Monthly Archives: August 2011

Bitter, Not Bad

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It is for my good that I have been affliced, so that I would learn your decrees (Ps. 119:71) – When a person suffers, he shouldn’t say that things are bad. Rather, he should say that the situation is bitter. The Almighty does nothing bad. Just as medicine is beneficial, although it might be bitter, so too events are always beneficial even if they are bitter. (Rabbi Moseh of Korbrin)

To Risk

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To laugh is to risk appearing the fool. To weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach for another is to risk involvement. To expose your feelings is to risk exposing your true self. To place your ideas, your dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss. To love is to risk not being loved in return. To live is to risk dying. To believe is to risk despair. To try is to risk failure. But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. They may avoid suffering an d sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live. Chained by their attitudes they are slaves; they have forfeited their freedom. Only a person who risks is free.

Hunger and Thirsting

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The Bread of Life began His ministry hungering. The Water of Life ended His ministry thirsting. He hungered as a man, yet fed the hungry as God. He was weary, yet He is our rest. He was called a devil, but He cast out demons. He prayed, yet He hears prayer. He wept, and He dries our tears. He was sold for thirty pieces of silver, yet He redeems sinners. He was led as a lamb to His slaughter, yet He is the Good Shepherd. He gave His life, and by dying He destroyed death. ~Watchman Apologētikos

Thinking, Logic…

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  • People tend to believe what they want to believe.
  • People tend to project their own biases or experiences upon situations.
  • People tend to generalize from a specific event.
  • People tend to get personally involved in the analysis of an issue and tend to let their feelings overcome a sense of objectivity.
  • People are not good listeners. They tend to hear selectively. They often hear only what they want to hear.
  • People are eager to rationalize.
  • People are often unable to distinguish what is relevant from what is irrelevant.
  • People are easily diverted from the specific issue at hand.
  • People are usually unwilling to explore thoroughly the ramifications of a topic; they tend to oversimplify.
  • People often judge from appearances. They observe something, misinterpret what they observe, and make terrible errors in judgment.
  • People often simply do not know what they are talking about, especially in matters of general discussion. They rarely think carefully before they speak, but they allow their feelings, prejudices, biases, likes, dislikes, hopes, and frustrations to supersede careful thinking.
  • People rarely act according to a set of consistent standards. Rarely do they examine the evidence and then form a conclusion. Rather, they tend to do whatever they want to do and to believe whatever they want to believe and then find whatever evidence will support their actions or their beliefs. They often think selectively: in evaluating a situation they are eager to find reasons to support what they want to support and they are just as eager to ignore or disregard reasons that don’t support what they want.
  • People often do not say what they mean and often do not mean what they say.

To Love at All

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“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

One Day at a Time

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One day at a time, with its failure and fears,
With its hurts and mistakes, with its weakness and tears,
With its portion of pain and its burden of care;
One day at a time we must meet and must bear.
One day at a time to be patient and strong;
To be calm under trial and sweet under wrong;
Then its toiling shall pass and its sorrow shall cease;
It shall darken and die, and the night shall bring peace.
One day at a time—but the day is so long,
And the heart is not brave, and the soul is not strong,
O thou pitying Christ, be Thou near all the way;
Give courage and patience and strength for the day.
Swift cometh His answer, so clear and so sweet:
“Yea, I will be with thee, thy troubles to meet;
I will not forget thee, nor fail thee, nor grieve,
I will not forsake thee; I never will leave.”
Not yesterday’s load we are called on to bear,
Nor the morrow’s uncertain and shadowy care,
Why should we look forward or back with dismay?
Our needs, as our mercies, are but for the day.
One day at a time, and the day is His day;
He hath numbered its hours, though they haste or delay.
His grace is sufficient; we walk not alone;
As the day, so the strength that He giveth His own.

 

Past Mistakes

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Do not let any of the things of the world or past mistakes paralyze your hearts. I believe there are Christians who have allowed some of their past mistakes to paralyze them. You were so bright and cheerful in your spiritual life once, and then you made some tragic mistake or had something happen to you. You got out of it somehow, and prayed and wept your way out of it. But it did something to you, and now you cannot lick it. Past wrongs that have been done to you, past failures, times you thought you were going to win and did not, or present sins or discouragement-these things are not mental at all. They are deeper than that; they are subconscious, and they prevent us from believing.
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Ruthless Honesty

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For every one of us, ruthless honesty about what is happening inside of us will lead to brokenness. In a spiritual community, people don’t merely talk about woundedness and brokenness. They leave their comfort zones and expose the specifics, not to everyone, but to at least one other person. It’s terrifying to do so. It seems so weak, so unnecessary, so morbid and self-criticizing. Worse, in many eyes, to admit brokenness means to admit a poor relationship with God. We often hear that brokenness is the pathway to a deeper relationship with God, but we rarely see it modeled. I sometimes think we want others to believe we know God by demonstrating how unbroken we are.