Heavenly Fathers Day Quotes

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To you who are parents, I say, show love to your children. You know you love them, but make certain they know it as well. They are so precious. Let them know. Call upon our Heavenly Father for help as you care for their needs each day and as you deal with the challenges which inevitably come with parenthood. You need more than your own wisdom in rearing them.
Thomas S. Monson
Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ``What shall we eat?'' or ``What shall we drink?'' or ``What shall we wear?'' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. - Matthew 6:25-34
Anonymous (The Holy Bible: King James Version)
This is a lttle prayer dedicated to the separation of church and state. I guess if they are going to force those kids to pray in schools they might as well have a nice prayer like this: Our Father who art in heaven, and to the republic for which it stands, thy kingdom come, one nation indivisible as in heaven, give us this day as we forgive those who so proudly we hail. Crown thy good into temptation but deliver us from the twilight's last gleaming. Amen and Awomen.
George Carlin
Every day He humbles Himself just as He did when from from His heavenly throne into the Virgin's womb; every day He comes to us and lets us see Him in lowliness, when He descends from the bosom of the Father into the hands of the priest at the altar.
Francis of Assisi
Don't tell me from genetics. What've they got to do with it?" said Crowley. "Look at Satan. Created as an angel, grows up to be the Great Adversary. Hey, if you're going to go on about genetics, you might as well say the kid will grow up to be an angel. After all, his father was really big in Heaven in the old days. Saying he'll grow up to be a demon just because his dad _became_ one is like saying a mouse with its tail cut off will give birth to tailless mice. No. Upbringing is everything. Take it from me.
Terry Pratchett (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, hollow be thy promises and shallow be thy shame. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. On a scale from on to ten, our Lord is totally eleven. Give us this day our daily bread, toasted close to dawn, and forgive us our trespasses as we shoot those who trespass on our lawn, and lead us not into temptation, such as pot or porno, but deliver us from evil (if not delivery, then DiGiorno).
Bo Burnham (Egghead; or, You Can't Survive on Ideas Alone)
There is no greater heaven the heart of a loving mother
Bangambiki Habyarimana (The Great Pearl of Wisdom)
I bear my witness that the worst days I have ever had have turned out to be my best days. And when God has seemed most cruel to me he has then been most kind. If there is anything in this world for which I would bless him more than for anything else it is for pain and affliction. I am sure that in these things the richest tenderest love has been manifested to me. Our Father's wagons rumble most heavily when they are bringing us the richest freight of the bullion of his grace. Love letters from heaven are often sent in black-edged envelopes. The cloud that is black with horror is big with mercy. Fear not the storm. It brings healing in its wings and when Jesus is with you in the vessel the tempest only hastens the ship to its desired haven.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NIV)
Anonymous (Holy Bible: The New King James Version)
Thank you Heavenly Father. You heard my petition. You have answered my plea. May your name be glorified and be praised.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
Each mind conceives god in its own way. There may be as many variation of the god figure as there are people in the world
Bangambiki Habyarimana (Pearls Of Eternity)
Life is hard and unfair. It is cruel and heartless, painful, trying, disappointing, unapologetic, and frequently downright awful. But that's not important. What's important is that through it all you learn how much you need your Heavenly Father and how much your friends need you.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts, & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year)
Because, dear, trouble comes to us all in this life: we set our hearts on things which it isn't God's will for us to have, and then we go sorrowing; the people we love are taken from us, and we can joy in nothing because they are not with us; sickness comes, and we faint under the burden of our feeble bodies; we go astray and do wrong, and bring ourselves into trouble with our fellow men. There is no man or woman born into this world to whom some of these trials do not fall, and so I feel that some of them must happen to you; and I desire for you, that while you are young you should seek for the strength from your Heavenly Father, that you may have a support which will not fail you in the evil day.
George Eliot (Adam Bede)
You don't notice the dead leaving when they really choose to leave you. You're not meant to. At most you feel them as a whisper or the wave of a whisper undulating down. I would compare it to a woman in the back of a lecture hall or theater whom no one notices until she slips out.Then only those near the door themselves, like Grandma Lynn, notice; to the rest it is like an unexplained breeze in a closed room. Grandma Lynn died several years later, but I have yet to see her here. I imagine her tying it on in her heaven, drinking mint juleps with Tennessee Williams and Dean Martin. She'll be here in her own sweet time, I'm sure. If I'm to be honest with you, I still sneak away to watch my family sometimes. I can't help it, and sometimes they still think of me. They can't help it.... It was a suprise to everyone when Lindsey found out she was pregnant...My father dreamed that one day he might teach another child to love ships in bottles. He knew there would be both sadness and joy in it; that it would always hold an echo of me. I would like to tell you that it is beautiful here, that I am, and you will one day be, forever safe. But this heaven is not about safety just as, in its graciousness, it isn't about gritty reality. We have fun. We do things that leave humans stumped and grateful, like Buckley's garden coming up one year, all of its crazy jumble of plants blooming all at once. I did that for my mother who, having stayed, found herself facing the yard again. Marvel was what she did at all the flowers and herbs and budding weeds. Marveling was what she mostly did after she came back- at the twists life took. And my parents gave my leftover possessions to the Goodwill, along with Grandma Lynn's things. They kept sharing when they felt me. Being together, thinking and talking about the dead, became a perfectly normal part of their life. And I listened to my brother, Buckley, as he beat the drums. Ray became Dr. Singh... And he had more and more moments that he chose not to disbelieve. Even if surrounding him were the serious surgeons and scientists who ruled over a world of black and white, he maintained this possibility: that the ushering strangers that sometimes appeared to the dying were not the results of strokes, that he had called Ruth by my name, and that he had, indeed, made love to me. If he ever doubted, he called Ruth. Ruth, who graduated from a closet to a closet-sized studio on the Lower East Side. Ruth, who was still trying to find a way to write down whom she saw and what she had experienced. Ruth, who wanted everyone to believe what she knew: that the dead truly talk to us, that in the air between the living, spirits bob and weave and laugh with us. They are the oxygen we breathe. Now I am in the place I call this wide wide Heaven because it includes all my simplest desires but also the most humble and grand. The word my grandfather uses is comfort. So there are cakes and pillows and colors galore, but underneath this more obvious patchwork quilt are places like a quiet room where you can go and hold someone's hand and not have to say anything. Give no story. Make no claim. Where you can live at the edge of your skin for as long as you wish. This wide wide Heaven is about flathead nails and the soft down of new leaves, wide roller coaster rides and escaped marbles that fall then hang then take you somewhere you could never have imagined in your small-heaven dreams.
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
There was a pier filled with thousands of people, men and women, fathers and mothers and children--so many children--children from the past and the present, children who had not yet been born, side by side, hand in hand, in caps, in short pants, filling the boardwalk and the rides and the wooden platforms, sitting on each other's shoulders, sitting in each other's laps. They were there, or would be there, becuause of the simple mundane things [he] had done in his life, the accidents he had prevented, the rides he had kept safe, the unnoticed turns he had affected every day. And while their lips did not move, [he] heard their voices, more voices then he could have imagined, and a peace came upon him that he had never known before.
Mitch Albom (The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Meniti Bianglala)
At last we heard Father's footsteps winding up the stairs. It was the best moment in every day, when he came up to tuck us in. We never fell asleep until he had arranged the balnkets in his special way and laid his hand for a moment on each head. Then we tried not to move even a toe. But that night as he stepped through the door I burst into tears. "I need you!" I sobbed. "You can't die! You can't!" Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. "Corrie," he began gently, "when you and I go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your ticket?" I sniffed a few times, considering this. "Why, just before we get on the train." "Exactly. And our wise Father in Heaven knows when we're going to need things too. Don't run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need--just in time.
Corrie ten Boom (The Hiding Place: The Triumphant True Story of Corrie Ten Boom)
Dearest father in heaven, bless this child and bless this day of new beginnings. Smile upon this child and surround this child, Lord, with the soft mantle of your love. Teach this child to follow in your footsteps, and to live life in the ways of love, faith, hope, and charity.
Robert Dugoni (The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell)
Don't create unbelief or doubt in people's minds. When you do so you ruin their lives and you have nothing to give them in its place. It's ok if people delude themselves; those delusions keep their day running.
Bangambiki Habyarimana (Pearls Of Eternity)
Buckley followed the three of them into the kitchen and asked, as he had at least once a day, “Where’s Susie?” They were silent. Samuel looked at Lindsey. “Buckley,” my father called from the adjoining room, “come play Monopoly with me.” My brother had never been invited to play Monopoly. Everyone said he was too young, but this was the magic of Christmas. He rushed into the family room, and my father picked him up and sat him on his lap. “See this shoe?” my father said. Buckley nodded his head. “I want you to listen to everything I say about it, okay?” “Susie?” my brother asked, somehow connecting the two. “Yes, I’m going to tell you where Susie is.” I began to cry up in heaven. What else was there for me to do? “This shoe was the piece Susie played Monopoly with,” he said. “I play with the car or sometimes the wheelbarrow. Lindsey plays with the iron, and when you mother plays, she likes the cannon.” “Is that a dog?” “Yes, that’s a Scottie.” “Mine!” “Okay,” my father said. He was patient. He had found a way to explain it. He held his son in his lap, and as he spoke, he felt Buckley’s small body on his knee-the very human, very warm, very alive weight of it. It comforted him. “The Scottie will be your piece from now on. Which piece is Susie’s again?” “The shoe?” Buckley asked. “Right, and I’m the car, your sister’s the iron, and your mother is the cannon.” My brother concentrated very hard. “Now let’s put all the pieces on the board, okay? You go ahead and do it for me.” Buckley grabbed a fist of pieces and then another, until all the pieces lay between the Chance and Community Chest cards. “Let’s say the other pieces are our friends?” “Like Nate?” “Right, we’ll make your friend Nate the hat. And the board is the world. Now if I were to tell you that when I rolled the dice, one of the pieces would be taken away, what would that mean?” “They can’t play anymore?” “Right.” “Why?” Buckley asked. He looked up at my father; my father flinched. “Why?” my brother asked again. My father did not want to say “because life is unfair” or “because that’s how it is”. He wanted something neat, something that could explain death to a four-year-old He placed his hand on the small of Buckley’s back. “Susie is dead,” he said now, unable to make it fit in the rules of any game. “Do you know what that means?” Buckley reached over with his hand and covered the shoe. He looked up to see if his answer was right. My father nodded. "You won’t see Susie anymore, honey. None of us will.” My father cried. Buckley looked up into the eyes of our father and did not really understand. Buckley kept the shoe on his dresser, until one day it wasn't there anymore and no amount of looking for it could turn up.
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
No parent should have to bury a child ... No mother should have to bury a son. Mothers are not meant to bury sons. It is not in the natural order of things. I buried my son. In a potter's field. In a field of Blood. In empty, acrid silence. There was no funeral. There were no mourners. His friends all absent. His father dead. His sisters refusing to attend. I discovered his body alone, I dug his grave alone, I placed him in a hole, and covered him with dirt and rock alone. I was not able to finish burying him before sundown, and I'm not sure if that affected his fate ... I begrudge God none of this. I do not curse him or bemoan my lot. And though my heart keeps beating only to keep breaking--I do not question why. I remember the morning my son was born as if it was yesterday. The moment the midwife placed him in my arms, I was infused with a love beyond all measure and understanding. I remember holding my son, and looking over at my own mother and saying, "Now I understand why the sun comes up at day and the stars come out at night. I understand why rain falls gently. Now I understand you, Mother" ... I loved my son every day of his life, and I will love him ferociously long after I've stopped breathing. I am a simple woman. I am not bright or learn-ed. I do not read. I do not write. My opinions are not solicited. My voice is not important ... On the day of my son's birth I was infused with a love beyond all measure and understanding ... The world tells me that God is in Heaven and that my son is in Hell. I tell the world the one true thing I know: If my son is in Hell, then there is no Heaven--because if my son sits in Hell, there is no God.
Stephen Adly Guirgis (The Last Days of Judas Iscariot)
The wrath of God is never an evil wrath. God gets angry because he loves people like a mother would love her child if someone were to harm it. There is something wrong if the mother never gets angry; it is safe to say that that is the unloving mother.
Criss Jami (Healology)
Once you believe that god is not a private property of anybody, you are on your way to becoming a new messiah. Maybe your own if not the world's
Bangambiki Habyarimana (Pearls Of Eternity)
I do know now I was never forgotten. And I know something else and as an apostle of our master Jesus Christ, I proclaim with all the certainty and conviction of my heart and soul, neither are you. You are not forgotten! Sisters, wherever you are, whatever the circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love. Just think of it! You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful and glorious Being in the universe. You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time. He who created and knows the stars knows you and your name. You are the daughters of His kingdom!
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
One key relationship we have is with ourselves. It may seem odd to think of having a relationship with ourselves, but we do. Some people can’t get along with themselves. They criticize and belittle themselves all day long until they begin to hate themselves. May I suggest that you reduce the rush and take a little extra time to get to know yourself better. Walk in nature, watch a sunrise, enjoy God’s creations, ponder the truths of the restored gospel, and find out what they mean for you personally. Learn to see yourself as Heavenly Father sees you—as His precious daughter or son with divine potential.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Late one day James and I watch the sun fly across the sky like a basketball on fire until it falls down completely and lands in Benjamin Lake with a splash and shakes the ground and even wakes up Lester FallsApart who thought it was his father come back to slap his face again.
Sherman Alexie (The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven)
I take the sealed envelope from him—​the one that holds the information about my biological father. I ask him for his cigarette lighter. He hands it to me. I look at Sam and Fito and say, “Word for the day.” Sam understands and says, “Nurture.” I take the unopened envelope. I am watching myself as I take the lighter and place it over the edge of the paper. I am watching the envelope burn. I am watching the ashes floating up to the heavens. I am hearing myself as I tell my father, “I know who my father is. I have always known.” And now I am laughing. And my dad is laughing. And Fito is smiling that incredible smile of his. We are watching Sam dance around the yard as Maggie follows her and jumps up and barks. Sam is shouting out to me and the morning sky, “Your name is Salvador! Your name is Salvador! Your name is Salvador!
Benjamin Alire Sáenz (The Inexplicable Logic of My Life)
Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf (Forget Me Not)
Look at our fathers in the old days, living masterpieces as they are and shining examples of true religion; and see how feeble our own achievement is, almost nothing. Heaven help us, what is our life in comparison with theirs? Holy people these, true friends of Christ, that could go hungry and thirsty in God's service; cold and ill-clad, worn out with labors and vigils and fasting, with praying and meditating on holy things, with all the persecutions and insults they endured.
Thomas a Kempis (The Imitation of Christ)
The only thing I can recall is that it rained all day and all night, and that when I asked my father whether heaven was crying, he couldn't bring himself to reply. Six years later my mother's absence remained in the air around us, a deafening silence that I had not yet learned to stifle with words.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1))
The promise of the Father, the coming of the Holy Spirit, reintroduces us to the original purpose for humanity—a people suited to carry the fullness of God on earth.
Bill Johnson (Hosting the Presence Every Day: 365 Days to Unveiling Heaven's Agenda for Your Life)
An atheist is someone who is disappointed in his search of god. He is a man who strongly needed god but couldn't find him. Atheism is a cry of despair
Bangambiki Habyarimana (Pearls Of Eternity)
What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, ‘What does it matter so long as they are contented?’ We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven — a senile benevolence who, as they say, ‘liked to see young people enjoying themselves,’ and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, ‘a good time was had by all.
C.S. Lewis
He died at the wrong time, when there was much to be clarified and established. They hadn’t even started to be grown-ups together. There was this piece of heaven, this little girl he’d carried around the shop on his shoulders; and then one day she was gone, replaced by a foreigner, an uncooperative woman he didn’t know how to speak to. Being so confused, so weak, so in love, he chose strength and drove her away from himself. The last years he spent wondering where she’d gone, and slowly came to realise that she would never return, and that the husband he’d chosen for her was an idiot.
Hanif Kureishi (The Buddha of Suburbia)
Once upon a time there was a poor child with no father and no mother everything was dead and no one was left in the whole world. Everything was dead and it went and searched day and night And since nobody was left on the earth it wanted to go up to the heavens and the moon was looking at it so friendly and when it finally got to the moon the moon was a piece of rotten wood and then it went to the sun and when it got there the sun was a wilted sunflower and when it got to the stars they were little golden flies stuck up there like the shrike sticks 'em on the blackthorn and when it wanted to go back down to earth the earth was an overturned piss pot! and was all alone.
Georg Büchner (Woyzeck)
If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea; If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb; And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
Joseph Smith Jr. (The Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: Containing the Revelations Given to Joseph Smith ... With Some ... Successors in the Presidency of the Church)
Man is the vainest of all creatures that have their being upon earth. As long as heaven vouchsafes him health and strength, he thinks that he shall come to no harm hereafter, and even when the blessed gods bring sorrow upon him, he bears it as he needs must, and makes the best of it; for God Almighty gives men their daily minds day by day. I know all about it, for I was a rich man once, and did much wrong in the stubbornness of my pride, and in the confidence that my father and my brothers would support me; therefore let a man fear God in all things always, and take the good that heaven may see fit to send him without vainglory.
Homer
We do not believe that the heavens are sealed over our heads, but that the same Father who loved and cherished the children of Israel loves and cherishes us. We believe that we are as much in need of the assistance of our Heavenly Father in the directing of our lives as they were. We know that in the day and age in which we live the seal has been broken, and God has again spoken from the heavens.
George Albert Smith
Love your enemies.” That is the hardest saying of all. Please, Father in heaven who made me, take away my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh to love my enemy. It is a terrible thought – “we love God as much as the one we love the least.
Dorothy Day (The Reckless Way of Love: Notes on Following Jesus (Plough Spiritual Guides: Backpack Classics))
Mary Magdalene With wandering eyes and aimless zeal, She hither, thither, goes; Her speech, her motions, all reveal A mind without repose. She climbs the hills, she haunts the sea, By madness tortured, driven; One hour's forgetfulness would be A gift from very heaven! She slumbers into new distress; The night is worse than day: Exulting in her helplessness; Hell's dogs yet louder bay. The demons blast her to and fro; She has not quiet place, Enough a woman still, to know A haunting dim disgrace. A human touch! a pang of death! And in a low delight Thou liest, waiting for new breath, For morning out of night. Thou risest up: the earth is fair, The wind is cool; thou art free! Is it a dream of hell's despair Dissolves in ecstasy? That man did touch thee! Eyes divine Make sunrise in thy soul; Thou seest love in order shine:- His health hath made thee whole! Thou, sharing in the awful doom, Didst help thy Lord to die; Then, weeping o'er his empty tomb, Didst hear him Mary cry. He stands in haste; he cannot stop; Home to his God he fares: 'Go tell my brothers I go up To my Father, mine and theirs.' Run, Mary! lift thy heavenly voice; Cry, cry, and heed not how; Make all the new-risen world rejoice- Its first apostle thou! What if old tales of thee have lied, Or truth have told, thou art All-safe with Him, whate'er betide Dwell'st with Him in God's heart!
George MacDonald
our prayers are rarely petitionary. We don’t so much ask for things that we don’t have as give thanks for what we have received.” “I don’t understand.” The rabbi smiled. “It’s something like this. You Christians say, ‘Our Father who art in Heaven, give us this day our daily bread.’ Our comparable prayer is, ‘Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who bringest forth bread from the earth.’ That’s rather over-simplified, but in general our prayers tend to be prayers of thanksgiving for what has been given to us.
Harry Kemelman (Friday the Rabbi Slept Late (The Rabbi Small Mysteries))
Inside the room it was dark now, the florescent light behind my father flickering so slightly it lit only the most obvious masses in the room. My sister was in a chair pulled up alongside the bed, her head resting on the side of it with her hand extended out to touch my father. My father, deep under, was lying on his back. My mother could not know that I was there with them, that here were the four of us, so changed now from the days when she tucked Lindsey and me into bed and went to make love to her husband, our father. Now she saw the pieces. She saw that my sister and father, together, had become a piece. She was glad of it. I had played a hide-and-seek game of love with my mother as I grew up, courting her attention and approval in a way that I had never had to with my father. I didn't have to play hide-and-seek anymore. As she stood in the darkened room and watched my sister and father, I knew one of the things that heaven meant. I had a choice, and it was not to divide my family in my heart. ~pg 154; Susie's family and heaven
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
Why doesn't the pope convert to Calvinism? Why doesn't the Dalai Lama, convert to Christianity, why doesn't Billy Graham convert to Islam, Why doesn't the Ayatollahs convert to Buddhism, Why isn't Buddhism swept away? Religious leaders know that all religions are equal; they know that no one of them has the monopoly to the knowledge of God. They know that each religion is trying to find the hidden God and that no one religion can claim to have found him beyond doubt. That's why they remain where they are and respect each other.
Bangambiki Habyarimana (Pearls Of Eternity)
I want us all to have real clarity about the principles of the gospel that unite us. I want us to understand to the marrow of our bones that Jesus is the Christ, that his atonement releases us from the bondage of sin and error, that the covenants we make are eternally honored by our Heavenly Father, and that the ordinances of the gospel exist to perfect us as individuals, to purify us as a community, and to prepare us as a people for the second coming of our Lord. I want those principles to lead us the way the pillar of fire by night led the children of Israel in the wilderness. I want them to dominate our mental landscapes as the pillar of the cloud towered over them by day. I want singleness of vision when it comes to principles.
Chieko N. Okazaki (Lighten Up!)
There are different kinds of love, Sarah. I feel one kind of love for your father. A special kind. Another kind for Warren. And still a different kind for you children.' She smiled at me. 'Heaven rue the day we can't feel love for one another. I wouldn't want to live in such a world, would you?
Ann Rinaldi (The Secret of Sarah Revere)
Some are questioning whether the churches they grew up in have anything to offer them as they make their ways in a culture of many cultures with many views of truth, some of which make a great deal of sense to them. For those who counted on God to protect them from so many choices, it is as if the heavenly Father let go of their hand in a crowd one day and vanished into a sea of divine possibilities. I cannot protect the students in my classes from this any better than I can protect myself. Existential dizziness is one of the side effects of higher education, and it affects teachers too.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others)
I watched him as he lined up the ships in bottles on his deck, bringing them over from the shelves where they usually sat. He used an old shirt of my mother's that had been ripped into rags and began dusting the shelves. Under his desk there were empty bottles- rows and rows of them we had collected for our future shipbuilding. In the closet were more ships- the ships he had built with his own father, ships he had built alone, and then those we had made together. Some were perfect, but their sails browned; some had sagged or toppled over the years. Then there was the one that had burst into flames in the week before my death. He smashed that one first. My heart seized up. He turned and saw all the others, all the years they marked and the hands that had held them. His dead father's, his dead child's. I watched his as he smashed the rest. He christened the walls and wooden chair with the news of my death, and afterward he stood in the guest room/den surrounded by green glass. The bottle, all of them, lay broken on the floor, the sails and boat bodies strewn among them. He stood in the wreckage. It was then that, without knowing how, I revealed myself. In every piece of glass, in every shard and sliver, I cast my face. My father glanced down and around him, his eyes roving across the room. Wild. It was just for a second, and then I was gone. He was quiet for a moment, and then he laughed- a howl coming up from the bottom of his stomach. He laughed so loud and deep, I shook with it in my heaven. He left the room and went down two doors to my beadroom. The hallway was tiny, my door like all the others, hollow enough to easily punch a fist through. He was about to smash the mirror over my dresser, rip the wallpaper down with his nails, but instead he fell against my bed, sobbing, and balled the lavender sheets up in his hands. 'Daddy?' Buckley said. My brother held the doorknob with his hand. My father turned but was unable to stop his tears. He slid to the floor with his fists, and then he opened up his arms. He had to ask my brother twice, which he had never to do do before, but Buckley came to him. My father wrapped my brother inside the sheets that smelled of me. He remembered the day I'd begged him to paint and paper my room purple. Remembered moving in the old National Geographics to the bottom shelves of my bookcases. (I had wanted to steep myself in wildlife photography.) Remembered when there was just one child in the house for the briefest of time until Lindsey arrived. 'You are so special to me, little man,' my father said, clinging to him. Buckley drew back and stared at my father's creased face, the fine bright spots of tears at the corners of his eyes. He nodded seriously and kissed my father's cheek. Something so divine that no one up in heaven could have made it up; the care a child took with an adult. 'Hold still,' my father would say, while I held the ship in the bottle and he burned away the strings he'd raised the mast with and set the clipper ship free on its blue putty sea. And I would wait for him, recognizing the tension of that moment when the world in the bottle depended, solely, on me.
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
Thomas Builds-the-Fire closed his eyes and told this story: “I remember when I had this dream that told me to go to Spokane, to stand by the falls in the middle of the city and wait for a sign. I knew I had to go there but I didn’t have a car. Didn’t have a license. I was only thirteen. So I walked all the way, took me all day, and I finally made it to the falls. I stood there for an hour waiting. Then your dad came walking up. ‘What the hell are you doing here? He asked me. I said, ‘waiting for a vision.’ Then your father said, ‘All you’re going to get here is mugged.’ So he drove me to Denny’s, bought me dinner, and then drove me home to the reservation. For a long time I was mad because I thought my dreams had lied to me. But they didn’t. Your dad was my vision. ‘Take care of each other’ is what my dreams were saying. ‘Take care of each other.
Sherman Alexie (The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven)
For Sleep O heavenly Father, you give your children sleep for the refreshing of soul and body: Grant me this gift, I pray; keep me in that perfect peace which you have promised to those whose minds are fixed on you; and give me such a sense of your presence, that in the hours of silence I may enjoy the blessed assurance of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.   In the Morning This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen.
The Episcopal Church (The Book of Common Prayer)
You must be a rich man," she said. "Not much of a warrior, though. You keep letting me sneak up on you." You don't surprise me," he said. "The Plains Indians had women who rode their horses eighteen hours a day. They could shoot seven arrows consecutively, have them all in the air at the same time. They were the best light cavalry in the world." Just my luck," she said. "An educated Indian." Yeah," he said. "Reservation University." They both laughed at the old joke. Every Indian is an alumnus. Where you from?" she asked. Wellpinit," he said. "I'm a Spokane." I should've known. You got those fisherman's hands." Ain't no salmon left in our river. Just a school bus and a few hundred basketballs." What the hell you talking about?" Our basketball team drives into the river and drowns every year," he said. "It's a tradition." She laughed. "You're just a storyteller, ain't you?" I'm just telling you things before they happen," he said. "The same things sons and daughters will tell your mothers and fathers." Do you ever answer a question straight?" Depends on the question," he said. Do you want to be my powwow paradise?
Sherman Alexie (The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven)
I do whatever pleases me, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. As I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand. I am your Father. You are the clay, I am the potter; you are all the work of my hand. I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.
Zhang Yun (Understand God's Word - Walk in the Truth)
[Wisely does God hide what is to come under the darkness of night, laughing if a mortal projects his anxiety further than is proper… That man will be happy and master of himself who every day declares, ‘I have lived. Tomorrow let Father Jove fill the heavens with dark clouds or with purest light’… Let your mind rejoice in the present: let it loathe to trouble about what lies in the future.]
Michel de Montaigne (The Complete Essays)
ATTRACT THE ATTENTION OF ANGELS Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? —MATTHEW 26:53, ESV Fallen angels cause deviations to what God originally purposed. They operate much like the heavenly angels assigned to bring about the manifestation to your prayers, only in the exact opposite way. When they fell from heaven, their mission became perverted—so instead of bringing answers, they prohibit answers from manifesting. Your faith attracts the attention of heaven’s angels to work on your behalf, while your fear draws the demons of hell to work against you. Your words become the magnet that draws either heaven or hell into your situation. But always remember: no force is more powerful than the spoken Word of God. Lord, You give Your angels charge over me to keep me in all my ways. Satan comes only to steal, kill, and destroy, but You have come that I may have life and that more abundantly. I will not play into the enemy’s hands by giving place to fear and anxiety. I will proclaim Your Word, because Your angels respond to Your Word. According to Psalm 34:7, let Your angels encamp round about me now and, Lord, deliver me in Jesus’s name. Amen.
Cindy Trimm (Commanding Your Morning Daily Devotional: Unleash God's Power in Your Life--Every Day of the Year)
Obedience to commandments is the way we build a foundation of truth. Here is the way that works, in words so simple that a child could understand: The truth of most worth is to know God our Heavenly Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and Their plan for us to have eternal life with Them in families. When God communicates that priceless truth to us, He does it by the Spirit of Truth. We have to ask for it in prayer. Then He sends us a small part of that truth by the Spirit. It comes to our hearts and minds. It feels good, like the light from the sun shining through the clouds on a dark day. He sends...
Henry B. Eyring (Because He First Loved Us)
Your Kentuckian of the present day is a good illustration of the doctrine of transmitted instincts and peculiarities. His fathers were mighty hunters, - men who lived in the woods, and slept under the free, open heavens, with the stars to hold their candles; and their descendant to this day always acts as if the house were his camp, - wears his hat at all hours, tumbles himself about, and puts his heels on the tops of chairs or mantel-pieces, just as his father rolled on the green sward, and put his upon trees or logs, - keep all the windows and doors open, winter and summer, that he may get air enough for his great lungs, - calls everybody "stranger", with nonchalant bonhommie, and is altogether the frankest, easiest, most jovial creature living.
Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom’s Cabin)
THE POWER OF TWO If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. —MATTHEW 18:19 Imagine for a moment the unlimited power of a husband and wife who walk constantly in agreement—the power of a mother and father united in the raising of children who understand the power of relationships, are saturated in wisdom, and are full of faith! How different would our world be today if there were more couples like this? How different would the church be? How different would our communities be? How different would our nations be? Father, Your Word says one person can put a thousand to flight and two can chase off ten thousand. Strengthen the hedge of protection around my marriage and family and whisper peace into my relationships, ministry, workplace, and business. No evil shall come near to my dwelling place or my marriage. Cause my relationships to work in perfect harmony with You today. Break any unhealthy patterns in our relationship, guard our thoughts and words, and fill us with new levels of passion and zeal for your calling upon us as a couple. Remove every hindrance from the divinely ordained intimacy and unity You intend for our relationship. In Jesus’s name, amen.
Cindy Trimm (Commanding Your Morning Daily Devotional: Unleash God's Power in Your Life--Every Day of the Year)
Heavenly Father, I promise never again (or for three business days, whichever comes first) to take your blessings for granted if your boundless wisdom can manifest to smite this motherfucker. I don’t know, rain down some sulphur, whisper divine suggestion into his ear, even the old salt pillar trick would suffice. But ... I will take up thy sword and act as the county’s mortal archangel once again if I must. I swear to your oft-alleged earthly son that if this thug doesn’t put the toddler down and stop swinging that oversized plastic bat at us, he’ll spend his weekend removing my well-shined size eleven Florsheim from his PCP-smoking ass at the Ballard Institute for Deadbeat Dad Castration.
Gordon Highland (Major Inversions)
Those who do not honor the Sabbath and keep it holy displease [God]. Some people appear to think that if they have attended religious meetings, or performed some portion of the service required of them on Sunday, they are then at liberty to go to ball games, picture shows, or resorts of various kinds, and still continue to enjoy the favor of the Master. I say to you that if they persist in doing things of that kind, members of the Church will lose their faith; and the Spirit of our Heavenly Father will withdraw from them.
George Albert Smith (The teachings of George Albert Smith: Eighth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)
Jesus was stoned, but no rock hit him. He slipped into the crowd and was found later teaching on a hill somewhere. History tells us that he did nothing wrong, and we sacrificed him anyway. The day my father died, I assured him he was headed for heaven, though I had a hard time believing in something that floated so aimlessly through the minds of children. The concept seemed fair and unfair in such equal amounts that it appeared to cancel itself out. I’d never met someone so deserving of eternal bliss, yet from the time I was a child I was taught we all deserve hell. I wondered if heaven existed at all. But I wanted everlasting life to be real for the man who let me lie on his chest on a hammock in the backyard and taught me not to fear thunder. One of the many things my father taught me not to fear. His breaths were labored and aided by machines. He wore a white hospital gown. I remember thinking, “I can’t believe my father’s going to die in a gown.” “Are you afraid?” I asked. “Not at all,” he strained. “I’m going to be with the Lord.” I wished I shared his confidence. For him, it was a priceless thing no one could take. I wished the fear of death was like the fear of a passing storm cloud—something we outgrow with understanding. For men like my dad, I guess it was.
Christopher Hawke (Unnatural Truth)
Paris has a child, and the forest has a bird; the bird is called the sparrow; the child is called the gamin. Couple these two ideas which contain, the one all the furnace, the other all the dawn; strike these two sparks together, Paris, childhood; there leaps out from them a little being. Homuncio, Plautus would say. This little being is joyous. He has not food every day, and he goes to the play every evening, if he sees good. He has no shirt on his body, no shoes on his feet, no roof over his head; he is like the flies of heaven, who have none of these things. He is from seven to thirteen years of age, he lives in bands, roams the streets, lodges in the open air, wears an old pair of trousers of his father's, which descend below his heels, an old hat of some other father, which descends below his ears, a single suspender of yellow listing; he runs, lies in wait, rummages about, wastes time, blackens pipes, swears like a convict, haunts the wine-shop, knows thieves, calls gay women thou, talks slang, sings obscene songs, and has no evil in his heart. This is because he has in his heart a pearl, innocence; and pearls are not to be dissolved in mud. So long as man is in his childhood, God wills that he shall be innocent. If one were to ask that enormous city: "What is this?" she would reply: "It is my little one.
Victor Hugo (Works of Victor Hugo. Les Miserables, Notre-Dame de Paris, Man Who Laughs, Toilers of the Sea, Poems & More)
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN we pray? Have you ever really thought about that? When you bow your knee and fold your hands or walk the floor with your eyes closed, opening your heart to heaven, what exactly happens? There are very few references in the Bible about the proper procedures for how to pray, and I believe that is because prayer is more about the heart’s attitude and focus than it is about whether we stand, sit, close our eyes, or any other practice we normally associate with prayer. The truth be told, if we are supposed to pray without ceasing, we should also be able to work on an engine, write an e-mail, give a presentation, change a diaper, write a report, have coffee with a friend, encourage a coworker, pay our bills, and any of the other myriad of things we do in a day while still keeping the communication lines open with heaven. I believe that every day we need focused times of prayer, but at all other times we should be in an attitude of prayer with our spiritual ears open to the thoughts of heaven. There should be seasons of intense, concentrated prayer and fasting with specified hours set aside for intercession, and there should be times when prayer is simply a regular part of our daily routine. A great interest has arisen in the last decade around 24-7 prayer rooms where different church members pray in hour-long blocks so that unbroken intercession is raised up for their city and our world. Other churches dedicate evenings solely to prayer and worship and gather believers to lift their voices in song and petition to the Lord. While all of these are wonderful things to do, at its essence prayer is simply conversation with God. Because we have changed passports from the kingdom of this world to the kingdom of heaven, we are members of God’s family and therefore have the right to talk with our Father anytime we want because He is not limited by time and space. Yet while it isn’t difficult to speak to Him, even as a babe in faith, it does take some maturity to discern His voice from the voice of our own thoughts, dreams, and desires. This is why, when I speak about prayer, I get more questions about hearing the voice of God than anything else.
Cindy Trimm (The Prayer Warrior's Way: Strategies from Heaven for Intimate Communication with God)
I told you Grandfather is easy. Tom, I mean my father, is the same: they don’t put barriers against me. It is Grandmother, it is always other women, apart from you, who put up barriers against girls and on themselves. I know men can be tyrants, but a lot of women are nasty to women – everybody says it, unless you have not met Jjajja Nsangi, Grandfather’s sister.’ ‘Kirabo, have you seen God come down from heaven to make humans behave?’ ‘No.’ ‘That is because some people have appointed themselves his police. And I tell you, child, the police are far worse than God himself. That is why the day you catch your man with another woman, you will go for the woman and not him. My grandmothers called it kweluma. That is when oppressed people turn on each other or on themselves and bite. It is as a form of relief. If you cannot bite your oppressor, you bite yourself.
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (The First Woman)
You wrote to me. Do not deny it. I’ve read your words and they evoke My deep respect for your emotion, Your trusting soul… and sweet devotion. Your candour has a great appeal And stirs in me, I won’t conceal, Long dormant feelings, scarce remembered. But I’ve no wish to praise you now; Let me repay you with a vow As artless as the one you tendered; Hear my confession too, I plead, And judge me both by word and deed. 13 ’Had I in any way desired To bind with family ties my life; Or had a happy fate required That I turn father, take a wife; Had pictures of domestication For but one moment held temptation- Then, surely, none but you alone Would be the bride I’d make my own. I’ll say without wrought-up insistence That, finding my ideal in you, I would have asked you—yes, it’s true— To share my baneful, sad existence, In pledge of beauty and of good, And been as happy … as I could! 14 ’But I’m not made for exaltation: My soul’s a stranger to its call; Your virtues are a vain temptation, For I’m not worthy of them all. Believe me (conscience be your token): In wedlock we would both be broken. However much I loved you, dear, Once used to you … I’d cease, I fear; You’d start to weep, but all your crying Would fail to touch my heart at all, Your tears in fact would only gall. So judge yourself what we’d be buying, What roses Hymen means to send— Quite possibly for years on end! 15 ’In all this world what’s more perverted Than homes in which the wretched wife Bemoans her worthless mate, deserted— Alone both day and night through life; Or where the husband, knowing truly Her worth (yet cursing fate unduly) Is always angry, sullen, mute— A coldly jealous, selfish brute! Well, thus am I. And was it merely For this your ardent spirit pined When you, with so much strength of mind, Unsealed your heart to me so clearly? Can Fate indeed be so unkind? Is this the lot you’ve been assigned? 16 ’For dreams and youth there’s no returning; I cannot resurrect my soul. I love you with a tender yearning, But mine must be a brother’s role. So hear me through without vexation: Young maidens find quick consolation— From dream to dream a passage brief; Just so a sapling sheds its leaf To bud anew each vernal season. Thus heaven wills the world to turn. You’ll fall in love again; but learn … To exercise restraint and reason, For few will understand you so, And innocence can lead to woe.
Alexander Pushkin (Eugene Onegin)
Attention, God the Judge, God the Father, who Art in Heaven, give me one miracle, please. If You exist as I know You do, even if no one else in the world believes in You, please give me a brain tumor. Please tear my limbs from their sockets and let the backseat and my older sister be totally covered with blood. Please make me dumb and blind and deaf, please make me a martyr, please, dear heavenly Father. Tear my heart right from my chest. Drive spikes into my eyes and let hot lava shoot out of my mouth. Make me silent and thoroughly dead, but please hurry. Before we get home, before we reach the next stoplight, let the only sound be no sound, the silence of my death burning in the empty sky. If You are a mighty and true God, if You are not just a dream I have made up, please, before another hour, another minute passes, let the wire in my bra poke through my heart. Dear Lord, please, please, give me this one miracle. I have begged You every day, every evening, so please, let Your will be done, let Your will be done. Give me a gruesome death as fast as You possibly can. Thank you, God. Amen.
Joe Meno (The Great Perhaps)
1 You said ‘The world is going back to Paganism’. Oh bright Vision! I saw our dynasty in the bar of the House Spill from their tumblers a libation to the Erinyes, And Leavis with Lord Russell wreathed in flowers, heralded with flutes, Leading white bulls to the cathedral of the solemn Muses To pay where due the glory of their latest theorem. Hestia’s fire in every flat, rekindled, burned before The Lardergods. Unmarried daughters with obedient hands Tended it. By the hearth the white-armd venerable mother Domum servabat, lanam faciebat. At the hour Of sacrifice their brothers came, silent, corrected, grave Before their elders; on their downy cheeks easily the blush Arose (it is the mark of freemen’s children) as they trooped, Gleaming with oil, demurely home from the palaestra or the dance. Walk carefully, do not wake the envy of the happy gods, Shun Hubris. The middle of the road, the middle sort of men, Are best. Aidos surpasses gold. Reverence for the aged Is wholesome as seasonable rain, and for a man to die Defending the city in battle is a harmonious thing. Thus with magistral hand the Puritan Sophrosune Cooled and schooled and tempered our uneasy motions; Heathendom came again, the circumspection and the holy fears … You said it. Did you mean it? Oh inordinate liar, stop. 2 Or did you mean another kind of heathenry? Think, then, that under heaven-roof the little disc of the earth, Fortified Midgard, lies encircled by the ravening Worm. Over its icy bastions faces of giant and troll Look in, ready to invade it. The Wolf, admittedly, is bound; But the bond wil1 break, the Beast run free. The weary gods, Scarred with old wounds the one-eyed Odin, Tyr who has lost a hand, Will limp to their stations for the Last defence. Make it your hope To be counted worthy on that day to stand beside them; For the end of man is to partake of their defeat and die His second, final death in good company. The stupid, strong Unteachable monsters are certain to be victorious at last, And every man of decent blood is on the losing side. Take as your model the tall women with yellow hair in plaits Who walked back into burning houses to die with men, Or him who as the death spear entered into his vitals Made critical comments on its workmanship and aim. Are these the Pagans you spoke of? Know your betters and crouch, dogs; You that have Vichy water in your veins and worship the event Your goddess History (whom your fathers called the strumpet Fortune).
C.S. Lewis
This woman and I, though we came together as poor as poor might be (not having so much household stuff as a dish or a spoon betwixt us both), yet this she had for her part: The Plain Man’s Pathway to Heaven and The Practice of Piety; which her father had left her when he died.  In these two books I would sometimes read with her, wherein I also found some things that were somewhat pleasing to me (but all this while I met with no conviction).  She also would be often telling of me what a godly man her father was, and how he would reprove and correct vice, both in his house, and among his neighbours; what a strict and holy life he lived in his days, both in word and deed.
John Bunyan (Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners)
It made it easier that they both believed in the simplest kind of afterlife - that my father could say to her, even in those last days, joking but without irony, 'You're going to get tired of hearing from me. I'll be asking you for this that and the other thing twenty-four hours a day. JESUS, you'll be saying, here comes another prayer from Dennis.' And my mother would reply, her voice hoarse with pain, 'Jesus might advise you to take in a movie once in a while. Give your poor wife a rest. She's in heaven, after all.' It was a joke, but they believed it, and they believed, too, I think, that their love, their loyalty to one another, was no longer a matter of chance or happenstance, but a condition of their existence no more voluntary or escapable than the pace of their blood, the influx of perception...There was, in their anticipation of what was to come, a queer self-satisfaction. It was clear now that they would love each other until the last moment of her life - hadn't that been the goal from the beginning? They would love each other even beyond the days they had lived together; was there any greater triumph?
Alice McDermott (Charming Billy)
Lift every voice and sing, Till earth and heaven ring, Ring with the harmonies of Liberty; Let our rejoicing rise High as the list’ning skies, Let it resound loud as the rolling sea. Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us, Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us; Facing the rising sun of our new day begun, Let us march on till victory is won. Stony the road we trod, Bitter the chast’ning rod, Felt in the days when hope unborn had died; Yet with a steady beat, Have not our weary feet Come to the place for which our fathers sighed? We have come over a way that with tears has been watered. We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered, Out from the gloomy past, Till now we stand at last Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast. God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way; Thou who hast by Thy might, Led us into the light, Keep us forever in the path, we pray. Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee, Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee; Shadowed beneath Thy hand, May we forever stand, True to our God, True to our native land.
James Weldon Johnson (Saint Peter Relates an Incident: Selected Poems (20th Century Classics))
God, our Heavenly Father, loves us, His children—and one of our greatest privileges is coming to Him in prayer. And because He already knows our needs, we can be confident His answer will be best. If He didn’t know our needs, why bother to pray? But He does, and this should give us confidence in prayer. Thank God that He knows your needs and wants you to come to Him in prayer. Remember: His Son gave His life “that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Billy Graham (Hope for Each Day Morning & Evening Devotions)
The door opened and the seven of them came out of the conference room. Alexander walked out last. He saw Tatiana struggle up from her chair, but she couldn’t stand without holding on to it, and she looked so alone and forsaken, he was afraid that she would break down in front of half a dozen strangers. Yet he wanted to say something to her, something to comfort her, and so slightly nodding his head, he said, “We are going home.” She inhaled, and her hand covered her mouth. And then because she was Tatiana and because she couldn’t help herself, and because he wouldn’t have it any other way, she ran to him and was in his arms, generals or no generals. She flung her arms around him, she embraced him, her wet face was in his neck. His head was bent to her, and her feet were off the ground.   Though much is taken, much abides; and though we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are— Unyielding. Barrington, Leningrad, Luga, Ladoga, Lazarevo, Ellis Island, the mountains of Holy Cross, their lost families, their lost mothers and fathers, their brothers in arms and brothers are etched on their souls and their fine faces and like the mercurial moon, like Jupiter over Maui, like the Perseus galaxy with its blue, imploding stars they remain, as the stellar wind whispers over the rivers all run red, over the oceans and the seas, murmuring through the moonsilver skies… Tatiana… Alexander… But the bronze horseman is still.
Paullina Simons (Tatiana and Alexander (The Bronze Horseman, #2))
Doesn’t your heart just burst with a holy desire to bring Him joy and to walk worthy of your high calling as a child of the Father, seated with Jesus in heavenly places? With Paul, I desire to say at the end of my life, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). And I can’t wait to hear Him say on that day, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. . . . Let’s celebrate together!” (Matt. 25:21, NLT). I am driven and carried and captured by love. Are you?
Michael L. Brown (Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message)
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You, because by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. Jesus, most innocent, who neither did nor could commit a sin, was condemned to death, and moreover, to the most ignominious death of the cross. To remain a friend of Caesar, Pilate delivered Him into the hands of His enemies. A fearful crime – to condemn Innocence to death, and to offend God in order not to displease men! O innocent Jesus, having sinned, I am guilty of eternal death, but You willingly accept the unjust sentence of death, that I might live. For whom, then, shall I live, if not for You, my Lord? Should I desire to please men, I could not be Your servant. Let me, therefore, rather displease men and all the world, than not please You, O Jesus. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen. Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us! The Second Station Jesus is made to carry His Cross
Francis of Assisi (The Life and Prayers of Saint Francis of Assisi)
I looked out over no-man's land where Charlie had died. They lay as if they'd been heaped against the wire by the wind, and Charlie, I knew, was one of them. I wondered what I would write to Molly and Mother. I could hear Mother's voice in my head, hear her telling Big Joe how Charlie would not be coming back, how he had gone to Heaven to be with Father and Bertha. Big Joe would be sad. He would hum Oranges and Lemons mournfully up his tree. But after a few days his faith would comfort him. He would believe absolutely that Charlie was up there in the blue of Heaven, high above the church tower somewhere. I envied him that. I could no longer even pretend to myself that I believed in a merciful god, nor in a heaven, not anymore, not after I had seen what men could do to one another. I could believe only in the hell I was living in, a hell on earth, and it was man-made, not God-made.
Michael Morpurgo
Jesus Christ is not a cosmic errand boy. I mean no disrespect or irreverence in so saying, but I do intend to convey the idea that while he loves us deeply and dearly, Christ the Lord is not perched on the edge of heaven, anxiously anticipating our next wish. When we speak of God being good to us, we generally mean that he is kind to us. In the words of the inimitable C. S. Lewis, "What would really satisfy us would be a god who said of anything we happened to like doing, 'What does it matter so long as they are contented?' We want, in fact, not so much a father in heaven as a grandfather in heaven--a senile benevolence who as they say, 'liked to see young people enjoying themselves,' and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, 'a good time was had by all.'" You know and I know that our Lord is much, much more than that. One writer observed: "When we so emphasize Christ's benefits that he becomes nothing more than what his significance is 'for me' we are in danger. . . . Evangelism that says 'come on, it's good for you'; discipleship that concentrates on the benefits package; sermons that 'use' Jesus as the means to a better life or marriage or job or attitude--these all turn Jesus into an expression of that nice god who always meets my spiritual needs. And this is why I am increasingly hesitant to speak of Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. As Ken Woodward put it in a 1994 essay, 'Now I think we all need to be converted--over and over again, but having a personal Savior has always struck me as, well, elitist, like having a personal tailor. I'm satisfied to have the same Lord and Savior as everyone else.' Jesus is not a personal Savior who only seeks to meet my needs. He is the risen, crucified Lord of all creation who seeks to guide me back into the truth." . . . His infinity does not preclude either his immediacy or his intimacy. One man stated that "I want neither a terrorist spirituality that keeps me in a perpetual state of fright about being in right relationship with my heavenly Father nor a sappy spirituality that portrays God as such a benign teddy bear that there is no aberrant behavior or desire of mine that he will not condone." . . . Christ is not "my buddy." There is a natural tendency, and it is a dangerous one, to seek to bring Jesus down to our level in an effort to draw closer to him. This is a problem among people both in and outside the LDS faith. Of course we should seek with all our hearts to draw near to him. Of course we should strive to set aside all barriers that would prevent us from closer fellowship with him. And of course we should pray and labor and serve in an effort to close the gap between what we are and what we should be. But drawing close to the Lord is serious business; we nudge our way into intimacy at the peril of our souls. . . . Another gospel irony is that the way to get close to the Lord is not by attempting in any way to shrink the distance between us, to emphasize more of his humanity than his divinity, or to speak to him or of him in casual, colloquial language. . . . Those who have come to know the Lord best--the prophets or covenant spokesmen--are also those who speak of him in reverent tones, who, like Isaiah, find themselves crying out, "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts" (Isaiah 6:5). Coming into the presence of the Almighty is no light thing; we feel to respond soberly to God's command to Moses: "Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground" (Exodus 3:5). Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained, "Those who truly love the Lord and who worship the Father in the name of the Son by the power of the Spirit, according to the approved patterns, maintain a reverential barrier between themselves and all the members of the Godhead.
Robert L. Millet
When the dogma of the Assumption was defined a friend of mine, a very intelligent Mohammedan, congratulated me on the gesture which the Holy Father had made; a gesture (said he) against materialism. And I think he was right. When our Lord took his blessed Mother, soul and body, into heaven, he did honour to the poor clay of which our human bodies are fashioned. It was the first step towards reconciling all things in heaven and earth to his eternal Father, towards making all things new. "The whole of nature", St Paul tells us, "groans in a common travail all the while. And not only do we see that, but we ourselves do the same; we ourselves although we have already begun to reap our spiritual harvest, groan in our hearts, waiting for that adoption which is the ransoming of our bodies from their slavery." That transformation of our material bodies to which we look forward one day has been accomplished—we know it now for certain-in her. When the Son of God came to earth, he came to turn our hearts away from earth, Godwards. And as the traveller, shading his eyes while he contemplates some long vista of scenery, searches about for a human figure that will give him the scale of those distant surroundings, so we, with dazzled eyes looking Godwards, identify and welcome one purely human figure close to his throne. One ship has rounded the headland, one destiny is achieved, one human perfection exists. And as we watch it, we see God clearer, see God greater, through this masterpiece of his dealings with mankind.
Ronald Knox
The face that Moses had begged to see – was forbidden to see – was slapped bloody (Exodus 33:19-20) The thorns that God had sent to curse the earth’s rebellion now twisted around his brow… “On your back with you!” One raises a mallet to sink the spike. But the soldier’s heart must continue pumping as he readies the prisoner’s wrist. Someone must sustain the soldier’s life minute by minute, for no man has this power on his own. Who supplies breath to his lungs? Who gives energy to his cells? Who holds his molecules together? Only by the Son do “all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). The victim wills that the soldier live on – he grants the warrior’s continued existence. The man swings. As the man swings, the Son recalls how he and the Father first designed the medial nerve of the human forearm – the sensations it would be capable of. The design proves flawless – the nerves perform exquisitely. “Up you go!” They lift the cross. God is on display in his underwear and can scarcely breathe. But these pains are a mere warm-up to his other and growing dread. He begins to feel a foreign sensation. Somewhere during this day an unearthly foul odor began to waft, not around his nose, but his heart. He feels dirty. Human wickedness starts to crawl upon his spotless being – the living excrement from our souls. The apple of his Father’s eye turns brown with rot. His Father! He must face his Father like this! From heaven the Father now rouses himself like a lion disturbed, shakes His mane, and roars against the shriveling remnant of a man hanging on a cross.Never has the Son seen the Father look at him so, never felt even the least of his hot breath. But the roar shakes the unseen world and darkens the visible sky. The Son does not recognize these eyes. “Son of Man! Why have you behaved so? You have cheated, lusted, stolen, gossiped – murdered, envied, hated, lied. You have cursed, robbed, over-spent, overeaten – fornicated, disobeyed, embezzled, and blasphemed. Oh the duties you have shirked, the children you have abandoned! Who has ever so ignored the poor, so played the coward, so belittled my name? Have you ever held a razor tongue? What a self-righteous, pitiful drunk – you, who moles young boys, peddle killer drugs, travel in cliques, and mock your parents. Who gave you the boldness to rig elections, foment revolutions, torture animals, and worship demons? Does the list never end! Splitting families, raping virgins, acting smugly, playing the pimp – buying politicians, practicing exhortation, filming pornography, accepting bribes. You have burned down buildings, perfected terrorist tactics, founded false religions, traded in slaves – relishing each morsel and bragging about it all. I hate, loathe these things in you! Disgust for everything about you consumes me! Can you not feel my wrath? Of course the Son is innocent He is blamelessness itself. The Father knows this. But the divine pair have an agreement, and the unthinkable must now take place. Jesus will be treated as if personally responsible for every sin ever committed. The Father watches as his heart’s treasure, the mirror image of himself, sinks drowning into raw, liquid sin. Jehovah’s stored rage against humankind from every century explodes in a single direction. “Father! Father! Why have you forsaken me?!” But heaven stops its ears. The Son stares up at the One who cannot, who will not, reach down or reply. The Trinity had planned it. The Son had endured it. The Spirit enabled Him. The Father rejected the Son whom He loved. Jesus, the God-man from Nazareth, perished. The Father accepted His sacrifice for sin and was satisfied. The Rescue was accomplished.
Joni Eareckson Tada (When God Weeps Kit: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty)
You think you know what a man is? You have no idea what a man is. You think you know what a daughter is? You have no idea what a daughter is. You think you know what this country is? You have no idea what this country is. You have a false image of everything. All you know is what a fucking glove is. This country is frightening. Of course she was raped. What kind of company do you think she was keeping? Of course out there she was going to get raped. This isn't Old Rimrock, old buddy - she's out there, old buddy, in the USA. She enters that world, that loopy world out there, with whats going on out there - what do you expect? A kid from Rimrock, NJ, of course she didn't know how to behave out there, of course the shit hits the fan. What could she know? She's like a wild child out there in the world. She can't get enough of it - she's still acting up. A room off McCarter Highway. And why not? Who wouldn't? You prepare her for life milking the cows? For what kind of life? Unnatural, all artificial, all of it. Those assumptions you live with. You're still in your olf man's dream-world, Seymour, still up there with Lou Levov in glove heaven. A household tyrannized by gloves, bludgeoned by gloves, the only thing in life - ladies' gloves! Does he still tell the one about the woman who sells the gloves washing her hands in a sink between each color? Oh where oh where is that outmoded America, that decorous America where a woman had twenty-five pairs of gloves? Your kid blows your norms to kingdom come, Seymour, and you still think you know what life is?" Life is just a short period of time in which we are alive. Meredith Levov, 1964. "You wanted Ms. America? Well, you've got her, with a vengeance - she's your daughter! You wanted to be a real American jock, a real American marine, a real American hotshot with a beautiful Gentile babe on your arm? You longed to belong like everybody else to the United States of America? Well, you do now, big boy, thanks to your daughter. The reality of this place is right up in your kisser now. With the help of your daughter you're as deep in the sit as a man can get, the real American crazy shit. America amok! America amuck! Goddamn it, Seymour, goddamn you, if you were a father who loved his daughter," thunders Jerry into the phone - and the hell with the convalescent patients waiting in the corridor for him to check out their new valves and new arteries, to tell how grateful they are to him for their new lease on life, Jerry shouts away, shouts all he wants if it's shouting he wants to do, and the hell with the rules of hte hospital. He is one of the surgeons who shouts; if you disagree with him he shouts, if you cross him he shouts, if you just stand there and do nothing he shouts. He does not do what hospitals tell him to do or fathers expect him to do or wives want him to do, he does what he wants to do, does as he pleases, tells people just who and what he is every minute of the day so that nothing about him is a secret, not his opinions, his frustrations, his urges, neither his appetite nor his hatred. In the sphere of the will, he is unequivocating, uncompromising; he is king. He does not spend time regretting what he has or has not done or justifying to others how loathsome he can be. The message is simple: You will take me as I come - there is no choice. He cannot endure swallowing anything. He just lets loose. And these are two brothers, the same parents' sons, one for whom the aggression's been bred out, the other for whom the aggression's been bred in. "If you were a father who loved your daughter," Jerry shouts at the Swede, "you would never have left her in that room! You would have never let her out of your sight!
Philip Roth (American Pastoral)
Of all the conceptions of the divine, of all the language Jesus could put on the lips of the God character in the story he tells, that’s what he has the Father say. “You are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” ... Millions of people in our world were told that God so loved the world, that God sent his son to save the world, and that if they accept and believe in Jesus, then they’ll be able to have a relationship with God... But there’s more. Millions have been taught that if they don’t believe, if they don’t accept in the right way, that is, the way the person telling them the gospel does, and they were hit by a car and died later that same day, God will have no choice but to punish them forever in conscious torment in hell... A loving heavenly father who will go to extraordinary lengths to have a relationship with them would, in the blink of an eye, become a cruel, mean, vicious tormentor who would ensure that they had no escape from an endless future of agony... if your God is loving one second and cruel the next, if your God will punish people for all eternity for sins committed in a few short years, no amount of clever marketing or compelling language or good music or great coffee will be able to disguise that one, true, glaring, untenable, acceptable, awful reality... sometimes the reason people have a problem accepting “the gospel” is that they sense that the God lurking behind Jesus isn’t safe, loving, or good. It doesn’t make sense it can’t be reconciled, and so they say no... God create, because the endless joy and peace and shared life at the heart of this God knows no other way. Jesus invites us into THAT relationship, the one at the center of the universe... so when the gospel is diminished to a question of whether or not a person will “get into heaven,” that reduces the good news to a ticket, a way to get past the bouncer and into the club. The good news is better than that.
Rob Bell (Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived)
I would like to turn in my skin and change it for a new epidermis. It feels as if I will never be able to rinse the sadness from my soul. All the while I am cognizant of the fact that I am trying to purge myself of my feelings. I start with my shell. I am in the water at least an hour. I immerse my head. My long, thick mane is so heavy, but I feel the lightness of my hair as it floats. I can hear my heart beating in my ears. I wonder what would happen if I died in this water. I drain the bathtub and refill it. I scrub my skin until it stings. I still don't feel clean. I close my eyes. I switch to lying on my back. I gaze at the heavens through the skylight on the ceiling above the tub. I am thinking about Isabella. I am struck by the feeling of uncleanness that I have been immersed in that day. I would imagine that this child feels unclean always, in body and in mind. I am hoping that the sheets in her foster home are snow white and fragrant. I am hoping that she felt safe. I am worried that she is so deeply alone and frightened. I know somewhere deep inside of me that the decisions and choices I made today were sound. I am praying, with eyes glued to the stars, that I will not awaken in the night with my heart beating out of my chest; that I will not be haunted by Francis's diseased body; that I will not perseverate on ever nuance of my day - the smells, the cockroaches, the piercing torment of Isabella's unseeing eye, her father's sore-ridden penis penetrating her tiny body. Yet in many ways this is an experience I hope never to forget. The pearls. I must not forget the pearls that I have promised her.
Holly A. Smith (Fire of the Five Hearts)
If Ever You Feel Down, Remember, 100Trillion Cells Make Up Your Body and ALL each of them cares About is You. Our body is made up of about 100,000 Billions of cells (100 Trillion)... all living working and sacrificing themselves completely for the exclusive benefit, well-being, and survival of the whole (which is you). We are each of us a universe unto ourselves. To put 100 Trillion in perspective... Jeremy Harper counted from one to one million in about 3 months. He did NOTHING but count, eat, and sleep (minimal). During this time; he didn't leave his home nor even shave. And that's only one MILLION, so if you ignore the fact that pronunciation takes much, much longer on ever larger numbers (more than a minute each), counting to 100 Trillion would take more than 25 Million years. It's awe inspiring to think that 100 Trillion cells (worlds) are counting ON me also, my decisions determine (to a large degree) whether they are allowed to continue living and experiencing in this life or not. Knowing all of this, who could realistically say that there are no miracles. We each have over 100 Trillion miracles working FOR us and depending ON us each and every second of every day. So when praying, I must always keep in mind that each word is in behalf of 100 Trillion worlds. OUR Father Who Art in Heaven...
Raymond D. Longoria Jr.
What do you learn at school, then?" "We learn about the Prophet and his three hundred authenticated miracles,and about Abraham and Isaac and Jonah and Omar and Ali and Hind and Fatima and the saints, and sometimes the big battles of Saladin against the barbarians. And we recite the Holy Koran because we have to learn al-Fatihah by heart." "What's that?" "It's the beginning." "What's it like?" Karatavuk closed his eyes and recited:'Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim...' When he's finished he opened his eyes, and mopped his forehead. "It's difficult" he observed. "I didn't understand any of it" complained Mehmetcik. " It sounds nice though. was it language?" "Of course it was language, stupid. It's Arabic." "What's that then?" "It's what Arabs speak. And it's what God speaks, and that's why we have to learn to recite it. It's something about being merciful and the Day of Judgement and showing us the right path, and if anything is going wrong, or you're worried, or someone's sick, you just have to say al-Fatihah and everything will probably be all right." "I didn't know that God spoke language." observed Mehmetcik. Father Kristoforos speaks to him in Greek, but we don't understand that either." "What do you learn, then." "We learn more than you," answered Mehmetcik self-importantly. "We learn about Jesus Son of Mary and his miracles and St Nicholas and St Dmitri and St Menas and the saints and Abraham and Isaac and Jonah and Emperor Constantine and Alexander the Great and the Marble Emperor, and the great battles against barbarians, and the War of Independence, and we learn reading and writing and adding up and taking away and multiplication and division." "Don't you learn al-Fatihah,then?" "When things go wrong we say 'Kyrie elesion'. and we've got a proper prayer as well." "What's that like?" Mehmetcik screwed up his eyes in unconcious imitation of his friend, and recited: 'Pater imon, o en tois ouranis, agiasthito to onoma sou, eltheto i vasileia sou..' When Mehmetcik has finished, Karatavuk asked, "What's that about, then? is that some kind of language?" "It's Greek. It's what we speak to God.I don't know exactly what it means, it's something about our father who is in heaven and forgive us our daily bread, and led us not into temptation, but it doesn't matter if we don't understand it, because God does" "Maybe," pondered Karatavuk, " Greek and Arabic are actually the same language, and that's how God understands us, like sometimes I'm Abdul and sometimes I'm Karatavuk, and sometimes you're Nico and sometimes you're Mehmetcik, but it's two names and there's only one me and there's only one you, so it might be all one language that's called Greek sometimes and Arabic sometimes.
Louis de Bernières (Birds Without Wings)
And you must tell the child the legends I told you—as my mother told them to me and her mother to her. You must tell the fairy tales of the old country. You must tell of those not of the earth who live forever in the hearts of people—fairies, elves, dwarfs and such. You must tell of the great ghosts that haunted your father’s people and of the evil eye which a hex put on your aunt. You must teach the child of the signs that come to the women of our family when there is trouble and death to be. And the child must believe in the Lord God and Jesus, His Only Son.” She crossed herself. “Oh, and you must not forget the Kris Kringle. The child must believe in him until she reaches the age of six.” “Mother, I know there are no ghosts or fairies. I would be teaching the child foolish lies.” Mary spoke sharply. “You do not know whether there are not ghosts on earth or angels in heaven.” “I know there is no Santa Claus.” “Yet you must teach the child that these things are so.” “Why? When I, myself, do not believe?” “Because,” explained Mary Rommely simply, “the child must have a valuable thing which is called imagination. The child must have a secret world in which live things that never were. It is necessary that she believe. She must start out by believing in things not of this world. Then when the world becomes too ugly for living in, the child can reach back and live in her imagination. I, myself, even in this day and at my age, have great need of recalling the miraculous lives of the Saints and the great miracles that have come to pass on earth. Only by having these things in my mind can I live beyond what I have to live for.” “The child will grow up and find out things for herself. She will know that I lied. She will be disappointed.” “That is what is called learning the truth. It is a good thing to learn the truth one’s self. To first believe with all your heart, and then not to believe, is good too. It fattens the emotions and makes them to stretch. When as a woman life and people disappoint her, she will have had practice in disappointment and it will not come so hard. In teaching your child, do not forget that suffering is good too. It makes a person rich in character.” “If that is so,” commented Katie bitterly, “then we Rommelys are rich.” “We are poor, yes. We suffer. Our way is very hard. But we are better people because we know of the things I have told you. I could not read but I told you of all of the things I learned from living. You must tell them to your child and add on to them such things as you will learn as you grow older.
Betty Smith (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
Christ’s fourth indirect claim was to judge the world. This is perhaps the most fantastic of all his statements. Several of his parables imply that he will come back at the end of the world, and that the final day of reckoning will be postponed until his return. He will himself arouse the dead, and all the nations will be gathered before him. He will sit on the throne of his glory, and the judgment will be committed to him by the Father. He will then separate men from one another as a shepherd separates his sheep from his goats. Some will be invited to come and inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. Others will hear the dreadful words, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.' Not only will Jesus be the judge, but the criterion of judgment will be men’s attitude to him as shown in their treatment of his 'brethren' or their response to his word. Those who have acknowledged him before men he will acknowledge before his Father: those who have denied him, he will deny. Indeed, for a man to be excluded from heaven on the last day, it will be enough for Jesus to say, "I never knew you.
John R.W. Stott (Basic Christianity (IVP Classics))
MY FATHER If I have to write a poem about my father it has to be about integrity and kindness — the selfless kind of kindness that is so very rare I am sure there will be many people living somewhere who must be as kind as him but what I mean to say is I have not met one yet and when it comes to helping others he always helps too much and as the saying goes — help someone, you earn a friend. help someone too much, you make an enemy. — so you know the gist of what I’m trying to say here anyways I was talking about the poem about my father it has to be about passion and hard work because you see you cannot separate these things from him they are part of him as his two eyes and two hands and his heart and his soul and his whole being and you cannot separate wind and waves or living and the universe or earth and heavens and although he never got any award from bureaucracy the students he taught ages ago still touch his feet and some of them are the people you have to make an appointment to meet even if it is for two minutes of their time and that’s a reward for him bigger than any other that some of his colleagues got for their flattery and also I have to write about reliability as well because you see as the sun always rises and the snowflakes are always six-folds and the spring always comes and the petals of a sunflower and every flower follows the golden ratio of symmetry my father never fails to keep his promise I have to mention the rage as well that he always carries inside him like a burning fire for wrongdoings for injustice and now he carries a bitterness too for people who used him good and discarded as it always happens with every good man in our world of humans and you must be thinking he has learned his lessons well you go to him — it does not matter who you are if he knows you or you are a stranger from other side of the world — and ask for his help he will be happy to do so as you must know people never change not their soul in any case.
Neena H. Brar
Latter-day Saints are far from being the only ones who call Jesus the Savior. I have known people from many denominations who say those words with great feeling and deep emotion. After hearing one such passionate declaration from a devoutly Christian friend, I asked, “From what did Jesus save us?” My friend was taken aback by the question, and struggled to answer. He spoke of having a personal relationship with Jesus and being born again. He spoke of his intense love and endless gratitude for the Savior, but he still never gave a clear answer to the question. I contrast that experience with a visit to an LDS Primary where I asked the same question: “If a Savior saves, from what did Jesus save us?” One child answered, “From the bad guys.” Another said, “He saved us from getting really, really, hurt really, really bad.” Still another added, “He opened up the door so we can live again after we die and go back to heaven.” Then one bright future missionary explained, “Well, it’s like this—there are two deaths, see, physical and spiritual, and Jesus, well, he just beat the pants off both of them.” Although their language was far from refined, these children showed a clear understanding of how their Savior has saved them. Jesus did indeed overcome the two deaths that came in consequence of the Fall of Adam and Eve. Because Jesus Christ “hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light” (2 Timothy 1:10), we will all overcome physical death by being resurrected and obtaining immortality. Because Jesus overcame spiritual death caused by sin—Adam’s and our own—we all have the opportunity to repent, be cleansed, and live with our Heavenly Father and other loved ones eternally. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). To Latter-day Saints this knowledge is basic and fundamental—a lesson learned in Primary. We are blessed to have such an understanding. I remember a man in Chile who scoffed, “Who needs a Savior?” Apparently he didn’t yet understand the precariousness and limited duration of his present state. President Ezra Taft Benson wrote: “Just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ. No one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands and accepts the doctrine of the Fall and its effects upon all mankind” (“Book of Mormon,” 85). Perhaps the man who asked, “Who needs a Savior?” would ask President Benson, “Who believes in Adam and Eve?” Like many who deny significant historical events, perhaps he thinks Adam and Eve are only part of a folktale. Perhaps he has never heard of them before. Regardless of whether or not this man accepts the Fall, he still faces its effects. If this man has not yet felt the sting of death and sin, he will. Sooner or later someone close to him will die, and he will know the awful emptiness and pain of feeling as if part of his soul is being buried right along with the body of his loved one. On that day, he will hurt in a way he has not yet experienced. He will need a Savior. Similarly, sooner or later, he will feel guilt, remorse, and shame for his sins. He will finally run out of escape routes and have to face himself in the mirror knowing full well that his selfish choices have affected others as well as himself. On that day, he will hurt in a profound and desperate way. He will need a Savior. And Christ will be there to save from both the sting of death and the stain of sin.
Brad Wilcox (The Continuous Atonement)
Quote from Father Tim during a sermon given after the former priest was found after a suicide attempt. "      'Father Talbot has charged me to tell you that he is deeply repentant for not serving you as God appointed him to do, and as you hoped and needed him to do.         'He wished very much to bring you this message himself, but he could not.  He bids you goodbye with a love he confesses he never felt toward you...until this day.  He asks--and I quote him--that you might find it in your hearts to forgive him his manifold sins against God and this parish.'         He felt the tears on his face before he knew he was weeping, and realized instinctively that he would have no control over the display.  He could not effectively carry on, no even turn his face away or flee the pulpit.  He was in the grip of a wild grief that paralyzed everything but itself.          He wept face forward, then, into the gale of those aghast at what was happening, wept for the wounds of any clergy gone out into a darkness of self-loathing and beguilement; for the loss and sorrow of those who could not believe, or who had once believed but lost all sense of shield and buckler and any notion of God's radical tenderness, for the ceaseless besettings of the flesh, for the worthless idols of his own and of others; for those sidetracked, stumped, frozen, flung away, for those both false and true, the just and the unjust, the quick and the dead.           He wept for himself, for the pain of the long years and the exquisite satisfactions of the faith, for the holiness of the mundane, for the thrashing exhaustions and the endless dyings and resurrectings that malign the soul incarnate.           It had come to this, a thing he had subtly feared for more than forty years--that he would weep before the many--and he saw that his wife would not try to talk him down from this precipice, she would trust him to come down himself without falling or leaping.         And people wept with him, most of them.  Some turned away, and a few got up and left in a hurry, fearful of the swift and astounding movement of the Holy Spirit among them, and he, too, was afraid--of crying aloud in a kind of ancient howl and humiliating himself still further.  But the cry burned out somewhere inside and he swallowed down what remained and the organ began to play, softly, piously.  He wished it to be loud and gregarious, at the top of its lungs--Bach or Beethoven, and not the saccharine pipe that summoned the vagabond sins of thought, word, and deed to the altar, though come to think of it, the rail was the very place to be right now, at once, as he, they, all were desperate for the salve of the cup, the Bread of Heaven.             And then it was over.  He reached into the pocket of his alb and wondered again how so many manage to make in this world without carrying a handkerchief.  And he drew it out and wiped his eyes and blew his nose as he might at home, and said, 'Amen.'                 And the people said, 'Amen.
Jan Karon
In the years since the disaster, I often think of my friend Arturo Nogueira, and the conversations we had in the mountains about God. Many of my fellow survivors say they felt the personal presence of God in the mountains. He mercifully allowed us to survive, they believe, in answer to our prayers, and they are certain it was His hand that led us home. I deeply respect the faith of my friends, but, to be honest, as hard as I prayed for a miracle in the Andes, I never felt the personal presence of God. At least, I did not feel God as most people see Him. I did feel something larger than myself, something in the mountains and the glaciers and the glowing sky that, in rare moments, reassured me, and made me feel that the world was orderly and loving and good. If this was God, it was not God as a being or a spirit or some omnipotent, superhuman mind. It was not a God who would choose to save us or abandon us, or change in any way. It was simply a silence, a wholeness, an awe-inspiring simplicity. It seemed to reach me through my own feelings of love, and I have often thought that when we feel what we call love, we are really feeling our connection to this awesome presence. I feel this presence still when my mind quiets and I really pay attention. I don’t pretend to understand what it is or what it wants from me. I don’t want to understand these things. I have no interest in any God who can be understood, who speaks to us in one holy book or another, and who tinkers with our lives according to some divine plan, as if we were characters in a play. How can I make sense of a God who sets one religion above the rest, who answers one prayer and ignores another, who sends sixteen young men home and leaves twenty-nine others dead on a mountain? There was a time when I wanted to know that god, but I realize now that what I really wanted was the comfort of certainty, the knowledge that my God was the true God, and that in the end He would reward me for my faithfulness. Now I understand that to be certain–-about God, about anything–-is impossible. I have lost my need to know. In those unforgettable conversations I had with Arturo as he lay dying, he told me the best way to find faith was by having the courage to doubt. I remember those words every day, and I doubt, and I hope, and in this crude way I try to grope my way toward truth. I still pray the prayers I learned as a child–-Hail Marys, Our Fathers–-but I don’t imagine a wise, heavenly father listening patiently on the other end of the line. Instead, I imagine love, an ocean of love, the very source of love, and I imagine myself merging with it. I open myself to it, I try to direct that tide of love toward the people who are close to me, hoping to protect them and bind them to me forever and connect us all to whatever there is in the world that is eternal. …When I pray this way, I feel as if I am connected to something good and whole and powerful. In the mountains, it was love that kept me connected to the world of the living. Courage or cleverness wouldn’t have saved me. I had no expertise to draw on, so I relied upon the trust I felt in my love for my father and my future, and that trust led me home. Since then, it has led me to a deeper understanding of who I am and what it means to be human. Now I am convinced that if there is something divine in the universe, the only way I will find it is through the love I feel for my family and my friends, and through the simple wonder of being alive. I don’t need any other wisdom or philosophy than this: My duty is to fill my time on earth with as much life as possible, to become a little more human every day, and to understand that we only become human when we love. …For me, this is enough.
Nando Parrado
God showed to man that compliance with His dictates would ever mean eternal bliss and joy unspeakable and life and knowledge forevermore, but that ceasing to comply would mean loss of life with God and eternal death. That was in the world’s bright morning when the morning stars sang together and all creation leaped in joy, but the wild, wild desolation of sin, disobedience, pride, and selfish sinfulness entered and drove a great gulf between God’s children and Himself. But, as ever, love found a way. God came to us and for us, and we this day with chastened hearts, quivering lips, and glistening eyes, yet with love deep and strong in our hearts, say, afresh with deep adoration, God is love. If God exhibits such glorious love in His nature, what shall we say of the glories of the dispensation of His grace? That God would have walked this earth had sin never entered is very likely, yet sin did not refrain Him from graciously walking and revealing Himself in communion with men. No, still He came. But men were so blinded by sin that they saw Him not, they knew Him not, while He hewed a way back through the hard face of sin to the heavenly shores.
Oswald Chambers (The Love of God: An Intimate Look at the Father-Heart of God)
Young sisters, be modest. Modesty in dress and language and deportment is a true mark of refinement and a hallmark of a virtuous Latter-day Saint woman. Shun the low and the vulgar and the suggestive. . . . Don’t see R-rated movies or vulgar videos or participate in any entertainment that is immoral, suggestive, or pornographic. And don’t accept dates from young men who would take you to such entertainment. . . . Also, don’t listen to music that is degrading. . . . Instead, we encourage you to listen to uplifting music, both popular and classical, that builds the spirit. Learn some favorite hymns from our new hymnbook that build faith and spirituality. Attend dances where the music and the lighting and the dance movements are conducive to the Spirit. Watch those shows and entertainment that lift the spirit and promote clean thoughts and actions. Read books and magazines that do the same. Remember, young women, the importance of proper dating. President Kimball gave some wise counsel on this subject: “Clearly, right marriage begins with right dating. . . . Therefore, this warning comes with great emphasis. Do not take the chance of dating nonmembers, or members who are untrained and faithless. A girl may say, ‘Oh, I do not intend to marry this person. It is just a “fun” date.’ But one cannot afford to take a chance on falling in love with someone who may never accept the gospel” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 241–42). Our Heavenly Father wants you to date young men who are faithful members of the Church, who will be worthy to take you to the temple and be married the Lord’s way. There will be a new spirit in Zion when the young women will say to their boyfriends, “If you cannot get a temple recommend, then I am not about to tie my life to you, even for mortality!” And the young returned missionary will say to his girlfriend, “I am sorry, but as much as I love you, I will not marry out of the holy temple.
Ezra Taft Benson
Of all the conceptions of the divine, of all the language Jesus could put on the lips of the God character in the story he tells, that’s what he has the Father say. “You are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” ... Millions of people in our world were told that God so loved the world, that God sent his son to save the world, and that if they accept and believe in Jesus, then they’ll be able to have a relationship with God... But there’s more. Millions have been taught that if they don’t believe, if they don’t accept in the right way, that is, the way the person telling them "the gospel" does, and they were hit by a car and died later that same day, God will have no choice but to punish them forever in conscious torment in hell... A loving heavenly father who will go to extraordinary lengths to have a relationship with them would, in the blink of an eye, become a cruel, mean, vicious tormentor who would ensure that they had no escape from an endless future of agony... if your God is loving one second and cruel the next, if your God will punish people for all eternity for sins committed in a few short years, no amount of clever marketing or compelling language or good music or great coffee will be able to disguise that one, true, glaring, untenable, acceptable, awful reality... sometimes the reason people have a problem accepting the gospel is that they sense that the God lurking behind Jesus isn’t safe, loving, or good. It doesn’t make sense, it can’t be reconciled, and so they say no... God creates, because the endless joy and peace and shared life at the heart of this God knows no other way. Jesus invites us into THAT relationship, the one at the center of the universe... so when the gospel is diminished to a question of whether or not a person will “get into heaven,” that reduces the good news to a ticket, a way to get past the bouncer and into the club. The good news is better than that. (excerpts all from chapter 7)
Rob Bell (Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived)
Lucy Gray Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray, And when I cross'd the Wild, I chanc'd to see at break of day The solitary Child. No Mate, no comrade Lucy knew; She dwelt on a wild Moor, The sweetest Thing that ever grew Beside a human door! You yet may spy the Fawn at play, The Hare upon the Green; But the sweet face of Lucy Gray Will never more be seen. "To-night will be a stormy night, You to the Town must go, And take a lantern, Child, to light Your Mother thro' the snow." "That, Father! will I gladly do; 'Tis scarcely afternoon— The Minster-clock has just struck two, And yonder is the Moon." At this the Father rais'd his hook And snapp'd a faggot-band; He plied his work, and Lucy took The lantern in her hand. Not blither is the mountain roe, With many a wanton stroke Her feet disperse, the powd'ry snow That rises up like smoke. The storm came on before its time, She wander'd up and down, And many a hill did Lucy climb But never reach'd the Town. The wretched Parents all that night Went shouting far and wide; But there was neither sound nor sight To serve them for a guide. At day-break on a hill they stood That overlook'd the Moor; And thence they saw the Bridge of Wood A furlong from their door. And now they homeward turn'd, and cry'd "In Heaven we all shall meet!" When in the snow the Mother spied The print of Lucy's feet. Then downward from the steep hill's edge They track'd the footmarks small; And through the broken hawthorn-hedge, And by the long stone-wall; And then an open field they cross'd, The marks were still the same; They track'd them on, nor ever lost, And to the Bridge they came. They follow'd from the snowy bank The footmarks, one by one, Into the middle of the plank, And further there were none. Yet some maintain that to this day She is a living Child, That you may see sweet Lucy Gray Upon the lonesome Wild. O'er rough and smooth she trips along, And never looks behind; And sings a solitary song That whistles in the wind.
William Wordsworth (The Works of William Wordsworth)
What though some suffer and die, what though they lay down their lives for the testimony of Jesus and the hope of eternal life--so be it--all these things have prevailed from Adam's day to ours. They are all part of the eternal plan; and those who give their "all" in the gospel cause shall receive the Lord's "all" in the mansions which are prepared. . . . We have yet to gain that full knowledge and understanding of the doctrines of salvation and the mysteries of the kingdom that were possessed by many of the ancient Saints. O that we knew what Enoch and his people knew! Or that we had the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, as did certain of the Jaredites and Nephites! How can we ever gain these added truths until we believe in full what the Lord has already given us in the Book of Mormon, in the Doctrine and Covenants, and in the inspired changes made by Joseph Smith in the Bible? Will the Lord give us the full and revealed account of the creation as long as we believe in the theories of evolution? Will he give us more guidance in governmental affairs as long as we choose socialistic ways which lead to the overthrow of freedom? We have yet to attain that degree of obedience and personal righteousness which will give us faith like the ancients: faith to multiply miracles, move mountains, and put at defiance the armies of nations; faith to quench the violence of fire, divide seas and stop the mouths of lions; faith to break every band and to stand in the presence of God. Faith comes in degrees. Until we gain faith to heal the sick, how can we ever expect to move mountains and divide seas? We have yet to receive such an outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord in our lives that we shall all see eye to eye in all things, that every man will esteem his brother as himself, that there will be no poor among us, and that all men seeing our good works will be led to glorify our Father who is in heaven. Until we live the law of tithing how can we expect to live the law of consecration? As long as we disagree as to the simple and easy doctrines of salvation, how can we ever have unity on the complex and endless truths yet to be revealed? We have yet to perfect our souls, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel, and to walk in the light as God is in the light, so that if this were a day of translation we would be prepared to join Enoch and his city in heavenly realms. How many among us are now prepared to entertain angels, to see the face of the Lord, to go where God and Christ are and be like them? . . . Our time, talents, and wealth must be made available for the building up of his kingdom. Should we be called upon to sacrifice all things, even our lives, it would be of slight moment when weighed against the eternal riches reserved for those who are true and faithful in all things. [Ensign, Apr. 1980, 25]
Bruce R. McConkie
If Paul brought the first generation of Christians the useful skills of a trained theologian, Origen was the first great philosopher to rethink the new religion from first principles. As his philosophical enemy, the anti-Christian Porphyry, summed it up, he 'introduced Greek ideas to foreign fables' -- that is, gave a barbarous eastern religion the intellectual respectability of a philosophical defense. Origen was also a phenomenon. As Eusebius put it admiringly, 'even the facts from his cradle are worth mentioning'. Origen came from Alexandria, the second city of the empire and then it's intellectual centre; his father's martyrdom left him an orphan at seventeen with six younger brothers. He was a hard working prodigy, at eighteen head of the Catechetical School, and already trained as a literary scholar and teacher. But at this point, probably in 203, he became a religious fanatic and remained one for the next fifty years. He gave up his job and sold his books to concentrate on religion. he slept on the floor, ate no meat, drank no wine, had only one coat and no shoes. He almost certainly castrated himself, in obedience to the notorious text, Matthew 19:12, 'there are some who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake.' Origen's learning was massive and it was of a highly original kind: he always went back to the sources and thought through the whole process himself. This he learned Hebrew and, according to Eusebius, 'got into his possession the original writings extant among the Jews in the actual Hebrew character'. These included the discovery of lost texts; in the case of the psalms, Origen collected not only the four known texts but three others unearthed, including 'one he found at Jericho in a jar'. The result was an enormous tome, the Hexapla, which probably existed in only one manuscript now lost, setting out the seven alternative texts in parallel columns. He applied the same principles of original research to every aspect of Christianity and sacred literature. He seems to have worked all day and though most of the night, and was a compulsive writer. Even the hardy Jerome later complained: 'Has anyone read everything Origen wrote?'
Paul Johnson (A History of Christianity)
He remembered an old tale which his father was fond of telling him—the story of Eos Amherawdur (the Emperor Nightingale). Very long ago, the story began, the greatest and the finest court in all the realms of faery was the court of the Emperor Eos, who was above all the kings of the Tylwydd Têg, as the Emperor of Rome is head over all the kings of the earth. So that even Gwyn ap Nudd, whom they now call lord over all the fair folk of the Isle of Britain, was but the man of Eos, and no splendour such as his was ever seen in all the regions of enchantment and faery. Eos had his court in a vast forest, called Wentwood, in the deepest depths of the green-wood between Caerwent and Caermaen, which is also called the City of the Legions; though some men say that we should rather name it the city of the Waterfloods. Here, then, was the Palace of Eos, built of the finest stones after the Roman manner, and within it were the most glorious chambers that eye has ever seen, and there was no end to the number of them, for they could not be counted. For the stones of the palace being immortal, they were at the pleasure of the Emperor. If he had willed, all the hosts of the world could stand in his greatest hall, and, if he had willed, not so much as an ant could enter into it, since it could not be discerned. But on common days they spread the Emperor's banquet in nine great halls, each nine times larger than any that are in the lands of the men of Normandi. And Sir Caw was the seneschal who marshalled the feast; and if you would count those under his command—go, count the drops of water that are in the Uske River. But if you would learn the splendour of this castle it is an easy matter, for Eos hung the walls of it with Dawn and Sunset. He lit it with the sun and moon. There was a well in it called Ocean. And nine churches of twisted boughs were set apart in which Eos might hear Mass; and when his clerks sang before him all the jewels rose shining out of the earth, and all the stars bent shining down from heaven, so enchanting was the melody. Then was great bliss in all the regions of the fair folk. But Eos was grieved because mortal ears could not hear nor comprehend the enchantment of their song. What, then, did he do? Nothing less than this. He divested himself of all his glories and of his kingdom, and transformed himself into the shape of a little brown bird, and went flying about the woods, desirous of teaching men the sweetness of the faery melody. And all the other birds said: "This is a contemptible stranger." The eagle found him not even worthy to be a prey; the raven and the magpie called him simpleton; the pheasant asked where he had got that ugly livery; the lark wondered why he hid himself in the darkness of the wood; the peacock would not suffer his name to be uttered. In short never was anyone so despised as was Eos by all the chorus of the birds. But wise men heard that song from the faery regions and listened all night beneath the bough, and these were the first who were bards in the Isle of Britain.
Arthur Machen (The Secret Glory)
There comes a time in most of our lives in which we no longer have the strength to lift ourselves out or to pretend ourselves strong. Sometimes our minds want to break because life stomped on us and God didn’t stop it. Like a family who watches their loved one slip and fall onto the rocks on a mountainside vacation when all was supposed to be beautiful and fun; or like a parent whose child was mistreated or shot while at school. Charles and those who lost their loved ones that terrible day had to come to terms with suffering in a house of God while the word was preached and a prankster cackled. Questions fill our lungs. We mentally wheeze. We go numb. When on vacation or at school or at church, that kind of thing is not supposed to happen there. Even the knees of a Jesus-follower will buckle. Charles’ wife, Susannah, said of Charles at that time, “My beloved’s anguish was so deep and violent, that reason seemed to totter in her throne, and we sometimes feared that he would never preach again.”5 Though it cannot be said for all of us or for every person that we have loved, it remains true that, in this cherished case, Charles Spurgeon did preach again. But sorrows of many kinds haunted and hounded him for the rest of his life. His depression came, not only from circumstances, or from questions about whether or not he was consecrated to God, but also from the chemistry of his body. God gave to us a preacher who knew firsthand what it felt like for his reason to totter, not just once, but many times during his life and ministry. And somehow this fellow sufferer named Charles and his dear wife Susannah (who also suffered physically most of her adult life) still made a go of it, insisting to each other and to their generation that the sorrowing have a Savior. On that November morning, in weakness, Charles did what some of us are not yet able to do in our sorrows; he read the Bible. Perhaps it will comfort you to learn that for a while “the very sight of the Bible” made Charles cry.6 Many of us know what this feels like. But this Scripture passage, Philippians 2:9-11, “had such a power of comfort upon [his] distressed spirit.” And being found in human form, he [Jesus] humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name (Phil. 2:8-9). From this Scripture, Charles set the larger story of his hope before us. The same Heavenly Father who picked up His son out of the muck, misery and mistreatment can do the same for us.
Zack Eswine (Spurgeon's Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression)
There was a moment of stillness before something in him seemed to snap. she pounced on her with a sort of tigerish delight, and clamped his mouth over hers. She squeaked in surprise, wriggling in his hold, but his arms clamped around her easily, his muscles as solid as oak. He kissed her possessively, almost roughly at first, gentling by voluptuous degrees. Her body surrendered without giving her brain a chance to object, applying itself eagerly to every available inch of him. The luxurious male heat and hardness of him satisfied a wrenching hunger she hadn't been aware of until now. It also gave her the close-but-not-close-enough feeling she remembered from before. Oh, how confusing this was, this maddening need to crawl inside his clothes, practically inside his skin. She let her fingertips wander over his cheeks and jaw, the neat shape of his ears, the taut smoothness of his neck. When he offered no objection, she sank her fingers into his thick, vibrant hair and sighed in satisfaction. He searched for her tongue, teased and stroked intimately until her heart pounded in a tumult of longing, and a sweet, empty ache spread all through her. Dimly aware that she was going to lose control, that she was on the verge of swooning, or assaulting him again, she managed to break the kiss and turn her face away with a gasp. "Don't," she said weakly. His lips grazed along her jawline, his breath rushing unsteadily against her skin. "Why? Are you still worried about Australian pox?" Slowly it registered that they were no longer standing. Gabriel was sitting on the ground with his back against the grass-covered mound, and- heaven help her- she was in his lap. She glanced around them in bewilderment. How had this happened? "No," she said, bewildered and perturbed, "but I just remembered that you said I kissed like a pirate." Gabriel looked blank for a moment. "Oh, that. That was a compliment." Pandora scowled. "It would only be a compliment if I had a beard and a peg leg." Setting his mouth sternly against a faint quiver, Gabriel smoothed her hair tenderly. "Forgive my poor choice of words. What I meant to convey was that I found your enthusiasm charming." "Did you?" Pandora turned crimson. Dropping her head to his shoulder, she said in a muffled voice, "Because I've worried for the past three days that I did it wrong." "No, never, darling." Gabriel sat up a little and cradled her more closely to him. Nuzzling her cheek, he whispered, "Isn't it obvious that everything about you gives me pleasure?" "Even when I plunder and pillage like a Viking?" she asked darkly. "Pirate. Yes, especially then." His lips moved softly along the rim of her right ear. "My sweet, there are altogether too many respectable ladies in the world. The supply has far exceeded the demand. But there's an appalling shortage of attractive pirates, and you do seem to have a gift for plundering and ravishing. I think we've found you're true calling." "You're mocking me," Pandora said in resignation, and jumped a little as she felt his teeth gently nip her earlobe. Smiling, Gabriel took her head between his hands and looked into her eyes. "Your kiss thrilled me beyond imagining," he whispered. "Every night for the rest of my life, I'll dream of the afternoon in the holloway, when I was waylaid by a dark-haired beauty who devastated me with the heat of a thousand troubled stars, and left my soul in cinders. Even when I'm an old man, and my brain has fallen to wrack and ruin, I'll remember the sweet fire of your lips under mine, and I'll say to myself, 'Now, that was a kiss.'" Silver-tongued devil, Pandora thought, unable to hold back a crooked grin. Only yesterday, she'd heard Gabriel affectionately mock his father, who was fond of expressing himself with elaborate, almost labyrinthine turns of phrase. Clearly the gift had been passed down to his son.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))
A businessman buys a business and tries to operate it. He does everything that he knows how to do but just cannot make it go. Year after year the ledger shows red, and he is not making a profit. He borrows what he can, has a little spirit and a little hope, but that spirit and hope die and he goes broke. Finally, he sells out, hopelessly in debt, and is left a failure in the business world. A woman is educated to be a teacher but just cannot get along with the other teachers. Something in her constitution or temperament will not allow her to get along with children or young people. So after being shuttled from one school to another, she finally gives up, goes somewhere and takes a job running a stapling machine. She just cannot teach and is a failure in the education world. I have known ministers who thought they were called to preach. They prayed and studied and learned Greek and Hebrew, but somehow they just could not make the public want to listen to them. They just couldn’t do it. They were failures in the congregational world. It is possible to be a Christian and yet be a failure. This is the same as Israel in the desert, wandering around. The Israelites were God’s people, protected and fed, but they were failures. They were not where God meant them to be. They compromised. They were halfway between where they used to be and where they ought to be. And that describes many of the Lord’s people. They live and die spiritual failures. I am glad God is good and kind. Failures can crawl into God’s arms, relax and say, “Father, I made a mess of it. I’m a spiritual failure. I haven’t been out doing evil things exactly, but here I am, Father, and I’m old and ready to go and I’m a failure.” Our kind and gracious heavenly Father will not say to that person, “Depart from me—I never knew you,” because that person has believed and does believe in Jesus Christ. The individual has simply been a failure all of his life. He is ready for death and ready for heaven. I wonder if that is what Paul, the man of God, meant when he said: [No] other foundation can [any] man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he should receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire (1 Cor. 3:11-15). I think that’s what it means, all right. We ought to be the kind of Christian that cannot only save our souls but also save our lives. When Lot left Sodom, he had nothing but the garments on his back. Thank God, he got out. But how much better it would have been if he had said farewell at the gate and had camels loaded with his goods. He could have gone out with his head up, chin out, saying good riddance to old Sodom. How much better he could have marched away from there with his family. And when he settled in a new place, he could have had “an abundant entrance” (see 2 Pet. 1:11). Thank God, you are going to make it. But do you want to make it in the way you have been acting lately? Wandering, roaming aimlessly? When there is a place where Jesus will pour “the oil of gladness” on our heads, a place sweeter than any other in the entire world, the blood-bought mercy seat (Ps. 45:7; Heb. 1:9)? It is the will of God that you should enter the holy of holies, live under the shadow of the mercy seat, and go out from there and always come back to be renewed and recharged and re-fed. It is the will of God that you live by the mercy seat, living a separated, clean, holy, sacrificial life—a life of continual spiritual difference. Wouldn’t that be better than the way you are doing it now?
A.W. Tozer (The Crucified Life: How To Live Out A Deeper Christian Experience)
In the land of Uz, there lived a man, righteous and God-fearing, and he had great wealth, so many camels, so many sheep and asses, and his children feasted, and he loved them very much and prayed for them. 'It may be that my sons have sinned in their feasting.' Now the devil came before the Lord together with the sons of God, and said to the Lord that he had gone up and down the earth and under the earth. 'And hast thou considered my servant Job?' God asked of him. And God boasted to the devil, pointing to his great and holy servant. And the devil laughed at God's words. 'Give him over to me and Thou wilt see that Thy servant will murmur against Thee and curse Thy name.' And God gave up the just man He loved so, to the devil. And the devil smote his children and his cattle and scattered his wealth, all of a sudden like a thunderbolt from heaven. And Job rent his mantel and fell down upon the ground and cried aloud, 'Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return into the earth; the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever and ever.' Fathers and teachers, forgive my tears now, for all my childhood rises up again before me, and I breathe now as I breathed then, with the breast of a little child of eight, and I feel as I did then, awe and wonder and gladness. The camels at that time caught my imagination, and Satan, who talked like that with God, and God who gave His servant up to destruction, and His servant crying out: 'Blessed be Thy name although Thou dost punish me,' and then the soft and sweet singing in the church: 'Let my prayer rise up before Thee,' and again incense from the priest's censer and the kneeling and the prayer. Ever since then - only yesterday I took it up - I've never been able to read that sacred tale without tears. And how much that is great, mysterious and unfathomable there is in it! Afterwards I heard the words of mockery and blame, proud words, 'How could God give up the most loved of His saints for the diversion of the devil, take from him his children, smite him with sore boils so that he cleansed the corruption from his sores with a pot-sherd - and for no object except to board to the devil! 'See what My saint can suffer for My Sake.' ' But the greatness of it lies just in the fact that it is a mystery - that the passing earthly show and the eternal verity are brought together in it. In the face of the earthly truth, the eternal truth is accomplished. The Creator, just as on the first days of creation He ended each day with praise: 'That is good that I have created,' looks upon Job and again praises His creation. And Job, praising the Lord, serves not only Him but all His creation for generations and generations, and for ever and ever, since for that he was ordained. Good heavens, what a book it is, and what lessons there are in it! What a book the Bible is, what a miracle, what strength is given with it to man! It is like a mold cast of the world and man and human nature, everything is there, and a law for everything for all the ages. And what mysteries are solved and revealed! God raises Job again, gives him wealth again. Many years pass by, and he has other children and loves them. But how could he love those new ones when those first children are no more, when he has lost them? Remembering them, how could he be fully happy with those new ones, however dear the new ones might be? But he could, he could. It's the great mystery of human life that old grief passes gradually into quiet, tender joy. The mild serenity of age takes the place of the riotous blood of youth. I bless the rising such each day, and, as before, my heart sings to meet it, but now I love even more its setting, its long slanting rays and the soft, tender, gentle memories that come with them, the dear images from the whole of my long, happy life - and over all the Divine Truth, softening, reconciling, forgiving!
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
You want to control me.” She spoke dispassionately as though observing the plight of another woman far distant from herself. Dragon looked up, surprised. “You are my wife.” “Say rather possession for so do you think, do you not?” He shrugged, wondering why she stated the obvious. “All wives belong to their husbands.” “I wanted to be free.” His eyes darkened. There was greater challenge here than even he had thought. “You wanted to be safe from Wolscroft and the rest of them, even from me when you though misguidedly. That is why you fled.” She shook her head. “Oh, no, safety was a convent from which not even my father could have forced me. But it was not to one such that I fled, was it? I wanted freedom, and having tasted it, however briefly, I want it still.” His hands tightened on her, driven by the sudden, piercing pain her words brought. Did she think to leave him again? To flee as she had done and leave him once more bereft. No, by heaven, she would not! “No one is free,” he said fiercely. “We are all enmeshed in duty and responsibility.” “Your duty is of your own choosing, for you did not return here after many years away and willingly take up your inheritance. Your destiny is of your own making and you the master of it as much as any man can claim to be. I want the same myself, no more, less.” “But you are a woman . . .” His bewilderment was genuine. Such yearnings as she described belonged to the realm of men. Women were for hearth and home, the nurturing of children, such ordered security of days as could be wrested from uncertain fate. A man in the thick of battle, in the fury of adventure, in the depths of night had to be able to count on that, for without it, of what purpose was anything? “You are a woman,” he repeated firmly. “And my wife. You have been too long apart from womanly ways with no proper influence to guide you. I applaud your strength and your courage; both will breed true in my sons, but—” “Your sons? Your sons? They will be my sons, Lord Vanity, and my daughters as well, mayhap only daughters, for by heaven it would suit me to thwart you so!
Josie Litton (Come Back to Me (Viking & Saxon, #3))
We must also know for ourselves that the Lord restored His Church and the priesthood keys through the Prophet Joseph Smith. And we must have an assurance through the Holy Ghost, refreshed often, that those keys have been passed without interruption to the living prophet and that the Lord blesses and directs His people through the line of priesthood keys that reaches down through presidents of stakes and of districts and through bishops and branch presidents to us, wherever we are and no matter how far from the prophet and the Apostles. That is not easy today. It was not easy in the days of Paul. It has always been hard to recognize in fallible human beings the authorized servants of God. Paul must have seemed an ordinary man to many. Joseph Smith's cheerful disposition was seen by some as not fitting their expectations for a prophet of God. Satan will always work on the Saints of God to undermine their faith in priesthood keys. One way he does it is to point out the humanity of those who hold them. He can in that way weaken our testimony and so cut us loose from the line of keys by which the Lord ties us to Him and can take us and our families home to Him and to our Heavenly Father. Satan succeeded in undermining the testimony of men who had, with Joseph Smith, seen the heavens opened and heard the voices of angels. The evidence of their physical eyes and ears was not enough when they no longer could feel the testimony that the priesthood keys were still in place with Joseph. The warning for us is plain. If we look for human frailty in humans, we will always find it. When we focus on finding the frailties of those who hold priesthood keys, we run risks for ourselves. When we speak or write to others of such frailties, we put them at risk. We live in a world where finding fault in others seems to be the favorite blood sport. It has long been the basis of political campaign strategy. It is the theme of much television programming across the world. Whenever we meet anyone, our first, almost unconscious reaction may be to look for imperfections. To keep ourselves grounded in the Lord's Church, we can and must train our eyes to recognize the power of the Lord in the service of those He has called. We must be worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. And we need to pray for the Holy Ghost to help us know that men who lead us hold this power. For me, such prayers are most often answered when I am fully engaged in the Lord's service myself.
Henry B. Eyring (Choose Higher Ground)
The men who had inhabited prehistoric Egypt, who had carved the Sphinx and founded the world‘s oldest civilization, were men who had made their exodus from Atlantis to settle on this strip of land that bordered the Nile. And they had left before their ill-fated continent sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, a catastrophe which had drained the Sahara and turned it into a desert. The shells which to-day litter the surface of the Sahara in places, as well as the fossil fish which are found among its sands, prove that it was once covered by the waters of a vast ocean. It was a tremendous and astonishing thought that the Sphinx provided a solid, visible and enduring link between the people of to-day and the people of a lost world, the unknown Atlanteans. This great symbol has lost its meaning for the modern world, for whom it is now but an object of local curiosity. What did it mean to the Atlanteans? We must look for some hint of an answer in the few remnants of culture still surviving from peoples whose own histories claimed Atlantean origin. We must probe behind the degenerate rituals of races like the Incas and the Mayas, mounting to the purer worship of their distant ancestors, and we shall find that the loftiest object of their worship was Light, represented by the Sun. Hence they build pyramidal Temples of the Sun throughout ancient America. Such temples were either variants or slightly distorted copies of similar temples which had existed in Atlantis. After Plato went to Egypt and settled for a while in the ancient School of Heliopolis, where he lived and studied during thirteen years, the priest-teachers, usually very guarded with foreigners, favoured the earnest young Greek enquirer with information drawn from their well-preserved secret records. Among other things they told him that a great flat-topped pyramid had stood in the centre of the island of Atlantis, and that on this top there had been build the chief temple of the continent – a sun temple. […] The Sphinx was the revered emblem in stone of a race which looked upon Light as the nearest thing to God in this dense material world. Light is the subtlest, most intangible of things which man can register by means of one of his five senses. It is the most ethereal kind of matter which he knows. It is the most ethereal element science can handle, and even the various kind of invisible rays are but variants of light which vibrate beyond the power of our retinas to grasp. So in the Book of Genesis the first created element was Light, without which nothing else could be created. „The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the Deep,“ wrote Egyptian-trained Moses. „And God said, Let there be Light: and there was Light.“ Not only that, it is also a perfect symbol of that heavenly Light which dawns within the deep places of man‘s soul when he yields heart and mind to God; it is a magnificent memorial to that divine illumination which awaits him secretly even amid the blackest despairs. Man, in turning instinctively to the face and presence of the Sun, turns to the body of his Creator. And from the sun, light is born: from the sun it comes streaming into our world. Without the sun we should remain perpetually in horrible darkness; crops would not grow: mankind would starve, die, and disappear from the face of this planet. If this reverence for Light and for its agent, the sun, was the central tenet of Atlantean religion, so also was it the central tenet of early Egyptian religion. Ra, the sun-god, was first, the father and creator of all the other gods, the Maker of all things, the One, the self-born [...] If the Sphinx were connected with this religion of Light, it would surely have some relationship with the sun.
Paul Brunton (A Search in Secret Egypt)