Tuesday, June 30, 2009

God Calls Out

Read: Genesis 16:1-16

“...It is understandable, even expected, that Hagar would say, ‘I'm out of here!’ Just as she set her sights on greener pastures, God intervened and asked her to reconsider. It is not the privileged and the chosen - Abram and Sarai - who offered to God a sacrifice of praise, but the humble handmaid. Hagar heard the word of God and set herself to do all that was required of her. Her response is reminiscent of the humble and obedient response of the handmaid of Nazareth. Hagar, like Mary after her, fulfilled the will the Holy One who called to her (Cf. Mat. 7:21). We are very similar to Hagar. When life becomes too burdensome, we seek an easy out. In our moments of flight, God calls out to us. I am reminded of a saying I saw on a friend's desk: ‘To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart, and to sing it back to them when they forget.’ We are prone to forgetting the song of love that God put into our hearts, but thankfully He often sings it back to us.”
~Jerome Machar

Monday, June 29, 2009

From the Inside

“…When someone is very excited about the stained glass windows that Marc Chagall made for the synagogue of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem, the only way to convince friends of their beauty is by bringing them into the synagogue.

This idea stayed with me the whole day because it convinced me more than ever of the importance of teaching spirituality from the inside. Next semester I will be fully occupied again with teaching. My task is not to make beautiful windows but to lead students into the synagogue where they can see the splendid colors when the sunlight shines through them. As long as student say that they are interested in spirituality but prefer to remain on the outside, no argument, enthusiastic description, or rich vocabulary will make them see what I see. Only by entering with me into the experience with which spirituality deals will any real learning take place. That does not mean that critical distance is not available and that subjectivity becomes the only criterion. On the contrary. Even from the inside we can step back and remain critical. Not everything we see from the inside is necessarily beautiful, worthwhile, or good. In fact, we are better able to make distinctions between bad and good, ugly and beautiful, appropriate and unfit from the inside than from the outside.

Does that mean that the only way to talk about prayer is by praying together? I don’t think so. You don’t have to be a Jew in order to be able to enjoy or appreciate the windows of Chagall, although as a Jew you will have a deeper understanding of their beauty than will someone whom the Jewish religious tradition is unknown. But you have to enter into the world of the Jew, the synagogue, to enjoy its stained glass windows at all. In order to understand the meaning of prayer you have to be willing to enter into the world of praying men and women and discover the power and beauty of prayer from within. All this leads to the important question: How to introduce strangers into the world of prayer without forcing them into a kind of behavior that makes them feel uncomfortable?

Sometimes I am so excited about my new experiences here at the Abbey that I can hardly believe it when someone else does not share this excitement. But then, I have forgotten that I am shouting from the inside and that my shoulder-shrugging friends are looking at the same thing from the outside and wonder why I ‘exaggerate’ all the time.

There is no doubt in my mind that it is worth my time and energy to lead my friends first to the inside of the building before I start tying to convince them of the beauty of the stained glass windows. Otherwise, I shall make a fool of myself by impatience and lack of ordinary educational insight.”
~From The Genesee Diary by Henri Nouwen

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Age of Noise

“If I had to choose an image to sum up our times, I would not choose from among the usual ones, such as the Nuclear Age, the Technological Society, the Age of Anxiety, the Computer Generation, the Affluent Society, or the Space Era. I would call it the Age of Noise. In the entire history of mankind, there has never been such a continuous battering of the human brain. The ever present background throb of machinery, the roar of traffic, the high-pitched buzz of fluorescent lights and computers, Musak in elevators and supermarkets, herds of joggers wearing Walkmans, a gaggle of talk shows. A world drowning in chatter! Words, words, words! A thousand voices competing for our attention every day: the communications media, junk mail, candidates for political office, telephone solicitations, and so on and so on... the long, sustained roar (and sometimes screech) of our century. Exterior noise and interior noise. The clamor of our anxieties and our skirmishes with the seven deadly sins and a host of lesser evils. The endless inner debates we conduct against real or imagined enemies; and the sweet, rotten allure of the soap operas of the fallen imagination. And of course there is the voice of the accuser, whispering in our cars about our sins and faults. We turn quickly away from that voice, unable to endure more feelings of guilt in an already guilt-ridden society that tells us (again through the media) that Christians are abusers, backward, judgmental, patriarchal, overpopulating, and a menace to the ecology.

Burdened with such an array of exterior and interior pressures, we can find it extremely difficult to face the objective guilt of our fallen natures and open ourselves to the saving power of Jesus Christ. Yet the mere thought of resisting the power of an entire culture with our own strength is utterly exhausting. Overwhelmed, we can be deluded into choosing a less demanding form of faith, a seemingly more ‘compassionate’ kind of religion. We can become the creatures of a powerful conditioning mechanism and, like well-fed slaves, accept a sort of comfortable bondage as our lot in life. We can gradually come to think that the torrent of noise is normal. And when the pressures become intolerable, we might even begin to agree with what the noise is saying.

Saint Paul writes in Romans 12:2: ‘Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.’ But how can the mind be renewed if it is continually reeling under a bombardment of false words and images? The mind is not renewed simply by packing more and more into it; rather it is renewed by grace and by habits of discernment and by a sincere search for what is good and beautiful and true. Silence is the natural habitat of truth. Prayer is the dwelling place of right seeing. That is why we must reduce the noise in our lives and open the ears of the heart to real listening. We parents especially need moments of complete stillness. We must take great care to make these moments for ourselves and for each other and for our children.

We cannot assume that we will be immune to the massive apostasy that is taking place in the Western world. Never in human history has there been such a wholesale loss of faith, nor one that has come about with such startling speed. Much of its momentum is due to the unprecedented power of television, film, and video-of the image– recreate our understanding of the very shape of reality. Thus, large numbers of Christians simply do not realize that they are apostacizing, and still larger numbers do not understand that they are being prepared mentally to follow. This is the power of impressionism; it is also ‘peer pressure’ on a colossal scale. How very difficult it is to resist an entire culture, and especially for children to do so, because it is a right and good thing for children to grow into awareness of being members of a broader community. They need culture in order to grow properly. It is one of their primary means of learning what it is to be a fully human person in a community of fellow human beings. That is why the solution will never be simply a matter of criticizing the false culture surrounding us. The absolutely essential task of parents is to give their children a true culture, a sure foundation on which to stand.”
~Michael O’Brien

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pray the Psalms

“The Psalms aren’t like long-playing records that we just passively listen to on a record player, that sound the same every time no matter who plays them, but they are like a piece of sheet music that you have to interpret on your instrument. And they sound different each time and with each different person who uses them. Because you put your individual self into them, they’re more like frames, and you paint the picture.
…we can be quite open and free and spontaneous when we pray the Psalms, even though the words are set.
…The psalmists who composed them were totally open and honest before God, and the Psalms invite us to be the same. There’s no need to fake anything, to work up a state in yourself that you think you ought to be in. Just tell God what you really think and feel, not what you think you ought to. The Psalms help you to do that.”
~Peter Kreeft

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Try Silence

“Quite often God wants to tell us something, either through his Word or through his world, and we just don’t hear him because we’re rushing around too fast and making too much of our own noise. He says, ‘Be still and know that I am God’, and we reply, ‘No, I want to keep moving and making noises.’ Our whole modern age and world and mind glorifies speed and movement, not rest and silence. So it’s hard for us to hear God, because he speaks ‘with a still, small voice’ from the silence, not with a shout from the hubbub of a thousand other shouts that drown him out. It’s just not his style to out-shout us; he waits until we’re quiet, until we’re listening, until we want to hear him. He’s quite a gentleman.”
~Peter Kreeft

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Don't Close Yourself

“Please, Aslan,” said Polly, “could you say something to—to unfrighten him? And then could you say something to prevent him from coming back here again.”

“Do you think he wants to?” said Aslan.

“Well, Aslan,” said Polly, “he might send someone else. He’s so excited about the bar off the lamp-post growing into a lamp-post tree and he thinks—”

“He thinks great folly, child,” said Aslan. “This world is bursting with life for these few days because the song with which I called it into life still hangs in the air and rumbles in the ground. It will not be so for long. But I cannot tell that to this old sinner, and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh Adam’s sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good! But I will give him the only gift he is still able to receive.”

He bowed his great head rather sadly, and breathed into the Magician’s terrified face. “Sleep,” he said. “Sleep and be separated for some few hours from all the torments you have desired for yourself.” Uncle Andrew immediately rolled over with closed eyes and began breathing peacefully.

~From The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Appreciation

“The aim of life is appreciation; there is no sense in not appreciating things; and there is no sense in having more of them if you have less appreciation of them.”
~G. K. Chesterton

Monday, June 22, 2009

One More on Corporate Worship

“The regular participation in corporate worship nurtures the tender insight of private prayer and helps to give it a stalk, a stem, a root, and soil in which to grow. Without its strengthening power of believing in your conviction, you may be overcome by the general attitude of the world in which you live or by the same attitude that is being pressed upon you from within by the vast residue of fear-carcasses that the mind and habits are still laden with and that have not yet been cleared away. How many such personal ‘openings’ have become mere pressed flowers in your book of memories for the want of a sensitive fellowship in which you might have recast your life and seen the next steps that were to be taken. In this fellowship you might have found others more mature in this life, from whom you could get counsel, and you might have found an association in which you could not quicken some by your own discoveries. Not only in the tender beginning, but at every point in life, we need this fellowship of corporate worship. For again and again, dry times and doubt and conflict level the fragile house of our faith and compel us to rebuild it on deeper foundations. At times the fellowship seems the only cord that holds us.”
~Douglas Steere

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers

In a father’s toil-worn face can be read the epic tale:
Within his eyes is a boy I once knew
though we never met.
See how he carries you and carries me
And the offspring of his soul
as if we weigh no more than birds perching on his fingertips
yet are dearer to him than the stars.

It is there in his eyes, not easily read,
Each true man is like this, holding within himself
A world that once was, a world that may be made anew.
He knows himself as incomplete, sees his failures
As do all men before the ending of their tale.
Though with each ending a beginning is writ,
Each death is birth for which he knows full well the cost,
Yet this price could not be paid alone, without you.
~Michael O’Brien

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Eternal King

My God, I love Thee, not because
I hope for heaven thereby;
Nor yet since they who love Thee not
Must burn eternally.

Thou, O my Jesus, Thou didst me
Upon the Cross embrace;
For me didst bear the nails and spear,
And manifold disgrace;

And griefs and torments numberless,
And sweat of agony;
E’en death itself; and all for one
Who was Thine enemy.

Then why, O blessed Jesus Christ,
Should I not love Thee well,
Not for the sake of winning heaven,
Or of escaping hell;

Not with the hope of gaining aught,
Not seeking a reward;
But as Thyself hast loved me,
O ever-loving Lord?

E’en so I love Thee, and will love,
And in Thy praise will sing,
Solely because Thou art my God,
And my eternal King.
~Jane Marshall

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Best Gift to Your Kids

When you become a daddy, the very best thing you can do for your kids is this: love mommy.
When you become a mommy, the very best thing you can do for your kids is this: love daddy.
Make the footsteps right and beautiful, the footsteps that others will walk in.
~Peter Kreeft

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Need For Corporate Worship

“I suggest that the modern cultivated person is over-estimating his power of maintaining contact with the realm of the spiritual in his present condition… He imagines in his self-sufficiency that he can get along satisfactorily without rites and ceremonies, without private disciplines, without associating himself on a religious basis with a group of his fellow men. But the plain fact is that he cannot – unless he is a very exceptional person indeed. The great mass of more highly educated men and women today – those anyway of a more spiritual type – are psychologically unstable, restless, unfulfilled, and morbidly self-conscious.”
~Lawrence Hyde

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Teach Me Your Paths

4 Make me to know your ways, O LORD;
teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.
~Psalm 25:4-5

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Humble Faith

Almighty God, who of Thine infinite wisdom hast ordained that I should live my life within these narrow bounds of time and circumstance, let me now go forth into the world with a brave and trustful heart. It has pleased Thee to withhold from me a perfect knowledge; therefore deny me not the grace of faith by which I may lay hold of things unseen. Thou hast given me little power to mould things to my own desire; therefore, use Thine own omnipotence to bring Thy desires to pass within me. Thou hast willed it that through labour and pain I should walk the upward way; be Thou then my fellow traveller as I go.

Let me face what Thou dost send with the strength
Thou dost supply:
When Thou prosperest my undertakings, let me give
heed that Thy word may prosper in my heart:
When Thou callest me to go through the dark valley,
let me not persuade myself that I know a way round:
Let me not refuse any opportunity of service which may offer
itself today, nor fall prey to any temptation that may lie in wait for me:
Let not the sins of yesterday be repeated in the life of today, nor
the life of today set any evil example to the life of tomorrow.

…I thank Thee …most for the Incarnation of Thy dear Son, in whose name these my prayers are said. Amen.
~John Baillie

Monday, June 15, 2009

Faith

“Then the Old Man of the Earth stooped over the floor of the cave, raised a huge stone from it, and left it leaning. It disclosed a great hole that went plumb-down.
‘That is the way,’ he said.
‘But there are no stairs.’
‘You must throw yourself in. There is no other way.’”
~George MacDonald (The Golden Key)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Were You Faithful?

“If my life is to be lived as a friend of God, to be lived in response to the discerning love of God, how can I do other than to lay my desires and longing before Him for review and plead the case for them if I feel strongly about them? If I believe I love a woman, or if I am considering some undertaking whose success seems of great moment to me, where better could I take these matters than to prayer, where I may ask God to further them? That He will do so is another matter. I may beg with all my might for some outcome, and I may, after an hour arise convinced that it is not to be, or that it must be in another form, or that I must wait, or that I must take this costly step in order for it to come about. It does not matter where or with what petitions we begin in prayer. What is really important is where we end, where we are brought to in prayer. The real question to ask of ourselves after prayer is: ‘Were you faithful? Did you yield?’

…There is, then, no absolute limit that can be placed upon petition. The only limit is human need. But the prior condition must never be forgotten – the condition is to abide in Him and that His words shall abide in you. The condition is that you shall yield, that you shall respond, that you shall be faithful. Faith in God is set prior to faith in prayer; yet given this, you may begin at any point. And those old friends of prayer take their every need into prayer with great ease and confidence.”
~Douglas Steere

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Honoring God In Your Occupation

10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name…
~Hebrews 6:10a

“He (God) won’t forget. If you’re in a room, behind the scenes, serving in a hospice setting, the one whom you serve is too sick to say thank you and has long since forgotten some of the kindnesses of life, He will not forget your work as you take care of her or him. (If) you’re in a profession that gets a lot of flak, not a lot of credit, and very little glory, He will not forget your work. You’re serving the Lord Christ!

Let me pause here and add just another comment for you who work for others. This is your contribution to the life God has given you. He has ordained you to be in this role. Isn’t that a great thought?

…Our work is our ministry. (Here he gives an example of a man who said of his occupation that he was an ‘ordained plumber’) He got it! You’re ordained to do that work of plumbing and you do it like nobody else in the city. And you don’t watch the clock. And you don’t concern yourself with how cranky people are. You don’t get caught up in that. This is about your job, Christian.”
~Charles Swindoll

5-8 Servants, respectfully obey your earthly masters but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ. Don't just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ's servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you're really serving God. Good work will get you good pay from the Master, regardless of whether you are slave or free.
~Ephesians 6:5-8 (The Message)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Glory

“Apparently, then, our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned inside would be both glory and honour beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.”
~C. S. Lewis

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Christ And His Soldiers

“But of all avocations, none is more arduous than that of the soldier in time of war. His is a life of self-denials. He foregoes the comforts of home. His bed is often the wet or frozen earth, where he is too glad to rest his weary body, his aching head pillowed upon his knapsack. His shelter is a tent; his covering a blanket. His duty is to obey the commands of his officers, though at the imminent peril of his life.

In the New Testament, Christians are often referred to as spiritual soldiers. Finally my brethren be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. – Eph. vi. 10, 11…

Soldiers make the service of their county their business. Their private interests must never interfere with the calls of duty. The Government undertakes to supply their absolute wants and to afford them all the protection that is consistent with their hazardous avocation. So Christ pledges himself to take care of the soldiers of the cross. Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. – Matt. vi. 33. He who clothes the grass and feeds the ravens, will feed and clothe him. His resources are bondless and always at command. He says to his followers: All things are yours. – 1 Cor. 3, 4. Hence the soldier of the cross, on his march to Canaan, does not need to carry much with him. Bread shall be given him; his water shall be sure. He has no occasion to lay up for himself, treasures on earth. He will never need them. The Lord is his portion. He can give manna in the wilderness and water in the dessert. So he who is contending for the faith once delivered to the saints, need have no fear for his body. He is forbidden to have any anxiety about his physical wants. Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body what ye shall put on. –Matt. vi. 25…

As they come out of the last battle you will hear them exclaim: Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Cor. xv. 57…

Are you a soldier of Christ? Do you march out boldly on the battle field or do you cower away and wait ‘to see how it is coming out?’ That is not acting the part of a soldier; but of a time-server – of a coward. If that is your course, you cannot expect a soldier’s crown.

Be true to your convictions. Stand by the truth, if you stand alone. Never give your money nor your influence to speed a glittering lie, or crush a heaven-born truth, whoever may oppose the one or advocate the other. Give the enemies of the cross no aid or comfort. Above all things endeavor to please Him who hath called you to be a soldier.”
~B. T. Roberts

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Silent Prayer

“Silent prayer simplifies the confused, complex, conflicting heap of life experiences. It makes us one again. It restores us to the creative matrix… It is not so different from a man who has wandered into the woods and lost his way. After beating all night in the heavy underbrush, he sinks down toward morning; and there from the ground he sees ahead of him an open clearing and he slowly recognizes it to be one he knows well enough; and at last he knows where he is and what he has done and what he must do next. Before he saw this opening, all had been hopelessly confused. Now it is simple and clear.

In silent prayer the many seems to give way to the one. Complexity seems to yield to simplicity… But it is no empty oneness that is accomplished there. There is a selection at work in silent prayer… As a boy I used to watch my grandmother pour out the milk into broad flat pans and set these away on the shelf of the darkened milk room. For cream rises to the top when the milk is not disturbed. Robert Barclay, a seventeenth century Quaker, sensed this as he described the power of a group assembled in silent prayer: ‘As I gave way unto it, I found the veil weakening in me and the good raised up.’”
~Douglas Steere

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Good Sense

Those with good sense are slow to anger,
and it is their glory to overlook an offense.
~Proverbs 19:11

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Pure Seed

“There is a pure seed of life which God hath sown in thee; oh that it might come through, and come over all that is above it, and contrary to it! And for that end wait daily to feel it, and to feel thy mind subdued by it, and joined to it. Take heed of looking out, in the reasonings of thy mind, but dwell in the feeling sense of life; and then that will arise in thee more and more, which maketh truly wise, and gives power, and brings into holy authority and dominion of life.”
~Isaac Penington

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Continuation From Yesterday

I think these quotes relate well to yesterday’s entry:

“Boredom is the root of all evil - the despairing refusal to be oneself.”
~Søren Kierkegaard

“In one short hour you can learn more from the inward voice than you could learn from man in a thousand years.”
~John Tauler

“How rare to find a soul still enough to hear God speak.”
~François Fénelon

“O! wait more and more.” wrote Isaac Penington, “to know, how to keep that silence, which is of the Power, that in every one of you, what the Power would have silent, may be silent… wait and labor, then, to know, understand, and be guided by, the motives, leadings, drawings, teachings, quickenings, etc., of the thing itself within.”

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Sole Cause Of Man’s Unhappiness

"I have often said that the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room."
~Blaise Pascal

Reaction to Pascal’s claim:
“Once I read this answer, I felt insulted and then challenged by Pascal. Am I really incapable of the simple deed of staying quietly in my own room? Could I endure my own company alone for one hour, or am I so bored with myself that I have to invent some trouble to divert myself? I resolved to refute Pascal’s implied insult – and failed flat. I went into the smallest and darkest room in my house and turned off the lights. To drown out distracting noise, I turned on an electric fan to make ‘white noise’. I set an alarm clock outside the room for one hour. I then prepared myself to have a good, instructive, happy time meeting myself.

After ten minutes, I checked the alarm and was surprised that the hour had not yet passed.

After another ten minutes, I woke up to find myself asleep.

I deliberately didn’t think about anything outside the room. I didn’t bring in other people or my relationships with them or my work or my plans for the future or my past. For all these things were not really there in that room with me then. Only I was. I thought I should be able to endure my own presence without running away from myself into something external, even relationships, good and important as these are; for I wanted to encounter who it was who had all these relationships. If I can’t meet him, if everything I do is a diversion from the doer, I’m in big trouble.

I think I’m in big trouble.

This was not the end of the story. But I don’t want to tell you what I found next, because I don’t want to preprogram you. You must be free to find whatever is real and true there, in you. But let me reassure you that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel, a floor under the nothingness, a Somebody under all the masks and roles and relationships. I wouldn’t be recommending this experiment to you if there was no good news beyond the bad news. But you must find it for yourself. It’s not easy.”
~Peter Kreeft

Friday, June 5, 2009

Don't Doubt What He Wants To Give

“Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give, because He would give the best, and man will not take it.”
~George MacDonald

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Approach Him With Confidence

“One day the disciples said to Jesus Christ: ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ It was the Holy Spirit who inspired them to make this request. The Holy Spirit convinced them of their inability to pray in their own strength, and He moved their hearts to draw near to Jesus Christ as the only Master who could teach them how they ought to pray. It was then that Jesus taught them the Lord’s Prayer.

There is no Christian who is not in the same case as the disciples. Every Christian ought to say to the Savior as humbly as they: ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ Ah! if we were only convinced of our ignorance and of our need of a Teacher like Jesus Christ! If we would only approach Him with confidence, asking Him to teach us Himself and desiring to be taught by His grace how to converse with God! How soon we should be skilled in it and how many of its secrets we should discover! Do not let us say that we know how to pray the prayer they learned from Him. We may know the words, but without grace we cannot understand the meaning and we cannot ask or receive what it expresses.”
~Jean-Nicholas Grou

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Poem, Proverb, Parable

When they criticize you how do you
hold your wings? I hold mine out
and down, descend a little, then more.
Cool air comes. Nobody cares how low
I descend, and the way my eyes close
makes me disappear. They have their sky again…

…If I accept what comes, another sky is there…
~William Stafford

Do you see persons wise in their own eyes?
There is more hope for fools than for them.
~Proverbs 26:12

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
~Luke 18:9-14

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Just Do It

“There is no better way to learn about prayer than by praying… It is good to debate the mysteries of prayer, to ponder the profundities of prayer, to learn the methods of prayer. It is better to pray.

Prayer is a little like an automobile: you do not have to understand everything about its inner workings for it to get you somewhere. I have found that if we simply pray – even if we pray in wrong ways – God is pleased with our feeble efforts and Jesus lovingly guides us into more excellent ways. Also, we can be assured that the blessed Holy Spirit will adjust, correct, and interpret our payer before the throne of God.”
~Richard Foster

Monday, June 1, 2009

Shine

We should never forget that we live in a fallen world. The person who seeks God daily thus desiring to act properly, with pure motives, and in correct and honorable ways is the exception, not the rule.

I love these verses from Philippians 2:
14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life… (NIV)

Dear God, help us each day to seek You in our moments so that we will be able to live in Your ways…