Sunday, March 29, 2009
- Bridget Willard
One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organizations do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always.
- A. W. Tozer
Monday, March 23, 2009
Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine figs?
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
- D.A. Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Since it is St. Patrick's Day and because I have a significant amount of Irish blood in me, I want to mention one of the most brilliant Irish authors ever (in my opinion).
His name is C. S. Lewis . I am fascinated with his writings and I encourage you to become familiar with his work, if you haven't already.
Recently, I ran across yet another thought-provoking quote by C. S. Lewis. He said, "The only things we can keep are the things we freely give to God. What we try to keep for ourselves is just what we are sure to lose." If you consider this quote, it could be interpreted to mean something totally polar opposite from my understanding. So with apologies to Mr. Lewis, I humbly blog my explanation and application of this quote in my life.
I have a friend who is celebrating her 40-something birthday today...on St. Patrick's Day. After contemplating a conversation we had I consider her brilliant, too. Hopefully you will understand why after reading this blog.
You know how they say 'true friends will be honest with you even when it hurts.' Well, about two months ago this 'true friend' called me and treated me to dinner. At first she was really sympathetic and acknowledged my ongoing trials and tribulations. Then, with no warning at all, she let loose! And to be honest it hurt like HELL! In short, this is what she told me....
Your problem is not the peripheral things in your life. Your problem is YOU!
YOU are the problem! YOU are miserable because you can't control life. YOU are miserable because YOU are unwilling to let go of trying to control things and to cause the results that YOU think should occur. YOU have to realize that it's not yours to control and manage.
YOU are going to have to let go. That does not mean YOU don't care. It just means YOU stop trying to force outcomes and make people behave a certain way. YOU need to surrender to the way things are temporarily. YOU can't do the impossible, but YOU can do the possible. That means laugh, love, and take care of yourself.
After she said all this I didn't know whether to get up and leave or hug her. Well, I didn't leave. I let her words sink in and as painful as it was, I told her she was correct. And I even thanked her.
So back to C. S. Lewis. I think that's what he was saying when he said, "The only things we can keep are the things we freely give to God. What we try to keep for ourselves is just what we are sure to lose" is that if I really want the life that God wants for me, I must be willing to let go of the life I had planned.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Showers of Blessings. I remember being sandwiched between my Mema and my Papa Tanner as a young child and singing this song in that beautiful country church. The church stood in the midst of ancient oaks draped with spanish moss. One particular Sunday as we sang this hymn, it was pouring rain outside, our voices barely audible with the overwhelming sound of deafening rain. I recall getting soaked to the bone running to the car after the service. And the smell of the rain as it fell on that dry parched south Georgia soil where my ancestors had toiled and tilled the land. I remember my Papa's quiet, humble words of thanksgiving.
But what about the times when the rain doesn't come? What do we do when our very soul seems to be parched and windburned from the onslaught of trials threatening to rip us from our foundation. What do we do when there seems to be no hope? That is when we learn about trusting and obeying. That is when we allow Him to carry us, allow Him to have His way.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I cut some branches from a blossoming peach tree on an afternoon walk today. Just a few weeks ago that same tree was bare, naked and appeared lifeless. Now it is adorned with beautiful pink flowers foretelling the fruit that will soon appear.
He chose to hang on that tree, that cross. Naked. Bearing all.
There is no greater love.
I can experience that love, that resurrection life, that transforming life.
All because He first loved me.
“What God wants is not just behavioral compliance but loving service. The tree-command [in the garden] means: ‘Please do this commandment just because of who I am, just for me, not because it looks profitable to you. Obey me out of love.’ But we failed to love him because we believe the Lie that he doesn’t care. Here ‘the Lie’ of the serpent is not just the fount of sadness but of disobedience. We lack self-control not just because we are ‘bad’ in some general way but because we disbelieve in the love and goodness of God.
How can our hearts be changed? [Jesus] obeyed the tree-command [at the Cross] simply because of his love for his Father and for us. He obeyed not because it profited him but because it profited us. Now love God for his own sake, for the sake of his beauty and worth–because he loved you for your own sakes in Jesus.”
- Tim Keller, Preaching the Gospel in a Post-modern World (RTS Class Syllabus, Page 45)