I look to God because He first looked at me.
“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

John 1:48

The Eyes of my heart
“Every day
I see more of Your beauty
Every day
I know more of my frailty, Lord
And I can only hope that I’ll be changed
Even as I look upon Your face
For the eyes of my heart
They’re on You for ever, they’re on You forever
Yes the eyes of my heart
They’re on You for ever, they’re on You forever
Every day
I see more of Your greatness
Every day
I know more of my weakness, Lord
And I can only hope that I’ll be changed
Even as I look upon Your face”
Tim Hughes

Preparing to prepare

November 28, 2016 — Leave a comment

Advent is a time of waiting and preparing. I tend to plunge into it thoughtlessly, in the post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas rush. So I found a reflection on preparing for Advent at Creighton University’s Online Ministries very helpful.

I’d encourage you to read the whole piece. Here’s a taste of it:

There is “a time of emotional complexity that is part of this holiday season – with all of the expectations and challenges of family and relationships:  who we want to be with and who we struggle to be with. So, our hearts are a bit tender, if not completely defended from experiencing anything deeply.”

♦◊♦

“We will re-enter the ancient tradition of a people longing for the coming of a Savior…we have to ask ourselves: “What is it I long for now?”  The answer won’t come easily.  The more we walk around with that question, and let it penetrate through the layers of distraction and self-protection, the more powerfully we will experience Advent.”

♦◊♦

“These are very precious days to come into intimate contact with our own need for salvation.  It is a time to make friends with our tears, our darkness, our hunger and thirst. 
What is missing? 
What eludes my grasp? 
What name can I give to the “restlessness” in my heart? 
What is the emptiness I keep trying to “feed” with food, with fantasy, with excitement, with busyness? 
What is the conflict that is “eating at me”? 
What is the sinful, unloving, self-centered pattern for which I haven’t asked for forgiveness and healing? 
Where do I need a peace that the world cannot give?

Coming to know where I need a Savior is how I can prepare for Advent”

from “Preparing for Advent” Creighton University’s Online Ministries

♦◊♦

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Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.

Isaiah 35:5-7

In between American Thanksgiving and the beginning of Advent, this song [another one by Andrew Peterson] speaks of the tension between good gifts and living in the ‘not yet’:

Can’t you feel it in your bones
Something isn’t right here
Something that you’ve always known
But you don’t know why

‘Cause every time the sun goes down
We face another night here
Waiting for the world to spin around
Just to survive

But when you see the morning sun
Burning through a silver mist
Don’t you want to thank someone?
Don’t you want to thank someone for this?

Don’t you ever wonder why
In spite of all that’s wrong here
There’s still so much that goes so right
And beauty abounds?

‘Cause sometimes when you walk outside
The air is full of song here
The thunder rolls and the baby sighs
And the rain comes down

And when you see the spring has come
And it warms you like a mother’s kiss
Don’t you want to thank someone?
Don’t you want to thank someone for this?

I used to be a little boy
As golden as a sunrise
Breaking over Illinois
When the corn was tall

Yeah, but every little boy grows up
And he’s haunted by the heart that died
Longing for the world that was
Before the Fall

Oh, but then forgiveness comes
A grace that I cannot resist
And I just want to thank someone
I just want to thank someone for this

Now I can see the world is charged
It’s glimmering with promises
Written in a script of stars
Dripping from prophets’ lips

But still, my thirst is never slaked
I am hounded by a restlessness
Eaten by this endless ache
But still I will give thanks for this

‘Cause I can see it in the seas of wheat
I can feel it when the horses run
It’s howling in the snowy peaks
It’s blazing in the midnight sun

Just behind a veil of wind
A million angels waiting in the wings
A swirling storm of cherubim
Making ready for the Reckoning

Oh, how long, how long?
Oh, sing on, sing on
And when the world is new again
And the children of the King

Are ancient in their youth again
Maybe it’s a better thing
A better thing
To be more than merely innocent

But to be broken then redeemed by love
Maybe this old world is bent
But it’s waking up
And I’m waking up

‘Cause I can hear the voice of one
He’s crying in the wilderness
“Make ready for the Kingdom Come”
Don’t you want to thank someone for this?

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Come back soon
Come back soon

More on the theme of how to respond when bad things happen, this time from Marc Cortez:
“Trying to Make Evil Sound Good
There’s a fine line between helping people see that God is amazing enough to use even the worst situations for his good purposes and making it sound like those horrible situations are actually good things. Yes, God can use a bad situation for good ends. He does it all the time. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, and God rescued people from famine. The Babylonians crushed Judah, and God demonstrated his awesome holiness. Jesus was executed on a cross, and God redeemed a sinful world. Our God is amazing, and he is always at work in the midst of even the most horrific situations.

“That doesn’t mean those horrific situations are actually good. It just means that God is good. And creative. And powerful. And redemptive.

“We don’t praise God for evil, we praise God in the midst of evil. Those are critically different responses. And we must avoid the former lest, in our hurry to comfort, we minimize evil and suggest that God is somehow culpable in the very sin he works so actively against.

“Discussing the sovereignty of God with someone struggling through a difficult situation is always a challenge. You have to be careful not to minimize their pain and make it sound like they should somehow be able to just “move on” simply because you’ve reminded them that God is in control. The sovereignty of God doesn’t make the pain go away, it just puts the pain in context. That is a good thing to do, but it must be done carefully.”
Marc Cortez

The Reckoning, a song by Andrew Peterson

“I can see the storm descending on the hill tonight
Tall trees are bending to your will tonight
Let the mighty bow down
At the thundering sound of your voice
I can hear the howling wind and feel the rain tonight
Every drop a prophet in your name tonight
And the words that they sing
They are washing me clean, but
How long until this curtain is lifted?
How long is this the song that we sing?
How long until the reckoning?

“And I know you hear the cries of every soul tonight
You see the teardrops as they roll tonight
Down the faces of saints
Who grow weary and faint in your fields
And the wicked roam the cities and the streets tonight
But when the God of love and thunder speaks tonight
I believe You will come
Your justice be done, but
How long until this curtain is lifted?
How long is this the song that we sing?
How long until the reckoning?
You are holiness and grace
You are fury and rest
You are anger and love
You curse and you bless
You are mighty and weak
You are silence and song
You are plain as the day,
But you have hidden your face—
For how long? How long?

“And I am standing in the silence of the reckoning
The storm is past and rest is beckoning
Mighty God, how I fear you
How I long to be near you, O Lord
How long until this curtain is lifted?
How long is this the song that we sing?
How long until the reckoning?
And I know that I don’t know what I’m asking
But I long to look you full in the face
I am ready for the reckoning”

From time to time when there is tragedy in the world or in our lives, we hear a lot of how what perspective we ‘should’ take on it. The following passage from “How People Grow” by Henry Cloud talks about the different kinds of suffering we can experience in our lives, and the important distinction between destructive suffering and therapeutic suffering. Have you been mugged? Or have you been in surgery?

“Certain suffering tears down aspects of our character that need to be torn down and builds up new aspects that we need in order to live as we were designed to live. So suffering can be good. It can take us to places where one more season of “comfort” cannot.

“But suffering can also be terrible. Some suffering is not a “wound… to heal.” Such suffering inflicts evil on a person’s heart and soul and is totally outside God’s desire. Although God can bring good out of the experience, the experience itself is no good at all.

“I sometimes use this analogy when I speak: “If one of you walked out of this meeting and a guy with a mask walked up to you in the dark parking lot, took out a knife, stabbed you in the stomach, took all your money, and left you in an unconscious state, you would call him a mugger. Someone would call the police, and they would try to find the perpetrator.

” “But if you left this meeting, drove down the street to the local hospital, and a guy with a mask came to you in a brightly lit room, took out a knife, cut your stomach open, took all your money, and left you in an unconscious state, you would call him a doctor and thank him for helping you. One is a mugging, and the other is surgery.”

“Suffering is a lot like that. There is therapeutic suffering, and there is destructive suffering at the hands of evil people. The key is to be able to tell the difference between the two and to apply the right kind of experience to each. Too often in the church those who have been “mugged” have been told that God is trying to teach them a lesson or that what they are going through is a result of their own sin or that it is part of the growth process.”
Henry Cloud in “How People Grow” page 207

Evil destruction

Evil destruction

Eye of the Storm by Ryan Stevenson
“In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
And in the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm
When the solid ground is falling out from underneath my feet
Between the black skies, and my red eyes, I can barely see
When I realize I’ve been sold out by my friends and my family
I can feel the rain reminding me
In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm
Mmm, when my hopes and dreams are far from me, and I’m runnin’ out of faith
I see the future I picture slowly fade away
And when the tears of pain and heartache are falling down my face
I find my peace in Jesus’ name
In the eye of the storm (yeah, yeah), You remain in control (yes you do, Lord)
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me (Your love surrounds me) in the eye of the storm (in the eye of the storm)

When the test comes in and the doctor says I’ve only got a few months left
It’s like a bitter pill I’m swallowing; I can barely take a breath
And when addiction steals my baby girl, and there’s nothing I can do
My only hope is to trust You
I trust You, Lord
In the eye of the storm (yeah, yeah), You remain in control
In the middle of the war (middle of the war), You guard my soul (yeah!)
You alone are the anchor (ooh), when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me (yeah!)
In the eye of the storm, You remain in control (yes you do, Lord)
In the middle of the war (in the middle of the war), You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor (ooh), when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm, oooh
Oh, in the eye of, oh, in the eye of the storm
I know You’re watching me, yea, ay
When the storm is raging (when the storm is raging)
And my hope is gone (and my hope is gone, Lord)
When my flesh is failing, You’re still holding on, oh whoa
When the storm is raging (the storm is raging)
And my hope is gone (and all my hope is gone)
When my flesh is failing (my flesh is failing), You’re still holding on, oooh
When the storm is raging (when the storm is raging)
And my hope is gone (and my hope is gone)
Even when my flesh is failing (flesh is failing), You’re still holding on, holding on
The Lord is my Shepherd
I have all that I need
He lets me rest in green meadows
He leads me beside peaceful streams
He renews my strength
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His Name
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid
For You are close beside me”

“The story of Jesus is the story of love personified.
We miss the point when we simply try to do what he tells us to do.
And we miss the point when we merely try to follow
the pattern of his life. His life points us back to his
own Source. His life is intelligible only when it is
understood as the personification of divine love.

But genuinely encountering Love is not the same as
inviting Jesus into your heart, joining or attending a
church, or doing what Jesus commands. It is the
experience of love that is transformational. You simply
cannot bask in divine love and not be affected.”
David Benner

John-reclines-on-Jesus-chest
John reclining on Jesus

The Beauty of Broken

November 2, 2016 — Leave a comment

I read Elisa Morgan’s “The Beauty of Broken” a few years ago–and thought I posted about it. But I can’t find it in the archives. It’s an excellent memoir about the gap between dreams and reality in parenting. The Kindle version is on sale for $2.99. Definitely worth it. And maybe some day I’ll get the post in my head onto the screen!

The only problem with “Alive,” a song from All Sons and Daughters [on their Season One album] is that it is too short! This video clocks in at 2:17 minutes–and it’s a wonderful complement to the music and lyrics.

“Alive”

“This is a call to all the dead and disappointed
The ones who feel like they are done
This is a word to all the ones who feel forgotten
But you are not
Oh you are not

‘Cause we’re alive alive alive and we’re singin’
We’re alive alive alive and we’re shakin’
We’re alive alive alive alive in You

We are soaked in all the grace that we’ve been given
Unchained from all that we have done
Your mercy’s rising like the sun on the horizon
And we’re comin’ home
We’re comin’ home

‘Cause we’re alive alive alive and we’re singin’
We’re alive alive alive and we’re shakin’
We’re alive alive alive alive in You

‘Cause we’re alive alive alive and we’re singin’
We’re alive alive alive and we’re shaken
We’re alive alive alive alive in You”

usa sept 09 139

Most of the time

October 25, 2016 — 1 Comment

Sometimes [like most of the time], I want to have everything wrapped up. I want to get an answer from God in a neat little package, instead of having an ongoing conversation with Him.

However, sometimes, [like most of the time], following Jesus means living with the unanswered and the unfinished. The ‘answer’ is not to figure life out. It is looking to Jesus, and listening to Him. It is following His lead and not the often warped and distorted movement of my broken heart. However I am feeling, Jesus wants me stay with Him.

Sometimes [like most of the time], it will be messy. But Jesus invites me to draw closer to Him–and not listen to the accuser. Because although there are lots of good, honest questions to ask God, the accuser’s questions are designed to get me to turn away, such as:
“Where is your God?”
“Did God really say…?”
“How long will He make you suffer?”
“Really??”
“Aren’t you tired of trusting?”

So when I can’t put it all together, and when I can’t find that neat answer I want, I’ll remember this:
Sometimes [like most of the time], the question isn’t something to be figured out. It is something to be lived. Because really it’s not an answer I seek. It’s a person, Jesus.

And He invites me to come.
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Speaking of trusting God

October 18, 2016 — 1 Comment

In our Instagram, instant-Facebook, instant-Twitter world, it is helpful for me to remember that growth cannot be hurried. It takes three years, not three days for a grape vine to begin bearing fruit. It takes 180 days, not 180 minutes for the grapes to mature.
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“Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way
to something unknown, something new.

Yet it is the law of all progress that is made
by passing through some stages of instability
and that may take a very long time…

Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that His hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God,
our loving vine-dresser. Amen. ”
Pierre de Chardin

♦◊♦

“My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
Thomas Merton
rope-bridge

A wonderful hymn about the triune Lord

Wonderful, merciful Savior
Precious Redeemer and Friend
Who would have thought that a Lamb
Could rescue the souls of men
Oh You rescue the souls of men

Counselor, Comforter, Keeper
Spirit we long to embrace
You offer hope when our hearts have
Hopelessly lost the way
Oh, we’ve hopelessly lost the way

You are the One that we praise
You are the One we adore
You give the healing and grace
Our hearts always hunger for
Oh, our hearts always hunger for

Almighty, infinite Father
Faithfully loving Your own
Here in our weakness You find us
Falling before Your throne
Oh, we’re falling before Your throne

[perhaps I should retitled this series ‘songs from Sunday’–this is another song we sung at church]

When we sang this old hymn on Sunday, I didn’t remember that it had so many verses. It’s a spritely melody–a waltz actually–and whenever I sing this I picture a huge crowd of people waltzing in through the heavenly gates.
The link to the music only has some of the verse but fortunately it’s on a repeating loop so you can sing it [or dance it] all the way to the end.

There is a Name I love to hear,
I love to sing its worth;
It sounds like music in my ear,
The sweetest Name on earth.

Refrain:
Oh, how I love Jesus,
Oh, how I love Jesus,
Oh, how I love Jesus,
Because He first loved me!

It tells me of a Savior’s love,
Who died to set me free;
It tells me of His precious blood,
The sinner’s perfect plea.

It tells me of a Father’s smile
Beaming upon His child;
It cheers me through this little while,
Through desert, waste, and wild.

It tells me what my Father hath
In store for every day,
And though I tread a darksome path,
Yields sunshine all the way.

It tells of One whose loving heart
Can feel my deepest woe;
Who in each sorrow bears a part
That none can bear below.

It bids my trembling heart rejoice;
It dries each rising tear;
It tells me, in a “still small voice,”
To trust and never fear.

Jesus, the Name I love so well,
The Name I love to hear:
No saint on earth its worth can tell,
No heart conceive how dear.

This Name shall shed its fragrance still
Along this thorny road,
Shall sweetly smooth the rugged hill
That leads me up to God.

And there with all the blood-bought throng,
From sin and sorrow free,
I’ll sing the new eternal song
Of Jesus’ love for me.

This song is from Enter the Worship Circle’s album, “Chair and Microphone” which gives a sense of the natural style of their music. Imagine a few musicians showing up in your living room and jamming “music for our unfinished stories” [as their website says]

Here’s the music: Orphan’s Song

“We are the orphan boys, we are forgotten girls
We are lost and far from home
We are the fatherless, born of dust and nothingness
We are lost and far from home

There is no love like

Yours in all the earth
There is no love like Yours in the universe
There is no love that heals my broken heart
There is no love like Yours at all

voh

I’ve heard about a foreign land, about a son and His great big dad
I’m making my plans to be there
They say it’s a beautiful place, full of big wide open spaces
I’m making my plans to be there

voh 2

There roads have familiar names, this town has not changed
I’m finding my way back home
You call me daughter, you call me son, you call me back into Your arms
I’m finding my way back home

from a meditation by Carmel Mongey SSC :
“Three of the most beautiful love stories of all time are set side by side in the gospel of St Luke. Two of the stories are always being written about, marvelled at, sung, prayed through and cherished – the stories of the Lost Sheep and the Lost (Prodigal) Son. [In] the third story, the somewhat neglected one, we may come to a deeper realisation of the mother-love of God.

In Luke 15 we read about the woman who has ten coins, and loses one. She lights a lamp and sweeps the floor until she finds it. As in the other stories she, too, calls in her friends and neighbors to rejoice with her because she has found it.

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…For centuries people have seen the symbolism Jesus uses in the first two stories. The father of the prodigal son is an image of God, our loving Father. The man searching for the lost sheep is Jesus, the good shepherd who will give his life for his sheep.

The woman who lost the coin – who is she an image of? She too, of course, is an image of God, of the mother-love of God.

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…You see a lovely lady, lighting her lamp. She had ten coins, but she has lost one. Just now she thinks only of that coin. See the motherly concern on her face. Why are the coin so dear to her? Hasn’t she nine others?

In Jesus’ days, the mark of a married woman was a headdress made of ten silver coins, linked together by a silver chain. For years, a girl would scrape and save to get together her ten coins. The headdress was like a wedding ring with us. When she had it, it was so much part of her that it couldn’t be taken away even to pay a debt. It was her treasure.

See yourself as one of these ten precious coins, so dear to the lady. You have a value far beyond money. She could have said, ‘I’ll sweep the house in the morning to find it.’ But no, she can’t wait. In the light of her lamp she sweeps back and forth, into every corner, around every obstacle. This lady looking for her coin, is God looking for you and finding you.”

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The Lord says, As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you…
Isaiah 66:13

Where do you need to experience God’s comfort? How is God searching for you?

The song, “When all Thy mercies” was written over 300 hundred years ago. Fernando Ortega sings four of the 13 verses [the ones with an asterik] The first verses, which talk about God’s care for us when we are tiny, remind me of Psalm 139. In later verses, I hear echoes of Psalm 23.

*”When all Your mercies, O my God,
my rising soul surveys,
transported with the view, I’m lost
in wonder, love and praise.

Your Providence my life sustained,
and all my wants redressed,
while in the silent womb I lay,
and hung upon the breast.

To all my weak complaints and cries
Your mercy lent an ear,
Before my feeble thoughts had learned
to form themselves in prayer.

*Unnumbered comforts to my soul
Your tender care bestowed,
before my infant heart conceived
from whom those comforts flowed.

When in the slippery paths of youth
with heedless steps I ran,
Your arm unseen conveyed me safe,
and led me by Your hand.

Through hidden dangers, toils, and deaths,
Your love gently showed the way;
and through the pleasing snares of vice,
You wooed me far away.

O how shall words with equal warmth
the gratitude declare,
that glows within my ravished heart?
but You can read it there.

Your bounteous hand with worldly bliss
has made my cup run o’er;
and, in a kind and faithful Friend,
has doubled all my store.

Ten thousand thousand precious gifts
my daily thanks employ;
nor is the last a cheerful heart
that tastes those gifts with joy.

*When worn with sickness, often have You
with health renewed my face;
and, when in sins and sorrows sunk,
revived my soul with grace.

*Through every period of my life
Your goodness I’ll pursue
and after death, in distant worlds,
the glorious theme renew.

When nature fails, and day and night
divide Your works no more,
my ever grateful heart, O Lord,
Your mercy shall adore.

Through all eternity to You
a joyful song I’ll raise;
for, oh, eternity’s too short
to utter all Your praise!”

Modernized from Joseph Addison, 1712

“Acceptance frees us from bondage to the law. God isn’t mad at
us.
When we live under the law, we are forever trying to appease
God so he won’t be mad at us. We can’t do this for very long
without getting angry at ourselves, either toward God for being
so strict or toward ourselves for failing. When we finally
understand that God isn’t mad at us anymore, we become free
to concentrate on love and growth instead of trying to appease
him.”
Henry Cloud and John Townsend in “How People Grow”

♦◊♦

“Grace overcomes shame, not by uncovering an overlooked cache
of excellence in ourselves but simply by accepting us, the whole of us,
with no regard to our beauty or our ugliness, our virtue or our vices.
We are accepted wholesale. Accepted with no possibility of being re-
jected. Accepted once and accepted forever. Accepted at the ultimate
depth of our being. We are given what we have longed for in every
nook and nuance of every relationship.

We are ready for grace when we are bone tired of our struggle to
be worthy and acceptable. After we have tried too long to earn the
approval of everyone important to us, we are ready for grace. When
we are tired of trying to be the person somebody sometime convinced
us we had to be, we are ready for grace. When we have given up all
hope of ever being an acceptable human being, we may hear in our
hearts the ultimate reassurance: we are accepted, accepted by grace.”
Lewis Smedes in “Shame and Grace”

♦◊♦

“Self-acceptance begins to take over
self-hate as we accept our emptiness before God and see
how he loves us in spite of our pride, vanity and petti-
ness. His love does not let us be overwhelmed, but rather
we begin to know we are truly accepted in him.
The giving out of love to God and receiving his love
in return is the most needed and most healing experience we can have.
Margaret Therkelsen “The Love Exchange”

♦◊♦

“Acceptance creates safety to be and experience ourselves.
Many people are stuck in their spiritual growth because they
can’t be completely themselves. They may be able to be real
about their opinions, humor, or care for others. But they think
that their depression, sad times, addictions, or neediness are
unacceptable to God or people so they live their lives as though
these parts didn’t exist. We need to experience all of our soul,
whether good, bad, or broken. Otherwise what is not brought
into the light of God’s love and relationship cannot be matured,
healed, and integrated into the rest of our character.
Henry Cloud and John Townsend in “How People Grow”

“All who are thirsty” by Brenton Brown from the Vineyard album “Surrender”

“All who are thirsty
All who are weak
Just come to the fountain
Dip your heart in the stream of life
Let the pain and the sorrow
Be washed away
In the waves of His mercy
As the deep cries out to deep, we sing…

Come, Lord Jesus come
Holy Spirit, come
Won’t you come?”

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As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?

…Deep calls to deep
in the roar of Your waterfalls”

Psalm 42 1-2, 7

“Graceless religion tells us that, to be acceptable, we must live up to
the customs and shun the taboos of its tradition. It shames us when
we do what it forbids and do not do what it requires.

Our religion-shaped self easily becomes a self of hypocrisy and appearances; we feel compelled to make up for what we lack inside by obeying all its prescriptions on the outside. Graceless religion creates the illusion that if we only follow the letter of the rules, we will be acceptable, and that if we fail we will be rejected and despised.”
Lewis Smedes in “Shame and Grace”

♦◊♦

Where, except in uncreated light, can the darkness be drowned?”

C.S. Lewis, “Letters to Malcolm”
2016-03-17 2016 4 20 March portugal April rabat 062

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“If people know they are loved, they are not afraid of their ‘badness.’ They feel accepted and safe, and they do not have to feel ‘good’ about themselves to be safe. Love does that. Love is everything. In the Bible the opposite of ‘bad’ is not ‘good’, it is love.”
Henry Cloud in “How People Grow”