Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Such heed to little things...

There is more effort, more steadfastness, involved in a diligent attention to little duties than appears at first sight, and that because of their continual recurrence. Such heed to little things implies a ceaseless listening to the whispers of grace, a strict watchfulness against every thought, wish, word or act which can offend God ever so little, a constant effort to do everything as perfectly as possible. All this, however, must be done with a free, childlike spirit, without restlessness and anxiety. He does not ask a fretted, shrinking service. Give yourself to Him, trust Him, fix your eye upon Him, listen to His voice, and then go on bravely and cheerfully, never doubting for an instant that His grace will lead you in small things as well as great, and will keep you from offending His law of love. ...Jean Nicolas Grou image by Stacy Bass

Monday, November 29, 2010

If you come to worship...

If you come to worship for any reason other that the joy and pleasure and satisfaction that are to be found in God, you dishonour Him. To put it in other words, worship is first and foremost a feasting on all that God is for us in Jesus. This is because God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him. Or again, you are His pleasure when He is your treasure. Which is to say that God's greatest delight is your delight in Him. ...Sam Storms image

Prayer like incense...

Please pray for the hostage situation at Marinette High School in Wisconsin:   Story Here

Update November 30, 2010: Armed Wis. Student Frees Hostages, Shoots Self

I Was Ignorant, and You Taught Me

Nov 29, 2010
David Mills

Over the years, I have learned five things about the sort of people who write strangers to ask religious questions: 1) even a question about an apparently trivial matter or a wildly unfair criticism may reflect a real spiritual struggle; 2) most inquirers are looking more for confirmation or consolation than engagement and teaching; 3) many of those who honestly want to be taught do not want to be taught that much, beyond a “yes” or a “no” and a two sentence explanation; 4) many who ask your advice believe they know as much as you even though they have never read more than three pages on the subject; and 5) few will read you closely and will instead often misread what you’ve written as agreement or approval because that is what they really want.

Here are ten rules developed from my experiences writing people I don't know, for those who find them helpful. the rest

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fire of Advent

"Advent, like its cousin Lent, is a season for prayer and reformation of our hearts. Since it comes at winter time, fire is a fitting sign to help us celebrate Advent…If Christ is to come more fully into our lives this Christmas, if God is to become really incarnate for us, then fire will have to be present in our prayer. Our worship and devotion will have to stoke the kind of fire in our souls that can truly change our hearts. Ours is a great responsibility not to waste this Advent time." ...Edward Hays
 image by Benjamin Nussbaum

Friday, November 26, 2010

By faith we are led...

File:Faith Hope and Charity 003.jpg
We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thess. 1:3

By faith we are led, not against reason but beyond reason, to the knowledge of God Himself and therefore of ourselves.  By hope we are kept young of heart; for it teaches us to trust in God, to work with all our energy but to leave the future to Him; it gives us poverty of spirit and so saves us from solicitude.  And by love we are not told about God, we are brought to Him.  ...Gerald Yann image

Pass the Casserole

Losing control over your eating—like, when you can’t cook after surgery for cancer—has a way of turning anxiety into gratitude.
Ellen Painter Dollar

'Tis the season of dietary overindulgence, which starts with Halloween and lasts through New Year's Day, when many resolve to undo the damage inflicted by too many Christmas cookies. Seeking a balanced perspective on food in this unbalanced season, I eagerly read Christianity Today's cover story on the food movement. Leslie Leyland Fields argues for thoughtful food choices governed by our belief in a God who rules all creation, while cautioning against seeking perfection through our diets. Fields introduced me to the term orthorexia, an eating disorder characterized by an unhealthy obsession with healthy food. While I don't know anyone with orthorexia, I know plenty of people who are anxious about what they and their children eat, myself included.

In some ways, I'm laid-back about food; my kids get to keep all their Halloween candy and tuck potato chips into their tuna sandwiches. But I also know how I'm supposed to feed my family, and how often I fall short. When I pack an especially healthy school snack (hummus and pita, for example, instead of the usual cheddar Goldfish), I secretly hope the teacher will notice that I'm following the school's healthy snack policy to the letter. I worry that I'm not vigilant enough about my kids' diets given that my husband's family has a history of diabetes. I would like to lose a few pounds but feel defeated when, yet again, I skip breakfast, only to satisfy mid-morning hunger pangs by stopping at Starbucks for a latte and scone. the rest
image by Steven Depolo

The Story of Jonah

The story of Jonah from Corinth Baptist Church on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Meeting Scripture Through the Illuminated Word

The Saint John's Bible — sacred art and contemplative tool
by Phil Fox Rose
November 24th, 2010
The Saint John’s Bible needs no more justification than any religious art, but gains added weight because of the mystical importance in Christianity of the Word of God; the Bible is not dead text but living Word. “The illuminations are not illustrations,” says Michael Patella, OSB, chair of the committee that oversees the artwork. “They are spiritual meditations on the text.”

The potential of The Saint John’s Bible’s is most obvious in this idea of using it for a kind of lectio divina, the traditional contemplative method of sacred reading. They call it visio divina.

What I like about what we are doing is that we’re connecting the illumination with the text. — Barbara Sutton“The second movement in lectio is meditatio, and meditating on the illuminated word is one aspect of meditatio,” says Barbara Sutton, Associate Director of Formation and Outreach at Saint John University’s School of Theology/Seminary. “What I like about what we are doing is that we’re connecting the illumination with the text.” the rest image

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Psalm for giving grateful praise...

Psalm 100

1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world...

Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world: It is not he who prays most or fasts most, it is not he who gives most alms or is most eminent for temperance, chastity or justice; but it is he who is always thankful to God, who wills everything that God wills, who receives everything as an instance of God's goodness and has a heart always ready to praise God for it. ...William Law image by Alan Vernon

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christ the King

Let the whole militant Church of Christ be blessed; put power into all faithful ministries; convert this country; save it from abounding sin; let all the Nations of the Earth know the Lord... Bring the Church to break down all bonds of nationality, all limits of sects, and may we feel the blessed unity which is the very glory of the Church of Christ! Yea, let the whole Earth be filled with His glory! Our prayer can never cease until we reach this point: Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven! Nothing less than this can we ask for. ...CH Spurgeon image

It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the LORD
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
and many peoples shall come, and say:
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths."
For out of Zion shall go the law,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.
(Isa. 2:2-4).

Friday, November 19, 2010

The tests of life are to make, not break us...

The tests of life are to make, not break us. Trouble may demolish a man’s business but build up his character. The blow at the outward man may be the greatest blessing to the inner man. If God, then, puts or permits anything hard in our lives, be sure that the real peril, the real trouble, is that we shall lose if we flinch or rebel. ...Maltbie D. Babcock image

Deeds done in darkness

A prison epistle sheds light on otherwise unknown Christians suffering in secret cells
 Mindy Belz
November 20, 2010

In October Sayed Mossa handed a letter to a Westerner who came to visit him several times in jail in Afghanistan. He also asked the visitor not to come back, fearing that any misstep could lead to his death.

The letter, a copy of which WORLD received in late October (and can be viewed in its entirety below, except for several people's names redacted for their protection), begins with a plea "to the international church of the world and to the President Brother [Barack] Obama and to the heads of ISAF force in Afghanistan." It describes his imprisonment since late May "due to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, saviour of the world." It also describes daily beatings and torture: "They did sexual things with me, beat me by wood, by hands, by legs, mocked me ("he's Jesus Christ"), [spit] on me. No body let me for sleep night and day." He also has received death threats.  the rest image

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The prevailing idea seems to be...

The prevailing idea seems to be, that I come to God and ask Him for something that I want, and that I expect Him to give me that which I have asked. But this is a most dishonouring and degading conception. The popular belief reduces God to a servant, our servant: doing our bidding, performing our pleasure, granting our desires. No, prayer is a coming to God, telling Him my need, committing my way unto the Lord, and leaving Him to deal with it as seemeth Him best.  ...Arthur W. Pink image by Josh Pesavento

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Give us, O Lord, steadfast hearts

Give us, O Lord, steadfast hearts that cannot be dragged down by false loves; give us courageous hearts that cannot be worn down by trouble; give us righteous hearts that cannot be sidetracked by unholy or unworthy goals. Give to us also, our Lord and God, understanding to know You, wisdom to recognize You, and a faithfulness that will bring us to see You face to face. ...Thomas a Kempis image by Peter Rowley

Monday, November 15, 2010

As a sound may dislodge an avalanche...

As a sound may dislodge an avalanche, so the prayer of faith sets in motion the power of God. ...Mrs. Charles E. Cowman image

Come People of the Risen King

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

You need to be in fellowship of a church...

You need to be in fellowship of a church...If you separate a live coal from the others, it will soon die out. However, if you put a live coal in with other live coals, it will be a glow that will last for hours. ...Billy Graham image by Jo Naylor

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

To Thee, O Jesu, I direct my eyes...

To Thee, O Jesu, I direct my eyes;
To Thee my hands, to Thee my humble knees;
To Thee my heart shall offer sacrifice;
To Thee my thoughts, who my thoughts only sees;
To Thee myself,-myself and all I give;
To Thee I die; to Thee I only live.
-attributed to Sir Walter Raleigh

Saturday, November 6, 2010

We sometimes fear to bring our troubles to God...

We sometimes fear to bring our troubles to God, because they must seem small to Him who sitteth on the circle of the earth. But if they are large enough to vex and endanger our welfare, they are large enough to touch His heart of love. For love does not measure by a merchant's scales, not with a surveyor's chain. It hath a delicacy... unknown in any handling of material substance. ...RA Torrey image

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble knees...

Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who have an anxious heart,
"Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you."
-Isaiah 35:3-4

Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.
Make level paths for your feet,
so that the lame may not be disabled,
 but rather healed.
-Hebrews 12:12-13

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
-Philippians 2:9-11 image

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

There is tremendous relief in knowing that His love to me is utterly realistic...

“He told me everything I ever did.” -John 4:39

There is tremendous relief in knowing that His love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery can disillusion Him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench His determination to bless me. There is, certainly, great cause for humility in the thought that He sees all the twisted things about me that my fellow-men do not see (and I am glad!), and that He sees more corruption in me than that which I see in myself (which, in all conscience, is enough). There is, however, equally great incentive to worship and love God in the thought that, for some unfathomable reason, He wants me as His friend, and desires to be my friend, and has given His Son to die for me in order to realize this purpose. ...JI Packer image

Political fortunes go up and down, but the LORD endures forever...

by Raymond Dague

Political fortunes go up and down, but the LORD endures forever. I am happy about yesterday’s election,.. mostly. A candidate that I supported is still a post-election night cliffhanger, but many of the races went the way I wanted them to go. But win, loose or draw, there is a danger in putting our energies into the results of an election, and that danger is that we look too much to temporal things, and too little to eternal things. The image of the kingdom of man is temporal and skewed and uneven as seen in a defective mirror (see picture), but the image of the kingdom of God is clear in the sight of the LORD and of those who follow the Lord Jesus.

Want an antidote to the defects of the temporal? How about Sunday worship? Prayer and bible reading each morning in the privacy of your morning? Getting together with others Christians during the week to share the struggles of faith? Giving to the church and to those in need (whether or not the gift is tax deductable)? Reaching out to those who are hurting in your circle, and maybe even to those just beyond your circle? Turning your prayer and directed energy to the need of another, and not just to self? All of these will help us look to eternal things, whether the election goes the way we want, or does not.

Be at church this Sunday at 10:00 am at  Church of the Holy Trinity or wherever you worship the LORD.

(picture of Onondaga County Courthouse in Syracuse NY reflected off a nearby building-Raymond Dague)

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints Day: Ye watchers and ye holy ones,

Ye watchers and ye holy ones,
bright seraphs, cherubim, and thrones,
raise the glad strain, Alleluia!
Cry out, dominions, princedoms, powers,
virtues, archangels, angels' choirs:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

O higher than the cherubim,
more glorious than the seraphim,
lead their praises, Alleluia!
Thou bearer of th' eternal Word,
most gracious, magnify the Lord:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Respond, ye souls in endless rest,
ye patriarchs and prophets blest,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Ye holy twelve, ye martyrs strong,
all saints triumphant, raise the song:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

O friends, in gladness let us sing,
supernal anthems echoing,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
To God the Father, God the Son,
and God the Spirit, Three in One:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
John A.L. Riley image