Friday, October 30, 2009


Confession is nothing but humility in action…. When there is a gap between me and Christ, when my love is divided, anything can come to fill the gap. Confession is a place where I allow Jesus to take away from me everything that divides, that destroys.

-- Mother Teresa in No Greater Love


Thursday, October 29, 2009


Healthy grief, dramatic and even traumatic as it may be, is a three-stage process. First, it is fully experiencing and expressing all the emotions and reactions to the loss. Second, it is completing and letting go of your attachment both to the deceased and to sorrow. Third, it is recovering and reinvesting anew in one's own life. Missing any of the steps in the grieving process may result in unhealthy or unsuccessful grief. Because these stages may take many months, unsuccessful grief may not show up until long after the loss…

For us to [journey through] every step of the grieving process requires awareness, courage, openness, self-support, and support from others. Because of the complexity of this process, many of us do not fully complete each necessary step…

Unsuccessful grief is also the result of the misguided ideas of courage in our society. For example, courage is often seen as a capacity to be silent when in pain, to control tears at all costs, to function regardless of the depths of turmoil inside us, and to handle our wounds and sorrows privately and independently. Few of us are so superhuman. When we try to act accordingly to these ideals, we usually deny our pain and never learn to cope with it. Since pain unexpressed does not dissolve spontaneously, we may suffer severe consequences from pretending to be superhuman…

It takes enormous courage to face pain directly and honestly, to sit in the midst of such uncomfortable feelings and reactions until we have expressed them and finished with them. It takes courage to be willing to experience fully the pain and anguish of grief and to face feelings at the time they occur rather than postponing the encounter.

-- Judy Tatelbaum in The Courage to Grieve


Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Want to know the proper cheese to go with the tailgate meal you're preparing? There’s an app for that. Want to know where you parked your car at Lambeau Field? There’s an app for that. Want to know the latest Green Bay Packer's news? There’s an app for that too. There are thousands of apps for all kinds of wants. That’s the tag line for the iPhone’s App Store. In fact their website boasts "Apps for Everything." But is there an app for what we really need? Is there an app for eternal life?

God loved us so much that He provided that app. 1 John 4:9 states, "This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him." That's an app you can't live without.

-- Rev. David T. Wilkinson


Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Martin Luther was the father of a household, the molder of the German people, a new David playing on his harp, an emancipator of certain fetters of the spirit, the divider of the Church, and at the same time the renewer of Christendom. All this he was, and more; but pre-eminently for his own time as well as for ourselves he was a man athirst for God.

-- Roland Bainton in HERE I STAND


Monday, October 26, 2009


"I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:5-6 NRSV)

Knowing God without knowing our own wretchedness makes for pride. Knowing our own wretchedness without knowing God makes for despair. Knowing neither God nor our own sinfulness makes for false peace and the absence of truth. Knowing Jesus Christ strikes the balance, because He shows us both God and our own wretchedness and He brings true peace.

--Adapted from Blaise Pascal


Friday, October 23, 2009


Creation is a gift for us. And all of creation is a reflection of the wonder of the Creator, God's creation -- from the amoeba, to the newborn child, to the wonders of the galaxies and stars -- points to the majesty of the God who caused the big bang, who called forth the light and darkness, who spoke and the waters swarmed with life, and who created you in God's own image. You are no accident: You were designed by God to be recipients of God's love and to enjoy creation, to walk with God, know God, and do God's will. And this Creator is not some anonymous Intelligent Designer. No. God is the one who has been revealed by becoming one of us in Jesus Christ. There is no greater joy, no greater life, than knowing and following God.

-- Adam Hamilton in Confronting the Controversies


Thursday, October 22, 2009


Knowing God is more than knowing about Him; it is a matter of dealing with God as He opens up to you, and being dealt with by God as He takes knowledge of you. Knowing about God is a necessary precondition of trusting in God, but the width of our knowledge about God is no gauge of our knowledge of Him.

-- James I. Packer in Knowing God


Wednesday, October 21, 2009


If you make a habit of sincere prayer, your life will be very noticeably and profoundly altered… Within the depths of consciousness, a flame kindles. And man sees himself. He discovers his selfishness, his silly pride, his fears, his greeds, his blunders. He develops a sense of moral obligation, intellectual humility. Thus begins a journey of the soul toward the realm of grace.

-- Alexis Carrel


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


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

-- Richard Whately


Monday, October 19, 2009


"Now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13 NRSV)

Love breeds love. This is the only way that it spreads out into the world.

In other words, in this world love is its own source. It cannot be reached through will or intellect or understanding. It springs out of the total reality of a human being -- body, soul and mind that has been touched directly by divine Love.

-- Morton Kelsey in Set Your Hearts on the Greatest Gift


Friday, October 16, 2009


We are tempted to live under the illusion that somewhere out there are people who are normal. In the movie "As Good As It Gets", Helen Hunt is wracked by ambivalence toward Jack Nicholson. He is kind and generous to her and her sick son, but he is also agoraphobic, obsessive-compulsive, and terminally offensive: If rudeness were measured in square miles, he'd be Texas. In desperation, Helen finally cries to her mother: "I just want a normal boyfriend."

"Oh," her mother responds in empathy, "everybody wants one of those. There's no such thing, dear."

When we enter relationships with the illusion that people are normal, we resist the truth that they are not. We enter an endless attempt to fix them, control them, or pretend that they are what they're not. One of the great marks of maturity is to accept the fact that everybody comes "as is."

-- John Ortberg in Everybody's Normal 'Till You Get to Know Them


Thursday, October 15, 2009


"The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark 1:15 NIV)

When one repents one turns around, changes direction. Naomi Judd once said, "A dead end street is a good place to turn around." Have you reach a dead end in your life? It is time to turn around. It is time to turn to God.

-- Rev. David T. Wilkinson


Wednesday, October 14, 2009


"And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors… For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:12, 14-15 NRSV)

How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none?

-- from Shakespeare's the Merchant of Venice


Tuesday, October 13, 2009


"As many as received [Christ], to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13 NKJV)

The good news is the nature of God does not change. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. We never turn to Him in prayer and find He has changed and we have for no reason lost His favor in our life. No, He never turns a deaf ear to His children. Praise the Lord for His mercy. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross paved a permanent opening to the throne of mercy, and each and every one of His children has equal and complete access.

-- Pastor Gary Stone


Monday, October 12, 2009


O God and Father, I repent of my sinful preoccupation with visible things. The world has been too much with me. You have been here, and I knew it not. I have been blind to Your presence. Open my eyes that I may behold You in and around me. For Christ's sake, Amen.

-- A. W. Tozer in The Pursuit of God


Friday, October 9, 2009


When God would make His name known to mankind, He could find no better word than "I AM". "I am that I am," says God, "I change not." Everyone and everything else measures from that fixed point.

-- A. W. Tozer in The Pursuit of God


Thursday, October 8, 2009


"Comfort all who mourn. Give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." (Isaiah 61:3 paraphrase)

The Prophet is anticipating the good news of God's deliverance. Of what does deliverance consist for us [-- those who are grieving]? Not that the situation will change and our loved one be restored to us. We know better than to hope for that. But maybe to be delivered from some of this pain, so that our existence is no longer shadowed by our loss, and the beauty of the world is no longer just a reminder that the one we shared it with is gone. From that - yes - we can hope to be delivered.

We have but to look around us and see the many others who have suffered losses. They are legion. They walk the streets with us, get on and off the bus, shop with us in the stores. They have survived. And some of them have been made stronger and are now pillars of support for others.

When we shall have been delivered from our deepest grief -- by the help of friends, by faith, by time, by work to which we can return with a heightened sensibility -- then we, too, shall experience "beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness," and be a blessing to those who need us.

-- Martha Whitmore Hickman in Healing After Loss


Wednesday, October 7, 2009


We do it again and again. We satisfy ourselves with beliefs and creeds -- creeds about that which is really fire, forms about that which once was force. But no matter how correct and even essential a creed may be, it is not the real thing… We enter a Church, take part in ritual and ceremony, worship and prayer. And after giving an offering and singing our hymns, we depart. This cannot be the end-all of Christianity.

What we narrow down, Jesus widens out. Christianity must become a force… a force of justice in a world of injustice; a force of mercy in a merciless society; a force of faith where [people] live by doubt and despair. The sinner is not a person to be avoided. He is a subject of injustice to be sought out and loved. Mercy is not a form for friends, but a power to demonstrate even to enemies. Faith is no private relationship with God, but an arm which encircles the lost. No wonder the temple must be swept clean of form-religion to make way for the fire of force: "My house shall be called a house of prayer."

-- H.S. Vigeveno in Jesus the Revolutionary


Tuesday, October 6, 2009


"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…" (Romans 3:23)

Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy … He who is alone with his sins is utterly alone.

-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Monday, October 5, 2009


"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
naked I'll return to the womb of the earth.
God gives, God takes.
God's name be ever blessed." (Job 1:21, The Message)

Job does not curse God as his wife suggests he should do, getting rid of the problems by getting rid of God. But neither does Job explain suffering. He does not instruct us in how to live so that we can avoid suffering. Suffering is a mystery, and Job comes to respect the mystery. In the course of facing, questioning, and respecting suffering, Job finds himself in an even larger mystery -- the mystery of God. Perhaps the greatest mystery in suffering is how it can bring a person into the presence of God in a state of worship, full of wonder, love and praise. Suffering does not inevitably do that, but it does it far more often than we would expect. It certainly did that for Job. Even in his answer to his wife he speaks the language of an uncharted irony, a dark and difficult kind of truth: "We take the good days from God -- why not also the bad days?"

-- Eugene Peterson in The Message


Friday, October 2, 2009


A well-known painting of the Vietnam Wall depicts a young widow and her daughter standing at the wall, reaching up and touching the name of the husband and father who died. The reflection in the polished granite is not of the mother and daughter but of the husband and father reaching out his hand to touch theirs.

That is the Lord's Supper. We arrive at the table and reach out our hands to take this unleavened bread and this fruit of the vine. In response to our act of faith, Jesus touches us.

-- Rich Bersett


Thursday, October 1, 2009


Like Christ, we should all be so bold in mentioning the astounding benefits of participating in the Christian faith. Tell people with confidence what the Father promises! To the thirsty woman Jesus encountered at the well, He offered "living" water -- soul-quenching and spirit-filled water of life. For the people you encounter, the offers are limitless:

To those filled with shame, "Grace and forgiveness can come your way."

To those bound up in destructive habits, "When the Son sets you free, you'll be free indeed."

To the weak, "Strength from God -- the Strength-Giver -- can be yours for the asking."

To the weary, "Jesus promises rest for your soul."

To the poor, richness of spirit.

To the lacking, provision in due time.

To the grieving, consolation and comfort.

To the sick and dying, eternal life and new bodies in the life hereafter.

-- Bill Hybels in Just Walk Across the Room