Saturday, September 29, 2012

Feast of Michael and all Angels

The Archangel Michael - Hans Memling
Everlasting God, you have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order the ministries of angels and mortals: Mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven, so by your appointment they may help and defend us here on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. image

Just Disconnect
It was said of John Henry Newman that he was never less alone than when alone. Newman liked the peace and quiet of isolation: it allowed him to read, to think and to write.

I confess to some sympathy for Newman on this. I do not like the hyperconnectivity of the current world. As an administrator at Westminster, I had a seminary cell phone. I had to upgrade it to a smartphone last year because Verizon indicated they would no longer support the vintage model I then possessed. I remember that, when I went in to exchange it, the man behind the counter looked at the phone, looked at me and then, choking back the laughter, declared "You're that guy!" Shamed into silence, I nodded mutely and mumbled my mandated request for a smartphone.

Now, having stepped down from the administration, I have rid myself of the thing and reverted to a phone that (and yes, this sounds terribly outdated, I know) simply allows me to phone people. You know, like they did in the olden days. Sadly, I am sure that the free market will ensure that it will be 'no longer supported' within a few years. At that point I will have to pay extra every month for a data package to provide data which I have no interest in receiving, but until then, I can resist, Canute-like, the incoming tide of things I really do not need or like but which others have determined that I apparently 'must have.'...

Changing the World Begins with Prayer
...The work of reaching and changing the world is, indeed, a work done on our knees. And, it is a work that takes on the nature of fierce and intense warfare. After all, one of Satan’s chief weapons is to cut off communication with God, communication that takes place in prayer. John Piper is certainly correct when he writes, “Prayer is meant by God to be a wartime walkie-talkie, not a domestic intercom … not for the enhancement of our comforts but for the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom.”...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The incentive to peacemaking is love...

The incentive to peacemaking is love, but it degenerates into appeasement whenever justice is ignored. To forgive and to ask for forgiveness are both costly exercises. All authentic Christian peacemaking exhibits the love and justice-and so the pain-of the cross. ...John Stott image by Ben

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The risen life of Jesus...

The risen life of Jesus is the nourishment and strengthening and blessing and life of a Christian. Our daily experience ought to be that there comes, wavelet by wavelet, that silent, gentle, and yet omnipotent influx into our empty hearts, this very life of Christ Himself. ...Alexander MacLaren image by Les Chatfield

Monday, September 24, 2012

Let's knock holes in the darkness...

Robert Louis Stevenson, one evening, stood transfixed at his nursery window watching the lamplighter in the street. When his nanny asked the boy what he was doing he replied: "I'm watching the man knocking holes in the darkness." We live in a universe made dark by sin. Let's knock holes in the darkness. ...Selwyn Hughes  image by Kevin Dooley

Saturday, September 22, 2012

How comforting it is to know...

Artist's impression shows a primordial quasar
How comforting it is to know the Bigness of God in the times of our deepest pain. What a blessed salve it is to our broken and wounded hearts to know that the Creator of the universe, he who holds all the stars in his hand, carries us in his heart. He knows us by name, he is intimately acquainted with every thought, he hears every heart cry and understands every motive of our heart and he loves us still. ...Katherine Walden image

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

For the first two or three years after my conversion...

For the first two or three years after my conversion, I used to ask for specific things. Now I ask for God. Supposing there is a tree full of fruits, you will have to go and buy or beg the fruits from the owner of the tree. Every day you would have to go for one or two fruits. But if you can make the tree your own property, then all the fruits will be your own. In the same way, if God is your own, then all things in Heaven and on earth will be your own, because He is your Father and is everything to you; otherwise you will have to go and ask like a beggar for certain things. When they are used up, you will have to ask again. So ask not for gifts, but for the Giver of Gifts: not for life but for the Giver of Life—then life and the things needed for life will be added unto you. ...Sadhu Sundar Singh image by Liz West

Thursday, September 13, 2012

One of the most essential qualities of faith...

One of the most essential qualities of faith that is to attempt great things for God and expect great things from God, is holy audacity. Where we are dealing with a supernatural Being, and taking from Him things that are humanly impossible, it is easier to take much than little; it is easier to stand in a place of audacious trust than in a place of cautious, timid clinging to the shore. Likewise, seamen in the life of faith, let us launch out into the deep, and find that all things are possible with God, and all things are possible unto him that believeth. ...AB Simpson image by Shelly Prevost

Monday, September 3, 2012

Pride is the king of vices...

Pride is the king of is the first of the pallbearers of the soul...other vices destroy only their opposite virtues, as wantonness destroys chastity; greed destroys temperance; anger destroys gentleness; but pride destroys all virtues.
...Bishop Fulton J. Sheen image by Hamed Saber

Sunday, September 2, 2012

When night comes...

When night comes, list thy deeds; make plain the way
’Twixt heaven and thee; block it not with delays;
But perfect all before thou sleep’st: then say:
There’s one sun more strung on my bead of days.
What’s good, score up for joy; the bad, well scann’d.
Wash off with tears, and get thy Master’s hand.
...Henry Vaughan image