Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Love came down at Christmas...

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.
 
Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine;
Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?
 
Love shall be our token,
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.
...Christina Rossetti

When we give each other our Christmas presents in his name, let us remember that he has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans and all that lives and moves upon them. . . . And to save us from our own foolishness and from all our sins, he came down to earth and gave himself.  ...Sigrid Undset

Wishing all the readers of this blog a blessed and
 Merry Christmas!
 
Raymond and Pat Dague
and Herschel dog

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

There is a time appointed...

There is a time appointed in the history of our world, when that very Jesus who appeared on earth, "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," shall reappear with all the circumstances of majesty and power, "King of kings and Lord of lords." We are led to expect a day when Christ shall find a home in the remotest hearts and families, and the earth in all its circumference be covered with the knowledge and the power of the Lord. ... Henry Melvill image

Monday, December 9, 2013

"Stand still"

"Stand still" - keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, "Go forward." ...Charles Haddon Spurgeon image

12 Reasons You Should Pray Scripture

Andrew David Naselli
November 2013

I don’t want to give the impression that I’m a prayer-expert. I’m not. But that’s one reason I find praying Scripture so helpful (more on that later).

My argument is simple: You should pray Scripture.

Three qualifications:

1. I don’t mean merely that you should pray. That’s a given.

2. I don’t mean that you should merely pray scripturally informed prayers. That’s also a given. I’m arguing specifically that you should pray Scripture itself.

3. I’m not arguing that you should pray only Scripture every time you pray. Rather, I’m arguing that you should pray Scripture itself often. So why should you pray Scripture? For at least twelve reasons: Here-Excellent!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

You who bring good news to Zion...

You who bring good news to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
and he rules with a mighty arm.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
-Isaiah 40:9-11 image

Monday, December 2, 2013

Lord Jesus, Master of both the light and the darkness...

Lord Jesus,
Master of both the light and the darkness,
Send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces
to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward
to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long
for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, "Come Lord Jesus!" Amen.
 ...Henri Nouwen image

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The glory of the star...

The glory of the star, the glory of the sun - we must not lose either in the other. We must not be so full of the hope of heaven that we cannot do our work on the earth; we must not be so lost in the work of the earth that we shall not be inspired by the hope of heaven. ...Phillips Brooks image

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

For all the blessings of the year...

For all the blessings of the year,
For all the friends we hold so dear,
For peace on earth, both far and near,
We thank Thee, Lord.
 
For life and health, those common things,
Which every day and hour brings,
For home, where our affection clings,
We thank Thee, Lord.
 
For love of Thine, which never tires,
Which all our better thought inspires,
And warms our lives with heavenly fires,
We thank Thee, Lord.
...Al­bert H. Hutch­in­son image

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Little Things...

Little things are most apt to turn my inward eye
Either to distraction, or if I’m listening,
To a flash of something greater…
Or perhaps to just ground me in the common day.
 
Little things: scattered seed, sparrow and lily,
Copper coins, salt and lamp, fishes, loaves,
Towel and basin, alabaster jar;
These I can touch.
 
Dreams of soaring, lifting, desirous of the higher hills
Are just moments and glimpses of what’s to come.
For now, the ground beneath me-dust, grass, gravel,
Sometimes flower and fern, mark the path that is mine.
-Pat Dague image

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Rejoice, the Lord is King!

File:Holy Family Catholic Church (North Baltimore, Ohio) - stained glass, cross and crown.jpg
Rejoice, the Lord is King! Your Lord and King adore;
Mortals give thanks and sing, and triumph evermore;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
 
Jesus, the Savior, reigns, the God of truth and love;
When He had purged our stains He took His seat above;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
 
His kingdom cannot fail, He rules o’er earth and Heav’n,
The keys of death and hell are to our Jesus giv’n;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
 
Rejoice in glorious hope! Jesus the Judge shall come,
And take His servants up to their eternal home.
We soon shall hear th’archangel’s voice;
The trump of God shall sound, rejoice!
...Charles Wesley image

Friday, November 22, 2013

How different the world would look...

How different the world would look, how different the state of our nation would be, if there were more sanctified priestly souls! These are souls who have the power to bless, for they intercede with sanctified hearts. They never begin their daily time of intercessory prayer without having first brought to the cross all that is unholy in their lives, so that their old self can be crucified there with Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb. ...Basilea Schlink image

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Time alone with the Lord Jesus each day...

Many Christians backslide...They are unable to stand against the temptations of the world, or of their old nature. They strive to do their best to fight against sin, and to serve God, but they have no strength. They have never really grasped the secret: The Lord Jesus will every day from heaven continue His work in me. But on one condition—the soul must give Him time each day to impart His love and his grace. Time alone with the Lord Jesus each day is the indispensable condition of growth and power. ...Andrew Murray image

Monday, November 18, 2013

God is waiting anxiously to lead each of us in the dance of praise...

God is waiting anxiously to lead each of us in the dance of praise. God is on a mission - a quest. He is looking for worshipers. As he constantly draws each of us into a deeper and more intimate friendship with himself, he is creating within us hearts that will praise him. ...Claire Cloninger image

Friday, November 15, 2013

It is not the strength of our faith, but the perfection of Christ's sacrifice that saves!

With a weak faith and a fearful heart, many a sinner stands before the Lord. It is not the strength of our faith, but the perfection of Christ's sacrifice that saves! No feebleness of faith, nor dimness of eye, no trembling of hand can change the efficacy of Christ's blood. The strength of our faith can add nothing to it, nor can the weakness of our faith take anything from Him. Faith (weak or strong) still reads the promise, "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." If at times my eye is so dim that I cannot read these words, through blinding tears or bewildering trials, faith rests itself on the certain knowledge of the fact that THE PROMISE IS THERE, and the blood of Christ remains in all its power and suitableness upon the altar, unchanged and unaffected. ...Horatius Bonar image

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Are you worried because you find it so hard to believe?

Are you worried because you find it so hard to believe? No one should be surprised at the difficulty of faith, if there is some part of his life where he is consciously resisting or disobeying the commandments of Jesus. Is there some part of your life that you are refusing to surrender at his behest, some sinful passion, maybe, or some animosity, some hope, perhaps your ambition or your reason? If so, you must not be surprised that you have not received the Holy Spirit, that prayer is difficult, or that your request for faith remains unanswered. Go rather and be reconciled with your brother, renounce the sin that holds you fast—and then you will recover your faith! ...Dietrich Bonhoeffer image

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Our trusting the Lord...

Our trusting the Lord does not mean that there are not times of tears. I think it is a mistake as Christians to act as though trusting the Lord and tears are not compatible. ...Francis A. Schaeffer image

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

To pray is to let God into our lives...

To pray is to let God into our lives. He knocks and seeks admittance, not only in the solemn hours of secret prayer. He knocks in the midst of your daily work, your daily struggles, your daily grind. That is when you need Him most. 
...O. Hallesby image

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Giver of all, another day is ended...

Giver of all, another day is ended and I take my place beneath my great Redeemer's cross, where healing streams continually descend, where balm is poured into every wound, where I wash anew in the all-cleansing blood, assured that Thou seest in me no spots of sin. Yet a little while and I shall go to Thy home and be no more seen; help me to gird up the loins of my mind, to quicken my step, to speed as if each moment were my last, that my life be joy, my death glory.

I thank Thee for the temporal blessings of this world—the refreshing air, the light of the sun, the food that renews strength, the raiment that clothes, the dwelling that shelters, the sleep that gives rest, the starry canopy of night, the summer breeze, the flowers' sweetness, the music of flowing streams, the happy endearments of family, kindred, friends. Things animate, things inanimate, minister to my comfort. My cup runs over. Suffer me not to be insensible to these daily mercies. Thy hand bestows blessings: Thy power averts evil. I bring my tribute of thanks for spiritual graces, the full warmth of faith, the cheering presence of Thy Spirit, the strength of Thy restraining will, Thy spiking of hell's artillery. Blessed be my sovereign Lord! -Puritan Prayers image

Monday, October 28, 2013

If He prayed who was without sin...

If He prayed who was without sin, how much more ought sinners to pray; and if He prayed continually, watching through the whole night in uninterrupted petitions, how much more ought we to watch nightly in constantly repeated prayer! ...St. Cyprian image

Monday, October 14, 2013

What was the joy that Jesus had?

"That My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." -John 15:11

What was the joy that Jesus had? It is an insult to use the word happiness in connection with Jesus Christ. The joy of Jesus was the absolute self-surrender and self-sacrifice of Himself to His Father, the joy of doing that which the Father sent Him to do. "I delight to do Thy will." Jesus prayed that our joy might go on fulfilling itself until it was the same joy as His. Have I allowed Jesus Christ to introduce His joy to me?

The full flood of my life is not in bodily health, not in external happenings, not in seeing God's work succeed, but in the perfect understanding of God, and in the communion with Him that Jesus Himself had. The first thing that will hinder this joy is the captious irritation of thinking out circumstances. The cares of this world, said Jesus, will choke God's word. Before we know where we are, we are caught up in the shows of things. All that God has done for us is the mere threshold; He wants to get us to the place where we will be His witnesses and proclaim Who Jesus is.

Be rightly related to God, find your joy there, and out of you will flow rivers of living water. Be a centre for Jesus Christ to pour living water through. Stop being self-conscious, stop being a sanctified prig, and live the life hid with Christ. The life that is rightly related to God is as natural as breathing wherever it goes. The lives that have been of most blessing to you are those who were unconscious of it. ...Oswald Chambers
image

"Thou hast shewed thy people hard things"

"Thou hast shewed thy people hard things" Ps.60:3

I have always been glad that the Psalmist said to God that some things were hard. There is no mistake about it; there are hard things in life. Some beautiful pink flowers were given me this summer, and as I took them I said, "What are they?" And the answer came, "They are rock flowers; they grow and bloom only on rocks where you can see no soil." Then I thought of God's flowers growing in hard places; and I feel, somehow, that He may have a peculiar tenderness for His "rock flowers" that He may not have for His lilies and roses. ...Margaret Bottome
image

To breathe Himself in as I breathed...

I had to learn to take from Him my spiritual life every second, to breathe Himself in as I breathed, and breathe myself out. So, moment by moment for the spirit, and moment by moment for the body, we must receive. You say, "Is not that a terrible bondage, to be always on the strain?" What, on the strain with one you love, your dearest Friend? Oh, no! It comes so naturally, so spontaneously, so like a fountain, without consciousness, without effort, for true life is always easy, and overflowing. ...AB Simpson image

Slow us down...

In the name of Jesus Christ, who was never in a hurry, we pray, O God, that You will slow us down, for we know that we live too fast. With all of eternity before us, make us take time to live - time to get acquainted with You, time to enjoy Your blessings, and time for each other. ...Peter Marshall image

Life will bring us questions without answers...

Life will bring us questions without answers;
To live is to encounter silent seasons of the soul,
When every prayer will seem to go unanswered
As we face events beyond our understanding or control.

Yet in the quiet darkness, Christ is working.
His silence in the shadows doesn't mean He doesn't care;
A part of faith is trusting without reason,
Believing, when He can't be seen or heard, that He's still there...

So when answers fail to come, don't be discouraged.
Keep leaning on His steadfast love and trusting in His will,
For knowing why won't really make a difference -
But growing close and knowing Jesus will.
...BJ Hoff
image

Our Saviour kneels down...

Our Saviour kneels down and gazes upon the darkest acts of our lives. But rather than recoil in horror, he reaches out in kindness and says, 'I can clean that if you want.' And from the basin of his grace, he scoops a palm full of mercy and washes our sin. ...Max Lucado image-Tintoretto

It was no exceptional thing for Jesus to withdraw Himself “into the wilderness to pray"...

It was no exceptional thing for Jesus to withdraw Himself “into the wilderness to pray.” He was never for one moment of any day out of touch with God. He was speaking and listening to the Father all day long; and yet He, who was in such constant touch with God, felt the need, as well as the joy, of more prolonged and more quiet communion with Him... Most of the reasons that drive us to pray for strength and forgiveness could never have driven Him; and yet He needed prayer. ...GH Knight
 image by Argenberg

Trying to do the Lord's work in your own strength...

Trying to do the Lord's work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you. ...Corrie Ten Boom image

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Awestruck...

 
 I am awestruck by the early autumn beauty…
Shimmering day,
Clouds edged in glory,
Bright blue sky,
Leaves trembling, knowing their time is short-
Soon they will be released to the wind.
Faint glimpses of the eternal strike chords in my heart.
 
I can only take it in and revel in the Author of it all,
Knowing creation’s impossible existence without
A nascent Hand,
A Word spoken
And Breath to quicken and animate.
 
Alive. Healed. Filled.
I bow.
-by Pat Dague image

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Overshadowed...

Should pain and suffering, sorrow, and grief, rise up like clouds and overshadow for a time the Sun of Righteousness and hide Him from your view, do not be dismayed, for in the end this cloud of woe will descend in showers of blessing on your head, and the Sun of Righteousness rise upon you to set no more for ever. ...Sadhu Sundar Singh image

Monday, September 23, 2013

We often think of great faith...

A Giant Hubble Mosaic of the Crab Nebula
We often think of great faith as something that happens spontaneously so that we can be used for a miracle or healing. However, the greatest faith of all, and the most effective, is to live day by day trusting Him. It is trusting Him so much that we look at every problem as an opportunity to see His work in our life. It is not worrying, but rather trusting and abiding in the peace of God that will crush anything that Satan tries to do to us. If the Lord created the world out of chaos, He can easily deal with any problem that we have. ...Rick Joyner image

Friday, September 20, 2013

Even in terrible circumstances and calamities...

Even in terrible circumstances and calamities, in matters of life and death, if I sense that I am in the shadow of God, I find light, so much light that my vision improves dramatically. I know that holiness is near. ...Kathleen Norris image

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

No difficulties in your case can baffle him...

He does not need to transplant us into a different field, but right where we are, with just the circumstances that surround us, he makes his sun to shine and his dew to fall upon us, and transforms the very things that were before our greatest hindrances into the chiefest and most blessed means of our growth. No difficulties in your case can baffle him, no dwarfing of your growth in years that are past, no apparent dryness of your inward springs of life, no crookedness or deformity in any of your past development, can in the least mar the perfect work that he will accomplish, if you will only put yourselves absolutely into his hands and let him have his own way with you. ...Hannah Whitall Smith image

Monday, September 16, 2013

Come, Lord Jesus, and abide in my heart...

Come, Lord Jesus, and abide in my heart. How grateful I am to realize that the answer to my prayer does not depend on me at all. As I quietly abide in You and let Your life flow into me, what freedom it is to know that the Father does not see my threadbare patience or insufficient trust, rather only Your patience, Lord, and Your confidence that the Father has everything in hand. In Your faith I thank You right now for a more glorious answer to my prayer than I can imagine. Amen. ...Catherine Marshall image

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens...

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.
-Isaiah 40:26
 
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
-Psalm 8:3-4

The Big Dipper over the Darling Hill Observatory 
on a clear Saturday night 9/14/13
Picture by Raymond Dague

Friday, September 13, 2013

We don't know where the wind comes from or where it goes...

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

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11, 2013

 Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
-Isaiah 54:10 image

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I choose kindness...

I choose kindness... I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me. ...Max Lucado image

Monday, September 9, 2013

Do you often feel like parched ground?

Do you often feel like parched ground, unable to produce anything worthwhile? I do. When I am in need of refreshment, it isn't easy to think of the needs of others. But I have found that if, instead of praying for my own comfort and satisfaction, I ask the Lord to enable me to give to others, an amazing thing often happens - I find my own needs wonderfully met. Refreshment comes in ways I would never have thought of, both for others, and then, incidentally, for myself.
...Elisabeth Elliot image

Thursday, September 5, 2013

If thou wilt bend thyself to obedience...

If thou wilt bend thyself to obedience, and to a virtuous and godly life, thou shalt ever have him a strong rock, whereupon thou mayst boldly build a castle and tower of defence. He will be unto thee a mighty pillar, bearing up heaven and earth, whereto thou mayst lean and not be deceived, wherein thou mayst trust and not be disappointed. ...Robert Cawdray image

Monday, September 2, 2013

If we would indeed know God in growing intimacy...

If we would indeed know God in growing intimacy, we must go this way of renunciation. And if we are set upon the pursuit of God He will sooner or later bring us to this test. Abraham’s testing was, at the time, not known to him as such, yet if he had taken some course other than the one he did, the whole history of the Old Testament would have been different. God would have found His man, no doubt, but the loss to Abraham would have been tragic beyond the telling. So we will be brought one by one to the testing place, and we may never know when we are there. At that testing place there will be no dozen possible choices for us; just one and an alternative, but our whole future will be conditioned by the choice we make. ...AW Tozer image

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Be absolutely certain that our Lord loves you...

Be absolutely certain that our Lord loves you, devotedly and individually, loves you just as you are. Accustom yourself to the wonderful thought that God loves you with a tenderness, a generosity, and an intimacy that surpasses all your dreams. ...Henri de Tourville image

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

There is absolutely no substitute for this secret communion with God...

There is absolutely no substitute for this secret communion with God. The public Church services, or even the family altar, cannot take the place of the 'closet' prayer. We must deliberately seek to meet with God absolutely alone, and to secure such aloneness with God we are bidden to enter into thy closet.' God absolutely insists on this 'closet'-communion with Himself. One reason, no doubt, that He demands it, is to test our sincerity. There is no test for the soul like solitude. Do you shrink from solitude? Perhaps the cause for your neglect of the 'closet' is a guilty conscience? You are afraid to enter into the solitude. You know that however cheerful you appear to be you are not really happy. You surround yourself with company lest, being alone, truth should invade your delusion.
...Gordon Cove image

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

If the Lord be with us...

If the Lord be with us, we have no cause of fear. His eye is upon us, His arm over us, His ear open to our prayer-His grace sufficient, His promises unchangeable. ...John Newton image

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Man of sorrows, Lamb of God


Man of sorrows, Lamb of God
By His own betrayed
The sin of man and wrath of God
Has been on Jesus laid
 
Silent as He stood accused
Beaten mocked and scorned
Bowing to the Father's will
He wore a crown of thorns

CHORUS:
Oh that rugged cross my salvation
Where Your love poured out over me
Now my soul cries out Hallelujah
Praise and honour unto Thee
 
Sent of heaven God's own Son
To purchase and redeem
And reconcile the very ones
Who nailed Him to that tree
 
Now my debt is paid
It is paid in full
By the precious blood
That my Jesus spilled
Now the curse of sin
Has no hold on me
Whom the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
 
See the stone is rolled away
Behold the empty tomb
Hallelujah God be praised
He's risen from the grave -Hillsong

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Preferring the “melons and leeks” of this world to the Manna of God

August 5, 2013
By Msgr. Charles Pope

Would that we had meat for food! We remember the fish we used to eat without cost in Egypt, and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now we are famished; we see nothing before us but this manna. (Numbers 11:4-5)

While it is possible for us to marvel at their insolence and ingratitude, the picture here presented depicts the human condition, and very common human tendencies. It is not unique to a people once in the desert. Their complaints, are too easily our own complaints and struggles.

Let’s look at a number of the issues raised, and see how it is possible for many of us today to struggle in the same way...
the rest image image
Most eat regularly at the banquet table of popular entertainment, secular news media, secular talk radio, etc. And they eat this food quite uncritically! The manna is complained about, but the melons and leeks are praised without qualification. 
And while it is true the Christian cannot wholly avoid any contact with the world, or avoid all its food, when do the melons and leeks ever come in for criticism? When does a Christian finally look and say to themselves and others “Look, that is not the mind of God!”  When do they ever conclude that this food is inferior or even poisonous to what God says and offers? When does a parent finally walk into the living room, turn off the TV and teach their children that “What you have just seen and heard is not the mind of God” ? 
Tragically, this is rare and the food of this world is eaten in an abundance far surpassing the food of God. The melons and leeks of the world are praised, and the manna of God is put on trial, because it’s not like the food of the world.  
This of course, is backwards for a Christian. The world should be on trial based on the Word of God. But as it is, even for most Catholics, the Word of God and the teachings of the Church are on trial by the standards of the world. 
So the question is, who is it that feeds you? Is the world, or the Lord? What proportion of your food comes from the Lord, and what from the world? Honestly? What is more influential in your daily life and your thinking, the world, or the Lord? Honestly? Who is really feeding you, informing you, influencing you? Is it the melons and leeks of the Egypt of this world? Or is it the faithful, stable, even miraculous manna of the Lord and his Church?...
 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Lord reveals his glory...

The Lord reveals his glory in the presence of chosen witnesses. His body is like that of the rest of mankind, but he makes it shine with such splendor that his face becomes like the sun in glory, and his garments as white as snow.
 
The great reason for this transfiguration was to remove the scandal of the cross from the hearts of his disciples, and to prevent the humiliation of his voluntary suffering from disturbing the faith of those who had witnessed the surpassing glory that lay concealed.
 
With no less forethought he was also providing a firm foundation for the hope of holy Church. The whole body of Christ was to understand the kind of transformation that it would receive as his gift. the members of that body were to look forward to a share in that glory which first blazed out in Christ their head.
 
The Lord had himself spoken of this when he foretold the splendor of his coming: Then the just will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Saint Paul the apostle bore witness to this same truth when he said: I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not to be compared to the future glory that is to be revealed in us. In another place he says: You are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
 
This marvel of the transfiguration contains another lesson for the apostles, to strengthen them and lead them into the fullness of knowledge. Moses and Elijah, the law and the prophets, appeared with the Lord in conversation with him. This was in order to fulfil exactly, through the presence of these five men, the text which says: Before two or three witnesses every word is ratified. What word could be more firmly established, more securely based, than the word which is proclaimed by the trumpets of both old and new testaments, sounding in harmony, and by the utterances of ancient prophecy and the teaching of the Gospel, in full agreement with each other?
 
The writings of the two testaments support each other. The radiance of the transfiguration reveals clearly and unmistakably the one who had been promised by signs foretelling him under the veils of mystery. As Saint John says: The law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. In him the promise made through the shadows of prophecy stands revealed, along with the full meaning of the precepts of the law. He is the one who teaches the truth of the prophecy through his presence, and makes obedience to the commandments possible through grace.
 
In the preaching of the holy Gospel all should receive a strengthening of their faith. No one should be ashamed of the cross of Christ, through which the world has been redeemed.
 
No one should fear to suffer for the sake of justice; no one should lose confidence in the reward that has been promised. The way to rest is through toil, the way to life is through death. Christ has taken on himself the whole weakness of our lowly human nature. If then we are steadfast in our faith in him and in our love for him, we win the victory that he has won, we receive what he has promised.
 
When it comes to obeying the commandments or enduring adversity, the words uttered by the Father should always echo in our ears: This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him.
-Leo the Great Art

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Complacent Christian

Tim Challies
August 5, 2013

I often regret making broad statements, but I think most Christians in North America and the rest of the developed world will probably agree with a statement like this one: There is too much complacency in our lives and in our churches. I recently received a question from a group of pastors who had been discussing this topic: “How do you deal with complacency in your own life and in the life of your church?” They had various answers for the first part of the question, but found themselves stuck on the second half. I thought I might take a shot at it.

But first, we do not want to be Christians who are un-complacent. The Christian life is not avoiding negative qualities as much as it is pursuing positive qualities. Therefore, we want to be Christians who are zealous, for zeal is the opposite of complacency. “Zeal” is a word that was once an important part of the Christian vocabulary, but has since diminished.  the rest image
 
Zeal is like a flame that brings a pot to a boil—it causes our affections for God to come to a boil so that we pursue what delights him and fight against what dishonors him. Zeal is spiritual heat, spiritual energy that flows out through the godly characteristics of love, joy, hope, peace, and so on. It is not a grace on its own as much as it is a quality that affects every part of the Christian life, making us zealous in the way we love, zealous in the way we express hope, zealous in every area and every characteristic and every fruit of the Spirit.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Afraid? Of what?

Afraid? Of what?
To feel the spirit’s glad release?
To pass from pain to perfect peace,
The strife and strain of life to cease?
Afraid? Of that?
 
Afraid? Of what?
Afraid to see the Saviour’s face,
To hear His welcome, and to trace,
The glory gleam from wounds of grace,
Afraid? Of that?
 
Afraid? Of what?
A flash - a crash - a pierced heart;
Brief darkness - Light - O Heaven’s art!
A wound of His a counterpart!
Afraid? Of that?
 
Afraid? Of what?
To enter into Heaven’s rest,
And yet to serve the Master blessed?
From service good to service best?
Afraid? Of that?
 
Afraid? Of what?
To do by death what life could not -
Baptize with blood a stony plot,
Till souls shall blossom from the spot?
Afraid? Of that?
-E.H. Hamilton image