Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hannah Hears the Snow

When our daughter Hannah got up this morning we sat together in our blue chair, which is the place we often sit together, and we prayed. After a little while (which the “while” must be very “little” while sitting with a four-year-old) we got up and opened our blinds. Looking out we saw a fresh white blanket of snow.

Hannah looked out at the snow and said, “The snow talks to me.” I asked her what she meant and she answered, “It doesn’t talk with words.” This reminded me of something I read by Thomas Merton where he explained that everything in all of creation speaks of God and His goodness and love. Where a tree isn’t merely a tree but something in creation that speaks of God without words. God, himself, has made the tree with many arms that reach up to heaven~ extending leaves as hands. For us, this morning, the snow reminded us of God’s purity, of heaven, of the manna falling for the Israelites in the desert and how God will soon make all things new.

There are so many things wrong in our world but, for those who look and listen carefully, it still speaks of the beautiful intentions of God toward us. This is the way we are meant to see.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Advice I'm Trying To Take

1. Humility is where to begin as it both acknowledges our proper place before God and accepts His abundant Grace.
2. Without humility we fool only ourselves.
3. In humility we are raised up~ in pride we must be put down.
4. Grace is undeserved favor, yes, but this favor must be accepted.
5. Words of anger both open eyes and close hearts.
6. Love asks, “How can I serve?” Not, “Where are my servants?”
7. If you want peace, surrender to God and you will have no enemies.
8. Every person is a child of God who fails to act like one.
9. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and purify us of all unrighteousness.” What then if we keep sin hidden?
10. “Prayer succeeds when all else fails,” might be a good statement. I suggest, “With prayer everything good succeeds,” is a whole lot better.
11. God is Love. God is Truth. He cannot be divided.
12. When Jesus said, “Do not judge lest you be judged,” He was not advocating an acceptance of sin. He was rather adding to the list of sins to avoid.
13. Jesus began His ministry with the words, “Repent!” not with, “How may I help you?”
14. It is better to do something good than to avoid doing good things. Many render themselves useless because they believe they must be pure before they begin.
15. Service to others, especially to the ungrateful, is a walk through purifying fire.
16. Serve only the God who made you! Not the one of your making.
17. You know the Truth to the degree you live the Truth.
18. Avoid those who speak negatively about others but seek those who speak negatively about you.
19. You are not a servant if another is your slave.
20. Three seconds with God is far better than three hours talking about Him.
21. Which is worse, the source of entertainment, or our persistent desire to be entertained? Often, both are worse.
22. It is far better to attempt to love and fail miserably than to avoid love by avoiding failure.
23. If you desire to become a truly generous giver you must first be a grateful recipient.
24. Learn the differences between knowledge, intelligence and wisdom.
25. Seek to combine knowledge, intelligence and wisdom.
26. It has been said, “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” This is true, however I would add, “If you truly love you only stand to gain.”
27. “God helps those who help themselves?” Rubbish. How about, “God helps everyone that asks for help.”
28. “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Now the important thing is what you plan on doing with that penny.
29. “A stitch in time saves nine.” Sure, but consider what you’re stitching as it might be a waste of time in the first place.
30. Children simultaneously reveal God’s mercy and give us a foretaste of His righteous judgment.
31. It is good to consider the last things, our ultimate end, first, and adjust accordingly.
32. It is nearly impossible to waste time in prayer and far too easy to waste the time when we could be praying.
33. Faith? Works? What saves you? Remember it is only God Himself that can save you.
34. Trying to earn God’s love is more foolish than trying to heat the sun. But trying to earn His praise is a worthy pursuit. May He say to you, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
35. People choose to possess certain items to make a “statement” about, “who they are.” It seems most possessions have very little good to say.
36. Those who applaud the sins of others are twice as guilty.