Archive for March, 2017

Gifts Outweigh the Trials

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

How strange and vibrant and astounding is this gift of life! So what if it’s hard? So what if we’re hounded by troubles, pressured and embattled on all sides? So many good gifts outweigh the trials. Thank God that we encounter some resistance to our cavalier passage through this world. Thank God He has designed life not to be easy but to test us to the limit and so turn lazy ingrates into children of God who are strong and fearless and full of love.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 48

The Royal Road to Self-Value

Monday, March 20th, 2017

The royal road to self-value begins with value of others. Think of how you feel when you’re loving and supportive to those you love, compared to when you devalue them. When we value someone else, we experience more vitality, meaning, and purpose. Valuing others makes self-value soar.

— Steven Stosny, Soar Above, p. 140

Punishment of Sin

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Punishment is nowise an offset to sin. Punishment, deserved suffering, is no equipoise to sin. Suffering weighs nothing at all against sin. If sin sits on one scale, it will move it not a hairsbreadth to lay punishment and suffering on the other. They are not of the same kind, not under the same laws, any more than mind and matter. To attempt to equate them would be like placing a cubic inch of lead on the one scale, and attempting to balance it by placing a cubic yard of air on the other. The sin is unmoved. It remains where it is though an eternity of punishment and suffering be brought to bear against it.

If it were an offset to wrong, then God would be bound to punish for the sake of punishment. But he cannot be, for he forgives. Then it is not for the sake of punishment, as a thing that in itself ought to be done, but for the sake of something else, as a means to an end, that God punishes.

Primarily, God is not bound to punish sin; he is bound to destroy sin. If he were not the Maker, he might not be bound to destroy sin — I do not know. But seeing he has created creatures who have sinned, and therefore sin has, by the creating act of God, come into the world, God is, in his own righteousness, bound to destroy sin.

— George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, “Justice,” quoted in Discovering the Character of God, compiled by Michael Phillips, p. 258

Always Merciful

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Every attribute of God must be infinite as himself. He cannot be sometimes merciful, but not always merciful. He cannot be just, but not always just. Mercy belongs to him, and needs no contrivance of theologic chicanery to justify it.

“Then do you mean it is wrong to punish sin, and therefore God does not punish sin?”

By no means.

God does punish sin, but there is no opposition between punishment and forgiveness. The one may be essential to the possibility of the other. We are back to my question: Why does God punish sin?

“Because in itself sin deserves punishment,” do you answer?

Then how can God tell us to forgive it?

“He punishes, and having punished he forgives.”

That will hardly do. For if sin demands punishment, if the making right for sin is punishment, and righteous punishment is given, then the man is out from under sin’s claim upon him; he is free. Why should he now be forgiven?

“He needs forgiveness, because no amount of punishment can make up for the sin that is in his nature. Nothing will fully give him all he deserves.”

Then why not forgive him at once, if the punishment is not essential, if it does not adequately remedy the whole of the problem of sin? And this points out the fault in the whole idea.

— George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, “Justice,” quoted in Discovering the Character of God, compiled by Michael Phillips, p. 257-258

True Art

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

True art has a mythic quality in that it speaks of that which was true, is true, and will be true.

Madeleine L’Engle, Herself, p. 11

Seven Billion With Me

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

“When I meet someone,” the Dalai Lama said, returning to what was becoming an important theme, “I always try to relate to the person on the basic human level. On that level, I know that, just like me, he or she wishes to find happiness, to have fewer problems and less difficulty in their life. Whether I am speaking with one person, or whether I am giving a talk to a large group of people, I always see myself first and foremost as just another fellow human. That way, there is in fact no need for introduction.

“If, on the other hand, I relate to others from the perspective of myself as someone different — a Buddhist, a Tibetan, and so on — I will then create walls to keep me apart from others. And if I relate to others, thinking that I am the Dalai Lama, I will create the basis for my own separation and loneliness. After all, there is only one Dalai Lama in the entire world. In contrast, if I see myself primarily in terms of myself as a fellow human, I will then have more than seven billion people who I can feel deep connection with. And this is wonderful, isn’t it? What do you need to fear or worry about when you have seven billion other people who are with you?”

— Douglas Abrams, The Book of Joy, p. 100

I Am Self-Defining.

Monday, March 13th, 2017

The magic of being a unique human being is that only you can define yourself. If you recall some abusive comment that defines you, your motives, thoughts, or feelings, you may choose to laugh at the comment because you know that no one on earth knows your thoughts, feelings, needs, motives, or future. Only you can know what you are, want, feel, should do, how to do what you do, and so forth.

— Patricia Evans, Victory Over Verbal Abuse, p. 98

Enjoy Now!

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

Do not wait for retirement to enjoy yourself. Do not wait until it is too late to begin to enjoy your partner. Look at them, drink them in, feel them inside you, enjoy every gift they have. Do not wait to say how much you love and appreciate someone. Think of the people who have really meant something to you in your life and contact or call them. Just say thank you from your heart, because appreciation brings enjoyment. Do not wait to take a full breath of the air of life, to take such a bite out of life that when the juices run down your face, everyone will lick their lips. Open yourself and drink in life. It is all being given to you now.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 244

The Spiritual Work of Being Human

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

When the love is imperfect, or a family is destructive, something else can be learned: forgiveness. The spiritual work of being human is learning how to love and how to forgive.

— Kerry Egan, On Living, p. 30

The Search for Love

Friday, March 10th, 2017

The real search for love is about embracing our most authentic self, sharing that true self with the precious people who know how to honor it, and learning to offer others the same in return.

— Ken Page, Deeper Dating, p. 2