Tuesday, January 31, 2017

  Had the soul of Christ been different, all his external actions, his words and his teachings would not have drawn the faithful band of followers which spread around the globe, it was the spirit within Christ, the heavenly love and light that attracted and kept His followers. Christianity conquered the world by conquering the individual heart; this was no political or societal advance like abolition, that changed the laws but not the hearts; this heavenly dominion over the human heart, the internal inspiration which made them missionaries and martyrs; in persecution and peril, in temptation and conflict enabled them to say, "but none of these things move us." Thus before the holiness of Christ, which was and is the supreme energy of the gospel, the craft of hierarchies, and the force of governments and the massive energy of civilization gave way.
  Faith in Christ, this positive and creative power, puts into the mind, not doubts, but faith, not hardening the shrine of the heart, but consecrating and opening it afresh for worship.
  To individual faithfulness then, to the energy of the private conscience has God committed the real history and progress of mankind.

In our daily life where we walk and move, with capacities common to us all, we drop the seeds from which, if ever, the Paradise of God must grow and blossom upon the earth. He that can be true to his best and secret nature, that can, by faith and patience, conquer the struggling world within, is most likely to send forth a blessed power to vanquish the world without. Mysteries of influence fall from every earnest choice, and will return to us, either in gladness or in weeping, after many days. We cannot allow any quenching of God's spirit without preparing a curse for others as well as for ourselves. "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.'  Taken from a piece by James Martineau. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

  "There is only one plain rule of life, eternally binding and independent of all variations in creeds, and in the interpretation of creeds, embracing equally the greatest moralities and the smallest; it is this --- try thyself unweariedly till thou findest the highest thing thou art capable of doing, faculties and outward circumstances being duly considered, and then do it." John Stuart Mill. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

  "Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy, Now I will arise," says the Lord; "I will set him in the safety for which he longs." 

  In preparation for a sermon on Jeremiah 29:11, I ran across this verse of hope in Psalms 12:5
In the eight years I've worked with those in recovery from substance abuse, I have never met one person that came from an intact, loving, nurturing Christian home. I think I have talked to over three hundred people in recovery, and of course I always ask about their childhood. Without exception, they all shared the experience of childhood trauma, either divorce, abuse, in all of its devastating forms, whether verbal, physical or sexual assault. This will be a verse I commit to memory.

Painting of "Raising of the Daughter of Jairus"

Saturday, January 07, 2017

This last week I talked with a man that assaulted and beat both of his elderly parents when he neglected to take his meds. He had such remorse, tears flowed as he told his story. I talk to so many that have such regret, such fear of God's punishment, and many that have truly done horrific deeds. I ran across this little prayer that I read at the jail from time to time because, with few words, it reflects our hearts so clearly.

 "Gracious God, our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment. Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image, through Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Amen." Author unknown.