Saturday, June 23, 2012

The presence of clouds upon your sky...

Clouds and darkness are round about him—Psalm 97:2

The presence of clouds upon your sky and trials in your path are the very best evidence that you are following the pillar of cloud and walking in the presence of God. The disciples had to enter the cloud before they could behold the glory of the transfiguration. A little later that same cloud became the chariot to receive the ascending Lord, and it is still waiting as the chariot that will bring His glorious appearing. Still it is true that while clouds and darkness are round about him, mercy and truth are ever in their midst and shall go before thy face (Psalm 89:14). Perhaps the most beautiful and gracious use of the cloud was to shelter Israel from the fiery sun. Like a great umbrella, that majestic pillar spread its canopy above the camp and became a shielding shadow from the burning heat in the treeless desert. One who has never felt an oriental sun cannot fully appreciate how much this means-a shadow from the heat. So the Holy Spirit comes between us and the fiery, scorching rays of sorrow and temptation. ...AB Simpson
image by Sam Foles

Can we follow the Savior far...

Can we follow the Savior far,
who have no wound or scar?
-Amy Carmichael

Prayer and action...

Prayer and action, therefore, can never be seen as contradictory or mutually exclusive. Prayer without action grows in powerless pietism, and action without prayer degenerates into questionable manipulation. If prayer leads us into a deeper unity with the compassionate Christ, it will always give rise to concrete acts of service. And if concrete acts of service do indeed lead us to a deeper solidarity with the poor, the hungry, the sick, the dying, and the oppressed, they will always give rise to prayer. In prayer we meet Christ, and in him all human suffering. In service we meet people, and in them the suffering Christ.  ...Henri J. M. Nouwen image

Pearls of patience, gentleness, and forgiveness...

I wish, brothers and sisters, that we could all imitate "the pearl oyster"—A hurtful particle intrudes itself into its shell, and this vexes and grieves it. It cannot reject the evil, but what does it do but "cover" it with a precious substance extracted out of its own life, by which it turns the intruder into a pearl! Oh, that we could do so with the provocations we receive from our fellow Christians, so that pearls of patience, gentleness, and forgiveness might be bred within us by that which otherwise would have harmed us. ...Charles Spurgeon photo

A lack of ardor in prayer...

A lack of ardor in prayer, is the sure sign of a lack of depth and of intensity of desire; and the absence of intense desire is a sure sign of God's absence from the heart! To abate fervor is to retire from God. He can, and does, tolerate many things in the way of infirmity and error in his children. He can, and will pardon sin when the penitent prays, but two things are intolerable to him-insincerity and lukewarmness. Lack of heart and lack of heat are two things he loathes, and to the Laodiceans he said, in terms of unmistakable severity and condemnation:

I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. ...
EM Bounds

May God grant that we learn day by day...

May God grant that we learn day by day to wait more quietly upon Him. Do not wait upon God only for ourselves, or the power to do so will soon be lost; but give ourselves up to the ministry and the love of intercession, and pray more for God’s people, for God’s people round about us, for the Spirit of love in ourselves and in them, and for the work of God we are connected with; and the answer will surely come, and our waiting upon God will be a source of untold blessing and power. “The fruit of the Spirit is love.” Andrew Murray photo

Those who know nothing of the spiritual life...

Those who know nothing of the spiritual life declare that it is impossible to experience real peace and heavenly joy in this grief-stricken world. But those who have experience of the spiritual life know that just as one finds here and there in the midst of the ice fields of the polar regions flowing streams of hot water, so in the midst of this cold and sorrow-laden world there are to be found flowing in the hearts of believers restful streams of heavenly peace, for the hidden fire of the Holy Spirit glows within them. ...Sadhu Sundar Singh image

Monday, June 18, 2012

Shall I give you yet another reason why you should pray?

Shall I give you yet another reason why you should pray? I have preached my very heart out. I could not say any more than I have said. Will not your prayers accomplish that which my preaching fails to do? Is it not likely that the Church has been putting forth its preaching hand but not its praying hand? Oh dear friends! Let us agonize in prayer.
...CH Spurgeon image by Jesus Leon

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

When we are spiritually free...

When we are spiritually free, we do not have to worry about what to say or do in unexpected, difficult circumstances. When we are not concerned about what others think of us or what we will get for what we do, the right words and actions will emerge from the centre of our beings because the Spirit of God, who makes us children of God and sets us free, will speak and act through us.
...Henri J. M. Nouwen image by EI Sanchez

Sunday, June 10, 2012

We need never shout...

We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts. ...AW Tozer image

If there lurks in most modern minds...

If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. ...CS Lewis image by Dayna Sigl

Prayer can only be appreciated...

Like art, like music, like so many other disciplines, prayer can only be appreciated when you actually spend time in it. Spending time with the Master will elevate your thinking. The more you pray, the more will be revealed. You will appreciate not only the greatness of prayer, but the greatness of God. ...Joni Eareckson Tada image

The basin in which he washes us is his love...

God loves his creature, man; he even loves him in his fall and does not leave him to himself. He loves him to the end. He is impelled with his love to the very end, to the extreme: he came down from his divine glory.

He came down to the extreme lowliness of our fall. He kneels before us and carries out for us the service of a slave: he washes our dirty feet so that we might be admitted to God's banquet and be made worthy to take our place at his.

God is not a remote God, too distant or too great to be bothered with our trifles. Since God is great, he can also be concerned with small things. Since he is great, the soul of man, the same man, created through eternal love, is not a small thing but great, and worthy of God's love.

God's holiness is not merely an incandescent power before which we are obliged to withdraw, terrified. It is a power of love and therefore a purifying and healing power.

God descends and becomes a slave. In this, the entire mystery of Jesus Christ is expressed. In this, what redemption means becomes visible. The basin in which he washes us is his love, ready to face death. Only love has that purifying power which washes the grime from us and elevates us to God's heights.

The basin that purifies us is God himself, who gives himself to us without reserve-to the very depths of his suffering and his death. He is continually on his knees at our feet and carries out for us the service of a slave, the service of purification, making us capable of God. His love is inexhaustible, it truly goes to the very end. ...Benedict XVI image

Spirit seeking light and beauty...

Spirit seeking light and beauty,
Heart that longest for thy rest,
Soul that asketh understanding,
Only thus can ye be blest.
Thro’ the vastness of creation
Tho’ your restless thought may roam,
God is all that you can long for,
God is all his creatures' home.

Taste and see him, feel and hear him,
Hope and grasp his unseen hand;
Tho’ the darkness seem to hide him,
Faith and love can understand.
God, who lovest all thy creatures,
All our hearts are known to thee;
Lead us thro’ the land of shadows
To thy blest eternity.
...Janet Erskine

To pray...

To pray is nothing more involved than to lie in the sunshine of His grace, to expose our distress of body and soul to those healing rays which can in a wonderful way counteract and render ineffective the bacteria of sin. ...O. Hallesby
 image by Elvert Barnes

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Oh, how great peace and quietness...

Oh, how great peace and quietness would he possess who should cut off all vain anxiety and place all his confidence in God. ...Thomas a Kempis image

Friday, June 1, 2012

What cause have they who have an interest in Christ...

What cause have they who have an interest in Christ,
to glory in their Redeemer! They are often beset with many evils, and many mighty enemies surround them on every side, with open mouths ready to devour them. But they need not fear any of them. They may glory in Christ, the rock of their salvation, who appears so gloriously above them all. They may triumph over Satan, over this evil world, over guilt, and over death. For as their Redeemer is mighty, and is so exalted above all evil, so shall they also be exalted in him, They are now, in a sense, so exalted. For nothing can hurt them. Christ carries them, as on eagle's wings, high out of the reach of all evils, so that they cannot come near them, to do them any real harm. Jonathan Edwards photo

Let us never forget...

Let us never forget that the Husbandman is never so near the land as when He is plowing it, the very time when we are tempted to think He hath forsaken us. His plowing is a proof that He thinks you of value, and worth chastening: for He does not waste His plowing on the barren sand. He will not plow continually, but only for a time, and for a definite purpose... Soon, aye soon, we shall, through these painful processes and by His gentle showers of grace, become His fruitful land. ...Lettie B. Cowman

Let us seek the grace of a cheerful heart...

Let us seek the grace of a cheerful heart, an even temper, sweetness, gentleness, and brightness of mind, as walking in His light, and by His grace. Let us pray to Him to give us the spirit of ever-abundant, everspringing love, which overpowers and sweeps away the vexations of life by its own richness and strength, and which, above all things, unites us to Him who is the fountain and the centre of all mercy, loving-kindness, and joy. John Henry Newman photo

If you feel a great loneliness...

If you feel a great loneliness and a deep longing for human contact, you have to be extremely discerning...and ask yourself whether this situation is truly God given. Because where God wants you to be, God holds you safe and gives you peace, even when there is pain. To live a disciplined life is to live in such a way that you want only to be where God is with you. The more deeply you live your spiritual life, the easier it will be to discern the difference between living with God and living without God, and the easier it will be to move away from the places where God is no longer with you.
...Henri Nouwen image by Sasha Wolff