Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Irresistible Community.....

A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner. 


Let love be genuine. . . . Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. . . . Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. . . . Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. 


What do you run on?

God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way. . . . God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there.

C S Lewis
Mere Christianity

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

I am not my own

The from now on to live for him.

That I am not my own, 
but belong with body and soul, 
both in life and in death, 
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. 

He has fully paid for all my sins
with his precious blood, 
and has set me free from all the power of the devil. 

He also preserves me in such a way that 
without the will of my heavenly Father 
not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, 
all things must work together for my salvation. 

Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me 
of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready
from now on to live for him.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Divine & Heavenly Purity

Once, as I rode out into the woods for my health, in 1737, having alighted from my horse in a retired place, as my manner commonly has been, to walk for divine contemplation and prayer, I had a view, that for me was extraordinary, of the glory of the Son of God, as Mediator between God and man, and his wonderful, great, full, pure and sweet grace and love, and meek and gentle condescension. 

This grace that appeared so calm and sweet, appeared also great above the heavens. The person of Christ appeared ineffably excellent, with an excellency great enough to swallow up all thought and conception—which continued, as near as I can judge, about an hour; which kept me the greater part of the time in a flood of tears and weeping aloud. I felt an ardency of soul to be, what I know not otherwise how to express, emptied and annihilated; to lie in the dust, and to be full of Christ alone; to love him with a holy and pure love; to trust in him; to live upon him; to serve and follow him; and to be perfectly sanctified and made pure, with a divine and heavenly purity. 

I have several other times had views very much of the same nature, and which have had the same effects.

Jonathan Edwards 
The Works of President Edwards, (New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1881), 1: 21-22.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Ending up in Holland when you planned to go to Italy

At the moment I am reading The Magnificent Journey by James Bryan Smith. I’ve found it an enthralling and challenging read. But today I was caught off guard by a revelation by and a story shared by James. 

If you know our family you will know in recent years that we have discovered the reason for many of the limitations I have faced in my health and body have be caused by inherited chromosomes that were faulty. For me these limitations have not had a dramatic impact to my life, apart from stopping my football career with Aberdeen FC long before I could walk! lol

However the chromosomes I have passed on to my daughter causing CMT and another that I can’t even say the name of, are having a significant impact to her life. Disability wasn’t a destination or a path that I hoped or dreamed of for my daughter. Today I discovered that James, the author of this book also has had an unexpected journey with his daughter and chromosomes. Below is an extract from the book including his story and that of a mum whose child was born with autism.

Our daughter Madeline was born with a chromosomal disorder. We had been planning for a healthy daughter and all that goes with that, such as normal growth and development, watching her one day walk and talk. We did not get that. Things did not go as we planned. Instead, we got something different. At the end of the first year of Madeline’s life, someone gave us a piece written by Emily Perl Kingsley, who had a child born with autism. She compares this unexpected change of plans to having your vacation plans changed: 

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip—to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting. After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.

You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.” “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.” 

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place. 

So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you never would have met. It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around . . . and you begin to notice Holland has windmills . . . and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts. 

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy . . . and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.” 

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away . . . because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss. But . . . if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to go to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things . . . about Holland.

Supremely happy forever!

Heard and said the first part of this prayer many times but thinking the second part that I’m not sure I’ve heard before is even more profound. Especially the last stanza! 

God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed 

Courage to change the things which should be changed, 

and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. 

Living one day at a time,

Enjoying one moment at a time, 

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,

Taking, as Jesus did, This sinful world as it is,

Not as I would have it, 

Trusting that You will make all things right, 

If I surrender to Your will, 

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,

And supremely happy with You forever in the next. 


Saturday, February 02, 2019

The Secret of Joy

One day whilst out walking with St Francis of Assisi one of his fellow monks, Brother Leo, implored him to teach him what perfect Joy was. Here is what he said:

If, when we shall arrive at Saint Mary of the Angels, all drenched with rain and trembling with cold, all covered with mud and exhausted from hunger; if, when we knock at the convent-gate, the porter should come angrily and ask us who we are; if, after we have told him, “We are two of the brethren,” he should answer angrily, “What ye say is not the truth; ye are but two impostors going about to deceive the world, and take away the alms of the poor; begone I say”; if then he refuse to open to us, and leave us outside, exposed to the snow and rain, suffering from cold and hunger till nightfall—then, if we accept such injustice, such cruelty and such contempt with patience, without being ruffled and without murmuring, believing with humility and charity that the porter really knows us, and that it is God who maketh him to speak thus against us, write down, O Brother Leo, that this is perfect joy.