True Salvation

January 4th, 2018

The notion that the salvation of Jesus is a salvation from the consequences of our sins is a false notion. The salvation of Christ is salvation from the smallest tendency or leaning to sin. It is a deliverance into the pure air of God’s ways of thinking and feeling. It is a salvation that makes the heart pure, with the will and choice of the heart to be pure.

To such a heart, sin is disgusting. It sees a thing as it is — that is, as God sees it, for God sees everything as it is. Jesus did not die to save us from punishment. He was called Jesus because he should save his people from their sins.

— George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, “Justice,” quoted in Discovering the Character of God, compiled and edited by Michael R. Phillips, p. 262.

Every Child of Adam’s Race

January 4th, 2018

We have ample warrant — alike from reason, from the observed facts and analogies of human life, from our best and truest moral instincts, from a great body of primitive teaching, and from Holy Scripture itself — to entertain a firm hope that God our Father’s design and purpose is, and has ever been, to save every child of Adam’s race.

— Thomas Allin, Christ Triumphant: Universalism Asserted as the Hope of the Gospel on the Authority of Reason, the Fathers, and Holy Scripture, p. 13

Story First

December 30th, 2017

So it was a theological as well as a literary enterprise for me, but as a storyteller I had to make the story come first. I sat down and typed out “It was a dark and stormy night.” The theology is down deep. It’s not there unless you look for it. And that’s where I think it should be in stories. It should not hang below your skirt like a slip.

— Madeleine L’Engle, quoted in Madeleine L’Engle, Herself, compiled by Carole F. Chase

Undeniable

December 27th, 2017

I once heard someone say that my belief in Jesus makes them suspect that I intellectually suck my thumb at night. But I cannot pretend, as much as sometimes I would like to, that I have not throughout my life experienced the redeeming, destabilizing love of a surprising God. Even when my mind protests, I still can’t deny my experiences. This thing is real to me. Sometimes I experience God when someone speaks the truth to me, sometimes in the moments when I admit I am wrong, sometimes in the loving of someone unlovable, sometimes in reconciliation that feels like it comes from somewhere outside of myself, but almost always when I experience God it comes in the form of some kind of death and resurrection.

— Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix, p. xvi-xvii

Love in Our Lives

December 26th, 2017

Love is love; it’s always the same, but the angel with no name has shown me that many people have a very narrow view of love — they simply see it as something between a couple, or within a family. I meet so many people who are crying out for love, but they think the only way to get this love is through a romance, and because of this they are failing to see the love that is already in their lives. They fail to recognize there are many different ways in which we can love.

— Lorna Byrne, Love From Heaven, p. 11

Let Go of Judgment

December 26th, 2017

We know that when we are having a bad time, we are in judgment. Any time we are not enjoying ourselves and experiencing the beauty within and around us, we are also in judgment. When we have lost our sense of wonder, we are judging something or someone. By our judgment, we are robbing ourselves of a really good, creative time, but we always have a choice. We can choose to have enjoyment. our willingness to let go of judgment allows us to experience the beauty, wonder, and joy in life.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 281

Called for a Purpose

December 24th, 2017

The normal Greek word for “sin,” namely hamartia, means “missing the mark”: shooting at a target and failing to hit it. This is subtly but importantly different from being given a long and fussy list of things you must and mustn’t do and failing to observe them all. In the story the Bible is telling, humans were created for a purpose, and Israel was called for a purpose, and the purpose was not simply “to keep the rules,” “to be with God,” or “to go to heaven,” as you might suppose from innumerable books, sermons, hymns, and prayers. Humans were made to be “image-bearers,” to reflect the praises of creation back to the Creator and to reflect the Creator’s wise and loving stewardship into the world. Israel was called to be the royal priesthood, to worship God and reflect his rescuing wisdom into the world.

— N. T. Wright, The Day the Revolution Began, p. 99.

Our Song

December 23rd, 2017

We all need to be reminded that we have a song and that it is good and worthy of hearing. We don’t learn that lesson through willpower or through forced “positive thinking.” We learn it through intimacy.

— Ken Page, Deeper Dating, p. 72

Forming a Grievance

December 21st, 2017

There are very few instances where the long-term use of anger will be of help to you. I want to make clear, once a situation has passed, both the long-term naming of angry feelings and the expression of anger rarely lead to good results. Anger can be a wonderful short-term solution to your life’s difficulties, yet it is rarely a good long-term solution to painful events. Anger is simply our way of reminding ourselves that we have a problem that needs attention. Yet too often we get angry instead of taking constructive action, or we get angry because we do not know what else to do.

It is my contention that the long-term experience of anger, or what we call a grievance, is almost never helpful.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 14.

Look for Beauty

December 20th, 2017

Try to practice enjoying and seeing the beauty in the things that are around you. Practice doing it for a few minutes at a time until you get into the habit of it. Take a walk, for example — it could be in a busy built-up city. Take the time to notice what is around you. There is always beauty around us. We just don’t always notice it, and we frequently don’t think it is important. It’s the little bits of beauty around us that help to teach us to appreciate life. Take a look around, and I know you will see something of beauty. It may be a bird, a plant in a pot, a building, a child with a smile, or something in a window. There is always something of beauty around us.

In seeing beauty around you, you will appreciate life more, and recognize more the beauty that is within yourself. Appreciating beauty helps you to slow down, and the more beauty you notice, the more beauty you will see. Much of the time we just don’t notice what is around us. We are lost in our thoughts or fail to give any importance or value to the idea of seeing beauty.

— Lorna Byrne, A Message of Hope from the Angels, p. 91