Saturdays with Karl {Reflections from Karl Barth’s Dogmatics}

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In regard to heresies, Barth quotes Irenaeus, an early church father of the early third century. Irenaeus was a vehement defender of the Christian faith against the insidious attacks of Gnosticism. Here is what he said regarding heresy: For though … Continue reading

A Prayer for a Happy Life {William Barclay Quotable}

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O God, keep us from the things which are bound to make life unhappy.

Keep us from the eyes which can always find some fault to see; the tongue which can always find something to grumble about; the heart which can always find some grudge and some bitterness to cherish.

Keep us from the perverseness which does not want anything it gets, and which always wants what it has not got; the ingratitude which does not even realize what it is getting; the attitude of mind which lives in resentment.

Give us the even temper which can take things as they come; the sense of humor which can always find some cause to smile; the gratitude which can always find something for which to be thankful; the cheerfulness which not all earth’s shadows and disappointments can extinguish.

Give us the spirit which can enjoy live, and which can help others enjoy it. ~William Barclay (from A Barclay Prayer Book)

Amen and Amen.

“The Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.” ~Numbers 6:25-26

The Invitation is Imitation {Margaret Feinberg Quotable}

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I think giving is a lot like prayer. It doesn’t change God. It changes us.

When was the last time you gave a gift that made a difference in the life of someone else? Odds are that you walked away with a sense of satisfaction that money can’t buy…God didn’t just give to us, but he also hardwired us to give.

The invitation to give extends beyond name-brand purchases and well-wrapped gifts…We are invited to be generous in our relationships.

The invitation is imitation.

God demonstrated how he wants us to live through Jesus, not as people living merely for ourselves, but as those living for something greater. We are generous in our relationships when we choose inclusion over exclusion, forgiveness over a grudge, and righteousness over merely being right. In our relationships, we get down and dirty in the practice of giving. In our relationships, we are given another opportunity to reflect and further resemble God. ~Margaret Feinberg, Organic God.

As you begin a new week, consider who needs your relational generosity.

My observation is that we’ve become overly protective in our relationships: Waiting for others to make the first move. Hiding behind Facebook platitudes. Acting disinterested to cover the fear of rejection. I struggle with all these things too.

Image-bearing calls us to big giving.

Yesterday as I was exiting church, I received the biggest hug from someone I wouldn’t say I know well. There was nothing stand-offish or insincere about it. Everything about that very big hug said, “I’m going out on a line to make sure you know I’m genuinely glad you are a small part of my day. You matter.” I received it as a gift from the Lord. The invitation is indeed imitation!

Who is relationally generous with you? How do they demonstrate it?

How and with whom can you be generous today?

[This quote is from Margaret Feinberg’s Organic GodI’m on my second read of it and being just as challenged as the first time. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you get to it. Pronto.]

A Prayer for Refuge and Strength {Quotable William Barclay}

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O God, you are our refuge.

When we are exhausted by life’s efforts;

When we are bewildered by life’s problems;

When we are wounded by life’s sorrows;

We come for refuge to you.

O God, you are our strength.

When our tasks are beyond our powers;

When our temptations are too strong for us;

When duty calls for more than we have to give it;

We come for strength to you.

O God, it is from you that all goodness comes.

It is from you that our ideals come;

It is from you that there comes to us the spur of high desire and the restraint of conscience,

It is from you that there has come the strength to resist temptation,

and to do any good thing.

And now as we pray to you,

Help us to believe in your love,

so that we may be certain that you will hear our prayer;

Help us to believe in your power,

so that we may be certain that you are able to do for us above all that we ask or think;

Help us to believe in your wisdom,

so that we may be certain that you will answer,

not as our ignorance asks,

but as your perfect wisdom knows best.

All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

~William  Barclay, from A Barclay Prayer Book

Are You Disappointed? {Watchman Nee Quotable}

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Disappointment–it is seemingly everywhere. It moves in and out of our lives as a reminder that we’re fallen people living with other fallen people in a fallen world. Yet our hearts long for the ideals; the perfect little life lived to the rhythm of happily ever after.  Disappointment–we can’t escape it; it must be faced. But how?

Suppose we are on a steamer which has a huge anchor. What is the use of the anchor if it stays on the steamer? It is to be cast into the water so as to stabilize the vessel. It is not to stay put on the steamer. Likewise is it with faith. Faith never believes in what is in us; faith casts itself upon the Lord Jesus. It is cast from us to Christ. Let me tell you, should the steamer be loaded with even larger anchors, it will not be steadied unless those anchors are thrown into the water. The more we look at ourselves, the more disappointed we become. But if we cast the anchor of faith onto the cross of the Lord Jesus we shall have peace. ~Watchman Nee

What does this mean to you?

I know in my own life that when I am disappointed I will often turn in on myself, obsessed with my pain, other’s offense, my failure, other’s insensitivity. Back and forth my thinking takes me deeper down into me.

Faith is what pushes us back from the dangerous rocks of self-focus. Our hope is in Christ and it is on Him that we anchor our thoughts. He who knows the disappointment of the cross can most adequately help us in our sadness. He who knows the cross also knows its power; knows there is joy after sorrow, life after death. There is resurrection. God is bigger than our disappointment!

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters with the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” ~Hebrews 6:19-20.

How have you learned to “cast your anchor of faith onto the cross”? Maybe you are in need of hope today? The comment box below can be used to share both ways you’ve learned to look to Christ in times of disappointment, as well as for sharing how you need hope. Let’s encourage one another.

Peace in Any Mystery {Amy Carmichael Quotable}

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Do you have unanswered prayer? Are you wondering why the hand of God appears still? For all those who are in the cleft of waiting and wondering:

If I wonder why something trying is allowed, and press for prayer that it may be removed; if I cannot be trusted with any disappointment, and cannot go on in peace under mystery, then I know nothing of Calvary love. ~Amy Carmichael

Your prayers may be unanswered, but they are not unheard. May the love of Calvary fill up your waiting and wondering with peace and grace. “And he has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness‘” ~2 Corinthians 12:9.