Archive for October, 2018

Detours

Friday, October 19th, 2018

But be warned. In Scripture, and in life, the road to deliverance nearly always takes a detour. Rarely do the people of God reach any kind of promised land without a journey or two through the wilderness.

— Rachel Held Evans, Inspired, p. 48

Photo: Rhein River, Germany, April 4, 1997

Appreciation and Value

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Appreciate means to value your partner. Appreciation, in turn, makes you feel more alert and alive; you increase the value of your own life when you appreciate your partner in any way. When your partner feels your appreciation, you don’t have to worry about whether you compliment or praise him or her enough. And if you felt your partner’s appreciation, you wouldn’t feel so bad that he or she doesn’t think to compliment you. As a matter of fact, compliments seem empty if they do not convey in some sense that your life is better at this moment because of the person you appreciate.

Patricia Love and Steven Stosny, How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It, p. 101-102

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, November 24, 2017

Beyond Fear

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Yes, I understand the Bible commends the fear of God, and I do too, but only as a preliminary beginning. God desires us to grow beyond the rudimentary beginning of fear. The apostle John said it this way:

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. . . . There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.

In what is called the fear of God, what I fear is not God but the suffering my sin can inflict on myself and those around me. What God calls me to fear is the destructive results of sin — and I take God seriously. The shorthand term for this is the fear of God. The malevolent consequences of sin are all too real. But I’m not afraid of God. I used to be, but I am no longer. I am no longer afraid of God because I have come to know God as he is revealed in Christ. I have come to know that God’s single disposition toward me is one of unconditional, unwavering love. The knowledge of God’s love has made it impossible for me to be afraid of God.

— Brian Zahnd, Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, p. 96-97

Photo: Chateau de Chillon, Lake Geneva, Switzerland, November 2000

At All Times

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Not only should we give thanks in all things; we can give thanks at all times. With practice and with ever widening awareness, we see that gratitude frames our days. This day. This hour. Right now.

— Diana Butler Bass, Gratitude, p. 81

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 13, 2018

The Forgiveness Process

Sunday, October 14th, 2018

But, of course, forgiveness is a process, an admittedly difficult one that often can feel like a rigorous spiritual practice. We cannot instantaneously force ourselves to forgive – and forgiveness happens at a different pace for everyone and is dependent on the particulars of any given situation. What we can do is create space for ourselves to forgive – and, perhaps ironically, part of that involves allowing ourselves to wrestle with our feelings of anger and pain to begin with. Once we are honest about our feelings, we can invite ourselves to consider alternative modes of viewing our pain and can see that releasing our grip on anger and resentment can actually be an act of self-compassion.

Telling the story, acknowledging what has happened and how you feel, is often a necessary part of forgiveness. Without that, we live in an artificial reality that is frozen in time, and sometimes woven from fabrication.

— Sharon Salzberg, Real Love, p. 196

Photo: Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, October 14, 2018

Resilience

Saturday, October 13th, 2018

Resilience is born by grounding yourself in your own loveliness, hitting notes you thought were way out of your range.

— Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart, p. 94

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 13, 2018.

Divine Possibility

Friday, October 12th, 2018

At the end of the day, I believe that God’s love for us will be more relentless than our rejection of him, and that is why I am a universalist. I do not at all underestimate how deeply rooted self-centered and sinful patterns of living can be, but at the same time I do not think we should underestimate the power of God’s just and holy love to pull the roots of sin out of our hearts.

If I am proven to be wrong about this, if some will forever hold out against God, then I think God will not be offended if I put too much confidence in the power of divine love. Even if one doesn’t go all the way in affirming that God will ultimately heal every human heart and transform every evil will through destroying all sin with the fire of his holy love, it seems to me that every Christian should at least have hope in the possibility of this happening. Jesus, after all, told us that, “with God, all things are possible” (Matt 19:26). We should take careful note of the fact that when Jesus said this he was explicitly referring to the power of God to save even those who seem impossible to save from a merely human perspective (Matt 19:23-26). When it comes to who can be saved, our hope is in divine possibility, not in human probabilities.

— Heath Bradley, Flames of Love, p. 101-102

Photo: Sunset from Waterside Inn, Chincoteague, October 22, 2016

A Guide to Truth

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Joy is a trustworthy guide to truth. Where joy is absent, we’re right to be suspicious, because joy is a characteristic of truth. It is not truth’s only trait; there are other marks to look for. But any teaching that doesn’t bear the mark of joy falls short of the whole truth. At times other aspects of truth (such as holiness or justice) may predominate, but where these other characteristics exist without a strong undercurrent of telltale joy — watch out!

While joy itself is not the truth, it illuminates or identifies truth. It’s the light shining on the signpost at night, telling us we’re on the right road. Joy is like the smile on the face of a loving friend. If we’re in a strange city and meet a familiar face in the crowd, yet receive no smile of greeting or recognition, we know something’s wrong. It’s a case of mistaken identity.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 93-94

Photo: Neuliningen, Germany, November 1, 1997

Loving Yourself More

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Don’t get confused — loving yourself is not about “me, me, me,” it’s not about being conceited or greedy. I am struggling to explain the difference between loving yourself and being completely self-centered. I think, though, that most people deep down know the difference.

When you love yourself more, you have more love and compassion for others around you. I keep saying you cannot love anyone more than you love yourself. If you only love yourself a little, then that is all then you can love anyone else — your child, your husband, your wife. When you love yourself more, it changes everything. It changes the circumstances in your life. It makes you happier and it makes everyone in your life happier. How could that be selfish?

— Lorna Byrne, Love From Heaven, p. 193-194

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 9, 2014

Gratitude and Love

Monday, October 8th, 2018

Today, look at who it is you love. What are you really enjoying in your love for them? Allow yourselves to feel your natural gratitude toward this person or situation. Gratitude allows you even stronger resonance with the very gift you are experiencing. Your gratitude not only opens the door to love, it increases love.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 327

Photo: Skyline Drive, Virginia, October 1999