Showing posts from August, 2010

just for this day

"The problem when I try harder is that I get fixated on my own heroic efforts. I grow judgemental. I can't let this endure forever. So instead of making vows about how my spiritual life will be perfectly well organized until I die, I seek to surrender my will for just this day. I look for small graces. I try to engage in little acts of service. I pray briefly to accommodate my limited attention span. I look for ways of being with God that I already enjoy. I try to go for half an hour without complaining. I try to say something encouraging to three people in a row. I put twenty dollars in my pocket that I will give away during the day. I take a five-minute break to read a page of great thoughts."---John Ortberg, The Me I Want to Be

Converting a painful inheritance

Converting a painful inheritance into something good requires all the discernment we can muster, both from what is within us, and what we can glean from mentors. The worst of the curses that people inflict on us, the real abuse and terror, can’t be forgotten or undone, but they can be put to good use in the new life that one has taken up. It is a kind of death; the lid close on what went before. But the past is not denied. And we are still here, with all our talents, gifts, and failings, our strengths and weaknesses. All the baggage comes along: nothing wasted, nothing lost. Perhaps the greatest blessing that religious inheritance can bestow is an open mind, one that can listen without judging. It is rare enough that we recognize it in another when we encounter it. I often see it in people who have attained what the monastic tradition terms “detachment,” an ability to live at peace with reality of whatever happens. Such people do not have a closed-off air, nor a boastful demeanor. In t

the bridge has not even trembled

I heard, the other day, of a foolish woman at Plymouth who, for a long while, would not go over the Saltash Bridge because she did not think it was safe. When, at length, after seeing the enormous traffic that passed safely over the bridge, she was induced to trust herself to it, she trembled greatly all the time, and was not easy in her mind until she was off it. Of course, everybody laughed at her for thinking that such a ponderous structure could not bear her little weight. There may be some sinner, in this building, who is afraid that the great bridge which eternal mercy has constructed, at infinite cost, across the gulf which separates us from God, is not strong enough to bear his weight. If so, let me assure him that across that bridge of Christ's atoning sacrifice millions of sinners, as vile and foul as he is, have safely passed, and the bridge has not even trembled beneath their weight, nor has any single part of it ever strained or displaced. My poor fearful friend, your

Wordless Book

I DARESAY you have most of you heard of a little book which an old divine used constantly to study, and when his friends wondered what there was in the book, he told them that he hoped they would all know and understand it, but that there was not single word in it. When they looked at it, they found that it consisted of only three leaves; the first was black, the second was red, and the third was pure white. The old minister used to gaze upon the black leaf to remind himself of his sinful state by nature, upon the red leaf to call to his remembrance the precious blood of Christ, and upon the white leaf to picture to him the perfect righteousness which God has given to believers through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ his Son.---C.H. Spurgeon More: The Wordless Book