Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Once your heart has been turned inwardly to the Lord, you will have an impression of His presence. You will be able to notice His presence more acutely because your outer senses have now become very calm and quiet. The Lord's chief desire is to reveal Himself to you. He touches you, and His touch is so delightful that, more than ever, you are drawn inwardly to Him.

-- Madame Jeanne Guyon (a seventeenth-century believer who spent almost twenty-five years in prison for her religious beliefs), quoted by Foster and Smith in Devotional Classics


Tuesday, November 29, 2011


People want signs from God but tend to ignore them when they are present. Even while God was making the "mountains quake" at Sinai in Exodus 32, talking with Moses on the mountaintop, and giving him the Law, the people of Israel were at the bottom of the mountain complaining against God and Moses and crafting their own god in the form of a golden calf. No matter how spectacular the sign or evidence, humans are easily blinded to God's presence and power because of sin -- the serious human drive for self-interest and self-indulgence. Sin has a way of blocking our view of God by putting up a mirror that causes us to fall in love with our own reflection.

-- Robert Kaylor in Come to the Manger


Monday, November 28, 2011


"Some were sick through their sinful ways,
and because of their iniquities endured affliction;
they loathed any kind of food,
and they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and He saved them from their distress;
He sent out His Word and healed them,
and delivered them from destruction." (Psalm 107:17-20 NRSV)

Our experience tells us that sin does not stand alone. A sinful act begins a string of events that cannot be undone. Sin causes much suffering: It dashes dreams, it ruins relationships, it deepens despair.... When we are drowning in a sea of sinfulness, wandering in a wilderness of despondency, cut off from everything that is good, our only hope is to cry to the Lord. ...

God will not relieve us of the responsibility for our sin or treat us like spoiled children. God will not restore what we have ruined or rebuild what we have destroyed. But God WILL give us faith to rebuild.

-- Jerry L. McGlone in The Upper Room Disciplines 2003, published by The Upper Room, Nashville, TN. Used with permission.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Do you know why you should feel grateful? You are a part of God's plan, you are touched by God's tenderness, and you are a victor in God's victory. What greater blessing could there be?

-- Max Lucado


Tuesday, November 22, 2011


O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.

-- Samuel F. Pugh


Monday, November 21, 2011


To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything He has given us -- and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a gift of grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God.

-- Thomas Merton in Thoughts in Solitude


Friday, November 18, 2011


To be aware and sensitive is more than the notion of "touchy-feely" that many men seem to dislike. It simply means to be aware of the abundance of good and the presence of God in your life and your relationships with others. When you are aware, you are able to take responsibility for your own feelings and needs in order to take into consideration the feelings and needs of others close to you… You begin to see others as children of God and not people who make demands on you. Sensitivity becomes a movement of the Spirit upon our hearts that causes us to ask, "What does this child of God need that I can offer?"

-- Eugene Blair in What Kind of Man Was Joseph and What Kind of Man Are You?


Thursday, November 17, 2011


Nothing can choke the heart and soul out of walking with God like legalism. Rigidity is the most certain sign that the disciplines have spoiled. The disciplined person is the person who can live appropriately in life.
Consider the story of Hans the tailor. Because of his reputation, an influential entrepreneur visiting the city ordered a tailor-made suit. But when he came to pick up his suit, the customer found that one sleeve twisted that way and the other this way; one shoulder bulged out and the other caved in. He pulled and struggled and finally, wrenched and contorted, he managed to make his body fit. As he returned home on the bus, another passenger noticed his odd appearance and asked if Hans the tailor had made the suit. Receiving an affirmative reply, the man remarked, "Amazing! I knew that Hans was a good tailor, but I had no idea he could make a suit fit so perfectly someone as deformed as you."

Often that is just what we do in the church. We get some idea of what the Christian faith should look like; then we push and shove people into the most grotesque configurations until they fit wonderfully! That is death. It is a wooden legalism which destroys the soul. (Scripture: Mark 7:9; Luke 11:52; Romans 2:28-29)

-- Richard J. Foster in "TSF Bulletin," Nov.-Dec. 1982. Leadership, Vol. 4, no. 2.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011


“For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:14-19)

There are a few fundamental questions we do well to pose to our own hearts: How am I being rooted and grounded in love? Do I know, with the depth of authentic knowing, that Christ dwells in my heart by faith? Where do I experience being strengthened in my inner being with power through the Spirit? These questions have bearing on the health of our spiritual practice. As church leaders, do we offer ourselves to God before and through all the ways we offer ourselves to those we serve? I invite you to ponder these questions and to note your reflections in response. They are not abstract questions. The way you answer them will reveal a great deal to you about the health of your root system for the growing plant of your active ministry. If our spiritual roots do not dig deep into the soil of God’s love, if they have not yet twined around and beyond some of the buried stones blocking nourishment from that soil, then our ministry will be stunted, top-heavy, or easily uprooted.

-- Marjorie J. Thompson, excerpt from an article entitled “Rooted and Grounded in Christ,” in “Leading from the Center”


Tuesday, November 15, 2011


"How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, indeed faints for the courts of the Lord." (Psalm 84:1-2)

Vibrant, fruitful, growing churches offer Passionate Worship that connects people to God and to one another. People gather consciously as the Body of Christ with eagerness and expectancy; encounter Christ through singing, prayer, Scripture, preaching, and Holy Communion; and respond by allowing God's Spirit to shape their lives. Lives shaped by God's Spirit become the nucleus for congregations with extraordinary warmth, graciousness, and belonging. People are searching for worship that is authentic, alive, creative, and comprehensible, where they experience the life-changing presence of God in the presence of others.

-- Robert Schnase in Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations


Monday, November 14, 2011


Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31 NKJV)

It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without giving.

-- Richard Braustein


Friday, November 11, 2011


Sometimes we are tempted to believe that deeds, not words, are the most important part of our witness for Christ. But upon deeper reflection we realize how very important words are. A record of only the deeds of Jesus would be a treasure, of course. However, to add His words to the record of His deeds adds infinite richness to our understanding of Jesus. The words of Jesus help interpret for us His deeds, and His deeds help give credibility to His words. The same is true of the person who witnesses for Christ.

-- Harold K. Bates in Witness for Christ


Monday, November 7, 2011


e tend to confine the sacred to a fenced-in area, the "spiritual," reserved for church activities. Many people rarely give God a thought apart from an hour on Sunday morning, when they sing songs of praise, listen to a sermon, and then reenter the secular world as if passing through an air lock. My pastor tells me that church members tell off-color jokes in the parking lot that they would never repeat in the sanctuary. When the doors close behind them, they believe they leave sacred space, as if the world neatly divides between secular and sacred.

-- Philip Yancey in Rumors of Another World


Friday, November 4, 2011


What is our death but a night's sleep? For as through sleep all weariness and faintness pass away and cease, and the powers of the spirit come back again, so that in the morning we arise fresh and strong and joyous; so at the Last Day we shall rise again as if we had only slept a night, and shall be fresh and strong.
-- Martin Luther


Thursday, November 3, 2011


"Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Mathew 29:11 KJV))

"Come unto ME." A call not to join an organization, to follow an ethic, a new teaching, or even a way of life, but a call to meet a Person -- an invitation to come directly to Him, and through Him to God. He is the Door. He is the Way.

God desires to be approached. God can be approached through Jesus. Can anyone hold an intimate conversation with one of the Greek gods or with the Holy Other of the Old Testament? But the Father of Jesus Christ offers Himself to us: "Come unto Me."

And if we come -- "salvation." That is, the burden lifted, the weight removed. "I will give you rest." The release of sin. The removal of every fear. Freedom of conscience. Everlasting life. "Salvation comes only as the result of a vision of God," says D.T. Niles. Jesus brings us the vision of God -- the God Who desires to be approached. "It is not the fear of sin but the love of God which sets men free." (D.T. Niles, Seeing The Invisible)

-- H.S. Vigeveno in Jesus the Revolutionary


Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Sacrifice yourself for once for the sake of God's will. It will not be in vain. Sacrifice yourself for truth, for justice. Sacrifice yourself for once against all human sense for something that is truly good. Sacrifice yourself for Christ in all things, and seek the kingdom of God. There is great strength in this… Stand for something; then your joy will be unbroken and lasting.
-- C.F. Blumhardt in Freude im Herrn


Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Only by grace can we enter, only by grace can we stand
Not by our own endeavors, but by the blood of the Lamb.
Lord, if You marked our transgressions who could stand,
But by Your grace we are saved by the blood of the Lamb.

-- Petra