Thursday, May 30, 2013

To endure the cross...

To endure the cross is not a tragedy; it is the suffering which is the fruit of an exclusive allegiance to Jesus Christ. When it comes, it is not an accident, but a necessity. It is not the sort of suffering which is inseparable from this mortal life, but the suffering which is an essential part of the specifically Christian life. ...Dietrich Bonhoeffer image

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

Greater love has no one than this:
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13
Heavenly Father, as our nation pauses today to remember those in the military who have given their lives for freedoms we enjoy, we pray you would have us all look to you for strength, comfort and guidance. Be with all who serve in our Armed Forces. Bless them and their families. Grant your loving protection. Let peace prevail among all the nations, O God. Especially let your mercy rest upon our land, even as we acknowledge with thanksgiving your past goodness on this country. If it is your will, preserve the lives of the men and women in uniform as they defend our citizenry. Most of all, we pray that you would turn the hearts of all – military and civilian – to your holy Word where we find the true peace for our sinful souls that surpasses all understanding. Keep us repentant of sin. Move us to know, take hold and treasure your saving grace. In the name of Jesus, our Savior and Your beloved Son, who alone gives this peace and hope for eternity, we pray. Amen.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Eternal God, eternal Trinity...

Eternal God, eternal Trinity, you have made the blood of Christ so precious through his sharing in your divine nature. You are a mystery as deep as the sea; the more I search, the more I find, and the more I find the more I search for you. But I can never be satisfied; what I receive will ever leave me desiring more. When you fill my soul I have an even greater hunger, and I grow more famished for your light. I desire above all to see you, the true light, as you really are.
I have tasted and seen the depth of your mystery and the beauty of your creation with the light of my understanding. I have clothed myself with your likeness and have seen what I shall be. Eternal Father, you have given me a share in your power and the wisdom that Christ claims as his own, and your Holy Spirit has given me the desire to love you. You are my Creator, eternal Trinity, and I am your creature. You have made of me a new creation in the blood of your Son, and I know that you are moved with love at the beauty of your creation, for you have enlightened me.

Eternal Trinity, Godhead, mystery deep as the sea, you could give me no greater gift than the gift of yourself. For you are a fire ever burning and never consumed, which itself consumes all the selfish love that fills my being. Yes, you are a fire that takes away the coldness, illuminates the mind with its light and causes me to know your truth. By this light, reflected as it were in a mirror, I recognize that you are the highest good, one we can neither comprehend nor fathom. And I know that you are beauty and wisdom itself. The food of angels, you gave yourself to man in the fire of your love.

You are the garment which covers our nakedness, and in our hunger you are a satisfying food, for you are sweetness and in you there is no taste of bitterness, O triune God!  
 ...Catherine of Siena image

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Come now, turn aside for a while...

Come now, turn aside for a while from your daily employment, escape for a moment from the tumult of your thoughts. Put aside your weighty cares, let your burdensome distractions wait, free yourself for a while for God and rest awhile in him. Enter the inner chamber of your soul, shut out everything except God and that which can help you in seeking him, and when you have shut the door, seek him. Now, my soul, say to God, 'I seek your face; Lord it is your face that I seek.'  ...Anselm image

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

If you make a habit of sincere prayer...

If you make a habit of sincere prayer, your life will be very noticeably and profoundly altered. Prayer stamps with its indelible mark our actions and demeanor. A tranquillity of bearing, a facial and bodily repose, are observed in those whose inner lives are thus enriched. Within the depths of consciousness a flame kindles. And man sees himself. He discovers his selfishness, his silly pride, his fears, his greeds, his blunders. He develops a sense of moral obligation, intellectual humility. Thus begins a journey of the soul toward the realm of grace.

Too many people regard prayer as a formalized routine of words, a refuge for weaklings, or a childish petition for material things. We sadly undervalue prayer when we conceive it in these terms, just as we should underestimate rain by describing it as something that fills the birdbath in our garden. Properly understood, prayer is a mature activity indispensable to the fullest development of personality—the ultimate integration of man’s highest faculties. Only in prayer do we achieve that complete and harmonious assembly of body, mind and spirit which gives the frail human reed its unshakable strength. ...Alexis Carrel image

Monday, May 20, 2013

Keep watch, dear Lord...

Keep watch, dear Lord,
With those who work, or watch, or weep this night,
 And give your angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend the sick, Lord Christ;
Give rest to the weary, bless the dying,
Soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted,
Shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake.
 Amen. image

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The wind that blew upon them...

I look again at the lives of these apostles, and I find them distinguished by magnificent force of character. In the early days they were timid, pliable, unfaithful. In supreme crises they deserted their Master and fled. They were as reeds shaken by the wind. The wind that blew upon them from the haunts of desolation, the keen, perilous winds of persecution, made these disciples bend before their blast. The men were negative, hesitant, uncertain, altogether lacking in persistent force. But now the timid and fearful have become positive and affirmative. There is nothing lax about them, nothing wavering, nothing yielding. Their characters have become strong, and steady, and effective. I say they have got force of character, and they have the two elements that are always found in forceful character: they have light and they have heat. They have light in the sense of clarity of purpose. Their outlook is not confused. Their aim is perfectly clear. If we watch them in the service of their Lord we find them never to be diverted from their track. “This one thing I do.” They have this primary element in a forceful character, the clarity of an undivided aim. And the second element in a forceful character is heat, the fire of a quenchless enthusiasm. And they certainly had this fire in glorious strength and abundance. The Acts of the Apostles is a burning book. There is no cold or lukewarm patch from end to end. The disciples had been baptized with fire, with the holy, glowing enthusiasm caught from the altar of God. They had this central fire, from which every other purpose and faculty in the life gets its strength. This fire in the apostles’ soul was like a furnace-fire in a great liner, which drives her through the tempests and through the envious and engulfing deep. Nothing could stop these men! Nothing could hinder their going! “We cannot but speak the things that we have seen and heard.” “We must obey God rather than man.” This strong imperative rings throughout all their doings and all their speech. They have heat, and they have light, because they were baptized by the power of the Holy Ghost. ...Dr. JH Jowett image

Friday, May 17, 2013

Holy Spirit of God...

Holy Spirit of God, visit now this soul of mine, and tarry within it until the eventide. Inspire all my thoughts. Pervade all my imaginations. Suggest all my decisions. Lodge in my soul's most inward citadel, and order all my doings. Be with me in silence and in my speech, in my haste and in my leisure, in company and in solitude, in the freshness of the morning and the weariness of the evening. Give me grace at all times to rejoice in Thy mysterious companionship. ...John Baillie image

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I am graven on the palms of His hands...

I am graven on the palms of His hands. I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him, because He first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, One who loves me; and there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted for me, and no moment, therefore, when His care falters. ...JI Packer image

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Oh, the blessedness of a life in the holiest!

Oh, the blessedness of a life in the holiest! Here the Father is seen and His love tasted. Here His holiness is revealed and the soul made partaker of it. Here the sacrifice of love and worship and adoration, the incense of prayer and supplication, is offered in power. Here the outpouring of the Spirit is known as an ever-streaming, overflowing river from under the throne of God and the Lamb. Here the soul, in God's presence, grows into more complete oneness in Christ, and more entire conformity to His likeness. Here, in union with Christ, in His unceasing intercession, we are emboldened to take our place as intercessors who can have power with God and prevail. Here the soul mounts up as on eagles' wings, strength is renewed, and blessing and power and love are imparted with which God's priests can go out to bless a dying world. Here each day we may experience the fresh anointing by which we can go out to be bearers, witnesses and channels of God's salvation to men, and living instruments of our blessed King's triumph...Let this be our life! ...Andrew Murray image