Friday, October 29, 2010

We believe that God is present everywhere

091129 choir church festival gm

We believe that God is present everywhere, and the eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the good and the bad.... We must therefore consider how we should behave in the sight of Divine Majesty, and as we sing our psalms let us see to it that our mind is in harmony with our voice. ...Benedict of Nursia image

…of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves…

Oct 29, 2010
David B. Hart

Autumn is the most beautiful and most mysterious of the seasons, at least to me, just as twilight is the most beautiful and mysterious part of the day. There is something so hypnotically uncanny about these liminal times—between summer and winter, between day and night—partly because of the obliging softness of the light, which lends such depth and subtlety to the world’s colors, and partly because of the strange feeling of suspense that pervades them.

Everything seems to hover tremulously in a state of pure transformation, slowly passing from one fixed condition to another—from seething torpor to icy dormancy, from light to darkness. There is a haunting sense that everything has been briefly displaced from any proper order, that almost anything might happen, that strange, lovely, and mighty forms are moving just behind the surface of reality. These are the times when one is most immediately aware of the numinous within nature.

This, at any rate, was what I said to my son—in very different terms—as we stood there looking down over the lake, and he agreed with me heartily. Then he observed that a forest is always a mysterious place, no matter what the season, and I had to concede the point, with a discreet thrill of paternal pride. But then he remarked that this must be why people used to believe there were spirits of the trees and streams, before science discovered that there are no such beings.

I was stunned; his words pierced me to the core. Where on earth, I wondered, had he acquired this dreadful superstition? Who had corrupted his eleven-year-old mind with the abominable nonsense that science had somehow “discovered” the nonexistence of nature spirits, or that modern empirical method could ever possibly be competent to do such a thing? Suppressing my alarm as best I could, I quickly interrogated him, and within a few moments had learned the title of the offending school text...Full essay image by fesoj

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Insignificant Is Beautiful

Why exactly do we want to make a difference in the world?
Mark Galli

...the search for significance, especially if it requires changing the world, can blind us to the everyday tasks, the mundane duties, and the dirty work that is part and parcel of the life of discipleship.

I have a good friend who has been caring for his elderly mother. She sits in a wheel chair, complains a lot, and requires constant attention — to the point of cleaning her up after regular bouts of diarrhea. What my friend and his wife are doing is heroic, virtue with a capital V. But it is hard to see how it is "world changing" as we normally think about such things. Such an act doesn't even change the mother's life, only makes it less miserable. It's not even "significant," by our usual calculation, but "merely" an act of love.

When we think of making a difference, we think about making the world a better place for the next generation, not taking care of people who have no future. This is one reason we are quick to push the incontinent into "managed care" staffed with "skilled nurses." No question that this is indeed a necessary move for many families—I had to do it with my own father, sad to say. But let's face it. A fair amount of our motive is mixed. How much skill does it take to clean up excrement from an elderly body? Mostly it takes forbearance—and a willingness to give oneself night and day to something that, according to our usual reckoning, is not all that significant. the rest 
image by Derrick Tyson

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It is not the mere beholding...

It is not the mere beholding, but the gaze of love and trust that moulds us by silent sympathy into the likeness of His wondrous beauty, who is fairer than the children of men.... Lay your hearts down before Christ. Contemplate Him. Love Him. Think about Him. Let that pure face shine upon heart and He will "be formed in you." Spirits that dwell with Christ become Christ-like. ...Alexander MacLaren image

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The wind blows where it wishes...

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

We don't know where the wind comes from or where it goes. But we can and do feel it. And it can wreck old patterns of living. A storm of wind is the same thing as a meeting with the Holy Spirit of God. You don't sit down and negotiate with either: you get blown about or blown up, and in that way you make progress and change. So will the explosion come in Church affairs. The Lord will get fed up with his children's foolishness and will bring about change. It will amount to a spiritual explosion. Paul experienced one. ...Cyril Brooks image

Saturday, October 16, 2010

God delights to plan for His children...

God delights to plan for His children. No human father ever experienced such joy in planning for his child as God experiences as He plans for you. He does not want you to miss any part of His beautiful purpose for you. His plans are filled with details of blessing, joy, and wonderful surprises. David said, "The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare"  ...Wesley L. Duewel image by Julian Povey

Friday, October 15, 2010

But how shall we rest in God?

But how shall we rest in God? By giving ourselves wholly to Him. If you give yourself by halves, you cannot find full rest - there will ever be a lurking disquiet in that half which is withheld...All peace and happiness in this world depend upon unreserved self-oblation to God. If this be hearty and entire, the result will be an unfailing, ever-increasing happiness, which nothing can disturb. There is no real happiness in this life save that which is the result of a peaceful heart. ...Jean Nicolas Grou image by Kelsey

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"He shall give you another Comforter...

"He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever." John 14:16

We cannot control His working; He is most sovereign in all His operations, but are we sufficiently anxious to obtain His help, or sufficiently watchful lest we provoke Him to withdraw His aid? Without Him we can do nothing, but by His almighty energy the most extraordinary results can be produced: everything depends upon his manifesting or concealing His power. Do we always look up to Him both for our inner life and our outward service with the respectful dependence which is fitting? Do we not too often run before His call and act independently of His aid? Let us humble ourselves this evening for past neglects, and now entreat the heavenly dew to rest upon us, the sacred oil to anoint us, the celestial flame to burn within us. ...CH Spurgeon
image by Kevin Dooley

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Christ never was in a hurry...

Christ never was in a hurry. There was no rushing forward, no anticipating, no fretting over what might be. Each day's duties were done as each day brought them, and the rest was left with God. ...Mary Slessor image

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dragonflies in the backyard...

This afternoon-a beautiful autumn day in Syracuse by the way-I noticed about a dozen or more red dragonflies flitting about the backyard. They were particularly interested in the little clouds of midges that dance in the bright shafts of afternoon sunlight. A tasty evening meal for them I presume. A few of them landed on the leaves of our small raised bed tomato/pepper garden. Raymond was able to capture a few pictures. Herschel was only mildly interested.-PD

(Click on pictures to enlarge.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Distinguish between the fact of God's presence...

Distinguish between the fact of God's presence, and the emotion of the fact. It is a happy thing when the soul seems desolate and deserted, if our faith can say, "I see Thee not. I feel Thee not, but Thou art certainly and graciously here, where I am as I am." Say it again and again: "thou art here: though the bush does not seem to burn with fire, it does burn.I will take the shoes from off my feet, for the place on which I stand is holy ground. ...Streams In The Desert image

The light of heaven is the face of Jesus Christ...

The light of heaven is the face of Jesus Christ; the joy of heaven is the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ; the melody of heaven is the name of Jesus Christ. The theme of heaven is the work of Jesus Christ. The employment of heaven is the work of Jesus Christ. The fullness of heaven is the Lord Jesus Christ, himself. ...Anonymous

Consider Jesus. Know Jesus. Learn what kind of Person it is you say you trust and love and worship. Soak in the shadow of Jesus. Saturate your soul with the ways of Jesus. Watch Him. Listen to Him. Stand in awe of Him. Let Him overwhelm you with the way He is. ...John Piper

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jesus Christ, the eternal Son...

For those of us who have put our faith in Jesus Christ, the quest of the ages is over. Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, came to dwell among us, being "the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being." For us, I say, the quest is over because God has now revealed Himself to us. What Jesus is, the Father is. Whoever looks on the Lord Jesus Christ looks upon all of God. ...AW Tozer image

Monday, October 4, 2010

When despondency seizes us...

When despondency seizes us, let us not give in to it. Rather, fortified and protected by the light of faith, let us with great courage say to the spirit of evil: "What are you to us, you who are cut off from God, a fugitive for Heaven, and a slave of evil? You dare not do anything to us: Christ, the Son of God, has dominion over us and over all. Leave us, you thing of bane. We are made steadfast by the uprightness of His Cross. Serpent, we trample on your head. ...Seraphim of Sarov image

You are holy, Lord, the only God...

You are holy, Lord, the only God,
and Your deeds are wonderful.
You are strong.
You are great.
You are the Most High.
You are Almighty.
You, Holy Father are King of heaven and earth.
You are Three and One, Lord God, all Good.
You are Good, all Good, supreme Good,
Lord God, living and true.
You are love. You are wisdom.
You are humility. You are endurance.
You are rest. You are peace.
You are joy and gladness.
You are justice and moderation.
You are all our riches, and You suffice for us.
You are beauty.
You are gentleness.
You are our protector.
You are our guardian and defender.
You are our courage. You are our haven and our hope.
You are our faith, our great consolation.
You are our eternal life, Great and Wonderful Lord,
God Almighty, Merciful Saviour.

...St. Francis image by Randy OHC

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pray the largest prayers...

Pray the largest prayers. You cannot think a prayer so large that God, in answering it, will not wish you had made it larger. Pray not for crutches but for wings! ...Phillips Brooks image