I recall singing that old hymn, “Where the Roses Never Fade” at funerals. Tears fell down as people gathered to say their last farewell to a lost loved one. During those times, when words never seem enough, I’m always grateful for the promise of a life that never ends. I am going to a city … Continue reading Life That Lasts
The Oprah Magazine has declared 2016 the year of YOU. This announcement is about what we might expect from O magazine, but would someone tell me how I can handle another year of me. Definitely, knowing and improving ourselves is helpful but only if we are willing to be brutally honest in the process.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Psalm. 51:6
My desire is for more grace that will help me be patient in trails, to grow in my disappointments, to turn my heart more often to heaven and put my hope in eternal things above things of this world. I need more grace to live more often in the presence of love and be okay with its inefficiency.
Inside of us are two conflicting natures wrestling for the title role of our affections. As Jesus said, we cannot serve both God and the world — something must give. The human nature with its disordered affections competes with my true desire for the pure nature of God. I need great grace if I am to remain in peace in my present condition and even more grace if I intend to change.
Paying attention to the movement of grace and nature within is an important practice for those who long for greater freedom in God.
……pay careful attention to the movements of nature and of grace, for they move in very contrary and subtle ways, and can scarcely be distinguished by anyone except a man who is spiritual and inwardly enlightened. Thomas a Kempis
In describing the struggle within, Thomas a Kempis calls our fallen human condition nature, and the divine nature he calls grace. He points out that the only way for grace and human nature to cohabit is for nature to submit to grace. In other words, like the Odd Couple, there are two roommates inside me that can only get along is if one is willing to give in to the other. In the case of grace and nature, one is from above, one from below, one seeks the will of God the other it’s own way. We participate in the divine nature of Jesus when we choose to pay attention to the subtle movements of grace and ignore the more demanding voice of nature.
If I am to grow in grace this year, it will take some humility and brokenness as I realize the truth that I am nothing and can do little if any good without God and a great deal of His grace. In this place of surrender and weakness, I also discover that by grace, I can do all things through Christ who strengthen’s me. (Philippians 4:13)
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us toc his own glory and excellence,d 4by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 2 Peter 1
O most blessed grace, which makes the poor in spirit rich in virtues, which renders him who is rich in many good things humble of heart, come, descend upon me, fill me quickly with your consolation lest my soul faint with weariness and dryness of mind. Let me find grace in Your sight, I beg, Lord, for Your grace is enough for me, even though I obtain none of the things which nature desires. If I am tempted and afflicted with many tribulations, I will fear no evils while Your grace is with me. This is my strength. This will give me counsel and help. This is more powerful than all my enemies and wiser than all the wise. This is the mistress of truth, the teacher of discipline, the light of the heart, the consoler in anguish, the banisher of sorrow, the expeller of fear, the nourisher of devotion, the producer of tears. What am I without grace, but dead wood, a useless branch, fit only to be cast away? Let Your grace, therefore, go before me and follow me, O Lord, and make me always intent upon good works, through Jesus Christ, Your Son. Thomas a Kempis
The wedding party of smartly dressed young men and colourful bridesmaids lined the front of the chapel as the bride glided slowly up the aisle to meet her husband-to-be. At the right time, I began to recite, “Dearly beloved we are gathered here today . . . . ” Within any wedding crowd there are… Continue reading Love That Won’t Tie You Up.
If you could have whatever you want, what would it be? Do you really know what you want? In my experience, my desires are all jumbled up. Sometimes, my wants are all about me. Then, it’s about money or affection. At another time, I’m benevolent and want others to be free and fulfilled. The longing… Continue reading On Following Your Heart
Only 5 percent of 5 million tourists that annually visit the Grand Canyon venture beyond the rim. They do not mount a donkey or hike a trail to explore the rugged and interesting world below. Some tourists are like drive-by-shooters; snapping shots with their camera, but not engaging in the world they are viewing through… Continue reading Living Beyond the Rim
Does work ever get you down? You are not alone. The author of Ecclesiastes lamented his work too: “What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow and his work is a vexation. Even in the night… Continue reading Work: Chasing after the wind.
What is your happy place? For me, it’s a lakeside cabin in Temagami, Ontario where I spent my summers growing up like Davy Crockett. (I’ve even saved my trusty hunting/whittling knife from those days.) Others may find their happy place in a more urban setting, like a local cafe or in the magic of Disney… Continue reading The Safest Place On Earth
Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Prov 4:23 Living with an open heart is a risky choice that takes courage and wisdom. The act of living generously can expose us to those who might take advantage. The disposition of trusting can leave a person vulnerable to the… Continue reading Love to Love
A heart of trust is discovered on the outskirts of the familiar and the known. As one poet said, When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen: There will be… Continue reading Trust Jump
A heart of gold is not something you come by every day. Like Neil Young, you might just find yourself singing, “I’m getting old,” before you find one. Although it is hard, it isn’t impossible if we mine for a golden heart in the right places. Truthfully, gold mining itself can look rather foolish. To… Continue reading Heart of Gold