

Published in: on 10/22/2015 at 10:38  Leave a Comment  
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Powerful and proven

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Giving thanks is dangerous,
it’s igniting and contagious
and otherworldly
and it’s been proven
biblically, scientifically,
to win demon wars.

–Ann Voskamp

Published in: on 02/05/2015 at 7:46  Leave a Comment  
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The need to worship

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I need to worship because without it I can forget that I have a Big God beside me and live in fear. I need to worship because without it I can forget his calling and begin to live in a spirit of self-preoccupation.

I need to worship because
without it I lose a sense of wonder
and gratitude and plod through life
with blinders on.

I need worship because my natural tendency is toward self-reliance and stubborn independence.

― John Ortberg

The need to worship

Light streaming through forest

I need to worship because without it I can forget that I have a Big God beside me and live in fear. I need to worship because without it I can forget his calling and begin to live in a spirit of self-preoccupation. I need to worship because without it I lose a sense of wonder and gratitude and plod through life with blinders on. I need worship because my natural tendency is toward self-reliance and stubborn independence.

–John Ortberg

Published in: on 06/27/2014 at 11:56  Leave a Comment  
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Taking nothing for granted

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To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us–and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful man knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.

–Thomas Merton
Thoughts in Solitude

Image: Stephen Darbishire

 

Essential ingredient

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When a person
doesn’t have gratitude,
something is missing in
his or her humanity.

–Elie Wiese

Published in: on 11/09/2013 at 4:09  Leave a Comment  
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Pride slays gratitude

Arrogance 4

A proud man is
seldom a grateful man,
for he never thinks he gets
as much as he deserves.

–Henry Ward Beecher
(1813 – 1887)

Published in: on 11/05/2013 at 1:26  Leave a Comment  
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Where it starts

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The beginning
of man’s rebellion
against God was,
and is, the lack of
a thankful heart.

–Francis Schaeffer
(1912 – 1984)

Blind to the blessing

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It is generally true that
all that is required to make people 
unmindful of what they owe God
for any blessing is that they
should receive that blessing
often and regularly.

–Richard Whately
(1787 – 1863)

Image: Frederick G. Cotman

On the lookout

Rain of flower

Be on the lookout for mercies.
The more we look for them,
the more of them will we see.
Blessings brighten
when we count them.
Out of the determination
of the heart the eyes see.

–Maltbie D. Babcock
(1858-1901)

Published in: on 10/30/2013 at 5:45  Leave a Comment  
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Not enough pens or paper

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We need deliberately
to call to mind
the joys of our journey.
Perhaps we should try
to write down the blessings of one day.
We might begin; we could never end;
there are not pens
or paper enough
in all the world.

George A. Buttrick

The root of joy

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The root of joy is gratefulness…
It is not joy that makes us grateful;
it is gratitude that makes us joyful.

–David Steindl-Rast

Published in: on 08/24/2013 at 4:50  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)

Unlocking life

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Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life;
it can turn a meal into a feast,
a house into a home,
a stranger into a friend.

–Melody Beath

Published in: on 05/18/2013 at 3:45  Leave a Comment  
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The problem of pleasure

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Why is sex fun? Reproduction surely does not require pleasure: some animals simply split in half to reproduce . . . Why is eating enjoyable? Plants and the lower animals manage to obtain their quota of nutrients without the luxury of taste buds. Where are there colors? Some people get along fine without the ability to detect color. Why complicate vision for all the rest of us?

It struck me, after reading my umpteenth book on the problem of pain, that I have never seen a book on “the problem of pleasure.” Nor have I met a philosopher who goes around shaking his or her head in perplexity over the question of why we experience pleasure. Yet it looms as a huge question: the philosophical equivalent, for atheists, to the problem of pain for Christians. On the issue of pleasure, Christians can breathe easier.

A good and loving God would naturally want
his creatures to experience delight,
joy and personal fulfillment.

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Christians start from that assumption and then look for ways to explain the origin of suffering. But should not atheists have an equal obligation to explain the origin of pleasure in a world of randomness and meaninglessness?

. . . Where does pleasure come from? Chesterton settled on Christianity as the only reasonable explanation.

Moments of pleasure are
the remnants washed ashore
from a shipwreck, bits of Paradise
extended through time.

We must hold these relics lightly, and use them with gratitude and restraint, never seizing them as entitlements.

. . . Evil’s greatest triumph may be its success in portraying religion as an enemy of pleasure when, in fact, religion accounts for its source: every good and enjoyable thing is the invention of a Creator who lavished gifts on the world.

–Philip Yancey
Soul Survivor

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

Living with gratitude

When everything we receive from him is received and prized as fruit and pledge of his covenant love, then his bounties (generous gifts), instead of being set up as rivals and idols to draw our heart from him, awaken us to fresh exercises of gratitude and furnish us with fresh motives of cheerful obedience every hour.

–John Newton (1725-1807)

Becoming more “ordinary”

The churches I attended had stressed the dangers of pleasure so loudly that I missed any positive message. Guided by [Gilbert] Chesterton, I came to see sex, money, power, and sensory pleasures as God’s good gifts. Every Sunday I can turn on the radio or television and hear preachers decry the drugs, sexual looseness, greed, and crime that are “running rampant” in the streets of America.

Rather than merely wag our fingers at such obvious abuses of God’s good gifts, perhaps we should demonstrate to the world where good gifts actually come from, and why they are good.

Evil’s greatest triumph may be its success in portraying religion as an enemy of pleasure when, in fact, religion accounts for its source: every good and enjoyable thing is the invention of a Creator who lavished gifts on the world.

Of course, in a world estranged from God, even good things must be handled with care, like explosives. We have lost the untainted innocence of Eden, and every good harbors risk as well, holding within it the potential for abuse. Eating becomes gluttony, love becomes lust, and along the way we lose sight of the One who gave us pleasure. The ancients turned good things into idols; we moderns call them addictions. In either case, what ceases to be a servant becomes a tyrant…

“I am ordinary in the correct sense of the term,” says Chesterton, “which means the acceptance of an order; a Creator and the Creation, the common sense of gratitude for Creation, life and love as gift permanently good, marriage and chivalry as laws rightly controlling them . . .” Under his influence I too realized the need to become more “ordinary.”

I had conceived of faith as tight-lipped,
grim exercise of spiritual discipline,
a blending of asceticism and rationalism
in which joy leaked away.

Chesterton restored to me a thirst for the exuberance that flows from a link to the God who dreamed up all the things that give me pleasure.

–Philip Yancey

The problem of pleasure

Why is sex fun? Reproduction surely does not require pleasure: some animals simply split in half to reproduce, and even humans use methods of artificial insemination that involve no pleasure. Why is eating enjoyable? Plants and lower animals manage to obtain their quota of nutrients without the luxury of taste buds. Why are there colors? Some people get along fine without the ability to detect color. Why complicate vision for the rest of us?

It struck me, after reading my umpteenth book on the problem of pain, that I have never even seen a book on “the problem of pleasure.” Nor have I met a philosopher who goes around shaking his or her head in perplexity over the question of why we experience pleasure. Yet it looms as a huge question: the philosophical equivalent, for atheists, to the problem of pain for Christians. On the issue of pleasure, Christians can breathe easier.

A good and loving God would naturally want
his creatures to experience delight, joy,
and personal fulfillment.

Christians start from that assumption and then look for ways to explain the origin of suffering. But should not atheists have an equal obligation to explain the origin of pleasure in a world of randomness and meaninglessness?

. . . Where does pleasure come from? After searching alternatives, (Gilbert) Chesterton settled on Christianity as the only reasonable explanation for its existence in the world.

Moments of pleasure are the remnants washed ashore from a shipwreck, bits of Paradise extended through time.

We must hold these relics lightly, and use them with gratitude and restraint, never seizing them as entitlements.

–Philip Yancey

Astonished gratitude

 

When we learn to read the story of Jesus and see it as the story of the love of God, doing for us what we could not do for ourselves–that insight produces, again and again, a sense of astonished gratitude which is very near the heart of authentic Christian experience.

–N.T. Wright

Published in: on 03/28/2012 at 6:47  Leave a Comment  
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Finding joy in pain

Gratitude changes
the pangs of memory
into a tranquil joy.

–Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 – 1945)

Why two?

Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?

–G. K. Chesterton (1874 – 1936)


When things go wrong

One act of thanksgiving
when things go wrong with us,
is worth a thousand thanks
when things are agreeable
to our inclinations.

–St. John of Avila (1500 – 1569)

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