Draw Near To God Quotes

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First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches. May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty. When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer. Guide her, protect her When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age. Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit. May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers. Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait. O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed. And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it. And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.
Tina Fey (Bossypants)
I learned the first rule of repentance: that repentance requires greater intimacy with God than with our sin. How much greater? About the size of a mustard seed. Repentance requires that we draw near to Jesus, no matter what. And sometimes we all have to crawl there on our hands and knees. Repentance is an intimate affair. And for many of us, intimacy with anything is a terrifying prospect.
Rosaria Champagne Butterfield (The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor's Journey Into Christian Faith)
God draws near to the brokenhearted. He leans toward those who are suffering. He knows what it feels like to be wounded and abandoned.
John D. Richardson
Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount—that is the measure of God’s love for you. God does not look on the outward appearance. I believe that He doesn’t care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God love encompasses us completely. He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked. What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
There must be a glowing light above such houses. The joy they contain must escape in light through the stones of the walls and shine dimly into the darkness. It is impossible that this sacred festival of destiny should not send a celestial radiation to the infinite. Love is the sublime crucible in which is consummated the fusion of man and woman; the one being, the triple being, the final being-- the human trinity springs from it. This birth of two souls into one space must be an emotion for space. The lover is priest; the apprehensive maiden submits. Something of this joy goes to God. Where there really is marriage, that is to say, where there is love, the ideal is mingled with it. A nuptial bed makes a halo in the darkness. Were it given to the eye of the flesh to perceive the fearful and enchanting sights of the superior life, it is likely that we should see the forms of night, the winged stranger, the blue travelers of the invisible, bending, a throng of shadowy heads, over the luminous house, pleased, blessing, showing to one another the sweetly startled maiden bride and wearing the reflection of the human felicity on their divine countenances. If at that supreme hour, the wedded pair, bewildered with pleasure, and believing themselves alone, were to listen, they would hear in their room a rustling of confused wings. Perfect happiness implies the solidarity of the angels. That obscure little alcove has for its ceiling the whole heavens. When two mouths, made sacred by love, draw near to each other to create, it is impossible, that above that ineffable kiss there should not be a thrill in the immense mystery of the stars.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
And strangely fold the hours as the end draws near.
Laini Taylor (Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #3))
Fireflies out on a warm summer's night, seeing the urgent, flashing, yellow-white phosphorescence below them, go crazy with desire; moths cast to the winds an enchantment potion that draws the opposite sex, wings beating hurriedly, from kilometers away; peacocks display a devastating corona of blue and green and the peahens are all aflutter; competing pollen grains extrude tiny tubes that race each other down the female flower's orifice to the waiting egg below; luminescent squid present rhapsodic light shows, altering the pattern, brightness and color radiated from their heads, tentacles, and eyeballs; a tapeworm diligently lays a hundred thousand fertilized eggs in a single day; a great whale rumbles through the ocean depths uttering plaintive cries that are understood hundreds of thousands of kilometers away, where another lonely behemoth is attentively listening; bacteria sidle up to one another and merge; cicadas chorus in a collective serenade of love; honeybee couples soar on matrimonial flights from which only one partner returns; male fish spray their spunk over a slimy clutch of eggs laid by God-knows-who; dogs, out cruising, sniff each other's nether parts, seeking erotic stimuli; flowers exude sultry perfumes and decorate their petals with garish ultraviolet advertisements for passing insects, birds, and bats; and men and women sing, dance, dress, adorn, paint, posture, self-mutilate, demand, coerce, dissemble, plead, succumb, and risk their lives. To say that love makes the world go around is to go too far. The Earth spins because it did so as it was formed and there has been nothing to stop it since. But the nearly maniacal devotion to sex and love by most of the plants, animals, and microbes with which we are familiar is a pervasive and striking aspect of life on Earth. It cries out for explanation. What is all this in aid of? What is the torrent of passion and obsession about? Why will organisms go without sleep, without food, gladly put themselves in mortal danger for sex? ... For more than half the history of life on Earth organisms seem to have done perfectly well without it. What good is sex?... Through 4 billion years of natural selection, instructions have been honed and fine-tuned...sequences of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts, manuals written out in the alphabet of life in competition with other similar manuals published by other firms. The organisms become the means through which the instructions flow and copy themselves, by which new instructions are tried out, on which selection operates. 'The hen,' said Samuel Butler, 'is the egg's way of making another egg.' It is on this level that we must understand what sex is for. ... The sockeye salmon exhaust themselves swimming up the mighty Columbia River to spawn, heroically hurdling cataracts, in a single-minded effort that works to propagate their DNA sequences into future generation. The moment their work is done, they fall to pieces. Scales flake off, fins drop, and soon--often within hours of spawning--they are dead and becoming distinctly aromatic. They've served their purpose. Nature is unsentimental. Death is built in.
Carl Sagan (Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors: A Search For Who We Are)
That's who Jesus Christ is. He became the final Priest and the final Sacrifice. Sinless, he did not offer sacrifices for himself. Immortal, he never has to be replaced. Human, he could bear human sins. Therefore he did not offer sacrifices for himself; he offered himself as the final sacrifice. There will never be the need for another. There is one mediator between us and God. One priest. We need no other. Oh, how happy are those who draw near to God through Christ alone.
John Piper (The Passion of Jesus Christ)
those of us who wish to draw near to God should not be surprised when our vision goes cloudy, for this is a sign that we are approaching the opaque splendor of God. If we decide to keep going beyond the point where our eyes or minds are any help to us, we may finally arrive at the pinnacle of the spiritual journey toward God, which exists in complete and dazzling darkness.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Learning to Walk in the Dark)
I had done everything I knew how to do to draw as near to the heart of God as I could, only to find myself out of gas on a lonely road, filled with bitterness & self-pity. To suppose that I had ended up in such a place by the grace of God required a significant leap of faith. If I could open my hands, then all that fell from them might flower on the way down. If I could let myself fall, then I too might land in a fertile place.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith)
Religion teaches that faith and transformation are the only ways of drawing near to God. Faith shows us that we are never alone. Transformation helps us to love the mystery.
Paulo Coelho (Manuscript Found in Accra)
[God] loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God's love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked. What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Perhaps the most shockingly transcendent thing about the God we worship is that He is pleased to stoop down to us, to draw near, to know us, love us, walk with us, and call us all by name.
R.C. Sproul Jr. (The Call to Wonder: Loving God like a Child)
And we learned, perhaps the hard way, that church isn’t static. It’s not a building, or a denomination, or a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Church is a moment in time when the kingdom of God draws near, when a meal, a story, a song, an apology, and even a failure is made holy by the presence of Jesus among us and within us.
Rachel Held Evans (Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church)
I’m too alone in the world, yet not alone enough to make each hour holy. I’m too small in the world, yet not small enough to be simply in your presence, like a thing— just as it is. I want to know my own will and to move with it. And I want, in the hushed moments when the nameless draws near, to be among the wise ones— or alone. I want to mirror your immensity. I want never to be too weak or too old to bear the heavy, lurching image of you. I want to unfold. Let no place in me hold itself closed, for where I am closed, I am false. I want to stay clear in your sight.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God)
Without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.
Chris Fabry (War Room: Prayer Is a Powerful Weapon)
A good conscience feeds on the life of Christ and gives you the confidence to draw near to God with a “true heart in full assurance of faith” that God is not angry with you.
Joseph Prince (Destined To Reign)
What’s a brokenhearted person to do? We must praise God, seek God, look to God, call to God, experience God, fear God, learn from God, honor God, draw near to God, and take refuge in God. This
Lysa TerKeurst (Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely)
If God were to make a million lovely flowers in your image and plant them in a garden with you among them, I would still know you by your scent and by the feel of your petals and by the crazy way you lean towards my light whenever I draw near.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Slaying Dragons: Quotes, Poetry, & a few Short Stories for Every Day of the Year)
The weaknesses, failures, and sins of our family are the places where we learn that we need grace too. It is there, in those dark mercies, that God teaches us to be humbly dependent. It is there that He draws near to us and sweetly reveals His grace. Paul's suffering teaches us to reinterpret our thorn. Instead of seeing it as a curse, we are to see it as the very thing that keeps us "pinned close to the Lord.
Elyse M. Fitzpatrick (Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus)
The cross was not about some mythical pagan deity demanding a blood sacrifice – destroying his own son like Molech. Someone may ask … but wasn’t blood required for the forgiveness of sins? Yes, but not in a paganistic Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom sort of way. Yes, blood was needed for the forgiveness of sins. Not because the Father needed it, but because we did. We were running from God; He was never running from us. In Hebrews 10:22, Paul writes, “let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience. …” The blood was for us. The sure solid proof and substance of God’s love. God did not need the blood for Himself. It was His blood. He poured it out for us.
John Crowder (Cosmos Reborn)
God is love, and when we pray we are drawing near to love, and all our hatred must melt away like the snow melts when the sun shines on it in spring. Leave Lucien to God, Annette. He rewards both good and evil, but remember, He loves Lucien just the same as He loves Dani.
Patricia St. John (Treasures of the Snow (Patricia St John Series))
Be warned, brother: solder your heart and adorn it; join the pieces, which are your cares, so that with all your faculties you may draw near to God. Cover the vase of your heart lest the dust of idle thoughts should fall into it.
Francisco De Osuna (Third Spiritual Alphabet (Contemplative Series Book 5))
God draws near to us in such a way as to draw us near to himself within the circle of his knowing of himself.
Thomas F. Torrance (Trinitarian Perspectives: Toward Doctrinal Agreement)
O my soul! Nothing comes between you and God but the atoning blood of Jesus. His blood annihilates all your sin and guilt. Robed in His imputed righteousness, you are to God nearer than the highest angel in heaven--and nearer you can not be--and God draws near to you and speaks--"A God at hand, says the Lord.
Octavius Winslow (The Works of Octavius Winslow)
Curiously enough, it is a fear of how grace will change and improve them that keeps many souls away from God. They want God to take them as they are and let them stay that way. They want Him to take away their love of riches, but not their riches—to purge them of the disgust of sin, but not of the pleasure of sin. Some of them equate goodness with indifference to evil and think that God is good if He is broad-minded or tolerant about evil. Like the onlookers at the Cross, they want God on their terms, not His, and they shout, “Come down, and we will believe.” But the things they ask are the marks of a false religion: it promises salvation without a cross, abandonment without sacrifice, Christ without his nails. God is a consuming fire; our desire for God must include a willingness to have the chaff burned from our intellect and the weeds of our sinful will purged. The very fear souls have of surrendering themselves to the Lord with a cross is an evidence of their instinctive belief in His Holiness. Because God is fire, we cannot escape Him, whether we draw near for conversion or flee from aversion: in either case, He affects us. If we accept His love, its fires will illumine and warm us; if we reject Him, they will still burn on in us in frustration and remorse.
Fulton J. Sheen (Peace of Soul: Timeless Wisdom on Finding Serenity and Joy by the Century's Most Acclaimed Catholic Bishop)
The God, when he draws near, will the heart stand fast. But, oh my, shame! when of My shame! And let me say at once That I approached to see the Heavenly, And they cast me down, deep down Below the living, into the dark cast down The false priest that I am, to sing, For those who have ears to hear, the warning song. There
Friedrich Hölderlin (Selected Poems and Fragments)
To My Wife You are like a young white hen. Her feathers ruffle in the wind, her neck curves down to drink, and she rummages in the earth: but, in walking, she has your slow, queenly step, haughty and proud. She is better than the male. She is like the females of all the serene animals who draw near to God. Here, if my eye, if my judgment doesn’t deceive me, among these, you find your equals, and in no other woman. When evening lulls the little hens to sleep, they make sounds that call to mind those mild, sweet voices with which you argue with your pains, and don’t know that your voice has the soft, sad music of the henyard. You are like a pregnant heifer, still free, and without heaviness, merry, in fact; who, if someone strokes her, turns her neck, where a tender pink tinges her flesh. If you meet up with her, and hear her bellow, so mournful is this sound that you tear at the earth to give her a present. In the same way, I offer my gift to you when you are sad. You are like a tall, thin female dog, that always has so much sweetness in her eyes and ferociousness in her heart. At your feet, she seems a saint who burns with an indomitable fervor and in this way looks at you as her God and Lord. When you are at home, or going down the street, to anyone who tries, uninvited, to approach you, she uncovers her shining white teeth. And her love suffers from jealousy. You are like the fearful rabbit. Within her narrow cage, she stands upright to look at you, and extends her long, still ear; she deprives herself of the husks and roots that you bring her, and cowers, seeking the darkest corners. Who might take away this food? Who might take away the fur which she tears from her back to add to the nest where she will give birth? Who would ever make you suffer? You are like the swallow which returns in the spring. But each autumn will depart— you don’t have this art. You have this of the swallow: the light movements; that which, to me, seemed and was old, you proclaim another spring. You are like the provident ant. She whom the grandmother speaks of to the child as they go out in the countryside. And thus I find you in the bumble bee and in all the females of all the serene animals who draw near to God. And in no other woman.
Umberto Saba
Look up, you whose gaze is fixed on this earth, who are spellbound by the little events and changes on the face of the earth. Look up to these words, you who have turned away from heaven disappointed. Look up, you whose eyes are heavy with tears and who are heavy and who are crying over the fact that the earth has gracelessly torn us away. Look up, you who, burdened with guilt, cannot lift your eyes. Look up, your redemption is drawing near. something different from what you see daily will happen. Just be aware, be watchful, wait just another short moment. Wait and something quite new will break over you: God will come.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (God Is In the Manger)
We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God’s coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us.4 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Coming of Jesus in Our Midst
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (God Is In the Manger)
I am less likely to deny my suffering when I learn how God uses it to mold me and draw me closer to him. I will be less likely to see my pains as interruptions to my plans and more able to see them as the means for God to make me ready to receive him. I let Christ live near my hurts and distractions.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (Turn My Mourning into Dancing: Finding Hope in Hard Times)
In the tenth century BC, the priests of India devised the Brahmodya competition, which would become a model of authentic theological discourse. The object was to find a verbal formula to define the Brahman, the ultimate and inexpressible reality beyond human understanding. The idea was to push language as far as it would go, until participants became aware of the ineffable. The challenger, drawing on his immense erudition, began the process by asking an enigmatic question and his opponents had to reply in a way that was apt but equally inscrutable. The winner was the contestant who reduced the others to silence. In that moment of silence, the Brahman was present - not in the ingenious verbal declarations but in the stunning realisation of the impotence of speech. Nearly all religious traditions have devised their own versions of this exercise. It was not a frustrating experience; the finale can, perhaps, be compared to the moment at the end of the symphony, when there is a full and pregnant beat of silence in the concert hall before the applause begins. The aim of good theology is to help the audience to live for a while in that silence.
Karen Armstrong (The Case for God)
Your circumstances are an opportunity for you to draw near to God and for God to reveal Himself to you through those circumstances in a greater way than He ever has before.
Morris Cerullo (The Miracle Book)
There is grace for the humble. Grace for those who ask for it. Instead of confessing others’ sins, you can confess your own. Instead of proudly proclaiming your own rightness, you can confess your many sins, failings, and weaknesses and ask for grace. Instead of railing against God when you don’t get what you want, you can submit yourself to God and draw near to him.
David A. Powlison (Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness)
Be faithful to your secret place, and it will become your closest friend and bring you much comfort. In silence and stillness a devout person grows spiritually and learns the hidden things of the Bible. Tears shed there bring cleansing. God draws near to the one who withdraws for a while. It is better for you to look after yourself this way in private than to perform wonders in public while neglecting your soul.
Thomas à Kempis
So near the track of the stars are we, That oft, on night's pale beams, The distant sounds of their harmony Come to our ears, like dreams. The Moon, too, brings her world so nigh, That when the night-seer looks To that shadowless orb, in a vernal sky, He can number its hills and brooks. To the Sun god all our hearts and lyres, By day, by night, belong; And the breath we draw from his living fires We give him back in song,
Thomas Bulfinch (Bulfinch's Mythology)
Hence monastic prayer, especially meditation and contemplative prayer, is not so much a way to find God as a way of resting in him whom we have found, who loves us, who is near to us, who comes to us to draw us to himself.
Thomas Merton (Contemplative Prayer)
The day will come … when people will once more be called to speak the word of God in such a way that the world is changed and renewed. It will be in a new language, perhaps quite nonreligious language, but liberating and redeeming like Jesus’s language, so that people will be alarmed, and yet overcome by its power—the language of a new righteousness and truth, a language proclaiming that God makes peace with humankind and that God’s kingdom is drawing near.”[56]
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Letters and Papers from Prison DBW Vol 8)
The progression of minor keys...they're meant to represent imperfection..." I understand. But that is a philosophical conceit. All artists strive toward perfection or else lack fire." Imperfections make the gods draw near. They crave to fix things. Same way some people leap in to finish other people's sentences. God loves nothing better than to break perfect things.
Carla Speed McNeil (Finder: Mystery Date)
God has given us the tools to build enough faith to access any door, yet He leaves us our freewill to decide when to fast, when to pray, and when to listen. When we decide to build our faith, it is something we initiate, and then in response He increases our faith so that we can experience more of His Kingdom. This is a fundamental element in our relationship with God; He gives us the choice of the relationship we want: “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8 NKJV). Another way to say it would be, “The ball is in our court.
Jonathan Welton (The School of Seers Expanded Edition: A Practical Guide on How to See in the Unseen Realm)
We are accepted because of Jesus, and that’s the ground of our security. Now it is our holy privilege to walk worthy of that high calling, drawing near to God in confidence, “with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb. 10:22).
Michael L. Brown (Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message)
Discipline If you set out to seek freedom, then learn above all things to govern your soul and your senses, for fear that your passions and longings may lead you away from the path you should follow. Chaste be your mind and your body, and both in subjection, obediently, steadfastly seeking the aim set before them; only through discipline may a man learn to be free. Action Daring to do what is right, not what fancy may tell you, valiantly grasping occasions, not cravenly doubting – freedom comes only through deeds, not through thoughts taking wing. Faint not nor fear, but go out to the storm and the action, trusting in God whose commandment you faithfully follow; freedom, exultant, will welcome your spirit with joy. Suffering A change has come indeed. Your hands, so strong and active, are bound; in helplessness now you see your action is ended; you sigh in relief, your cause committing to stronger hands; so now you may rest contented. Only for one blissful moment could you draw near to touch freedom; then, that it might be perfected in glory, you gave it to God. Death Come now, thou greatest of feasts on the journey to freedom eternal; death, cast aside all the burdensome chains, and demolish the walls of our temporal body, the walls of our souls that are blinded, so that at last we may see that which here remains hidden. Freedom, how long we have sought thee in discipline, action, and suffering; dying, we now may behold thee revealed in the Lord.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I realized that most times it’s not the big things along my spiritual journey that tempt me to get off track. It’s a culmination of small daily aggravations I know God could fix but doesn’t. But what if instead of seeing these aggravations as inconveniences, I saw them as reminders to draw near to God?
Lysa TerKeurst (Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl)
Learn to cease from your own wisdom as well as your own goodness; draw near in poverty of spirit to let the Holy One show you how utterly above human knowledge or human power is the holiness He demands; to the soul that ceases from self, and has no confidence in the flesh, He will show and give the holiness He calls us to.
Andrew Murray (Holy in Christ Thoughts on the Calling of God's Children to be Holy as He is Holy)
Jesus Christ is not a cosmic errand boy. I mean no disrespect or irreverence in so saying, but I do intend to convey the idea that while he loves us deeply and dearly, Christ the Lord is not perched on the edge of heaven, anxiously anticipating our next wish. When we speak of God being good to us, we generally mean that he is kind to us. In the words of the inimitable C. S. Lewis, "What would really satisfy us would be a god who said of anything we happened to like doing, 'What does it matter so long as they are contented?' We want, in fact, not so much a father in heaven as a grandfather in heaven--a senile benevolence who as they say, 'liked to see young people enjoying themselves,' and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, 'a good time was had by all.'" You know and I know that our Lord is much, much more than that. One writer observed: "When we so emphasize Christ's benefits that he becomes nothing more than what his significance is 'for me' we are in danger. . . . Evangelism that says 'come on, it's good for you'; discipleship that concentrates on the benefits package; sermons that 'use' Jesus as the means to a better life or marriage or job or attitude--these all turn Jesus into an expression of that nice god who always meets my spiritual needs. And this is why I am increasingly hesitant to speak of Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. As Ken Woodward put it in a 1994 essay, 'Now I think we all need to be converted--over and over again, but having a personal Savior has always struck me as, well, elitist, like having a personal tailor. I'm satisfied to have the same Lord and Savior as everyone else.' Jesus is not a personal Savior who only seeks to meet my needs. He is the risen, crucified Lord of all creation who seeks to guide me back into the truth." . . . His infinity does not preclude either his immediacy or his intimacy. One man stated that "I want neither a terrorist spirituality that keeps me in a perpetual state of fright about being in right relationship with my heavenly Father nor a sappy spirituality that portrays God as such a benign teddy bear that there is no aberrant behavior or desire of mine that he will not condone." . . . Christ is not "my buddy." There is a natural tendency, and it is a dangerous one, to seek to bring Jesus down to our level in an effort to draw closer to him. This is a problem among people both in and outside the LDS faith. Of course we should seek with all our hearts to draw near to him. Of course we should strive to set aside all barriers that would prevent us from closer fellowship with him. And of course we should pray and labor and serve in an effort to close the gap between what we are and what we should be. But drawing close to the Lord is serious business; we nudge our way into intimacy at the peril of our souls. . . . Another gospel irony is that the way to get close to the Lord is not by attempting in any way to shrink the distance between us, to emphasize more of his humanity than his divinity, or to speak to him or of him in casual, colloquial language. . . . Those who have come to know the Lord best--the prophets or covenant spokesmen--are also those who speak of him in reverent tones, who, like Isaiah, find themselves crying out, "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts" (Isaiah 6:5). Coming into the presence of the Almighty is no light thing; we feel to respond soberly to God's command to Moses: "Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground" (Exodus 3:5). Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained, "Those who truly love the Lord and who worship the Father in the name of the Son by the power of the Spirit, according to the approved patterns, maintain a reverential barrier between themselves and all the members of the Godhead.
Robert L. Millet
The Righteousness of God no longer terrifies man. It meets him as a friend, with an offer of complete justification. God’s countenance beams with pleasure and approval as the penitent sinner draws near to Him, and He invites him to intimate fellowship. He opens for him treasure of blessing. There is nothing now that can separate him from God.
Andrew Murray (The Power of the Blood of Jesus)
God is reveaing Himself in this hour as the supreme elation of the soul. True love of God is evident in those whose only pleasure is derived fom drawing near to Him.
John Crowder
When we give up on what draws us near to God, we become like beasts.
L. Michael Morales
The light of God’s presence in our lives is a purifying flame that will draw us near to Him.
Billy Graham (Billy Graham in Quotes)
The way of drawing God near is not by rising but by kneeling down in humility and seeking his face.
Dr Paul Gitwaza
Church is a moment in time when the kingdom of God draws near, when a meal, a story, a song, an apology, and even a failure is made holy by the presence of Jesus among us and within us.
Rachel Held Evans (Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church)
When we first come to faith in Christ, we often think it was simply of our own choosing. Only later do we realize we would have never taken that step of faith apart from His grace drawing us near to Him.
Dillon Burroughs
The poor, the hungry, the mourners, and the oppressed truly are blessed. Not because of their miserable states, of course—Jesus spent much of his life trying to remedy those miseries. Rather, they are blessed because of an innate advantage they hold over those more comfortable and self-sufficient. People who are rich, successful, and beautiful may well go through life relying on their natural gifts. People who lack such natural advantages, hence underqualified for success in the kingdom of this world, just might turn to God in their time of need. Human beings do not readily admit desperation. When they do, the kingdom of heaven draws near.
Philip Yancey (The Jesus I Never Knew)
And so my Master, who is the great ark of salvation, did not come into this world to save only a few little sinners. “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him.” Look on him there. See him on the cross, in extreme agony, enduring countless griefs and torments, and sweating in agony, all because of his love for you who were his enemies. Trust him. Trust him, because there is hope, there is restoration
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Peace and Purpose in Trial and Suffering)
When I don't know where to turn, You always draw me near; when I start to feel alone, I can feel Your presence here, reminding me of everything I ever need to have or be has already found a place somewhere inside of me.
Lisa Mischelle Wood (Just Believe: A Collection of Christian Poetry)
You see that God deems it right to take from me any claim to merit for what you call my devotion to you. I have promised to remain forever with you, and now I could not break my promise if I would. The treasure will be no more mine than yours, and neither of us will quit this prison. But my real treasure is not that, my dear friend, which awaits me beneath the somber rocks of Monte Cristo, it is your presence, our living together five or six hours a day, in spite of our jailers; it is the rays of intelligence you have elicited from my brain, the languages you have implanted in my memory, and which have taken root there with all of their philological ramifications. These different sciences that you have made so easy to me by the depth of the knowledge you possess of them, and the clearness of the principles to which you have reduced them – this is my treasure, my beloved friend, and with this you have made me rich and happy. Believe me, and take comfort, this is better for me than tons of gold and cases of diamonds, even were they not as problematical as the clouds we see in the morning floating over the sea, which we take for terra firma, and which evaporate and vanish as we draw near to them. To have you as long as possible near me, to hear your eloquent speech, -- which embellishes my mind, strengthens my soul, and makes my whole frame capable of great and terrible things, if I should ever be free, -- so fills my whole existence, that the despair to which I was just on the point of yielding when I knew you, has no longer any hold over me; this – this is my fortune – not chimerical, but actual. I owe you my real good, my present happiness; and all the sovereigns of the earth, even Caesar Borgia himself, could not deprive me of this.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
Grace is love that cares and stoops and rescues.” Grace is the opposite of karma. We get what we don’t deserve: the love, mercy, forgiveness of God. Grace is unmerited favor. Grace is here for you right now, in the middle of what is hard or not working. The writer to the Hebrews described it this way: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16 ESV).
Sheila Walsh (It's Okay Not to Be Okay: Moving Forward One Day at a Time)
How little man knows and senses My need! My need of Love and Companionship. I came “to draw men unto Me,” and sweet it is to feel hearts drawing near in Love, not for help, as much as for tender comradeship. Many know the need of man; few know the need of Christ.
A.J. Russell (God Calling: Women's Edition)
for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 20And inasmuch as it was not without an oath 21(for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him, “THE LORD HAS SWORN AND WILL NOT CHANGE HIS MIND, ‘YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER’ ”); 22so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. [14 aLit has arisen from 16 bLit fleshly commandment; i.e. to be a descendant of Levi]
Anonymous (New American Standard Bible-NASB 1995 (Includes Translators' Notes))
O infinite goodness of my God! It is thus that I seem to see both myself and Thee. O Joy of the angels, how I long, when I think of this, to be wholly consumed in love for Thee! How true it is that Thou dost bear with those who cannot bear Thee to be with them! Oh, how good a Friend art Thou, my Lord! How Thou dost comfort us and suffer us and wait until our nature becomes more like Thine and meanwhile dost bear with it as it is! Thou dost remember the times when we love Thee, my Lord, and, when for a moment we repent, Thou dost forget how we offended Thee. I have seen this clearly in my own life, and I cannot conceive, my Creator, why the whole world does not strive to draw near to Thee in this intimate friendship. Those of us who are wicked, and whose nature is not like Thine, ought to draw near to Thee so that Thou mayest make them good. They should allow Thee to be with them for at least two hours each day, even though they may not be with Thee, but are perplexed, as I was, with a thousand worldly cares and thoughts. In exchange for the effort which it costs them to desire to be in such good company (for Thou knowest, Lord, that at first this is as much as they can do and sometimes they can do no more at all) Thou dost prevent the devils from assaulting them so that each day they are able to do them less harm, and Thou givest them strength to conquer. Yea, Life of all lives, Thou slayest none of those that put their trust in Thee and desire Thee for their Friend; rather dost Thou sustain their bodily life with greater health and give strength to their souls.
Teresa of Ávila (The Life of Saint Teresa of Ávila by Herself)
in him (John 3:16). You can begin a relationship with God with a simple prayer: Dear Lord, Thank you that when I call upon you, you hear and answer me. Please forgive me of all my sins. Give me the power and the strength to turn from my sin as I turn to you. Thank you that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead so I can have forgiveness of sins and I can know you. Thank you that you now see me through the righteousness of Jesus. I give you my whole life. Help me to draw near to you as you draw near to me. In Jesus’s name, amen.
Linda Evans Shepherd (When You Need a Miracle: How to Ask God for the Impossible)
Then there is the life-force, the Prana, that works in our vital being and nervous system. The Upanishad speaks of it as the first or supreme Breath; elsewhere in the sacred writings it is spoken of as the chief Breath or the Breath of the mouth, mukhya, asanya; it is that which carries in it the Word, the creative expression. In the body of man there are said to be five workings of the life-force called the five Pranas. One specially termed Prana moves in the upper part of the body and is pre-eminently the breath of life, because it brings the universal life-force into the physical system and gives it there to be distributed. A second in the lower part of the trunk, termed Apana, is the breath of death; for it gives away the vital force out of the body. A third, the Samana, regulates the interchange of these two forces at their meeting-place, equalises them and is the most important agent in maintaining the equilibrium of the vital forces and their functions. A fourth, the Vyana, pervasive, distributes the vital energies throughout the body. A fifth, the Udana, moves upward from the body to the crown of the head and is a regular channel of communication between the physical life and the greater life of the spirit. None of these are the first or supreme Breath, although the Prana most nearly represents it; the Breath to which so much importance is given in the Upanishads, is the pure life-force itself, - first, because all the others are secondary to it, born from it and only exist as its special functions. It is imaged in the Veda as the Horse; its various energies are the forces that draw the chariots of the Gods.
Sri Aurobindo (The Upanishads, 1st US Edition)
Did I think then, or do I believe later, that the vision was in any sense a direct call to me from God or some other intelligent force in nature? Was it a gesture uniquely intended to draw me near? Near to whom and for what? Am I ready to say, at this late point in my life, that I was singled out in childhood for special attention from God? No, I'm not. I think it's possible that such revelations await a good many people who are lucky enough, or careful enough, to spend solitary time in feasible places and to be prepared-consciously or accidentally-to listen to a widely available transmission.
Reynolds Price (Letter to a Godchild: Concerning Faith)
The mature response, however, is not to leave; it's to change -- ourselves. Whenever marital dissatisfaction rears its head in my marriage -- as it does in virtually every marriage -- I simply check my focus. The times that I am happiest and most fulfilled in my marriage are the times when I am intent on drawing meaning and fulfillment from becoming a better husband rather than from demanding a "better" wife. If you're a Christian, the reality is that, biblically speaking, you can't swap your spouse for someone else. But you can change yourself. And that change can bring the fulfillment that you mistakenly believe is found only by changing partners. In one sense, it's comical: Yes, we need a changed partner, but the partner that needs to change is not our spouse, it's us! I don't know why this works. I don't know how you can be unsatisfied maritally, and then offer yourself to God to bring about change in your life and suddenly find yourself more satisfied with the same spouse. I don't why this works, only that it does work. It takes time, and by time I mean maybe years. But if your heart is driven by the desire to draw near to Jesus, you find joy by becoming like Jesus. You'll never find joy by doing something that offends Jesus -- such as instigating a divorce or an affair.
Gary L. Thomas (Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?)
A thousand years earlier, a Cappadocian monk named Gregory of Nyssa was the first to see Moses’s cloud as a cipher for the spiritual life. “Moses’s vision began with light,” he wrote. “Afterwards God spoke to him in a cloud. But when Moses rose higher and became more perfect, he saw God in the darkness.”2 In the same way, Gregory said, those of us who wish to draw near to God should not be surprised when our vision goes cloudy, for this is a sign that we are approaching the opaque splendor of God. If we decide to keep going beyond the point where our eyes or minds are any help to us, we may finally arrive at the pinnacle of the spiritual journey toward God, which exists in complete and dazzling darkness.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Learning to Walk in the Dark)
It’s been a long time,” he murmured, prowling towards her, drawing to a halt just out of reaching distance. Not long enough. Not nearly long enough as the incredible mix of soap, deodorant, and cologne he wore so well had her body responding like he was an original glazed Krispy Kreme. Still warm from the oven. Dear God...he did still smell good enough to eat.
Amy Andrews (Playing by Her Rules (Sydney Smoke Rugby, #1))
There is not a hint of one person who was afraid to draw near him. There were those who mocked him. There were those who were envious of him. There were those who misunderstood him. There were those who revered him. But there was not one person who considered him too holy, too divine, or too celestial to touch. There was not one person who was reluctant to approach him for fear of being rejected. Remember that. Remember
Max Lucado (God Came Near: God's Perfect Gift)
The reason why so many Christians fail all through life is just this—they under-estimate the strength of the enemy. My dear friend; you and I have got a terrible enemy to contend with. Don’t let Satan deceive you. Unless you are spiritually dead, it means warfare. Nearly everything around tends to draw us away from God. We do not step clear out of Egypt on to the throne of God. There is the wilderness journey, and there are enemies in the land.
Dwight L. Moody (The Overcoming Life and Other Sermons)
I don’t know why I lived and she not. She was better than I, sweeter and kinder. It should have been me.” “No!” He held her fiercely, stroking away the tears that trickled down her ashen cheeks. “Do not say that! Does not your own faith teach that we are always in the hands of god?” “A careless god or an unfathomable one. Why create a world of pain?” “It is not. You know yourself, there is great beauty here and joy.” She knew, at least now she did, since she had known him. “I am a Viking.” He said it sorrowfully, as though he would change it if he could. “I do not think you are like the others.” Truth. She did not, had never, not since the knowing of him. “You do not touch me.” The words were out before she could reclaim them. She bit her lip hard, drawing blood. “Don’t,” he said, nearly pleading as he caught the tiny crimson drop. His lips touched hers, brushing lightly, giving her the taste of him. “I will,” he said, and she was gone, lost in the glow of yearning.
Josie Litton (Come Back to Me (Viking & Saxon, #3))
During hard times, such as serious illness, if you had to choose, which would you pick, healing or knowing God is with you? If you’re a Christian, maybe you'll get both, but knowing that, just as He said, He will be with us through anything and everything is the most comforting aspect of our God's nature. No other faith offers ‘the God who draws near’. No other faith offers the God who walked in our shoes, Jesus, the One who understands our troubles, not just by His omniscience but by actual experience.
H.L. Wegley
The Lord’s Prayer Expanded Our Father, Holy Father, Abba Father, in the heavens, Hallowed, holy, sacred be your name. From the rising of the sun, to the going down of the same, The name of the Lord is to be praised. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts, The whole earth is full of your glory. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, Who was and is and is to come. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Thy government come, thy politics be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Thy reign and rule come, thy plans and purposes be done, On earth as it is in heaven. May we be an anticipation of the age to come. May we embody the reign of Christ here and now. Give us day by day our daily bread. Provide for the poor among us. As we seek first your kingdom and your justice, May all we need be provided for us. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Transform us by the Holy Spirit into a forgiving community of forgiven sinners. Lead us not into trouble, trial, tribulation or temptation. Be mindful of our frame, we are but dust, We can only take so much. Lead us out of the wilderness into the promised land that flows with milk and honey, Lead us out of the badlands into resurrection country. Deliver us from evil and the evil one. Save us from Satan, the accuser and adversary. So that no weapon formed against us shall prosper. So that every tongue that rises against us in accusation you will condemn. So that every fiery dart of the wicked one is extinguished by the shield of faith. So that as we submit to you and resist the devil, the devil flees. So that as we draw near to Jesus Christ lifted up, His cross becomes for us the axis of love expressed in forgiveness, That refounds the world; And the devil, who became the false ruler of the fallen world, Is driven out from among us. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen
Brian Zahnd (Water To Wine: Some of My Story)
Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it ... The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly – and not just in accordance with immediate, partial, often superficial, and even illusory standards and measures of his being – he must with his unrest, uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter into him with all his own self, he must ‘appropriate’ and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find himself. If this profound process takes place within him, he then bears fruit not only of adoration of God but also of deep wonder at himself. How precious must man be in the eyes of the Creator, if he ‘gained so great a Redeemer’ (Hymn ‘Exsultet’ of the Easter Vigil), and if God ‘gave his only Son’ in order that man ‘should not perish but have eternal life’ (cf John 3:16).[646]
Francisco Fernández-Carvajal (In Conversation with God - Volume 5 Part 2: Ordinary Time Weeks 29-34)
With the veil removed by the rending of Jesus' flesh, with nothing on God's side to prevent us from entering, why do we tarry without? Why do we consent to abide all our days just outside the Holy of Holies and never enter at all to look upon God? We hear the Bridegroom say, `Let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice and thy countenance is comely.' (Song of Sol 2:14) We sense that the call is for us, but still we fail to draw near, and the years pass and we grow old and tired in the outer courts of the tabernacle. What doth hinder us? The answer usually given, simply that we are `cold,' will not explain all the facts. There is something more serious than coldness of heart, something that may be back of that coldness and be the cause of its existence. What is it? What but the presence of a veil in out hearts? A veil not taken away as the first veil was, but which remains there still shutting out the light and hiding the face of God from us. It is the veil of our fleshly fallen nature living on, unjudged within us, uncrucified and unrepudiated. It is the close- woven veil of the self-life which we have never truly acknowledged, of which we have been secretly ashamed, and which for these reasons we have never brought to the judgment of the cross. It is not too mysterious, this opaque veil, nor is it hard to identify. We have but to look in our own hearts and we shall see it there, sewn and patched and repaired it may be, but there nevertheless, an enemy to our lives and an effective block to our spiritual progress. This veil is not a beautiful thing and it is not a thing about which we commonly care to talk, but I am addressing the thirsting souls who are determined to follow God, and I know they will not turn back because the way leads temporarily through the blackened hills. The urge of God within them will assure their continuing the pursuit. They will face the facts however unpleasant and endure the cross for the joy set before them. So I am bold to mane the threads out of which this inner veil is woven. It is woven of the fine threads of the self-life, the hyphenated sins of the human spirit. They are not something we do, they are something we are, and therein lies both their subtlety and their power.
A.W. Tozer (The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine)
Ah! Gentle, gracious Dove, And art thou grieved in me, That sinners should restrain thy love, And say, “It is not free: It is not free for all: The most, thou passest by, And mockest with a fruitless call Whom thou hast doomed to die.” They think thee not sincere In giving each his day, “ Thou only draw’st the sinner near To cast him quite away, To aggravate his sin, His sure damnation seal: Thou show’st him heaven, and say’st, go in And thrusts him into hell.” O HORRIBLE DECREE Worthy of whence it came! Forgive their hellish blasphemy Who charge it on the Lamb: Whose pity him inclined To leave his throne above, The friend, and Saviour of mankind, The God of grace, and love. O gracious, loving Lord, I feel thy bowels yearn; For those who slight the gospel word I share in thy concern: How art thou grieved to be By ransomed worms withstood! How dost thou bleed afresh to see Them trample on thy blood! To limit thee they dare, Blaspheme thee to thy face, Deny their fellow-worms a share In thy redeeming grace: All for their own they take, Thy righteousness engross, Of none effect to most they make The merits of thy cross. Sinners, abhor the fiend: His other gospel hear— “The God of truth did not intend The thing his words declare, He offers grace to all, Which most cannot embrace, Mocked with an ineffectual call And insufficient grace. “The righteous God consigned Them over to their doom, And sent the Saviour of mankind To damn them from the womb; To damn for falling short, “Of what they could not do, For not believing the report Of that which was not true. “The God of love passed by The most of those that fell, Ordained poor reprobates to die, And forced them into hell.” “He did not do the deed” (Some have more mildly raved) “He did not damn them—but decreed They never should be saved. “He did not them bereave Of life, or stop their breath, His grace he only would not give, And starved their souls to death.” Satanic sophistry! But still, all-gracious God, They charge the sinner’s death on thee, Who bought’st him with thy blood. They think with shrieks and cries To please the Lord of hosts, And offer thee, in sacrifice Millions of slaughtered ghosts: With newborn babes they fill The dire infernal shade, “For such,” they say, “was thy great will, Before the world was made.” How long, O God, how long Shall Satan’s rage proceed! Wilt thou not soon avenge the wrong, And crush the serpent’s head? Surely thou shalt at last Bruise him beneath our feet: The devil and his doctrine cast Into the burning pit. Arise, O God, arise, Thy glorious truth maintain, Hold forth the bloody sacrifice, For every sinner slain! Defend thy mercy’s cause, Thy grace divinely free, Lift up the standard of thy cross, Draw all men unto thee. O vindicate thy grace, Which every soul may prove, Us in thy arms of love embrace, Of everlasting love. Give the pure gospel word, Thy preachers multiply, Let all confess their common Lord, And dare for him to die. My life I here present, My heart’s last drop of blood, O let it all be freely spent In proof that thou art good, Art good to all that breathe, Who all may pardon have: Thou willest not the sinner’s death, But all the world wouldst save. O take me at my word, But arm me with thy power, Then call me forth to suffer, Lord, To meet the fiery hour: In death will I proclaim That all may hear thy call, And clap my hands amidst the flame, And shout,—HE DIED FOR ALL
Charles Wesley
Because it wasn’t enough to be accompanied by the beast who scared the crap out of every god in Heaven, Xuanzang was assigned a few more traveling companions. The gluttonous pig-man Zhu Baijie. Sha Wujing, the repentant sand demon. And the Dragon Prince of the West Sea, who took the form of a horse for Xuanzang to ride. The five adventurers, thusly gathered, set off on their— “Holy ballsacks!” I yelped. I dropped the book like I’d been bitten. “How far did you get?” Quentin said. He was leaning against the end of the nearest shelf, as casually as if he’d been there the whole time, waiting for this moment. I ignored that he’d snuck up on me again, just this once. There was a bigger issue at play. In the book was an illustration of the group done up in bold lines and bright colors. There was Sun Wukong at the front, dressed in a beggar’s cassock, holding his Ruyi Jingu Bang in one hand and the reins of the Dragon Horse in the other. A scary-looking pig-faced man and a wide-eyed demon monk followed, carrying the luggage. And perched on top of the horse was . . . me. The artist had tried to give Xuanzang delicate, beatific features and ended up with a rather girly face. By whatever coincidence, the drawing of Sun Wukong’s old master could have been a rough caricature of sixteen-year-old Eugenia Lo from Santa Firenza, California. “That’s who you think I am?” I said to Quentin. “That’s who I know you are,” he answered. “My dearest friend. My boon companion. You’ve reincarnated into such a different form, but I’d recognize you anywhere. Your spiritual energies are unmistakable.” “Are you sure? If you’re from a long time ago, maybe your memory’s a little fuzzy.” “The realms beyond Earth exist on a different time scale,” Quentin said. “Only one day among the gods passes for every human year. To me, you haven’t been gone long. Months, not centuries.” “This is just . . . I don’t know.” I took a moment to assemble my words. “You can’t walk up to me and expect me to believe right away that I’m the reincarnation of some legendary monk from a folk tale.” “Wait, what?” Quentin squinted at me in confusion. “I said you can’t expect me to go, ‘okay, I’m Xuanzang,’ just because you tell me so.” Quentin’s mouth opened slowly like the dawning of the sun. His face went from confusion to understanding to horror and then finally to laughter. “mmmmphhhhghAHAHAHAHA!” he roared. He nearly toppled over, trying to hold his sides in. “HAHAHAHA!” “What the hell is so funny?” “You,” Quentin said through his giggles. “You’re not Xuanzang. Xuanzang was meek and mild. A friend to all living things. You think that sounds like you?” It did not. But then again I wasn’t the one trying to make a case here. “Xuanzang was delicate like a chrysanthemum.” Quentin was getting a kick out of this. “You are so tough you snapped the battleaxe of the Mighty Miracle God like a twig. Xuanzang cried over squashing a mosquito. You, on the other hand, have killed more demons than the Catholic Church.” I was starting to get annoyed. “Okay, then who the hell am I supposed to be?” If he thought I was the pig, then this whole deal was off. “You’re my weapon,” he said. “You’re the Ruyi Jingu Bang.” I punched Quentin as hard as I could in the face.
F.C. Yee (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, #1))
Hebrews 4:12–16: For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power—making it active, operative, energizing and effective; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, naked and defenseless to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do. Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest Who has [already] ascended and passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith in Him], For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a fellow feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace—the throne of God's unmerited favor [to us sinners]; that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need—appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it. (AMP)
Beth Moore (When Godly People Do Ungodly Things: Finding Authentic Restoration in the Age of Seduction)
[T]his impulse toward spiritual intimacy is found not only in the Abrahamic faiths, but in Buddhism, Hinduism, and native religions. Far too many people who understand God in these ways probably do not know how rich the tradition is that speaks of God with us, God in the stars and sunrise, God as the face of their neighbor, God in the act of justice, or God as the wonder of love. The language of divine nearness is the very heart of vibrant faith. Yet it has often been obscured by vertical theologies and elevator institutions, which, I suspect, are far easier to both explain and control. Drawing God within the circle of the world is a messy and sometimes dangerous business.
Diana Butler Bass (Grounded: Finding God in the World-A Spiritual Revolution)
there sometimes happens what Gerson, like Dionysius, describes: “The soul draws near to things that are ineffable and unknown and that it does not understand.” Gerson writes elsewhere: “This is certainly what we meant by being in silence and enclosing our spirit within us. This is the thing to be achieved; that for which we labor. Constrain yourself to do it with all the nerves of your affections in solitude, raise yourself above yourself if you can, and if after long efforts you are unable, do not at once relinquish them for a book or conversation, if silence tries you and is wearisome, and you think your quietude useless, hope to overcome this delay, for God would never mock your soul as you imagine; he will not forget to show you pity, if you confidently seek and pray and cry to him.”   Chapter
Francisco De Osuna (Third Spiritual Alphabet (Contemplative Series Book 5))
For the believer, participating in ritual activity is a 're-enactment of profound truth,' that which makes one belong to a belief system drawing the believer and the community of believers near to God. Yet despite its central role, the essence of a religious belief cannot be grasped by simply observing ritual practice. Ritual can mark, identify and separate a community of believers, it can point to what is held most sacred in terms of rites and worship, but it can never quite capture faith, for faith transcends form and imagery. This is particularly true of Islam, where faith is presented a a gradual process from Islam (surrender) to iman (faith) to the final state of ihsan (doing good). Belief in God is a deeper state of awareness, of conviction and of humility, all of which ultimately lie beyond ritual.
Mona Siddiqui (How to Read the Qur'an)
The Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither the Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches. May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty. When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer. Guide her, protect her When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age. Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit. May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers. Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For Childhood is short—a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day— And Adulthood is long and Dry-Humping in Cars will wait. O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed. And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it. And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, That I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes. Amen
Tina Fey (Bossypants)
How they pile the poor little craft mast-high with fine clothes and big houses; with useless servants, and a host of swell friends that do not care twopence for them, and that they do not care three ha’pence for; with expensive entertainments that nobody enjoys, with formalities and fashions, with pretence and ostentation, and with—oh, heaviest, maddest lumber of all!—the dread of what will my neighbour think, with luxuries that only cloy, with pleasures that bore, with empty show that, like the criminal’s iron crown of yore, makes to bleed and swoon the aching head that wears it! It is lumber, man—all lumber! Throw it overboard. It makes the boat so heavy to pull, you nearly faint at the oars. It makes it so cumbersome and dangerous to manage, you never know a moment’s freedom from anxiety and care, never gain a moment’s rest for dreamy laziness—no time to watch the windy shadows skimming lightly o’er the shallows, or the glittering sunbeams flitting in and out among the ripples, or the great trees by the margin looking down at their own image, or the woods all green and golden, or the lilies white and yellow, or the sombre-waving rushes, or the sedges, or the orchis, or the blue forget-me-nots. Throw the lumber over, man! Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need—a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing. You will find the boat easier to pull then, and it will not be so liable to upset, and it will not matter so much if it does upset; good, plain merchandise will stand water. You will have time to think as well as to work. Time to drink in life’s sunshine—time to listen to the Æolian music that the wind of God draws from the human heart-strings around us—time to—
Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men in a Boat)
Darwin singled out the eye as posing a particularly challenging problem: 'To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.' Creationists gleefully quote this sentence again and again. Needless to say, they never quote what follows. Darwin's fulsomely free confession turned out to be a rhetorical device. He was drawing his opponents towards him so that his punch, when it came, struck the harder. The punch, of course, was Darwin's effortless explanation of exactly how the eye evolved by gradual degrees. Darwin may not have used the phrase 'irreducible complexity', or 'the smooth gradient up Mount Improbable', but he clearly understood the principle of both. 'What is the use of half an eye?' and 'What is the use of half a wing?' are both instances of the argument from 'irreducible complexity'. A functioning unit is said to be irreducibly complex if the removal of one of its parts causes the whole to cease functioning. This has been assumed to be self-evident for both eyes and wings. But as soon as we give these assumptions a moment's thought, we immediately see the fallacy. A cataract patient with the lens of her eye surgically removed can't see clear images without glasses, but can see enough not to bump into a tree or fall over a cliff. Half a wing is indeed not as good as a whole wing, but it is certainly better than no wing at all. Half a wing could save your life by easing your fall from a tree of a certain height. And 51 per cent of a wing could save you if you fall from a slightly taller tree. Whatever fraction of a wing you have, there is a fall from which it will save your life where a slightly smaller winglet would not. The thought experiment of trees of different height, from which one might fall, is just one way to see, in theory, that there must be a smooth gradient of advantage all the way from 1 per cent of a wing to 100 per cent. The forests are replete with gliding or parachuting animals illustrating, in practice, every step of the way up that particular slope of Mount Improbable. By analogy with the trees of different height, it is easy to imagine situations in which half an eye would save the life of an animal where 49 per cent of an eye would not. Smooth gradients are provided by variations in lighting conditions, variations in the distance at which you catch sight of your prey—or your predators. And, as with wings and flight surfaces, plausible intermediates are not only easy to imagine: they are abundant all around the animal kingdom. A flatworm has an eye that, by any sensible measure, is less than half a human eye. Nautilus (and perhaps its extinct ammonite cousins who dominated Paleozoic and Mesozoic seas) has an eye that is intermediate in quality between flatworm and human. Unlike the flatworm eye, which can detect light and shade but see no image, the Nautilus 'pinhole camera' eye makes a real image; but it is a blurred and dim image compared to ours. It would be spurious precision to put numbers on the improvement, but nobody could sanely deny that these invertebrate eyes, and many others, are all better than no eye at all, and all lie on a continuous and shallow slope up Mount Improbable, with our eyes near a peak—not the highest peak but a high one.
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
The Southern Cross gets the award for the greatest hype among all eighty-eight constellations. By listening to Southern Hemisphere people talk about this constellation, and by listening to songs written about it, and by noticing it on the national flags of Australia, New Zealand, Western Samoa, and Papua New Guinea, you would think we in the North were somehow deprived. Nope. Firstly, one needn’t travel to the Southern Hemisphere to see the Southern Cross. It’s plainly visible (although low in the sky) from as far north as Miami, Florida. This diminutive constellation is the smallest in the sky—your fist at arm’s length would eclipse it completely. Its shape isn’t very interesting either. If you were to draw a rectangle using a connect-the-dots method you would use four stars. And if you were to draw a cross you would presumably include a fifth star in the middle to indicate the cross-point of the two beams. But the Southern Cross is composed of only four stars, which more accurately resemble a kite or a crooked box. The constellation lore of Western cultures owes its origin and richness to centuries of Babylonian, Chaldean, Greek, and Roman imaginations. Remember, these are the same imaginations that gave rise to the endless dysfunctional social lives of the gods and goddesses. Of course, these were all Northern Hemisphere civilizations, which means the constellations of the southern sky (many of which were named only within the last 250 years) are mythologically impoverished. In the North we have the Northern Cross, which is composed of all five stars that a cross deserves. It forms a subset of the larger constellation Cygnus the swan, which is flying across the sky along the Milky Way. Cygnus is nearly twelve times larger than the Southern Cross.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Death by Black Hole)
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."  13 In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (NKJV)        Covenant determines how God relates to people.        The Old (Law) Covenant: God had to relate to sinful people as a Holy Righteous God would/had to. Do bad get cursed, do good get blessed.        The New (Grace) Covenant: God relates to sinful people through Jesus, reconciling them to Himself and no longer relating to them through the Law since Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law on the behalf of people. Heb 7:18-19              The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. (NIV)        The Law Covenant was weak and useless in providing people with right-standing before God because nobody could ever keep it perfectly (Gal 3:10, James 2:10, James 4:17).        The better hope by which we draw near to God is not our own righteousness or holiness, but through Jesus Christ’s free gift of righteousness. (Eph 2:8-9, Rom 3:20-26)        Because of this Jesus qualifies you to do the same works and greater because you have the same right-standing before God as Jesus has. (John 14:12). Gal 3:11-14              Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith."  12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, "The man who does these things will live by them."  13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."  14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (NIV)        NO ONE is justified by the law. No one can please God by keeping the law and living holy.        Righteousness (right standing before God) is attained by faith in Christ only.        The Law is not of faith which makes relating to God through it not pleasing to Him. (Heb 11:6)        Jesus became a curse for us, removing the right of the curse of the Law to come on us. (This doesn’t mean the curse doesn’t exist)        Living under the Law, trying to be justified by your own efforts to live holy and pleasing to God is A CURSE! No good will come from it.        In fact, you alienate yourself from the life of Christ by doing it. (Gal 5:1-5) 2 Cor 3:4-9              Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant- — not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! (NIV)        Law Covenant: Ministry of DEATH and CONDEMNATION.        Engraved on stone: 10 Commandments.        Grace Covenant: Ministry of LIFE and the SPIRIT.        Engraved on our hearts Rom 8:1              There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (NKJV)
Cornel Marais (Administering the Children's Bread)
Dom, are you out here?” called a voice from somewhere beyond the stables. Damn it all. It was Tristan. Swiftly Dom donned his shirt. “Be quiet,” he whispered to Jane, “and he’ll go away.” Tristan’s voice sounded again, even nearer now. “I swear to God, Dom, if you ride off to London in the dark and make a liar out of me before Ravenswood, I will kick you from here to France!” “He won’t go away,” Jane whispered back, a hint of desperation in her voice. “He promised Ravenswood that you wouldn’t head for London with broken carriage lamps, and now he’ll want to make sure that you don’t.” Which meant his arse of a brother wasn’t going to stop looking for him. Any minute now, he’d be striding into the harness room. Then Jane would have to marry Dom. As soon as the thought entered Dom’s head, it apparently occurred to her, too, for she paled and stepped near enough to whisper, “Please. Not like this.” He stared at her ashen face, and his stomach sank. He couldn’t force her to wed him. After what had happened between them years ago, she would never forgive him for taking her choice away from her yet again. Besides, he didn’t want to force her into anything. The only way he could prove that he didn’t intend to run roughshod over her for the rest of their lives was to walk away now. Even if it killed him. Bloody hell. “I’ll draw Tristan away from the stables,” Dom said tersely as he shoved his stocking feet into his boots. “That will give you a chance to finish dressing and sneak back into the house.” Relief spreading over her face, she bobbed her head. He buttoned up his shirt. “It will also give you a chance to decide what you want.” Gathering up his coat, waistcoat, and cravat, he added in a low murmur, “But know this, Jane. I am not, nor ever intend to be, a man like your father. Somewhere inside of you, you must…” He winced. “You surely do know it.” He waited long enough to see uncertainty flicker in her eyes. Then he strode out of the harness room and closed the door behind him.
Sabrina Jeffries (If the Viscount Falls (The Duke's Men, #4))
You need to forgive me. Now that really blew her away. Forgive God? This idea is going to cause some readers to freak out. Just listen for a moment. If you are holding something in your heart against Jesus—the loss of someone you love, a painful memory from your past, simply the way your life has turned out—if you are holding that against Jesus, well, then, it is between you and Jesus. And no amount of ignoring it or being faithful in other areas of your life is going to make it go away. In order to move forward, you are going to need to forgive Jesus for whatever these things are. “But Jesus doesn’t need our forgiveness!” you protest. I didn’t say he did. I said that you need to forgive Jesus—you need it. Let me be clear: To forgive a person, we pardon a wrong done to us; “Forgiving” Jesus means to release the hurt and resentment we hold against him. This comes before understanding. We don’t often know why things have happened the way they have in our lives. What we do know is that we were hurt, and part of that hurt is toward Jesus, because in our hearts we believe he let it happen. Again, this is not the time for sifting theological nuances, but this is why it is so important for you to look at the world the way Jesus did—as a vicious battle with evil. When you understand you have an enemy that has hated your guts ever since you were a child, it will help you not to blame this stuff on God. Anyhow, the facts are it happened, we are hurt that it happened, and part of us believes Jesus should have done something about it and didn’t. That is why we need to “forgive” him. We do so in order that this part of us can draw near him again, and receive his love. Perhaps part of the fruit of that restoration will be that Jesus will then be able to explain to us why things happened the way they did. This is often the case. But whether we receive this or not, we know we need Jesus far more than we need understanding. And so we forgive—meaning, we release the offense we feel towards him.
John Eldredge (Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus)
As you will soon see, dear Mother, being charitable has not always been so pleasant for me, and to prove it I am going to tell you a few of my struggles. And they are not the only ones. At meditation I was for a long time always near a sister who never stopped fidgetting, with either her rosary or something else. Perhaps I was the only one who heard her, as my ears are very sharp, but I could not tell you how it irritated me. What I wanted to do was to turn and stare at her until she stopped her noise, but deep down I knew it was better to endure it patiently—first, for the love of God and, secondly, so as not to upset her. So I made no fuss, though sometimes I was soaked with sweat under the strain and my prayer was nothing but the prayer of suffering. At last I tried to find some way of enduring this suffering calmly and even joyfully. So I did my best to enjoy this unpleasant little noise. Instead of trying not to hear it—which was impossible—I strove to listen to it carefully as if it were a first-class concert, and my meditation, which was not the prayer of quiet, was spent in offering this concert to Jesus. Another time I was in the washhouse near a sister who constantly splashed me with dirty water as she washed the handkerchiefs. My first impulse was to draw back and wipe my face so as to show her I would like her to work with less splashing. Then I at once thought how foolish I was to refuse the precious gifts offered me so generously and I was very careful not to show my annoyance. In fact, I made such efforts to want to be showered with dirty water that after half an hour I had genuinely taken a fancy to this novel kind of aspersion, and I decided to turn up as often as I could to that lucky spot where so much spiritual wealth was freely handed out. You see, Mother, that I am a very little soul who can only offer very little things to God; it often happens that I let slip the chance of making these little sacrifices which give such peace, but I’m not discouraged. I put up with having a bit less peace and try to be more careful next time.
John Beevers (The Autobiography of Saint Therese: The Story of a Soul)
I never dreamed it would be as amazing as that,” she whispered. “I did.” “Really?” Her soft voice was a caress. Everything about her was as smooth and silky and sweet as whipped cream. Well, except for her tart opinions. And her fierce determination to make him tell everything in his soul. Though he had to admit that after confessing his secret fears to her earlier, he felt freer, as if the boulder he’d been carrying for years had dropped from his back. “I knew it would be perfect.” He gave her a lingering kiss, then drew back to cup her pinkening cheek. “With you it could be nothing less.” Shyly avoiding his gaze, she finger-combed his short hair. “Nancy always said that sharing a man’s bed was something to ‘endure.’ That marriage was more pleasant without it, but it was required for having children so she’d had to put up with it.” He skimmed a hand down her lightly freckled arm. “And what do you think, now that you’ve experienced it for yourself?” “I think I could ‘endure’ it with great enthusiasm.” Jane flashed him a mischievous smile. “But I’m not really sure. Should we try it again so I can make certain?” Stifling a laugh, he tried to look stern. “We’re lucky none of the grooms have stumbled over us already.” He managed to sound even-toned, though the prospect of taking her again--here, now--was already making him hard. “Speaking of that, we’d better get dressed, before someone finds us here naked.” A sigh escaped her. “You do have a point. Though I don’t know how you can be so sensible and industrious when all I feel is lazy and content.” “I’m not being sensible and industrious at all.” Reluctantly he slipped from her arms to go hunt up his drawers. “I’m simply being selfish. The longer you stay naked, the more chance that I will attempt to ravish you again.” “That sounds perfectly…awful,” she said as she struck a seductive pose. God save him. He swept his gaze over her thrusting breasts, her slender belly with its delicate navel, and her auburn thatch of curls. The taste of her was still on his lips, the smell of her still in his nostrils. He wanted her again. And again and again… Muttering a curse under his breath, he tossed her shift at her. “Put some clothes on before I combust.” She laughed, a delicate tinkling sound that tightened his cock. Fortunately for his self-restraint, she did as he bade and donned her shift. Only then was he able to breathe, to concentrate on putting on his trousers rather than on the erotic sight of her drawing her stockings up those luscious legs. He turned and nearly stumbled over the carriage lamps. “These are a lost cause, now that I recklessly dashed them to the floor in my…er…enthusiasm, sweeting.” “Good,” she said cheerily. “Now you can’t run off to London without me tonight.
Sabrina Jeffries (If the Viscount Falls (The Duke's Men, #4))
You have to go rescue Gabe before he does something foolish. Chetwin is here and they’re near to coming to blows over that stupid race. They’re in the card room.” “Oh, for God’s sake, I can’t believe Foxmoor invited that idiot.” He hurried off. As soon as Oliver disappeared into the house, Celia and Minerva tugged Maria inside, grinning. “Hurry, before he gets back.” They were met by Lord Gabriel and Lord Jarret, who strode up with several young men in tow. “Lord Gabriel!” Maria exclaimed. “Your brother-“ “Yes, I know. And while he’s gone…” He and Jarret introduced the other gentlemen to her. By the time Oliver returned, she’d promised dances to all of his brothers’ friends. Oliver’s frown deepened as he saw Gabe standing there, blithe as could be. He raised an eyebrow at his sister. “Was running me off in search of Chetwin your idea of a joke?” “I got confused, that’s all,” Celia said brightly. “We’ve been introducing Maria around while you were gone.” “Thank you for making her feel welcome,” he said, though he eyed the other gentlemen warily. Then he held out his arm to Maria. “Come, my dear, let me introduce you to our hosts, so we can dance.” “Sorry, old chap.” Gabe said, stepping between them, “but she’s already promised the first dance to me.” Oliver’s gaze swung to her, dark and accusing, “You didn’t.” She stared to feel guilty, then caught herself. What did she have to feel guilty about? He was the one who’d spent last night at a brothel. He was the one who’d been so caught up in his battle with his grandmother that he hadn’t even bothered to ask her for a dance. He’d just assumed that she would give him one, because he’d “paid” for her services. Well, a pox on him. Meeting his gaze steadily, she thrust out her chin. “You never mentioned it. I had no idea you wanted the first dance.” A black scowl formed on his brow. “Then I get the second dance.” “I’m afraid that one’s mine,” Jarret put in. “Indeed, I believe Miss Butterfield is engaged for every single dance. Isn’t that right, gentlemen?” A male swell of assent turned Oliver’s scowl into a glower. “The hell she is.” Mrs. Plumtree slapped his arm with her fan. “Really, Oliver, you must watch your language around young ladies. This is a respectable gathering.” “I don’t care. She’s my fi-“ He caught himself just in time. “Maria came with me. I deserve at least one dance.” “Then perhaps you should have asked for one before she became otherwise engaged,” Celia said with a mischievous smile. Gabe held out his arm to Maria. “Come, Miss Butterfield,” he said in an echo of his older brother’s words, “I’ll introduce you to our hosts.” As she took his arm, he grinned at Oliver. “You’d better start hoping you draw her name in the lottery for the supper waltz, old boy. Because that’s the only way you’re going to get to dance with her tonight.
Sabrina Jeffries (The Truth About Lord Stoneville (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #1))
Two men were advancing towards the car along the cross track. One man carried a short wooden bench on his back, the other a big wooden object about the size of an upright piano. Richard hailed them, they greeted him with every sign of pleasure. Richard produced cigarettes and a cheerful party spirit seemed to be developing. Then Richard turned to her. “Fond of the cinema? Then you shall see a performance.” He spoke to the two men and they smiled with pleasure. They set up the bench and motioned to Victoria and Richard to sit on it. Then they set up the round contrivance on a stand of some kind. It had two eye-holes in it and as she looked at it, Victoria cried: “It’s like things on piers. What the butler saw.” “That’s it,” said Richard. “It’s a primitive form of same.” Victoria applied her eyes to the glass-fronted peephole, one man began slowly to turn a crank or handle, and the other began a monotonous kind of chant. “What is he saying?” Victoria asked. Richard translated as the singsong chant continued: “Draw near and prepare yourself for much wonder and delight. Prepare to behold the wonders of antiquity.” A crudely coloured picture of Negroes reaping wheat swam into Victoria’s gaze. “Fellahin in America,” announced Richard, translating. Then came: “The wife of the great Shah of the Western world,” and the Empress Eugénie simpered and fingered a long ringlet. A picture of the King’s Palace in Montenegro, another of the Great Exhibition. An odd and varied collection of pictures followed each other, all completely unrelated and sometimes announced in the strangest terms. The Prince Consort, Disraeli, Norwegian Fjords and Skaters in Switzerland completed this strange glimpse of olden far-off days. The showman ended his exposition with the following words: “And so we bring to you the wonders and marvels of antiquity in other lands and far-off places. Let your donation be generous to match the marvels you have seen, for all these things are true.” It was over. Victoria beamed with delight. “That really was marvellous!” she said. “I wouldn’t have believed it.” The proprietors of the travelling cinema were smiling proudly. Victoria got up from the bench and Richard who was sitting on the other end of it was thrown to the ground in a somewhat undignified posture. Victoria apologized but was not ill pleased. Richard rewarded the cinema men and with courteous farewells and expressions of concern for each other’s welfare, and invoking the blessing of God on each other, they parted company. Richard and Victoria got into the car again and the men trudged away into the desert. “Where are they going?” asked Victoria. “They travel all over the country. I met them first in Transjordan coming up the road from the Dead Sea to Amman. Actually they’re bound now for Kerbela, going of course by unfrequented routes so as to give shows in remote villages.” “Perhaps someone will give them a lift?
Agatha Christie (They Came to Baghdad)
LEAD PEOPLE TO COMMITMENT We have seen that nonbelievers in worship actually “close with Christ” in two basic ways: some may come to Christ during the service itself (1 Cor 14:24 – 25), while others must be “followed up with” by means of after-service meetings. Let’s take a closer look at both ways of leading people to commitment. It is possible to lead people to a commitment to Christ during the service. One way of inviting people to receive Christ is to make a verbal invitation as the Lord’s Supper is being distributed. At our church, we say it this way: “If you are not in a saving relationship with God through Christ today, do not take the bread and the cup, but as they come around, take Christ. Receive him in your heart as those around you receive the food. Then immediately afterward, come up and tell an officer or a pastor about what you’ve done so we can get you ready to receive the Supper the next time as a child of God.” Another way to invite commitment during the service is to give people a time of silence or a period of musical interlude after the sermon. This affords people time to think and process what they have heard and to offer themselves to God in prayer. In many situations, it is best to invite people to commitment through after-meetings. Acts 2 gives an example. Inverses 12 and 13 we are told that some folks mocked after hearing the apostles praise and preach, but others were disturbed and asked, “What does this mean?” Then, we see that Peter very specifically explained the gospel and, in response to the follow-up question “What shall we do?” (v. 37), he explained how to become a Christian. Historically, many preachers have found it effective to offer such meetings to nonbelievers and seekers immediately after evangelistic worship. Convicted seekers have just come from being in the presence of God and are often the most teachable and open at this time. To seek to “get them into a small group” or even to merely return next Sunday is asking a lot. They may also be “amazed and perplexed” (Acts 2:12), and it is best to strike while the iron is hot. This should not be understood as doubting that God is infallibly drawing people to himself (Acts 13:48; 16:14). Knowing the sovereignty of God helps us to relax as we do evangelism, knowing that conversions are not dependent on our eloquence. But it should not lead us to ignore or minimize the truth that God works through secondary causes. The Westminster Confession (5.2 – 3), for example, tells us that God routinely works through normal social and psychological processes. Therefore, inviting people into a follow-up meeting immediately after the worship service can often be more conducive to conserving the fruit of the Word. After-meetings may take the shape of one or more persons waiting at the front of the auditorium to pray with and talk with seekers who wish to make inquiries right on the spot. Another way is to host a simple Q&A session with the preacher in or near the main auditorium, following the postlude. Or offer one or two classes or small group experiences targeted to specific questions non-Christians ask about the content, relevance, and credibility of the Christian faith. Skilled lay evangelists should be present who can come alongside newcomers, answer spiritual questions, and provide guidance for their next steps.
Timothy J. Keller (Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City)
Jesus, then, went to Jerusalem not just to preach, but to die. Schweitzer was right: Jesus believed that the messianic woes were about to burst upon Israel, and that he had to take them upon himself, solo. In the Temple and the upper room, Jesus deliberately enacted two symbols, which encapsulated his whole work and agenda. The first symbol said: the present system is corrupt and recalcitrant. It is ripe for judgment. But Jesus is the Messiah, the one through whom YHWH, the God of all the world, will save Israel and thereby the world. And the second symbol said: this is how the true exodus will come about. This is how evil will be defeated. This is how sins will be forgiven. Jesus knew—he must have known—that these actions, and the words which accompanied and explained them, were very likely to get him put on trial as a false prophet leading Israel astray, and as a would-be Messiah; and that such a trial, unless he convinced the court otherwise, would inevitably result in his being handed over to the Romans and executed as a (failed) revolutionary king. This did not, actually, take a great deal of “supernatural” insight, any more than it took much more than ordinary common sense to predict that, if Israel continued to attempt rebellion against Rome, Rome would eventually do to her as a nation what she was now going to do to this strange would-be Messiah. But at the heart of Jesus’ symbolic actions, and his retelling of Israel’s story, there was a great deal more than political pragmatism, revolutionary daring, or the desire for a martyr’s glory. There was a deeply theological analysis of Israel, the world, and his own role in relation to both. There was a deep sense of vocation and trust in Israel’s god, whom he believed of course to be God. There was the unshakable belief—Gethsemane seems nearly to have shaken it, but Jesus seems to have construed that, too, as part of the point, part of the battle—that if he went this route, if he fought this battle, the long night of Israel’s exile would be over at last, and the new day for Israel and the world really would dawn once and for all. He himself would be vindicated (of course; all martyrs believed that); and Israel’s destiny, to save the world, would thereby be accomplished. Not only would he create a breathing space for his followers and any who would join them, by drawing on to himself for a moment the wrath of Rome and letting them escape; if he was defeating the real enemy, he was doing so on behalf of the whole world. The servant-vocation, to be the light of the world, would come true in him, and thence in the followers who would regroup after his vindication. The death of the shepherd would result in YHWH becoming king of all the earth. The vindication of the “son of man” would see the once-for-all defeat of evil, the rescue of the true Israel, and the establishment of a worldwide kingdom. Jesus therefore took up his own cross. He had come to see it, too, in deeply symbolic terms: symbolic, now, not merely of Roman oppression, but of the way of love and peace which he had commended so vigorously, the way of defeat which he had announced as the way of victory. Unlike his actions in the Temple and the upper room, the cross was a symbol not of praxis but of passivity, not of action but of passion. It was to become the symbol of victory, but not of the victory of Caesar, nor of those who would oppose Caesar with Caesar’s methods. It was to become the symbol, because it would be the means, of the victory of God.14
N.T. Wright (The Challenge of Jesus)
You are my friend, Prairie Flower. If I tell you what is in my heart, will you promise never to tell?" Prairie Flower laid a hand on Jesse's shoulder, pulling it away quickly when her friend flinched in pain. "I will not betray my friend." Taking a deep breath, Jesse lifted her head. "When Rides the Wing comes near to me, my heart sings.But I do not believe that he cares for me.I am clumsy in all of the things a Lakota woman must know.I cannot speak his language without many childish mistakes. And..." Jesse reached up to lay her hand on her short hair, "I am nothing to look at.I am not..." Prairie Flower grew angry. "I have told you he cares for you.Can you not see it?" Jesse shook her head. Prairie Flower spoke the unspeakable. "Then,if you cannot see that he cares for you in what he does,you must see it in what he has not done. You have been in his tepee. Dancing Waters has been gone many moons." "Stop!" Jesse demanded. "Stop it! I..just don't say any more!" She leaped up and ran out of the tepee-and into Rides the Wind, who was returning from the river where he had gone to draw water. Jesse knocked the water skins from both of his hands. Water spilled out and she fumbled an apology then bent stiffly to pick up the skins, wincing with the effort. "I will do it, Walks the Fire." His voice was tender as he bent and took the skins from her. Jesse protested, "It is the wife's job." She blushed, realizing that she had used a wrong word-the word for wife, instead of the word for woman. Rides the Wind interrupted before she could correct herself. "Walks the Fire is not the wife of Rides the Wind." Jesse blushed and remained quiet. A hand reached for hers and Rides the Wind said, "Come, sit." He helped her sit down just outside the door of the tepee. The village women took note as he went inside and brought out a buffalo robe. Sitting by Jesse,he placed the robe on the ground and began to talk. "I will tell you how it is with the Lakota. When a man wishes to take a wife..." he described Lakota courtship. As he talked, Jesse realiced that all that Prairie Flower had said seemed to be true.He had,indeed, done nearly everything involved in the courtship ritual. Still, she told herself, there is a perfectly good explanation for everything he has done. Rides the Wind continued describing the wedding feast. Jesse continued to reason with herself as he spoke. Then she realized the voice had stopped and he had repeated a question. "How is it among the whites?How does a man gain a wife?" Embarrassed,Jesse described the sparsest of courtships, the simplest wedding.Rides the Wind listened attentively. When she had finished, he said, "There is one thing the Lakota brave who wishes a wife does that I have not described." Pulling Jesse to her feet, he continued, "One evening, as he walks with his woman..." He reached out to pick up the buffalo robe.He was aware that the village women were watching carefully. "He spreads out his arms..." Rides the Wind spread his arms,opening the buffalo robe to its full length, "and wraps it about his woman," Rides the Wind turned toward Jesse and reached around her, "so that they are both inside the buffalo robe." He looked down at Jesse, trying to read her expression.When he saw nothing in the gray eyes, he abruptly dropped his arms. "But it is hot today and your wounds have not healed.I have said enough.You see how it is with the Lakota." When Jesse still said nothing, he continued, "You spoke of a celebration with a min-is-ter.It is a word I do not know.What is this min-is-ter?" "A man who belives in the Bible and teaches his people about God from the Bible." "What if there is no minister and a man and a woman wish to be married?" Jesse grew more uncomfortable. "I suppose they would wait until a minister came.
Stephanie Grace Whitson (Walks The Fire (Prairie Winds, #1))
There is joy, joy, joy in serving Jesus Joy that throbs within my heart Every moment, every hour as I draw upon His power There is joy, joy, joy that never shall depart
Robert J. Morgan (Near To The Heart Of God)
The one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
Beth Moore (Believing God Day by Day: Growing Your Faith All Year Long)
When I run to His throne of grace, He always meets me. He has never failed to back up His promise, “Draw near to Me and I will draw near to you” (see James 4:8). Where is this throne of grace? It is wherever you meet with God.
Julia C. Loren (Supernatural Anointing: A Manual for Increasing Your Anointing (Shifting Shadows))
Therefore if you would be subject to God, you should resist the devil and he will flee for his life from you, 8. draw near to God and He will draw near to you.1 Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded!
Anonymous (One New Man Bible)
But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Your works. – Psalm 73:28
Robert J. Morgan (Near To The Heart Of God)
Despite an icy northeast wind huffing across the bay I sneak out after dark, after my mother falls asleep clutching her leather Bible, and I hike up the rutted road to the frosted meadow to stand in mist, my shoes in muck, and toss my echo against the moss-covered fieldstone corners of the burned-out church where Sunday nights in summer for years Father Thomas, that mad handsome priest, would gather us girls in the basement to dye the rose cotton linen cut-outs that the deacon’s daughter, a thin beauty with short white hair and long trim nails, would stitch by hand each folded edge then steam-iron flat so full of starch, stiffening fabric petals, which we silly Sunday school girls curled with quick sharp pulls of a scissor blade, forming clusters of curved petals the younger children assembled with Krazy glue and fuzzy green wire, sometimes adding tissue paper leaves, all of us gladly laboring like factory workers rather than have to color with crayon stubs the robe of Christ again, Christ with his empty hands inviting us to dine, Christ with a shepherd's staff signaling to another flock of puffy lambs, or naked Christ with a drooping head crowned with blackened thorns, and Lord how we laughed later when we went door to door in groups, visiting the old parishioners, the sick and bittersweet, all the near dead, and we dropped our bikes on the perfect lawns of dull neighbors, agnostics we suspected, hawking our handmade linen roses for a donation, bragging how each petal was hand-cut from a pattern drawn by Father Thomas himself, that mad handsome priest, who personally told the Monsignor to go fornicate himself, saying he was a disgruntled altar boy calling home from a phone booth outside a pub in North Dublin, while I sat half-dressed, sniffing incense, giddy and drunk with sacrament wine stains on my panties, whispering my oath of unholy love while wiggling uncomfortably on the mad priest's lap, but God he was beautiful with a fine chiseled chin and perfect teeth and a smile that would melt the Madonna, and God he was kind with a slow gentle touch, never harsh or too quick, and Christ how that crafty devil could draw, imitate a rose petal in perfect outline, his sharp pencil slanted just so, the tip barely touching so that he could sketch and drink, and cough without jerking, without ruining the work, or tearing the tissue paper, thin as a membrane, which like a clean skin arrived fresh each Saturday delivered by the dry cleaners, tucked into the crisp black vestment, wrapped around shirt cardboard, pinned to protect the high collar.
Bob Thurber (Nothing But Trouble)
Music is heard in the background. As the movemnt becomes sharper; the many dancers acting but as one. She is one with her secret. As the time draws near, the woman's body begins to push. With the rhythm of the music and the beat of the dancer's feet; her secret almost revealed.
Lisa C. Miller (Godly Inspirations for the Troubled Soul)
battlefield. Christ fought against the powers of sin and death for us. He defeated the powers of evil for us. 2. The language of the marketplace. Christ paid the ransom price, the purchase price, to buy us out of our indebtedness. He frees us from enslavement. 3. The language of exile. Christ was exiled and cast out of the community so we who deserve to be banished could be brought in. He brings us home. 4. The language of the temple. Christ is the sacrifice that purifies us and makes us acceptable to draw near to the holy God. He makes us clean and beautiful. 5. The language of the law court. Christ stands before the judge and takes the punishment we deserve. He removes our guilt and makes us righteous. It is sometimes implied we can choose which of these models we prefer and ignore the others, but this is misleading. Each way of communicating the atonement reflects a piece of inspired Scripture, and each tells us great things about our salvation that the others do not bring out as clearly. Each will have special resonance with certain temperaments and cultures. People who are fighting oppression or even enslavement and long for freedom will be helped by the first two grammars (the battlefield and the marketplace). People seeking relief for guilt and a sense of shame will be especially moved by the last two — the temple and the law court. People who feel alienated, rootless, and rejected will find the exile grammar intensely engaging. But perhaps the single most consoling and appealing theme is what theologian Roger Nicole has called the one, irreducible theme that runs through every single one of these models — the idea of substitution.28 Dr. Nicole taught that, regardless of the grammar being used, the essence of the atonement is always Jesus acting as our substitute. Jesus fights the powers, pays the price, bears the exile, makes the sacrifice, and bears the punishment for us, in our place, on our behalf. In every grammar, Jesus does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He accomplishes salvation; we do nothing at all. And therefore the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus is at the heart of everything. This act — giving one’s life
Timothy J. Keller (Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City)
human nature of their origins runs counter to the prevailing cultural view of the ancient Near East. In the Genesis narrative, we see man becoming a contributor under God in the ongoing work of creation, through the development of culture. We learn that city life is not to be seen as simply a punishment for humanity after the banishment from the garden. Rather the city has inherent capacities for bringing human beings together in such a way that enhances both security and culture making. However, as can be seen in the line of Cain, these capacities, under the influence of sin and rebellion against God, can be generators of great evil. The song of Lamech, Cain’s descendant, shows the Cainite city dwellers using all their advances to form a culture of death (Gen 4:23 – 24). Here is the first clear indicator of the dual nature of the city. Its capability for enormous good — for the culture-making creation of art, science, and technology — can be used to produce tremendous evil. Henri Blocher does not consider it a coincidence that the first mention of anti-God culture making is tied to the first instance of city building, but he warns against drawing the wrong conclusion: It is no doubt significant that [in Genesis 4] progress in arts and in engineering comes from the “city” of the Cainites. Nevertheless, we are not to conclude from this that civilization as such is… the fruit of sin. Such a conclusion would lead us to Manichaeism or to the views of Jean-Jacques Rousseau… The Bible condemns neither the city (for it concludes with the vision of the City of God) nor art and engineering.14 Blocher may be responding to writers such as Geerhardus Vos, who in his Biblical Theology points to “the problem
Timothy J. Keller (Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City)
you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, 4for the LORD your God is he who goes with you  l to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.
Anonymous (The Holy Bible: English Standard Version)
We believe in a God Who is not distant, He draws near to us and wants us to experience Him. The whole of creation is filled with His life and presence: Saint Justin Martyr called this logos spermadicos, which means God poured Himself out into every part of the universe. But in our sinful state we turn away from God, we refuse His love and we shut ourselves off from His life. In His infinite love God then went further and gave specific ways for us to discover all that we have turned away from. In the sacraments God strengthens and guides us, He cleanses and unites us to Himself and to one another. The sacraments are a necessary means of healing and restoration of our whole being.
Spyridon Bailey (Small Steps into the Kingdom)
When Satan attacks, we should immediately begin to use our spiritual weapons—praising and worshipping God, praying, and standing on the truth of God’s Word. When the enemy speaks lies, we should speak truth. When he tries to separate us from God, we should draw near to Him.
Joyce Meyer (Healing the Soul of a Woman Devotional: 90 Inspirations for Overcoming Your Emotional Wounds)
We are members of families, employees of businesses, and citizens of countries whose goals and aspirations are frequently sub-Christian. When those differences are unjust or evil, we need to distinguish ourselves from them. But where possible, we should gather near, identify common ground, and draw lines as sparingly as possible. Salt should not remain in the saltshaker. A lamp should not be placed under a bushel. Christians should not fail to affirm the good, true, and beautiful wherever we see it, even if it emerges from sources with whom we would otherwise disagree. We need to travel together, even in our differences. Living in the world means seeking common ground with people and pursuits that are not always gospel-centered. For the adventurer, this is welcome news, because it allows us to ask different questions. What might God be doing in this situation? With what struggles can I empathize? What bridges can be built? Where might the kingdom of God be manifesting?
Timothy J. Keller (Uncommon Ground: Living Faithfully in a World of Difference)
Can you see Jesus through the tabernacle window? He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. (Heb. 7:27) He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. (Heb. 9:12) But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Heb. 9:26) For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. (Heb. 10:1) The details of the tabernacle worship highlight the manifold perfections of the person and work of Jesus. Someday a perfect High Priest would come and put an end to the sacrifices, once and for all, by sacrificing himself.
Gloria Furman (Missional Motherhood: The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God)
O Lord, Thou art God, Holy and Almighty, and Thou doest all things well. Show Thyself to us this day. Lord, for myself I would make petition to see Thee; draw me near to Thee that I may know Thee and have rare communion with Thee.
Oswald Chambers (If Ye Shall Ask)
19. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20. By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21. And having an high priest over the house of God; 22. Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24. And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Anonymous (THE HOLY BIBLE - The Authorized King James Version)
When we draw near to the brokenhearted, we draw near to the heart of God. He is there.
Matt Tullos (Movements of The Great Divine: 400 Meditations and Blessings)
When we grow in the fruits of the Spirit, we grow in the Spirit Himself. As we grow in the Spirit we become more spiritual people. When we become highly spiritual Christians, the Holy Spirit is manifested more clearly through us. Although He is manifested in any believer’s life, He is more clearly manifested in the lives of those who have practiced drawing near to Him. Indeed God is near to those who are near to Him.
Adam Houge (The Power Of Passionate Prayer)
But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Your works.” Psalm 73:28
Adam Houge (40 Prayers Of Praise)
I COME BEFORE DAWN Muhammad says, “I come before dawn to chain you and drag you off.” It’s amazing, and funny, that you have to be pulled away from being tortured, pulled out into this Spring garden, but that’s the way it is. Almost everyone must be bound and dragged here. Only a few come on their own. Children have to be made to go to school at first. Then some of them begin to like it. They run to school. They expand with the learning. Later, they receive money because of something they’ve learned at school, and they get really excited. They stay up all night, as watchful and alive as thieves! Remember the rewards you get for being obedient! There are two types on the path. Those who come against their will, the blindly religious people, and those who obey out of love. The former have ulterior motives. They want the midwife near, because she gives them milk. The others love the beauty of the nurse. The former memorize the prooftexts of conformity, and repeat them. The latter disappear into whatever draws them to God. Both are drawn from the source. Any movings from the mover. Any love from the beloved.
Rumi (The Essential Rumi)
Knock and it will be opened to you. . . . Draw near to God. Knock—the door is closed, and you suffer from palpitation as you knock. “Cleanse your hands”—knock a bit louder, you begin to find you are dirty. “Purify your heart”—this is more personal still, you are desperately in earnest now—you will do anything. “Lament”—have you ever lamented before God at the state of your inner life? There is no strand of self-pity left, but a heartbreaking affliction of amazement to find you are the kind of person that you are. “Humble yourself”—it is a humbling business to knock at God’s door—you have to knock with the crucified thief. “To him who knocks, it will be opened.
Oswald Chambers (Prayer A Holy Occupation)
What he’d seen before, in those ages-ago times, the days before the people had been taught by the gods how to draw the metals from the ground and cut and grind the stone to shelter themselves, was contained in the goat god’s nearly perpetual Mona Lisa smile.
Toneye Eyenot (Full Moon Slaughter)
Without faith it is impossible to please him,for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Hilary's book on the Trinity is thus an exercise in trying to understand the nature of God who is known in Christ. It is through the flesh of Christ that the soul is able to draw near to God and know the "divine mysteries."" The one God can be known through the things of creation, but it is only through the economy that one knows God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Robert L. Wilken (The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God)
Dr. Chambers has freed me again into the drawing-room, and I am much better or he would not have done so. There is not, however, much strength or much health, nor any near prospect of regaining either. It is well that, in proportion to our feebleness, we may feel our dependence upon God.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Complete Works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning)
We’re desperate for peace because it comes to us so rarely, and when it does, it seems to evaporate at the very moment that it draws near us. But that is peace based on circumstances that are as fleeting as the peace that comes with them, where the peace that comes with God makes everything else flee that draws near it.
Craig D. Lounsbrough
Thy life runs out, The Gods they are wroth with thee; Draw near if thou must ; Odin thou shalt see.
Padriac Colum (THE CHILDREN OF ODIN: The Book of Northern Myths (Illustrated))
The Branch From Jesse 11 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord— 3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. 6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling[f] together; and a little child will lead them. 7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. 9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. 10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. 11 In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush,[g] from Elam, from Babylonia,[h] from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean. 12 He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. 13 Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish, and Judah’s enemies[i] will be destroyed; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim. 14 They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west; together they will plunder the people to the east. They will subdue Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will be subject to them. 15 The Lord will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that anyone can cross over in sandals. 16 There will be a highway for the remnant of his people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt. Songs of Praise 12 In that day you will say: “I will praise you, Lord. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. 2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense[j]; he has become my salvation.” 3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4 In that day you will say: “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. 5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. 6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.
The ziggurat was the most dominant building of the temple complex, so it is no surprise that it draws the attention of the author of Genesis. In summary, the project is a temple complex featuring a ziggurat, which was designed to make it convenient for the god to come down to his temple, bless his people, and receive their worship. This understanding of ziggurats makes an important point drawn from the ancient Near Eastern context to clarify the biblical text: the tower of Babel was not built for people to go up, but for the god to come down.
John H. Walton (Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible)
April 27 What Do You Want? Seekest thou great things for thyself? Jeremiah 45:5 Are you seeking great things for yourself? Not seeking to be a great one, but seeking great things from God for yourself. God wants you in a closer relationship to Himself than receiving His gifts, He wants you to get to know Him. A great thing is accidental, it comes and goes. God never gives us anything accidental. Nothing is easier than getting into a right relationship with God except when it is not God Whom you want but only what He gives. If you have only come the length of asking God for things, you have never come to the first strand of abandonment, you have become a Christian from a standpoint of your own. “I did ask God for the Holy Spirit, but He did not give me the rest and the peace I expected.” Instantly God puts His finger on the reason—you are not seeking the Lord at all, you are seeking something for yourself. Jesus says—“Ask, and it shall be given you.” Ask God for what you want, and you cannot ask if you are not asking for a right thing. When you draw near to God, you cease from asking for things. “Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.” Then why ask? That you may get to know Him. Are you seeking great things for yourself—“O Lord, baptise me with the Holy Ghost”? If God does not, it is because you are not abandoned enough to Him, there is something you will not do. Are you prepared to ask yourself what it is you want from God, and why you want it? God always ignores the present perfection for the ultimate perfection. He is not concerned about making you blessed and happy just now; He is working out His ultimate perfection all the time—“that they may be one, even as We are.
Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest)
25Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost [2]  k those who draw near to God  l through him, since he always lives  m to make intercession for them.
Anonymous (ESV Study Bible)
Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6, emphasis added). Call that payoff contentment, satisfaction, peace, or excitement—it all adds up to one word: happiness
Randy Alcorn (Happiness)
Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse
Scott Hahn (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament)
7Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
John F. MacArthur Jr. (The MacArthur Daily Bible: Read through the Bible in one year, with notes from John MacArthur)
The reason that I have said more about meekness than of any other virtue is because it is the most helpful of any natural quality in the spiritual exercise of which the Third Alphabet treats. If you do not possess it, you must seek it before anything else, for it is the greatest preservative of divine grace. It often happens that those who are drawing near to God and who feel his grace in their heart lose it on feeling the slightest anger. They do not know how grace came nor where it has gone. Harsh words have the same effect on the speaker: they disturb the heart and spill the liquor of grace it held.
Francisco De Osuna (Third Spiritual Alphabet (Contemplative Series Book 5))
near to God and He will draw near to you” ( James 4:8, NKJV).
Diane Moody (Confessions of a Prayer Slacker)
In this crucible of confusion, I learned something important. I learned the first rule of repentance: that repentance requires greater intimacy with God than with our sin. How much greater? About the size of a mustard seed. Repentance requires that we draw near to Jesus, no matter what. And sometimes we all have to crawl there on our hands and knees. Repentance is an intimate affair. And for many of us, intimacy with anything is a terrifying prospect.
Rosaria Champagne Butterfield (The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert)
Draw near to God and tap into his unshakable power. Let him fight for you.
Mark Romang (Battle Scream)
Thought 209 Standing on those Promises   God has given me a few promises that will still come to pass one day. For example, I know that I will be alive tomorrow morning to fulfill the purposes that He has for me. Only after the Lord says that my purpose has been fulfilled and the last page of my life’s story has been written, will my life here on earth come to an end.  The Lord has promised you things as well and will be faithful to you. Times are getting worse and worse; only God’s Spirit of redemption and revival can change the direction in which the ship of the world is going. The Lord will be faithful to redeem us! In perfect timing, the Father will send the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to rapture us. But while we’re here, we have to continue to row against the flow, for while we wait the Lord Return draws near!   The world is rowing downstream to the cliff of no return; but we, the Children of God, are to be rowing upstream against the residents of this world and trying to reach them with the message of The Source of Everlasting Life! Sometimes as we go and share the truth, the residents of this world through the Children of God over the edge. This world is bound for chaos as it struggles to replace the Lord with their pride as their lord. But we have hope! Even though our world is chaotic, Christ walks every step of our trials alongside us. We need to accept and spread the message of His saving hand clasp, and when we do, I think that He will smile the most beautiful smile possible as He thinks about us and the faithfulness we have honored Him with by sharing Him with others. “…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”—Hebrews 13:5c KJV Stand on that promise! He is your source, your promise of Everlasting Life; and the message of your life.          
Ryan Marks (Thoughts: 366 Penetrating Devotional Writings)
God, inconvenience me … so that I might constantly be reminded to draw near to You. Interrupt me, Lord. Shake things up in me, Lord. Reveal what’s in me that’s not of You, Lord. O Lord, more than anything, I want more of You.
Lysa TerKeurst (Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl)
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. James 4:8
Beth Moore (Breaking Free Day by Day: A Year of Walking in Liberty)
since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with
Anonymous (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (without Cross-References))
A gentleman I met while I was here for Luke’s wedding happens to be visiting again and we ran into each other at that little Virgin River bar. I pretended I couldn’t remember meeting him. I don’t know why I did that. Probably because he was coming on a little strong.” “Strong?” Viv asked. “Did he make a pass?” “God, no, I’d have had a coronary! He hadn’t even started flirting, thank goodness. But I could tell he was happy to run into me again and I thought it best to just discourage him right away rather than have to reject him later. Turned out he wasn’t nearly discouraged enough and asked me out to dinner.” Viv was silent for a long moment. Her brows drew together and her eyes narrowed suspiciously. “And the problem is?” she finally asked. “I don’t want to go out to dinner with him.” “Ah,” she said, sitting back on the couch. “He’s not your type?” “Vivian,” Maureen said with surprise. “I don’t have a type!” Again Viv was silent. “I don’t think I understand, Maureen. We all have pretty basic likes and dislikes. Are you put off by his looks?” “That’s not it—he’s actually handsome. Probably a little older than me, but still handsome.” “Bad manners?” Viv asked. “Bad breath? Slippery dentures? What puts you off?” “Nothing, he’s nice. Attractive and charming. But I don’t go out to dinner with men.” “Why ever not?” she asked, completely baffled. “I’m a single woman. A widow of a certain age. An older woman!” “Maureen, you must draw the interest of men regularly. You’re a very attractive woman!” “No, never,” she said. “Not at all. But then, I’m never in places where something like that might happen. I pretty much keep to church things or pastimes with women who live in the condos. Golf, tennis, bridge, the occasional potluck. If I do run into men, they’re with their wives.” “But don’t you have friends your age who date? Friends who are divorced or widowed who have men friends or boyfriends?” Maureen made a sound of annoyance. “Yes, and some of them act downright ridiculous! I’ve seen some of these women I play golf and tennis with, chasing men as if they’re…they’re…” “Horny?” Viv asked with a smile. Maureen was shocked. “Really, that’s an awful word!” “Oh, brother,” Viv said with a laugh.
Robyn Carr (Angel's Peak (Virgin River #10))
Church is a moment in time when the kingdom of God draws near, when a meal, a story, a song, an apology, and even a failure is made holy by the presence of Jesus among us and within us. Church
Rachel Held Evans (Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church)
Hulking piece of rust,” she grumbled, then gave it a little pat on the wheel well as she scooted out between her truck and Hannah’s car. “Can’t let the car gods hear you dis their minions,” she said when she caught Cooper’s amused look. “They’ll strand you in the desert as sure as look at you. Besides, she might be a hulking piece of rusted metal but she’s my hulking piece.” She stopped when she reached her sister and gave her a one-armed hug. “And to what do I owe this pleasure? Cross-examining my afternoon date, are we?” “Maybe,” Hannah said, hugging her back. “Oh, good.” Kerry grinned, rubbing her hands together. “What did you learn?” “Hey, now,” Cooper said, chuckling. “What makes you think I’d give anything up?” “Oh, she’s good,” Kerry told him. “She once talked a tribal chief in Papua New Guinea, out of marrying me to his youngest son.” Cooper looked at Hannah, who just raised an arched brow but didn’t refute the statement. “Well, then, I suppose I’m even more in your debt,” he told Kerry’s oldest sister. “Unless of course the tribe believes in polygamy.” Kerry looked affronted. “You’d share me? Well, well, good to know.” She folded her arms. “So glad we’re having this little chat.” “Oh, no, Starfish, no such luck. You’d be stuck making do with only me. You see, I know a guy who could fly us out of there on his helicopter, and I’m guessing your erstwhile tribal spouse wouldn’t go anywhere near one of those flying birds. I’d spirit you off and--” “And leave my poor first husband brokenhearted and alone? Do I get a say in this?” She looked to her sister. “You’re drawing up my pre-nup, right?” Cooper brightened and clapped his hands together, which earned him an arched brow from Kerry. “Well, while I’m not too thrilled about your attachment to Number One, speaking as Number Two, I will say I’m happy to hear we’re in the negotiation phase.” “Husband Number One is a lot younger,” she said consideringly. “And while he doesn’t have as many head of cattle as you do, he does come with an entire village, and if something happens to his other six brothers, he’ll be chief one day.” She smiled sweetly. “Just saying.” Cooper flashed her a smile that might have been a little too private with her sister standing right there, but what the hell. “Keep in mind, Number Twos traditionally try harder. So I have that going for me.” Hannah looked from Cooper to Kerry, then at both of them, before finally looking at Kerry. “Seriously, marry him before he wises up.” “Hey,” Kerry replied, mock wounded. “And why do you say that?” “You speak the same language.” “Says the woman who communicates with her husband using old movie quotes that nobody gets but the two of you.” Hannah smiled, really smiled, and it transformed her often more serious expression into something truly radiant. “Yes, that’s exactly who’s saying that.” She looked at Cooper. “I have a feeling you and Calder will become fast friends.” “Thank you,” Cooper said, “for both sentiments.
Donna Kauffman (Starfish Moon (Brides of Blueberry Cove, #3))
Well,“ I said, attempting a smile, “at least we know Frank is safe, after all.” Jamie glowered down at me, ruddy brows nearly touching each other. “Damn Frank!” he said ferociously. “Damn all Randalls! Damn Jack Randall, and damn Mary Hawkins Randall, and damn Alex Randall—er, God rest his soul, I mean,” he amended hastily, crossing himself. “I thought you didn’t begrudge—” I started. He glared at me. “I lied.” He grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me slightly, holding me at arm’s length. “And damn you, too, Claire Randall Fraser, while I’m at it!” he said. “Damn right I begrudge! I grudge every memory of yours that doesna hold me, and every tear ye’ve shed for another, and every second you’ve spent in another’s man bed! Damn you!” He knocked the brandy glass from my hand—accidentally, I think—pulled me to him and kissed me hard. He drew back enough to shake me again. “You’re mine, damn ye, Claire Fraser! Mine, and I wilna share ye, with a man or a memory, or anything whatever, so long as we both shall live. You’ll no mention the man’s name to me again. D'ye hear?” He kissed me fiercely to emphasize the point. “Did ye hear me?” he asked, breaking off. “Yes,” I said, with some difficulty. “If you’d ….stop…shaking me, I might…answer you.” Rather sheepishly, he released his grip on my shoulders. “I’m sorry, Sassenach. It’s only…God, why did ye….well, aye, I see why…but did you have to—" I interrupted this incoherent sputtering by putting my hand behind his head and drawing him down to me. "Yes,” I said firmly, releasing him. “I had to. But it’s over now.” I loosened the ties of my cloak and let it fall back off my shoulders to the floor. He bent to pick it up, but I stopped him. “Jamie,” I said. “I’m tired. Will you take me to bed?
Diana Gabaldon (Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2))
We are just as sullied by one sin as if we had immersed ourselves in a flood of evil.
Mary Vogelsong (UP! Daily Devotional Bundle, Books 1-3: Real-Life Strategies and Journal Prompts To Help You Draw Near to God)
Life with God is not like a motorboat, where we are in control of the power and direction. But neither is it like a raft, where we just sit back and are carried along. It’s like sailing. While we can’t control the most important thing—the wind that makes us move—that doesn’t mean there is nothing left for us to do. We have to draw the sail to catch the wind. We must labor to be brought near.
Rankin Wilbourne (Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God)
Does it really look like Japan?" Thaniel asked as they went by a shrine housing a painted figure that might have been a god, or something that ate gods. A little boy put a coin in its bowl and rang the bell inside. The watchmaker nodded. "Near enough. The weather is better in Japan, and it would be difficult to find English food. But I think they do draw the line here at brown tea." Thaniel could smell the bitterness of green tea now. "What's wrong with brown?" "Don't be stupid.
Natasha Pulley (The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, #1))
The path of what was to come was awful. It was the enormous dying, a sea of blood. From it the new sun arose, awful and a reversal of that which we call day. We have seized the darkness and its sun will shine above us, bloody and burning like a great downfall. When I comprehended my darkness, a truly magnificent night came over me and my dream plunged me into the depths of the millennia, and from it my phoenix ascended. But what happened to my day? Torches were kindled, bloody anger and disputes erupted. As darkness seized the world, the terrible war arose and the darkness destroyed the light of the world, since it was incomprehensible to the darkness and good for nothing anymore. And so we had to taste Hell. I saw which vices the virtues of this time changed into, how your mildness became hard, your goodness became brutality; your love became hate, and your understanding became madness. Why did you want to comprehend the darkness! But you had to or else it would have seized you. Happy the man who anticipates this grasp. Did you ever think of the evil in you? Oh, you spoke of it, you mentioned it, and you confessed it smilingly; as a generally human vice, or a recurring misunderstanding. But did you know 1 what evil is, and that it stands precisely right behind your virtues, that it is also your virtues themselves, as their inevitable substance?7! You locked Satan in the abyss for a millennium, and when the millennium had passed, you laughed at him, since he had become a children's fairy tale.72 But if the dreadful great one raises his head, the world winces. The most extreme coldness draws near. With horror you see that you are defenseless, and that the army of your vices falls powerless to its knees. With the power of daimons, you seize the evil, and your virtues cross over to him. You are completely alone in this struggle, since your Gods have become deaf You do not know which devils are greater, your vices, or your virtues. But ofone thing you are certain, that virtues and vices are brothers. 73We need the coldness of death to see clearly. Life wants to live and to die, to begin and to end.74 You are not forced to live eternally; but you can also die, since there is a will in you for both. Life and death must strike a balance in your existence.75 Today's men need a large slice of death, since too much incorrectness lives in them, and too much correctness died in them. What stays in balance is correct, what disturbs balance is incorrect. But if balance has been attained, then that which preserves it is incorrect and that which disturbs it is correct. Balance is at once life and death. For the completion of life a balance with death is fitting. If I accept death, then my tree greens, since dying increases life. If I plunge into the death encompassing the world, then my buds break open. How much our life needs death!
proud but  d gives grace to the humble.” 7Submit yourselves therefore to God.  f Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 g Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.  h Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and  i purify your hearts,  j you double-minded. 9 k Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 l Humble
Anonymous (ESV Classic Reference Bible)
In a strange paradox, idolatry often puts us in the position of asking God to energize our false gods and then becoming disappointed when he “fails” us.
Dave Patty (Father God: Daring to Draw Near)
They draw near to the pit, and their life to the messengers of death.[c] 23 Yet if there is an angel at their side, a messenger, one out of a thousand, sent to tell them how to be upright, 24 and he is gracious to that person and says to God, ‘Spare them from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom for them— 25 let their flesh be renewed like a child’s; let them be restored as in the days of their youth’— 26 then that person can pray to God and find favor with him, they will see God’s face and shout for joy; he will restore them to full well-being. 27 And they will go to others and say, ‘I have sinned, I have perverted what is right, but I did not get what I deserved. 28 God has delivered me from going down to the pit, and I shall live to enjoy the light of life.
The wisdom or counsel of God is deep water and is often a mystery to the natural mind.
John Bevere (Drawing Near: A Life of Intimacy with God)
The fundamental premise of nearly everybody who joined the Trump White House was, This can work. We can help make this work. Now, only three-quarters of the way through just the first year of Trump’s term, there was literally not one member of the senior staff who could any longer be confident of that premise. Arguably—and on many days indubitably—most members of the senior staff believed that the sole upside of being part of the Trump White House was to help prevent worse from happening. In early October, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s fate was sealed—if his obvious ambivalence toward the president had not already sealed it—by the revelation that he had called the president “a fucking moron.” This—insulting Donald Trump’s intelligence—was both the thing you could not do and the thing—drawing there-but-for-the-grace-of-God guffaws across the senior staff—that everybody was guilty of. Everyone, in his or her own way, struggled to express the baldly obvious fact that the president did not know enough, did not know what he didn’t know, did not particularly care, and, to boot, was confident if not serene in his unquestioned certitudes. There was now a fair amount of back-of-the-classroom giggling about who had called Trump what.
Michael Wolff (Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House)
Don’t miss this: Identity gives value. As the Son of God, Jesus would automatically have astounding value and worth. And when identity is given rather than earned, it is secure in the midst of accusation and pressure.
Dave Patty (Father God: Daring to Draw Near)
Father identity gives value. Father love brings security. Father pleasure gives healthy energy and motivation. Father place brings honor. Looking at the list, I had two contradictory feelings, each fighting the other for more of my attention. “This is awesome!” I cried out to myself. And then, “This is disturbing,” I muttered under my breath. It was awesome because these four gifts are exactly what all of us need. It was disturbing, however, because I had no idea how to take them from the paper and actually make them a real experience in real people’s lives. Mine included. THE IMPRINT When you were young, you were like hot wax or wet cement.
Dave Patty (Father God: Daring to Draw Near)
But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. D 7 Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Anonymous (CSB Spurgeon Study Bible)
The Prophet also spoke of the supreme degree insofar as it can be reached during life on earth, and this saying is one of those which are called Holy traditions because they transmit the direct words of God: “My slave ceaseth not to draw near unto Me with devotions of his free will until I love him; and when I love him I am the hearing with which he heareth and the sight with which he seeth and the hand with which he graspeth and the foot on which he walketh.
Martin Lings (Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources)
A.W. Tozer writes: God wills that we should push on into His presence and live our whole life there. This is to be known to us in conscious experience. It is more than a doctrine to be held; it is a life to be enjoyed every moment of every day. (The Pursuit of God, p. 34)
John Bevere (Drawing Near: A Life of Intimacy with God)
5 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.” 7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?” 8 He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.” 10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. 12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life. 20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” 29 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” 37 Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, 38 and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.
God Reveals Sin to Redeem, Not to Condemn Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” (Rom. 5: 20; 7: 7) Never forget that God has given a way to have full and abundant life. We do not have to live with the oppression of sin. The law helps us to see the way toward dealing with sin in our life. For us to walk in our own ways when we know the power of the resurrected Christ living in us is sin. There has to be recognition of sin if we are going to go through the process of dealing with wrongness in our life. Suppose you washed your hands and then entered a large room full of people. If you held up your hands in front of a large group of people and asked them to look at your hands they would appear clean. However, appearing clean is different than being clean. If a bright light was focused on your hands and maybe even if someone examined one of your hands under a magnifying glass, impurities would be revealed. The hand appears acceptable from a distance but close observation reveals there are some problems. God is like a bright light shining on your heart and mind. His light reveals all the impurities in your life. If sin is revealed, God then convicts you... not to discourage you but to redeem you! What do you do when God shows you the impurities? Do you draw near to God and say, “Oh God, I see impurities. I see something that You see in me and I want to get rid of it. Will you help me with this?” If you do, God will help you. He can forgive you and cleanse you and empower you to walk a new way of life.
Kerry L. Skinner (The Joy of Repentance)
Every kind of life has its own characteristic or characteristics. The spiritual life that we obtained, the life of God in us, has many different characteristics. Staying away from sin and abhorring sin is a characteristic of this life. Desiring to draw near to God and to serve God are also characteristics [126] of the life within us. Flocking together, that is, assembling, is another characteristic of this life. The life within us wants us to flock together with other believers, to assemble with others. This characteristic demands that we be joined to others instead of being individualistic. Our physical life depends upon drinking water. If we do not drink water, we will be thirsty, but we feel comfortable when we drink water. Similarly, the spiritual life within us has the characteristic of wanting to meet with other Christians, of wanting to flock together with other believers.
Witness Lee (Ministry Digest, Vol. 01, No. 04)
This devotional will stir you, and move you to draw near to God. David Zuccolotto unpacks his own spiritual journey from the heights of his spiritual zeal, to the depths of unanticipated pain, to the unwavering steadfast love of a savior who invites us to surrender our burdens. This devotional is tonic for the soul.” John Stone, Teaching Pastor, Encounter Church Sacramento
David Zuccolotto (The Love of God: A 70-Day Devotion of Forgiveness)
God is looking for righteousness over ritual. He wants our lives and our hearts and our actions. Jesus warned us that, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me” (Matt. 15: 8).
Kerry L. Skinner (The Joy of Repentance)
Bugge had leaned forward then. “Who’s the man?” he asked. “The one who hasn’t come, though the hour has?” “It is the man who will lead you. Listen to me now, you complacent fathers and householders, and don’t make up your twopenny minds that what I’m saying is necessarily a fable. Do you recall the stories of Sigmund, who drew out Odin’s sword easily from the Branstock Oak when no other man in the Volsung’s hall could budge it with his best efforts?” “Certainly,” Bugge had nodded. “And I also recall what became of that sword when the one-eyed god inexplicably turned on him. Odin shattered it in battle, and Sigmund, left unarmed, was killed by Lyngi’s spearmen.” The magician had nodded. “That’s true. Now listen, Odin has allowed—ordered, rather—Sigmund himself to return to the flesh, to lead you in pushing back Muspelheim’s hordes.” The men around the table had been skeptical, but afraid to let Gardvord see it. “How will we meet him?” piped up one of them. “You must sail up the Elbe, through various tributaries and overland crossings, and finally down the Danube. When you have reached the city that is built around Balder’s barrow, you’ll know it, because,” he paused impressively, “Sigmund will actually rise from the water to greet you. I suspect the barrow is near the city of Tulln, but I can’t be sure. You’ll know the spot, in any case, by Sigmund’s watery resurrection
Tim Powers (The Drawing of the Dark)
God won’t always shield you from persecution, but He will honor your integrity and give you strength to endure any trial that comes your way. Praise Him for His all-sufficient grace!
John F. MacArthur Jr. (Drawing Near: Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith)
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words.” Ecclesiastes 5:1–3
Francis Chan (Letters to the Church)
10:1–18 By identifying Jesus’ hearers as Pharisees, the NIV rightly recognizes that Jesus is continuing to speak to those whom he addressed in 9:40–41. In this context, the healed man is one of the sheep who hears Jesus’ voice; those who expelled him from the synagogue are compared to thieves, robbers and wolves; and Jesus is the good shepherd. By putting the man out of the synagogue, Israel’s leaders treated him as not part of Israel. In light of OT background, however, Jesus as the good shepherd (corresponding to Yahweh in the OT, e.g., Ps 23:1; 28:9; Isa 40:11) affirms that the man really is one of his sheep, i.e., does belong to God’s people (Ps 74:1; 78:52; 79:13; 100:3). Meanwhile, Jesus portrays some of Israel’s leaders in his day as being like the leaders of Israel who were condemned as exploitive shepherds in the OT (Jer 23:1–2; Eze 34:2–6, 8). 10:1 sheep pen. Used during winter nights to protect against lions, wolves (cf. v. 12) and other dangers to the sheep. Wolves normally had trouble penetrating a well-built pen. Shepherds could construct makeshift shelters using thornbushes, more enduring shelters with stone walls near a cave or adjoining homes, or even a roofed shelter. The “door” and climbing thieves here may suggest a walled enclosure; some modern villages have these structures higher than six feet (1.8 meters) in family courtyards. a thief and a robber. See note on v. 8. 10:3–4 the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name . . . they know his voice. Shepherds could separate their sheep from others grazing with them simply by calling them (or apparently in some cases by distinctive flute melodies); sheep recognized their shepherd’s voice and were known for their obedience. Shepherds also could have names for various sheep. In the OT, hearing God’s voice meant heeding his message (including both the law and what God was saying through the prophets); in this context, the healed man heeds Jesus. Also in the OT, God knew his people by name (Isa 43:1; 45:3), especially those most intimate with him (Ex 33:12, 17). Jesus goes on to speak of this experience for his followers in terms of a personal relationship with him (Jn 10:14–15). 10:5 never follow a stranger. It is true that sheep mistrust strangers. 10:7 I am the gate. Because the hill country was cool during winter, shepherds kept sheep in pens close to home; during pasturing season, however, they used temporary shelters. Although ancient writers did not mind mixed metaphors, some scholars have even suggested that the shepherd here is the gate. They note, drawing on some modern Middle Eastern shepherding practices, that some shepherds sleep across the entrance to a temporary shelter, guarding it themselves.
Anonymous (NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture)
Like other Christian thinkers, Augustine believed that happiness was found in likeness to God, and, like Gregory of Nyssa, he knew that likeness to God did not mean becoming divine but cleaving to God and living in fellowship with God. As we draw near to God we are filled with his life and light and holiness.
Robert L. Wilken (The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God)
Intercession is the surest sign of intimacy with God for as a man draws near to God’s heart he will hear and feel what lies inside. Union with God is the merging of ecstasy and agony; the ecstasy of His presence and the agony of His heart. We pray out the things God has revealed in us.
Eric Gilmour (The School of His Presence)
The law perfected nothing, but a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. Hebrews 7:19
Beth Moore (Believing God Day by Day: Growing Your Faith All Year Long)
WE CAN’T SAVE OURSELVES We need God. We all need to repent of trying to extend his kingdom in our own strength. We need him to change things. The great news is that he delights in helping us when we listen, trust, and obey him. Don’t we want to make a difference and see God turn around the decline in Christianity? Don’t we want to see our family members and friends find Jesus as Savior? Then let’s draw closer to God and talk with him. This is what sincere believers in Christ have done for hundreds of years. And when they have, miracles happened. Nowhere in the Bible did God ever promise that anything would “work,” except him. If you’re a Christian who is bewildered and disheartened by the things you see going on, or if you’re a pastor or church leader who is discouraged by a lukewarm church and lack of fruit, be sure of this promise: “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8).
Jim Cymbala (Storm: Hearing Jesus for the Times We Live In)
So the one command, the one exhortation, that we are given in Hebrews 10:19-22 is to draw near to God. The great aim of this writer is that we get near God, that we have fellowship with him, that we not settle for a Christian life at a distance from God, that God not be a distant thought, but a near and present reality, that we experience what the old Puritans called communion with God. This drawing near is not a physical act. It's not building a tower of Babel, by your achievements, to get to heaven. It's not necessarily going to a church building. Or walking to an altar at the front. It is an invisible act of the heart. You can do it while standing absolutely still, or while lying in a hospital bed, or while sitting in a pew listening to a sermon. Drawing near is not moving from one place to another. It is a directing of the heart into the presence of God who is as distant as the holy of holies in heaven, and yet as near as the door of faith. He is commanding us to come. To approach him. To draw near to him. let us draw near to God sermon
John Piper
One of the first steps toward successful leadership in the human realm is asking ourselves this question, "When people draw near us, do they recognize that we know God?
Teresa Hampton (Leading Ladies)
7Therefore submit to God. †Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8†Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. †Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and †purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9†Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10†Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
Anonymous (Holy Bible, New King James Version)
FEBRUARY 2 I WILL PURIFY YOUR LIFE WITH MY FIRE ON THE DAY that I come, I will come like a furnace that purifies silver, and I will purify you like I purify gold and silver. I will redeem you from every lawless deed and purify you for Myself to be My own special people, zealous for good works. Draw near to Me, and I will draw near to you. Humble yourself in My sight, and when My purifying work is complete, I will lift you up and purge you with My holy fire so that you become an offering before Me of righteousness. I have tested you and refined you as silver is refined. I have allowed you to pass through fire and through water, but I brought you out to rich fulfillment. I have preserved your soul among the living, and I will not allow your feet to be moved. MALACHI 3:2–3; ZECHARIAH 13:9; PSALM 66:8–12 Prayer Declaration Lord, purify my life with Your fire. Refine me like silver. Purge my life from sin and imperfection as You purge gold and silver that I may become an offering before You of righteousness. I will live my life by denying ungodliness and world lusts, and I will live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age.
John Eckhardt (Daily Declarations for Spiritual Warfare: Biblical Principles to Defeat the Devil)
6And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God  m must believe that he exists and  m that he rewards those who seek him.
Anonymous (The Holy Bible: English Standard Version)
Encourage One Another So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:11 NLT Encouragement means literally to “put courage in.” When you encourage someone, you are putting courage into his or her heart. Christ calls us to encourage one another. This does not mean just to offer compliments or utter overused phrases in times of trouble such as, “It will all be okay,” or “I hope it all works out.” Biblical encouragement means instilling in someone’s heart the courage needed to face the world. The Greek root word translated “encourage” in the New Testament is paracollatos, the verb form of the noun paraclete. Paraclete means “to lay alongside.” We are called to come alongside those in need and encourage them. Just as the Holy Spirit encourages our hearts, we are to affirm others. Try to focus your encouragement on the person and not anything he or she has done. Build him or her up. Speak words of truth into his or her life. Steer clear of empty compliments or forms of encouragement that rely on actions. Try, “I believe in you. God will be faithful to complete the good work He has begun,” or “I really appreciate who you are.” When you need encouragement, does it sometimes seem that no one is there to offer it? Simply ask the Holy Spirit to draw near to you. He is your Comforter, sent by the Lord to strengthen and guide you. Lord, I want to put courage into others’ hearts. Amen.
Anonymous (Daily Wisdom for Women - January 2014: 2014 Devotional Collection)
THE LORD IS NEAR Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. James 4:8 HCSB Since God is everywhere, we are free to sense His presence whenever we take the time to quiet our souls and turn our prayers to Him. But sometimes, amid the incessant demands of everyday life, we turn our thoughts far from God; when we do, we suffer. Do you set aside quiet moments each day to offer praise to your Creator? As a woman who has received the gift of God’s grace, you most certainly should. Silence is a gift that you give to yourself and to God. During these moments of stillness, you will often sense the infinite love and power of your Creator—and He, in turn, will speak directly to your heart. The familiar words of Psalm 46:10 remind us to “Be still, and know that I am God.” When we do so, we encounter the awesome presence of our loving Heavenly Father, and we are comforted in the knowledge that God is not just near. He is here. God walks with us. He scoops us up in His arms or simply sits with us in silent strength until we cannot avoid the awesome recognition that yes, even now, He is here. Gloria Gaither God wants to be in our leisure time as much as He is in our churches and in our work. Beth Moore A TIMELY TIP Perhaps you have become wrapped up in the world’s problems or your own problems. If so, it’s time to open yourself up to God. When you do, God will bless you and comfort you.
Freeman (Once A Day Everyday ... For A Woman of Grace)
Pray one for another.” — James 5:16 As an encouragement cheerfully to offer intercessory prayer, remember that such prayer is the sweetest God ever hears, for the prayer of Christ is of this character. In all the incense which our Great High Priest now puts into the golden censer, there is not a single grain for himself. His intercession must be the most acceptable of all supplications—and the more like our prayer is to Christ’s, the sweeter it will be; thus while petitions for ourselves will be accepted, our pleadings for others, having in them more of the fruits of the Spirit, more love, more faith, more brotherly kindness, will be, through the precious merits of Jesus, the sweetest oblation that we can offer to God, the very fat of our sacrifice. Remember, again, that intercessory prayer is exceedingly prevalent. What wonders it has wrought! The Word of God teems with its marvellous deeds. Believer, thou hast a mighty engine in thy hand, use it well, use it constantly, use it with faith, and thou shalt surely be a benefactor to thy brethren. When thou hast the King’s ear, speak to him for the suffering members of his body. When thou art favoured to draw very near to his throne, and the King saith to thee, “Ask, and I will give thee what thou wilt,” let thy petitions be, not for thyself alone, but for the many who need his aid. If thou hast grace at all, and art not an intercessor, that grace must be small as a grain of mustard seed. Thou hast just enough grace to float thy soul clear from the quicksand, but thou hast no deep floods of grace, or else thou wouldst carry in thy joyous bark a weighty cargo of the wants of others, and thou wouldst bring back from thy Lord, for them, rich blessings which but for thee they might not have obtained:— “Oh, let my hands forget their skill, My tongue be silent, cold, and still, This bounding heart forget to beat, If I forget the mercy-seat!
God created us all to be part of His body. We function together. Fellowship is a precious gift the Lord gives His children. To neglect fellowship or refuse to draw near those who can make our journey all that it should be is to make ourselves vulnerable to compromise. Anytime we withdraw from wise friends who will hold us accountable, we seek our own desires. We become resistant to “all sound wisdom” (Prov. 18:1)—and that is a precarious place to be. If we are committed to travel toward the heart of God, then we need to move toward the wise friend, of any age, who can help us stay on the journey. Cynthia Heald, A Woman’s Journey to the Heart of God
Beth Moore (Praying God's Word: Praying God's Word:Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds)
It will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar….” —Ezekiel 17:23 (NIV) I e-mailed my siblings: “Prayers appreciated for a talk I’m giving on Thursday afternoon.” Several responded, relaying the sentiment “God is with you, and so are we.” At the appointed hour, I encouraged participants to compare their prayers to trees. I displayed photographs and artists’ renderings of gnarly olive trees, weeping willows, deserted palms, orange-laden orchards…. I handed out colored pencils and suggested they draw a tree that represented their recent prayers. “Imagine Jesus as the trunk—the core ‘vine’—and your prayers as the branches. Then consider the big picture: Whom is your prayer tree shading or protecting? Where is it in the seasonal cycles—producing hopeful spring blossoms or mature fruit? Do your prayer-branches reach for the sky in praise or bend close to the ground with requests? Is your tree in a solitary setting, or do you prefer praying when you’re surrounded by peers, as in a grove?” Eventually I asked them to explain their pictures. A husband had sketched two leafy trees side by side, representing his prayers with his wife. A mother had envisioned a passel of umbrella-shaped twigs, symbolizing parental prayers of protection. When I was packing up, a woman who’d held back earlier showed me a nearly hidden detail of her flourishing tree. At the base of the trunk, underneath grassy cover, she’d outlined deep roots. “They represent the grounding of my family, my upbringing.” “Oh my!” I smiled. “You introduced a whole new dimension.” I drove home with a revitalized prayer—like limbs stretching upward with thanksgiving—for my natal family and many others who have enriched my relationship with God. Lord, thank You for the grounding of my faith through my family and the family of God. —Evelyn Bence Digging Deeper: Ps 103:17–18; Prv 22:6
Guideposts (Daily Guideposts 2014)
Three physical signs of God’s presence—a smoking firepot, a flaming torch and enveloping darkness—tell us everlasting truths about God. The Lord was both hidden (the darkness) and revealed (in the light). The Lord’s presence, like fire, both attracts and repels. We draw near for warmth but must keep our distance, lest we be burned. God’s love draws us toward him, but his holiness threatens to consume us as we come closer. In the end, it is our decision how close we come and how willing we are to risk being consumed.10
Mike Breen (Covenant and Kingdom: The DNA of the Bible)
Each of these men illustrates the true meaning of worship. They feared the Lord and maintained their rightful position before Him in their hearts. They were so devoted to the Lord that their worship continued even in extremely difficult circumstances. Those who simply “draw near with their words” and whose reverence for Him “consists of tradition learned by rote” (Isaiah 29:13) have no understanding of real worship. Although they may experience a certain vague sense of His presence as they sing hymns and choruses, their revelation of Him will be extremely superficial.
Steve Gallagher (Irresistible to God)
Warning Against Worldliness JAMES 4 [†]What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions [1] are  y at war within you? [2] 2[†]You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3[†]You ask and do not receive, because you ask  z wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4[†] a You adulterous people! [3] Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  b Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5[†]Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit  c that he has made to dwell in us”? 6[†]But  d he gives more grace. Therefore it says,  e “God opposes the proud, but  d gives grace to the humble.” 7[†]Submit yourselves therefore to God.  f Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8[†] g Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.  h Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and  i purify your hearts,  j you double-minded. 9[†] k Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10[†] l Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. 11[†] m Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. [4] The one who speaks against a brother or  n judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12[†]There is only  o one lawgiver and  p judge, he who is able to save and  q to destroy. But  r who are you to judge your neighbor?
Anonymous (The ESV MacArthur Study Bible)
God is sovereign over all things, and you can trust that He allows affliction in your life for a good purpose. Dear friend, I encourage you not to waste your affliction! Use your time of affliction to draw near to the Lord through reading His Word. Affliction is worth enduring in order that through it you might learn, and be changed by, God’s precious Word.
Rachel Lundy (Hope for the Hard Days: A 30 Day Devotional for the Tired and Weary)
It is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God and made Him my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works. PSALM 73:28
Joyce Meyer (Trusting God Day by Day: 365 Daily Devotions)
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” ( James 4:8, NKJV).
Diane Moody (Confessions of a Prayer Slacker)
I ache for the body of Christ in our generation to learn how to tarry before God and expectantly wait for Him to speak. I’m desperate to learn it for myself. If we do, what revelation we would receive! We cannot have a drive-thru relationship with God and expect to behold His glory. Like the children of Israel, much of the body of Christ still stands back and watches those they consider truly anointed draw near to God’s glory. Dear One, you are anointed! Never settle for a secondhand relationship. Never be satisfied with distant glory.
Beth Moore (Believing God Day by Day: Growing Your Faith All Year Long)
Stealing from the World Away Attending church is a countercultural experience: we need to counteract the influence of the popular culture in our lives. When we go to church, we’re participating in a global weekly network of a billion people who are doing the same thing at the same time. We’re participating in an ancient practice that goes back to the origins of the church and to the beginning of the creation. And we’re involved in a habit the Bible says is increasingly vital as time draws to a close. Regular church attendance honors the rhythm of life that God established, the worship that Scripture ordains, the spiritual family that Christ has formed, and the mission for which we’re placed on this planet. Here’s a hymn by Ray Palmer (born November 12, 1808) about retreating once a week to worship with the saints of God. NOVEMBER 12 Stealing from the world away, We are come to seek Thy face; Kindly meet us, Lord, we pray, Grant us Thy reviving grace. Yonder stars that gild the sky Shine but with a borrowed light: We, unless Thy light be nigh, Wander, wrapped in gloomy night. Sun of righteousness! dispel All our darkness, doubts and fears: May Thy light within us dwell, Till eternal day appears. Warm our hearts in prayer and praise, Lift our every thought above; Hear the grateful songs we raise, Fill us with Thy perfect love. . . . not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. – Hebrews
Robert J. Morgan (Near To The Heart Of God)
One of the things pleasing in God’s sight is that his people keep on drawing near to him forever and ever. And so he is working in us this very thing.
John Piper (The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent)
It was blood which was of infinite merit and value in the sight of God. It was not the blood of one who was nothing more than a singularly holy man, but of one who was God’s own “Fellow”, very God of very God (Zechariah 13:7). It was not the blood of one who died involuntarily, as a martyr for truth, but of one who voluntarily undertook to be the Substitute and Proxy for mankind, to bear their sins and carry their iniquities. It made atonement for man’s transgressions; it paid man’s enormous debt to God; it provided a way of righteous reconciliation between sinful man and his holy Maker; it made a road from heaven to earth, by which God could come down to man, and show mercy; it made a road from earth to heaven, by which man could draw near to God, and yet not feel afraid. Without it there could have been no remission of sin. Through it God can be “just and yet the justifier” of the ungodly. From it a fountain has been formed, wherein sinners can wash and be clean to all eternity (Romans 3:26). This wondrous blood of Christ, applied to your conscience, can cleanse you from all sin. It matters nothing what your sins may have been, “Though they be as scarlet they may be made like snow. Though they be red like crimson they can be made like wool” (Isaiah 1:18). From sins of youth and sins of age, from sins of ignorance and sins of knowledge, from sins of open profligacy and sins of secret vice, from sins against law and sins against Gospel, from sins of head, and heart, and tongue, and thought, and imagination, from sins against each and all of the ten commandments, from all these the blood of Christ can set us free. To this end was it appointed; for this cause was it shed; for this purpose it is still a fountain open to all mankind. That thing which you cannot do for yourself can be done in a moment by this precious fountain
Be Filled at All Times Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit. (EPHESIANS 5:18) It is important for you to know that you are instructed in God’s Word to “ever be filled” with the Spirit—that is, to be filled at all times. To do that, it is necessary to give Him first place in our lives. Often this requires discipline, because many other things demand our time and attention. There are many things we want and need, but nothing is more important than God. Seeking God daily through His Word and spending time with Him is the key to staying filled with His presence. An attitude of gratitude is also very helpful, as is guarding our thoughts carefully. The Holy Spirit never goes away; once He takes up occupancy, He settles in and refuses to leave. But it is important that we keep ourselves stirred up in spiritual things. Anything that is hot can grow cold if the fire goes out. I went through a six-month period of time when God forbade me to ask for anything except more of Him. It was a great discipline in drawing near to Him on a deeper level of intimacy than I had known before. I would start to say, “God, I need_____,” then I would stop myself as I remembered His instruction to me. I would finish my sentence with, “more of You.” God gives us everything we need; and He knows what we need before we ask for it. If we delight ourselves in Him and hunger for Him, He will also give us our hearts’ desires. I encourage you, today and every day, to keep yourself filled with the Holy Spirit and to want more of God than anything else. He’ll take care of the rest. GOD’S WORD FOR YOU TODAY: Be sure you’re always “filled up” with the Holy Spirit.
Joyce Meyer (Hearing from God Each Morning: 365 Daily Devotions (Faith Words))
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Robert J. Morgan (Near To The Heart Of God)
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith. – Hebrews 10:22
Robert J. Morgan (Near To The Heart Of God)
JANUARY 8 The one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 I am who God says I am. This truth unearths emotion in me every time I say it because I am reminded of the journey I’ve had to take to believe it. More than any other faith challenge I face, believing that I am who God says I am necessitates choosing what God says over what I feel. I want so much to be a woman of faith. In fact, I’d give just about anything to be a woman God would characterize by her faith, since nothing pleases Him more (Heb. 11:6). But if I’m really serious about believing God, I also have to believe what God says about me. No small challenge. How about you?
Beth Moore (Believing God Day by Day: Growing Your Faith All Year Long)
All you who draw near to serve God in prayer, learn to be like Him, meek, humble, and true of heart; do not let there be any deceitfulness or duplicity nor coldness in your soul.
John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ)
Lord, how excellent are Thy ways, and how devious and dark are the ways of man. Show us how to die, that we may rise again to newness of life. Rend the veil of our self-life from the top down as Thou didst rend the veil of the Temple. We would draw near in full assurance of faith. We would dwell with Thee in daily experience here on this earth so that we may be accustomed to the glory when we enter Thy heaven to dwell with Thee there. In Jesus' name, Amen.
A.W. Tozer (The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine)
The aspiring child is often checked by the dull disciple who has learned his lessons so imperfectly that he has never got beyond his school-books. Full of fragmentary rules, he has perceived the principle of none of them. The child draws near to him with some outburst of unusual feeling, some scintillation of a lively hope, some wide-reaching imagination that draws into the circle of religious theory the world of nature, and the yet wider world of humanity, for to the child the doings of the Father fill the spaces; he has not yet learned to divide between God and nature, between Providence and grace, between love and benevolence;—the child comes, I say, with his heart full, and the answer he receives from the dull disciple is—" God has said nothing about that in his word, therefore we have no right to believe anything about it. It is better not to speculate on such matters. However desirable it may seem to us, we have nothing to do with it. It is not revealed." For such a man is incapable of suspecting, that what has remained hidden from him may have been revealed to the babe. With the authority, therefore, of years and ignorance, he forbids the child, for he believes in no revelation but the Bible, and in the word of that alone. For him all revelation has ceased with and been buried in the Bible, to be with difficulty exhumed, and, with much questioning of the decayed form, re-united into a rigid skeleton of metaphysical and legal contrivance for letting the love of God have its way unchecked by the other perfections of his being.
George MacDonald (Unspoken Sermons, Series I., II., and III.)
Land and Sea The brilliant colors are the first thing that strike a visitor to the Greek Isles. From the stunning azure waters and blindingly white houses to the deep green-black of cypresses and the sky-blue domes of a thousand churches, saturated hues dominate the landscape. A strong, constant sun brings out all of nature’s colors with great intensity. Basking in sunshine, the Greek Isles enjoy a year-round temperate climate. Lemons grow to the size of grapefruits and grapes hang in heavy clusters from the vines of arbors that shade tables outside the tavernas. The silver leaves of olive trees shiver in the least sea breezes. The Greek Isles boast some of the most spectacular and diverse geography on Earth. From natural hot springs to arcs of soft-sand beaches and secret valleys, the scenery is characterized by dramatic beauty. Volcanic formations send craggy cliffsides plummeting to the sea, cause lone rock formations to emerge from blue waters, and carve beaches of black pebbles. In the Valley of the Butterflies on Rhodes, thousands of radiant winged creatures blanket the sky in summer. Crete’s Samaria Gorge is the longest in Europe, a magnificent natural wonder rife with local flora and fauna. Corfu bursts with lush greenery and wildflowers, nurtured by heavy rainfall and a sultry sun. The mountain ranges, gorges, and riverbeds on Andros recall the mainland more than the islands. Both golden beaches and rocky countrysides make Mykonos distinctive. Around Mount Olympus, in central Cyprus, timeless villages emerge from the morning mist of craggy peaks and scrub vegetation. On Evia and Ikaria, natural hot springs draw those seeking the therapeutic power of healing waters. Caves abound in the Greek Isles; there are some three thousand on Crete alone. The Minoans gathered to worship their gods in the shallow caves that pepper the remotest hilltops and mountain ranges. A cave near the town of Amnissos, a shrine to Eileithyia, goddess of childbirth, once revealed a treasure trove of small idols dedicated to her. Some caves were later transformed into monasteries. On the islands of Halki and Cyprus, wall paintings on the interiors of such natural monasteries survive from the Middle Ages. Above ground, trees and other flora abound on the islands in a stunning variety. ON Crete, a veritable forest of palm trees shades the beaches at Vai and Preveli, while the high, desolate plateaus of the interior gleam in the sunlight. Forest meets sea on the island of Poros, and on Thasos, many species of pine coexist. Cedars, cypress, oak, and chestnut trees blanket the mountainous interiors of Crete, Cyprus, and other large islands. Rhodes overflows with wildflowers during the summer months. Even a single island can be home to disparate natural wonders. Amorgos’ steep, rocky coastline gives way to tranquil bays. The scenery of Crete--the largest of the Greek Isles--ranges from majestic mountains and barren plateaus to expansive coves, fertile valleys, and wooded thickets.
Laura Brooks (Greek Isles (Timeless Places))
those which fell into the fire and were burned are those who have departed for ever from the living God; nor does the thought of repentance ever come into their hearts, on account of their devotion to their lusts and to the crimes which they committed. Do you wish to know who are the others which fell near the waters, but could not be rolled into them? These are they who have heard the word, and wish to be baptized in the name of the Lord; but when the chastity demanded by the truth comes into their recollection, they draw back, and again walk after their own wicked desires.” She finished her exposition of the tower. But I, shameless as I yet was, asked her, “Is repentance possible for all those stones which have been cast away and did not fit into the building of the tower, and will they yet have a place in this tower?” “Repentance,” said she, “is yet possible, but in this tower they cannot find a suitable place. But in another and much inferior place they will be laid, and that, too, only when they have been tortured and completed the days of their sins. And on this account will they be transferred, because they have partaken of the righteous Word. And then only will they be removed from their punishments when the thought of repenting of the evil deeds which they have done has come into their hearts. But if it does not come into their hearts, they will not be saved, on account of the hardness of their heart.
The Church Fathers (The Complete Ante-Nicene & Nicene and Post-Nicene Church Fathers Collection)
When we ask God to draw near, what we're really asking is for Him to make us aware of Him.
Mike Donehey (We Are Cathedrals)
My courses are late, Husband.” This merited her a sigh and a kiss to her cheek. Her cheek? “Being the sort of intimate husband I am—and being married to the lusty sort of wife you are—one noticed this.” She liked that he thought she was lusty… But he’d noticed? What else had he noticed? “Did you notice that I was scared to death on that horse today?” “Of course. The more frightened you are, the calmer you get. Usually.” Another kiss to her other cheek. “Though you were not particularly calm on our wedding night.” Oh, he would bring that up. Eve had wanted to ease into the topic, to whisk right over it, to drop hints and let him draw conclusions. Subtlety was wanted for the disclosure she had in mind. “I was not chaste.” God help her, she’d spoken those words aloud. Deene’s chin brushed over her right eyebrow then her left; his arms cradled her a little more closely. “You were chaste.” “No, I was not. I had given my virtue… Lucas, are you listening to me?” “I always listen to you. You did not give your virtue to anyone. It was taken from you by a cad and a bounder who’d no more right to it than he did to wear the crown jewels.” Eve’s husband spoke in low, fierce tones, even as the hand he smoothed over her hair was gentle. “How did you know?” He’d known? All this time he’d known and said nothing? “I thought at first you were simply nervous as any bride would be nervous of her first encounter with her husband, but then I realized you were not nervous, you were frightened. Of me, of what I would think of you. As if…” He rolled with her so she was sprawled on his chest and his arms were wrapped around her. By the limited light in the room, Eve met his gaze. “Your brother Bartholomew caught up with the fool man first, and the idiot was so stupid as to brag of the gift you’d bestowed on him. He was further lunatic enough to brag about the remittance his silence would cost your family. He bragged on his cleverness, duplicity, bad faith, and utter lack of honor to your own brother.” “Bart never said… Devlin never breathed a word.” “I don’t think Devlin knew. By the time Devlin arrived on the scene, Bart had beaten the man near to death and summoned a press gang. I know of this only because I happened to share a bottle—a few bottles—with Lord Bart the night before we broke the siege at Ciudad Rodrigo. He regretted the harm to you. He regretted not avenging your honor unto the death. He regretted a great deal, but not that you’d survived your ordeal and had some chance to eventually be happy.” “You have always known, and you have never breathed a word.” “I have always known, and I have done no differently than any other gentleman would do when a lady has been wronged. You are the one who has kept your silence, Evie, even from your own husband.” He was not accusing her of any sin; he was expressing his sorrow for her. Eve tucked herself tightly against him, mashed her nose against his throat, and felt relief, grief, and an odd sort of joy course through her. “All
Grace Burrowes (Lady Eve's Indiscretion (The Duke's Daughters, #4; Windham, #7))
Sloane tentatively thrust forward, and Dex opened his mouth. “Oh God. Yeah,” Sloane moaned, slowly fucking Dex’s mouth, his dick moving slow at first, drawing nearly all the way out and then just as slowly, all the way in. Dex pressed his lips tight against Sloane’s hard cock, his fingers digging into Sloane’s ass and his free hand palming his own cock. “Fuck. That’s it, Dex. Oh God, like that.” Sloane’s other hand found its way into Dex’s hair, but he didn’t mind the pull. Seeing the look of pleasure on Sloane’s face made the discomfort worth it. Sloane started pumping into Dex’s mouth in earnest until he lost his rhythm, one hand behind Dex’s head, holding it as he fucked his mouth. “Dex….” Dex hummed, and Sloane let out a strangled cry as he shot his load. Dex swallowed around his partner’s cock, doing his best to take all of it, and another shudder went through Sloane. He doubled over, his arms wrapped around Dex’s head as he emptied down Dex’s throat. A few heartbeats later, Dex came hard. Sloane slowly pulled out of Dex’s mouth, leaning back against the tiny brown and white shower titles. Dex stood, ignoring the pain in his knees and back. He kissed Sloane, loving the low groan Sloane released at tasting himself on Dex’s lips.
Charlie Cochet (Hell & High Water (THIRDS, #1))
There is a way by which any person, however sinful and unworthy, may draw near to God the Father. Jesus Christ has opened that way by the sacrifice he made for us upon the cross. The holiness and justice of God need not frighten sinners and keep them back. Only let them cry to God in the name of Jesus, and they shall find God upon the throne of grace, willing and ready to hear. The name of Jesus is a never-failing passport for our prayers. In that name, a person may draw near to God with boldness, and ask with confidence. God has engaged to hear him. Think of this. Is this not an encouragement? There is an Advocate and Intercessor always waiting to present the prayers of those who come to God through him. That advocate is Jesus Christ. He mingles our prayers with the incense of his own almighty intercession. So mingled, they go up as a sweet savor before the throne of God. Poor as they are in themselves, they are mighty and powerful in the hand of our High Priest and Elder Brother. The bank-note without a signature at the bottom is nothing but a worthless piece of paper. The stroke of a pen confers on it all its value. The prayer of a poor child of Adam is a feeble thing in itself — but once endorsed by the hand of the Lord Jesus, it avails much. There was an officer in the city of Rome who appointed to have his doors always open, in order to receive any Roman citizen who applied to him for help. Just so the ear of the Lord Jesus is ever open to the cry of all who need mercy and grace. It is his office to help them. Their prayer is his delight! Think of this. Is this not and encouragement? There
J.C. Ryle (A Call to Prayer)