Just another Monday. It’s so easy to get caught up in the status quo. To just keep doing everything like it’s always been done; to begin each week with little expectation and less enthusiasm. But then there is this… “We … Continue reading →
It is not a question of giving up sin, but of giving up my natural independence and self-assertiveness, and this is where the battle has to be fought. It is the things that are right and noble and good from the natural standpoint that keep us back from God’s best. To discern that natural virtues antagonize surrender to God is to bring our soul in the center of its greatest battle. Very few of us debate with the sordid and evil and wrong, but we do debate with the good. It is the good that hates the best, and the higher up you get in the scale of the natural virtues, the more intense is the opposition to Jesus Christ. “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh” (Gal. 5:24). It is going to cost the natural in you everything, not something. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself,” and a person has to realize who Jesus Christ is before he will do it. Beware of refusing to go to the funeral of your own independence.
As we consider the sober realities of Good Friday, may we not forget that discipleship calls us too through the valley of the shadow of death.
It is impossible to approach the magnitude of Easter without gazing on the beauty of Christ’s forgiveness and its subsequent demand on us. Consider Amy Carmichael’s reflection: If I have not compassion on my fellow-servant even as my Lord had … Continue reading →
“Give Us Hope So We Can Wait” (by Stanley Hauerwas in Prayers Plainly Spoken)
Invade our bodies with your hope, dear Lord, that we might manifest the enthusiasm of your kingdom. Give us the energy of children, whose lives seem fired by the wonder of it all. Thank you God, you have given us good work, hopeful work. Our lives are not just one pointless thing after another. We have purpose. But give us also your patience. School our hope with humility, recognizing that finally it is a matter of your will being done. Too often our hope turns to optimism, optimism to despair, despair to cynicism. Save our hope by Israel-like patience so that we can learn to wait hopefully in joy. Surely that is why you give us children–signs of hope requiring infinite patience. Give us hope so we can learn to wait. Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. ~Amen.
Today I saw this quote from Spurgeon: ”Suspicion is the death of fellowship. The moment one Christian imagines that another thinks hardly of him, though there may not be the slightest truth in that thought, yet straightway the root of … Continue reading →
From Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water (Crosswicks, 1980):
God is no respecter of persons, and this is something we are reluctant to face.
We would like God’s ways to be like our ways, his judgments to be like our judgments. It is hard for us to understand that he lavishly gives enormous talents to people we would consider unworthy, that he chooses his artists with as calm a disregard of surface moral qualifications as he chooses his saints.
Often we forget that he has a special gift for each of of us, because we tend to weigh and measure such gifts with the coin of the world’s market place. The widow’s mite was worth more than all the rich men’s gold because it represented the focus of her life. Her poverty was rich because she had belonged to the living Lord. Some unheard-of Elizabethan woman who led a life of selfless love may well be brought before the throne of God ahead of Shakespeare, for such a person may be a greater force for good than someone on whom God’s blessings seem to have been dropped more generously. As Emmanuel, Cardinal Suhard says, “To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.“
Well that’s a perspective we should keep in mind, especially as we interact in the world of social media. Large numbers of ‘followers’ does not mean that we are being a force for good. If all you have is one ‘follower,’ lead them well. Invite them into the mystery of your God-focused life. Offer that selfless service as your widow’s mite. Let your poverty of followers be rich in influence.
I’ve been reading and enjoying Alan Padgett’s As Christ Submits to the Church: A Biblical Understanding of Leadership and Mutual Submission. I care about the discussion on gender roles in the church because 1) I’m a woman who wrestles to … Continue reading →
From Martin Luther’s commentary on Galatians 2:10 After the preaching of the Gospel, the task of a true and faithful pastor is to remember the poor. Where the church is, there will be poor people, who often are the only … Continue reading →
We must go back to our Bibles. The husband is the head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church. He is to love her as Christ loved the church–read on–and gave his life for her (Ephesians 5:25). This headship, then, is most fully embodied not in the husband we should all wish to be but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion; whose wife receives most and gives least, is most unworthy of him, is–in her own mere nature–least lovable. For the Church has no beauty but what the Bridegroom gives her; he does not find, but makes her lovely. The chrism of this terrible coronation is to be seen not in the joys of any man’s marriage but in its sorrows, in the sickness and sufferings of a good wife or the faults of a bad one, in his unwearying (never paraded) care or his inexhaustible forgiveness: forgiveness, not acquiescence. As Christ sees in the flawed, proud, fanatical or lukewarm Church on earth that Bride who will one day be without spot or wrinkle, and labours to produce the latter, so the husband whose headship is Christ-like (and he is allowed no other) never despairs… (~C.S. Lewis, The Business of Heaven, p. 169-170)
Maybe it sounds self-serving for a woman, who’s a wife, to love this quote. However, I share it because it fills me with gratitude. Makes me thankful for my husband. He teaches me a lot about Christ’s love for me.