..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Oswald Chambers: What to Concentrate On


"I came not to send peace,
but a sword." Matthew 10:34

Never be sympathetic with the soul whose
case makes you come to the conclusion that
God is hard. God is more tender than we
can conceive, and every now and again He
gives us the chance of being the rugged one
that He may be the tender One.

If a man cannot get through to God it is
because there is a secret thing he does
not intend to give up - I will admit
I have done wrong, but I no more intend
to give up that thing than fly. It is
impossible to deal sympathetically with a
case like that: we have to get right deep
down to the root until there is antagonism
and resentment against the message. People
want the blessing of God, but they will
not stand the thing that goes straight to
the quick.

If God has had His way with you, your
message as His servant is merciless insistence
on the one line, cut down to the very root,
otherwise there will be no healing. Drive
home the message until there is no possible
refuge from its application.

Begin to get at people where they are until
you get them to realize what they lack, and
then erect the standard of Jesus Christ for
their lives - "We never can be that."
Then drive it home - "Jesus Christ says
you must." "But how can we be?" "You cannot,
unless you have a new Spirit." (Luke 11:13.)

There must be a sense of need before your
message is of any use. Thousands of people are
happy without God in this world. If I was
happy and moral till Jesus came, why did He
come? Because that kind of happiness and
peace is on a wrong level; Jesus Christ came
to send a sword through every peace that is
not based on a personal relationship to Himself.

--Oswald Chambers

photo taken in Colorado Springs, CO

Friday, December 18, 2009

"Pressured man on the run is always
postponing his encounter with God to
a ‘free moment’ or a ‘time of prayer’
that must constantly be rescheduled,
a time that he must laboriously wrest
from his overburdened workday. A child
that knows God can find him at every
moment because every moment opens up
for him the very ground of time: as if
it reposed on eternity itself."

Hans Urs von Balthasar,
"Unless You Become Like This Child"

photo taken at Somers Congregational
Church, Somers, CT: nativity display.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Now men say, "I am in no wise prepared for this
work, and therefore it cannot be wrought in me,"
and thus they find an excuse, so that they neither
are ready nor in the way to be so. And truly there
is no one to blame for this but themselves. For if
a man were looking and striving after nothing but to
find a preparation in all things, and diligently
gave his whole mind to see how he might become
prepared; verily God would well prepare him, for
God giveth as much care and earnestness and love
to the preparing of a man, as to the pouring in of
His Spirit when the man is prepared.

... Theologia Germanica [1518], Anonymous

photo taken in Westford, MA

Saturday, December 12, 2009

When we find our souls at all declining, it is best to raise them up presently by some awakening meditations, such as of the presence of God, of the strict reckoning we are to make, of the infinite love of God in Christ and the fruits of it, of the excellency of a Christian's calling, of the short and uncertain time of this life, of how little good all those things that steal away our hearts will do us before long, and of how it shall be for ever with us hereafter, as we spend this short time well or ill. The more we make way for such considerations to sink into our hearts, the more we shall rise nearer to that state of soul which we shall enjoy in heaven.

—Richard Sibbes (Puritan author)

photo taken in Garibaldi, Oregon

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Show me where it hurts,

God said

And every cell in my body

burst into tears

Before His tender eyes.

- Rabia of Barsa (c. 717-801 C.E.)

PHOTO: The Wreck of the Peter Iredale, Ft Stevens,
Oregon (solarized)

The Peter Iredale was a four-masted steel barque
ailing vessel that ran ashore October 25, 1906,
on the Oregon coast en route to the Columbia River.
It was abandoned on Clatsop Spit near Fort Stevens
in Warrenton about four miles south of the Columbia
River channel. Wreckage is still visible, making it
a popular tourist attraction as one of the most
accessible shipwrecks of the Graveyard of the Pacific.