Thursday, November 19, 2015
There is for every man a statement possible of that truth which he is most unwilling to receive -- a statement possible, so broad and pungent, that he cannot get away from it, but must either bend to it or die of it. Else there would be no such word as eloquence, which means this.' Emerson.
"There is yet another class who do not depend on financial advantages, but support the winter in virtue of a brave and merry heart. One shivering evening, cold enough for frost, but with too high a wind, and a little past sundown, when the lamps were beginning to enlarge their circles in the growing dusk, a pair of barefooted lassies were seen coming eastward in the teeth of the wind. If the one was as much as nine, the other was certainly not more than seven. They were miserably clad; and the pavement was so cold, you would have thought no one could lay a naked foot on it unflinching. Yet they came along waltzing, if you please, while the elder sang a tune to give them music. The person who saw this, and whose heart was full of bitterness at the moment, pocketed a reproof which has been of use to him ever since, and which he now hands on, with his good wishes, to the reader." Robert Louis Stevenson.
"We are all so busy, and have so many far-off projects to realize, and castles in the fire to turn into solid habitable mansions on a gravel soil, that we can find no time for pleasure trips into the Land of Thought and among the Hills of Vanity.
Changed times, indeed, when we must sit all night, beside the fire, with folded hands; and a changed world for most of us, when we find we can pass the hours without discontent, and be happy thinking.
We are in such haste to be doing, to be writing, to be gathering gear, to make our voice audible a moment in the derisive silence of eternity, that we forget that one thing, of which these are but the parts --- namely, to live.
We fall in love, we drink hard, we run to and fro upon the earth like frightened sheep. And now you are to ask yourself if, when all is done, you would have not been better to sit by the fire at home, and be happy thinking. To sit still and contemplate --- to remember the faces of women without desire, to be pleased by the great deeds of men without envy, to be everything and everywhere in sympathy, and yet content to remain where and what you are --- is not this to know both wisdom and virtue, and to dwell with happiness?"
Robert Louis Stevenson.
When we come to Christ in crisis, we come looking for a savior, someone that can make sense out of our lives; who can bring joy into living; who can raise dead things to life, make twisted and crooked things straight; and all this as a companion in whom we can pour out our hearts to; a trusted friend we can run to for guidance and counsel: someone we know sympathizes with our miseries, a confidant who cares for our future.
Christ is able to do and be all this and more; He is our truest friend but we need be mindful that we don't outrun Him.
He will lead us on a path too restore our character,
Remove our shame,
Enable us to love unselfishly,
Give without expecting in return;
Disagree without anger;
Appreciate without envy;
Love without smothering jealousy;
And face the future without fear.
These are the things that give us self-worth and make us approachable, warm and lovable.
What can sabotage our plan? To get sidetracked and focus on the last, first: being lovable.
If we lose our focus of becoming someone that is worthy of love and focus on just being loved, we miss and detour all the rest. We must be patient and not fall again in to the trap of many, that drown out the Spirit of God with a needy heart desperate for romance; we must not allow lust to quench the Spirits work in making us lovable.
If we are to find a person of character worthy of our love, we must become a person of character worthy of theirs.
Friday, November 13, 2015
Jesus says, "My sheep hear my voice." And again He states, "they that have ears to hear, hear, and those who have eyes to see, see." Hearing the voice of God is something we strive to know clearly all the days of our walk with Him. There are many competing voices declaring His methods. I simplified some of the things Martineau said about the way we hear the true voice of God.
He never speaks to us as strangers as though we are a race of slaves who must do things we don't comprehend, because His tones are directed, not to overpower, but to penetrate our very souls.
Christ appeals to us as souls that bear a kindred spirit with his own.
Christ addresses us in the imperative voice of divine right; but not till it has made the whisper of our own conscience speak in the very same tones.
He asks for obedience, but on the basis of communion with Him.
His sternest law is mellowed by the voice of Him that bare our woes, and they are turned from the crash of Fate into the music of love.
He pronounces with the calmness of inspiration, on the sublimest truths. He transposes us into a temper in which His truths evidence themselves.
He abolishes the infinite distance between us, and shows us that what is dear and beautiful to Him are the very things we hold sacred.
He does not bear down against our resistance, but touches the natural spring of our inner desires.
He appeals to us as to souls that bear a kindred spirit with His own; that we secretly know the right way from which, in a misery of delusion, we have turned from: we deeply love the purity and power of heart that we have sadly lost; and feel the shame and sorrow of an alienation; an alienation that we may have boasted of as a freedom, but lamented with the sighs of exile.
This is how everyone born of the Spirit perceives the Holy and can vow allegiance to the Divine.
"My sheep hear my voice."
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
"In order for us to submit to a spirit above us it must appeal to other considerations than those of self-interest and fear; it must convince us that it is not only stronger, but more excellent than we; it must evince a wisdom, a constancy, a clearness, which we do not possess and yet are able to discern; above all, it must penetrate us with loving awe, by a faithfulness purer than our own to that eternal law by which the true and beautiful and good are opposed to the false and base and wicked. Such a one rules me not like the seasons, the pestilence, or the storm: he brings me to a quiet: he wields no hard material sway: he imposes no foreign unsuspected law: he asks and will have no blind compliance: he orders a service, and yet will have it free: he carries me away, not by keeping me blind, but by making me see: he lets in the light which my own unfaithfulness has obscured, and shows me where I am, what I serve, and whither I tend. My will falls under a new order of influence; and if henceforth I follow him as Master of my soul, it is not with the obedience of self-interest, but with the obedience of reverence." Martineau.