Friday, 30 September 2011
Thursday, 29 September 2011
Wednesday, 28 September 2011
"Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can't bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can't bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can't produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
I've loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you'll remain intimately at home in my love. That's what I've done—kept my Father's commands and made myself at home in his love.
I've told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I'm no longer calling you servants because servants don't understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I've named you friends because I've let you in on everything I've heard from the Father."
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
Monday, 26 September 2011
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
Sunday, 25 September 2011
Saturday, 24 September 2011
Friday, 23 September 2011
'People say that what we're all seeking is the meaning of life. I think what we're really seeking is an experience of actually feeling the rapture of being alive.'" Parker Palmer
"Come to me, all of you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads. I will give you rest. Become my servants and learn from me. I am gentle and free of pride. You will find rest for your souls. Serving me is easy, and my load is light."
Thursday, 22 September 2011
Wednesday, 21 September 2011
I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves. Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.
When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don't ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that's a picture of the "prosperous life." At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.
Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
Don't let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, "God is trying to trip me up." God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one's way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.
So, my very dear friends, don't get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.
Monday, 19 September 2011
First there was Michael Landsberg of TSN speaking about the suicide of his friend Wade Belak. Belak took his life 2 days after my brother took his own. Landsberg's words spoke to me deeply.
We end up liking people because of their good traits. Sometimes we end up loving them because of their flaws.
People kill themselves when the fear of living another moment outweighs the fear of dying at that moment. Some things you can't ever judge.
Perhaps I didn't know how much I loved him until he was gone.
Why did he do it?
Second, Joseph Grenny penned the thought that,
The measure of my soul is my capacity to love imperfect people. I also have found that my inability to accept others' weaknesses is usually caused by my unwillingness to acknowledge my own.
Who was I to look at my brother's flaws when I am filled with so many of my own?
Finally, Nicholas Woltertorff in A Lament For A Son shared from his heart the pain & anguish having to deal with the mountaineering death of his son, Eric.
Once again these words were used by the Holy Spirit to speak to my heart.
Our culture says that men must be strong and that the strength of a man in sorrow is to be seen in his tearless face. Tears are for women. Tears are signs of weakness and women are permitted to be weak. Of course it's better if they too are strong.
But why celebrate stoic tearlessness? Why insist on never outwarding the inward when that inward is bleeding? Does enduring while crying not require as much strength as never crying? Must we always mask our suffering? May we not sometimes allow people to see and enter it? I mean, may men not do this?
And why is it so important to act strong? I have been graced with the strength to endure. But I have been assaulted, and in the assault wounded, grievously wounded. Am I to pretend otherwise? Wounds are ugly, I know. They repel. But must they always be swathed?
I shall look at the world through tears. Perhaps I shall see things that dry-eyed I could not see.
There's a hole in the world right now. In the place where Terry (Eric) was, there is now just nothing.
If sympathy for the world’s wounds in not enlarged by our anguish, if love for those around us is not expanded, if gratitude for what is good does not flame up, if insight is not deepened, if commitment to what is important is not strengthened, if aching for a new day is not intensified, if hope is weakened and faith diminished, of from the experience of death comes nothing good, then death has won. Then death, be proud.
Death will gain no victory with Terry's death. Despite the personal anguish he was experiencing that drove him to his actions, I know Terry now rests with Jesus Christ.
And I will grieve his loss yet remember him with fondness for the rest of my days.
Sunday, 18 September 2011
Saturday, 17 September 2011
Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. D. Bonhoeffer
Friday, 16 September 2011
1. Intent. Gossipers often have the goal of building themselves up by making others look bad and exalting themselves as some kind of repositories of knowledge.
2. The type of information shared. Gossipers speak of the faults and failings of others, or reveal potentially embarrassing or shameful details regarding the lives of others without their knowledge or approval. Even if they mean no harm, it is still gossip.
Troublemakers start fights;
gossips break up friendships.
Thursday, 15 September 2011
Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor. Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you'll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God. The Scriptures provide precedent:
Look! I'm setting a stone in Zion,
a cornerstone in the place of honor.
Whoever trusts in this stone as a foundation
will never have cause to regret it.
To you who trust him, he's a Stone to be proud of, but to those who refuse to trust him,
The stone the workmen threw out
is now the chief foundation stone.
For the untrusting it's
.. . a stone to trip over,
a boulder blocking the way.
They trip and fall because they refuse to obey, just as predicted.
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.
Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they'll be won over to God's side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.
Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God's emissaries for keeping order. It is God's will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you're a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.
Wednesday, 14 September 2011
"I praise you, Father. You are Lord of heaven and earth. You have hidden these things from the wise and educated. But you have shown them to little children.
Yes, Father. This is what you wanted.
My Father has given all things to me. The Father is the only one who knows the Son. And the only ones who know the Father are the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to make him known.
Come to me, all of you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads. I will give you rest.
Become my servants and learn from me. I am gentle and free of pride. You will find rest for your souls.
Serving me is easy, and my load is light."
Tuesday, 13 September 2011
Monday, 12 September 2011
In that message Miles said, 'Don't speak with the devil.' He recounted the story in Genesis 3 where Adam & Eve veered from communicating openly with God to beginning to speak with Satan directly.
I instantly felt application to a certain relationship in my life. Just a day or two before I had covenanted not to speak to a certain person because only evil seemed to be emanating from their life. This was God revealing why he had asked me no to speak with that person.
God was not saying this person was the actual devil, but simply that the person had opened themselves up to letting evil influences speak through themselves.
Perhaps God is wanting you to not speak directly with Satan.
Is there a temptation, or a relationship of weakness that leads you to sin (or simply drags you down) that God wants you to avoid?
Sunday, 11 September 2011
We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.
In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
Saturday, 10 September 2011
The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We're sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
Friday, 9 September 2011
Thursday, 8 September 2011
What do you hope these memories will be and what are you doing on a daily basis to create the memories you want them to have of you?
Tuesday, 6 September 2011
"I've told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I'm no longer calling you servants because servants don't understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I've named you friends because I've let you in on everything I've heard from the Father.
You didn't choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won't spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.
But remember the root command: Love one another." (Jesus of Nazareth)
Thank you all.
Monday, 5 September 2011
In the midst of all of the trips to the hospital morgue, the Medical Examiner's Office, the police station, the funeral home, my brother's apartment (& other places) some wonderful friends have literally been God's grace with flesh on & I can't thank them enough.
There has also been the sense that even in the midst of suffering & heart-aching questions God's grace has been ever-present.
I am reminded of Habakkuk who wrote so many years ago -
Though the cherry trees don't blossom
and the strawberries don't ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
and the cattle barns empty,
I'm singing joyful praise to God.
I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.
Counting on God's Rule to prevail,
I take heart and gain strength.
I run like a deer.
I feel like I'm king of the mountain!
Sunday, 4 September 2011
Saturday, 3 September 2011
See it. Feel it. Trust it.
Father, it is the fragrance of Jesus, cultivated in secret, that manifests through us the knowledge of Him in every place. Forgive me for being anxious and troubled about many things, when to sit at Your feet was the only necessary thing. I choose now that better part, and gratefully receive from Your intimacy the better things which shall never be taken away.