God Is My Provider Quotes

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The Weaver” “My life is but a weaving Between my God and me. I cannot choose the colors He weaveth steadily. Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow; And I in foolish pride Forget He sees the upper And I the underside. Not ’til the loom is silent And the shuttles cease to fly Will God unroll the canvas And reveal the reason why. The dark threads are as needful In the weaver’s skillful hand As the threads of gold and silver In the pattern He has planned He knows, He loves, He cares; Nothing this truth can dim. He gives the very best to those Who leave the choice to Him.
Grant Colfax Tullar
I'm sorry, but I don't want to be an emperor. That's not my business. I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers! Don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don't hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers! Don't fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it is written that the kingdom of God is within man, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promise. Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!
Charlie Chaplin
I write to find strength. I write to become the person that hides inside me. I write to light the way through the darkness for others. I write to be seen and heard. I write to be near those I love. I write by accident, promptings, purposefully and anywhere there is paper. I write because my heart speaks a different language that someone needs to hear. I write past the embarrassment of exposure. I write because hypocrisy doesn’t need answers, rather it needs questions to heal. I write myself out of nightmares. I write because I am nostalgic, romantic and demand happy endings. I write to remember. I write knowing conversations don’t always take place. I write because speaking can’t be reread. I write to sooth a mind that races. I write because you can play on the page like a child left alone in the sand. I write because my emotions belong to the moon; high tide, low tide. I write knowing I will fall on my words, but no one will say it was for very long. I write because I want to paint the world the way I see love should be. I write to provide a legacy. I write to make sense out of senselessness. I write knowing I will be killed by my own words, stabbed by critics, crucified by both misunderstanding and understanding. I write for the haters, the lovers, the lonely, the brokenhearted and the dreamers. I write because one day someone will tell me that my emotions were not a waste of time. I write because God loves stories. I write because one day I will be gone, but what I believed and felt will live on.
Shannon L. Alder
God has brought a very wise Japanese lady into my life who lives in Calif. We've never met, but she has shared a tremendous amount of wisdom with me concerning unconditional love within relationships. Here is one of the things she said to me this evening when we were discussing "Soul Mates." "Soul mates aren't perfect people. They can come into your life and provide polar emotional experiences from intense love to intense pain. Growth comes from both. And a soul mate helps you grow. It isn't just "...and they lived happily ever after" but "...and they lived!" ~ From my mentor ~ Lori Chidori Phillips
Dianne Rosena Jones
Close your eyes, Maxon." "What?" "Close your eyes. Somewhere in this palace, there is a woman who will be your wife. This girl? Imagine that she depends on you. She needs you to cherish her and make her feel like the Selection didn't even happen. Like if you were dropped in your own out in the middle of the country to wander around door to door, she's still the one you would have found. She was always the one you would have picked. She needs you to provide for her and protect her. And if it came to a point where there was absolutely nothing to eat, and you couldn't even fall asleep at night because the sound of her stomach growling kept you awake—" "Stop it!" "Sorry." "Is that really what it's like? Out there... does that happen? Are people hungry like that a lot?" "Maxon, I..." "Tell me the truth." "Yes. That happens. I know of families where people give up their share for their children or siblings. I know of a boy who was whipped in the town square for stealing food. Sometimes you do crazy things when you are desperate." "A boy? How old?" "Nine." "Have you ever been like that? Starving?...How bad?" "Maxon, it will only upset you more." "Probably, but I'm only starting to realize how much I don't know about my own country. Please." "We've been pretty bad. Most time if it gets to where we have to choose, we keep the food and lose electricity. The worst was when it happened near Christmas one year. May didn't understand why we couldn't exchange gifts. As a general rule, there are never any leftovers at my house. Someone always wants more. I know the checks we've gotten over the last few weeks have really helped, and my family is really smart about money. I'm sure they have already tucked it away so it will stretch out for a long time. You've done so much for us, Maxon." "Good God. When you said that you were only here for the food, you weren't kidding, were you?" "Really, Maxon, we've been doing pretty well lately. I—" "I'll see you at dinner.
Kiera Cass (The Selection (The Selection, #1))
Be a light unto the world, and hurt it not. Seek to build not destroy. Bring My people home. How? By your shining example. Seek only Godliness. Speak only in truthfulness. Act only in love. Live the Law of Love now and forever more. Give everything require nothing. Avoid the mundane. Do not accept the unacceptable. Teach all who seek to learn of Me. Make every moment of your life an outpouring of love. Use every moment to think the highest thought, say the highest word, do the highest deed. In this, glorify your Holy Self, and thus too, glorify Me. Bring peace to the Earth by bringing peace to all those whose lives you touch. Be peace. Feel and express in every moment your Divine Connection with the All, and with every person, place, and thing. Embrace every circumstance, own every fault, share every joy, contemplate every mystery, walk in every man’s shoes, forgive every offense (including your own), heal every heart, honor every person’s truth, adore every person’s God, protect every person’s rights, preserve every person’s dignity, promote every person’s interests, provide every person’s needs, presume every person’s holiness, present every person’s greatest gifts, produce every person’s blessing, pronounce every person’s future secure in the assured love of God. Be a living, breathing example of the Highest Truth that resides within you. Speak humbly of yourself, lest someone mistake your Highest Truth for boast. Speak softly, lest someone think you are merely calling for attention. Speak gently, that all might know of Love. Speak openly, lest someone think you have something to hide. Speak candidly, so you cannot be mistaken. Speak often, so that your word may truly go forth. Speak respectfully, that no one be dishonored. Speak lovingly, that every syllable may heal. Speak of Me with every utterance. Make of your life a gift. Remember always, you are the gift! Be a gift to everyone who enters your life, and to everyone whose life you enter. Be careful not to enter another’s life if you cannot be a gift. (You can always be a gift, because you always are the gift—yet sometimes you don’t let yourself know that.) When someone enters your life unexpectedly, look for the gift that person has come to receive from you…I HAVE SENT YOU NOTHING BUT ANGELS.
Neale Donald Walsch (Conversations With God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 2)
Musical Chairs. Except I thought, when God's providing the music, everyone gets a chair.
Neta Jackson (Who Is My Shelter?)
Jason took me by the shoulders—not out of anger, or in a clinging way, but as a brother. “Promise me one thing. Whatever happens, when you get back to Olympus, when you’re a god again, remember. Remember what it’s like to be human.” A few weeks ago, I would have scoffed. Why would I want to remember any of this? At best, if I were lucky enough to reclaim my divine throne, I would recall this wretched experience like a scary B-movie that had finally ended. I would walk out of the cinema into the sunlight, thinking Phew! Glad that’s over. Now, however, I had some inkling of what Jason meant. I had learned a lot about human frailty and human strength. I felt…different toward mortals, having been one of them. If nothing else, it would provide me with some excellent inspiration for new song lyrics!
Rick Riordan (The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo, #3))
Your job then, should you choose to accept it, is to keep searching for the metaphors, rituals and teachers that will help you move ever closer to divinity. The Yogic scriptures say that God responds to the sacred prayers and efforts of human beings in any way whatsoever that mortals choose to worship—just so long as those prayers are sincere. I think you have every right to cherry-pick when it comes to moving your spirit and finding peace in God. I think you are free to search for any metaphor whatsoever which will take you across the worldly divide whenever you need to be transported or comforted. It's nothing to be embarrassed about. It's the history of mankind's search for holiness. If humanity never evolved in its exploration of the divine, a lot of us would still be worshipping golden Egyptian statues of cats. And this evolution of religious thinking does involve a fair bit of cherry-picking. You take whatever works from wherever you can find it, and you keep moving toward the light. The Hopi Indians thought that the world's religions each contained one spiritual thread, and that these threads are always seeking each other, wanting to join. When all the threads are finally woven together they will form a rope that will pull us out of this dark cycle of history and into the next realm. More contemporarily, the Dalai Lama has repeated the same idea, assuring his Western students repeatedly that they needn't become Tibetan Buddhists in order to be his pupils. He welcomes them to take whatever ideas they like out of Tibetan Buddhism and integrate these ideas into their own religious practices. Even in the most unlikely and conservative of places, you can find sometimes this glimmering idea that God might be bigger than our limited religious doctrines have taught us. In 1954, Pope Pius XI, of all people, sent some Vatican delegates on a trip to Libya with these written instructions: "Do NOT think that you are going among Infidels. Muslims attain salvation, too. The ways of Providence are infinite." But doesn't that make sense? That the infinite would be, indeed ... infinite? That even the most holy amongst us would only be able to see scattered pieces of the eternal picture at any given time? And that maybe if we could collect those pieces and compare them, a story about God would begin to emerge that resembles and includes everyone? And isn't our individual longing for transcendence all just part of this larger human search for divinity? Don't we each have the right to not stop seeking until we get as close to the source of wonder as possible? Even if it means coming to India and kissing trees in the moonlight for a while? That's me in the corner, in other words. That's me in the spotlight. Choosing my religion.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
Jesus kept it simple. The lesson wasn't complicated. 'I speak; you believe My word; your son will be fine.' We complicate what God has made simple by seeing the world through human eyes. We want to see in order to believe and presume that our limitations are His.
Charles R. Swindoll
Here is my creed: I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe. That he governs it by his providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion. --Benjamin Franklin
W. Cleon Skousen (The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World)
When I am high I couldn’t worry about money if I tried. So I don’t. The money will come from somewhere; I am entitled; God will provide. Credit cards are disastrous, personal checks worse. Unfortunately, for manics anyway, mania is a natural extension of the economy. What with credit cards and bank accounts there is little beyond reach. So I bought twelve snakebite kits, with a sense of urgency and importance. I bought precious stones, elegant and unnecessary furniture, three watches within an hour of one another (in the Rolex rather than Timex class: champagne tastes bubble to the surface, are the surface, in mania), and totally inappropriate sirenlike clothes. During one spree in London I spent several hundred pounds on books having titles or covers that somehow caught my fancy: books on the natural history of the mole, twenty sundry Penguin books because I thought it could be nice if the penguins could form a colony. Once I think I shoplifted a blouse because I could not wait a minute longer for the woman-with-molasses feet in front of me in line. Or maybe I just thought about shoplifting, I don’t remember, I was totally confused. I imagine I must have spent far more than thirty thousand dollars during my two major manic episodes, and God only knows how much more during my frequent milder manias. But then back on lithium and rotating on the planet at the same pace as everyone else, you find your credit is decimated, your mortification complete: mania is not a luxury one can easily afford. It is devastating to have the illness and aggravating to have to pay for medications, blood tests, and psychotherapy. They, at least, are partially deductible. But money spent while manic doesn’t fit into the Internal Revenue Service concept of medical expense or business loss. So after mania, when most depressed, you’re given excellent reason to be even more so.
Kay Redfield Jamison (An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness)
A man worth being with is one… That never lies to you Is kind to people that have hurt him A person that respects another’s life That has manners and shows people respect That goes out of his way to help people That feels every person, no matter how difficult, deserves compassion Who believes you are the most beautiful person he has ever met Who brags about your accomplishments with pride Who talks to you about anything and everything because no bad news will make him love you less That is a peacemaker That will see you through illness Who keeps his promises Who doesn’t blame others, but finds the good in them That raises you up and motivates you to reach for the stars That doesn’t need fame, money or anything materialistic to be happy That is gentle and patient with children Who won’t let you lie to yourself; he tells you what you need to hear, in order to help you grow Who lives what he says he believes in Who doesn’t hold a grudge or hold onto the past Who doesn’t ask his family members to deliberately hurt people that have hurt him Who will run with your dreams That makes you laugh at the world and yourself Who forgives and is quick to apologize Who doesn’t betray you by having inappropriate conversations with other women Who doesn’t react when he is angry, decides when he is sad or keep promises he doesn’t plan to keep Who takes his children’s spiritual life very seriously and teaches by example Who never seeks revenge or would ever put another person down Who communicates to solve problems Who doesn’t play games or passive aggressively ignores people to hurt them Who is real and doesn’t pretend to be something he is not Who has the power to free you from yourself through his positive outlook Who has a deep respect for women and treats them like a daughter of God Who doesn’t have an ego or believes he is better than anyone Who is labeled constantly by people as the nicest person they have ever met Who works hard to provide for the family Who doesn’t feel the need to drink alcohol to have a good time, smoke or do drugs Who doesn't have to hang out a bar with his friends, but would rather spend his time with his family Who is morally free from sin Who sees your potential to be great Who doesn't think a woman's place has to be in the home; he supports your life mission, where ever that takes you Who is a gentleman Who is honest and lives with integrity Who never discusses your private business with anyone Who will protect his family Who forgives, forgets, repairs and restores When you find a man that possesses these traits then all the little things you don’t have in common don’t matter. This is the type of man worth being grateful for.
Shannon L. Alder
Is that "great cloud of witnesses" watching my way so as to judge or is it informing my way so that I may walk it? Do they hide the light so that I cannot see it or do they filter it so that its blaze will not blind me? Can a man see God face to face and live? Can I not see an eclipse better through a pinhole in a paper than without it? We can't so much see light as we can see things because of it. So I do not meet God in a vacuum -- I meet Him in the world He has provided for me to meet Him in -- in a world of events and of places, of history (time and space), in a world of lives of people and their records of their encounters. I meet God in this world -- in the world of these things... ...and this is the world as best as I can remember it.
Rich Mullins
I'm sitting her thinking, -God, I swear I will take a vow of silence and move to a monastery and worship you for all my days if you just this once provide me with an invisibility cloak, come on, come on, please please invisibility cloak now now now-. It's very possible that Jane is thinking the same thing, I have no idea, because she's not talking either, and I can't look at her on account of how I'm blinded by embarrassment.
John Green (Will Grayson, Will Grayson)
I kind of missed the whole running into each other thing. Provided a lot of excitement." "I don't miss that," I admitted, bending over and rummaging through my bag for my notebook. "That was really embarrassing." "It shouldn't have been." "Easy for you to say. You're the one who got plowed. I was doing the plowing." Cam's mouth opened. Oh my God, did I really just say that? I had.
J. Lynn
I may be deemed superstitious, and even egotistical, in regarding this event as a special interposition of divine Providence in my favor. But I should be false to the earlierst sentiments of my soul, if I suppressed the opinion. I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur my own abhorrence. From my earliest recollection, I date the entertainment of a deep conviction that slavery would not always be able to hold me within its foul embrace; and in the darkest hours of my career in slavery, this living word of faith and spirit of hope departed not from me, but remained like ministering angels to cheer me through the gloom. This good spirit was from God, and to him I offer thanksgiving and praise.
Frederick Douglass (Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass)
God always provides safety for the soul, and with the Book of Mormon, He has again done so in our time. Remember this declaration by Jesus Himself: "Whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived" (Joseph Smith-Matthew 1:37)--and in the last days neither your heart nor your faith will fail you.
Jeffrey R. Holland (Created for Greater Things)
Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900. To You WHOEVER you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams, I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands; Even now, your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners, troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you, Your true Soul and Body appear before me, They stand forth out of affairs—out of commerce, shops, law, science, work, forms, clothes, the house, medicine, print, buying, selling, eating, drinking, suffering, dying. Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem; I whisper with my lips close to your ear, I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you. O I have been dilatory and dumb; I should have made my way straight to you long ago; I should have blabb’d nothing but you, I should have chanted nothing but you. I will leave all, and come and make the hymns of you; None have understood you, but I understand you; None have done justice to you—you have not done justice to yourself; None but have found you imperfect—I only find no imperfection in you; None but would subordinate you—I only am he who will never consent to subordinate you; I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better, God, beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself. Painters have painted their swarming groups, and the centre figure of all; From the head of the centre figure spreading a nimbus of gold-color’d light; But I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head without its nimbus of gold-color’d light; From my hand, from the brain of every man and woman it streams, effulgently flowing forever. O I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you! You have not known what you are—you have slumber’d upon yourself all your life; Your eye-lids have been the same as closed most of the time; What you have done returns already in mockeries; (Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in mockeries, what is their return?) The mockeries are not you; Underneath them, and within them, I see you lurk; I pursue you where none else has pursued you; Silence, the desk, the flippant expression, the night, the accustom’d routine, if these conceal you from others, or from yourself, they do not conceal you from me; The shaved face, the unsteady eye, the impure complexion, if these balk others, they do not balk me, The pert apparel, the deform’d attitude, drunkenness, greed, premature death, all these I part aside. There is no endowment in man or woman that is not tallied in you; There is no virtue, no beauty, in man or woman, but as good is in you; No pluck, no endurance in others, but as good is in you; No pleasure waiting for others, but an equal pleasure waits for you. As for me, I give nothing to any one, except I give the like carefully to you; I sing the songs of the glory of none, not God, sooner than I sing the songs of the glory of you. Whoever you are! claim your own at any hazard! These shows of the east and west are tame, compared to you; These immense meadows—these interminable rivers—you are immense and interminable as they; These furies, elements, storms, motions of Nature, throes of apparent dissolution—you are he or she who is master or mistress over them, Master or mistress in your own right over Nature, elements, pain, passion, dissolution. The hopples fall from your ankles—you find an unfailing sufficiency; Old or young, male or female, rude, low, rejected by the rest, whatever you are promulges itself; Through birth, life, death, burial, the means are provided, nothing is scanted; Through angers, losses, ambition, ignorance, ennui, what you are picks its way.
Walt Whitman
She looked at them with shining eyes. Her chin went up. She said: "You regard it as impossible that a sinner should be struck down by the wrath of God! I do not!" The judge stroked his chin. He murmured in a slightly ironic voice: "My dear lady, in my experience of ill-doing, Providence leaves the work of conviction and chastisement to us mortals-and the process is often fraught with difficulties. There are no short cuts.
Agatha Christie (And Then There Were None)
If God is really my Father, I have rights, and He has responsibilities. I hereby claim my birthright to be protected, educated, and provided for!
Stefan Emunds
One more, final question came from the audience on my last night in Newtown, and it was the one I most did not want to hear: “Will God protect my child?” I stayed silent for what seemed like minutes. More than anything I wanted to answer with authority, “Yes! Of course God will protect you. Let me read you some promises from the Bible.” I knew, though, that behind me on the same platform twenty-six candles were flickering in memory of victims, proof that we have no immunity from the effects of a broken planet. My mind raced back to Japan, where I heard from parents who had lost their children to a tsunami in a middle school, and forward to that very morning when I heard from parents who had lost theirs to a shooter in an elementary school. At last I said, “No, I’m sorry, I can’t promise that.” None of us is exempt. We all die, some old, some tragically young. God provides support and solidarity, yes, but not protection—at least not the kind of protection we desperately long for. On this cursed planet, even God suffered the loss of a Son.
Philip Yancey (The Question That Never Goes Away)
Question 1: What is the chief end of man? This most basic question confronts each of us. Why am I here? What is the reason for my existence? What is the purpose of my life? The catechism on the basis of 1 Corinthians 10:31 and Psalm 73:25 provides the familiar answer. “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
Alistair Begg (Pathway to Freedom: How God's Law Guides Our Lives)
It is very difficult for me to come to terms with my spiritual illness because of my great pride, disguised by my material successes and my intellectual power. Intelligence is not incompatible with humility, provided I place humility first. To seek prestige and wealth is the ultimate goal for many in the modern world. To be fashionable and to seem better than I really am is a spiritual illness. To recognize and to admit my weaknesses is the beginning of good spiritual health. It is a sign of spiritual health to be able to ask God every day to enlighten me, to recognize His will, and to have the strength to execute it. My spiritual health is excellent when I realize that the better I get, the more I discover how much help I need from others.
Alcoholics Anonymous (Daily Reflections: A Book of Reflections by A.A. Members for A.A. Members)
it is a federal system of sadistic torture, vivisection, and animal genocide, which has been carried on for decades under the fraudulent guise of respectable medical research. And nobody on the outside knows, or wants to know, or is willing to find out. My parents, my friends, my teachers, wouldnt listen to me, or suggested that if it was bothering me that much I just had to quit the job. Just like that. As if that would have solved anything. As if I could ever live with such cowardice. You can't imagine, or maybe you can, how many people are convinced - without knowing the first thing about it - Animal research is essential. Americans have been hopelessly brainwashed on this issue. The animal rights people, by and large, acknowledge the essential futility of trying to change the system. So they address the smaller issues, fighting for legislation which would provide one extra visit per week to the labs by a custodian of the US dept of agriculture. Or demanding that a squirrel monkey be given an extra 12 square inches in his holding pen, before being led to the slaughter. That sort of thing. For whomever, and whatever it's worth, I hope my little write up is clear. I dont have the guts to do whats necessary. I pray there's someone out there who does. God help all of us.
Michael Tobias (Rage and Reason)
Religion can provide a check to my tendency to think that I am the center of the universe, that I know better than anyone about God, and that God speaks most clearly through me.
James Martin (The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life)
Hoping does not mean doing nothing. It is not fatalistic resignation. It means going about our assigned tasks, confident that God will provide the meaning and the conclusions. It is not compelled to work away at keeping up appearances with a bogus spirituality. It is the opposite of desperate and panicky manipulations, of scurrying and worrying. And hoping is not dreaming. It is not spinning an illusion or fantasy to protect us from our boredom or our pain. It means a confident, alert expectation that God will do what he said he will do. It is imagination put in the harness of faith. It is a willingness to let God do it his way and in his time. It is the opposite of making plans that we demand that God put into effect, telling him both how and when to do it. That is not hoping in God but bullying God. "I pray to GOD-my life a prayer-and wait for what he'll say and do. My life's on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning, waiting and watching till morning.
Eugene H. Peterson (A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society)
On accepting adversity in our lives: Always it is initiated by an act of will on our part; we set ourselves to believe in the overruling goodness, providence, and sovereignty of God and refuse to turn aside no matter what may come, no matter how we may feel. I mistakenly thought I could not trust God unless I felt like trusting Him. Now I am learning that trusting God is first of all a matter of the will. I choose to trust in God, and my feelings eventually follow.
Margaret Clarkson (Grace Grows Best in Winter)
Ain't nothing going to eat you while Bubba's around." Caleb laughed. "They might toy with him for a bit but he won't let any past." Caleb to Nick. "Is something wrong?" Nick to Bubba "Nah... I just..." Bubba nervous. "Please, God, Bubba, tell me you're not about to ask me out, are you?" Nick to Bubba. Bubba made a rude sound at him. "Hell, nah. I'd date Mark first, provided he took a bath so I wouldn't have to fumigate my truck or store." "But," Bubba continued, "now that you mention it... that is what I wanted to ask you about." "Dating Mark? Really?" Nick to Bubba. 'Cause the kid with a brand-new license was such an expert on going out with others.
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Inferno (Chronicles of Nick, #4))
Am I making myself clear, Orrin? I don't regret how I've lived these past few years. I move where I will. I set no appointments. I guard no borders. What landbound king has the freedom of a ship's captain? The Sea of Brass provides. When I need haste, it gives me winds. When I need gold, it gives me galleons." Thieves prosper, thought Locke. The rich remember. He made his decision, and gripped the rail to avoid shaking. "Only gods-damned fools die for lines drawn on maps," said Zamira. "But nobody can draw lines around my ship. If they try, all I need to do to slip away is set more sail.
Scott Lynch (Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard, #2))
Arthur,’ continued I, relaxing my hold of his arm, ‘you don’t love me half as much as I do you; and yet, if you loved me far less than you do, I would not complain, provided you loved your Maker more.  I should rejoice to see you at any time so deeply absorbed in your devotions that you had not a single thought to spare for me.  But, indeed, I should lose nothing by the change, for the more you loved your God the more deep and pure and true would be your love to me.
Anne Brontë (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall)
Here is my Creed. I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That he governs the World by his Providence. That he ought to be worshiped. That the most acceptable Service we can render him, is doing good to his other Children. That the Soul of Man is immortal, and will be treated with Justice in another life, respect[ing] its Conduct in this. These I take to be fundamental Principles of all sound Religion, and I regard them as you do, in whatever Sect I meet them.
Benjamin Franklin (The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, Complete Set: Volumes 1-37)
God protected, corrected, and provided. Why? Because he is my heavenly Father. Because I wasn’t born a bastard. None of us are.
Lacey Sturm (The Mystery: Finding True Love in a World of Broken Lovers)
Perhaps it’s a risk, but I’m willing to take it. You see, I’ve just asked God for help in providing for my family, and I’m not about to go wasting his solution.
Joanna Davidson Politano (A Rumored Fortune)
If your Lord calls you to suffering, do not be dismayed, for He will provide a deeper portion of Christ in your suffering. The softest pillow will be placed under your head though you must set your bare feet among thorns. Do not be afraid at suffering for Christ, for He has a sweet peace for a sufferer. God has called you to Christ's side, and if the wind is now in His face, you cannot expect to rest on the sheltered side of the hill. You cannot be above your Master who received many an innocent stroke. The greatest temptation out of hell is to live without trials. A pool of standing water will turn stagnant. Faith grows more with the sharp winter storm in its face. Grace withers without adversity. You cannot sneak quietly into heaven without a cross. Crosses form us into His image. They cut away the pieces of our corruption. Lord cut, carve, wound; Lord do anything to perfect Your image in us and make us fit for glory! We need winnowing before we enter the kingdom of God. O what I owe to the file, hammer, and furnace! Why should I be surprised at the plough that makes such deep furrows in my soul? Whatever direction the wind blows, it will blow us to the Lord. His hand will direct us safely to the heavenly shore to find the weight of eternal glory. As we look back to our pains and suffering, we shall see that suffering is not worthy to be compared to our first night's welcome home in heaven. If we could smell of heaven and our country above, our crosses would not bite us. Lay all your loads by faith on Christ, ease yourself, and let Him bear all. He can, He does, and He will bear you. Whether God comes with a rod or a crown, He comes with Himself. "Have courage, I am your salvation!" Welcome, welcome Jesus!
Samuel Rutherford
And where, then, is your sweetheart, Deerslayer?" "She's in the forest, Judith—hanging from the boughs of the trees, in a soft rain—in the dew on the open grass—the clouds that float about in the blue heavens—the birds that sing in the woods—the sweet springs where I slake my thirst—and in all the other glorious gifts that come from God's Providence!
James Fenimore Cooper (The Deerslayer)
The theology she taught was unsophisticated, but it provided a message I needed to hear. To coast through life was to squander my God-given talent, so I had to work hard. I had to take care of my family because Christian duty demanded it. I needed to forgive, not just for my mother’s sake but for my own. I should never despair, for God had a plan. Mamaw
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
We look back on history, and what do we see? Empires rising and falling; revolutions and counter-revolutions succeeding one another; wealth accumulating and wealth dispersed; one nation dominant and then another. As Shakespeare’s King Lear puts it, “the rise and fall of great ones that ebb and flow with the moon.” In one lifetime I’ve seen my fellow countrymen ruling over a quarter of the world, and the great majority of them convinced – in the words of what is still a favorite song – that God has made them mighty and will make them mightier yet. I’ve heard a crazed Austrian announce the establishment of a German Reich that was to last for a thousand years; an Italian clown report that the calendar will begin again with his assumption of power; a murderous Georgian brigand in the Kremlin acclaimed by the intellectual elite as wiser than Solomon, more enlightened than Ashoka, more humane than Marcus Aurelius. I’ve seen America wealthier than all the rest of the world put together; and with the superiority of weaponry that would have enabled Americans, had they so wished, to outdo an Alexander or a Julius Caesar in the range and scale of conquest. All in one little lifetime – gone with the wind: England now part of an island off the coast of Europe, threatened with further dismemberment; Hitler and Mussolini seen as buffoons; Stalin a sinister name in the regime he helped to found and dominated totally for three decades; Americans haunted by fears of running out of the precious fluid that keeps their motorways roaring and the smog settling, by memories of a disastrous military campaign in Vietnam, and the windmills of Watergate. Can this really be what life is about – this worldwide soap opera going on from century to century, from era to era, as old discarded sets and props litter the earth? Surely not. Was it to provide a location for so repetitive and ribald a production as this that the universe was created and man, or homo sapiens as he likes to call himself – heaven knows why – came into existence? I can’t believe it. If this were all, then the cynics, the hedonists, and the suicides are right: the most we can hope for from life is amusement, gratification of our senses, and death. But it is not all.
Malcolm Muggeridge
Your daughter has schizophrenia," I told the woman. "Oh, my God, anything but that," she replied. "Why couldn't she have leukemia or some other disease instead?" "But if she had leukemia she might die," I pointed out. "Schizophrenia is a much more treatable disease." The woman looked sadly at me, then down at the floor. She spoke softly. "I would still prefer that my daughter had leukemia.
E. Fuller Torrey (Surviving Schizophrenia: A Manual for Families, Patients, and Providers)
Faith is always tested at the intersection of "Why?" and "Trust Me!" We come to God with those situations and problems that make us ask Him "Why?" He answers with a simple "Trust Me!" You cannot trust God in those things which you choose and not trust Him in others. You either trust Him with it all or with nothing at all. Your choice will either provide you with a powerful faith to carry you through the ups and downs of life or a faith that struggles with the slightest circumstance.
Ron Lambros (All My Love, Jesus: Personal Reminders From the Heart of God)
Why do we fret and worry and sometimes question if God will answer our prayers when we need them? Remember, prayer is something we do in our time; answering prayers is something God does in His. If you're struggling with the wait, remember that it wasn't until Abraham lifted the knife over Isaac that God provided the substitute ram for a sacrifice. It may be the 11th hour, but if you're faithful, God will answer your prayers, and always in a way and at the time that has His glory and your best interest at heart!
Ron Lambros (All My Love, Jesus: Personal Reminders From the Heart of God)
In extreme old age you suddenly find you are unable to run uphill, two buckets full of hen food are heavier than they were and the cheerful scream of hearing aids, provided they are working, is a welcome sound. Other things go wrong. Paddy Leigh Fermor, aged ninety-four came to stay, got into the bath, looked down at the tap end and to his dismay saw that both feet had turned black. ‘Oh God,’ he thought, ‘Teeth, ears and eyes are wonky and now my feet.’ He need not have worried. he had got into the bath with his socks on.
Deborah Mitford
If God does not leave a blade of grass, a flower, or a small leaf of a tree without His good providence, will He leave us?
John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ)
I had rather have God for my banker than all the Rothschilds.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Morning and Evening, Based on the English Standard Version)
My focus is not on the flood that surrounds me. Rather, my focus is on the God Who surrounds the flood.
Craig D. Lounsbrough
My opinion is that it is a very extraordinary thing for anyone to be upset by such a topic. Why should anyone be shattered by the though of hell? It is not compulsory for anyone to go there. Those who do, do so by their own choice, and against the will of God, and they can only get into hell by defying and resisting all the work of Providence and grace. It is their own will that takes them there, not God's. In damning them He is only ratifying their own decision--a decision which He has left entirely to their own choice. Nor will He ever hold our weakness alone responsible for our damnation. Our weakness should not terrify us: it is the source of our strength. Libenter gloriabor in infirmitatibus meis ut inhabitet in me virtus Christi. Power is made perfect in infirmity, and our very helplessness is all the more potent a claim on that Divine Mercy Who calls to Himself the poor, the little ones, the heavily burdened.
Thomas Merton (The Seven Storey Mountain)
It thrills me to know that the God who created the entire universe, who is the God of space, time, and eternity, who is infinitely holy and completely self-sufficient, should care about supplying my physical needs. Just as loving human fathers want to provide for the needs of their children, so God is concerned that we receive enough food to eat, clothes to wear, and a place to rest.
John F. MacArthur Jr. (Alone With God: Rediscovering the Power and Passion of Prayer)
Four brothers,” Daphne said, shoving the wicket into the ground, “provide quite a marvelous education.” “The things you must have learned,” Kate said, quite impressed. “Can you give a man a black eye? Knock him to the ground?” Daphne grinned wickedly. “Ask my husband.” “Ask me what?” the duke called out from where he and Colin were placing a wicket on a tree root on the opposite side of the tree. “Nothing,” the duchess called out innocently. “I’ve also learned,” she whispered to Kate, “when it’s best just to keep one’s mouth shut. Men are much easier to manage once you understand a few basic facts about their nature.” “Which are?” Kate prompted. Daphne leaned forward and whispered behind her cupped hand, “They’re not as smart as we are, they’re not as intuitive as we are, and they certainly don’t need to know about fifty percent of what we do.” She looked around. “He didn’t hear that, did he?” Simon stepped out from behind the tree. “Every word.” Kate choked on a laugh as Daphne jumped a foot. “But it’s true,” Daphne said archly. Simon crossed his arms. “I’ll let you think so.” He turned to Kate. “I’ve learned a thing or two about women over the years.” “Really?” Kate asked, fascinated. He nodded and leaned in, as if imparting a grave state secret. “They’re much easier to manage if one allows them to believe that they are smarter and more intuitive than men. And,” he added with a superior glance at his wife, “our lives are much more peaceful if we pretend that we’re only aware of about fifty percent of what they do.” Colin approached, swinging a mallet in a low arc. “Are they having a spat?” he asked Kate. “A discussion,” Daphne corrected. “God save me from such discussions,” Colin muttered.
Julia Quinn (The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons, #2))
Across that threshold I had been afraid to cross, things suddenly seemed so very simple. There was but a single vision, God, who was all in all; there was but one will that directed all things, God's will. I had only to see it, to discern it in every circumstance in which I found myself, and let myself be ruled by it. God is in all things, sustains all things, directs all things. To discern this in every situation and circumstance, to see His will in all things, was to accept each circumstance and situation and let oneself be borne along in perfect confidence and trust. Nothing could separate me from Him, because He was in all things. No danger could threaten me, no fear could shake me, except the fear of losing sight of Him. The future, hidden as it was, was hidden in His will and therefore acceptable to me no matter what it might bring. The past, with all its failures, was not forgotten; it remained to remind me of the weakness of human nature and the folly of putting any faith in self. But it no longer depressed me. I looked no longer to self to guide me, relied on it no longer in any way, so it could not again fail me. By renouncing, finally and completely, all control of my life and future destiny, I was relieved as a consequence of all responsibility. I was freed thereby from anxiety and worry, from every tension, and could float serenely upon the tide of God's sustaining providence in perfect peace of soul.
Walter J. Ciszek (He Leadeth Me)
We are children of God who are both passively connected to God and actively encouraged to seek His presence. These dueling images of abiding frees us from both legalism and apathy. I am kept secure in Christ through no work of my own, yet God calls me to actively participate in using the resources provided to me through this union.
Wendy Alsup (The Gospel Centered Woman: Understanding Biblical Womanhood through the Lens of the Gospel)
And I know that God and His grace are sufficient for the moment I find myself in. When I wake up tomorrow, whatever the challenges, I know God will be there and will provide His grace. This is my hope. This is my strength.
Ed Dobson (Seeing through the Fog: Hope When Your World Falls Apart)
You and I cannot comprehend God’s works, or his ways. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8–9). How, then, can we expect him to fulfill his promises through predictable means? If our time in Genesis teaches us anything, it is that God’s providence is unpredictable.
Voddie T. Baucham Jr. (Joseph and the Gospel of Many Colors: Reading an Old Story in a New Way)
Love one another, fathers," the elder taught (as far as Alyosha could recall afterwards). "Love God's people. For we are not holier than those in the world because we have come here and shut ourselves within these walls, but, on the contrary, anyone who comes here, by the very fact that he has come, already knows himself to be worse than all those who are in the world, worse than all on earth...And the longer a monk lives within his walls, the more keenly he must be aware of it. For otherwise he had no reason to come here. But when he knows that he is not only worse than all those in the world, but is also guilty before all people, on behalf of all and for all, for all human sins, the world's and each person's, only then will the goal of our unity be achieved. For you must know, my dear ones, that each of us is undoubtedly guilty on behalf of all and for all on earth, not only because of the common guilt of the world, but personally, each one of us, for all people and for each person on this earth. This knowledge is the crown of the monk's path, and of every man's path on earth. For monks are not a different sort of men, but only such as all men on earth ought also to be. Only then will our hearts be moved to a love that is infinite, universal, and that knows no satiety. Then each of us will be able to gain the whole world by love and wash away the world's sins with his tears...Let each of you keep close company with his heart, let each of you confess to himself untiringly. Do not be afraid of your sin, even when you perceive it, provided you are repentant, but do not place conditions on God. Again I say, do not be proud. Do not be proud before the lowly, do not be proud before the great either. And do not hate those who reject you, disgrace you, revile you, and slander you. Do not hate atheists, teachers of evil, materialists, not even those among them who are wicked, nor those who are good, for many of them are good, especially in our time. Remember them thus in your prayers: save, Lord, those whom there is no one to pray for, save also those who do not want to pray to you. And add at once: it is not in my pride that I pray for it, Lord, for I myself am more vile than all...Love God's people, do not let newcomers draw your flock away, for if in your laziness and disdainful pride, in your self-interest most of all, you fall asleep, they will come from all sides and lead your flock away. Teach the Gospel to the people untiringly...Do not engage in usury...Do not love silver and gold, do not keep it...Believe, and hold fast to the banner. Raise it high...
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
In belief in what? In love with what? In hope for what?—There’s no doubt that these weak people—at some time or another they also want to be the strong people, some day their "kingdom" is to arrive—they call it simply "the kingdom of God" as I mentioned. People are indeed so humble about everything! Only to experience that, one has to live a long time, beyond death—in fact, people must have an eternal life, so they can also win eternal recompense in the "kingdom of God" for that earthly life "in faith, in love, in hope." Recompense for what? Recompense through what? In my view, Dante was grossly in error when, with an ingenuity inspiring terror, he set that inscription over the gateway into his hell:"Eternal love also created me." Over the gateway into the Christian paradise and its "eternal blessedness" it would, in any event, be more fitting to let the inscription stand "Eternal hate also created me"—provided it’s all right to set a truth over the gateway to a lie! For what is the bliss of that paradise? Perhaps we might have guessed that already, but it is better for it to be expressly described for us by an authority we cannot underestimate in such matters, Thomas Aquinas, the great teacher and saint: "In the kingdom of heaven" he says as gently as a lamb, "the blessed will see the punishment of the damned, so that they will derive all the more pleasure from their heavenly bliss.
Friedrich Nietzsche
Heaven hath decreed that tottering empire Britain to irretrievable ruin and thanks to God, since Providence hath so determined, America must raise an empire of permanent duration, supported upon the grand pillars of Truth, Freedom, and Religion, encouraged by the smiles of Justice and defended by her own patriotic sons. . . . Permit me then to recommend from the sincerity of my heart, ready at all times to bleed in my country’s cause, a Declaration of Independence, and call upon the world and the great God who governs it to witness the necessity, propriety and rectitude thereof. The
David McCullough (1776)
Whenever you feel short or need of something, give what you want first, and it will come back in buckets. That is true for money, a smile, love or friendship. I know it is often the last thing a person may do, but it has always worked for me. I trust that the principle of prosperity is true, and I give what I want. I want money, so I give money, and it comes back in multiples. I want sales, so I help someone else sell something, so sales come to me. I want contacts, and I help someone else get contacts. Like magic, contacts come to me. I heard a saying years ago that went: god does not need to receive, but humans need to give. My rich dad would often say: poor people are more greedy than rich people. He would explain that if a person is rich, that person is providing something that other people wanted...whenever I think people aren't smiling at me, I simply began smiling and saying hello. Like magic, the next thing I know: I'm surrounded by smiling people. It is true that you world is only a mirror of you. So that's why I say, teach and you shall receive.
Robert T. Kiyosaki (Rich Dad Poor Dad)
Many times a woman can find herself latching on to the wrong kind of man because she’s never experienced a healthy loving relationship with a man before. The initial example should come from a father/daughter relationship. A father’s love teaches a girl how a man’s love should feel. A father’s love, protects, provides security and let’s her know she’s valued.
Stephan Labossiere (God Where Is My Boaz)
Perhaps Moses transferred his perceived abandonment to God. He had yet to come to know God as El Shaddai. “El” means God. “Shaddai” comes from the word “breast” and means the All-Sufficient One, the Pourer or Shedder forth of blessings. El Shaddai was invisibly there with Moses, providing a spiritual breast for Moses’ spirit. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”--II Corinthians 12:9 (from Under His Wings: Healing Truth for Adoptees of All Ages)
Beth Willis Miller (Under His Wings...healing truth for adoptees of all ages)
When I was a youngster, all the progressive people were saying, “Why all this prudery? Let us treat sex just as we treat all our other impulses.” I was simple-minded enough to believe they meant what they said. I have since discovered that they meant exactly the opposite. They meant that sex was to be treated as no other impulse in our nature has ever been treated by civilized people. All the others, we admit, have to be bridled. Absolute obedience to your instinct for self-preservation is what we call cowardice; to your acquisitive impulse, avarice. Even sleep must be resisted if you’re a sentry. But every unkindness and breach of faith seems to be condoned provided that the object aimed at is “four bare legs in a bed.” It is like having a morality in which stealing fruit is considered wrong—unless you steal nectarines. And if you protest against this view you are usually met with chatter about the legitimacy and beauty and sanctity of “sex” and accused of harboring some Puritan prejudice against it as something disreputable or shameful. I deny the charge. Foam-born Venus … golden Aphrodite … Our Lady of Cyprus… I never breathed a word against you. If I object to boys who steal my nectarines, must I be supposed to disapprove of nectarines in general? Or even of boys in general? It might, you know, be stealing that I disapproved of.
C.S. Lewis (God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics)
My method is atheism. I find the atheistic outlook provides a favourable background for cosmopolitan practices. Acceptance of atheism at once pulls down caste and religious barriers between man and man. There is no longer a Hindu, a Muslim or a Christian. All are human beings. Further, the atheistic outlook puts man on his legs. There is neither divine will nor fate to control his actions. The release of free will awakens Harijans [lowest caste] and the depressed classes from the stupor of inferiority into which they were pressed all these ages when they were made to believe that they were fated to be untouchables. So I find the atheistic outlook helpful for my work [helping people]. After all it is man that created god to make society moral and to silence restless inquisitiveness about the how and why of natural phenomena. Of course god was useful though a falsehood. But like all falsehoods, belief in god also gave rise to many evils in course of time and today it is not only useless but harmful to human progress. So I take to the propagation of atheism as an aid to my work. The results justify my choice.
Goparaju Ramachandra Rao (An Atheist with Gandhi)
The shattered relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at the cross provides the basis for our reconciliation. No other relationship ever suffered more than what Father, Son, and Holy Spirit endured when Jesus hung on the cross and cried, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ Jesus was willing to be the rejected Son so that our families would know reconciliation. Jesus was willing to become the forsaken friend so that we could have loving friendships. Jesus was willing to be the rejected Lord so that we could live in loving submission to one another. Jesus was willing to be the forsaken brother so that we could have godly relationships. Jesus was willing to be the crucified King so that our communities would experience peace.
Timothy S. Lane (Relationships: A Mess Worth Making)
You may be thinking I’ve gone over the edge here, finding addictions everywhere. But follow the trajectory of these simple daily attachments and you’ll find a need for security, for safety, for intimacy, for connection, for regularity, for productivity. Go a bit deeper and you’ll find that each of these things can even replace God, providing for my needs without consideration of my deep and desperate neediness as a human being. Each can be a way of coping, a reality-denying form of self-preservation that robs me of grace.
Chuck DeGroat (Leaving Egypt: Finding God in the Wilderness Places)
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
After witnessing the inauguration ceremonies, I am compelled to state how deeply grateful and infinitely thankful and eternally blessed I am to and by God for the privilege of being born and for living out my life in this amazing country- The United States of America
R. Alan Woods (The Journey Is the Destination: A Book of Quotes With Commentaries)
But now this taco soup is an anonymous commodity. It arrives on my table seemingly by magic. With this anonymity comes ingratitude—I do not recall those farmers and harvesters to whom I owe a debt of thanks. I do not think of God’s mercy in providing a harvest. And with anonymity and ingratitude comes injustice. Like so much of what we consume in our complicated world of global capitalism and multinational corporations, purchasing this corn and these beans involves me, however unwittingly, in webs of systemic injustice, exploitation, and environmental degradation that I am ignorant about and would likely not consent to. I do not know where the onions in my soup came from or how the workers who harvested them were treated. My leftovers may have been provided by a man whose kids can’t afford lunch today.
Tish Harrison Warren (Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life)
Prayer before Birth I am not yet born; O hear me. Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the club-footed ghoul come near me. I am not yet born, console me. I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me, with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me, on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me. I am not yet born; provide me With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light in the back of my mind to guide me. I am not yet born; forgive me For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me, my treason engendered by traitors beyond me, my life when they murder by means of my hands, my death when they live me. I am not yet born; rehearse me In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white waves call me to folly and the desert calls me to doom and the beggar refuses my gift and my children curse me. I am not yet born; O hear me, Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God come near me. I am not yet born; O fill me With strength against those who would freeze my humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton, would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with one face, a thing, and against all those who would dissipate my entirety, would blow me like thistledown hither and thither or hither and thither like water held in the hands would spill me. Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me. Otherwise kill me.
Louis MacNeice
I suddenly knew that religion, God - something beyond everyday life - was there to be found, provided one is really willing. And I saw that though what I felt in the church was only imagination, it was a step on the way; because imagination itself can be a kind of willingness - a pretense that things are real, due to one's longing for them. It struck me that this was somehow tied up with what the Vicar said about religion being an extension of art - and then I had a glimpse of how religion can really cure you of sorrow; somehow make use of it, turn it to beauty, just as art can make sad things beautiful. I found myself saying: 'Sacrifice is the secret - you have to sacrifice things for art and it's the same with religion; and then the sacrifice turns out to be a gain.' Then I got confused and I couldn't hold on to what I meant - until Miss Blossom remarked: 'Nonsense, duckie - it's prefectly simple. You lose yourself in something beyond yourself and it's a lovely rest.' I saw that, all right. Then I thought: 'But that's how Miss Marcy cured her sorrow, too - only she lost herself in other people instead of in religion.' Which way of life was best - hers or the Vicar's? I decided that he loves God and merely likes the villagers, whereas she loves the villagers and merely likes God - and then I suddenly wondered if I could combine both ways, love God and my neighbor equally. Was I really willing to?
Dodie Smith
I believe Divine Providence arranged matters in such a way that what I could not obtain with all my efforts was given to me through chance; I believe all the more that this is so as I have always prayed to God that he should make my plan succeed, if what Copernicus had said was the truth.
Johannes Kepler
When I have neither pleasure nor pain and have been breathing for a while the lukewarm insipid air of these so called good and tolerable days, I feel so bad in my childish soul that I smash my moldering lyre of thanksgiving in the face of the slumbering god of contentment and would rather feel tle very devil burn in me than this warmth of a well-heated room. A wild longing for strong emotions and sensations seethes in me, a rage against this toneless, flat, normal and sterile life. I have a mad impulse to smash something, a warehouse, perhaps, or a cathedral, or myself, to commit outrages, to pull off the wigs of a few revered idols, to provide a few rebellious schoolboys with the longed-for ticket to Hamburg, or to stand one or two representatives of the established order on their heads. For what I always hated and detested and cursed above all things was this contentment, this healthiness and comfort, this carefully preserved optimism of the middle classes, this fat and prosperous brood of mediocrity.
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
Meditation I KNOW there is a Power for Good which is responding to me and bringing into my experience everything that is necessary to my unfoldment, to my happiness, to my peace, to my health, and to my success. I know there is a Power for Good that enables me to help others and to bless the whole world. So I say quietly to myself: There is one Life, that Life is God, that Life is perfect, that Life is my life now. It is flowing through me, circulating in me. I am one with Its rhythm. My heart beats with the pulsation of the Universe, in serenity, in peace, and in joy. My whole physical being is animated by the Divine Spirit, and if there is anything in it that does not belong, it is cast out because there is One Perfect Life in me now. And I say to myself: I am daily guided so that I shall know what to do under every circumstance, in every situation. Divine Intelligence guides me in love, in joy, and in complete self-expression. Desiring that the Law of Good alone shall control me, I bless and prosper everything I am doing; I multiply every activity; I accept and expect happiness and complete success. Realizing that I am one with all people, I affirm that there is a silent Power flowing through me and them, which blesses and heals and prospers, makes happy and glad their pathway. And realizing that the world is made up of people like myself, I bless the world and affirm that it shall come under the Divine government of Good, under the Divine providence of Love, and under the Divine leadership of the Supreme Intelligence. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Ernest Shurtleff Holmes (Living the Science of Mind)
Don’t strive to be a well-rounded leader. Instead, discover your zone and stay there. Then delegate everything else. Admitting a weakness is a sign of strength. Acknowledging weakness doesn’t make a leader less effective. Everybody in your organization benefits when you delegate responsibilities that fall outside your core competency. Thoughtful delegation will allow someone else in your organization to shine. Your weakness is someone’s opportunity. Leadership is not always about getting things done “right.” Leadership is about getting things done through other people. The people who follow us are exactly where we have led them. If there is no one to whom we can delegate, it is our own fault. As a leader, gifted by God to do a few things well, it is not right for you to attempt to do everything. Upgrade your performance by playing to your strengths and delegating your weaknesses. There are many things I can do, but I have to narrow it down to the one thing I must do. The secret of concentration is elimination. Devoting a little of yourself to everything means committing a great deal of yourself to nothing. My competence in these areas defines my success as a pastor. A sixty-hour workweek will not compensate for a poorly delivered sermon. People don’t show up on Sunday morning because I am a good pastor (leader, shepherd, counselor). In my world, it is my communication skills that make the difference. So that is where I focus my time. To develop a competent team, help the leaders in your organization discover their leadership competencies and delegate accordingly. Once you step outside your zone, don’t attempt to lead. Follow. The less you do, the more you will accomplish. Only those leaders who act boldly in times of crisis and change are willingly followed. Accepting the status quo is the equivalent of accepting a death sentence. Where there’s no progress, there’s no growth. If there’s no growth, there’s no life. Environments void of change are eventually void of life. So leaders find themselves in the precarious and often career-jeopardizing position of being the one to draw attention to the need for change. Consequently, courage is a nonnegotiable quality for the next generation leader. The leader is the one who has the courage to act on what he sees. A leader is someone who has the courage to say publicly what everybody else is whispering privately. It is not his insight that sets the leader apart from the crowd. It is his courage to act on what he sees, to speak up when everyone else is silent. Next generation leaders are those who would rather challenge what needs to change and pay the price than remain silent and die on the inside. The first person to step out in a new direction is viewed as the leader. And being the first to step out requires courage. In this way, courage establishes leadership. Leadership requires the courage to walk in the dark. The darkness is the uncertainty that always accompanies change. The mystery of whether or not a new enterprise will pan out. The reservation everyone initially feels when a new idea is introduced. The risk of being wrong. Many who lack the courage to forge ahead alone yearn for someone to take the first step, to go first, to show the way. It could be argued that the dark provides the optimal context for leadership. After all, if the pathway to the future were well lit, it would be crowded. Fear has kept many would-be leaders on the sidelines, while good opportunities paraded by. They didn’t lack insight. They lacked courage. Leaders are not always the first to see the need for change, but they are the first to act. Leadership is about moving boldly into the future in spite of uncertainty and risk. You can’t lead without taking risk. You won’t take risk without courage. Courage is essential to leadership.
Andy Stanley (Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future)
Churches gave sanctuary, in my time. To the unwanted, the unloved, and also the criminals, whether they repented or not. I don't see why a library in Hell shouldn't be a kind of church - lord knows that we have enough altars to longing, to regret, to mistakes, here in the stacks. Few souls find their way down here, but if they do, what shelter we can provide, the Library should. Libraries have always been a kind of church, a kind of sanctuary.
A.J. Hackwith (The God of Lost Words (Hell's Library, #3))
The season of the world before us will be like no other in the history of mankind. Satan has unleashed every evil, every scheme, every blatant, vile perversion ever known to man in any generation. Just as this is the dispensation of the fullness of times, so it is also the dispensation of the fullness of evil. We and our wives and husbands, our children, and our members must find safety. There is no safety in the world: wealth cannot provide it, enforcement agencies cannot assure it, membership in this Church alone cannot bring it. As the evil night darkens upon this generation, we must come to the temple for light and safety. In our temples we find quiet, sacred havens where the storm cannot penetrate to us. There are hosts of unseen sentinels watching over and guarding our temples. Angels attend every door. As it was in the days of Elisha, so it will be for us: “Those that be with us are more than they that be against us.” Before the Savior comes the world will darken. There will come a period of time where even the elect will lose hope if they do not come to the temples. The world will be so filled with evil that the righteous will only feel secure within these walls. The saints will come here not only to do vicarious work, but to find a haven of peace. They will long to bring their children here for safety’s sake. I believe we may well have living on the earth now or very soon the boy or babe who will be the prophet of the Church when the Savior comes. Those who will sit in the Quorum of Twelve Apostles are here. There are many in our homes and communities who will have apostolic callings. We must keep them clean, sweet and pure in an oh so wicked world. There will be greater hosts of unseen beings in the temple. Prophets of old as well as those in this dispensation will visit the temples. Those who attend will feel their strength and feel their companionship. We will not be alone in our temples. Our garments worn as instructed will clothe us in a manner as protective as temple walls. The covenants and ordinances will fill us with faith as a living fire. In a day of desolating sickness, scorched earth, barren wastes, sickening plagues, disease, destruction, and death, we as a people will rest in the shade of trees, we will drink from the cooling fountains. We will abide in places of refuge from the storm, we will mount up as on eagle’s wings, we will be lifted out of an insane and evil world. We will be as fair as the sun and clear as the moon. The Savior will come and will honor his people. Those who are spared and prepared will be a temple-loving people. They will know Him. They will cry out, “Blessed be the name of He that cometh in the name of the Lord; thou are my God and I will bless thee; thou are my God and I will exalt thee.” Our children will bow down at His feet and worship Him as the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings. They will bathe His feet with their tears and He will weep and bless them for having suffered through the greatest trials ever known to man. His bowels will be filled with compassion and His heart will swell wide as eternity and He will love them. He will bring peace that will last a thousand years and they will receive their reward to dwell with Him. Let us prepare them with faith to surmount every trial and every condition. We will do it in these holy, sacred temples. Come, come, oh come up to the temples of the Lord and abide in His presence.
Vaughn J. Featherstone
And now I saw how easy it was for the Providence of God to make the most miserable Condition Mankind could be in worse. Now I look'd back upon my desolate solitary Island, as the most pleasant Place in the World, and all the Happiness my Heart could wish for, was to be but there again. I stretch'd out my Hands to it with eager Wishes. O happy Desart, said I, I shall never see thee more. O miserable Creature, said I, whether am I going: Then I reproach'd my self with my unthankful Temper, and how I had repin'd at my solitary Condition; and now what would I give to be on Shore there again. Thus we never see the true State of our Condition, till it is illustrated to us be its Contraries; nor know how to value what we enjoy, but by the want of it.
Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe (Robinson Crusoe, #1))
AS A HUNTER I am looked down upon in Western society. I am portrayed as a brute. I am denigrated and spat upon, and thought of as a slow-witted anachronism, the dregs of a discredited culture. This happened quickly when one looks at human history. The skills I possess—the ability to track, hunt, kill, and dress out my prey so it can be served at a table to feed others—were prized for tens of thousands of years. Hunters fed those in the tribe and family who could not hunt well or did not hunt because they weren’t physically able to. The success of the hunter produced not only healthy food and clothing, tools, medicine, and amenities, but a direct hot-blooded connection with God and the natural world. The hunter was the provider, and exalted as such.
C.J. Box (Blood Trail (Joe Pickett, #8))
PRAYER BEFORE BIRTH I am not yet born; O hear me. Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the club-footed ghoul come near me. I am not yet born; console me. I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me, with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me, on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me. I am not yet born; provide me With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light in the back of my mind to guide me. I am not yet born; forgive me For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me, my treason engendered by traitors beyond me, my life when they murder by means of my hands, my death when they live me. I am not yet born; rehearse me In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white waves call me to folly and the desert calls me to doom and the beggar refuses my gift and my children curse me. I am not yet born; O hear me, Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God come near me. I am not yet born; O fill me With strength against those who would freeze my humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton, would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with one face, a thing, and against all those who would dissipate my entirety, would blow me like thistledown hither and thither or hither and thither like water held in the hands would spill me. Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me. Otherwise kill me.
Louis Macniece (Oracion Antes De Nacer/ Prayers Before to Born (Poesia))
There exists yonder in the mountains," said the Bishop, "a tiny community no bigger than that, which I have not seen for three years. They are my good friends, those gentle and honest shepherds. They own one goat out of every thirty that they tend. They make very pretty woollen cords of various colors, and they play the mountain airs on little flutes with six holes. They need to be told of the good God now and then. What would they say to a bishop who was afraid? What would they say if I did not go?" "But the brigands, Monseigneur?" "Hold," said the Bishop, "I must think of that. You are right. I may meet them. They, too, need to be told of the good God." "But, Monseigneur, there is a band of them! A flock of wolves!" "Monsieur le maire, it may be that it is of this very flock of wolves that Jesus has constituted me the shepherd. Who knows the ways of Providence?" "They will rob you, Monseigneur." "I have nothing." "They will kill you." "An old goodman of a priest, who passes along mumbling his prayers? Bah! To what purpose?" "Oh, mon Dieu! what if you should meet them!" "I should beg alms of them for my poor." "Do not go, Monseigneur. In the name of Heaven! You are risking your life!" "Monsieur le maire," said the Bishop, "is that really all? I am not in the world to guard my own life, but to guard souls.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
prayer ABCs: A. Acknowledge him. Let him know you’re thinking about him. “Hi, Lord. I love you. Would you go into my day with me?” B. Bring it. Tell him about your concerns or needs. “Lord, I’m worried about making rent this month. Would you show me what to do? Would you provide for my need?” C. Chat. Tell God whatever is on your mind. For example, you could tell him about your day, problems, job, family, bank account, or mother-in-law, just as if you were talking to a good friend. “Lord, did you see the family at dinner tonight? I’m worried about little Bobby. He seemed so quiet, and I’m wondering if something’s wrong. Would you comfort him and give me wisdom to know how to talk to him about what’s going on?
Linda Evans Shepherd (Experiencing God's Presence: Learning to Listen While You Pray)
It is very rare for a child of God to find gold and crude oil on the floor to fetch. He/she must dig and dig deeply well!!!
Israelmore Ayivor
I trust in God. He is my provider, refuge, and shelter.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
God began rewriting the ending to my life's story, our worlds collided with His, and He provided us with the most beautiful second chance.
Shelley Taylor
God began rewriting the ending to my life's story, our worlds collided with His, and He provided us with the most beautiful second chance.
Shelley Taylor (With My Last Breath, I'd Say I Love You)
My God, I desire with all my heart to do Your holy will, I submit in all things and absolutely to Your good pleasure for time and eternity; and I wish to do this, Oh my God, for two reasons; first: because You are my Sovereign Lord and it is but just that Your will should be accomplished; secondly: because I am convinced by faith, and by experience that Your will is in all things as good and beneficent as it is just and adorable, while my own desires are always blind and corrupt; blind, because I know not what I ought to desire or to avoid; corrupt, because I nearly always long for what would do me harm. Therefore, from henceforth, I renounce my own will to follow Yours in all things; dispose of me, Oh my God, according to Your good will and pleasure.
Jean-Pierre de Caussade (Abandonment to Divine Providence)
Judith:"And where, then, is your sweetheart, Deerslayer?" Deerslayer: "She's in the forest, Judith - hanging from the boughs of the trees, in a soft rain - in the dew on the open grass - the clouds that float about in the blue heavens - the birds that sing in the woods - the sweet springs where I slake my thirst - and in all the other glorious gifts that come from God's Providence!
James Fenimore Cooper (The Deerslayer (The Leatherstocking Tales, #1))
God never intended for us to rely on others for our sense of well- being. Only He is equipped to provide that. His perfectly stable, unshifting, unconditional love is the only real measure of my worthiness.
Lysa TerKeurst (Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl)
It's a queer thing is a man's soul. It is the whole of him. Which means it is the unknown him, as well as the known. It seems to me just funny, professors and Benjamins fixing the functions of the soul. Why, the soul of man is a vast forest, and all Benjamin intended was a neat back garden. And we've all got to fit into his kitchen garden scheme of things. Hail Columbia ! The soul of man is a dark forest. The Hercynian Wood that scared the Romans so, and out of which came the white- skinned hordes of the next civilization. Who knows what will come out of the soul of man? The soul of man is a dark vast forest, with wild life in it. Think of Benjamin fencing it off! Oh, but Benjamin fenced a little tract that he called the soul of man, and proceeded to get it into cultivation. Providence, forsooth! And they think that bit of barbed wire is going to keep us in pound for ever? More fools they. ... Man is a moral animal. All right. I am a moral animal. And I'm going to remain such. I'm not going to be turned into a virtuous little automaton as Benjamin would have me. 'This is good, that is bad. Turn the little handle and let the good tap flow,' saith Benjamin, and all America with him. 'But first of all extirpate those savages who are always turning on the bad tap.' I am a moral animal. But I am not a moral machine. I don't work with a little set of handles or levers. The Temperance- silence-order- resolution-frugality-industry-sincerity - justice- moderation-cleanliness-tranquillity-chastity-humility keyboard is not going to get me going. I'm really not just an automatic piano with a moral Benjamin getting tunes out of me. Here's my creed, against Benjamin's. This is what I believe: 'That I am I.' ' That my soul is a dark forest.' 'That my known self will never be more than a little clearing in the forest.' 'Thatgods, strange gods, come forth f rom the forest into the clearing of my known self, and then go back.' ' That I must have the courage to let them come and go.' ' That I will never let mankind put anything over me, but that I will try always to recognize and submit to the gods in me and the gods in other men and women.' There is my creed. He who runs may read. He who prefers to crawl, or to go by gasoline, can call it rot.
D.H. Lawrence (Studies in Classic American Literature)
I knew what my answer would be. I had no doubts, no fears, no hesitation. I knew what I was going to do next, what I had wanted all my life, what the mission to Albertyn had been meant for in God’s providence.
Walter J. Ciszek (He Leadeth Me)
I came to understand that very day that I was always angry because I was selfish. I felt that someone was always infringing on my rights, getting in my space, messing with my things, disregarding my positions, and so on, which offended me, leading to inappropriate behavior. Through wisdom provided by God it dawned on me that I should step outside of the center of the circle so that everything wasn’t always about me.
Ben Carson (One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future)
The point is, however: God save us all from the moral zealot who places himself above the law and is willing to burn my house down, and yours, providing he feels he is sufficiently right and I sufficiently wrong.
Paul Elie (The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage)
Behold Lucius I am come, thy weeping and prayers hath mooved mee to succour thee. I am she that is the naturall mother of all things, mistresse and governesse of all the Elements, the initiall progeny of worlds, chiefe of powers divine, Queene of heaven! the principall of the Gods celestiall, the light of the goddesses: at my will the planets of the ayre, the wholesome winds of the Seas, and the silences of hell be diposed; my name, my divinity is adored throughout all the world in divers manners, in variable customes and in many names, for the Phrygians call me the mother of the Gods: the Athenians, Minerva: the Cyprians, Venus: the Candians, Diana: the Sicilians Proserpina: the Eleusians, Ceres: some Juno, other Bellona, other Hecate: and principally the Aethiopians which dwell in the Orient, and the Aegyptians which are excellent in all kind of ancient doctrine, and by their proper ceremonies accustome to worship mee, doe call mee Queene Isis. Behold I am come to take pitty of thy fortune and tribulation, behold I am present to favour and ayd thee, leave off thy weeping and lamentation, put away all thy sorrow, for behold the healthfull day which is ordained by my providence, therefore be ready to attend to my commandement. This day which shall come after this night, is dedicated to my service, by an eternall religion, my Priests and Ministers doe accustome after the tempests of the Sea, be ceased, to offer in my name a new ship as a first fruit of my Navigation.
Apuleius (The Golden Asse)
I am approached with the most opposite opinions and advice, and that by religious men, who are equally certain that they represent the Divine will. I am sure that either the one or the other is mistaken in that belief, and perhaps in some respects both. I hope it will not be irreverent for me to say that if it is probable that God would reveal his will to others, on a point so connected with my duty, it might be supposed he would reveal it directly to me; for, unless I am more deceived in myself than I often am, it is my earnest desire to know the will of Providence in this matter. And if I can learn what it is, I will do it! These are not, however, the days of miracles, and I suppose it will be granted that I am not to expect a direct revelation. I must study the plain, physical facts of the case, ascertain what is possible and learn what appears to be wise and right.
Abraham Lincoln
What is the use of beauty in woman? Provided a woman is physically well made and capable of bearing children, she will always be good enough in the opinion of economists. What is the use of music? -- of painting? Who would be fool enough nowadays to prefer Mozart to Carrel, Michael Angelo to the inventor of white mustard? There is nothing really beautiful save what is of no possible use. Everything useful is ugly, for it expresses a need, and man's needs are low and disgusting, like his own poor, wretched nature. The most useful place in a house is the water-closet. For my part, saving these gentry's presence, I am of those to whom superfluities are necessaries, and I am fond of things and people in inverse ratio to the service they render me. I prefer a Chinese vase with its mandarins and dragons, which is perfectly useless to me, to a utensil which I do use, and the particular talent of mine which I set most store by is that which enables me not to guess logogriphs and charades. I would very willingly renounce my rights as a Frenchman and a citizen for the sight of an undoubted painting by Raphael, or of a beautiful nude woman, -- Princess Borghese, for instance, when she posed for Canova, or Julia Grisi when she is entering her bath. I would most willingly consent to the return of that cannibal, Charles X., if he brought me, from his residence in Bohemia, a case of Tokai or Johannisberg; and the electoral laws would be quite liberal enough, to my mind, were some of our streets broader and some other things less broad. Though I am not a dilettante, I prefer the sound of a poor fiddle and tambourines to that of the Speaker's bell. I would sell my breeches for a ring, and my bread for jam. The occupation which best befits civilized man seems to me to be idleness or analytically smoking a pipe or cigar. I think highly of those who play skittles, and also of those who write verse. You may perceive that my principles are not utilitarian, and that I shall never be the editor of a virtuous paper, unless I am converted, which would be very comical. Instead of founding a Monthyon prize for the reward of virtue, I would rather bestow -- like Sardanapalus, that great, misunderstood philosopher -- a large reward to him who should invent a new pleasure; for to me enjoyment seems to be the end of life and the only useful thing on this earth. God willed it to be so, for he created women, perfumes, light, lovely flowers, good wine, spirited horses, lapdogs, and Angora cats; for He did not say to his angels, 'Be virtuous,' but, 'Love,' and gave us lips more sensitive than the rest of the skin that we might kiss women, eyes looking upward that we might behold the light, a subtile sense of smell that we might breathe in the soul of the flowers, muscular limbs that we might press the flanks of stallions and fly swift as thought without railway or steam-kettle, delicate hands that we might stroke the long heads of greyhounds, the velvety fur of cats, and the polished shoulder of not very virtuous creatures, and, finally, granted to us alone the triple and glorious privilege of drinking without being thirsty, striking fire, and making love in all seasons, whereby we are very much more distinguished from brutes than by the custom of reading newspapers and framing constitutions.
Théophile Gautier (Mademoiselle de Maupin)
To me, there is nothing more comforting than knowing that there is a God of providence who is aware not only of every one of my transgressions but of every one of my tears, every one of my aches, and every one of my fears.
R.C. Sproul (Does God Control Everything? (Crucial Questions, #14))
There are moments when masses establish contact with their nation's spirit. These are the moments of providence. Masses then see their nation in its entire history, and feel its moments of glory, as well as those of defeat. Then they can clearly feel turbulent events in the future. That contact with the immortal and collective nation's spirit is feverish and trembling. When that happens, people cry. It is probably some kind of national mystery, which some criticize, because they don't know what it represents, and others struggle to define it, because they have never felt it. If the Christian mystery, which tends to ecstasy, is contact between Man and God, through, "ascent from human to divine nature", then the national mystery is nothing more than man's contact, or contact of mass, with the spirit of its nation. Not intellectually, for it could be the case with any historian, but live, in their hearts.
Corneliu Zelea Codreanu (For My Legionaries (the Iron Guard))
A dog thinks: My owners feed me, love me, provide me with a nice house, and take good care of me... They must be gods!A cat thinks: My owners feed me, love me, provide me with a nice house and take good care of me... I must be a god!
Olav Laudy (4000 decent very funny jokes)
Ah! How little I then thought that my eyes looked on him who was to be my life’s beloved; how little I dreamed of the honour God was preparing for me in the near future! It is a mercy that our lives are not left for us to plan, but that our Father chooses for us; else we might sometimes turn away from our best blessings and put from us the choicest and loveliest gifts of His providence. (quoted in Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon by Ray Rhodes, Jr.)
Susannah Spurgeon
The One who has done the greatest thing of all for you, must be concerned about you in everything, and though the clouds are thick and you cannot see His face, you know He is there. 'Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.' Now hold on to that. You say that you do not see His smile. I agree that these earth born clouds prevent my seeing Him, but He is there and He will never allow anything finally harmful to take place. Nothing can happen to you but what He allows, I do not care what it may be, some great disappointment, perhaps, or it may be an illness, it may be a tragedy of some sort, I do not know what it is, but you can be certain of this, that God permits that thing to happen to you because it is ultimately for your good. 'Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness...' (Hebrews 12. 11)." (Spiritual Depression Its Causes and Cure, 145)
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Ecclesiastes This is a book of the Old Testament. I don't believe I've ever read this section of the Bible - I know my Genesis pretty well and my Ten Commandments (I like lists), but I'm hazy on a lot of the other parts. Here, the Britannica provides a handy Cliff Notes version of Ecclesiastes: [the author's] observations on life convinced him that 'the race is not swift, nor the battle strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all' (9:11). Man's fate, the author maintains, does not depend on righteous or wicked conduct but is an inscrutable mystery that remains hidden in God (9:1). All attempts to penetrate this mystery and thereby gain the wisdom necessary to secure one's fate are 'vanity' or futile. In the face of such uncertainty, the author's counsel is to enjoy the good things that God provides while one has them to enjoy. This is great. I've accumulated hundreds of facts in the last seven thousand pages, but i've been craving profundity and perspective. Yes, there was that Dyer poem, but that was just cynical. This is the real thing: the deepest paragraph I've read so far in the encyclopedia. Instant wisdom. It couldn't be more true: the race does not go to the swift. How else to explain the mouth-breathing cretins I knew in high school who now have multimillion-dollar salaries? How else to explain my brilliant friends who are stuck selling wheatgrass juice at health food stores? How else to explain Vin Diesel's show business career? Yes, life is desperately, insanely, absurdly unfair. But Ecclesiastes offers exactly the correct reaction to that fact. There's nothing to be done about it, so enjoy what you can. Take pleasure in the small things - like, for me, Julie's laugh, some nice onion dip, the insanely comfortable beat-up leather chair in our living room. I keep thinking about Ecclesiastes in the days that follow. What if this is the best the encyclopedia has to offer? What if I found the meaning of life on page 347 of the E volume? The Britannica is not a traditional book, so there's no reason why the big revelation should be at the end.
A.J. Jacobs
Men speak of God’s love for man… but if providence does not come in this hour, where is He then? My conclusion is simple. The Semitic texts from Bronze Age Palestine of which Christianity is comprised still fit uncomfortably well with contemporary life. The Old Testament depicts a God capricious and cruel; blood sacrifice, vengeance, genocide; death and destruction et al. Would He not approve of Herr Hitler and the brutal, tribalistic crusade against Hebrews and non-Christian ‘untermensch?’ One thing is inarguable. His church on Earth has produced some of the most vigorous and violent contribution to the European fascist cause. It is synergy. Man Created God, even if God Created Man; it all exists in the hubris and apotheosis of the narcissistic soul, and alas, all too many of the human herd are willing to follow the beastly trait of leadership. The idea of self-emancipation and advancement, with Europe under the jackboot of fascism, would be Quixotic to the point of mirthless lunacy.
Daniel S. Fletcher (Jackboot Britain)
In the Book of Genesis, Abraham believes that God is commanding him to sacrifice his beloved son as proof of his love and obedience. But just as Abraham is about to thrust the knife into his terrified child, an angel grasps his hand and there in the thicket is a sheep that God has provided for the sacrifice. Most people find this story horrifying, but what my father taught me that day was this: No matter how sacred the calling appears, it is not God’s will for parents to sacrifice their children.
Katherine Paterson (Stories of My Life)
I smiled at him, and told him that men in our circumstances were past the operation of fear: that seeing almost every condition that could be, was better than that which we were supposed to be in, we ought to expect that the consequence, whether death or life, would be sure to be a deliverance. I asked him what he thought of the circumstances of my life, and whether a deliverance were not worth venturing for. ‘And where, sir,’ said I, ‘is your belief of my being preserved here on purpose to save your life, which elevated you a little while ago? For my part,’ said I, ‘there seems to be but one thing amiss in all the prospect of it.’ ‘What’s that?’ says he. ‘Why,’ said I, ‘ ’tis that as you say, there are three or four honest fellows among them, which should be spared; had they been all of the wicked part of the crew, I should have thought God’s providence had singled them out to deliver them into your hands; for depend upon it, every man of them that comes a-shore are our own, and shall die or live as they behave to us.
Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe (Robinson Crusoe, #1))
Does trying to understand the universe at all betray a lack of humility ? I believe it is true that humility is the only just response in a confrontation with the universe, but not a humility that prevents us from seeking the nature of the universe we are admiring. If we seek that nature, then love can be informed by truth instead of being based on ignorance and self-deception. If a Creator God exists, would He or She or It or whatever the appropriate pronoun is, prefer a kind of sodden blockhead who worships while understanding nothing ? Or would He prefer His votaries to admire the real universe in all its intricacy ? I would suggest that science is, at least in part, informed worship. My deeply held belief is that if a god of anything like the traditional sort exists, then our curiosity and intelligence are provided by such a god. We would be unappreciative of those gifts if we suppressed our passion to explore the universe and ourselves. On the other hand, if such a traditional god does not exist, then our curiosity and our intelligence are the essential tools for managing our survival in an extremely dangerous time. In either case the enterprise of knowledge is consistent surely with science; it should be with religion, and it is essential for the welfare of the human species.
Carl Sagan (The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God)
I have worried that you might think I did not take your question as seriously as I should have. I realize I have always believed there is a great Providence that, so to speak, waits ahead of us. A father holds out his hands to a child who is learning to walk, and he comforts the child with words and draws it toward him, but he lets the child feel the risk it is taking, and lets it choose its own courage and the certainty of love and comfort when he reaches his father over—I was going to say choose it over safety, but there is no safety. And there is no choice, either, because it is in the nature of the child to walk. As it is to want the attention and encouragement of the father. And the promise of comfort. Which it is in the nature of the father to give. I feel it would be presumptuous of me to describe the ways of God. Those that are all we know of Him, when there is so much we don’t know. Though we are told to call Him Father. And I know it would be presumptuous to speak as if the suffering that people feel as they pass through the world were not grave enough to make your question much more powerful than any answer I could offer. My faith tells me that God shared poverty, suffering, and death with human beings, which can only mean that such things are full of dignity and meaning, even though to believe this makes a great demand on one’s faith, and to act as if this were true in any way we understand is to be ridiculous. It is ridiculous also to act as if it were not absolutely and essentially true all the same. Even though we are to do everything we can to put an end to poverty and suffering.
Marilynne Robinson (Lila)
And now I speak of thanking God, I desire with all humility to acknowledge that I owe the mentioned happiness of my past life to His kind providence, which lead me to the means I used and gave them success. My belief of this induces me to hope, though I must not presume, that the same goodness will still be exercised toward me, in continuing that happiness, or enabling me to bear a fatal reverse, which I may experience as others have done; the complexion of my future fortune being known to Him only in whose power it is to bless to us even our afflictions.
Benjamin Franklin (The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin)
The Bible teaches about the hand of the heavenly Father not only that it provides but also that it punishes. And his hand is upon his children. If I Iay my hands on somebody else’s child I’ll either have them at my front door or the policeman with them. I must not lay my hand in punishment on someone else’s child, but on my own child I could. That is why whom the Lord loves he chastises or chastens.  Indeed, says the New Testament, if you never feel the hand of God upon you in punishment you are a bastard, you are not a son of God; you are not his true son.
David Pawson (Come with me through Isaiah)
AS LONG AS we follow a spiritual approach promising salvation, miracles, liberation, then we are bound by the “golden chain of spirituality.” Such a chain might be beautiful to wear, with its inlaid jewels and intricate carvings, but nevertheless, it imprisons us. People think they can wear the golden chain for decoration without being imprisoned by it, but they are deceiving themselves. As long as one’s approach to spirituality is based upon enriching ego, then it is spiritual materialism, a suicidal process rather than a creative one. All the promises we have heard are pure seduction. We expect the teachings to solve all our problems; we expect to be provided with magical means to deal with our depressions, our aggressions, our sexual hangups. But to our surprise we begin to realize that this is not going to happen. It is very disappointing to realize that we must work on ourselves and our suffering rather than depend upon a savior or the magical power of yogic techniques. It is disappointing to realize that we have to give up our expectations rather than build on the basis of our preconceptions. We must allow ourselves to be disappointed, which means the surrendering of me-ness, my achievement. We would like to watch ourselves attain enlightenment, watch our disciples celebrating, worshiping, throwing flowers at us, with miracles and earthquakes occurring and gods and angels singing and so forth. This never happens. The attainment of enlightenment from ego’s point of view is extreme death, the death of self, the death of me and mine, the death of the watcher. It is the ultimate and final disappointment. Treading the spiritual path is painful. It is a constant unmasking, peeling off of layer after layer of masks. It involves insult after insult.
Chögyam Trungpa (The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation (Shambhala Classics))
She was fifty-three years old and lonely and oppressed; why couldn't he let her have her illusions? That was what her wounded, half-drunken eyes had seemed to be saying throughout his interrogation: Why can't I have my illusions? Because they're lies, he told her silently in his mind as he champed his jaws and swallowed the cheap food. Everything you say is a lie.(...) Everything you live by is a lie, and you want to know what the truth is? He watched her with murderous distaste as she fumbled with her spoon. They had ordered ice cream, and some of it clung to her lips as she rolled a cold mouthful on her tongue. Do you want to know what the truth is? The truth is that your fingernails are all broken and black because you're working as a laborer and God knows how we're ever going to get you out of that lens-grinding shop. The truth is that I'm a private in the infantry and I'm probably going to get my head blown off. The truth is, I don't really want to be sitting here at all, eating this goddam ice cream and letting you talk yourself drunk while all my time runs out. The truth is, I wish I'd taken my pass to Lynchburg today and gone to a whorehouse. That's the truth.
Richard Yates (A Special Providence)
We are committed to involving as many people as possible, as young as possible, as soon as possible. Sometimes too young and too soon! But we intentionally err on the side of too fast rather than too slow. We don’t wait until people feel “prepared” or “fully equipped.” Seriously, when is anyone ever completely prepared for ministry? Ministry makes people’s faith bigger. If you want to increase someone’s confidence in God, put him in a ministry position before he feels fully equipped. The messages your environments communicate have the potential to trump your primary message. If you don’t see a mess, if you aren’t bothered by clutter, you need to make sure there is someone around you who does see it and is bothered by it. An uncomfortable or distracting setting can derail ministry before it begins. The sermon begins in the parking lot. Assign responsibility, not tasks. At the end of the day, it’s application that makes all the difference. Truth isn’t helpful if no one understands or remembers it. If you want a church full of biblically educated believers, just teach what the Bible says. If you want to make a difference in your community and possibly the world, give people handles, next steps, and specific applications. Challenge them to do something. As we’ve all seen, it’s not safe to assume that people automatically know what to do with what they’ve been taught. They need specific direction. This is hard. This requires an extra step in preparation. But this is how you grow people. Your current template is perfectly designed to produce the results you are currently getting. We must remove every possible obstacle from the path of the disinterested, suspicious, here-against-my-will, would-rather-be-somewhere-else, unchurched guests. The parking lot, hallways, auditorium, and stage must be obstacle-free zones. As a preacher, it’s my responsibility to offend people with the gospel. That’s one reason we work so hard not to offend them in the parking lot, the hallway, at check-in, or in the early portions of our service. We want people to come back the following week for another round of offending! Present the gospel in uncompromising terms, preach hard against sin, and tackle the most emotionally charged topics in culture, while providing an environment where unchurched people feel comfortable. The approach a church chooses trumps its purpose every time. Nothing says hypocrite faster than Christians expecting non-Christians to behave like Christians when half the Christians don’t act like it half the time. When you give non-Christians an out, they respond by leaning in. Especially if you invite them rather than expect them. There’s a big difference between being expected to do something and being invited to try something. There is an inexorable link between an organization’s vision and its appetite for improvement. Vision exposes what has yet to be accomplished. In this way, vision has the power to create a healthy sense of organizational discontent. A leader who continually keeps the vision out in front of his or her staff creates a thirst for improvement. Vision-centric churches expect change. Change is a means to an end. Change is critical to making what could and should be a reality. Write your vision in ink; everything else should be penciled in. Plans change. Vision remains the same. It is natural to assume that what worked in the past will always work. But, of course, that way of thinking is lethal. And the longer it goes unchallenged, the more difficult it is to identify and eradicate. Every innovation has an expiration date. The primary reason churches cling to outdated models and programs is that they lack leadership.
Andy Stanley (Deep and Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend)
The connection between radical attentiveness, prayer, and joy pervades Jewish mystical thinking in its diverse phases but never so brightly, so every-day-related, and so clearly as in Hasidism. Melancholy is the dust in the soul that Satan spreads out. Worry and dejection are seen to be the roots of every evil force. Melancholy is a wicked quality and displeasing to God, says Martin Buber. Rabbi Bunam said: "Once when I was on the road near Warsaw, I felt that I had to tell a certain story. But this story was of a worldly nature and I knew that it would only rouse laughter among the many people who had gathered about me. The Evil Urge tried very hard to dissuade me, saying that I would lose all those people because once they heard this story they would no longer consider me a rabbi. But I said to my heart: `Why should you he concerned about the secret ways of God?' And I remembered the words of Rabbi Pinhas of Koretz: 'All joys hail from paradise, and jests too, provided they are uttered in true joy’ And so in my heart of hearts I renounced my rabbi's office and told the story. The gathering burst out laughing. And those who up to this point had been distant from me attached themselves to me." (a quote from Tales of the Hasidim by Martin Buber). Joy, laughter, and delight are so powerful because, like all mysticism, they abolish conventional divisions, in this case the division between secular and sacred. The often boisterous laughter, especially of women, is part and parcel of the everyday life of mystical movements.
Dorothee Sölle (The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance)
When I read Muller’s biography I was shocked to learn why he started the orphanage. His primary purpose was not to care for orphans. Instead, he wrote in his journal: If I, a poor man, simply by prayer and faith, obtained without asking any individual, the means for establishing and carrying on an Orphan-House, there would be something which, with the Lord’s blessing, might be instrumental in strengthening the faith of the children of God, besides being a testimony to the consciences of the unconverted, of the reality of the things of God. This, then, was the primary reason for establishing the Orphan-House.… The first and primary object of the work was (and still is:) that God might be magnified by the fact, that the orphans under my care are provided with all they need, only by prayer and faith without anyone being asked by me or my fellow-laborers whereby it may be seen, that God is faithful still, and hears prayer still.8 Muller decided that he wanted to live in such a way that it would be evident to all who looked at his life—Christian and non-Christian alike—that God is indeed faithful to provide for his people. He risked his life trusting in the greatness of God, and in the end his life made much of the glory of God.
David Platt (Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream)
He did not affirm the revolting conception of original sin, nor did he feel inclined to argue that it is a beneficent God who protects the worthless and wicked, rains misfortunes on children, stultifies the aged and afflicts the innocent. He did not exalt the virtues of a Providence which has invented that useless, incomprehensible, unjust and senseless abomination, physical suffering. Far from seeking to justify, as does the Church, the necessity of torments and afflictions, he cried, in his outraged pity: "If a God has made this world, I should not wish to be that God. The world's wretchedness would rend my heart.
Joris-Karl Huysmans (A rebours. English)
I do not find myself beguiled, let alone enchanted by mortal man or woman with their pretense, show or adornments, yet when I’m alone in the pine-scented cloak of forested mountains, I’m both. It was nearing sunset in the treasure state with not another soul in sight and despite my own plainness and insignificance, I never felt more grounded or at peace; it’s a tranquility only the curvaceous, imposing landscape of the frontier can provide and I was free of the trepidation within my thoughts as I gratefully and prayerfully walked with God. All was well within me and around me for that blissful yet brief moment in time.
Donna Lynn Hope
Shelton pushed Ben lightly. “Remember when you couldn’t flare without losing your temper? So Hi kicked you from behind to get you mad, and you threw him in the ocean?” Ben snorted. “He deserved it.” “I was providing a service,” Hi protested. “I recall Tory once trying to eat a mouse.” I pinched my nose. “Ugh, don’t remind me.” Ella giggled. “One time Cole lost his flare while carrying a boulder. It pinned his leg for an hour.” Then everyone had a story. Our funeral became a wake. The mood lifted as we swapped flare stories. It was cathartic. A way to say good-bye. I caught Ben smiling at me. “I remember when Tory sniffed that mound of bird crap in the old lighthouse. I thought she’d vomit on the spot.” Chance laughed. “I knew she was too clever. Always with a trick up her sleeve.” The boys glanced at each other. Their smiles faded. Something passed between them. Abruptly, both looked at me. I could see a question in their eyes. A resolve to see something through. They talked. Oh God, they talked about me. They’re going to make me choose. In a flash of dread, I realized I could delay this no longer. With another jolt, I realized I didn’t need to. There was no point putting it off. There was also no decision to make. My eyes met a dark, intense pair staring back earnestly. Longingly. Fearfully. I smiled. Even as my heart pounded. Before anyone spoke, I stepped forward, legs shaking so badly I worried I might fall. But my second foot successfully followed the first. I walked over to Ben’s side. Slipped my hand inside his. Squeezed for dear life. Ben’s eyes widened. He gasped quietly, his chest rising and falling. I met his startled gaze. Smiled through my blushes. A goofy smile split Ben’s face, one I’d never seen before. His fingers crushed mine. No decision to make. Tearing my eyes from Ben, I looked at Chance, found him watching me with a glum expression. Then he sighed, a wry smile twisting his lips. Chance nodded slightly. Not one word spoken. Volumes exchanged. The silence stretched, like a living breathing force. Finally, Hi cleared his throat. “Um.” My face burned scarlet as I remembered our audience. Ella was gaping at me, a delighted grin on her face. Shelton looked like he might turn and run. Hi was rubbing the back of his neck, his face twisted in an uncomfortable grimace. Still no one said a word. This was the most painful moment of my life. “So . . .” Hi drummed his thighs, eyes fixed to the pavement. “Right. A lot just happened there. Weirdly without anyone talking, but, um, yeah.
Kathy Reichs (Terminal (Virals, #5))
Most churches do not grow beyond the spiritual health of their leadership. Many churches have a pastor who is trying to lead people to a Savior he has yet to personally encounter. If spiritual gifting is no proof of authentic faith, then certainly a job title isn't either. You must have a clear sense of calling before you enter ministry. Being a called man is a lonely job, and many times you feel like God has abandoned you in your ministry. Ministry is more than hard. Ministry is impossible. And unless we have a fire inside our bones compelling us, we simply will not survive. Pastoral ministry is a calling, not a career. It is not a job you pursue. If you don’t think demons are real, try planting a church! You won’t get very far in advancing God’s kingdom without feeling resistance from the enemy. If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. Once a month I get away for the day, once a quarter I try to get out for two days, and once a year I try to get away for a week. The purpose of these times is rest, relaxation, and solitude with God. A pastor must always be fearless before his critics and fearful before his God. Let us tremble at the thought of neglecting the sheep. Remember that when Christ judges us, he will judge us with a special degree of strictness. The only way you will endure in ministry is if you determine to do so through the prevailing power of the Holy Spirit. The unsexy reality of the pastorate is that it involves hard work—the heavy-lifting, curse-ridden, unyielding employment of your whole person for the sake of the church. Pastoral ministry requires dogged, unyielding determination, and determination can only come from one source—God himself. Passive staff members must be motivated. Erring elders and deacons must be confronted. Divisive church members must be rebuked. Nobody enjoys doing such things (if you do, you should be not be a pastor!), but they are necessary in order to have a healthy church over the long haul. If you allow passivity, laziness, and sin to fester, you will soon despise the church you pastor. From the beginning of sacred Scripture (Gen. 2:17) to the end (Rev. 21:8), the penalty for sin is death. Therefore, if we sin, we should die. But it is Jesus, the sinless one, who dies in our place for our sins. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus died to take to himself the penalty of our sin. The Bible is not Christ-centered because it is generally about Jesus. It is Christ-centered because the Bible’s primary purpose, from beginning to end, is to point us toward the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus for the salvation and sanctification of sinners. Christ-centered preaching goes much further than merely providing suggestions for how to live; it points us to the very source of life and wisdom and explains how and why we have access to him. Felt needs are set into the context of the gospel, so that the Christian message is not reduced to making us feel better about ourselves. If you do not know how sinful you are, you feel no need of salvation. Sin-exposing preaching helps people come face-to-face with their sin and their great need for a Savior. We can worship in heaven, and we can talk to God in heaven, and we can read our Bibles in heaven, but we can’t share the gospel with our lost friends in heaven. “Would your city weep if your church did not exist?” It was crystal-clear for me. Somehow, through fear or insecurity, I had let my dreams for our church shrink. I had stopped thinking about the limitless things God could do and had been distracted by my own limitations. I prayed right there that God would forgive me of my small-mindedness. I asked God to forgive my lack of faith that God could use a man like me to bring the message of the gospel through our missionary church to our lost city. I begged God to renew my heart and mind with a vision for our city that was more like Christ's.
Darrin Patrick (Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission)
As Christians we face two tasks in our evangelism: saving the soul and saving the mind, that is to say, not only converting people spiritually, but converting them intellectually as well. And the Church is lagging dangerously behind with regard to this second task. If the church loses the intellectual battle in one generation, then evangelism will become immeasurably more difficult in the next. The war is not yet lost, and it is one which we must not lose: souls of men and women hang in the balance. For the sake of greater effectiveness in witnessing to Jesus Christ Himself, as well as for their own sakes, evangelicals cannot afford to keep on living on the periphery of responsible intellectual existence. Thinking about your faith is indeed a virtue, for it helps you to better understand and defend your faith. But thinking about your faith is not equivalent to doubting your faith. Doubt is never a purely intellectual problem. There is a spiritual dimension to the problem that must be recognized. Never lose sight of the fact that you are involved in spiritual warfare and there is an enemy of your soul who hates you intensely, whose goal is your destruction, and who will stop at nothing to destroy you. Reason can be used to defend our faith by formulating arguments for the existence of God or by refuting objections. But though the arguments so developed serve to confirm the truth of our faith, they are not properly the basis of our faith, for that is supplied by the witness of the Holy Spirit Himself. Even if there were no arguments in defense of the faith, our faith would still have its firm foundation. The more I learn, the more desperately ignorant I feel. Further study only serves to open up to one's consciousness all the endless vistas of knowledge, even in one's own field, about which one knows absolutely nothing. Don't let your doubts just sit there: pursue them and keep after them until you drive them into the ground. We should be cautious, indeed, about thinking that we have come upon the decisive disproof of our faith. It is pretty unlikely that we have found the irrefutable objection. The history of philosophy is littered with the wrecks of such objections. Given the confidence that the Holy Spirit inspires, we should esteem lightly the arguments and objections that generate our doubts. These, then, are some of the obstacles to answered prayer: sin in our lives, wrong motives, lack of faith, lack of earnestness, lack of perseverance, lack of accordance with God’s will. If any of those obstacles hinders our prayers, then we cannot claim with confidence Jesus’ promise, “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it”. And so I was led to what was for me a radical new insight into the will of God, namely, that God’s will for our lives can include failure. In other words, God’s will may be that you fail, and He may lead you into failure! For there are things that God has to teach you through failure that He could never teach you through success. So many in our day seem to have been distracted from what was, is and always will be the true priority for every human being — that is, learning to know God in Christ. My greatest fear is that I should some day stand before the Lord and see all my works go up in smoke like so much “wood, hay, and stubble”. The chief purpose of life is not happiness, but knowledge of God. People tend naturally to assume that if God exists, then His purpose for human life is happiness in this life. God’s role is to provide a comfortable environment for His human pets. But on the Christian view, this is false. We are not God’s pets, and the goal of human life is not happiness per se, but the knowledge of God—which in the end will bring true and everlasting human fulfilment. Many evils occur in life which may be utterly pointless with respect to the goal of producing human happiness; but they may not be pointless with respect to producing a deeper knowledge of God.
William Lane Craig (Hard Questions, Real Answers)
When you wake raise your soul to God, realising His divine presence; adore the Blessed Trinity, imitating the great St. Francis Xavier, "I adore You, God the Father, who created me, I adore You, God the Son, who redeemed me, I adore You, God the Holy Ghost who have sanctified me, and continue to carry on the work of my sanctification. I consecrate this day entirely to Your love and to Your greater glory. I know not what this day will bring me either pleasant or troublesome, whether I shall be happy or sorrowful, shall enjoy consolation or undergo pain and grief, it shall be as You please; I give myself into Your hands and submit myself to whatever You will.
Jean-Pierre de Caussade (Abandonment to Divine Providence)
Explaining temptation by saying “God is testing me” or “Satan is attacking me” positions “me” either as the victim, if I am defeated, or the hero, if I prevail. But confessing that “My heart is desperately wicked” provides no such comforts. It heads off all attempts to shift blame, and cuts down all the pretensions of spiritual pride.
Colin S. Smith (Jonah: Navigating a God-Centered Life)
DEAR MAMA, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to write. Every time I try to write to you and Papa I realize I’m not saying the things that are in my heart. That would be O.K., if I loved you any less than I do, but you are still my parents and I am still your child. I have friends who think I’m foolish to write this letter. I hope they’re wrong. I hope their doubts are based on parents who loved and trusted them less than mine do. I hope especially that you’ll see this as an act of love on my part, a sign of my continuing need to share my life with you. I wouldn’t have written, I guess, if you hadn’t told me about your involvement in the Save Our Children campaign. That, more than anything, made it clear that my responsibility was to tell you the truth, that your own child is homosexual, and that I never needed saving from anything except the cruel and ignorant piety of people like Anita Bryant. I’m sorry, Mama. Not for what I am, but for how you must feel at this moment. I know what that feeling is, for I felt it for most of my life. Revulsion, shame, disbelief—rejection through fear of something I knew, even as a child, was as basic to my nature as the color of my eyes. No, Mama, I wasn’t “recruited.” No seasoned homosexual ever served as my mentor. But you know what? I wish someone had. I wish someone older than me and wiser than the people in Orlando had taken me aside and said, “You’re all right, kid. You can grow up to be a doctor or a teacher just like anyone else. You’re not crazy or sick or evil. You can succeed and be happy and find peace with friends—all kinds of friends—who don’t give a damn who you go to bed with. Most of all, though, you can love and be loved, without hating yourself for it.” But no one ever said that to me, Mama. I had to find it out on my own, with the help of the city that has become my home. I know this may be hard for you to believe, but San Francisco is full of men and women, both straight and gay, who don’t consider sexuality in measuring the worth of another human being. These aren’t radicals or weirdos, Mama. They are shop clerks and bankers and little old ladies and people who nod and smile to you when you meet them on the bus. Their attitude is neither patronizing nor pitying. And their message is so simple: Yes, you are a person. Yes, I like you. Yes, it’s all right for you to like me too. I know what you must be thinking now. You’re asking yourself: What did we do wrong? How did we let this happen? Which one of us made him that way? I can’t answer that, Mama. In the long run, I guess I really don’t care. All I know is this: If you and Papa are responsible for the way I am, then I thank you with all my heart, for it’s the light and the joy of my life. I know I can’t tell you what it is to be gay. But I can tell you what it’s not. It’s not hiding behind words, Mama. Like family and decency and Christianity. It’s not fearing your body, or the pleasures that God made for it. It’s not judging your neighbor, except when he’s crass or unkind. Being gay has taught me tolerance, compassion and humility. It has shown me the limitless possibilities of living. It has given me people whose passion and kindness and sensitivity have provided a constant source of strength. It has brought me into the family of man, Mama, and I like it here. I like it. There’s not much else I can say, except that I’m the same Michael you’ve always known. You just know me better now. I have never consciously done anything to hurt you. I never will. Please don’t feel you have to answer this right away. It’s enough for me to know that I no longer have to lie to the people who taught me to value the truth. Mary Ann sends her love. Everything is fine at 28 Barbary Lane. Your loving son, MICHAEL
Armistead Maupin (More Tales of the City (Tales of the City #2))
People care about what your business can do for them. How will it help them? What’s in it for them? Will it solve their problem? Make their life easier? Provide them with shelter? Save them money? Educate them? Make them feel something? Tell me, why on God’s green Earth should I give your business money? What value are you adding to my life?
M.J. DeMarco (The Millionaire Fastlane)
God uses prepared vessels, no substitute. God is not looking for a rocket scientist, he's looking for those with a mind, and then he will finish the rest. It's like, 'God, here I am, send me,' and He will do the rest. He will prepare you. He will provide for your preparation. One thing I have seen in all my years of travel all over the world and in teaching and in proclaiming the Gospel, whoever is hungry for the word, God will break every barrier to get to that person. And who wants to know God, God will make Himself available to that person - somewhere somehow. The problem the church is having today is we have so many unprepared vessels in the church, and it's showing everywhere.
Moses C. Onwubiko
I use the word “God” in an impersonal sense, like Einstein did, for the laws of nature, so knowing the mind of God is knowing the laws of nature. My prediction is that we will know the mind of God by the end of this century. The one remaining area that religion can now lay claim to is the origin of the universe, but even here science is making progress and should soon provide a definitive answer to how the universe began. I published a book that asked if God created the universe, and that caused something of a stir. People got upset that a scientist should have anything to say on the matter of religion. I have no desire to tell anyone what to believe, but for me asking if God exists is a valid question for science. After all, it is hard to think of a more important, or fundamental, mystery than what, or who, created and controls the universe. I think the universe was spontaneously created out of nothing, according to the laws of science. The basic assumption of science is scientific determinism. The laws of science determine the evolution of the universe, given its state at one time. These laws may, or may not, have been decreed by God, but he cannot intervene to break the laws, or they would not be laws. That leaves God with the freedom to choose the initial state of the universe, but even here it seems there may be laws. So God would have no freedom at all.
Stephen Hawking (Brief Answers to the Big Questions)
Luckily for the people she helped, my mother was gloriously inconsistent. She lived according to the more enlightened parts of the Bible and ignored the rest. For instance, no matter what she claimed the Bible taught about homosexuality, Mom acted as if being born gay was just another way to be human. She provided refuge, love and compassion to many gay
Frank Schaeffer (Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God: How to give love, create beauty and find peace)
No; I know I should think well of myself; but that is not enough: if others don't love me I would rather die than live — I cannot bear to be solitary and hated, Helen. Look here; to gain some real affection from you, or Miss Temple, or any other whom I truly love, I would willingly submit to have the bone of my arm broken, or to let a bull toss me, or to stand behind a kicking horse, and let it dash its hoof at my chest — " "Hush, Jane! you think too much of the love of human beings; you are too impulsive, too vehement; the sovereign hand that created your frame, and put life into it, has provided you with other resources than your feeble self, or than creatures feeble as you. Besides this earth, and besides the race of men, there is an invisible world and a kingdom of spirits: that world is round us, for it is everywhere; and those spirits watch us, for they are commissioned to guard us; and if we were dying in pain and shame, if scorn smote us on all sides, and hatred crushed us, angels see our tortures, recognise our innocence (if innocent we be: as I know you are of this charge which Mr. Brocklehurst has weakly and pompously repeated at second-hand from Mrs. Reed; for I read a sincere nature in your ardent eyes and on your clear front), and God waits only the separation of spirit from flesh to crown us with a full reward. Why, then, should we ever sink overwhelmed with distress, when life is so soon over, and death is so certain an entrance to happiness — to glory?
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
First of all, my child, think magnificently of God. Magnify His providence; adore His power, pray to Him frequently and incessantly. Bear Him always in your mind. Teach your thoughts to reverence Him in every place for there is no place where He is not. Therefore, my child, fear and worship and love God; first and last, think magnificently of Him! —PATERNUS, ADVICE TO A SON
Dallas Willard (Life Without Lack: Living in the Fullness of Psalm 23)
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER … Do I trust in God my loving Father or in my own puny efforts to “control” the circumstances of my life? Do I worry so much that I have become a person “of little faith?” CLOSING PRAYER Lord, I know that you love me. Please grant me the graces I need each day to have faith and confidence in your loving providence, come what may. Jesus, I trust in you.
Patrick Madrid (A Year with the Bible: Scriptural Wisdom for Daily Living)
The erotic functions for me in several ways, and the first is in providing the power which comes from sharing deeply any pursuit with another person. The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference. Another important way in which the erotic connection functions is the open and fearless underlining of my capacity for joy, in the way my body stretches to music and opens into response, harkening to its deepest rhythms so every level upon which I sense also opens to the erotically satisfying experience whether it is dancing, building a bookcase, writing a poem, or examining an idea. That self-connection shared is a measure of the joy which I know myself to be capable of feeling, a reminder of my capacity for feeling. And that deep and irreplaceable knowledge of my capacity for joy comes to demand from all of my life that it be lived within the knowledge that such satisfaction is possible, and does not have to be called marriage, nor god, nor an afterlife.
Audre Lorde
Some people are naturally solitary. They want to live lone lives, and are content. Most, however, have a need for enduring, close relationships. These provide both a psychic and social framework for personal growth, under­standing, and development. It is an easy enough matter to shout to the skies: "I love my fellow men," when on the other hand you ronn no strong, enduring relationship with others. It is easy to claim an equal love for all members of the species, but love itself requires an understanding that at your level of activity is based upon intimate experience. You cannot love someone you do not know-not unless you water down the definition of love so much that it becomes meaningless. To love someone, you must appreciate how that per­son differs from yourself and from others. You must hold that person in mind so that to some extent love is a kind of meditation-a loving focus upon another individual. Once you experience that kind of love you can translate it into other tenns. The love itself spreads out, expands, so that you can then see others in love's light. Love is naturally creative and explorative-that is, you want to creatively explore the aspects of the beloved one. Even characteristics that would otherwise appear as mults attain a certain loving significance. They are accepted­seen, and yet they make no difference. Because these are still attributes of the beloved one, even the seeming faults are redeemed. The beloved attains prominence over all others. The span of a god's love can perhaps equally hold within its vision the existences of all individuals at one time in an infinite loving glance that beholds each person, seeing each with all his or her peculiar characteristics and tendencies. Such a god's glance would delight in each person's difference from each other person. This would not be a blanket love, a soupy porridge of a glance in which individuality melted, but a love based on a full understand­ing of each individual. The emotion of love brings you closest to an understanding of the nature of All That Is. Love incites dedication, commitment. It specifies. You cannot, therefore, honestly insist that you love humanity and all people equally if you do not love one other person. If you do not love yourself, it is quite difficult to love another.
Seth
I pray where I am, sitting by the window, looking out through the curtain at the empty garden. I don't even close my eyes. Out there or inside my head, it's an equal darkness. Or light. My God. Who Art in the Kingdom of Heaven, which is within. I wish you would tell me Your Name, the real one I mean. But You will do as well as anything. I wish I knew what You were up to. But whatever it is, help me to get through it, please. Though maybe it's not our doing: I don't believe for an instant that what's going on out there is what You meant. I have enough daily bread, so I won't waste time on that. It isn't the main problem. The problem is getting it down without choking on it. Now we come to forgiveness. Don't worry about forgiving me right now. There are more important things. For instance: keep the others safe, if they are safe. Don't let them suffer too much. If they have to die, let it be fast. You might even provide a Heaven for them. We need You for that. Hell we can make for ourselves. I suppose I should say I forgive whoever did this, and whatever they're doing now. I'll try, but it isn't easy. Temptation comes next. At the Center, temptation was anything much more than eating and sleeping. Knowing was a temptation. What you don't know won't tempt you, Aunt Lydia used to say. Maybe I don't really want to know what's going on. Maybe I'd rather not know. Maybe I couldn't bear to know. The Fall was a fall from innocence to knowledge. I think about the chandelier too much, though it's gone now. But you could use a hook, in the closet. I've considered the possibilities. All you'd have to do, after attaching yourself, would be to lean your weight forward and not fight. Deliver us from evil. Then there's Kingdom, power, and glory. It takes a lot to believe in those right now. But I'll try it anyway. In Hope, as they say on the gravestones. You must feel pretty ripped off. I guess it's not the first time. If I were You I'd be fed up. I'd really be sick of it. I guess that's the difference between us. I feel very unreal talking to You like this. I fee as if I'm talking to a wall. I wish You'd answer. I feel so alone. All alone by the telephone. Except that I can't use the telephone. And if I could, who could I call? Oh God. It's no joke. Oh God oh God. How can I keep on living.
Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale (The Handmaid's Tale, #1))
Larry smiled a trifle ruefully. "Like Rolla [who is?], I've come too late into a world too old. I should have been born in the Middle Ages when faith was a matter of course; then my way would have been clear to me and I'd have sought to enter the order. I couldn't believe. I wanted to believe, but I couldn't believe in a God who wasn't better than the ordinary decent man. The monks told me that God had created the world for his glorification. That didn't seem to me a very worthy object. Did Beethoven create his symphonies for his glorification? I don't believe it. I believe he created them because the music in his soul demanded expression and then all he tried to do was to make them as perfect as he knew how. I used to listen to the monks repeating the Lord's Prayer; I wondered how they could continue to pray without misgiving to their heavenly father to give them their daily bread. Do children beseech their earthly father to give them sustenance? They expect him to do it, they neither feel gratitude to him for doing so nor need to, and we have only blame for a man who brings children into the world that he can't or won't provide for. It seemed to me that if an omnipotent creator was not prepared to provide his creatures with the necessities, material and spiritual, of existence he'd have done better not to create them." "Dear Larry," I said, "I think it's just as well you weren't born in the Middle ages. You'd undoubtedly have perished at the stake." He smiled. "You've had a great deal of success," he went on. "Do you want to be praised to your face?" "It only embarrasses me." "That's what I should have thought. I couldn't believe that God wanted it either. We didn't think much in the air corps of a fellow who wangled a cushy job out of his C.O. By buttering him up. It was hard for me to believe that God thought much of a man who tried to wangle salvation by fulsome flattery. I should have thought the worship most pleasing to him was to do your best according to your lights.
W. Somerset Maugham (The Razor's Edge)
George Muller, that remarkable man of such simple yet strong faith in God, a man of prayer and Bible reading, founder and promoter of the noted orphanage in England, which cared for hundreds of orphan children, conducted the institution solely by faith and prayer. He never asked a man for anything, but simply trusted in the Providence of God, and it is a notorious fact that never did the inmates of the home lack any good thing. From his paper he always excluded money matters, and financial difficulties found no place in it. Nor would he mention the sums which had been given him, nor the names of those who made contributions. He never spoke of his wants to others nor asked a donation. The story of his life and the history of this orphanage read like a chapter from the Scriptures. The secret of his success was found in this simple statement made by him: “I went to my God and prayed diligently, and received what I needed.” That was the simple course which he pursued. There was nothing he insisted on with greater earnestness than that, be the expenses what they might be, let them increase ever so suddenly, he must not beg for anything. There was nothing in which he took more delight and showed more earnestness in telling than that he had prayed for every want which ever came to him in his great work. His was a work of continuous and most importunate praying, and he always confidently claimed that God had guided him throughout it all. A stronger proof of a divine providence, and of the power of simple faith and of answered prayer, cannot be found in Church history or religious biography.
E.M. Bounds (The Complete Collection of E. M. Bounds on Prayer)
Girls aside, the other thing I found in the last few years of being at school, was a quiet, but strong Christian faith – and this touched me profoundly, setting up a relationship or faith that has followed me ever since. I am so grateful for this. It has provided me with a real anchor to my life and has been the secret strength to so many great adventures since. But it came to me very simply one day at school, aged only sixteen. As a young kid, I had always found that a faith in God was so natural. It was a simple comfort to me: unquestioning and personal. But once I went to school and was forced to sit through somewhere in the region of nine hundred dry, Latin-liturgical, chapel services, listening to stereotypical churchy people droning on, I just thought that I had got the whole faith deal wrong. Maybe God wasn’t intimate and personal but was much more like chapel was … tedious, judgemental, boring and irrelevant. The irony was that if chapel was all of those things, a real faith is the opposite. But somehow, and without much thought, I had thrown the beautiful out with the boring. If church stinks, then faith must do, too. The precious, natural, instinctive faith I had known when I was younger was tossed out with this newly found delusion that because I was growing up, it was time to ‘believe’ like a grown-up. I mean, what does a child know about faith? It took a low point at school, when my godfather, Stephen, died, to shake me into searching a bit harder to re-find this faith I had once known. Life is like that. Sometimes it takes a jolt to make us sit and remember who and what we are really about. Stephen had been my father’s best friend in the world. And he was like a second father to me. He came on all our family holidays, and spent almost every weekend down with us in the Isle of Wight in the summer, sailing with Dad and me. He died very suddenly and without warning, of a heart attack in Johannesburg. I was devastated. I remember sitting up a tree one night at school on my own, and praying the simplest, most heartfelt prayer of my life. ‘Please, God, comfort me.’ Blow me down … He did. My journey ever since has been trying to make sure I don’t let life or vicars or church over-complicate that simple faith I had found. And the more of the Christian faith I discover, the more I realize that, at heart, it is simple. (What a relief it has been in later life to find that there are some great church communities out there, with honest, loving friendships that help me with all of this stuff.) To me, my Christian faith is all about being held, comforted, forgiven, strengthened and loved – yet somehow that message gets lost on most of us, and we tend only to remember the religious nutters or the God of endless school assemblies. This is no one’s fault, it is just life. Our job is to stay open and gentle, so we can hear the knocking on the door of our heart when it comes. The irony is that I never meet anyone who doesn’t want to be loved or held or forgiven. Yet I meet a lot of folk who hate religion. And I so sympathize. But so did Jesus. In fact, He didn’t just sympathize, He went much further. It seems more like this Jesus came to destroy religion and to bring life. This really is the heart of what I found as a young teenager: Christ comes to make us free, to bring us life in all its fullness. He is there to forgive us where we have messed up (and who hasn’t), and to be the backbone in our being. Faith in Christ has been the great empowering presence in my life, helping me walk strong when so often I feel so weak. It is no wonder I felt I had stumbled on something remarkable that night up that tree. I had found a calling for my life.
Bear Grylls (Mud, Sweat and Tears)
When I view motherhood not as a gift from God to make me holy but rather as a role with tasks that get in my way, I am missing out on one of God’s ordained means of spiritual growth in my life. Not only that, but I am missing out on enjoying God. No amount of mommy angst can compare to the misery that comes from a life devoid of the comforting, encouraging, guarding, providing, satisfying presence of our holy God.
Gloria Furman (Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms)
Apart from Christ, we cannot stand against our own hearts. The verses above presume that we will struggle with sin, but they warn us not to declare any sin a “sanctifiable” character quality, even if through it we may learn valuable lessons about life. Learning lessons is not God’s first priority for his children. Transformed character is. I learned here that God may, in his providence, bring good from my past, but the good that comes is not because of the sin, but in spite of it. It is very tempting to see “good” in those things that tempt us to sin or lead us to sin because then we don’t seem nearly as corrupt as Original Sin renders us. According to God, sinful temptations are inclinations to do something or become something that cost Jesus his life for my sake. We are not to try to ransom it on our own terms. Suggesting that our sin is good or produces good is tantamount to calling cancer good health.
Rosaria Champagne Butterfield (Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ)
Who now strides on my trail devouring the distance between no matter how I flee, the wasted breath of my haste cast into the wind and these dogs will prevail dragging me down in howling glee for the beasts were born fated, trained in bold vengeance by my own switch and hand and no god will stand in my stead, nor provide me sanctuary, even should I plead for absolution - the hounds of my deeds belong only to me, and they have long hunted and now the hunt ends.
Steven Erikson (Reaper's Gale (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #7))
Thus I liv’d mighty comfortably, my Mind being entirely composed by resigning to the Will of God, and throwing my self wholly upon the Disposal of his Providence. This made my Life better than sociable, for when I began to regret the want of Conversation, I would ask my self whether thus conversing mutually with my own Thoughts, and, as I hope I may say, with even God himself by Ejaculations, was not better than the utmost Enjoyment of humane Society in the World.
Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe)
Well then. Let us begin with essentials. Are you free to marry me?” He exhaled slowly, in a pointed effort not to hold his breath. “Of course. When I come of age, that is.” “Tell me your birthday.” She smiled. “The first of February.” “It will be our wedding day.” He traced the shape of the birthmark on her hip. “Very convenient for me, for your birthday and our anniversary to coincide. I’ll be more likely to remember both.” “I wish you would stop touching me there.” “Do you? Why?” “Because it is ugly. I hate it.” He tilted his head, surprised. “I quite adore it. It reminds me that you are imperfectly perfect and entirely mine.” He slid down her body and bent to kiss the mark to prove the point. “There’s a little thrill in knowing no one else has seen it.” “No other man, you mean.” He kissed her there again, this time tracing the shape with his tongue. She squirmed and laughed. “When I was a child, I would scrub at it in the bath. My nursemaid used to tell me, God gives children birthmarks so they won’t get lost.” Her mouth curled in a bittersweet smile. “Yet here I am, adrift on the ocean on the other side of the world. Don’t they call that irony?” “I believe they call it Providence.” He tightened his hands over her waist. “You’re here, and I’ve found you. And I take pains not to lose what’s mine.” He kissed her hip again, then slid his mouth toward her center as he settled between her thighs. “Gray,” she protested through a sigh of pleasure. “It’s late. We must rise.” “I assure you, I’ve risen.” “I’ve work to do.” She writhed in his grip. “The men will be wanting their breakfast.” “They’ll wait until the captain has finished his.” “Gray!” She gave a gasp of shock, then one of pleasure. “What a scoundrel you are.” He came to his knees and lifted her hips, sinking into her with a low groan. “Sweet,” he breathed as she began to move with him, “you would not have me any other way.
Tessa Dare (Surrender of a Siren (The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy, #2))
The measure of Divine Providence in us depends on the degree of trust that we have in It. Do not anticipate the unpleasant events of this life by apprehension, rather anticipate them with the perfect hope that, as they happen, God, to Whom you belong, will protect you. He had protected you up to the present moment; just remain firmly in the hands of His providence and He will help you in all situations and at those times when you find yourself unable to walk, He will carry you. What should you fear, my dearest daughter, since you belong to God Who has so stronly assured us that for those who love Him all things turn into happiness. Do not think of what may happen tomorrow, because the same eternal Father Who takes care of you today, will take care of you tomorrow and forever. Either He will see that nothing bad happens to you or, if He allows anything bad to happen to you, He will give you the invincible courage to bear it. (St Francis de Sales)
Jacques Philippe (Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart)
I had great Reason to consider it as a Determination of Heaven, that in this desolate Place, and in this desolate Manner I should end my life; the Tears would run plentifully down my Face when I made these Reflections, and sometimes I would expostulate with myself, Why Providence should thus compleately ruine its Creatures, and render them so absolutely miserable, so without Help abandon'd, so entirely depress'd, that it could be hardly rational to be thankful for such a Life.
Daniel Defoe
There is much to be said for contentment and painlessness, for these bearable and submissive days, on which neither pain nor pleasure is audible, but pass by whispering and on tip-toe. But the worst of it is that it is just this contentment that I cannot endure. After a short time it fills me with irrepressible hatred and nausea. In desperation I have to escape and throw myself on the road to pleasure, or, if that cannot be, on the road to pain. When I have neither pleasure nor pain and have been breathing for a while the lukewarm insipid air of these so-called good and tolerable days, I feel so bad in my childish soul that I smash my mouldering lyre of thanksgiving in the face of the slumbering god of contentment and would rather feel the very devil burn in me than this warmth of a well-heated room. A wild longing for strong emotions and sensations seethes in me, a rage against this toneless, flat, normal and sterile life. I have a mad impulse to smash something, a warehouse, perhaps, or a cathedral, or myself, to commit outrages, to pull off the wigs of a few revered idols, to provide a few rebellious schoolboys with the longed-for ticket to Hamburg, or to stand one or two representatives of the established order on their heads. For what I always hated and detested and cursed above all things was this contentment, this healthiness and comfort, this carefully preserved optimism of the middle classes, this fat and prosperous brood of mediocrity.
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
...it takes great humility to find oneself unjustly condemned and be silent, and to do this is to imitate the Lord Who set us free from all our sins. ... The truly humble person will have a genuine desire to be thought little of, and persecuted, and condemned unjustly, even in serious matters. ... It is a great help to meditate upon the great gain which in any case this is bound to bring us, and to realize how, properly speaking, we can never be blamed unjustly, since we are always full of faults, and a just man falls seven times a day, so that it would be a falsehood for us to say we have no sin. If, then, we are not to blame for the thing that we are accused of, we are never wholly without blame in the way that our good Jesus was. ... Thou knowest, my Good, that if there is anything good in me it comes from no other hands than Thine own. For what is it to Thee, Lord, to give much instead of little? True, I do not deserve it, but neither have I deserved the favors which Thou hast shown me already. Can it be that I should wish a thing so evil as myself to be thought well of by anyone, when they have said such wicked things of Thee, Who art good above all other good? ... Do Thou give me light and make me truly to desire that all should hate me, since I have so often let Thee, Who hast loved me with such faithfulness. ... What does it matter to us if we are blamed by them all, provided we are without blame in the sight of the Lord? ...meditate upon what is real and upon what is not. ... Do you suppose, ... that, if you do not make excuses for yourself, there will not be someone else who will defend you? Remember how the Lord took the Magdalen's part in the Pharisee's house and also when her sister blamed her. He will not treat you as rigorously as He treated Himself: it was not until He was on the Cross that He had even a thief to defend Him. His Majesty, then, will put it into somebody's mind to defend you; if He does not, it will be because there is no need. ...be glad when you are blamed, and in due time you will see what profit you experience in your souls. For it is in this way that you will begin to gain freedom; soon you will not care if they speak ill or well of you; it will seem like someone else's business. ... So here: it becomes such a habit with us not to reply that it seems as if they are not addressing us at all. This may seem impossible to those of us who are very sensitive and not capable of great mortification. It is indeed difficult at first, but I know that, with the Lord's help, the gradual attainment of this freedom, and of renunciation and self-detachment, is quite possible.
Teresa de Jesús
Honest question: If I am a good Christian, and have faith and stuff, will God protect my children? Honest answer: He might. Or He might not. Honest follow-up question: So what good is He? I think the answer is that He’s still good. But our safety, and the safety of our kids, isn’t part of the deal. This is incredibly hard to accept on the American evangelical church scene, because we love families, and we love loving families, and we nearly associate godliness itself with cherishing family beyond any other earthly thing. That someone would challenge this bond, the primacy of the family bond, is offensive. And yet . . . Jesus did it. And it was even more offensive, then, in a culture that wasn’t nearly so individualistic as ours. Everything was based on family: your reputation, your status—everything. And yet He challenges the idea that our attachment to family is so important, so noble, that it is synonymous with our love for Him. Which leads to some other spare thoughts, like this: we can make idols out of our families. Again, in a “Focus on the Family” subculture, it’s hard to imagine how this could be. Families are good. But idols aren’t made of bad things. They used to be fashioned out of trees or stone, and those aren’t bad, either. Idols aren’t bad things; they’re good things, made Ultimate. We make things Ultimate when we see the true God as a route to these things, or a guarantor of them. It sounds like heresy, but it’s not: the very safety of our family can become an idol. God wants us to want Him for Him, not merely for what He can provide. Here’s another thought: As wonderful as “mother love” is, we have to make sure it doesn’t become twisted. And it can. It can become a be-all, end-all, and the very focus of a woman’s existence. C. S. Lewis writes that it’s especially dangerous because it seems so very, very righteous. Who can possibly challenge a mother’s love? God can, and does, when it becomes an Ultimate. And it’s more likely to become a disordered Ultimate than many other things, simply because it does seem so very righteous. Lewis says this happens with patriotism too.
Brant Hansen (Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better)
See the man they are fitting into the bottom slot. He is coughing badly. No, not pneumonia. Not tuberculosis. Nothing so picturesque. Gently, gently, stretcher-bearers… he is about done. He is coughing up clots of pinky-green filth. Only his lungs, Mother and Mrs. Evans-Mawington. He is coughing well to-night. That is gas. You’ve heard of gas. Haven’t you? It burns and shrivels the lungs to… to the mess you see on the ambulance floor there. He’s about the age of Bertie, Mother. Not unlike Bertie, either, with his gentle brown eyes and fair curly hair. Bertie would look up pleading like that in between coughing up his lungs… The son you have so generously given to the War. Cough, cough, little fair-haired boy. Perhaps somewhere your mother is thinking of you… boasting of the life she has so nobly given… the life you thought was your own, but which is hers to squander as she thinks fit. ‘My boy is not a slacker, thank God.’ Cough away, little boy, cough away. What does it matter, providing your mother doesn’t have to face the shame of her son’s cowardice?
Helen Zenna Smith
I believe in God with all my heart, mind and soul, so I will Be-Live-In-It and chose faith over fear. I will live in faith so my fears will flee. I know that God has shown me perfect love by sending His Son to redeem me, so I will cast out fear. I will use my energy to believe rather than to worry. I know that fear pulls me away from You Lord, so I will choose faith that I am taken care of by Your Almighty Hand. I know that I can trust You to provide for all of my needs. I declare this with faith and my actions will follow the words from my lips.
Glenn Langohr (Be a Prayer Warrior and Use Words Wisely: 30 Declarations and Prayers to Speak Victory into Your Life)
I’m always shocked when I run into people who don’t believe in God. I’ll even ask them, “How can you not believe that there’s a power greater than you who’s engineering this whole system of things?” Usually they’ll tell me something like, “Man, God is just some mythical fairy tale. God is no different than Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy.” I disagree wholeheartedly, but that mind-set is honestly one of the reasons I don’t sell that junk about holiday headliners to my daughters. Maybe it’s the Witness influence on me, but to this day I’m not a fan of holidays. I think it’s a mistake to hype your kids on Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy on one hand, and then try to sell them on God with the other. When they get older and realize Santa and the Easter Bunny aren’t real, it becomes too easy for them to dismiss God as well. “So you were lying to me about everybody else, but this God character is real?” they’ll say. “Yeah, right.” And then they’ll miss out on the affirmation, confidence, and faith that religion can provide when they’re older and really need it.
Charlamagne Tha God (Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It)
And now I speak of thanking God, I desire with all humility to acknowledge that I owe the mentioned happiness of my past life to His kind providence, which lead me to the means I used and gave them success. My belief of this induces me to hope, though I must not presume, that the same goodness will still be exercised toward me, in continuing that happiness, or enabling me to bear a fatal reverse, which I may experience as others have done: the complexion of my future fortune being known to Him only in whose power it is to bless to us even our afflictions.
Benjamin Franklin (The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin)
A brick could be used to show you how to live a richer, fuller, more satisfying life. Don’t you want to have fulfillment and meaning saturating your existence? I can show you how you can achieve this and so much more with just a simple brick. For just $99.99—not even an even hundred bucks, I’ll send you my exclusive life philosophy that’s built around a brick. Man’s used bricks to build houses for centuries. Now let one man, me, show you how a brick can be used to build your life up bigger and stronger than you ever imagined. But act now, because supplies are limited. This amazing offer won’t last forever. You don’t want to wake up in ten years to find yourself divorced, homeless, and missing your testicles because you waited even two hours too long to obtain this information. Become a hero today—save your life. Procrastination is only for the painful things in life. We prolong the boring, but why put off for tomorrow the exciting life you could be living today? If you’re not satisfied with the information I’m providing, I’m willing to offer you a no money back guarantee. That’s right, you read that wrong. If you are not 100% dissatisfied with my product, I’ll give you your money back. For $99.99 I’m offering 99.99%, but you’ve got to be willing to penny up that percentage to 100. Why delay? The life you really want is mine, and I’m willing to give it to you—for a price. That price is a one-time fee of $99.99, which of course everyone can afford—even if they can’t afford it. Homeless people can’t afford it, but they’re the people who need my product the most. Buy my product, or face the fact that in all probability you are going to end up homeless and sexless and unloved and filthy and stinky and probably even disabled, if not physically than certainly mentally. I don’t care if your testicles taste like peanut butter—if you don’t buy my product, even a dog won’t lick your balls you miserable cur. I curse you! God damn it, what are you, slow? Pay me my money so I can show you the path to true wealth. Don’t you want to be rich? Everything takes money—your marriage, your mortgage, and even prostitutes. I can show you the path to prostitution—and it starts by ignoring my pleas to help you. I’m not the bad guy here. I just want to help. You have some serious trust issues, my friend. I have the chance to earn your trust, and all it’s going to cost you is a measly $99.99. Would it help you to trust me if I told you that I trust you? Well, I do. Sure, I trust you. I trust you to make the smart decision for your life and order my product today. Don’t sleep on this decision, because you’ll only wake up in eight hours to find yourself living in a miserable future. And the future indeed looks bleak, my friend. War, famine, children forced to pimp out their parents just to feed the dog. Is this the kind of tomorrow you’d like to live in today? I can show you how to provide enough dog food to feed your grandpa for decades. In the future I’m offering you, your wife isn’t a whore that you sell for a knife swipe of peanut butter because you’re so hungry you actually considered eating your children. Become a hero—and save your kids’ lives. Your wife doesn’t want to spread her legs for strangers. Or maybe she does, and that was a bad example. Still, the principle stands. But you won’t be standing—in the future. Remember, you’ll be confined to a wheelchair. Mushrooms are for pizzas, not clouds, but without me, your life will atom bomb into oblivion. Nobody’s dropping a bomb while I’m around. The only thing I’m dropping is the price. Boom! I just lowered the price for you, just to show you that you are a valued customer. As a VIP, your new price on my product is just $99.96. That’s a savings of over two pennies (three, to be precise). And I’ll even throw in a jar of peanut butter for free. That’s a value of over $.99. But wait, there’s more! If you call within the next ten minutes, I’ll even throw in a blanket free of charge. . .
Jarod Kintz (Brick)
No man will stand before the Father and be able to give the excuse, “I was born unloved by my Creator (Jn. 3:16). I was born un-chosen and without the hope of salvation (Titus 2:11). I was born unable to see, hear or understand God’s revelation of Himself (Acts 28:27-28).” No! They will stand wholly and completely “without excuse” (Rm. 1:20), because God loved them (Jn. 3:16), called them to salvation (2 Cor. 5:20), revealed Himself to them (Titus 2:11), and provided the means by which their sins would be atoned (1 Jn. 2:2). No man has any excuse for unbelief (Rm. 1:20).
Leighton Flowers (The Potter's Promise: A Biblical Defense of Traditional Soteriology)
Subject: SELF WORTH (Very Deep!!!) In a brief conversation, a man asked a woman he was pursuing the question: 'What kind of man are you looking for?' She sat quietly for a moment before looking him in the eye & asking, 'Do you really want to know?' Reluctantly, he said, 'Yes. She began to expound, 'As a woman in this day & age, I am in a position to ask a man what can you do for me that I can't do for myself? I pay my own bills. I take care of my household without the help of any man... or woman for that matter. I am in the position to ask, 'What can you bring to the table?' The man looked at her. Clearly he thought that she was referring to money. She quickly corrected his thought & stated, 'I am not referring to money. I need something more. I need a man who is striving for excellence in every aspect of life. He sat back in his chair, folded his arms, & asked her to explain. She said, 'I need someone who is striving for excellence mentally because I need conversation & mental stimulation. I don't need a simple-minded man. I need someone who is striving for excellence spiritually because I don't need to be unequally yoked...believers mixed with unbelievers is a recipe for disaster. I need a man who is striving for excellence financially because I don't need a financial burden. I need someone who is sensitive enough to understand what I go through as a woman, but strong enough to keep me grounded. I need someone who has integrity in dealing with relationships. Lies and game-playing are not my idea of a strong man. I need a man who is family-oriented. One who can be the leader, priest and provider to the lives entrusted to him by God. I need someone whom I can respect. In order to be submissive, I must respect him. I cannot be submissive to a man who isn't taking care of his business. I have no problem being submissive...he just has to be worthy. And by the way, I am not looking for him...He will find me. He will recognize himself in me. Hey may not be able to explain the connection, but he will always be drawn to me. God made woman to be a help-mate for man. I can't help a man if he can't help himself. When she finished her spill, she looked at him. He sat there with a puzzled look on his face. He said, 'You are asking a lot. She replied, "I'm worth a lot". Send this to every woman who's worth a lot.... and every man who has the brains to understand!!
Dru Edmund Kucherera
We decided to attend to our community instead of asking our community to attend the church.” His staff started showing up at local community events such as sports contests and town hall meetings. They entered a float in the local Christmas parade. They rented a football field and inaugurated a Free Movie Night on summer Fridays, complete with popcorn machines and a giant screen. They opened a burger joint, which soon became a hangout for local youth; it gives free meals to those who can’t afford to pay. When they found out how difficult it was for immigrants to get a driver’s license, they formed a drivers school and set their fees at half the going rate. My own church in Colorado started a ministry called Hands of the Carpenter, recruiting volunteers to do painting, carpentry, and house repairs for widows and single mothers. Soon they learned of another need and opened Hands Automotive to offer free oil changes, inspections, and car washes to the same constituency. They fund the work by charging normal rates to those who can afford it. I heard from a church in Minneapolis that monitors parking meters. Volunteers patrol the streets, add money to the meters with expired time, and put cards on the windshields that read, “Your meter looked hungry so we fed it. If we can help you in any other way, please give us a call.” In Cincinnati, college students sign up every Christmas to wrap presents at a local mall — ​no charge. “People just could not understand why I would want to wrap their presents,” one wrote me. “I tell them, ‘We just want to show God’s love in a practical way.’ ” In one of the boldest ventures in creative grace, a pastor started a community called Miracle Village in which half the residents are registered sex offenders. Florida’s state laws require sex offenders to live more than a thousand feet from a school, day care center, park, or playground, and some municipalities have lengthened the distance to half a mile and added swimming pools, bus stops, and libraries to the list. As a result, sex offenders, one of the most despised categories of criminals, are pushed out of cities and have few places to live. A pastor named Dick Witherow opened Miracle Village as part of his Matthew 25 Ministries. Staff members closely supervise the residents, many of them on parole, and conduct services in the church at the heart of Miracle Village. The ministry also provides anger-management and Bible study classes.
Philip Yancey (Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News?)
More than anything, I dream of love, crazy crazy mad love. Not the love of rings and white dresses and churches, but of lust and insanity, the love where you can’t stop touching, kissing, licking, sucking, and fucking. The love that breaks hearts, starts wars, ruins lives, the love that sears itself into your soul, that you can feel every time your heart beats, that scorches your memory and comes back to you whenever you’re alone and it’s quiet and the world falls away, the love that still hurts, that makes you sit and stare at the floor and wonder what the fuck happened and why. I dream of crazy crazy mad love the kind that starts with a look, with eyes that meet, a smile, a touch, a laugh, a kiss. The kind of love that hurts and makes you love the pain, makes you want the pain, makes you yearn for the fucking pain, keeps you awake until the sun rises, stirs you while you’re still asleep. The kind of love you can feel with every step you take, every word you speak, every breath, every movement, is part of every thought you have every minute of the day. Love that overwhelms. That justifies our existence. That provides proof we are here for a reason. That either confirms the existence of God and divinity, or renders it utterly meaningless. Love that makes life more than just whatever we know and see and feel. That elevates it. Love for which so many words have been spoken and written and read and cried and screamed and sung and sobbed, but is beyond any real description of it. I’ve known much in my short, silly, unstable, sometimes wonderful sometimes brutal always reckless wreck of a life, but I’ve never known love. Crazy crazy mad love. Fear and pain, insecurity, rage, occasional joy, fleeting peace, they are all friends of mine. Kindness and familial love have always come my way. Disdain, contempt, and rage are constant companions. But never love.
James Frey (Katerina)
Well, there is a piece of famous advice, grand advice even if it is German, to forget what you can't bear. The strong can forget, can shut out history. Very good. Even if it is self-flattery to speak of strength--these aesthetic philosophers, they take a posture, but power sweeps postures away. Still, it's true you can't go on transposing one nightmare into another, Nietzsche was certainly right about that. The tender-minded must harden themselves. Is this world nothing but a barren lump of coke? No, no, but what sometimes seems a system of prevention, a denial of what every human being knows. I love my children, but I am the world to them, and bring them nightmares. I had this child by my enemy. And I love her. The sight of her, the odor of her hair, this minute, makes me tremble with love. Isn't it mysterious how I love the child of my enemy? But a man doesn't need happiness for himself. No, he can put up with any amount of torment--with recollections, with his own familiar evils, despair. And this is the unwritten history of man, his unseen, negative accomplishment, his power to do without gratification for himself provided there is something great, something into which his being, and all beings can go. He does not need meaning as long as such intensity has scope. Because then it is self-evident; it is meaning.
Saul Bellow (Herzog)
What do you see?” my professor asked as he projected a picture of a small black dot in the middle of a very big white screen. I was sitting in Psychology 101 during my years at Sydney University. We all responded immediately: “A black dot.” I was excited, thinking, If all of the questions are as easy as this one, this course is going to be easy! The prof looked out over the class and paused for several seconds before he asked again, “What do you see?” Thinking he must not have heard us properly the first time, we repeated even more loudly: “A black dot!” Again he paused . . . and then asked the same question a third time. Now he had my attention. And when still, on the third try, none of us provided the correct answer, he explained — and gave me a lesson I will never forget. “You were all so focused on the little black dot in the center of the screen that none of you noticed the dominant image on the screen: the large white space covering the screen top to bottom, left to right.” I couldn’t believe I had missed it. Suddenly it was obvious. There was far more white space than black dot. Whatever I chose to focus on had my attention. There is always much more white space than there is space covered by little black dots — we simply need to recognize and focus on it. In class, that idea seemed like an easy notion — easier than it has proven to be in life. Because the harsh reality is that the black dots of our lives — the trials, challenges, disappointments, obstacles, and hurdles we face as we run — will naturally draw and consume our attention. Our enemy would love to get us to focus on those black dots and convince us they define and shape our lives and determine our destiny. But in the divine relay, we are to fix our eyes on Jesus. He is the “white space” of God’s power at work in the universe, and the trials we face are but a tiny speck, a black dot, in comparison. As we learn to focus on the vastness of God’s eternal, amazing work on this planet, those black dots will cease to blemish our lives.
Christine Caine (Unstoppable: Running the Race You Were Born To Win)
I'm going to throw some suggestions at you now in rapid succession, assuming you are a father of one or more boys. Here we go: If you speak disparagingly of the opposite sex, or if you refer to females as sex objects, those attitudes will translate directly into dating and marital relationships later on. Remember that your goal is to prepare a boy to lead a family when he's grown and to show him how to earn the respect of those he serves. Tell him it is great to laugh and have fun with his friends, but advise him not to be "goofy." Guys who are goofy are not respected, and people, especially girls and women, do not follow boys and men whom they disrespect. Also, tell your son that he is never to hit a girl under any circumstances. Remind him that she is not as strong as he is and that she is deserving of his respect. Not only should he not hurt her, but he should protect her if she is threatened. When he is strolling along with a girl on the street, he should walk on the outside, nearer the cars. That is symbolic of his responsibility to take care of her. When he is on a date, he should pay for her food and entertainment. Also (and this is simply my opinion), girls should not call boys on the telephone-at least not until a committed relationship has developed. Guys must be the initiators, planning the dates and asking for the girl's company. Teach your son to open doors for girls and to help them with their coats or their chairs in a restaurant. When a guy goes to her house to pick up his date, tell him to get out of the car and knock on the door. Never honk. Teach him to stand, in formal situations, when a woman leaves the room or a table or when she returns. This is a way of showing respect for her. If he treats her like a lady, she will treat him like a man. It's a great plan. Make a concerted effort to teach sexual abstinence to your teenagers, just as you teach them to abstain from drug and alcohol usage and other harmful behavior. Of course you can do it! Young people are fully capable of understanding that irresponsible sex is not in their best interest and that it leads to disease, unwanted pregnancy, rejection, etc. In many cases today, no one is sharing this truth with teenagers. Parents are embarrassed to talk about sex, and, it disturbs me to say, churches are often unwilling to address the issue. That creates a vacuum into which liberal sex counselors have intruded to say, "We know you're going to have sex anyway, so why not do it right?" What a damning message that is. It is why herpes and other sexually transmitted diseases are spreading exponentially through the population and why unwanted pregnancies stalk school campuses. Despite these terrible social consequences, very little support is provided even for young people who are desperately looking for a valid reason to say no. They're told that "safe sex" is fine if they just use the right equipment. You as a father must counterbalance those messages at home. Tell your sons that there is no safety-no place to hide-when one lives in contradiction to the laws of God! Remind them repeatedly and emphatically of the biblical teaching about sexual immorality-and why someone who violates those laws not only hurts himself, but also wounds the girl and cheats the man she will eventually marry. Tell them not to take anything that doesn't belong to them-especially the moral purity of a woman.
James C. Dobson (Bringing Up Boys)
From my college courses and my reading I knew the various names that came at the end of a line of questions or were placed as periods to bafflement: the First Cause, the First Mover, the Life Force, the Universal Mind, the First Principle, the Unmoved Mover, even Providence. I too had used those names in arguing with others, and with myself, trying to explain the world to myself. And now I saw that those names explained nothing. They were of no more use than Evolution or Natural Selection or Nature or The Big Bang of these later days. All such names do is catch us within the length and breadth of our own thoughts and our own bewilderment. Though I knew the temptation of simple reason, to know nothing that can't be proved, still I supposed that those were not the right names. I imagined that the right name might be Father, and I imagined all that that name would imply: the love, the compassion, the taking offense, the disappointment, the anger, the bearing of wounds, the weeping of tears, the forgiveness, the suffering unto death. If love could force my own thoughts over the edge of the world and out of time, then could I not see how even divine omnipotence might by the force of its own love be swayed down into the world? Could I not see how it might, because it could know its creatures only by compassion, put on mortal flesh, become a man, and walk among us, assume our nature and our fate, suffer our faults and our death? Yes. I could imagine a Father who is yet like a mother hen spreading her wings before the storm or in the dusk before the dark night for the little ones of Port William to come in under, some of whom do, and some do not. I could imagine Port William riding its humble wave through time under the sky, its little flames of wakefulness lighting and going out, its lives passing through birth, pleasure, sufferning, and death. I could imagine God looking down upon it, its lives living by His spirit, breathing by His breath, knowing by His light, but each life living also (inescapably) by its own will--His own body given to be broken.
Wendell Berry (Jayber Crow)
I believe the circumstances of my childhood set up a perfect path for me to be used by God. At fourteen, I came to understand God’s message, and my baptism in the Ouachita River provided me with a peace about my relationship with Him. But my biggest hurdle in becoming one of God’s disciples was my shy disposition. My personality has always been laid-back, and as I mentioned before, I think my dad’s wild days in my childhood contributed to my becoming introverted. As I became a teenager, I still didn’t say much, and my Christian life was really about trying to avoid doing things that were wrong. As some of my friends began to experiment with sex, drugs, and alcohol, I simply tried to survive as a Christian.
Jase Robertson (Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl)
Even so, putting all exaggerations aside, sound neuroscience really is providing us with an ever richer picture of the brain and its operations, and in some far distant epoch may actually achieve something like a comprehensive survey of what is perhaps the single most complex physical object in the universe. That is all entirely irrelevant to my argument, however. My claim here is that, whatever we may learn about the brain in the future, it will remain in principle impossible to produce any entirely mechanistic account of the conscious mind, for a great many reasons (many of which I shall soon address), and that therefore consciousness is a reality that defeats mechanistic or materialist thinking. For the intuitions of folk psychology are in fact perfectly accurate; they are not merely some theory about the mind that is either corrigible or dispensable. They constitute nothing less than a full and coherent phenomenological description of the life of the mind, and they are absolutely “primordial data,” which cannot be abandoned in favor of some alternative description without producing logical nonsense. Simply said, consciousness as we commonly conceive of it is quite real (as all of us, apart from a few cognitive scientists and philosophers, already know—and they know it too, really). And this presents a problem for materialism, because consciousness as we commonly conceive of it is also almost certainly irreconcilable with a materialist view of reality.
David Bentley Hart (The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss)
So instead of providing another intellectual answer that would be ignored, David cut right to the heart. He said, “You’re raising all of these objections because you’re sleeping with your girlfriend. Am I right?” All the blood drained from the young man’s face. He was caught. He was rejecting God because he didn’t like God’s morality. And he was disguising it with feigned intellectual objections. This young man wasn’t the first atheist or agnostic to admit that his desire to follow his own agenda was keeping him out of the kingdom. In the first chapter of his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul revealed this tendency we humans have to “suppress the truth” about God in order to follow our own desires. In other words, unbelief is more motivated by the heart than the head. Some prominent atheists have admitted this. Friedrich Nietzsche, who famously wrote, “God is dead and we have killed him,” also wrote, “If one were to prove this God of the Christians to us, we should be even less able to believe in him.”[24] Obviously Nietzsche’s rejection of God was not intellectual! Professor Thomas Nagel of NYU more recently wrote, “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that. My
Frank Turek (Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case)
Jesus asks parents to make yet another choice. Are we raising our children to be safe or to be brave? Are we raising our children to be smart or to be loving? Are we raising them to be successful or significant? How does God raise his children? In his book The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis made an observation that is worth lingering over. “Love,” Lewis wrote, “is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness. . . . Kindness merely as such cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering.” My vulnerabilities as a parent are such that sometimes I simply want my kids to escape suffering. But if I keep them completely safe, they will never have a chance to be truly good or brave. Is that what I want?
Gary A. Haugen (Just Courage: God's Great Expedition for the Restless Christian)
the challenges of our day-to-day existence are sustained reminders that our life of faith simply must have its center somewhere other than in our ability to hold it together in our minds. Life is a pounding surf that wears away our rock-solid certainty. The surf always wins. Slowly but surely. Eventually. It may be best to ride the waves rather than resist them. What are your one or two biggest obstacles to staying Christian? What are those roadblocks you keep running into? What are those issues that won’t go away and make you wonder why you keep on believing at all? These are questions I asked on a survey I gave on my blog in the summer of 2013. Nothing fancy. I just asked some questions and waited to see what would happen. In the days to come, I was overwhelmed with comments and e-mails from readers, many anonymous, with bracingly honest answers often expressed through the tears of relentless and unnerving personal suffering. I didn’t do a statistical analysis (who has the time, plus I don’t know how), but the responses fell into five categories.         1.        The Bible portrays God as violent, reactive, vengeful, bloodthirsty, immoral, mean, and petty.         2.        The Bible and science collide on too many things to think that the Bible has anything to say to us today about the big questions of life.         3.        In the face of injustice and heinous suffering in the world, God seems disinterested or perhaps unable to do anything about it.         4.        In our ever-shrinking world, it is very difficult to hold on to any notion that Christianity is the only path to God.         5.        Christians treat each other so badly and in such harmful ways that it calls into question the validity of Christianity—or even whether God exists. These five categories struck me as exactly right—at least, they match up with my experience. And I’d bet good money they resonate with a lot of us. All five categories have one big thing in common: “Faith in God no longer makes sense to me.” Understanding, correct thinking, knowing what you believe—these were once true of their faith, but no longer are. Because life happened. A faith that promises to provide firm answers and relieve our doubt is a faith that will not hold up to the challenges and tragedies of life. Only deep trust can hold up.
Peter Enns (The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our "Correct" Beliefs)
Trusting in God's Direction When I served as a denominational leader in Vancouver, one of our churches believed God was leading it to begin three new mission churches for different language groups. At that time, the church had only seventeen members. Human reason would have immediately ruled out such a large assignment for a small church. They were hoping to receive financial support from our denomination's Home Mission Board to pay the mission pastors' salaries. One pastor was already in the process of relocating to Vancouver when we unexpectedly received word that the mission board would be unable to fund any new work in our area for the next three years. The church didn't have the funds to do what God had called it to do. When they sought my counsel, I suggested that they first go back to the Lord and clarify what God had said to them. If this was merely something they wanted to do for God, God would not be obligated to provide for them. After they sought the Lord, they returned and said, “We still believe God is calling us to start all three new churches.” At this point, they had to walk by faith and trust God to provide for what He was clearly leading them to do. A few months later, the church received some surprising news. Six years earlier, I had led a series of meetings in a church in California. An elderly woman had approached me and said she wanted to will part of her estate for use in mission work in our city. The associational office had just received a letter from an attorney in California informing them that they would be receiving a substantial check from that dear woman's estate. The association could now provide the funds needed by the sponsoring church. The amount was sufficient to firmly establish all three churches this faithful congregation had launched. Did God know what He was doing when He told a seventeen-member church to begin three new congregations? Yes. He already knew the funds would not be available from the missions agency, and He was also aware of the generosity of an elderly saint in California. None of these details caught God by surprise. That small church in Vancouver had known in their minds that God could provide. But through this experience they developed a deeper trust in their all knowing God. Whenever God directs you, you will never have to question His will. He knows what He is going to do.
Henry T. Blackaby (Experiencing God)
Therefore," said the Bishop, "I intend to go without escort." "You do not really mean that, Monseigneur!" exclaimed the mayor. "I do mean it so thoroughly that I absolutely refuse any gendarmes, and shall set out in an hour." "Set out?" "Set out." "Alone?" "Alone." "Monseigneur, you will not do that!" "There exists yonder in the mountains," said the Bishop, "a tiny community no bigger than that, which I have not seen for three years. They are my good friends, those gentle and honest shepherds. They own one goat out of every thirty that they tend. They make very pretty woollen cords of various colors, and they play the mountain airs on little flutes with six holes. They need to be told of the good God now and then. What would they say to a bishop who was afraid? What would they say if I did not go?" "But the brigands, Monseigneur?" "Hold," said the Bishop, "I must think of that. You are right. I may meet them. They, too, need to be told of the good God." "But, Monseigneur, there is a band of them! A flock of wolves!" "Monsieur le maire, it may be that it is of this very flock of wolves that Jesus has constituted me the shepherd. Who knows the ways of Providence?" "They will rob you, Monseigneur." "I have nothing." "They will kill you." "An old goodman of a priest, who passes along mumbling his prayers? Bah! To what purpose?" "Oh, mon Dieu! what if you should meet them!" "I should beg alms of them for my poor." "Do not go, Monseigneur. In the name of Heaven! You are risking your life!" "Monsieur le maire," said the Bishop, "is that really all? I am not in the world to guard my own life, but to guard souls.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
God saw Hansen tighten his chokehold on Day and he could see his lover fighting to breathe. Day’s ears and neck were bright red. His lips were turning a darker color as his body was deprived of oxygen. Hansen pressed the barrel in deeper and yelled. “Two minutes and fifteen seconds before I get to zero and I provide the great state of Georgia the luxury of one less narc.” God’s mind exploded at the thought of not having Day in a world he lived in. He looked into his partner’s glistening eyes and saw he was turning blue and possibly getting ready to faint. Day was still looking at him, looking into God’s green eyes. No, no, no! He’s saying good-bye. God closed his eyes and released a loud, gut-wrenching growl cutting off the SWAT leader’s negotiations. “Godfrey, get yourself under control,” his captain said while grabbing for him. God jerked himself away from the hold and stepped forward, his angry eyes boring into Hansen’s dark ones. Hansen stared at him as if God was crazy. Little did he know God was at that moment. “Godfrey, get back here and stand down. That’s an order, Detective!” his captain barked. God’s large hands clenched at his sides fighting not to pull out his weapons. He ground his teeth together so hard his jaw ached. “Do you have any idea of the shit storm you’re about to bring down on your life,” God spoke with a menacing snarl while his large frame shook with fury. “In your arms you hold the only thing in this world that means anything to me. The man that you are pointing a gun at is my only purpose for living. You are threating to kill the only person in this world that gives a fuck about me.” God took two more steps forward and was vaguely aware of the complete silence surrounding him. Hansen’s finger hovered shakily over the trigger as he took two large steps back with Day still tight against his chest. God growled again and he saw a shade of fear ghost over Hansen’s sweaty face. “If you kill that man, I swear on everything that is holy, I will track you to the ends of the earth, killing and destroying any and everything you hold dear. I will take everything from you and leave you alive to suffer through it. I will bestow upon you the same misery that you have given to me.” Hansen shook his head and inched closer to the door behind him. “Stay back,” he yelled again but this time the demand lacked the courage and venom he exhibited before. “You kill that man, and you’ll have no idea of the monster you will create. Have you ever met a man with no heart…no conscience…no soul…no purpose?” God rumbled, his voice at least twelve octaves lower than the already deep baritone. God yanked his Desert Eagle from his holster in a flash and cocked the hammer back chambering the first round. Hansen stumbled back again, his eyes gone wide with fear. God’s entire body instinctually flexed every muscle in his body and it felt like the large vein in his neck might rupture. His body burned like he had a sweltering fever and he knew his wrath had him a brilliant shade of red. “I’m asking you a goddamn question, Hansen! No soul! No conscience! I’m asking you have you ever met the devil!” God’s thunderous voice practically rattled the glass in the hanger. “If you kill the man I love, you better make your peace with God, because I’m gonna meet your soul in hell.” His voice boomed.
A.E. Via
Throughout this project I have been filled with grace in many ways. Indeed, I can feel God’s Providential hand at work in my life, often quite powerfully. And I have been the beneficiary of what I can only describe as miracles. Some pertain to this work. I would like to share a few of them with you because from the start I felt I was drawn to engage in this project through the call of the Holy Spirit and these events only confirm that this project was blessed from the start. I share with you not to boast, but so you may see that God often actually works powerfully in one’s life, even in seemingly little things, for it is always to His greater glory. This is why we should share such stories with each other. For if we choose to retain secretly what He has given us, it does not work for His greater glory, but for our own destruction.
Donna Perpetua (Ancient Examples: St. Justin Martyr and St. Perpetua)
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. PROVERBS 18:10 NKJV When you are confused about the future, go to your Jehovah-raah, your caring shepherd. When you are anxious about provision, talk to Jehovah-jireh, the Lord who provides. Are your challenges too great? Seek the help of Jehovah-shalom, the Lord is peace. Is your body sick? Are your emotions weak? Jehovah-rophe, the Lord who heals you, will see you now. Do you feel like a soldier stranded behind enemy lines? Take refuge in Jehovah-nissi, the Lord my banner. Meditating on the names of God reminds you of the character of God. Take these names and bury them in your heart. God is the shepherd who guides, the Lord who provides, the voice who brings peace in the storm, the physician who heals the sick, and the banner that guides the soldier. The Great House of God
Max Lucado (Grace for the Moment: Inspirational Thoughts for Each Day of the Year, Volume 1)
And every mile we go further from London makes the notion of ransom even more unlikely. So we're still no closer to learning what's behind this-neither the who for the why of it." She waited until he swung around again and caught his eye. "I believe we need to consider the wider implications." His lips twitched-she was almost certain of it-but he didn't stop pacing. "Meanwhile you want to continue on with this"-he gestured-"quest of yours." She tipped up her head. "Of course. I'm here, already kidnapped, but they've provided me with a maid and are under strict orders to see to my health and safety, orders they're clearly committed to obeying. On top of that"-she waved at him-"you're here. If you continue to follow our party, when it comes to the point where escaping becomes necessary, I'll be able to do so and hide behind you. God knows, you're large enough." He quirked a black brow.
Stephanie Laurens (Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue (Cynster, #16; The Cynster Sisters Trilogy, #1))
Jase and I asked Mia what she wanted to do before her surgery. “How about a family party?” she suggested. So the invitation went out. It’s interesting when you mention to family members that they are going to be on TV--schwoom, they are there. As Willie said, “I didn’t know we had this much family.” Mia had always heard the funny stories about Jase wrestling with his brothers and cousins growing up, particularly how cousin Amy beat up Willie, so that’s what she requested for the special entertainment. As Jase said, “It’s the ultimate redneck dinner theater.” A wrestling ring was delivered, and the warmup act was the Robertson boys clowning around, performing their best wrestling moves. Willie surprised everyone with guest professional wrestlers, including Jase’s favorite, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. I felt kind of bad for them, wearing only their little wrestling pants, while the rest of us were bundled up in winter coats. Yes, it was January, but it was unusually cold in Louisiana--about twenty degrees. The wrestlers had to keep moving fast; otherwise, they would have frozen to death! At the end of the party, Mia took the stage between Jase and Willie, thanking everyone for coming and then sharing from her heart: “My favorite verse is Psalm 46:10: ‘Be still, and know that I am God!’ God is bigger than all of us, and He is bigger than any of your struggles, too.” I think I can say that there was hardly a dry eye in the crowd. Going into her surgery, Mia was being brave for all of us. In the end, seeing the final version of the episode, I thought the network did a great job of including enough humor to make people laugh but also providing a tender glimpse into the love our family shares with one another and the love we all have for Mia. When Duck Dynasty fans saw it on March 26, 2014, they agreed completely!
Missy Robertson (Blessed, Blessed ... Blessed: The Untold Story of Our Family's Fight to Love Hard, Stay Strong, and Keep the Faith When Life Can't Be Fixed)
She gives just enough hints about him to make you wonder why he became so villainous. And if he dies, I’ll never learnt the answer.” Oliver eyes her closely. “Perhaps he was born villainous.” “No one is born villainous.” “Oh?” he said with raised eyebrow. “So we’re all born good?” “Neither. We start as animals, with an animal’s needs and desires. It takes parents and teachers and other good examples to show us how to restrain those needs and desires, when necessary, for the greater good. But it’s still our choice whether to heed that education or to do as we please.” “For a woman who loves murder and mayhem, you’re quite the philosopher.” “I like to understand how things work. Why people behave as they do.” He digested that for a moment. “I happen to think that some of us, like Rockton, are born with a wicked bent.” She chose her words carefully. “That certainly provides Rockton with a convenient excuse for his behavior.” His features turned stony. “What do you mean?” “Being moral and disciplined is hard work. Being wicked requires no effort at all-one merely indulges every desire and impulse, no matter how hurtful or immoral. By claiming to be born wicked, Rockton ensures that he doesn’t have to struggle to be god. He can just protest that he can’t help himself.” “Perhaps he can’t,” he clipped out. “Or maybe he’s simply unwilling to fight his impulses. And I want to know the reason for that. That’s why I keep reading Minerva’s books.” Did Oliver actually believe he’d been born irredeemably wicked? How tragic! It lent a hopelessness to his life that helped to explain his mindless pursuit of pleasure. “I can tell you the reason for Rockton’s villainy.” Oliver rose to round the desk. Propping his hip on the edge near her, he reached out to tuck a tendril of hair behind her ear. A sweet shudder swept over her. Why must he have this effect on her? It simply wasn’t fair. “Oh?” she managed. “Rockton knows he can’t have everything he wants,” he said hoarsely, his hand drifting to her cheek. “He can’t have the heroine, for example. She would never tolerate his…wicked impulses. Yet he still wants her. And his wanting consumes him.” Her breath lodged in her throat. It had been days since he’d touched her, and she hadn’t forgotten what it was like for one minute. To have him this near, saying such things… She fought for control over her volatile emotions. “His wanting consumes him precisely because he can’t have her. If he thought he could, he wouldn’t want her after all.” “Not true.” His voice deepening, he stroked the line of her jaw with a tenderness that roused an ache in her chest. “Even Rockton recognizes when a woman is unlike any other. Her very goodness in the face of his villainy bewitches him. He thinks if he can just possess that goodness, then the dark cloud lying on his soul will lift, and he’ll have something other than villainy to sustain him.” “Then he’s mistaken.” Her pulse trebled as his finger swept the hollow of her throat. “The only person who can lift the dark cloud on his soul is himself.” He paused in his caress. “So he’s doomed, then?” “No!” Her gaze flew to his. “No one is doomed, and certainly not Rockton. There’s still hope for him. There is always hope.” His eyes burned with a feverish light, and before she could look away, he bent to kiss her. It was soft, tender…delicious. Someone moaned, she wasn’t sure who. All she knew was that his mouth was on hers again, molding it, tasting it, making her hungry in the way that only he seemed able to do. “Maria…” he breathed. Seizing her by the arms, he drew her up into his embrace. “My God, I’ve thought of nothing but you since that day in the carriage.
Sabrina Jeffries (The Truth About Lord Stoneville (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #1))
The circumstances of a saint’s life are ordained of God. In the life of a saint there is no such thing as chance. God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you can’t understand at all, but the Spirit of God understands. God brings you to places, among people, and into certain conditions to accomplish a definite purpose through the intercession of the Spirit in you. Never put yourself in front of your circumstances and say, “I’m going to be my own providence here; I will watch this closely, or protect myself from that.” All your circumstances are in the hand of God, and therefore you don’t ever have to think they are unnatural or unique. Your part in intercessory prayer is not to agonize over how to intercede, but to use the everyday circumstances and people God puts around you by His providence to bring them before His throne, and to allow the Spirit in you the opportunity to intercede for them.
Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest)
Keeping a new church outwardly focused from the beginning is much easier than trying to refocus an inwardly concerned church. In order to plant a successful church, you have to know that you know that you are undeniably called by God. The call to start a new church plant is not the same as the call to serve in an existing church or work in a ministry-related organization. You may be the greatest preacher this side of Billy Graham but still not be called to start a church. If you think you may have allowed an improper reason, voice or emotion to lead you to the idea of starting a new church, back away now. Spend some more time with God. You don’t want to move forward on a hunch or because you feel “pretty sure” that you should be planting a church. You have to be completely certain. “You’re afraid? So what. Everybody’s afraid. Fear is the common ground of humanity. The question you must wrestle to the ground is, ‘Will I allow my fear to bind me to mediocrity?’” When you think of a people group that you might be called to reach, does your heart break for them? If so, you may want to consider whether God is specifically calling you to reach that group for His kingdom. Is your calling clear? Has your calling been confirmed by others? Are you humbled by the call? Have you acted on your call? Do you know for certain that God has called you to start a new church? Nail it down. When exactly were you called? What were the circumstances surrounding your call? How did it match up with the sources of proper calling? Do you recognize the four specific calls in your calling? How? How does your call measure up to biblical characteristics? What is the emerging vision that God is giving you with this call? As your dependence on God grows, so will your church. One of the most common mistakes that enthusiastic and well-meaning church starters make is to move to a new location and start trying to reach people without thinking through even a short-term strategy. Don’t begin until you count the cost. why would you even consider starting a church (the only institution Jesus left behind and the only one that will last forever) without first developing a God-infused, specific, winning strategy? There are two types of pain: the pain of front-end discipline and the pain of back-end regret. With the question of strategy development, you get to choose which pain you’d rather live with. Basically, a purpose, mission and vision statement provides guiding principles that describe what God has called you to do (mission), how you will do it (purpose) and what it will look like when you get it done (vision). Keep your statement simple. Be as precise as possible. Core values are the filter through which you fulfill your strategy. These are important, because your entire strategy will be created and implemented in such a way as to bring your core values to life. Your strategic aim will serve as the beacon that guides the rest of your strategy. It is the initial purpose for which you are writing your strategy. He will not send more people to you than you are ready to receive. So what can you do? The same thing Dr. Graham does. Prepare in a way that enables God to open the floodgates into your church. If you are truly ready, He will send people your way. If you do the work we’ve described in this chapter, you’ll be able to build your new church on a strong base of God-breathed preparation. You’ll know where you are, where you’re going and how you are going to get there. You’ll be standing in the rain with a huge bucket, ready to take in the deluge. However, if you don’t think through your strategy, write it down and then implement it, you’ll be like the man who stands in the rainstorm with a Dixie cup. You’ll be completely unprepared to capture what God is pouring out. The choice is yours!
Nelson Searcy (Launch: Starting a New Church from Scratch)
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)
DAY 10 Finding Contentment But godliness with contentment is a great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6 HCSB Everywhere we turn, or so it seems, the world promises us contentment and happiness. We are bombarded by messages offering us the “good life” if only we will purchase products and services that are designed to provide happiness, success, and contentment. But the contentment that the world offers is fleeting and incomplete. Thankfully, the contentment that God offers is all encompassing and everlasting. Happiness depends less upon our circumstances than upon our thoughts. When we turn our thoughts to God, to His gifts, and to His glorious creation, we experience the joy that God intends for His children. But, when we focus on the negative aspects of life—or when we disobey God’s commandments—we cause ourselves needless suffering. Do you sincerely want to be a contented Christian? Then set your mind and your heart upon God’s love and His grace. Seek first the salvation that is available through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and then claim the joy, the contentment, and the spiritual abundance that God offers His children. When you accept rather than fight your circumstances, even though you don’t understand them, you open your heart’s gate to God’s love, peace, joy, and contentment. Amy Carmichael Oh, what a happy soul I am, although I cannot see! I am resolved that in this world, contented I will be. Fanny Crosby If I could just hang in there, being faithful to my own tasks, God would make me joyful and content. The responsibility is mine, but the power is His. Peg Rankin The key to contentment is to consider. Consider who you are and be satisfied with that. Consider what you have and be satisfied with that. Consider what God’s doing and be satisfied with that. Luci Swindoll Jesus Christ is the One by Whom, for Whom, through Whom everything was made. Therefore, He knows what’s wrong in your life and how to fix it. Anne Graham Lotz God is everything that is good and comfortable for us. He is our clothing that for love wraps us, clasps us, and all surrounds us for tender love. Juliana of Norwich
Freeman Smith (Fifty Shades of Grace: Devotions Celebrating God's Unlimited Gift)
I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone - if possible - Jew, Gentile - black man - white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness - not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost…. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men - cries out for universal brotherhood - for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world - millions of despairing men, women, and little children - victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say - do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed - the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. ….. Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes - men who despise you - enslave you - who regiment your lives - tell you what to do - what to think and what to feel! Who drill you - diet you - treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate - the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” - not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power - the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then - in the name of democracy - let us use that power - let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world - a decent world that will give men a chance to work - that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world - to do away with national barriers - to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!
Charlie Chaplin (The Great Dictator: Il grande dittatore di Charlie Chaplin)
July 14, 1861 Camp Clark, Washington My very dear Sarah: The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days — perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more… I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing — perfectly willing — to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt… Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field. The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me — perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness… But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights … always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again…
Sullivan Ballou
My great-grandmother read people’s fortunes and aligned her gardens with the stars. This was always said before a long, dramatic pause. Nana never wanted to talk about her. If I said anything about astrology or being a Cancer, my grandmother would go move quick to hush me. I heard different stories about my great-grandmother, cautionary tales about what could happen if you leaned in hard on that intuition. I don’t know the full story, but I also know that she was a card reader in Waco, Texas, at a time when that was not done. She was considered crazy by a lot of people in town. That buckle on the Bible Belt can come down hard and leave a mark. But I’d stare in the mirror at my brown eyes and high cheekbones, convinced I was Native American. More than that, we Simpson girls, my mother included, all seemed a little witchy. A nicer word would be intuitive. We had a good sense of people from the get-go and we often knew what was going to happen before it happened. Sometimes we chalked it up to our faith that God would provide, sometimes to just paying attention. But often it felt like we knew what was destined to be. Everything that happened in my life just felt preordained. Still does.
Jessica Simpson (Open Book)
The former South African archbishop Desmond Tutu used to famously say, “We are prisoners of hope.” Such a statement might be taken as merely rhetorical or even eccentric if you hadn’t seen Bishop Tutu stare down the notorious South African Security Police when they broke into the Cathedral of St. George’s during his sermon at an ecumenical service. I was there and have preached about the dramatic story of his response more times than I can count. The incident taught me more about the power of hope than any other moment of my life. Desmond Tutu stopped preaching and just looked at the intruders as they lined the walls of his cathedral, wielding writing pads and tape recorders to record whatever he said and thereby threatening him with consequences for any bold prophetic utterances. They had already arrested Tutu and other church leaders just a few weeks before and kept them in jail for several days to make both a statement and a point: Religious leaders who take on leadership roles in the struggle against apartheid will be treated like any other opponents of the Pretoria regime. After meeting their eyes with his in a steely gaze, the church leader acknowledged their power (“You are powerful, very powerful”) but reminded them that he served a higher power greater than their political authority (“But I serve a God who cannot be mocked!”). Then, in the most extraordinary challenge to political tyranny I have ever witnessed, Archbishop Desmond Tutu told the representatives of South African apartheid, “Since you have already lost, I invite you today to come and join the winning side!” He said it with a smile on his face and enticing warmth in his invitation, but with a clarity and a boldness that took everyone’s breath away. The congregation’s response was electric. The crowd was literally transformed by the bishop’s challenge to power. From a cowering fear of the heavily armed security forces that surrounded the cathedral and greatly outnumbered the band of worshipers, we literally leaped to our feet, shouted the praises of God and began…dancing. (What is it about dancing that enacts and embodies the spirit of hope?) We danced out of the cathedral to meet the awaiting police and military forces of apartheid who hardly expected a confrontation with dancing worshipers. Not knowing what else to do, they backed up to provide the space for the people of faith to dance for freedom in the streets of South Africa.
Jim Wallis (God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It)
First, READ this book a chapter a day. We suggest at least five days a week for the next seven weeks, but whatever works for your schedule. Each chapter should only take you around ten minutes to read. Second, READ the Bible each day. Let the Word of God mold you into a person of prayer. We encourage you to read through the Gospel of Luke during these seven weeks and be studying it through the lens of what you can learn from Jesus about prayer. You are also encouraged to look up and study verses in each chapter that you are unfamiliar with that spark your interest. Third, PRAY every day. Prayer should be both scheduled and spontaneous. Choose a place and time when you can pray alone each day, preferably in the morning (Ps. 5:3). Write down specific needs and personal requests you’ll be targeting in prayer over the next few weeks, along with the following prayer: Heavenly Father, I come to You in Jesus’ name, asking that You draw me into a closer, more personal relationship with You. Cleanse me of my sins and prepare my heart to pray in a way that pleases You. Help me know You and love You more this week. Use all the circumstances of my life to make me more like Jesus, and teach me how to pray more strategically and effectively in Your name, according to Your will and Your Word. Use my faith, my obedience, and my prayers this week for the benefit of others, for my good, and for Your glory. Amen. May we each experience the amazing power of God in our generation as a testimony of His goodness for His glory! My Scheduled Prayer Time ___:___ a.m./p.m. My Scheduled Prayer Place ________________________ My Prayer Targets Develop a specific, personalized, ongoing prayer list using one or more of the following questions: What are your top three biggest needs right now? What are the top three things you are most stressed about? What are three issues in your life that would take a miracle of God to resolve? What is something good and honorable that, if God provided it, would greatly benefit you, your family, and others? What is something you believe God may be leading you to do, but you need His clarity and direction on it? What is a need from someone you love that you’d like to start praying about? 1. ______________________________________________ 2. ______________________________________________ 3. ______________________________________________ 4. ______________________________________________ 5. ______________________________________________ 6. ______________________________________________
Stephen Kendrick (The Battle Plan for Prayer: From Basic Training to Targeted Strategies)
O my God! how much I long to be the missionary of Your holy will, and to teach all men that there is nothing more easy, more attainable, more within reach, and in the power of everyone, than sanctity. How I wish that I could make them understand that just as the good and the bad thief had the same things to do and to suffer; so also two persons, one of whom is worldly and the other leading an interior and wholly spiritual life have, neither of them, anything different to do or to suffer; but that one is sanctified and attains eternal happiness by submission to Your holy will in those very things by which the other is damned because he does them to please himself, or endures them with reluctance and rebellion. This proves that it is only the heart that is different. Oh! all you that read this, it will cost you no more than to do what you are doing, to suffer what you are suffering, only act and suffer in a holy manner. It is the heart that must be changed. When I say heart, I mean will. Sanctity, then, consists in willing all that God wills for us. Yes! sanctity of heart is a simple “fiat,” a conformity of will with the will of God. What could be more easy, and who could refuse to love a will so kind and so good? Let us love it then, and this love alone will make everything in us divine.
Jean-Pierre de Caussade (Abandonment to Divine Providence)
I know Christians who yearn for God's older style of a power-worker who topples pharaohs, flattens Jericho's walls, and scorches the priests of Baal. I do not. I believe the kingdom now advances through grace and freedom, God's goal all along. I accept Jesus' assurance that his departure from earth represents progress, by opening a door for the Counselor to enter. We know how counselors work: not by giving orders and imposing changes through external force. A good counselor works on the inside, bringing to the surface dormant health. For a relationship between such unequal partners, prayer provides an ideal medium. Prayer is cooperation with God, a consent that opens the way for grace to work. Most of the time the Counselor communicates subtly: feeding ideas into my mind, bringing to awareness a caustic comment I just made, inspiring me to choose better than I would have done otherwise, shedding light on the hidden dangers of temptation, sensitizing me to another's needs. God's Spirit whispers rather than shouts, and brings peace not turmoil. Although such a partnership with God may lack the drama of the bargaining sessions with Abraham and Moses, the advance in intimacy is striking. . . The partnership binds so tight that it becomes hard to distinguish who is doing what, God or the human partner. God has come that close.
Philip Yancey (Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?)
As she lifted her own backpack over the side of the black, heavy-duty dodge pickup, Owen took it out of her hands and set it beside the one-man tent and sleeping bag the FBI had provided for him. “I could have done that,” she said. “Sure you could. But my daddy taught me a gentleman always helps a lady.” Bay was so startled at what he’d said, and the chagrined way he’s said it, that she laughed. “Oh, my god. Chauvinism is alive and well—” “We call it chivalry, or Southern courtesy, ma’am,” he said. She realized he was heading around the truck to open the door for her. She stepped in front of him and said, “It’s going to be a long trip if you refuse to let me pull my weight. I can get my own door, Mr. Blackthorne.” For a minute, she thought he was going to make an issue of it. Then he touched the brim of his hat, shot her a rakish grin that turned her insides to mush, and said, “Whatever you say, Mizz Creed.” She was so flustered, she took a half step backward, slid into the seat when he opened the door for her after all, and said, “My friends call me Bay.” Bay flushed as she realized what she’d said. As he came around the hood and got in, she said, “That is—I mean—you know what I mean!” He belted himself into the driver’s seat and started the engine, before he turned to her and said, “My friends call me Owe. You can call me Owen.” She stared at him disbelief. “Oh. You. Blackthorne, you.
Joan Johnston (The Texan (Bitter Creek, #2))
Beyond those somewhat anchored fantasy settings are the wild-eyed and the wahoo worlds. This is by no means pejorative, as these include some of my personal favorites, but it is meant to show that there are high-concept, love-’em-or-hate-’em sorts of settings. Call them worlds of pure chaos, places where anything goes and where the usual rules do not apply. They are not meant to be realistic, and indeed that is their appeal. They are settings unmoored from reality and operating by rules of your design—but these settings do have rules. To provide some examples, think of places like China Mieville’s Bas Lag, Pratchett’s Disc World, Frank Baum’s Oz, David “Zeb” Cook’s Dark Sun and Planescape, Keith Baker’s Eberron, Jim Ward’s Gamma World, NCSoft’s Guild Wars, Andrew Leker’s Jorune, Michael Moorcock’s Melnibone, Jeff Grubb’s Spelljammer, and Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. These are places where truly Weird Shit happens, with different rules of physics, alien landscapes, magical wastelands, alien gods, mutants, and cosmologies. It’s fun to go out on the edge, and fantasy is always exploring strange places like this. These are the high-wire acts of worldbuilding. They take creative risks, not always successfully, and they endure a higher degree of mockery than the real fantasies or anchored fantasies do because of those creative risks. They also attract a loyal following who love that particular flavor of weird. Just ask any Planescape fan.
Wolfgang Baur (Complete Kobold Guide to Game Design)
Dr. Syngmann: But someone must have made it all. Don't you think so, John? Pastor Jón: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and so on, said the late pastor Lens. Dr. Syngmann: Listen, John, how is it possible to love God? And what reason is there for doing so? To love, is that not the prelude to sleeping together, something connected with the genitals, at its best a marital tragedy among apes? It would be ridiculous. People are fond of their children, all right, but if someone said he was fond of God, wouldn't that be blasphemy? Pastor Jón once again utters that strange word 'it' and says: I accept it. Dr. Syngmann: What do you mean when you say you accept God? Did you consent to his creating the world? Do you think the world as good as all that, or something? This world! Or are you all that pleased with yourself? Pastor Jón: Have you noticed that the ewe that was bleating outside the window is now quiet? She has found her lamb. And I believe that the calf here in the homefield will pull through. Dr. Syngmann: I know as well as you do, John, that animals are perfect within their limits and that man is the lowest rung in the reverse-evolution of earthly life: one need only compare the pictures of an emperor and a dog to see that, or a farmer and the horse he rides. But I for my part refuse to accept it. Pastor Jón Prímus: To refuse to accept it - what is meant by that? Suicide or something? Dr. Syngmann: At this moment, when the alignment with a higher humanity is at hand, a chapter is at last beginning that can be taken seriously in the history of the earth. Epagogics provide the arguments to prove to the Creator that life is an entirely meaningless gimmick unless it is eternal. Pastor Jón: Who is to bell the cat? Dr. Syngmann: As regards epagogics, it is pleading a completely logical case. In six volumes I have proved my thesis with incontrovertible arguments; even juridically. But obviously it isn't enough to use cold reasoning. I take the liberty of appealing to this gifted Maker's honour. I ask Him - how could it ever occur to you to hand over the earth to demons? The only ideal over which demons can unite is to have a war. Why did you permit the demons of the earth to profess their love to you in services and prayers as if you were their God? Will you let honest men call you demiurge, you, the Creator of the world? Whose defeat is it, now that the demons of the earth have acquired a machine to wipe out all life? Whose defeat is it if you let life on earth die on your hands? Can the Maker of the heavens stoop so low as to let German philosophers give Him orders what to do? And finally - I am a creature you have created. And that's why I am here, just like you. Who has given you the right to wipe me out? Is justice ridiculous in your eyes? Cards on the table! (He mumbles to himself.) You are at least under an obligation to resurrect me!
Halldór Laxness (Under the Glacier)
The story of Adam and Eve, as used by the Eastern church to account for our inherited weakness to withstand temptation as an effect of Adam and Eve's sin, can fruitfully be understood today without a historical Adam and Eve but instead with an evolutionary and social understanding of human beings. In the course of biological and social evolution, any group of creatures capable of any degree of relationship to God that fails to be properly related to God commensurate with their stage of development-any such group will have some network or other of social relations that are not as God intends. People born into a particular social group inherit that social network and act more or less in accord with it, and so inherit the effects of its sin. By being formed and shaped by the inherited social network, each individual is "weakened" in its ability to wrestle with the temptations to which its ontological nature as finite creature is subject. When a fall occurred, when a prepeople or people did not live up to the intentions of God in their common life commensurate to their stage of development, it was probably not at any one specific time; it may have occurred at different times for different groups until failure to be properly related to God was universal in all societies. But by historic times, human development is at a stage that the story of Adam and Eve is a fitting type or model of our situation in relation to God: human beings seeking to provide for themselves apart from God and God's purposes. This ancient understanding of original sin and evil seems to me both illuminating and, with the evolutionary understanding that I have added to it, thoroughly defensible. I can easily apply it to myself and also use it to understand other people, as I have done in presenting Pascal's analysis of our condition. Some theologians are willing to grant that the story of an actual Adam and Eve is not necessary for Christian theology, but they still hold that there had to have been a historical situation of original righteousness or innocence and an actual fall from this state. Otherwise, God, not human beings, would be responsible for our condition, and the goodness of creation would be fatally compromised.' My account does have a temporal dimension. All of us are born without an awareness of God in our lives. God is near us as our creator, generating us each moment of time; but it is as if God is, so to speak, behind us, and we, by looking only in front of us, do not perceive God in our world at all. So we do not take God into account in our lives. This is when distortion in our hearts, minds, and desires begins to occur. Our de facto personality, with our self at the center of all reality, is innocent when we are an infant but ceases to be innocent as it is reinforced by society's way of life, encouraging us to walk away from God and so into evil. We walk away from God by pursuing earthly goods and in
Diogenes Allen (Theology for a Troubled Believer: An Introduction to the Christian Faith)
Contempt is born when we fixate on our spouse’s weaknesses. Every spouse has these sore points. If you want to find them, without a doubt you will. If you want to obsess about them, they’ll grow – but you won’t! Jesus provides a remedy that is stunning in its simplicity yet foreboding in its difficulty. He tells us to take the plank out of our own eye before we try to remove the speck from our neighbor’s eye (see Matthew 7:3–5). If you’re thinking “but my spouse is the one who has the plank,” allow me to let you in on a secret: You’re exactly the type of person Jesus is talking to. You’re the one He wanted to challenge with these words. Jesus isn’t helping us resolve legal matters here; He’s urging us to adopt humble spirits. He wants us to cast off the contempt – to have contempt for the contempt – and learn the spiritual secret of respect. Consider the type of people Jesus loved in the days He walked on earth – Judas (the betrayer); the woman at the well (a sexual libertine); Zacchaeus (the conniving financial cheat); and many others like them. In spite of the fact that Jesus was without sin and these people were very much steeped in sin, Jesus still honored them. He washed Judas’s feet; He spent time talking respectfully to the woman at the well; He went to Zacchaeus’s house for dinner. Jesus, the only perfect human being to live on this earth, moved toward sinful people; He asks us to do the same, beginning with the one closest to us – our spouse.
Gary L. Thomas (Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?)
My Future Self My future self and I become closer and closer as time goes by. I must admit that I neglected and ignored her until she punched me in the gut, grabbed me by the hair and turned my butt around to introduce herself. Well, at least that’s what it felt like every time I left the convalescent hospital after doing skills training for a certification I needed to help me start my residential care business. I was going to be providing specialized, 24/7 residential care and supervising direct care staff for non-verbal, non-ambulatory adult men in diapers! I ran to the Red Cross and took the certified nurse assistant class so I would at least know something about the job I would soon be hiring people to do and to make sure my clients received the best care. The training facility was a Medicaid hospital. I would drive home in tears after seeing what happens when people are not able to afford long-term medical care and the government has to provide that care. But it was seeing all the “young” patients that brought me to tears. And I had thought that only the elderly lived like this in convalescent hospitals…. I am fortunate to have good health but this experience showed me that there is the unexpected. So I drove home each day in tears, promising God out loud, over and over again, that I would take care of my health and take care of my finances. That is how I met my future self. She was like, don’t let this be us girlfriend and stop crying! But, according to studies, we humans have a hard time empathizing with our future selves. Could you even imagine your 30 or 40 year old self when you were in elementary or even high school? It’s like picturing a stranger. This difficulty explains why some people tend to favor short-term or immediate gratification over long-term planning and savings. Take time to picture the life you want to live in 5 years, 10 years, and 40 years, and create an emotional connection to your future self. Visualize the things you enjoy doing now, and think of retirement saving and planning as a way to continue doing those things and even more. However, research shows that people who interacted with their future selves were more willing to improve savings. Just hit me over the head, why don’t you! I do understand that some people can’t even pay attention or aren’t even interested in putting money away for their financial future because they have so much going on and so little to work with that they feel like they can’t even listen to or have a conversation about money. But there are things you’re doing that are not helping your financial position and could be trouble. You could be moving in the wrong direction. The goal is to get out of debt, increase your collateral capacity, use your own money in the most efficient manner and make financial decisions that will move you forward instead of backwards. Also make sure you are getting answers specific to your financial situation instead of blindly guessing! Contact us. We will be happy to help!
Annette Wise
I’m not going to stand for it any longer," said Mr. Flood. "I’m going to put my foot down. All I want in this world is a little peace and quiet, and he gets me all raced up. Here a while back I heard a preacher talking on the radio about the peacefulness of the old, and I thought to myself, ‘You ignorant man!’ I’m ninety-four years old and I have never yet had any peace, to speak of. My mind is just a turmoil of regrets. It’s not what I did that I regret, it’s what I didn’t do. Except for the bottle, I always walked the straight and narrow; a family man, a good provider, never cut up, never did ugly, and I regret it. In the summer of 1902 I came real close to getting in serious trouble with a married woman, but I had a fight with my conscience and my conscience won, and what’s the result? I had two wives, good, Christian women, and I can’t hardly remember what either of them looked like, but I can remember the face on that woman so clear it hurts, and there’s never a day passes I don’t think about her, and there’s never a day passes I don’t curse myself. ‘What kind of a timid, dried-up, weevily fellow were you?’ I say to myself. ‘You should’ve said to hell with what’s right and what’s wrong, the devil take the hindmost. You’d have something to remember, you’d be happier now.’ She’s out in Woodlawn, six feet under, and she’s been there twenty-two years, God rest her, and here I am, just an old, old man with nothing but a belly and a brain and a dollar or two." "Life is sad," said Mr. Maggiani.
Joseph Mitchell (Old Mr. Flood)
I’ve been sitting here and thinking about God. I don’t think I believe in God any more. It is not only me, I think of all the millions who must have lived like this in the war. The Anne Franks. And back through history. What I feel I know now is that God doesn’t intervene. He lets us suffer. If you pray for liberty then you may get relief just because you pray, or because things happen anyhow which bring you liberty. But God can’t hear. There’s nothing human like hearing or seeing or pitying or helping about him. I mean perhaps God has created the world and the fundamental laws of matter and evolution. But he can’t care about the individuals. He’s planned it so some individuals are happy, some sad, some lucky, some not. Who is sad, who is not, he doesn’t know, and he doesn’t care. So he doesn’t exist, really. These last few days I’ve felt Godless. I’ve felt cleaner, less muddled, less blind. I still believe in a God. But he’s so remote, so cold, so mathematical. I see that we have to live as if there is no God. Prayer and worship and singing hymns—all silly and useless. I’m trying to explain why I’m breaking with my principles (about never committing violence). It is still my principle, but I see you have to break principles sometimes to survive. It’s no good trusting vaguely in your luck, in Providence or God’s being kind to you. You have to act and fight for yourself. The sky is absolutely empty. Beautifully pure and empty. As if the architects and builders would live in all the houses they built! Or could live in them all. It’s obvious, it stares you in the face. There must be a God and he can’t know anything about us.
John Fowles (The Collector)
That? It's nothing. A stupid mutation. A standard outcome. We used to see them in our labs. Junk." "Then why haven't we ever seen it before?" Gibbons makes a face of impatience. "You don't culture death the way we do. You don't tinker with the building blocks of nature." Interest and passion flicker briefly in the old man's eyes. Mischief and predatory interests. "You have no idea what things we succeeded in creating in our labs. This stuff is hardly worth my time. I hoped you were bringing me a challenge. Something from Drs. Ping and Raymond. Or perhaps Mahmoud Sonthalia. Those are challenges." For a moment, his eyes lose their cynicism. He becomes entranced. "Ah. Now those are worthy opponents." We are in the hands of a gamesman. In a flash of insight, Kanya understands the doctor entirely. A fierce intellect. A man who reached the pinnacle of his field. A jealous and competitive man. A man who found his competition too lacking, and so switched sides and joined the Thai Kingdom for the stimulation it might provide. An intellectual exercise for him. As if Jaidee had decided to fight a muay thai match with his hands tied behind his back to see if he could win with kicks alone. We rest in the hands of a fickle god. He plays on our behalf only for entertainment, and he will close his eyes and sleep if we fail to engage his intellect. A horrifying thought. The man exists only for competition, the chess match of evolution, fought on a global scale. An exercise in ego, a single giant fending off the attacks of dozens of others, a giant swatting them from the sky and laughing. But all giants must fall, and then what must the Kingdom look forward to?
Paolo Bacigalupi (The Windup Girl)
November 7 THE UNDETECTED SACREDNESS OF CIRCUMSTANCES “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God . . . .” Romans 8:28     The circumstances of a saint’s life are ordained of God. In the life of a saint there is no such thing as chance. God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you can’t understand at all, but the Spirit of God understands. God brings you to places, among people, and into certain conditions to accomplish a definite purpose through the intercession of the Spirit in you. Never put yourself in front of your circumstances and say, “I’m going to be my own providence here; I will watch this closely, or protect myself from that.” All your circumstances are in the hand of God, and therefore you don’t ever have to think they are unnatural or unique. Your part in intercessory prayer is not to agonize over how to intercede, but to use the everyday circumstances and people God puts around you by His providence to bring them before His throne, and to allow the Spirit in you the opportunity to intercede for them. In this way God is going to touch the whole world with His saints.     Am I making the Holy Spirit’s work difficult by being vague and unsure, or by trying to do His work for Him? I must do the human side of intercession—utilizing the circumstances in which I find myself and the people who surround me. I must keep my conscious life as a sacred place for the Holy Spirit. Then as I lift different ones to God through prayer, the Holy Spirit intercedes for them.     Your intercessions can never be mine, and my intercessions can never be yours, “. . . but the Spirit Himself makes intercession” in each of our lives (Romans 8:26). And without that intercession, the lives of others would be left in poverty and in ruin.
Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest)
April 27 MORNING “God, even our own God.” — Psalm 67:6 IT is strange how little use we make of the spiritual blessings which God gives us, but it is stranger still how little use we make of God Himself. Though He is “our own God,” we apply ourselves but little to Him, and ask but little of Him. How seldom do we ask counsel at the hands of the Lord! How often do we go about our business, without seeking His guidance! In our troubles how constantly do we strive to bear our burdens ourselves, instead of casting them upon the Lord, that He may sustain us! This is not because we may not, for the Lord seems to say, “I am thine, soul, come and make use of me as thou wilt; thou mayst freely come to my store, and the oftener the more welcome.” It is our own fault if we make not free with the riches of our God. Then, since thou hast such a friend, and He invites thee, draw from Him daily. Never want whilst thou hast a God to go to; never fear or faint whilst thou hast God to help thee; go to thy treasure and take whatever thou needest — there is all that thou canst want. Learn the divine skill of making God all things to thee. He can supply thee with all, or, better still, He can be to thee instead of all. Let me urge thee, then, to make use of thy God. Make use of Him in prayer. Go to Him often, because He is thy God. O, wilt thou fail to use so great a privilege? Fly to Him, tell Him all thy wants. Use Him constantly by faith at all times. If some dark providence has beclouded thee, use thy God as a “sun;” if some strong enemy has beset thee, find in Jehovah a “shield,” for He is a sun and shield to His people. If thou hast lost thy way in the mazes of life, use Him as a “guide,” for He will direct thee. Whatever thou art, and wherever thou art, remember God is just what thou wantest, and just where thou wantest, and that He can do all thou wantest.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Morning and Evening-Classic KJV Edition)
God’s Message to Women When I created the heavens and the earth, I spoke them into being.  When I created man, I formed him and breathed life into his nostrils. But you, woman, I fashioned after I breathed the breath of life into man because your nostrils are too delicate.  I allowed a deep sleep to come over him so I could patiently fashion you.  Man was put to sleep so he could not interfere with the creativity. From one bone I fashioned you, and I chose the bone that protects man’s life.  I chose the rib, which protects his heart and lungs and supports him as you are meant to do.  Around this one bone, I shaped and modeled you. I created you perfectly and beautifully.  Your characteristics are as the rib, strong yet delicate and fragile.  You provide protection for the most delicate organ in man, his heart.  His heart is the center of his being; his lungs hold the breath of life.  The rib cage will allow itself to be broken before it will allow damage to the heart.  Support man as the rib cage supports the body.  You were not taken from his feet to be under him, nor were you taken from his head to be above him.  You were taken from his side to be held close as you stand beside him. I have caressed your face in your deepest sleep. I have held your heart close to Mine. Adam walked with Me in the cool of the day and yet he was lonely. He could not see or touch Me but could only feel My presence.  So I fashioned in you everything I wanted Adam to share and experience with Me: My holiness, My strength, My purity, My love, My protection and support. You are special because you are an extension of Me.  Man represents My image–woman My emotions. Together, you represent the totality of God. So man, treat woman well. Love and respect her, for she is fragile.  In hurting her, you hurt Me. In crushing her, you only damage your own heart. Woman, support man.  In humility, show him the power of emotion I have placed within you.  In gentle quietness show your strength.  In love, show him that you are the rib that protects his inner self. —Author Unknown
Ruth Harvey (Desired by the King)
Deep humility. Examination: Have I looked down on anyone? Have I been too stung by criticism? Have I felt snubbed and ignored? Consider the free grace of Jesus until I sense (a) decreasing disdain, since I am a sinner too, and (b) decreasing pain over criticism, since I should not value human approval over God’s love. In light of his grace, I can let go of the need to keep up a good image—it is too great a burden and is now unnecessary. I reflect on free grace until I experience grateful, restful joy. A well-guided zeal. Examination: Have I avoided people or tasks that I know I should face? Have I been anxious and worried? Have I failed to be circumspect, or have I been rash and impulsive? Consider the free grace of Jesus until there is (a) no cowardly avoidance of hard things, since Jesus faced evil for me, and (b) no anxious or rash behavior, since Jesus’ death proves that God cares and will watch over me. It takes pride to be anxious, and I recognize I am not wise enough to know how my life should go. I reflect on free grace until I experience calm thoughtfulness and strategic boldness. A burning love. Examination: Have I spoken or thought unkindly of anyone? Am I justifying myself by caricaturing someone else in my mind? Have I been impatient and irritable? Have I been self-absorbed, indifferent, and inattentive to people? Consider the free grace of Jesus until there is (a) no coldness or unkindness, as I think of the sacrificial love of Christ for me, (b) no impatience, as I think of his patience with me, and (c) no indifference, as I think of how God is infinitely attentive to me. I reflect on free grace until I feel some warmth and affection. A “single” eye. Examination: Am I doing what I do for God’s glory and the good of others, or am I being driven by fears, need for approval, love of comfort and ease, need for control, hunger for acclaim and power, or the fear of other people? (Luke 12:4–5). Am I looking at anyone with envy? Am I giving in to even the first motions of sexual lust or gluttony? Am I spending my time on urgent things rather than important things because of these inordinate desires? Consider how the free grace of Jesus provides me with what I am looking for in these other things.
Timothy J. Keller (Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)
You want to kiss her, right?” “What?” I have lost track of our conversation. I was thinking about how if Kit called me her friend, then I would have multiplied my number of them by a factor of two. And then I considered the word flirting, how it sounds like fluttering, which is what butterflies do. Which of course looped me back to chaos theory and my realization that I’d like to have more information to provide Kit on the topic. “Do. You. Want. To. Kiss. Her?” Miney asks again. “Yes, of course I do. Who wouldn’t want to kiss Kit?” “I don’t want to kiss Kit,” Miney says, doing that thing where she imitates me and how I answer rhetorical questions. Though her intention is to mock rather than to educate, it’s actually been a rather informative technique to demonstrate my tendency toward taking people too literally. “Mom doesn’t want to kiss Kit. I don’t know about Dad, but I doubt it.” My father doesn’t look up. His face is buried in a book about the mating patterns of migratory birds. It’s too bad our scholarly interests have never overlapped. Breakfast would be so much more interesting if we could discuss our work. “So if you want to kiss Kit, that means you want her to see you like a real guy,” Miney says, and points at me with her cup of coffee. She’s drinking it black. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with Miney. Maybe she’s just tired. “I am a real guy.” How come even my own sister sees me as something not quite human? Something other. “I have a penis.” “And just when I think we’ve made progress you go and mention your penis.” “What? Fact: I have a penis. That makes me a guy. Though technically there are some trans people who have penises but self-identify as girls.” “Please stop saying that word.” “What word? Penis?” “Yes.” “Do you prefer member? Shlong? Wang? Johnson?” I ask. “Dongle, perhaps?” “I would prefer we not discuss your man parts at all.” “Wait, should I text Kit immediately and clarify that I do in fact have man parts?” I pick up my phone and start typing. “Dear Kit. Just to be clear. I have a penis.” “Oh my God. Do not text her. Seriously, stop.” Miney puts her coffee down hard. She’ll climb over the table and tackle me if she has to. “Ha! Totally got you!” I smile, as proud as I was the other day for my that’s what she said joke. “Who are you?” Miney asks, but she’s grinning too. I’ll admit it takes a second—something about the disconnect between her confused tone and her happy face—and I almost, almost say out loud: Duh, I’m Little D. Instead I let her rhetorical question hang, just like I’m supposed to
Julie Buxbaum (What to Say Next)
From the Author Matthew 16:25 says, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”  This is a perfect picture of the life of Nate Saint; he gave up his life so God could reveal a greater glory in him and through him. I first heard the story of Operation Auca when I was eight years old, and ever since then I have been inspired by Nate’s commitment to the cause of Christ. He was determined to carry out God’s will for his life in spite of fears, failures, and physical challenges. For several years of my life, I lived and ministered with my parents who were missionaries on the island of Jamaica. My experiences during those years gave me a passion for sharing the stories of those who make great sacrifices to carry the gospel around the world. As I wrote this book, learning more about Nate Saint’s life—seeing his spirit and his struggles—was both enlightening and encouraging to me. It is my prayer that this book will provide a window into Nate Saint’s vision—his desires, dreams, and dedication. I pray his example will convince young people to step out of their comfort zones and wholeheartedly seek God’s will for their lives. That is Nate Saint’s legacy: changing the world for Christ, one person and one day at a time.   Nate Saint Timeline 1923 Nate Saint born. 1924 Stalin rises to power in Russia. 1930 Nate’s first flight, aged 7 with his brother, Sam. 1933 Nate’s second flight with his brother, Sam. 1936 Nate made his public profession of faith. 1937 Nate develops bone infection. 1939 World War II begins. 1940 Winston Churchill becomes British Prime Minister. 1941 Nate graduates from Wheaton College. Nate takes first flying lesson. Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. 1942 Nate’s induction into the Army Air Corps. 1943 Nate learns he is to be transferred to Indiana. 1945 Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan by U.S. 1946 Nate discharged from the Army. 1947 Nate accepted for Wheaton College. 1948 Nate and Marj are married and begin work in Eduador. Nate crashes his plane in Quito. 1949 Nate’s first child, Kathy, is born. Germany divided into East and West. 1950 Korean War begins. 1951 Nate’s second child, Stephen, is born. 1952 The Saint family return home to the U.S. 1953 Nate comes down with pneumonia. Nate and Henry fly to Ecuador. 1954 The first nuclear-powered submarine is launched. Nate’s third child, Phillip, is born. 1955 Nate is joined by Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming and Roger Youderian. Nate spots an Auca village for the first time. Operation Auca commences. 1956 The group sets up camp four miles from the Auca territory. Nate and the group are killed on “Palm Beach”.
Nancy Drummond (Nate Saint: Operation Auca (Torchbearers))
It is the purpose of both God and the devil to provide you with the answers to these key questions.  If Satan is able to establish his images of identity and destiny in your life, he then has set up a system of governing your life that more or less runs itself and requires very little maintenance or service on his part. It is an effective scheme of destruction in your life. I believe that it has always been God’s intention to impart, especially at specific junctures in life, His message of identity and destiny.  He has appointed special agents on this earth to ensure that His message of identity and destiny is revealed.  These agents are called PARENTS.  Their primary job is to make sure that children receive God’s message of identity and destiny throughout their growing-up years. Satan’s purpose is to access these very agents of God, the parents, and to impart his message of identity and destiny.  Many times parents are unwittingly used to impart the devil’s message rather than God’s. SATAN’S MESSAGE VS. GOD’S MESSAGE What type of message does the devil want to reveal regarding identity and destiny?  His message is something along these lines.  IDENTITY: “You are worthless.  You aren’t even supposed to be here.  You are a mistake.  Something is drastically wrong with you.  You are a ‘nobody.’” DESTINY: “You have no purpose.  You are a total failure.  You’ll never be a success.  You are inadequate.  You are not equipped to accomplish the job.  Nothing ever works out for you, etc..” I once heard a woman say, “It’s as if someone dropped me off on the planet forty some years ago, and I’ve been trying to make my way the best I could ever since.  But deep inside, I don’t feel as though I belong here, and I’ve been waiting for that someone to come back and pick me up.”  God never intended for anyone to feel that he doesn’t belong.  That is Satan’s message. God's message of identity and destiny is something like this:  IDENTITY:  “To Me you are very valuable and are worth the life of Jesus Christ.  You are a `somebody.’  You do belong here.  Before the foundation of the earth, I planned for you.  You were no mistake.” DESTINY:  “You are destined to a great purpose on this earth.  I placed you here for a purpose.  You are a success as a person and are completely adequate and suited to carry out My purpose.  Set your vision high, and allow Me to complete great accomplishments in your life.” JOE’S STORY Joe was a well dressed, successful business man in his late thirties when I first met him.  He had come to a weekend “FROM CURSE TO BLESSING” seminar.  As we moved into the small-group ministry time, Joe began to share, somewhat sheepishly, about the tremendous problem that anger had caused him in his life.  “Anger causes me to embarrass myself, and
Craig Hill (The Ancient Paths)
One morning he read to her at breakfast, something he had written during the night "Very rough," he said. "Half of it I've crossed out. And this was supposed to be the clean copy." He cleared his throat. "So.'Things happen for reasons that are hidden from us, utterly hidden for as long as we think they must proceed from what has come before, our guilt or our deserving, rather than coming to us from a future that God in his freedom offers to us.' My meaning here is that you really can't account for what happens by what has happened in the past, as you understand it anyway, which may be very different from the past itself. If there is such a thing. 'The only true knowledge of God is borne of obedience,' that's Calvin, 'and obedience has to be constantly attentive to the demands that are made of it, to a circumstance that is always new and particular to its moment.' Yes. 'Then the reasons that things happen are still hidden in the mystery of God.' I can't read my own writing. No matter. 'Of course misfortunes have opened the way to blessing you would never have thought to hope for, that you would not have been ready to understand as blessings if they had come to you in your youth, when you were uninjured, innocent. The future always finds us damaged.' So then it is part of the providence of God, as I see it, the blessing or happiness can have very different meanings from one time to another. 'This is not to say that joy is a compensation for loss, but that each of them, joy and loss, exists in its own right and must be recognized for what it is. Sorrow is very real, and loss feels very final to us. Life on earth is difficult and grave, and marvelous. Our experience is fragmentary. Its parts don't add up. They don't even belong in the same calculation. Sometimes it is hard to believe they are all parts of one one thing. Nothing makes sense until we understand that experience does not accumulate like money, or memory, or like years and frailties. Instead, it is presented to us by God who is not under any obligation to the past except in His eternal, freely given constancy.' Because I don't mean to suggest that experience is random or accidental, you see. 'When I say that much the greater part of our existence is unknowable by us because it rests with God, who is unknowable, I acknowledge His grace in allowing us to feel that we know any slightest part of it. Therefore we have no way to reconcile its elements, because they are what we are given out of no necessity at all except God's grace in sustaining us as creatures we can recognize as ourselves.' That's always seemed remarkable to me, that we can do that. That we can't help but do it.'So joy can be joy and sorrow can be sorrow, with neither of them casting either light or shadow on the other.
Marilynne Robinson
[T]he great decided effective Majority is now for the Republic," he told Jefferson in late October 1792, but whether it would endure for even six months "must depend on the Form of Government which shall be presented by the Convention" and whether it could "strike out that happy Mean which secures all the Liberty which Circumstances will admit of combin'd with all the Energy which the same Circumstances require; Whether they can establish an Authority which does not exist, as a Substitute (and always a dangerous Substitute) for that Respect which cannot be restor'd after so much has been to destroy it; Whether in crying down and even ridiculing Religion they will be able on the tottering and uncertain Base of metaphisic Philosophy to establish a solid Edifice of morals, these are Questions which Time must solve." At the same time he predicted to Rufus King that "we shall have I think some sharp struggles which will make many men repent of what they have done when they find with Macbeth that they have but taught bloody Instructions which return to plague the Inventor." . . . In early December, he wrote perhaps his most eloquent appraisal of the tragic turn of the [French] Revolution, to Thomas Pinckney. "Success as you will see, continues to crown the French Arms, but it is not our Trade to judge from Success," he began. "You will soon learn that the Patriots hitherto adored were but little worthy of the Incense they received. The Enemies of those who now reign treat them as they did their Predecessors and as their Successors will be treated. Since I have been in this Country, I have seen the Worship of many Idols and but little [illegible] of the true God. I have seen many of those Idols broken, and some of them beaten to Dust. I have seen the late Constitution in one short Year admired as a stupendous Monument of human Wisdom and ridiculed as an egregious Production of Folly and Vice. I wish much, very much, the Happiness of this inconstant People. I love them. I feel grateful for their Efforts in our Cause and I consider the Establishment of a good Constitution here as the principal Means, under divine Providence, of extending the blessings of Freedom to the many millions of my fellow Men who groan in Bondage on the Continent of Europe. But I do not greatly indulge the flattering Illusions of Hope, because I do not yet perceive that Reformation of Morals without which Liberty is but an empty Sound." . . . [H]e believed religion was "the only solid Base of Morals and that Morals are the only possible Support of free governments." He described the movement as a "new Religion" whose Votaries have the Superstition of not being superstitious. They have with this as much Zeal as any other Sect and are as ready to lay Waste the World in order to make Proselytes.
Melanie Randolph Miller (Envoy to the Terror: Gouverneur Morris and the French Revolution)
Unqualified Champions Consider these individuals from the Bible. Each person was aware of a personal shortcoming which should have rendered him disqualified for service. God, however, saw champion potential … Moses struggled with a speech impediment: “Then Moses said to the LORD, ‘Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue’” (Exodus 4:10). Yet God served as Moses’ source of strength. God used him to deliver the Israelites from bondage. Jeremiah considered himself too young to deliver a prophetic message to an adult population: “Then I said, ‘Alas, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth’” (Jeremiah 1:6). God’s reply: “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you,” (Jeremiah 1:8). Isaiah, whose encouragement I quoted earlier, had reservations of his own. Perhaps his vocabulary reflected my own—especially my vocabulary as a teenager: “I am a man of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5). Despite Isaiah’s flaws, God saw him as a man He could use to provide guidance to the nation of Judah. Paul the Apostle had, in his past, persecuted the very people to whom God would send him later. To most of us, Paul’s track record would disqualify him for use. But God brought change to Paul’s heart and redemption to his fervency. Samson squandered his potential through poor life choices. As I read about him, I can’t help but think, “The guy acted like a spoiled brat.” But God had placed a call on his life. Though Samson sank to life’s darkest depths—captors blinded him and placed him in slavery—at the end of his life, he turned his heart toward God and asked to be used for God’s purposes. God used Samson to bring deliverance to the Israelites. Do you feel like the least qualified, the least important, the least regarded? Perhaps your reward is yet to come. God has high regard for those who are the least. Jesus said, “For the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great” (Luke 9:48) and “But many who are first will be last; and the last, first” (Matthew 19:30). If heaven includes strategic positioning among God’s people, which I believe it will, that positioning will be ego-free and based on a humble heart. Those of high position in God’s eyes don’t focus on position. They focus on hearts: their own hearts before God, and the hearts of others loved by God. When we get to heaven, I believe many people’s positions of responsibility will surprise us. What if, in heaven, the some of today’s most accomplished individuals end up reporting to someone who cried herself to sleep at night—yet kept her heart pure before God? According to Jesus in Matthew 6:5, some rewards are given in full before we reach heaven. When He spoke those words, He referred to hypocritical religious leaders as an example. Could we be in for a heavenly surprise? I believe many who are last today—the ultimate servants—will be first in heaven. God sees things differently than we do.
John Herrick (8 Reasons Your Life Matters)
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 20, 1965 My fellow countrymen, on this occasion, the oath I have taken before you and before God is not mine alone, but ours together. We are one nation and one people. Our fate as a nation and our future as a people rest not upon one citizen, but upon all citizens. This is the majesty and the meaning of this moment. For every generation, there is a destiny. For some, history decides. For this generation, the choice must be our own. Even now, a rocket moves toward Mars. It reminds us that the world will not be the same for our children, or even for ourselves m a short span of years. The next man to stand here will look out on a scene different from our own, because ours is a time of change-- rapid and fantastic change bearing the secrets of nature, multiplying the nations, placing in uncertain hands new weapons for mastery and destruction, shaking old values, and uprooting old ways. Our destiny in the midst of change will rest on the unchanged character of our people, and on their faith. THE AMERICAN COVENANT They came here--the exile and the stranger, brave but frightened-- to find a place where a man could be his own man. They made a covenant with this land. Conceived in justice, written in liberty, bound in union, it was meant one day to inspire the hopes of all mankind; and it binds us still. If we keep its terms, we shall flourish. JUSTICE AND CHANGE First, justice was the promise that all who made the journey would share in the fruits of the land. In a land of great wealth, families must not live in hopeless poverty. In a land rich in harvest, children just must not go hungry. In a land of healing miracles, neighbors must not suffer and die unattended. In a great land of learning and scholars, young people must be taught to read and write. For the more than 30 years that I have served this Nation, I have believed that this injustice to our people, this waste of our resources, was our real enemy. For 30 years or more, with the resources I have had, I have vigilantly fought against it. I have learned, and I know, that it will not surrender easily. But change has given us new weapons. Before this generation of Americans is finished, this enemy will not only retreat--it will be conquered. Justice requires us to remember that when any citizen denies his fellow, saying, "His color is not mine," or "His beliefs are strange and different," in that moment he betrays America, though his forebears created this Nation. LIBERTY AND CHANGE Liberty was the second article of our covenant. It was self- government. It was our Bill of Rights. But it was more. America would be a place where each man could be proud to be himself: stretching his talents, rejoicing in his work, important in the life of his neighbors and his nation. This has become more difficult in a world where change and growth seem to tower beyond the control and even the judgment of men. We must work to provide the knowledge and the surroundings which can enlarge the possibilities of every citizen. The American covenant called on us to help show the way for the liberation of man. And that is today our goal. Thus, if as a nation there is much outside our control, as a people no stranger is outside our hope.
Lyndon B. Johnson
that everything that had ever happened to me had been a loving step in that process of my progression. every person, every circumstance, and every incident was custom created for me. It was as if the entire universe existed for my higher good and development. I felt so loved, so cherished, and so honored. I realized that not only was I being embraced by deity, but also that I myself was divine, and that we all are. I knew that there are no accidents in this life. That everything happens for a reason. yet we always get to choose how we will experience what happens to us here. I could exercise my will in everything, even in how I felt about the wreck and the death of my family members. God didn't want me to hurt and feel put upon as if my son and wife had been taken from me. He was simply there assisting me to decide how I was going to experience it. He was providing me with the opportunity, in perfect love, to exercise my personal agency in this entire situation. I knew my wife and son were gone. They had died months earlier, but time didn't exist where I was at that moment. rather than having them ripped away from me, I was being given the opportunity to actually hand them over to God. To let them go in peace, love, and gratitude. Everything suddenly made sense. Everything had divine order. I could give my son to God and not have him taken away from me. I felt my power as a creator and cocreator with God to literally let go of all that had happened to me. I held my baby son as God himself held me. I experienced the oneness of all of it. Time did not matter. Only love and order existed. Tamara and Griffin had come into my life as perfect teachers. And in leaving me in such a way, they continued as perfect teachers to bring me to that point of remembering who I was. remembering that I was created in God's image and actually came from Him. I was aware now that I could actually walk with God, empowered by what I was learning in my life. I felt the divine energy of the being behind me inviting me to let it all go and give Griffin to Him. In all that peace and knowledge, I hugged my little boy tightly one last time, kissed him on the cheek, and gently laid him back down in the crib. I willingly gave him up. No one would ever take him away from me again. He was mine. We were one, and I was one with God. As soon as I breathed in all that peace, I awoke, back into the pain and darkness of my hospital bed, but with greater perspective. I marveled at what I had just experienced. It was not just a dream. It felt too real. It was real to me, far more real than the pain, the grief, and my hospital bed. Griffin was alive in a place more real than anything here. And Tamara was there with him. I knew it. As the years have passed, I've often wondered how I could have put my son back in the crib the way I did. Maybe I should have held on and never let go. But in that place, it all made sense. I realized that no one ever really dies. We always live on. I had experienced a God as real and tangible as we are. He knows our every heartache, yet allows us to experience and endure them for our growth. His is the highest form of love; He allows us to become what we will. He watches as we create who we are. He allows us to experience life in a way that makes us more like Him, divine creators of our own destiny. My experience showed me purpose and order. I knew there was a master plan far greater than my limited earthly vision. I also learned that my choices were mine alone to make. I got to decide how I felt, and that made all the difference in the universe. even in this tragedy, I got to determine the outcome. I could choose to be a victim of what had happened or create something far greater.
Jeff Olsen (I Knew Their Hearts: The Amazing True Story of Jeff Olsen's Journey Beyond the Veil to Learn the Silent Language of the Heart)