Practicing the Passion

Things helpful on the pilgrim path.

October 29, 2010

“It’s true for me” is quite a separating mantra, not a bringing together one. I guess the curse of tolerance is that we can tolerate one other very nicely, just so long as we don’t meaningfully interact.  – Scott Peacock


November 4th, 2010

God allows in his wisdom that which he could easily prevent by his power.

There is nothing you can do to make God love your more, and nothing you can do to make him love you less.

Oct 28

The Ten Steps of Brother Andrew:

1. Prophetic- Listen to God’s prophetic word for today. “Lord cause me to accept your prophetic word for today. And lead me to the places and people who need to receive that Word-even at the risk of being thought a fool.”

2. Planning- Plan to do what the scripture says. “Lord, help me to accept your prophetic Word today and plan my life based on it.  Allow me to take the initiative in advancing your kingdom, and keep that initiative even in enemy territory.”

3. Prayer-Become persistent in prayer. “Lord, as I plan my life of service to you, I pray for the working out of your will in my situation and I pray against every evil force that opposes your will.”

4. Preparation- Prepare to live as a Christian full time. “Lord, make me the proper tool in your hand. Cause me to grow in my relationship with you so that when the opportunities arise to reap your harvest, I will be completely prepared.

5. Penetration- Penetrate every devil inspired boundary or barrier. “Lord, help me to do something for you today that I have never done before.”

6. Presence- Maximize your opportunities by being present. “Lord, show me how I can bring your presence to the places it is needed most, simply by being there myself.”

7. Profile- Establish your profile as a Christian. “Lord, help me to live in such a way that your presence in my life is seen by others. Make me to be a blessing to someone today.”

8. Permanence- Become part of a permanent presence where you are. “Lord, you have called me for a purpose. Wherever you lead me, help me to stay there and serve you faithfully.”

9. Proclamation- Use your platform to proclaim God’s message. “Lord, than you that even though I’m in the midst of a spiritual battle, the victory is already yours. Help me to proclaim that victory today.

10. Power- Allow God’s power to flow through you into a needy world. “Lord, help me to surrender to your power and your greater purpose in my life.”

Oct 13

Train your conscience to believe that God approves of you. Fight it out with doubt. Gain assurance through the Word of God. Say: “I am all right with God. I have the Holy Ghost. Christ, in whom I do believe, makes me worthy. I gladly hear, read, sing, and write of Him. I would like nothing better than that Christ’s Gospel be known throughout the world and that many, many be brought to faith in Him.”._. Luther’s commentary on Galatians (viaTHM)

Oct 6

Healing is ordinary and normative, but does not always take place. . . . the ordinary will of God is that man should be whole. Usually a man glorifies God more mightily in every way when he is healthy than when he is sick. Therefore, man can and should pray to God with confidence for healing.

Yet, there are exceptions; sometimes sickness is directed toward a higher good, for the kingdom of God . . . Consequently, healing does not always take place, even where there is faith.

.-. Francis MacNutt, Healing.

Sept 29

“It is a continual surprise that God is willing to pour his glory (”the glory of God in the face of Christ”) into a dusty, cracked-broken-jar of clay like me. It’s just as surprising when I see the glory leaking out through somebody else’s cracks.

._. Greg Paul, God in the Alley

Seeing is not necessarily believing. Sometimes it’s believing that allows me to see.”

._. Greg Paul, God in the Alley

Sept 28

I thought I’d surrendered Joey to God before.
But this night was something else,
this never-to-be-forgotten afternoon and night.
To believe it was God’s will for Joey to die
and to pray for His will to be accomplished.
.–.Meg Woodson, Following Joey Home

Try to be patient in bearing with the failings and weaknesses
Of other people, whatever they may be.
You too have many faults, which others have to endure.
.–.Thomas A Kempis

Sept 12

There are some people who live in peace themselves,
and are also at peace with others.
There are some who neither enjoy peace in their own lives,
nor leave others in peace
-they are a burden to other people and even more of a burden to themselves.
.–.Thomas A Kempis

“O my Father, if this cup may not pass from me
except I drink it, Thy will be done.”
What sounds under the star-filled sky;
Dropping of blood, flutter of angel wings;
the very pain of God felt on earth
and registered in heaven.
.–.Geoffrey T. Bull

Sept 5

Christ came juggling from the tomb,
flipping and bouncing death’s stone pages
tossing those narrow letters high
against the roots of dawn spread in cloud.
This Jesus, clown came dancing
In the dust of Judea, each slapping step
A new blossom spiked with joy.
.–. Eugene Warren

Sept 3

A branch does not struggle to produce fruit.
The fruit grows simply because the life of the vine
flows through the branch.
.–.Mare Allison

Sept 2

My Vow: Whatsoever Thou sayest unto me,
by Thy grace I will do it.
My Constraint: Thy love, O Christ, my Lord.
My Confidence: Thou art able to keep
that which I have committed unto Thee.
My Joy: To do Thy will, O God.
My Discipline: That which I would not choose,
but which Thy love appoints.
My Prayer: Conform my will to Thine.
My Motto: Love to live: Live to Love
My Portion: The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance
.–.Amy Carmichael

Sept 1

The whole visible world is only an imperceptible atom in the ample bosom of nature. No idea approaches it. We may enlarge our conceptions beyond an imaginable space; we only produce atoms in comparison with the reality of things. It is an infinite sphere, the centre of which is everywhere, the circumference nowhere. In short, it is the greatest sensible mark of the almighty power of God that imagination loses itself in that thought. .-. Blaise Pascal, Pensees

I will paint for him not only the visible universe, but all that he can conceive of nature’s immensity in the womb of this abridged atom. Let him see therein an infinity of universes, each of which has its firmament, its planets, its earth, in the same proportion as in the visible world; in each earth animals, and in the last mites, in which he will find again all that the first had, finding still in these others the same thing without end and without cessation. Let him lose himself in wonders as amazing in their littleness as the others in their vastness. For who will not be astounded at the fact that our body, which a little while ago was imperceptible in the universe, itself imperceptible in the bosom of the whole, is now a colossus, a world, or rather a whole, in respect of the nothingness which we cannot reach? He who regards himself in this light will be afraid of himself, and observing himself sustained in the body given him by nature between those two abysses of the Infinite and Nothing, will tremble at the sight of these marvels; and I think that, as his curiosity changes into admiration, he will be more disposed to contemplate them in silence than to examine them with presumption..-. Blaise Pascal, Pensees

August 31

Giving thanks can break that all too familiar downward spiral of thinking
Which we can begin when any little thing goes wrong.
We start with a little complaining
and end up firmly rooted in bitterness,
drowning in self-pity,
and convinced that God is not good at all.
.–.Mare Allison

Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble,
attempts what is above its strength,
pleads no excuse of impossibility;
for it thinks all things lawful for itself, and all things possible.
It is therefore able to undertake all things,
and it completes many things, and brings them to a conclusion,
where he who does not love, faints and lies down.
— Thomas a Kempis

August 30

Do we not hear Thy footfall, O Beloved,
Among the stars on many a moonless night?
Do we not catch the whisper of Thy coming
On winds of dawn, and often in the light
Of noontide and of sunset almost see Thee?
Look up through shining air
And long to see Thee, O Beloved, long to see Thee,
And wonder that Thou art not standing there?

And we shall hear Thy footfall, O Beloved,
And starry ways will open, and the night
Will call her candles from their distant stations,
And winds shall sing Thee, noon and mingled light
Of rose-red evening, thrill with lovely welcome;
And we, caught up in air
Shall see Thee, O Beloved, we shall see Thee
In hush of adoration see thee there.
.–.Amy Carmichael

August 29

But it wasn’t my fault, anyway, was it?
The Lion looked straight into her eyes.
“Oh, Aslan,” asked Lucy.
You don’t mean it was? How could I-
I couldn’t have left the others and come up to you alone,
How could I?
Don’t look at me like that . . .oh well, I suppose I could.
Yes, and it wouldn’t have been alone, I know,
not if I was with you.
.–.C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian

August 28

“For, make no mistake: if you are really going to meet all the demands made on your natural self, it will not have enough left over to live on. The more you obey your conscience, the more your conscience will demand of you.  And your natural self, which is thus being starved, and hampered, and worried at every turn, will get angrier and angrier.

In the end, you will either give up trying to be good, or else become one of those people who, as they say, “live for others” but always in a discontented, grumbling way- always wondering why the others do not notice it more and always making a martyr of yourself.”  .-. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“The Christian way is different, harder and easier. Christ says, ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time, and so much of your money and so much of your work. I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked- the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.'”     .-. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“The real problem. . . .comes the very moment you wake up each morning.  All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from your natural fussings and frettings, coming in out of the wind.”  .-. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

August 27

“Your chief maladies are the pride that withdraws you from God, and the lust that binds you to the earth.”.-. Blaise Pascal, Pensees

“Thus wishing to appear openly to those who seek him with all their heart and hidden from those who shun him with all their heart, he [God] has qualified our knowledge of him by giving signs which can be seen by those who seek him and not by those who do not. There is enough light for those who desire only to see, and enough darkness for those of a contrary disposition.” .-. Blaise Pascal, Pensee

August 26

What happens, they tell us, has to happen, but still need not;
we must bend our knees and bow our heads and say,
“Thy Will be done;”
while none the less knowing, as Jesus did in his dark hour
in the Garden of Gethsemane,
that it is open to us to follow our own wills.
.–.Malcolm Muggeridge, Jesus, the Man Who Lives

August 25

C.S. Lewis wrote a wonderful piece just before he died. It is called Letters to Malcom mostly, or chiefly, on prayer. And in that, he talks about the reason that prayer doesn’t always get answered, is because prayer is not a machine. It isn’t like you can just put this cog with this wheel and this lever and that the laws of nature then work in the process of the right construction of this prayer machine such as to produce a predictable result if you just work the machine properly. The fact is, when you are dealing with prayer, when you are praying, you’re dealing not with a machine, but with a Person. You are making a request of a Person. And that Person is God. Persons don’t act like machines. There are times that persons just will things that may be different from what we anticipate and part of the mystery of prayer has to do with the will of God. .-. Greg Kouk

August 24

God does not give us overcoming life— He gives us life as we overcome. The strain of life is what builds our strength. If there is no strain, there will be no strength. Are you asking God to give you life, liberty, and joy? He cannot, unless you are willing to accept the strain. And once you face the strain, you will immediately get the strength. Overcome your own timidity and take the first step. Then God will give you nourishment— “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life . . .” (Revelation 2:7 ). . — .Oswald Chambers

“God doesn’t give me grace for the future uncertain seasons that he may grant me on earth before he takes me home. He won’t even loan me enough grace to face the prospects of tomorrow! God only gives me grace for today. He expects me to live this day in his strength, leaning on his wisdom, drawing on his presence and power, leaving the future to him.”

.–. Joni Eareckson Tada

“You simply can’t manage sweet patience and true joy while you’re trying to find within yourself the stamina or courage to do so. You will fail every time. The courage, the patience, and the will to get up and face each day come from another Source. Weakness should deepen our dependence upon the grace and strength of Christ. The weaker you feel, the harder you must lean on Jesus. And leaning means trusting, obeying, spending concentrated time talking to him and sharing your deepest needs.”

.– .Joni Eareckson Tada

August 23

I am going now to see the Head that was crowned with thorns,
And that face that was spit upon for me.
I have formerly lived by hear-say, and faith
But now I go where I shall live by sight, and shall be with Him,
In whose company I delight myself.
.–.John Bunyan

August 22

God: “Mack, just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn’t mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don’t ever assume that my using something means that I caused it or that I needed it to accomplish my purposes.” .-. Wm. Paul Young, The Shack

“And if there is no reality of good that is absolute, then you have lost any basis for judging. It is just language and one might as well exchange the word good for the word evil.” .-. Wm. Paul Young, The Shack

“Relationships are never about power, and one way to avoid the will to have power over another is to choose to limit oneself – to serve.” .-. Wm. Paul Young, The Shack

You don’t play a game or color a picture with a child to show your superiority. Rather you choose to limit yourself so as to facilitate a relationship, to honor that relationship.”.-. Wm. Paul Young, The Shack

God:”Like I said, everything is about him. Creation and history are all about Jesus. He is the very center of our purpose, and in him we are now fully human, so our purpose and your destiny are forever linked. You might say that we have put all our eggs in the one human basket. There is no plan B.”.-. Wm. Paul Young, The Shack

God “When we three spoke ourselves into the human existence as the Son of God, we became fully human. We also chose to embrace all the limitations this entailed. Even though we have always been present in this created universe, we now have become flesh and blood. It would be like this bird, whose nature it is to fly, choosing only to walk and remain grounded. He doesn’t stop being a bird, but it does alter his experience of life significantly.”.-. Wm. Paul Young, The Shack

God: We are not three gods, and we are not talking about one god with three attitudes, like a man who is a husband, father, and worker. I am one God and I am three persons, and each of the three is fully and entirely the one. . . . . if I were simply one God and only one person, then you would find yourself without something . . . .essential. . . without love and relationship. All love and relationship is possible for you because it already exists within me, within God myself. Love is not the limitation, love is the flying. I am love. . . . . . if I did not have such a relationship within myself, then I would not be capable of love at all. You would have a god who could not love. Or maybe worse, you would have a god who, when he chose, could love only as a limitation of his nature.  That kind of god could possibly act without love, and that would be a disaster. And that is surely not me..-. Wm. Paul Young, The Shack

August 21

“But four babies, playing a game can make a play-world
that licks your real world hollow.
That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world.
I’m on Aslan’s side even is there isn’t any Aslan to lead it.
I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.”
.–.C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

August 20

At Gideon’s signal they blew their trumpets,
broke their jars,
raised their torches,
and held their positions.
God did the rest, and an army of 135,000
was routed by three hundred men
who had not even drawn their swords.
.–.Mare Allison

August 19

But You are infinite.
And He is a tiger, that Christ of Yours.
He stalks unpatterned jungles,
While we insist on strolling safe, well-trodden paths.
No wonder we scaredy-cats have trouble walking with him.
.–.Meg Woodson, Following Joey Home

August 18

How many people have been broken,
not because they did not have enough to eat,
but because they did not understand the purpose of the LORD,
in their scarcity.
They would have overcome and they would have survived,
if they had continued following God.
One way or another, he would have provided all they needed.
.–.Sergio Scataglini, The Fire of His Holiness

August 17

Make sure you allow the joy of the Lord to invade your people,
especially after the most dramatic confessions of sin.
After sin has gone from the heart, it leaves a spiritual vacuum.
Make sure your people understand that after confession
comes forgiveness from God. Take time to receive and enjoy his love.
.–.Sergio Scataglini, The Fire of His Holiness

August 16

When some specially sharp strain on faith and hope and patience
is to follow, then He draws us near beforehand,
and with shining wings overshadows us,
and there is a sound of gentle stillness, there is speech;
or there may be a showing.
.–.Amy Carmichael

August 15

Luther was the man for decision.
Nobody doubted that he believed what he spoke.
He spoke with thunder, for there was lightning in his faith.
.–.C.H. Spurgeon

August 15

Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story,
which no one on earth has read:
which goes on for ever:
in which every chapter is better than the one before.
.–.C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle

August 14

The preacher who neglects to pray much
must be very careless about his ministry.
He cannot have comprehended his calling.
He cannot have computed the value of a soul,
or estimated the meaning of eternity.
.–.C.H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students

August 13

Not always talking to Him or about Him,
But waiting before Him till the stream runs clear,
Till the cream rises to the top,
Till the mists part and the soul regains its equilibrium.
.–.F.B. Meyer

Resting in Christ, we are shielded,
protected and safe in his arms.
We also can hear our Lord’s heartbeat
and detect even his whisper.
.–.Mare Allison

August 12

Suddenly it was as though I were present at the Bethlehem birth,
and the baby Mother Theresa was holding,
another Lamb of God sent into the world to lighten our darkness.
How could we know what made life worth while for this or that child?
On what basis dared we prognosticate.
How many Lambs of God may not have been carried away in buckets of
hospital waste?
.–.Malcolm Muggeridge, Jesus, The Man Who Lives

August 11

Still, for all that, my firm old-fashioned belief
is that some doctrines are true,
and that statements which are diametrically opposite to them
are not true.
that when “No” is the fact, “Yes” is out of court,
and when “Yes” can be justified, “No must be abandoned.
.–.C.H. Spurgeon