Thy Love Is Like the Sea

Our love is like a little pool,
Thy love is like the sea,
O beautiful, O wonderful,
How noble Love can be.

Amy Carmichael

Love is a gift. And if St. John is right, love is divine, for God is love. Sadly many seem to live, or at least exist, without it--or live contrary to it.

A gift must be received, opened, and used properly to be fully enjoyed. A thoughtful gift from a loved one can be deeply touching.  In the case of God's love for us, the gift and the Giver merge. No greater gift can be given.

Sin is Easy, Righteousness is Work

From The Sampson Society Daily Time with God:
"In the world of recovery, there is an axiom that is often shared with others in recovery. It goes something like this, “No matter how far down the road of recovery you get, you’re still just as close to the ditch.” Sin is easy, righteousness is work.
    But Paul is suggesting, as followers of Jesus, we are free from sin and controlled by righteousness. There must be a secret hidden in this passage because that simply is not my experience or that of others I know. Still, let me take a stab at it … according to this passage, once we were slaves to sin, but now we are slaves to God (Romans 6:22). One of the byproducts of being a slave to God is being controlled by righteousness. Furthermore, the result (wages) of sin is death, both physical and spiritual, so when we continue to sin, the control of righteousness in our lives is weakened. It is like we put the chains of slavery to sin back on. We progressively feel powerless over the pull …

No Anger, No Purity

The Philokalia is an early Chistian text that seeks
to help with spiritual formation. Very helpful for today. Here is a section that shows how anger is constructive, even necessary, for spiritual growth.
"1. There is among the passions an anger of the intellect, and this anger is in accordance with nature. Without anger a man cannot attain purity: he has to feel angry with all that is sown in him by the enemy. When Job felt this anger he reviled his enemies, calling them 'dishonourable men of no repute, lacking everything good, whom I would not consider fit to live with the dogs that guard my flocks' (cf Job 30: 1, 4. LXX). He who wishes to acquire the anger that is in accordance with nature must uproot all self-will, until he establishes within himself the state natural to the intellect. "
(On Guarding the Intellect, The Philokalia)

Kingdom Life

Beginning to read The Kingdom Life: A Practical Theology of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation. Here are some guiding principles gleaned from the book that show the centrality of the body of Christ in the process of kingdom growth and advancement, what I refer to as gospel transformation, community formation, missional reformation:
Guiding Principle 1: Spiritual formation occurs in believers as they engage in intentional personal formation, community formation and missional formation. These three dimensions of spiritual development must not be compartmentalized or separated but organically connected. Guiding Principle 2: The center of the spiritual-formation church is Jesus and His kingdom. The Bible is a Christocentric book. Jesus’ primary message was about the immediate nearness and availability of His kingdom to us. Guiding Principle 3: Every spiritual-formation church must be rooted in the soil of the lost, the vulnerable, and the least. Guiding Principle 4: The spiritual-formation…

Relection & Meditation for Lent

Lent...should never be morose - an annual ordeal during which we begrudginly forgo a handful of pleasures. Instead, it ought to be approached as an opportunity. After all, it is meant to be the church's springtime, when our of the darkness of sin's winter, a repentant, empowered people emerges.
--Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter 

The prodigal son was resolved to come, yet he was half afraid. But we read that his father ran. Slow are the steps of repentance, but swift are the feet of forgiveness. God can run where we can scarcely limp, and if we are limping toward Him, He will run toward us. Thought the father was out of breath, He was not out of love.
--Charles Haddon Spurgeon

O Lord, who has mercy upon all, take away from me my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of thy Holy Spirit. Take away from me the heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore You, a heart to delight in You, to follow and enjoy You, for Christ's sake. Amen…

The Importance of Time

God is the author of time. He invented it. There was a time when time was not. Then God created time and space. He ordered His creation in the span of six days and rested on the seventh. Thus the rhythm of our week is woven into the fabric of the world. God promised Noah that "while the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease" (Genesis 8:22). God gives us a framework. There is a stability to life. We can count on time--year after year, month after month, day after day, hour after hour. This brings structure to our lives. Time becomes something that we order our lives around. The fourth commandment states: "Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God." Work and rest become a daily and weekly and yearly rhythm. Time is the beat to this rhythm.
The teacher in Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that there is a time for everything:
a time to be born, and a time …

Your King Has Come

Caesar Augustus’ birthday was honored as the “birthday of the god!” A stone monument (Priene Inscription) was erected 9 yrs before Jesus’ birth celebrating Caesar as “a savior for the world” whose birth was the beginning of “good tidings for all people.”  It seemed good to the Greeks of Asia, in the opinion of the high priest Apollonius of Menophilus Azanitus: Since Providence, which has ordered all things and is deeply interested in our life, has set in most perfect order by giving us Augustus, whom she filled with virtue that he might benefit humankind, sending him as a savior both for us and for our descendants, that he might end war and arrange all things, and since he, Caesar, by his appearance (excelled even our anticipations), surpassing all previous benefactors, and not even leaving to posterity any hope of surpassing what he has done, and since the birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning of the good tidings [euangelion] for the world that came by reason of him which Asi…