Friday, October 11, 2019

THE EXTREMES

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23 NLT)

In the gospel, we discover we are far worse off than we thought, and far more loved than we ever dreamed.

-- Steven Curtis Chapman and Scotty Smith in “Speechless: Living in Awe of God’s Disruptive Grace”


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Thursday, October 10, 2019

SPIRITUAL PERCEPTION

Every animal on earth has a set of correspondences with the environment around it, and some of these correspondences far exceed ours. Humans can perceive only 30 percent of the range of the sun’s light and 1/70th of the spectrum of electromagnetic energy. Many animals far exceed our abilities. Bats detect insects by sonar; pigeons navigate by magnetic fields; bloodhounds perceive a world of smell unavailable to us.

Perhaps the spiritual or “unseen” world requires an inbuilt set of correspondences activated only through some sort of spiritual [awakening]. “No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above,” said Jesus (John 3:3 NRSV). “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit,” said Paul (1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV). Both expressions point to a different level of correspondences available only to a person spiritually alive.

-- Philip Yancey in “Seeing the Invisible God”


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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

OVERFLOWING LOVE

"May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.” (1 Thessalonians 3:12 NIV)

The experience of Christian togetherness is not simply for the benefit of those who choose to participate in Christian community. A community of love rooted in the redemptive reign of God can never be an in-house enterprise, for such love is contagious and overflowing.

-- Darrell Gruber in “Missional Church”


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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

OUR NEED FOR NEIGHBORS

"Never abandon a friend -- either yours or your father’s. When disaster strikes, you won’t have to ask your brother for assistance. It’s better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away." (Proverbs 27:10 NLT)

Often it takes a moment of crisis to wake us up to our need for others, making us aware of the interdependence that is a natural part of being human. When things are going well, we tend to live an illusion of independence, not only from God but also from our fellow human beings. As long as life moves smoothly forward, we tend to think we can handle everything on our own. However, a passing storm -- any kind of setback or crisis -- reminds us that we need help.

-- Sarah Parsons in “A Clearing Season”


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Monday, October 7, 2019

MEMBERS OF THE BODY OF CHRIST

"Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it." (1 Corinthians 12:27)

The doctrine of the "body" in First Corinthians... is a picture of the local church, (which) is distinguished by a great variety of gifts, outlooks, and cultures. The various members belong organically to each other in Christ, and are to exhibit that harmony practically in their common life. The recognition of how they differ from each other, and are yet one, is to enrich their worship, inspire their ministry, and quicken their love. To divide the local church is... to witness to a divided Christ, or to a discipleship to lesser masters than Christ, such as Paul or Apollos. Both implications are equally unthinkable. There is no New Testament pattern of serving the one Christ, except in one local body, formed by the incorporation given in the one baptism, and the continued life sustained by breaking and sharing the one bread.

-- C. O. Buchanan in “The Unity of the Church” 


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