Surprised me -- I picked this up to read because I'd enjoyed reading his previous work; I had no idea this collection of essays provided powerful glimSurprised me -- I picked this up to read because I'd enjoyed reading his previous work; I had no idea this collection of essays provided powerful glimpses of the lives of kids in classrooms everywhere. I lived this: "He called that period in his life “the ugly years.” His parents didn’t know what to do. “It was probably the most frustrating part of my life, which is saying a lot.” He went on: “Because it wasn’t that I wasn’t trying. I was working really, really hard, and no one understood that part of the equation. They literally thought that I was conscientiously making decisions to be a disruptive kid, to not learn, to hold the class back. You know what it’s like, you’re a six- or seven- or eight- year- old kid, and you’re in a public school setting, and everyone thinks you’re an idiot, so you try to do funny things to try to create some social esteem. You’d try to get up every morning and say, today is going to be better, but after you do that a couple of years, you realize that today is going to be no different than yesterday. And I’m going to have to struggle to get through and I’m going to struggle to survive another day, and we’ll see what happens.” His parents took him from school to school, trying to find something that worked. “All my mother wanted me to do was graduate high school,” Cohn said. “I think if you’d asked her, she’d have said, ‘The happiest day of my life will be if he graduates high school. Then he can go drive a truck, but at least he’ll have a high school degree.’” On the day he finally did graduate, Cohn’s mother was a fountain of tears. “I’ve never seen anyone cry so much in my life,” he said."
“My upbringing allowed me to be comfortable with failure,” he said. “The one trait in a lot of dyslexic people I know is that by the time we got out of college, our ability to deal with failure was very highly developed. And so we look at most situations and see much more of the upside than the downside. Because we’re so accustomed to the downside. It doesn’t faze us. I’ve thought about it many times, I really have, because it defined who I am. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my dyslexia. I never would have taken that first chance.” Dyslexia— in the best of cases— forces you to develop skills that might otherwise have lain dormant. It also forces you to do things that you might otherwise never have considered, like doing your own version of Kamprad’s disagreeable trip to Poland or hopping in the cab of someone you’ve never met and pretending to be someone you aren’t. Kamprad, in case you are wondering, is dyslexic. And Gary Cohn? It turns out he was a really good trader, and it turns out that learning how to deal with the possibility of failure is really good preparation for a career in the business world. Today he is the president of Goldman Sachs."
And views of courage and defiance: The conquering of fear produces exhilaration. And: The contrast between the previous apprehension and the present relief and feeling of security promotes a self- confidence that is the very father and mother of courage. Courage is not something that you already have that makes you brave when the tough times start. Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times and you discover they aren’t so tough after all.
And human nature -- can't help but relate this to Lord of the Flies: "Leites and Wolf. Rebellion and Authority became the blueprint for the war in Vietnam, and for how police departments dealt with civil unrest, and for how governments coped with terrorism. Its conclusion was simple: Fundamental to our analysis is the assumption that the population, as individuals or groups, behaves “rationally,” that it calculates costs and benefits to the extent that they can be related to different courses of action, and makes choices accordingly.…Consequently, influencing popular behavior requires neither sympathy nor mysticism, but rather a better understanding of what costs and benefits the individual or the group is concerned with, and how they are calculated...If you were in a position of power, you didn’t have to worry about how lawbreakers felt about what you were doing. You just had to be tough enough to make them think twice...." And this: "a version of the argument that Leites and Wolf made in their classic work on deterrence: Fundamental to our analysis is the assumption that the population, as individuals or groups, behaves “rationally,” that it calculates costs and benefits to the extent that they can be related to different courses of action, and makes choices accordingly."
Seems like common sense: When people in authority want the rest of us to behave, it matters— first and foremost— how they behave. This is called the “principle of legitimacy,” and legitimacy is based on three things. First of all, the people who are asked to obey authority have to feel like they have a voice— that if they speak up, they will be heard. Second, the law has to be predictable. There has to be a reasonable expectation that the rules tomorrow are going to be roughly the same as the rules today. And third, the authority has to be fair. It can’t treat one group differently from another. ... When Leites and Wolf wrote that “influencing popular behavior requires neither sympathy nor mysticism,” they meant that the power of the state was without limits. If you wanted to impose order, you didn’t have to worry about what those whom you were ordering about thought of you. You were above that. But Leites and Wolf had it backwards. What Jaffe proved was that the powerful have to worry about how others think of them— that those who give orders are acutely vulnerable to the opinions of those whom they are ordering about.
Absolutely tragic: "(One- fourth of juveniles convicted of crimes have children.)"
If you take away the gift of reading, you create the gift of listening. If you bomb a city, you leave behind death and destruction. But you create a community of remote misses. If you take away a mother or a father, you cause suffering and despair. But one time in ten, out of that despair rises an indomitable force. You see the giant and the shepherd in the Valley of Elah and your eye is drawn to the man with the sword and shield and the glittering armor. But so much of what is beautiful and valuable in the world comes from the shepherd, who has more strength and purpose than we ever imagine.
when we take the Lord’s Supper, it is a covenantal renewal meal. It does not bring us into covenant with God; it reminds us that we are in covenant wiwhen we take the Lord’s Supper, it is a covenantal renewal meal. It does not bring us into covenant with God; it reminds us that we are in covenant with him through Christ and enhances that covenantal bond
Michael Horton says: The Lord’s Supper, then, is a covenant meal. That means that while it is first of all a ratification of God’s pledge to us, it also ratifies our pledge to God and to each other. It has both vertical and horizontal dimensions. 7
1 Corinthians 10:16 Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? ... This may be the most important text on the nature of the Lord’s Supper as means of grace in the New Testament (certainly in Paul’s letters).
Anthony Thiselton argues for a vertical emphasis for koinonia here and translates it ‘communal participation.’ Commenting on this text, he says: Communal participation may seem to make heavy weather out of Gk. κοινωνίαν [ koinoniav ], which is usually translated fellowship. But the use of fellowship in church circles may convey an impression quite foreign to Paul’s distinctive emphasis. He does not refer to a society or group of like- minded people, such as a Graeco- Roman societas . Certain specific uses of the word may have this meaning (e.g., Rom 15:27), but not this type of passage. Normally in Paul the word means communal participation in that of which all participants are shareholders, or are accorded a common share. It is not simply or primarily the experience of being together as Christians which is shared [emphases added], but the status of being- in- Christ and of being shareholders in a sonship derived from the sonship of Christ. Just as the fellowship of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 13:13) means participating in the sharing out of the Spirit (which then secondarily gives rise to fellowship experience within a community), so the fellowship of his Son (1 Cor. 1:9) means communal participation in the sonship of Jesus Christ. 10
Thiselton further adds it means ‘having an active common share in the life, death, resurrection and presence of Jesus Christ as the Lord.’ 13 Ernst Käsemann observes, ‘Whatever objections may be raised against the term “Real Presence,” it expresses what Paul wants to say.’ 14 What these men are saying is that koinonia in 1 Corinthians 10:16 expresses a vertical, top- down reality, a reality connected to ‘the blood’ and ‘the body of Christ’. Paul’s emphasis is not that believers are together when they partake of the Lord’s Supper (though that is true), it is that koinonia constitutes some sort of relationship with ‘the blood’ and ‘the body of Christ’.
Malcolm Maclean asserts, ‘This passage indicates that there is real fellowship between Christ and his people at the Supper.’ 29 Though it is not a converting ordinance, the Supper is a sanctifying ordinance. Like the Word of God and prayer, it is a means through which grace comes to us from Christ. It is not a means of special grace, but a special means of grace.
Ephesians 1:3. Here is the NASB. ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.’
this may well be the highest biblical ground for worship prompted by the contemplation of what the triune God has done for believers from before the foundation of the world, what he has done in space and time in the world (culminating in the work of the Son), and finally what he does in bringing purchased redemption to the souls of men. Here God is blessed for trinitarian redemption purposed, purchased, and applied.
prepositional phrases and participles play key roles in the development of the pericope.
the triune operation of the triune God is introduced: the Father who blesses – the Son, in whom those blessings are conferred – and the Spirit, by whose inner work they are enjoyed, and from whom they receive their distinctive epithet.’
In Ephesians 1:3 (and 2 Cor. 1:3 and 1 Peter 1:3), ‘… the ground for blessing God is similarly expressed by a participial clause.’ 20 Why is God the Father blessed? Because he has blessed us. But how has he blessed us? This brings us to the elements for which we ought to praise the Father.
Paul is giving us three reasons or grounds for God to be praised by believers – 1) because he blessed us ‘with every Spiritual blessing’, 2) because he blessed us ‘in the heavens’, and 3) because he blessed us ‘in Christ’.
Eadie says: Now the gospel, or the Mediatorial reign, is ‘the kingdom of heaven.’ That kingdom or reign of God is ‘in us,’ or among us. Heaven is brought near to man through Jesus Christ. Those spiritual blessings conferred on us create heaven within us …; for wherever the light and love of God’s presence are to be enjoyed, there is heaven. If such blessings are the one Spirit’s inworking, – that Spirit who in God’s name ‘takes of the things that are Christ’s and shows them unto us,’ – then His influence diffuses the atmosphere of heaven around us.
the Holy Spirit brings heavenly blessings to the souls of believers (1:3). He does this due to the fact that Christ procured these blessings through his blood (1:7). Redemption accomplished means blessings for those redeemed. Redemption benefits the redeemed in this life and in the life- to- come. The benefits of redemption through Christ’s blood are brought to the souls of elect sinners. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. The benefits of Christ’s blood and body (1 Cor. 10:16) are spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3), brought to souls by the Spirit of Christ. Through the Lord’s Supper, communion with Christ and the benefits of his blood and body takes place. This communion is effected by the Holy Spirit, the bearer of blessings from the Father because of the work of the Son. This is how the Lord’s Supper is a means of grace. It was instituted by Christ and is blessed by the Spirit of Christ to the nourishment of our pilgrim souls.
When we take the Supper, it is the Spirit of Christ who brings the benefits of Christ to the people of Christ. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
Ephesians 3:14- 21 contains Paul’s second prayer in Ephesians. He announces this prayer explicitly in 3:14, ‘For this reason I bow my knees before the Father.’ He identifies to whom he is praying in 3:14b, 15, ‘… the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.’ The content of his prayer is found in 3:16- 19 and its conclusion, a doxology, in 3:20- 21.
It hinges upon three ἵνα ( hina ) clauses. Though there is disagreement as to how these clauses function, I think a good case can be made for a threefold prayer. 3 The clauses under consideration are in 3:16, ‘that He would grant you …’ (ἵνα δῷ ὑμῖν), 3:17b- 18a, ‘ and that you, …, may be able to comprehend …’ (ἵνα ἐξισχύσητε καταλαβέσθαι [The Greek text has ἵνα ( hina ) at the beginning of verse 18]), and in the middle of 3:19, ‘that you may be filled …’ (ἵνα πληρωθῆτε). These three ἵνα ( hina ) clauses function as indicators of the threefold content of Paul’s prayer. 4
The function of this clause is also debated. Is it a third petition or does it relate directly and subordinately to the second petition and maybe even the first? The NKJV may help us at this point. It inserts semicolons immediately prior to the word ‘that’ in the middle of verses 17 and 19. This indicates transition from one petition to the next. Here is the NKJV: 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:16- 19 NKJV; emphasis added) 8 Understood this way, Paul’s petition has three aspects or parts. I prefer this understanding of the text. Paul prays for spiritual invigoration in 3:16- 17, spiritual education in 3:18- 19a, and spiritual saturation in 3:19b.
Eadie says: … He gives like Himself, not grudgingly or in tiny portions, as if He were afraid to exhaust His riches, or even suspected them to be limited in their contents. There is no fastidious scrupulosity or anxious frugality on the part of the Divine Benefactor. His bounty proclaims His conscious possession of immeasurable resources. He bestows according to the riches of His glory – His own infinite fulness. 10
The Holy Spirit (i.e., the Spirit of the Father in this text) is the divine means through which spiritual invigoration comes to souls on the earth. It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to invigorate Christians, to infuse them with power, to deliver blessings from heaven to earth. The Spirit of God is the divine agent through which power comes to souls through prayer.
Prayer is a means through which the Father grants the Holy Spirit to bring spiritual invigoration to souls.
On the one hand, Christ dwells in all believers. On the other hand, through the ministry of the Spirit, who strengthens or nourishes faith, faith becomes a means (διὰ τῆς πίστεως [‘through faith’]; dia with the genitive case expressing means) through which that dwelling is known. It is the means through which the knowledge or sense of his presence is enhanced in our hearts. We are enabled to believe that which is always true of us (i.e., Christ dwells in us) by the work of the Spirit in us as a result of prayer to the Father. Both initial (saving) and subsequent (sanctifying) faith are results of the Spirit’s work in us.
Other texts in Paul which illustrate prayer as a means of grace: Romans 15:30- 31 2 Corinthians 1:8- 11 Ephesians 1:15- 17 Philippians 1:9- 11
At the Supper, the minister prays. He thanks God for the bread and the cup (1 Cor. 11:23- 25) and asks his blessings upon the ordinance. In turn, the Spirit is a means through which that which is symbolized by the bread and cup – the benefits of Christ’s death – is brought to the souls of believers (1 Cor. 10:16) by the blessing of God. The Spirit brings that which the Father has blessed us with in Christ and he does that through the means of grace as he pleases. Just as prayer does not work ex opere operato , neither does the Supper. Both the Lord’s Supper and prayer are means of grace through which the Spirit of God brings soul- nourishing and faith- strengthening blessings from heaven to Christ’s people on the earth by the blessing of God.
The Holy Supper nourishes and supports ‘those whom he hath already regenerated and incorporated into his family’. It is not a converting ordinance but a sanctifying one.
Saving faith is a grace- gift, the effect of the Spirit’s work in the hearts of God’s elect. It ‘is ordinarily wrought’ in the heart as a gift by the Spirit of Christ in conjunction with ‘the ministry of the word’ of God. Subsequent to the initial work of the Spirit in conjunction with the word, the word of God, ‘the sacraments [i.e., baptism and the Lord’s Supper], and prayer’ are means through which saving faith ‘is increased and strengthened.’ Faith ‘is increased and strengthened’ through the Supper because it is a means of grace.
The Lord’s Supper points us back to ‘the sacrifice of himself’. It is a memorial of the death of Christ. It benefits ‘true believers’. It causes ‘spiritual growth and nourishment in him’. It is related to ‘their communion with him’. It benefits ‘worthy receivers’ or believers alone. Believers ‘inwardly by faith, really and indeed
The Supper is more than a memory. It is a means through which Christ comes to souls. ‘The Lord’s Supper is an occasion when the Lord Jesus feeds the souls of his people, thus making the meal a means of grace.’
‘The Supper is a means of grace for the weak, not a reward for the strong.’ 14 Because it is a means of grace for believing sinners, though seriousness and reverence and awe are certainly appropriate, joy 15 and hope ought to have their place as well because we are feasting upon Christ, further tasting that the Lord is good, and being helped along as pilgrims in a foreign land.
Steve Weaver says: While arguing for the priority of baptism before the Lord’s Supper in the life of the believer, Kiffin describes baptism as ‘the Sacrament of Spiritual Birth ’ and the Lord’s Supper as the sacrament of ‘Spiritual Nourishment or Growth ’ by which believers are Spiritually fed . 23 ...more
Small Cup of Light -- The title comes from a poem, titled “Tuesday, June 4, 1991,” by Billy Collins, in which he personifies early morning as a peasanSmall Cup of Light -- The title comes from a poem, titled “Tuesday, June 4, 1991,” by Billy Collins, in which he personifies early morning as a peasant woman who offers him a handful of birdsong and a small cup of light. I thought that was a beautiful picture of what God did during my suffering. He offered me small cups of light, small tastes of hope. Those small tastes of light really amplified my longing for him, very much like the psalmist who wrote, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:2). Now I’ve written a book that I hope will serve as a small cup of light for those living with suffering.
C.S. Lewis called pain God’s megaphone. John Piper has called pain God’s pedagogy. “God, I am listening. Teach me. Speak into this bewilderment.”
Pain is no case against God. No matter the cause. No matter the degree. Suffering does not call into question the existence of a good God; rather, it calls into question our lives. Who am I? Why am I here?
If a person truly desires God, he must welcome whatever means God uses to initiate that encounter, whether laughter or grief.
If we try to comfort ourselves in our need instead of leaning fully on our God and Savior, God promises to make us taste that need full force. I read Isaiah 50 and recognized myself. I was the man lighting fires to comfort himself in the desert darkness. I was the man chasing every promise of relief. Still, I could not bring myself to sit still and listen.
“Dear God, be good to me; Thy sea is so wide, And my boat is so small.” A Breton Fisherman’s Prayer
God. Help. Me. God. Help. Me. God. Help. Me. Nothing noble. Nothing complex. Nothing astute. Nothing but me and my need stated frankly and simply. I have since wondered if, perhaps, this prayer is the most elemental of all prayers. Perhaps this is the most indispensable form of any petition. It communicates the essential nature of our human condition: we are destitute. Every other prayer that rises from our hearts, certainly mine, takes some form of this one.
"even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.”
I have started praying more intentionally. Each morning, I begin with these words: “Lord, as you will, and as you know, have mercy.”
Meister Eckhart (c. 1260- 1328) once wrote, “What one grows to know and comes to love and remember, his soul follows after...If the soul were to know the goodness of God, as it is and without interruption, it would never turn away...” 2 Without interruption. But mine is a love interrupted, and so I often turn away.
Though night may again fall upon me suddenly, you, O God, will be my refuge. Though I find myself in a desert, stumbling beneath a starless sky, still, I will listen for the shy song of that small bird, Hope. I will follow it, weeping and singing. So it is and so it will be. Weep and sing.
He calls us up and out into a mystery where we are emptied. He presses in on us until we sit still in the dark and listen to his quiet voice. There, in the quiet brokenness, Christ meets us as God has always met his people.
I’ve come to understand that “why?” is the wrong question. It’s usually where we start our journey, but it never takes us to any destination. We mustI’ve come to understand that “why?” is the wrong question. It’s usually where we start our journey, but it never takes us to any destination. We must find the courage to move away from that place of demanding an explanation from God and take the next step, the one of simple trust: Lord, what do You want to show me?
until our deep wounds are healed, we will translate life through those wounds.
I can take everything that happens in your life— good and bad— and cause it to work together toward a positive outcome? All you have to do is love Me and make My purpose your top priority.
My motives were not emanating from a pure heart. They were far more the goal of someone starving for respect and admiration than they were of loving God and following His purpose.
I love this: "I am fascinated with gates, doors, bridges, paths, and streams. Portals of any kind. It isn’t so much their shapes or types that draw me as the possibility of what might lie beyond them. They call me on a journey to explore, to find something new, to fall into an adventure. Understandably, then, the idea of Jesus describing Himself as a gate captivates and intrigues me. The very idea of Jesus looking deep into my eyes and saying, “I am the Gate. Anyone who comes into Me will be cared for— will freely go in and out, and find pasture” ( John 10:9 10, THE MESSAGE ) captures my heart. In His teaching, Jesus often used common objects as metaphors so people would readily understand the idea behind His message. Responding to His invitation to enter the gate is like walking into a corridor that leads to an entirely different way of living. He Himself is the entrance, the gateway to superabundance."
Could it be possible that what God restores will be better than anything I could have dreamed up in the first place? The idea excited me, and I longed for the day that my distrust and anger could be put to a final rest. I could sense that God was calling me to live my life differently— not only to put aside the hurt and anguish, but also to respond to the joy of this new journey. Not only was God going to heal, He was also going to show me who I really was and guide me toward the abandoned parts of myself I had never known or loved.
God keeps all my tears in a bottle because my sorrow is important to Him (see Psalm 56:8 ). I am His daughter, and He will protect me from the thief who seeks to destroy it all. He grieves with me and longs for the day when I will trust Him with everything.
What are you mourning anyway? Get your eyes off yourself, for I have done a mighty, holy thing in your midst. Sing of My mercy and My judgment. Mercy always triumphs over judgment. Rejoice before Me, O daughter, for I have done a glorious thing.
Who of us is not afraid of pure space— that breathtaking empty space of an open door? 10 Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea
Getting the Right Things Right -- passion, purpose, people, and praise
a purpose statement doesn’t necessarily describe something you do. It’s more a reflection of what you value and the core beliefs around which you build your life
Otium Sanctum, “holy leisure.” It refers to a sense of balance in the life, an ability to be at peace through the activities of the day, an ability to rest and take time to enjoy beauty, an ability to pace ourselves… we must pursue “holy leisure” with a determination that is ruthless to our datebooks. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline
Peace has no counterfeit. When our lives get out of balance, we enter either a storm of emotions or a hurricane of circumstances. We can’t fake peace. Either we have it or we don’t. Peace, of course, comes from the Person who dwells within us. It is up to each of us to connect with that Person within our center, where all is calm, all is bright. Once we learn to live from that core, we become invincible to our enemies.
Now with God’s help, I shall become myself. Soren Kierkegaard
“be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) is a deeply beneficial practice. It is a summons for us to pause in His presence. We do the scripture no harm by rewording it to say, “Be still and know that I AM.” Whatever you happen to need today, you can fill in the blank: I AM your peace ; I AM your provision ; I AM your patience
Journaling gives our souls time to rest; it lets us sift through the clutter and noise of everyday life. Journal- keeping provides focus, clarity, and balance to issues, concerns and conflicts. The exercise of consistent, life- based writing is like bungee jumping for the brain— it challenges, stretches, and exhilarates. Journaling is a proven way to change, heal, and grow and is the choice of many for deeper spiritual formation.
Janice Elsheimer in her book The Creative Call : “Sitting quietly, making time for ourselves alone, pouring out our joy and our sorrow onto the blank pages can be a form of therapy, a gift to ourselves— the gift of simply ‘being.’”
Record a Threshold or a Passage
Friends are teachers of our hearts. By interacting with them, we learn to let go of grudges, resentments, and envious thoughts. We face fears— both ours and theirs— and learn how to accept loss together. In the process, we release unrealistic ideals by the practice of love and wisdom rather than criticism and isolation.
we decided that when we have serious gatherings (all our gatherings are not serious), each person brings something tangible that is symbolic of where she is at the moment...We find this keeps us focused on the purpose of our friendship: a circle of friends first committed to Jesus Christ; committed to each other in the areas of listening, praying and supporting; and committed to the joyful prospects of whatever lies ahead . That defines our mission. Our pledge to one another is a reflection of that mission: To do whatever it takes to spur each other on to Christlikeness. To choose life in all its magnificent splendor. To be authentic and honest with each other. To rely on the Holy Spirit for our direction. To be there for one another— no matter what!
To what do we surrender when we enter the dance? To God’s ways, His Word and His will, of course. That is understood by most. But can we imagine that right before we accept the offer to dance, our Partner asks us a question? How we answer tells Him what He needs to know about the state of our heart. He asks, “Are you willing to be completely at peace with how things are right now in your life? Because in order to dance with Me, to move in sync with My rhythm, you must put aside your discontent, your complaining about how things are, and the anxiety about what’s coming. I’m asking for your full trust. These fears direct you to stress and tension. I won’t be able to lead you if you are stressed and tense.” The surrender He calls for is that we drop all the “what ifs,” and respond to His invitation, “Yes, I’d love to dance with You.”
To say yes to following Christ is to respond to the deepest longing in the human heart, the journey of desire, the quest for meaning. It is to enter the romance of life, the dance of the Spirit.
Roy Williams, who writes a weekly blog called “The Monday Morning Memo,” says this about home: Home is a concept, not a place; it’s a state of mind where self- definition starts. It is origins, a mix of time and place and smell and weather wherein one first realizes one is an original…. Home is where one first learned to be separate, and it remains in the mind as the place where reunion, if it were ever to occur, would happen. All literary romance, all romance epic, derives from the Odyssey and it is about going home.
The thresholds and passages along which you’ve journeyed have enabled you to choose to live without resignation and to come to a place of deep acceptance. These thresholds and passages have shown you the path to serenity, the futility of living a frenzied life that precludes reflection and holy leisure. You’ve seen the importance of letting go, not just of all the things you cannot change of your past and its failures, but also of all the lies that say you aren’t God’s beloved. You are letting go and letting come— taking hold of today, NOW, the precious present.
"How does knowing that God wipes the slate clean affect you? How does knowing that He- who knows everything- chooses not to remember when in comes to"How does knowing that God wipes the slate clean affect you? How does knowing that He- who knows everything- chooses not to remember when in comes to your sin?"
And then I must ask myself, knowing this, do I choose to remember the sins of others?
"To be a Christian means forgiving the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you." C. S. Lewis
It isn't that we can forget the offenses of others , because sometimes the scars are deep; we choose, however, not to think about them, not to remember....more
I have put you in the cleft of a rock. I have intentionally put you in a hard place. You are stuck there. But I have covered you with My hand, and youI have put you in the cleft of a rock. I have intentionally put you in a hard place. You are stuck there. But I have covered you with My hand, and you have felt the nearness of My presence. Then I removed My hand so that you have felt abandoned by Me. But Anne, look back. Look back! My glory can be seen if you will look back...
Wounds hurt, but they also … deepen my compassion, strengthen my faith, refocus my perspective, enlarge my heart, broaden my understanding, and increase my discernment.
Wounds caused by our own people aren’t the same as the wounds of an enemy. We can’t chalk them up to random acts of unkindness. They’re personal. They are inflicted by people who know us, by people we believed have loved us or at least thought kindly of us. When it is not just our people but God’s people, the wound can gape wide open into a maelstrom of confusion. Alienation. Isolation. Shame.
he entrusted himself to him who judges justly
Hagar caught my attention. She stood out because she was wounded not physically, but in ways that were as emotionally and spiritually painful as any injury to a body would be. Some wounds were provoked by her own bad behavior, but others were inflicted by those who were considered to be God’s people.
Some wounds have been deeper than others, some seemed to have come out of nowhere, some have been provoked by my own bad behavior, yet all of the wounds have been deeply painful.
God can truly redeem the pain, the guilt, and the grief.
The way you and I handle being rejected and wounded is critical. Our response can lead to healing … or to even more hurt.
God loved Hagar. He loves those who just can’t take it anymore and who run away. In fact, the Bible is filled with stories of His love for those like Hagar.
God’s love heals. He can redeem the wounded. And forgive the wounders.
How could this be happening to her— again after all these years? She had repented! She had turned back and submitted to Sarah. She and Sarah had seemed to work out a cordial relationship. How had everything disintegrated so suddenly? Once again, Hagar found herself on the desert road and this time it was not her choice. She’d been given no opportunity to explain herself
Wounds from Christian swords heal very slowly.
aloneness can cause us to wander in our spirits also. We want to get away from the darkness, to get out of the wilderness, but in our frantic effort we stumble from remorse to resentment, from self- pity to self- flagellation, from self- deception to depression, from brokenness to bitterness, from faith to agnosticism, from frustration to anger, from hurt to hardness, from hardness to helplessness.
who can I turn to? As Hagar stumbled through the vast wilderness, her clothing catching on thorns, her feet stumbling over the rocks, her throat choking on the dust, she lost sight of everything but her own despair. Her self- preoccupation, though understandable, blinded her to God’s presence and to God’s provision
As I look back, I can see that not only is He Jehovah- Rophe, the One Who Heals us, but He also is the Good Shepherd who goes before us, leads us, and cares for us as we follow Him.
Take your eyes off your circumstances and root your faith in God’s character and in God’s Word
God has heard . 11 God has heard your cries; He has heard the cries of your son or daughter; He has heard the cries of your loved ones and friends and neighbors and any and all who lift up their voices and weep …
Hagar had reached that turning point in her own journey. She had to decide if she was truly ready and willing to change. She had to stop her sobbing, stop fighting the wounders mentally, emotionally, and spiritually and just be still. She had to acknowledge the reality of her current position so she could get on with the rest of her life. Regardless of how she arrived where she was, she was there. I wonder if, in her weariness, she was just too tired to even take another step, think another thought, make any decisions at all. God understands.
His word spoke peace to her heart when He said, “Do not be afraid.”
The God of Abraham was also the God of Hagar. The God of Isaac was also the God of Ishmael. God was not only the God of the inner circle, but the God of those on the periphery!
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest . The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him . Matthew 11:28; Revelation 22:17; Luke 15:20–21
Let go of the past so that you can move forward into all that God has for you. Let go of your resentment over the way you’ve been treated. Let go of your bitterness toward others who have misrepresented God to you. Let go of your unforgiveness of those who have hurt you. Let go of your hardened heart toward those who have rejected you. Let go of the overwhelming desire to justify what you did and explain what they did. Let go of your vengeful spirit. Let go of your offense with God because He allowed you to be wounded. Let go of the life of your dreams that is less now because of them. Just let go!...more