Thursday, May 28, 2009

So simple a child could understand

God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full - there's nowhere for Him to put it.

-St. Augustine

Monday, May 25, 2009

Deep desire harnessed by patient trust

Contentment is not wanting less; that's the easy way out. Anybody can look holy if he's killed his heart; the real test is to have your heart burning within you and have the patience to enjoy what there is now to enjoy, while waiting with eager anticipation for the feast to come.

--John Eldridge


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Abiding - weakness entrusting itself to another

...[Of those] who shrink back continually before the question: Is it possible, a life of unbroken fellowship with the Savior? ...

How little such dear souls know about this life. They don't realize that abiding in Christ is meant for the weak and is beautifully suited to their frailty. It is not the doing of some great thing and does not demand that we first lead a very holy and devoted life. No, it is simply weakness entrusting itself to a Mighty One to be kept - the unfaithful one casting himself on One who is altogether trustworthy and true. Abiding in Him is not a work that we have to do as the condition for enjoying His salvation, but rather a consenting to let Him do all for us, in us, and through us. It is a work He does for us as the fruit and the power of His redeeming love. Our part is simply to yield, to trust, and to wait for what he has promised to perform.

-- Andrew Murray, "Abide in Christ", chapter 3, "Trusting Him to Keep You"

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Resurrection does not mean get on with your life

The nine lepers in this story are like the prodigal son was when he formulated the first version of his confession to his father. Like him - as he sits by the hog trough in the far country - they realize they are dead. But also like him, their idea of resurrection is just a matter of revival, of return to some form of ordinary life. The prodigal makes plans to get himself hired on as a servant; the nine lepers, possibly, propose to go back to the garment district and and find work as pressers.

The Samaritan leper, however, is like the prodigal son when he makes his confession the second time and leaves off the part about "make me a hired servant." For just as the prodigal suddenly sees - when his father kisses him before he confesses - that he can only be a dead son who has been raised to a new life, not a hired hand trying to fake out an old-style life of his own, so the Samaritan realizes that it is by his relationship to Jesus, and by that alone, that he now has a new life out of death as a leper. It is not, you see, that either of them is told to forget about the death out of which he has been raised, or to put it behind him, or to "get on with his life." That is what the nine lepers, and the prodigal in his first self-examination, had in mind - and it is, unfortunately, what far too many Christians think about their risen life in Jesus.

-- Robert Farrar Capon, "Kingdom, Grace, Judgement", pg 324-325
(referencing the story of the ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19)

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Portrait of the Christian as a Middle Aged Man

Youth is the period in which a man can be hopeless. The end of every episode is the end of the world. But the power of hoping through everything, the knowledge that the soul survives its adventures, that great inspiration comes to the middle-aged.

-G. K. Chesterton