Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The gloom of the world is but a shadow...

Sunrise on Marblehead Neck, MA
I am your friend and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not got, but there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take.

No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven!

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant. Take peace!

The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach is joy. There is radiance and glory in the darkness could we but see - and to see we have only to look. I beseech you to look!

Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by the covering, cast them away as ugly, or heavy or hard. Remove the covering and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, by wisdom, with power.

Welcome it, grasp it, touch the angel's hand that brings it to you. Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty, believe me, that angel's hand is there, the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Our joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty - beneath its covering - that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.

Courage, then, to claim it, that is all. But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are all pilgrims together, wending through unknown country, home.

And so, at this time, I greet you. Not quite as the world sends greetings, but with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you now and forever, the day breaks, and the shadows flee away.

This letter was written by Fra Giovanni Giocondo to his friend, Countess Allagia Aldobrandeschi on Christmas Eve, 1513. image

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Men and women are at their noblest and best...

James Byron
Men and women are at their noblest and best when they are on their knees before God in prayer. To pray is not only to be truly godly; it is also to be truly human. For here are human beings, made by God like God and for God, spending time in fellowship with God. So prayer is an authentic activity in itself, irrespective of any benefits it may bring us. Yet it is also one of the most effective of all means of grace. I doubt if anybody has ever become at all Christlike who has not been diligent in prayer. ...John R. W. Stott image

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

From God Christ's deity came forth...

From God Christ's deity came forth,
His manhood from humanity;
his priesthood from Melchizedek,
his royalty from David's tree:
praised be his Oneness.

He joined with guests at wedding feast,
Yet in the wilderness did fast;
he taught within the temple's gates;
his people saw him die at last:
praised be his teaching.
 
The dissolute he did not scorn,
Nor turn from those who were in sin;
he for the righteous did rejoice
but bade the fallen to come in:
praised be his mercy.
 
He did not disregard the sick;
To simple ones his word was given;
and he descended to the earth
and, his work done, went up to heaven:
praised be his coming.
 
Who then, my Lord, compares to you?
The Watcher slept, the Great was small,
the Pure baptized, the Life who died,
the King abased to honor all:
praised be your glory.
...By Ephrem of Edessa image

Monday, December 1, 2014

During this Advent season...

Couple
During this Advent season as we celebrate the new relationship between God and his people, may that be mirrored in our renewed relationships with spouses, children, family and those near and dear to us. May we speak tenderly to each other amidst all the rush of the season and transform the shopping days till Christmas into the true Advent of Christ. ...Casely Essamuah image

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bishop Julian Dobbs Advent Bible Series: Part I


Advent 1 from Julian Dobbs on Vimeo.

Part One:   Christ is surely coming!                             
2 Thessalonians 1

Saturday, November 29, 2014

One of the essential paradoxes of Advent...

One of the essential paradoxes of Advent: that while we wait for God, we are with God all along ,that while we need to be reassured of God’s arrival, or the arrival of our homecoming, we are already at home. While we wait, we have to trust, to have faith, but it is God’s grace that gives us that faith. As with all spiritual knowledge, two things are true, and equally true, at once. The mind can’t grasp paradox; it is the knowledge of the soul. ...Michelle Blake image

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life...

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected
if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy
by the word of God and prayer.  -1 Timothy 4:4-5
 
When everything we receive from him is received and prized as a fruit and pledge of his covenant love, then his bounties, instead of being set up as rivals and idols to draw our heart from him, awaken us to fresh exercises of gratitude, and furnish us with fresh motives of cheerful obedience every hour. ...John Newton
 
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity….It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. ...Melody Beattie image

Monday, November 24, 2014

That which is born in prayer...

play of light in santhome church
For this sin hungry age we need a prayer-hungry Church. We need to explore again the "exceeding great and precious promises of God." In "that great day," the fire of judgment is going to test the sort, not the size, of the work we have done. That which is born in prayer will survive the test. Prayer does business with God. Prayer creates hunger for souls; hunger for souls creates prayer. The understanding soul prays, the praying soul gets understanding. To the soul who prays in self-owned weakness, the Lord gives His strength. ...Leonard Ravenhill image

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lift up thine eyes, O watchman...

Lift up thine eyes, O watchman, the armies of the Lord
Are riding forth to conquest with buckler, shield and sword;
Glad tidings unto Zion, that valiant host shall ring,
And shout aloud, “Hosanna! The Lord, the Lord is King”;
And shout aloud, “Hosanna! The Lord, the Lord is King.”
 
What dost thou see, O watchman? What dost thou see afar?
“The gleaming of a banner, the rising of a Star.”
Then cry aloud, O watchman, with trumpet voice proclaim,
To all a full salvation, through Christ, the Savior’s Name,
To all a full salvation, through Christ, the Savior’s Name.
 
That radiant banner gleaming, that Star divinely bright,
Shall bear to every nation the bless├Ęd Gospel light;
All kingdoms, crowns, and scepters, before the Cross shall fall,
And Christ shall reign triumphant, the King and Lord of all;
And Christ shall reign triumphant, the King and Lord of all.
-Fanny Crosby image

Monday, November 17, 2014

The place of real prayer...

Sunset at Singita - IMG_2666
The place of real prayer is the Christian's treasure chamber. He is there in the midst of the treasures of grace which God has given him, and it is there that God enriches him more and more; but in the secret place of the Most High where he dwells, he is rich in love, joy, peace, and all the fruits of the Spirit. ...Clarence Dixon image