Monday, July 25, 2011


A child kicks its legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough... It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again," to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again," to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike: it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

-- G. K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy


Friday, July 22, 2011


Grace is a most unnatural act, Philip Yancey says. We are reluctant to give grace because it is so costly. (It costs the recipient nothing but it costs the giver a great deal!) However, as costly as grace is, ungrace costs more. We imprison ourselves in a jail of icy bitterness, cutting ourselves off from those who are dearest to us and we pass on a habit of ungrace to our children and grandchildren.
-- Dee Brestin in A Woman's Journey Through Luke


Thursday, July 21, 2011


The Christian life is a gift of God, an expression of God's grace in Christ, the result of an undeserved and unmerited offering of love toward us. Every step of the journey toward Christ is preceded by, made possible by, and sustained by the perfecting grace of God.
However, becoming the person that God desires us to become is also the fruit of a persistent and deeply personal quest, an active desire to love God, to allow God's love to lead us. The fruitful life is cultivated by placing ourselves in the most advantageous places to see, receive, learn, and understand the love that has been offered in Christ.

-- Robert Schnase in Five Practices of Fruitful Living


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Recognize many of the tumultuous feelings that come in the first weeks [of grief].

After eerie, non-feeling numbness comes a constant yearning, and there are sharp, aching pangs of grief.

There is the wish to honor and to idealize the person who has gone.

There is a sense of amputation, and a void that shows itself in every detail of life, especially the chair, the table-setting and the bed.

There are 'if onlys', the feeling that the world has gone upside-down, and a determination never to forget.

There can be a rage and bitterness you never expected, and a strong feeling of guilt, both of which sour the purer aspects of your grief.

There are tentative efforts to find meaning, and perhaps a longing to hide yourself away.

There is some cynicism, and there are isolated points of hope.

There is dreadful turmoil of mind, and quiet appreciation.

There is the feeling that you no longer want to live beyond tomorrow.

There is also the firm determination that the grief shall itself be a tribute.

-- from All in the End is Harvest: An anthology for those who grieve, edited by Agnes Whitake


Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Our only business is to love God, and delight ourselves in Him. All kinds of disciplines, no matter how rugged, are quite useless if not motivated by love for God.

-- Brother Lawrence in The Practice of the Presence of God


Monday, July 18, 2011


I'm gonna hit good shots, I'm gonna win tournaments. I'm gonna lose tournaments, I'm gonna hit bad shots. I'll get frustrated in life. But when you accept Christ, that's for eternity.

-- Steve Jones, PGA golfer


Wednesday, July 13, 2011


One of the afflictions of pastoral work has been to listen, with a straight face, to all the reasons people give for not going to church.

-- Eugene Peterson in A Long Obedience


Tuesday, July 12, 2011


It s in our nature to seek shelter from a storm, whether atmospheric or economic. We read many instances in the Old Testament in which famine drove people to turn back to God. And even today, in the midst of our current economic crisis, we read reports of increasing attendance at many congregations.

Times of trouble also cause people to shift their spending. Extravagant luxuries give way to more practical, generic items -- the simple basics. That shift in spending reminds us of Jesus' words, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth… but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)

Economic crisis can lead people to reassess their values, changing their focus to family, friends, and a more meaningful purpose in life. As people come back to the basics of the soul… stand ready to provide the aid and comfort… for all those seeking refuge along the Christian journey. "For you have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rainstorm, and a shade from the heat." (Isaiah 25:4)

-- from Cokesbury: Resources for the Christian Journey, 2009-2010 Catalogue


Monday, July 11, 2011


"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25).

Marriage provides a private, intimate look into sacrificial love, a glimpse into the mysteries of Christ's desire for us. A faithful, lifetime partner witnesses our despicable faults and sins, yet still values us by toughing it out over the years. Such human love is a taste of God's divine passion. Marriage provides a living object lesson of spiritual truth.

-- Janet Chester Bly in When Your Marriage Disappoints You


Friday, July 8, 2011


Whatever our traps, our inner prisons, our hopelessness, our gray, rigid lifestyles, our resigned, mediocre expectations, God longs to free us. God longs for us to rise with fully spread, powerful wings, no longer helpless, cringing children, but renewed and bold, close to God's heart.

The summer I was twenty-one, I was leaving home for my first job two thousand miles away, in a western state where we had no friends. I think back to my mother and how she must have felt as she helped me choose my suitcases and buy my ticket. I think, with awed gratitude, how she did NOT offer to drive me there and to help me get settled. I remember her expression when she learned there was no doctor or railroad or airport nearer than fifty miles from where I was to be located. I saw her expression, but I also saw how she refrained from protest. "Spread your beautiful wings, darling," were her releasing words as I boarded the train.

I have carried those empowering words of release in my heart ever since, especially when facing new adventure and feeling timidity and old habit holding me down. It is God's voice.

-- Flora Slosson Wuellner in Prayer, Fear, and Our Powers, published by The Upper Room, Nashville, TN. Used with permission.


Thursday, July 7, 2011


The Bible reflects the view that truth is a fitting relationship between a thought or statement and that which it is about; is not the same as belief or opinion; can be known; and is simple.

Take, for instance, your car's gas tank. A statement about your tank might be, "My gas tank contains gas." Truth would be a fitting relationship between that statement and the actual contents of your tank. This is not the same as a belief: "I believe my gas tank contains gas." Your belief will not affect the contents of your tank or the ability of your car to start. The truth about whether your tank is empty, however, would. If your belief corresponds to the actual contents of your tank, then your belief is true. Moreover, the truth about your tank can be known. Try to start the car. Dismantle the car and check. The truth or falsehood about your tank's contents is simple enough for a child to understand.

Some true beliefs are hard or currently impossible to verify. An example is, "Those who trust in Christ will be raised from death at the end of this age." However, the ability to verify it does not determine whether a statement is true. Things can be true but not currently provable.

You believe many things not because you have personally verified them, but based on authority. Perhaps you are not a particle physicist, but you believe that all matter is composed of invisible particles called electrons, protons, and so on. That's fine. Reliable authority is a good source of true beliefs. However, because authorities are fallible, it is possible to have authority without truth. However, the dishonesty of some authorities does not mean it is foolish to believe anything on authority.

-- Karen Lee-Thorp in A Compact Guide to the Bible


Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I don't have to make my own path. I just have to be submissive to God's plan for my life, and do the best I can every day. I'm confident that will be good enough. Even though it may not be good enough to produce the number of victories our fans want, or that I want, that's not the issue. So long as the scorecard I concern myself with is from above, then I don't have to worry. I'm trying to do the best I can today. All I've been promised is this day. That's biblical. We're not to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have enough troubles of its own.

-- Brad Soderberg, college basketball coach, in Sports Spectrum


Tuesday, July 5, 2011


During World War II, Hitler commanded all religious groups to unite so that he could control them. Among the Brethren assemblies, half complied and half refused. Those who went along with the order had a much easier time. Those who did not, faced harsh persecution. In almost every family of those who resisted, someone died in a concentration camp.

When the war was over, feelings of bitterness ran deep between the groups and there was much tension. Finally they decided that the situation had to be healed. Leaders from each group met at a quiet retreat. For several days, each person spent time in prayer, examining his own heart in the light of Christ's commands. Then they came together. Francis Schaeffer, who told of the incident, asked a friend who was there, "What did you do then?" "We were just one," he replied. As they confessed their hostility and bitterness to God and yielded to His control, the Holy Spirit created a spirit of unity among them. Love filled their hearts and dissolved their hatred.

When love prevails among believers, especially in times of strong disagreement, it presents to the world an indisputable mark of a true follower of Jesus Christ.

-- Our Daily Bread, October 4, 1992


Friday, July 1, 2011


Christian freedom is… not a life of license to do whatever you want, but it also isn't a life of rules. Like so much in Christianity, freedom is a paradox: "For freedom Christ has set us free … do not submit again to a yoke of slavery, but through love become slaves of one another." (Galatians 5:1)

Christ sets us free – but to become servants in a different way. What must the Galatians have made of this? Indeed, what are we who live in the land of the free to make of it?

Martin Luther once wrote that there are two essential truths to being a Christian: "A Christian is a free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a dutiful servant of all, subject to all." This is the great paradox of the Christian life. We are no longer bound by the law, but we are bound by the love of Jesus, and that love binds us to one another.

-- Porter Taylor in From Anger to Zion: An Alphabet of Faith