Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fatherhood

It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was."

- Anne Sexton

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Torture of Meaning

"Looking up into the night sky is looking into infinity - distance is incomprehensible and therefore meaningless." ... for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe."

Friday, December 25, 2009

Tears, Grief and Redemption

Washington Irving:


There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness but of power. They are messengers of overwhelming grief and of unspeakable love."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Meaning


This seems to be a time of year when meaning is a theme of the time. People look for; talk about; and attempt to define what is meaning, specifically the meaning of Christmas. There is an underlying current of dissent and dissatisfaction with the way in which life is defined.  There is a search or quest for reality, the defining purpose, the ultimate goal, the significant achievement and although these are all noble pursuits, I think for the most part people are lost in a world of ambiguity and multiplicity, unable to focus thier energies and motivations towards attaining any real meaning. We talk about mid-life crises, transitional phases and all boil down to frustration or aggravation at 'the man in the mirror' and facing a bemoaned existence. 

Monday, December 21, 2009

Storm & Stress

To begin with, life has storms and storms create stress. Stress is the body's way of responding to a perceived threat. It's not a cause but an effect. It isn't an action but a reaction. When our body senses danger it prepares us to engage or escape. The problem is, we often experience stress when there is no real threat to our safety. Our heart rate and blood pressure elevate and our muscles increase their tension.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Man's Problem

Tiger Woods said something to the effect of, "... secret sins do not need press releases ..."


"When we confess our sin to God in secret, he forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. When we confess our sins to one another, we are bringing sin out into the light and destroying its power over us as we find strength and healing in the company of those who lift us up with prayer and encouragement." Brian Heckman 'The Tale of Another Pirate Monk - Part 2'

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Myth Part 2

Christians of all people seem to bear the burden of an explainable theodicy. A theodicy is a justification of God and His attribites, especially with regard to the existence of evil and suffering in the world. This justification hinges on the goodness and love of God as it relates to a world enduring hardship, impoverishment, disease and pain. There must be an understanding of the need for a reason (a justification or reasonable explanation) for the apparent disparity between two polarirized positions, those being the goodness of God and His seemingly disconcerting inaction. The purposes of God, His knowledge and wisdom are beyond our comprehension. Isaiah 55:8,9, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, ... For as the heavens ar higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." People are foolish to attempt to place God into a mold of our making which seeks to make His plans and purposes fit our profile of God.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Myth; Part 1

Ashley Montagu: The deepest human defeat suffered by human beings is constituted by the difference between what one was capable of becoming and what one has in fact become.



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Miksang

Miksang is a Tibetan word that translates as ‘Good Eye’, and is based on the Shambhala and Dharma Art teachings of the late meditation master, artist, and scholar Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fear

Paranoia ia a thought process heavily influenced by excessive anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion.


Fear is an emotional response to a threat. It is a basic survival mechanism in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger.
Fear should be distinguished from the emotional state of anxiety, which typically occurs without any external threat.
Fear is related to the specific behaviours of escape and avoidance, whereas anxiety is the result of threats which are perceived to be incontrolable or unavoidable.
Fear always relates to future events.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Divorce; The Scourge of Marriage

Divorce is a reality of life. What was spoken of in hushed terms a number of years ago has become an accepted part of our culture. As a Christian community we have fared no better than the society in which we live. We have lost the voice of reason and resolution because of that very fact. People have had a tendency to put Christians into context as having the solutions to all social ills and usually as a consequence of their sense of judgement when faced with the Christian belief that God condemns certain practices and behaviours that occur outside the laws as outlined by the Ten Commandments, The Bible, and the teaching of Jesus. Jesus said "He who is without sin can cast the first stone." and to borrow another poignant phrase, "You don't throw rocks if you live in a glass house." As a people who are to be discerning about our relationships and be a light in the management of those relationships it has come that we are no longer the epitomy of health. Christians are human and in that we suffer temptations and succumb to lusts. I am not saying that that is the way it must happen, but, it appears that for a large portion of the Christian community it has. Our spirituality no longer translates into the redeemed and peculiar life we are called to live. We no longer have the strength to 'Just Say No'.

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Ecce Homo!"

"Behold the Man" - The Man of Ages.


Kierkegaard said "... faith cannot be distilled from even the nicest accuracy of (historical) detail. The historical (claim) that God existed in human form is the essence of the matter ..." "If the contemporary generation (with Jesus) had left nothing behind them but these words: We have believed ... God appeared among us in the humble figure of a servant, that he lived and taught in our community, and finally died,' it would be more than enough (for faith)."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lest We Forget?


There is much debate about the significance and the honoring of Remembrance Day.



In Flanders's Fields the poppies blow,
between the crosses row on row,

There seems to be occurring, just what the institution of a Day of Remembrance was designed to avoid,
Lest We Forget.

We are forgetting, we are making it just another Statutory Holiday, we are offering to exchange it for Christmas Eve off from work in order to keep the machines of industry and commerce rolling.

Lest We Forget
that the lives that were shed and sacrificed for our freedoms today were given to stop the machines of anarchy which had rolled across Europe.

Lest We Forget
the atrocities and horrors that those men faced in liberating Europe from the devastating effects of Hitler's War Machine.

Lest We Forget
the gas chambers and incineration ovens by which millions of Europeans were slaughtered.

Lest We Forget
that the powers and forces which destroyed the lives of countless generations of people are still alive and present in this world NOW.

Lest We Forget
that our own freedoms are kept by 'A Few Good Men' who while we sleep and work and are afforded a day-off to remember, stand on walls, armed and 'in harm's way' to ensure that our sleep will not be disturbed.

Lest We Forget
the pain and anguish of those who have lost their children and parents in past and present conflicts.

Lest We Forget
that those men did not die in vain and there sacrifice should in no way be diminished because of a lackadaisical attitude which in it's laziness will not take the time to Remember.

Lest We Forget
that in order to stop the insidious evil which seeks only to destroy and enslave, 'good men' must be prepared to go to war and die.

Lest We Forget
those who are imprisoned, enslaved, beaten and oppressed and are powerless in the face of an enemy

Lest We Forget
the cruelties of those who have no regard for human life except their own and will not hesitate to kill any and all who would dare to stand.

Lest We Forget
those who brandish fear like a weapon stilling the voices of the down-trodden.

Lest We Forget
for ONE DAY to pay homage to those who will fight and die, rather than pay bills,
the signs on the shops and stores should read;

CLOSED
LEST WE FORGET


I do not understand why anyone would have a problem with this.

Unless of course, they forgot!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Believest Thou This?


The ultimate question?
"Do you believe this?"
It provides the test of insight and faith and includes all the subtle turns of thought.
It is moving from abstract belief to personalized trust.
It is coming to terms with my ordeal of doubt.
It is facing my fear of pain. It is about the fear to love.
It is about the fear of surrender.
It is about the fear of ____________
Fear must be overcome to embrace faith; belief must inspire faith to overcome fear.

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

Sunday, November 01, 2009

God's Revelation


God has revealed Himself to all men through creation. Taylor paraphrases Romans 1:19,20 as "Although the (people) had no written revelation, yet what may be known of God is every where manifest among them, God having made a clear discovery of Himself to them. For His being and perfections, invisible to our bodily eyes, have been, ever since the creation of the world, evidently to be seen, if attentively considered, in the visible beauty, order and operations observable in the constitution and parts of the universe; especially His eternal power and universal dominion and providence: so that (the world) cannot plead ignorance in excuse of their idolatry and wickedness."

Friday, October 30, 2009

An Intangible


"Reason without faith leave one making decisions arrogantly, because what is known is all that should be known. Faith without reason is no less arrogant becasue it dismisses any knowledge that one can gain in the world."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Thought


A thought happens or occurs in the mind of a man. Is it new?


Thoughts or thinking allow men the ability to model and comprehend the world and to deal with it according to their objectives, plans, ends and desires. The cognitive ability which makes thinking possible is the defining aspect of man. Descartes said, "Cogito ergo sum: I think, therefore I am; or I am thinking, therefore I exist."

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Challenge of Belief


" ... every temporal expression of eternal truth becomes inadequate, and so needs to be replaced by another expression, adequate to its time's historical situation. That, however, means that traditions have either given up old formulations, not as false, but as for a former time, or if that is not done, outmoded versions will co-exist as news ones arise to face the successive contemporary situations."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Life's Tragedy; Freedom Lost Part 3


As these years have unfolded I have sought for an identity, my identity, that which makes me distinct, valuable, significant. The years reveal the vain attempts through varieties of expressions the efforts towards that goal. Attaining purpose and meaning in life has been fraught with failure. Significance has been illusive. " Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “ Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun?" In my role as a man, a husband, a father, a leader, an employee in whatever situation and circumstance in which I have attempted and strived to attain significance the underlying and defining force has been one of flawed, misguided and fruitless endeavour.

Life's Tragedy; Part 2, Truth in Love


"If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

"Every person has to define right and wrong for them self."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Life's Tragedy; Part 1


" The greatest tragedy of life is not that man dies but what dies in a man while he still lives."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Life's Valleys


"Which of life’s curves so tangled your mind
that you chose to wring the life from your body tonight,..."

Sunday, October 04, 2009

A Fiecre Faith


"... but without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Watch Against Sin






X

"Sin is a prison, has its bolts and chains,
Brings into bondage who it entertains;
Hangs shackles on them, bends them to its will,
Holds them, as Samson grinded at the mill,
'Twill blind them, make them deaf;yes twill them gag,
And ride them as the devil rides his hag.
Wherfore look to it, keep it out the door'
If once its slave, thou may be free no more.



XIV


No match has sin save God in all the world,
Men, angels it has from their stations hurled:
Holds them in chains, as captives, in despite
Of all that here below is called Might.
Release, help, freedom from it none can give,
But He who by whom we also breathe and live.
Watch therefore, keep this giant out of door
Lest if once in, thou get him out no more.




XVI

Now let the God that is above,
That has for sinners so much love;
These lines so help thee to improve,
That towards Him thy heart may move.
Keep thee from enemies external,
Help thee to fight with those internal:
Deliver thee from them infernal,
And bring thee safe to life eternal.



Amen"

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thought Provoking Quotes #4


In 1898, James first articulated the pragmatist's dictum: "The ultimate test for us of what a truth means is the conduct it dictates or inspires."

More from James: "To develop a thought's meaning , we need only determine what conduct it is fitted to produce; that conduct is for us its sole significance."

"The effective meaning of any philosophical proposition can always be brought down to some particular consequence, in our future practical experience, whether active or passive."

"The can be no difference which doesn't make a difference."

"Perceptions and thinking are only there for behavior's sake."

"Truth in our ideas means their power to work."

"Truth is what acts or enables us to act."

""Pragmatism asks its usual question. "Grant an idea or belief to be true," it says, "what concrete difference will its being true make in anyone's actual life? How will the truth be realized? What experiences will be different from those which would obtain if the belief were false? What, in short, is the truth's cash-value?"

"...the very meaning of the conception of God lies in the differences which must be made in our experience..."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Now?


Psalms 1:1,2 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.

Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.



Hereis the spring where waters flow,
To quench our heat of sin:
Here is the tree where truth doth grow,
To lead our lives therein:
Here is the judge that stints the strife,
When men's devices fail:
Here is the bread that feeds the life
That death cannot assail.
The tidings of alvation dear,
Comes to our ears from hence:
The fortress of our faith is here,
and the shield of our defence.
Then ...

(from the 1st Bible printed in Scotland - 1576)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Faith; The Dark Soul


It is said of Mother Theresa that, "... she placed her faith in Christ rather than placing her faith in her faith."

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Jekyll & Hyde


Romans 7:14-24, "For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?Paul here is speaking about two distinct parts of the total self, but about two possible life-orientations of that total self. He is not talking about our physical nature as such, about physical passions and desires, but about a way of life, an orientation of life, a life lived apart from God’s purposes for us. In the contrast between the "I" and "my flesh", the "I" represents the total self insofar as it affirms the good, the will of God as expressed in the law; "my flesh" represents the total self insofar as it is powerless, dominated by sin, unrelated to God.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance


It seems that life is made up of maintenance. The vehicle needs maintenance, the camper needs maintenance, my children's cars need maintenance, the yard needs maintenance, the boat needs maintenance, (maybe I have to many things), the house needs maintenance, (2 Kings 12:5, "let the priests take it themselves, each from his constituency; and let them repair the damages of the temple, wherever any dilapidation is found.") relationships need maintenance, the computer needs maintenance, (I think there's a theme here) - I need maintenance.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Tyranical Father


'Father-God' is a term used by a friend when he addresses God at the beginning of prayer. It is a term of familiarity which disturbs me somewhat. I relate much better to the term 'Heavenly Father' as it denotes reverence, formality, and for myself personally, creates distance. 'Father-God' places God in the context of one Who is not an impersonal deity, but one Who has an intimate relationship with me. This is both the comforting aspect of God's love in relationship and is also the discomforting aspect of God's love in relationship.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Atypical Father


"What accounts for the father's absence? What of the quality of his presence ---the anger, that hatred? Why is Father such an abusive, brutal family destroyer? What is his rage?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thought-Provoking Quotes # 3


Introduction of Karl Marx's 1843 book on Hegel's philosophy:

Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man—state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d'honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion. Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. [The more famous expression of this quote is; 'Religion is the opiate of the masses'.] The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Borrowed Thoughts #4


... a new spin on "organized" religion.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

God Hears


"People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy." - Proverbs 28:13 (NLT)

Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you” (Joshua 3:5 NLT).

Augustine said, “The confession of bad works is the beginning of good works.”

“LORD, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days,that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Surely every man walks about like a shadow; surely they busy themselves in vain; he heaps up riches, and does not know who will gather them. “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. Deliver me from all my transgressions; do not make me the reproach of the foolish."

“Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry; do not be silent at my tears; for I am a stranger with You, a sojourner, as all my fathers were."

Psalm 86:6 "Hear my prayer, O LORD; listen to my cry for mercy."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Now is the Accepted Time


Lord, I believe a rest remains,
To all thy people known;
A rest where pure enjoyment reigns,
And thou art loved alone;
A rest where all our soul's desire
Is fix'd on things above;
Where doubt and pain and fear expire,
Cast out by perfect love.
From every evil motion freed,
(The Son hath made us free,)
On all the powers of hell we tread,
In glorious liberty.
Safe in the way of life, above
Death, earth, and hell we rise;
We find, when perfected in love,
Our long-sought paradise.
O that I now the rest might know,
Believe, and enter in!
Now, Saviour, now the power bestow,
And let me cease from sin!
Remove this hardness from my heart,
This unbelief remove:
To me the rest of faith impart,
The sabbath of thy love.
Come, O my Saviour, come away
Into my soul descend!
No longer from thy creature stay,
My author and my end.
The bliss thou hast for me prepared,
No longer be delay'd:
Come, my exceeding great reward,
For whom I first was made.
Come, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
And seal me thine abode!
Let all I am in thee be lost:
Let all be lost in God!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Death; My Security



The darkness of death must pass over the Christian. This is a fearful undertaking, but not without security. "Do not fear, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great." 'Clouds and darkness' are commonplace avenues of communion with God; God cannot come near to us without 'clouds and darkness', He never appears in a clear shining moment because the nature of 'clouds and darkness' removes us from what is familiar and places us where our discomfort beckons us to listen. When we are in the shadow of God's hand we will be still and listen " ... and behold terror, horror and great darkness fell upon him.' ... and all self-sufficiency is destroyed. Isaiah 50:10-11, "Who among you fears the Lord? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon his God. Look, all you who kindle a fire, who encircle yourselves with sparks: Walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks you have kindled -- this you shall have from My hand: You shall lie down in torment."

The one thing for which we are all disciplined to learn; the one thing that the love of God is to show; is for all men to know that God is real and there exists no possiblity of relying upon common-sense ways.

God wishes through the darkness of 'dying to self' to unlearn all that life has imposed upon me to learn of 'self; the 'I, myself', and to simplify my belief to that of a child -- a relationship of only God and my soul. This strange avenue 'dying to self' through which God chooses to work is part of His providential plan for the sanctification of the Christian because it allows us to look fully at the darkest and blackest facts of life without degradation or damage to God's character.

As the soul is moved to relinquish life it is drawn closer to God, Who " ... shall hide (you) in the secret place of (His) presence from the plots of man; (Who) shall keep (you) secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues." Ezra 9:8, " And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage."

2 Cor. 4:7-12, "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, ..."

'Dying to self' is the means to the gift of humility by which the heart is softened and will become a devote listener to the Spirit of God as it communicates to the soul and places all confidence in God, not in His blessings.

Jesus said, "The words that I speak (not I have spoken) to you, they are spirit, and they are life." Words become spirit and life when they are placed in context with life's conditions.

Death; Freedom


A philosopher said whatever is received comes to him that receives it after the manner of the recipient.The natural faculties of love, which are human and base, can not contain the purity or strength to receive that which is Divinely supernatural.
The soul must be weaned, purged and annihilated which is impossible unless the old man dies first. Paul says very eloquently,"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain ... what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.

"It is "... better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart." Bereavement may be the "... easiest and least perilous of the ways in which men lose the happiness of youthful love. ... every merely natural love has to be crucified before it can achieve resurrection ..."

Death to self is the means God uses to free me from myself and provides for the taking of the matter, my life, into His hands. Death to self removes the power of the captivity of this life creating spiritual liberty, correcting the wrongs done to my soul and removing the hazards to my eternal well-being. For this life in it's natural, sensual state cannot contain the spiritual God-life. This life is too small for God. It is the nature of life and natural love to enslave; it is the nature of truth to set free. "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." Free to be loved, without conditions, without worthiness, as an act of grace and free to love without regard for consequences.

Only through death can there be re-birth, but there are many ways of dying. Some forms of dying create an 'eternally unbridgeable chasm'.

This 'death to self' is not physical, it is mystical, puzzling, meaning without full knowledge or understanding, an enigma, an inexplicable action by which faith in the love of God overrides the natural instincts for survival and throws itself upon God, trusting in love, God's love, irregardless. Matthew 16:24-26, "Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Romans 12:1-2, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. It is the communication of God's love into the soul. God only communicates through love, He knows no other language. God's love is clear ... it is sighted, targeted benevolence and full of trust with regard to its objects, because God Himself, and the energy and motivation of His grace, are in that love. The strength of the Christian is in feeling the power of this truth in his soul. "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death." It is only through love that the death of this life can attain the resurrection of the new life in Christ. It is the being, risen, which manifests the love of God. It is my faith and hope, for " ... now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Death; My Option


Perdition, absolute ruin comes to the soul only from the soul itself -- it arises from its own internal desires and motivations; only good comes from God and from God alone. Death is the great hindrance to, and the great deliverer from, the pursuit of all earthly desires that all lead to evil. Death is not a state, but an act; not a condition, but a passage. It is the re-birth of the soul. Death furnishes the catalyst to communion with God to receive the fullness of the blessings of that union. Death is a blight to the soul, through which light shines in the darkness.

As death looms in the loss of my loves, and the 'I, myself", I despair, not as one who as yet understands the loss and the grief, but as one who passively anticipates the correction of those imperfections and disorders that have their root and their strength in the spirit. "The reason is that all the imperfections and disorders of the sensual (human) part have their strength and root in the spirit, where all habits, both good and bad, are brought into subjection, and thus, until these are purged, the rebellions and depravities of sense cannot be purged thoroughly."

These loves are barriers, hedges around my heart, through which God will not force Himself to enter. In this I know that the darkness of death must have its cleansing work and in this I fear, not for the safety of my soul, ... but still I fear ... not the dread of my demise, ... but still I fear ... I don't even fear what I may lose, ... but still I fear ... I fear because I do not understand ... and in not understanding I cannot grasp the depth of the consequences of casting myself upon a Holy God ... but still I fear... even though "... there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment ..." but still I fear ... because "... he who fears has not been made perfect in love".

'Perfect in love'; some men have neither love nor fear; others have fear without love; others have love and fear; and others have love without fear, but to be 'perfect in love' declares a state-of-being, a conscious acceptance that the love of God pervades life with its condescension to my well-being. In this we see Jesus as the first and the last example of confidence in and submission to God: He is the most complete model of faith and obedience that can be brought before us. Jesus modeled 'perfect love' in trusting by faith in the strength and wisdom of God through His death. I must have a right knowledge of the true love of Christ. John 15:9, "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love." This is the purpose served in Christ bidding us to continue in his love; because the right knowledge, and faith of that to the soul, disperses and drives away all the fogs and mists of darkness; the delusions of this world; and disciplines the heart and soul to endure the trials that remove the dross from our lives and those things which draw our heart away from God. The love of God should fix our eyes upon Him for "... of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Seal of Death



"Set Me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thine arm; for love -- that is, the act and work of love -- is strong as death, ...

"It is moving from 'I and God' to 'God and I'. In this, I feel I have become a traitor to myself, forsaking those loves that have been given to me in this world, renouncing those loves that have become a sustaining and necessary part of my life. These are what have formed me, they have shaped me, they are embedded in my personae and without them I will be less of a person, the 'I, myself'. These are the guarded loves; the vision of who I am, the dreams and aspirations of my heart. As they are placed before the crucifix of my Christ, God says, "I remember concerning you the devotion of your youth, the love of your betrothals, your following after Me in the wilderness, through a land not sown." and "I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain."

As I face the dark waters, the dreaded darkness of my soul, the malignancy of my natural loves, and this life with its burning despair and ice-cold darkness of love betrayed, I am called to " ... arise and seek Him Whom my soul loves ... to seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore!" However, as these loves, my life, are placed on the altar and slain I can come to know a dread and a fear of God, even a hatred of God. A last desperate attempt exists to thwart what God requires, to challenge God for my soul. I wish to cease to believe and I desire for another option, I choose ... but what choice do I have ... "Lord, to whom shall (I) go? You have the words of eternal life."

But, I will always believe, or will I? It is death that brings me to this place, to decide, to question the validity of God as One Who loves. Why should death have to be a path to life?

In an absurd conundrum, death saves love from perishing from one of the other ways in which love could perish. It would be better for love to perish through death, than through hate. Love does in truth have to perish, " ... perish in its earthly form, at least, or perish utterly in hate or indifference. Perish unless it can be redeemed." C.S. Lewis said, 'There can be miraculous reprieve as well as miraculous pardon." "There's something in natural affections which will lead it on to eternal love more easily than natural appetite ... there's also something in it which makes it easier to stop at a natural level and mistake it for the heavenly. Brass is mistaken for gold more easily than clay is. And if it finally refuses conversion its corruption will be worse than the corruption of the lower passions."

"Every natural love will rise again and live forever: but none will rise again until it has been buried." Our loves in order to be redeemed must die to the old self, otherwise, there would be no contentment in turning to the love of God and to what God restores of love. This is an acceptable sacrifice, mystical, mysterious, imperative. "Death wounds to cure." Hosea 13:9,"O (Christian), you are destroyed, but your help is from Me."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Death and Mercy


Philip. 1:21, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

Death is full of suffering and sorrow; suffering and sorrow that overwhelm life. Death breaks the spirit and binds the heart in bitterness and pride, despair and guilt, fear and shame, distress and discomfort, for " ... the sorrow of the world produces death." Death takes life captive to itself for life has been held captive to death. Death is unmerciful and cruel.

With God, death and love are synonymous terms. Death is a severe mercy. Romans 6:3-5, "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, ..." " A mercy as severe as death, a severity as merciful as love.

" Death is seen as the great evil, perhaps the great escape, it is the cessation of life, separation final and eternal from the loves of this world. There is very little which would appeal to man to die and therefore it is difficult to make an appeal to die. God calls us to 'die to self', in essence to cease from living an independent existence. Romans 8:13, "For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live."It is by this concept of dying to one's self that God assaults our sensibilities. God is showing through what we have always longed for; what we have always sought; the desires of our heart; the need for a greater love, a love which fills with great delight and joy; a love which fascinates, for those loves given in this life are mere glimpses of the fullness of life to be had with God. Life becomes a treatise wonderfully proclaiming the soul's need for love. Love which is compassionate, passionate, indulgent and fascinating, imbued with grace and mercy and forgiveness.

All of life's loves require the act of grace and the response to grace, that unmerited favour, that undeserved preferential treatment by one who loves because there exists no other desire of greater necessity than to love. Life as exemplified through love is illustrative of the theological truth that grace, rather than destroying the natural love, ennobles and dignifies it and that there is always agreement to be found between the natural and the supernatural -- between the principles of sound reason and the manifestation of Divine grace. Psalm 68:9, "You, O God, sent a plentiful rain, whereby You confirmed Your inheritance, when it was weary." Fresh mercies await when old mercies are forgotten.

Weariness of the loves of this life, when there is no longer any pleasure; when all appetite, taste, and color are lost, then, and only then, can the fear of death we have carried be annulled by grasping to the life offered through Jesus Christ. What a spiritual awakening does is to take Jesus Christ out of the realm of 'religion' and into the world of personal reality.

'Death to myself' should enliven an honest appraisal of the 'I,myself', where I am stripped of all protective coloring and veneer and awaken my soul to faithful assent to the actuality that the decision is not one of either/or, but a release from captivity to one 'good', in order to hold to a greater 'good'. The sin and temptation, the sorrow and grief that hold me captive in this realm; those things that are arrayed against me have been defeated by Jesus and His death for my sins and my life in service to Him through that propitiatory sacrifice brings honour to His name. In this I am Christ’s property and servant, and Christ is my portion; that is the first 'good'. The greater 'good' is the fullness of the "God-life' as I am released from the weakness, misery and disappointments of this life through perfect indifference to the consequences.

When we are devoid of life, then can we see. Psalm 36:9, "For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light." Romans 14:7-9, "For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living." This fellowship with God through the death of His Son demands 'dying to one's self' for the purpose of living to God.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Death and Mercy; The Whole


Philip. 1:21, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
Death is full of suffering and sorrow; suffering and sorrow that overwhelm life. Death breaks the spirit and binds the heart in bitterness and pride, despair and guilt, fear and shame, distress and discomfort, for " ... the sorrow of the world produces death." Death takes life captive to itself for life has been held captive to death. Death is unmerciful and cruel.

With God, death and love are synonymous terms. Death is a severe mercy. Romans 6:3-5, "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, ..." " A mercy as severe as death, a severity as merciful as love." Death is seen as the great evil, perhaps the great escape, it is the cessation of life, separation final and eternal from the loves of this world. There is very little which would appeal to man to die and therefore it is difficult to make an appeal to die. God calls us to 'die to self', in essence to cease from living an independent existence. Romans 8:13, "For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live."

It is by this concept of dying to one's self that God assaults our sensibilities. God is showing through what we have always longed for; what we have always sought; the desires of our heart; the need for a greater love, a love which fills with great delight and joy; a love which fascinates, for those loves given in this life are mere glimpses of the fullness of life to be had with God. Life becomes a treatise wonderfully proclaiming the soul's need for love. Love which is compassionate, passionate, indulgent and fascinating, imbued with grace and mercy and forgiveness. All of life's loves require the act of grace and the response to grace, that unmerited favour, that undeserved preferential treatment by one who loves because there exists no other desire of greater necessity than to love. Life as exemplified through love is illustrative of the theological truth that grace, rather than destroying the natural love, ennobles and dignifies it and that there is always agreement to be found between the natural and the supernatural -- between the principles of sound reason and the manifestation of Divine grace. Psalm 68:9, "You, O God, sent a plentiful rain, whereby You confirmed Your inheritance, when it was weary." Fresh mercies await when old mercies are forgotten. Weariness of the loves of this life, when there is no longer any pleasure; when all appetite, taste, and color are lost, then, and only then, can the fear of death we have carried be annulled by grasping to the life offered through Jesus Christ. What a spiritual awakening does is to take Jesus Christ out of the realm of 'religion' and into the world of personal reality. 'Death to myself' should enliven an honest appraisal of the 'I,myself', where I am stripped of all protective coloring and veneer and awaken my soul to faithful assent to the actuality that the decision is not one of either/or, but a release from captivity to one 'good', in order to hold to a greater 'good'. The sin and temptation, the sorrow and grief that hold me captive in this realm; those things that are arrayed against me have been defeated by Jesus and His death for my sins and my life in service to Him through that propitiatory sacrifice brings honour to His name. In this I am Christ’s property and servant, and Christ is my portion; that is the first 'good'. The greater 'good' is the fullness of the "God-life' as I am released from the weakness, misery and disappointments of this life through perfect indifference to the consequences. When we are devoid of life, then can we see. Psalm 36:9, "For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light." Romans 14:7-9, "For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living." This fellowship with God through the death of His Son demands 'dying to one's self' for the purpose of living to God.

"Set Me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thine arm; for love -- that is, the act and work of love -- is strong as death, ..."


It is moving from 'I and God' to 'God and I'. In this, I feel I have become a traitor to myself, forsaking those loves that have been given to me in this world, renouncing those loves that have become a sustaining and necessary part of my life. These are what have formed me, they have shaped me, they are embedded in my personae and without them I will be less of a person, the 'I, myself'. These are the guarded loves; the vision of who I am, the dreams and aspirations of my heart. As they are placed before the crucifix of my Christ, God says, "I remember concerning you the devotion of your youth, the love of your betrothals, your following after Me in the wilderness, through a land not sown." and "I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain."

As I face the dark waters, the dreaded darkness of my soul, the malignancy of my natural loves, and this life with its burning despair and ice-cold darkness of love betrayed, I am called to " ... arise and seek Him Whom my soul loves ... to seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore!" However, as these loves, my life, are placed on the altar and slain I can come to know a dread and a fear of God, even a hatred of God. A last desperate attempt exists to thwart what God requires, to challenge God for my soul. I wish to cease to believe and I desire for another option, I choose ... but what choice do I have ... "Lord, to whom shall (I) go? You have the words of eternal life." But, I will always believe, or will I? It is death that brings me to this place, to decide, to question the validity of God as One Who loves. Why should death have to be a path to life?

In an absurd conundrum, death saves love from perishing from one of the other ways in which love could perish. It would be better for love to perish through death, than through hate. Love does in truth have to perish, " ... perish in its earthly form, at least, or perish utterly in hate or indifference. Perish unless it can be redeemed." C.S. Lewis said, 'There can be miraculous reprieve as well as miraculous pardon." "There's something in natural affections which will lead it on to eternal love more easily than natural appetite ... there's also something in it which makes it easier to stop at a natural level and mistake it for the heavenly. Brass is mistaken for gold more easily than clay is. And if it finally refuses conversion its corruption will be worse than the corruption of the lower passions." "Every natural love will rise again and live forever: but none will rise again until it has been buried." Our loves in order to be redeemed must die to the old self, otherwise, there would be no contentment in turning to the love of God and to what God restores of love. This is an acceptable sacrifice, mystical, mysterious, imperative. "Death wounds to cure." Hosea 13:9,"O (Christian), you are destroyed, but your help is from Me."

Perdition, absolute ruin comes to the soul only from the soul itself -- it arises from its own internal desires and motivations; only good comes from God and from God alone. Death is the great hindrance to, and the great deliverer from, the pursuit of all earthly desires that all lead to evil. Death is not a state, but an act; not a condition, but a passage. It is the re-birth of the soul. Death furnishes the catalyst to communion with God to receive the fullness of the blessings of that union. Death is a blight to the soul, through which light shines in the darkness.

As death looms in the loss of my loves, and the 'I, myself", I despair, not as one who as yet understands the loss and the grief, but as one who passively anticipates the correction of those imperfections and disorders that have their root and their strength in the spirit. "The reason is that all the imperfections and disorders of the sensual (human) part have their strength and root in the spirit, where all habits, both good and bad, are brought into subjection, and thus, until these are purged, the rebellions and depravities of sense cannot be purged thoroughly." These loves are barriers, hedges around my heart, through which God will not force Himself to enter. In this I know that the darkness of death must have its cleansing work and in this I fear, not for the safety of my soul, ... but still I fear ... not the dread of my demise, ... but still I fear ... I don't even fear what I may lose, ... but still I fear ... I fear because I do not understand ... and in not understanding I cannot grasp the depth of the consequences of casting myself upon a Holy God ... but still I fear... even though "... there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment ..." but still I fear ... because "... he who fears has not been made perfect in love".

'Perfect in love'; some men have neither love nor fear; others have fear without love; others have love and fear; and others have love without fear, but to be 'perfect in love' declares a state-of-being, a conscious acceptance that the love of God pervades life with its condescension to my well-being. In this we see Jesus as the first and the last example of confidence in and submission to God: He is the most complete model of faith and obedience that can be brought before us. Jesus modeled 'perfect love' in trusting by faith in the strength and wisdom of God through His death. I must have a right knowledge of the true love of Christ. John 15:9, "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love." This is the purpose served in Christ bidding us to continue in his love; because the right knowledge, and faith of that to the soul, disperses and drives away all the fogs and mists of darkness; the delusions of this world; and disciplines the heart and soul to endure the trials that remove the dross from our lives and those things which draw our heart away from God. The love of God should fix our eyes upon Him for "... of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace."

A philosopher said whatever is received comes to him that receives it after the manner of the recipient.The natural faculties of love, which are human and base, can not contain the purity or strength to receive that which is Divinely supernatural. The soul must be weaned, purged and annihilated which is impossible unless the old man dies first. Paul says very eloquently,"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain ... what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ."

It is "... better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart." Bereavement may be the "... easiest and least perilous of the ways in which men lose the happiness of youthful love. ... every merely natural love has to be crucified before it can achieve resurrection ..." Death to self is the means God uses to free me from myself and provides for the taking of the matter, my life, into His hands.

Only through death can there be re-birth, but there are many ways of dying. Some forms of dying create an 'eternally unbridgeable chasm', this 'death to self' mystically, without full knowledge or understanding, communicates and infuses into the soul through love the death of this life to attain the resurrection of the new life in Christ. The darkness of death must pass over the Christian. This is a fearful undertaking, but not without security. As the soul is moved to relinquish life it is drawn closer to God, Who " ... shall hide (you) in the secret place of (His) presence from the plots of man; (Who) shall keep (you) secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues."

2 Cor. 4:7-12, "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, ..."

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Of Daughters & Dogs


A story is told of a dog named Gypsy, who was fortunate to be in possession of several hundred acres of hills and woods, streams and rabbit borrows and any number of distractions needed and wanted by an inquisitive creature. Gypsy's life was one of ease and opportunity with only certain conditions. She was not to go near the chickens, she was to come when called, sit when asked, lie down when told and she was never compelled to learn tricks. In exchange for her obedience and loyalty she was fed and given a comfortable bed and she was loved. There was a place by the fireplace on cold nights and scraps from the Master's table. It was unspoken but intended that she love in return, after all it is in a dog's nature, and as a result of her love to obey. 'Those who love, obey; those who obey, love.'

One day while Gypsy was wandering, two simultaneous events occurred: her Master called her home and a rabbit jumped out of a bush beside her. Gypsy's first reaction was in turning and racing towards her Master, as she had always done. This time she stopped. It entered her mind that she did not have to obey. A strange and subtle betrayal, almost innocent. But not quite: corruption is never compulsory. Perhaps her Master did not understand about the rabbit, or know of the enjoyment and pleasure she got from the chase, and further to that this was her pasture. She began in that instance to think that it was all lies -- the story that everything really belonged to the Master. How unlikely that the food in her dish came from him - she was sure that there were other more reasonable explanations. At this moment she was a free dog and that was the thing and the end. As she stood and thought all these thoughts the rabbit reappeared and without further consideration she whirled and gave chase.

She had made a choice. She was free to choose.

Hours later she went home. Her master was waiting. She did not run to him gladly, leaping, frisking in his company, something had changed, something new had entered into her demeanor and character. She saw the Master waiting and slunk towards him, penitent and remorseful.

There was new knowledge in her now - knowledge of sin and the possibilities of sin - and the thrill that was a recent memory in her heart and the taste that was a fresh flavour to her soul.

Penitence was for this moment, eventually there was another rabbit - and there was no hesitation, soon it was just the possibility of a rabbit, and then the rabbit thing was dropped altogether.

The Master still loved Gypsy, but, he could no longer trust her. With continued disobedience and the promise of further and more serious inerrant behavior, the Master kenneled Gypsy and she could only go walking while on a leash. Her freedoms were gone.

At different times the Master, desiring to allow Gypsy the life and freedoms she had had, would allow her the opportunity to explore and run free. On these occasions, unfortunately, she always chose, if she as out of reach, to run away. Those chances to have freedom and to be trusted again had to reflect her desire to obey as an act of her free-will. A broken-heart is a tender obstacle to trust. The Master's desire was always out of love to allow Gypsy her freedom within the boundaries of obedience. At the core of the Master's heart, was his willingness to express through blessing, his grace, mercy and forgiveness and his fondest wish, to have the relationship of trust and faith and love restored. His provision for Gypsy earned that right and Gypsy's hunger is always what brought her home. Love is the final reality; and anyone who dos not understand this, be he writer or sage, is a man flawed in wisdom.

One day, while on a trip away from her home, Gypsy made the ultimate break of freedom. At the edge of a wooded area far from home, Gypsy was overcome by her desire and the thrill of the run and she broke away and fled. Her hunger for freedom, perilous, motivated by a bent will of disobedience, quieted the hunger for the Master's care. The Master called, sharply, with a note of urgency, but Gypsy's ears had been dulled with constant calling. Gypsy ran away, was lost and finally abandoned.

While on the way home, recently, I noticed on a frozen slough a small dog, alone. From the highway, at highway speeds I was unable to determine if the dog had on a collar. I thought for a few minutes on whether the dog was lost, forgotten, abandoned or had run away. Those thoughts soon gave way to the weight of the predicament. With no sign of an inhabited farmyard within a few miles it would soon become an immanent need that the dog found shelter and safety. The outcome, otherwise, was going to be the terrible reality of becoming a meal for a Coyote. It was no longer an issue of lostness or freedom or the choosing, suddenly, there would be no more choosing.


"If all is lost, thanks be to God,
For He is He, and I, am only I."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Only Jesus!


Ephesians 3:16-19, " ... that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height -- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."


We may smile at childishness, but the adult world is not much different. The threat of rejection surrounds us—in our relationships, our jobs, our churches, our communities. If we don't measure up, we are often no longer welcome. In stark contrast, we have the Lord's astonishing declaration: "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Heb. 13:5). His message assures us, "My love will never fail. It is trustworthy, dependable, and secure."


Such love is otherworldly. No formula resolves the paradox of a knowledge, knowable, surpassing comprehension, only experience enables us to grasp its measure; absorb its weight; comprehend ' ... what is the width and the length and depth and height'. Indeed, His love "surpasses knowledge" (Eph. 3:19). But still, God is relentless in dispensing it to us.

The width of His love, surpassing the horizons of frailty, failure and promise, "... as far as east is from west ...";

the length of His love, reaching from the prevailing memory, extending to the promise of a future, Jer 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope";

the depth of His love, able to draw us from despair, sin and misery to a vision of joy and happiness;

the height of His love, love and grace unparalled, vast and boundless, measureless and incomparable, overflowing and overwhelming the sensibilities and finite understanding of all that is possible by the human mind to be understood;

the surpassing knowledge of the love of God, when words fail to describe and communicate what has been placed upon the heart as it seeks to grasp the immensity of a condescending and redeeming love which is shown for a lost soul, in the giving of Himself to die.

"O love, thou fathomless abyss!"

Though we cannot comprehend, the immensity of the love of Christ, yet we know that he has loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood; Herein is love! and truly it is love that "surpasses knowledge".

Christ and Christ alone ...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Road


“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take? she asked. Where do you want to go? was his response. I don't know, Alice answered. Then, said the cat, it doesn't matter."

It does matter! Every road leads to somewhere, every road either broadens the vistas of opportunity or narrows the strictures of possibilities. A road can lead away from captivity, pain and chaos to freedom. Or a road can lead away from order, love and safety to anarchy, confusion and imprisonment.

It matters! The road taken may have irreversible consequences from which life may not have resolution.

It matters! The road may have bumps and potholes, rocks and sinkholes, but it must be understood where the journey is to end, what goal is to be reached.

It matters! Those who have gone before and left behind the signposts, the mile-markers wanted to ensure that those who came behind would know and understand the treacherousness of the road and avoid the obvious and obscure dangers that exist, and to protect the followers so that their journey would be safer.

It matters! Many times the pioneers of the road find their efforts are in vain.

It matters! ... for they are in pain ...

It matters! The distance we travel is never so far that we cannot turn around ... and come back.

May all those who are journeying today, find safe passage from where they are to where their loved ones want them to be ...

Dad

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Gap of Belief

Did Jesus live? And did He really say
The burning words that banish mortal fear?
And are they true? Just this is central, here
The Church must stand or fall. It's Christ we weigh.


All else is off the point: the Flood, the Day

Of Eden, or the Virgin Birth - Have done!

The Question is, did God send us the Son

Incarnate crying Love! Love is the Way!


Between the probable and proved there yawns
A gap. Afraid to jump, we stand absurd,
Then see behind us sink the ground and, worse,
Our very standpoint crumbling. Desperate dawns
Our only hope: to leap into the Word
That opens up the shuttered universe.


I choose to believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost - in Christ, my Lord and my God. Christianity has the ring, the feel, of unique truth. Of essential truth. By it, life is made full instead of empty, meaningful instead of meaningless. Cosmos becomes beautiful at the Center, instead of chillingly ugly beneath the lovely pathos of spring. But the emptiness, the meaninglessness, and the ugliness can only be seen, I think, when one has glimpsed the fullness, the meaning, and the beauty. It is when heaven and hell have both been glimpsed that going back is impossible. But to go on seemed impossible, also. A glimpse is not a vision. A choice was necessary: and there is no certainty. One can only choose a side. So I - I now choose my side: I choose beauty; I choose what I love. But choosing to believe is believing. It's all I can do: choose. I confess my doubts and ask my Lord Christ to enter my life. I do not know God is, but I do but say: Be it unto me according to Thy will. I do not affirm that I am without doubt, I do but ask for help, having chosen, to overcome it. I do but say: Lord, I believe - help Thou mine unbelief.

The Soul for comfort holds herself to be
Inviolate; but like the blowing sands
That sift in shuttered houses, Christ's demands
Intrude and sting, deny her to be free.
She twists and turns but finds it vain to flee,
The living Word is in the very air,
She can't escape a wound that's everywhere,
She can but stand or yield - to ecstacy.
Her Lord is seeking entrance; she must choose.
A thickening callus can withstand the pain
Of this rough irritant, the sands that swirl
Against her thus defied. But if she lose
Her self, Christ enters in - the sharp-edged grain
Of sand embeddd grows a shining pearl.
Quoted from A Severe Mercy