This is from the book God’s Psychiatry by Charles L. Allen
When we look at Jesus’ face we know it was a happy face. Little children ran to get in His lap and clasp Him around His neck. People invited Him to their parties. Seeing God in Christ, we are not afraid of Him; instead we want to be closer to Him. We listen as He says, “Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more.” (John 8:11), and we are ashamed of our sins, we want forgiveness, and we come to Him repenting and asking for His cleansing.
We look as “he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). Though it meant death, He would not go back on the high purposes of His life. Seeing Him puts the steel in our own backbones to make the right decision. We watch as He walked seven miles to Emmaus to give hope to the downhearted (Luke 24:13-32), or as He gave a new chance to His friends who failed Him (John 20:19-31), and we take new heart and new hope.
How wonderful it is to see God. To encourage the early Christians who were bearing almost the unbearable John says to them that those who are faithful “shall see his face” (Rev 22:4). The promise of seeing Him compensated for any sacrifice.
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26 (KJV)
Prodigal: They took off like two hound dogs backed into a porcupine.
Me: We will just continue without them.
This is from Ellen Vaughn
Far too often we trivialize the holy, perceiving God as an extension of ourselves. God is white, just like us. Or black, or Asian, or Hispanic, or whatever. He’s from North America. Or not. God must be a Republican. Or a Democrat. Or most assuredly an Independent. We unconsciously assume He’s whatever we are, just bigger, though He shares our little biases, quirks, and opinions. No. God is huge. Mysterious. Multidimensional….We live in a land that has largely lost a sense of holy reverence, let alone the transcendent. Most everything is assessed by the criterion, “how does it affect me?” In a supremely self-referential culture it’s hard to conceive of anything that is so wholly Other.
That is why today, you think God is not powerful enough. You think He is like you. God can do so much more than you can. That is why we can trust Him with this day.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
This is from the book Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
There is a paradox here. As long as Dick does not turn to God, he thinks his niceness is his own, and just as long as he thinks that, it is not his own. It is when Dick realises that this niceness is not his own but a gift from God, and when he offers it back to God-it is just then that it begins to be really his own. For now Dick is beginning to take a share in his own creation. The only things we can keep are the things we freely give to God. What we try to keep for ourselves is just what we are sure to lose.
Anything can be a distraction from the Lord. Even how nice people say you are. Pride can increase because of how nice you are. Before long you expect verbal praise from others about your niceness. Then you start making decision so that you hear more about yourself and not necessary what God wants you to do. It is great that you have a kind heart, but you may be drifting from the Lord.
And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them.
We Christians can be terrible judgmental, assuming we know why others are going through hard times. Furthermore, we can paint with too broad a brush as we criticize folks because it seems like they’re implicated by the sins of another. We need to stay with the facts, not allowing our selves to yield to suspicions and jump to false conclusions. It is unfair to see someone as guilty because others around them have failed.
1 John 4:20
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
This is from the book In the Grip of Grace by Max Lucado
Near the city of Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, is a remarkable facility. Twenty years ago the Brazilian government turned a prison over to two Christians. The institution was renamed Humaita, and the plan was to run it on Christian principles. With the exception of two full-time staff, all the work is done by inmates. Families outside the prison adopt an inmate to work with during and after his term. Chuck Colson visited the prison and made this report:
When I visited Humanita I found the inmates smiling-particularly the murder who held the keys, opened the gates and let me in. Wherever I walked I saw men a peace. I saw clean living areas, people working industriously. The walls were decorated with Biblical sayings from Psalms and Proverbs…..My guide escorted me to the notorious prison cell once used for torture. Today, he told me, that block houses only a single inmate. As we reached the end of a long concrete corridor and he put the key in the lock, he paused and asked, “Are you sure you want to go in?”
“Of course,” I replied impatiently, “I’ve been in isolation cells all over the world.” Slowly he swung open the massive door, and I saw the prisoner in that punishment cell: a crucifix, beautifully carved by the Humanita inmates–the prisoner Jesus, hanging on a cross.
“He’s doing time for the rest of us,” my guide said softly.
Our old life died with Christ on the cross so that our sinful selves would have no power over us and we would not be slaves to sin. Anyone who has died is made free from sin’s control.
Her piercing green eyes and vibrant red hair did not belong in the sterile gray hospital room permeated with breathing machine sounds, a beeping monitor, and the air of gloom. Only my crushed body matched my depressed emotions. Strapped to tubes and traction, unable to go anywhere and knowing they were lying to me about the condition of my new bride, I was sure hopelessness would become my new norm.
The seventy-mile-an-hour head-on collision-caused by a drunk driver-had left my wife and me in pieces. I would survive, but be crippled the rest of my life. My bride? Who knows? I longed to hold her and tell her everything would be fine but I couldn’t even visit her–let alone comfort her.
“The Lord is my shepherd….” the soft comforting voice read.
Who is this red-headed lady? I wondered as I glanced through the side bars of my bed.
“I shall not want….” She continued reading into the wee hours of the night.
Like the regular ticking of a clock, the nurse with red hair came to my room night after night and read the Psalms–then the Gospels–as I would rudely drift off into a deep sleep. I became dependent on her timing, her comforting, her embracing, her encouraging. As I physically healed I knew the nurse with red hair had a big part in my emotional healing also. Though we never carried on a conversation–my heart longed to thank her.
Many weeks passed as I was in and out of surgeries, therapy, and grueling hospital routines. My bride was far worse off than I was, but she was alive. The hospital staff managed to push me in a wheel chair to visit her once in a great while. I told her of the sweet nurse with red hair who visited me on a nightly basis. I wished she had time to visit my wife–the comforting words would have given her the same healing they had brought me. Oh, the faithfulness of that lady with red hair.
Once I became more mobile I was moved to another floor of the hospital–where the nurse with the red hair was unable to visit me. One day I asked permission from the hospital staff to visit the red-haired, green-eyed nurse. Escorted in a wheelchair I went directly to the nurse’s station and asked for the senior nurse. With a firm resolve I asked to see the nurse with red hair. I told her how faithful she had been and I wanted to personally thank her. I told of her consistency in reading the Scriptures to me and how life-giving and encouraging those words had been. My emotions let loose with tears as I shared with the senior nurse how my heart had been healed of all anger and bitterness toward the drunk driver who had caused all this pain in my wife’s and my life–because of the lady with red hair. As my passionate plea grew, the nurse quieted me down and slowly shared these words: “I’m sorry, sir. We have no nurses here with red hair.”
by Morna Gilbert
And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?
This is from the book The Soul Winner by C.H. Spurgeon
I have already insisted upon instruction and impression as necessary for soul winning, but these are not all that is needed. Indeed, they are only means to the desired end. A far greater work must be done before a man is saved. A wonder of divine grace must be worked upon the soul, far transcending anything that can be accomplished by the power of man. Of all whom we would with pleasure win for Jesus, it is true, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). The Holy Spirit must work regeneration in the objects of our love, or they never can become possessors of eternal happiness. They must be quickened into a new life, and they must become new creatures in Christ Jesus. The same energy that accomplishes resurrection and creation must put forth all its power upon them. Nothing short of this can meet the case. They must be born again from above.
Don’t forget to pray and ask for the Lord’s help in our efforts to bring about His work today.