Friday, May 29, 2009
-- E. M. Bounds in Power Through Prayer, adapted
Thursday, May 28, 2009
-- Philip Yancey in Reaching for the Invisible God
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
-- C. S. Lewis in A Grief Observed
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
-- Ian Pitt-Watson in A Primer for Preachers
Friday, May 22, 2009
In other words, these words from the epistle tell me that our center -- our unity -- our harmony is not dependent on our efforts, nor on whether we are in agreement with one another. It is not dependent on our speaking the same language. Our unity is found in Jesus Christ. (Colossians 1:17). And that comes to us as a gift of God’s love. Because of that gift, we know who and whose we are. “You are God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,” Paul said. That is our identity; we are persons chosen by God, invited to a new life in Christ, and clothed in the brand-new wardrobe given to us by God. We are holy and beloved, living out a life of faith and thanksgiving and prayer.
-- Harriet Finney in a message entitled "Perfect Harmony"
Thursday, May 21, 2009
We tend to imagine perfection as a fleeting or unattainable phenomenon disconnected from the daily smear and blear of life. We are drawn to ideals of perfection in physical beauty or strength that cannot be sustained. We associate perfection with infallible moral purity that is irreparably shattered by a single moral lapse. We are inclined to suspect that anything appearing perfect is either artificial or sure to evaporate under the sultry sun of reality. Perfection is the ethereal phantom we are never allowed truly to possess.
But the biblical notion of perfection is not fragile, phony, or fleeting. It has to do with the end for which we are created: to glorify and enjoy God. Perfection signifies a fulfilling of purpose, a completion of one's own true nature, a deep authenticity and realism that grows in us over time. To be perfect is to be wholly suited to our ultimate end.
-- Marjorie Thompson in Leading From the Center, Spring 2000
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I have come to see these psalms as calling for different kinds of faith. Psalm 23 models childlike faith, and Psalm 22 models fidelity, a deeper, more mysterious kind of faith. Life with God may include both. We may experience times of unusual closeness, when prayers are answered in an obvious way and God seems intimate and caring. We may also experience dark times, when God stays silent, when nothing works according to formula and all the Bible's promises seem glaringly false. Fidelity involves learning to trust that, out beyond the perimeter of darkness, God still reigns and has not abandoned us, no matter how it may appear.
-- Philip Yancey in The Bible Jesus Read
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
We can when we remember that God is the Father of the downtrodden and disenfranchised, and that includes us. We too have nothing but our wretchedness to bring to God. Only when we remember His pity for us can we speak or act in pity. Then we have a religion that God can accept.
-- David Roper in Growing Slowly Wise
Monday, May 18, 2009
-- Thomas Hughes
Friday, May 15, 2009
Several years ago, an interesting article by Lois Wyse appeared in Good Housekeeping magazine. It listed some bits of advice for young women considering marriage, some helpful guidelines for finding a good husband. She said there are six ways to learn everything you ever need to know about a man before you decide to marry him:
- Watch him drive in heavy traffic.
- Play tennis with him.
- Listen as he talks to his mother when he doesn't know you're listening.
- See how he treats those who serve him (waiters, ushers, maids, service station attendants, etc.).
- Notice how and for whom he spends his money.
- Look at his friends.
After sharing those six suggestions, she came up with yet another one -- almost as an afterthought. "Oh, by the way," she said, "if you still can't make up your mind, then look at his shoes!" A man who keeps his shoes in good repair, she explained generally tends to the rest of his life, too.
Did you notice the common thread here? Not counting the last one about the shoes, all the rest of these guidelines have to do with how we treat other people. I think the writer is onto something here, something very important. If you're looking for a mate or a friend, look at how that person treats other people. It is so true: The way we treat other people reveals a lot about who we are. It reveals a lot about our faith.
-- James W. Moore in When You're a Christian, the Whole World is from Missouri
Thursday, May 14, 2009
-- President Jimmy Carter in Living Faith
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
After a recent service at Willow Creek a woman said to me, "I could take you to the chair I was sitting in the day I first understood the message of amazing grace and opened my heart to Jesus Christ. Then I could take you to the chair I was sitting in when I decided to let go of a sinful pattern that was destroying my life. I could take you to another chair when I took the major step of trusting God with a huge challenge in my life. I'm sure glad I didn't miss those opportunities to hear God speaking to me as His Spirit moved throughout this place."
During my lifetime, I have sat through many church services and small-group meetings during which it seemed as though nothing special was happening inside of me. But I have also sat through similar services and meetings during which my heart was turned inside out and my life was turned around. There was no way to know ahead of time when God would choose to use the gathering of Christians, the teaching of the Word, the lifting up of voices in worship or the sharing of personal testimonies to touch me in a unique and powerful way. Only an advance decision to assemble together with other Christians consistently could have put me in the right place at the right time to receive God's gifts of guidance and growth.
-- Bill Hybels in Making Life Work: Putting God's Wisdom into Action
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
-- Sy Safransky in The Sun, May 2006
Monday, May 11, 2009
...The real issue before the church is not merely theological. It is christological. The key question... for church transformation [is]: What is it about our experience with Jesus that this community cannot live without?... No enduring change can happen in the church... without it being linked to continuing spiritual growth in one's relationship with Jesus.
-- Thomas G. Bandy in Moving Off the Map
Friday, May 8, 2009
for expectant mothers, wondering and waiting;
for new mothers, coming to terms with new responsibility;
for those who are tired, stressed or depressed;
for those who struggle to balance the tasks of work and family;
for those who are unable to feed their children due to poverty;
for those whose children have physical, mental or emotional disabilities;
for those who have children they do not want;
for those who raise children on their own;
for those who have lost a child;
for those who care for the children of others;
for those whose children have left home;
and for those whose desire to be a mother has not been fulfilled.
Bless all mothers, that their love may be deep and tender,
and that they may lead their children to know Your way and to do what is good,
living not for themselves alone, but for You and for others.
-- Source unknown
Thursday, May 7, 2009
I regularly spend time telling God what God already knows. I do it not only because the Bible tells me to do it (Philippians 4:6), but because I am driven to it, especially in times of desperation. I do it because prayer stabilizes me in times of trouble, comforts me when I hurt, encourages me when I am about to go a-wobbling, and keeps me alive when I think I'm going to die. When my cynical friends chide me and say, "You use prayer as a crutch, Campolo, because you don't feel strong enough to face up to what your life is about," I can only answer, "Of course!" Those who believe that they are self-sufficient are, on the one hand, people who don't think they need prayer, and on the other hand, people who are most deluded. To these cynics I can only say, "Your time will come. And when it does, the good news is that God will be there waiting and willing to carry you through the valley of the shadow of death."
-- Tony Campolo in Following Jesus Without Embarrassing God (Scripture added)
NOTE: Today is the National Day of Prayer in the U.S. Please pray for the leaders and elected officials in community, state, and federal government.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Jesus told His disciples that if they want to be fruitful, if they want to live according to His purpose for them, if they want to live victorious lives, they must stay connected to Him. Their connection to Jesus would determine their destiny. Their connection to Jesus would determine whether or not their prayers were answered.
Jesus likened their relationship to that of a living plant. He is the vine, the main source of water and nutrients, while the disciples are the branches that depend upon the vine for survival. As the branches must remain connected to the vine in order to grow and multiply, so too, must the disciples remain connected to Jesus for the same reasons. Jesus makes it very clear what will happen should they become separated from Him. Apart from Him, the vine, they will not be able to do anything.
-- Ronda Sturgill
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
-- from Jesus, His Life and Times (The Genesis Project)
Monday, May 4, 2009
To say "Well done!" to any bit of good work is to take hold of the powers which have made the effort and strengthen them beyond our knowledge.
-- Phillip Brooks (Scripture added)
Friday, May 1, 2009
-- Elizabeth J. Canham in Heart Whispers