To look for community instead of cocktail-party relationships is part of choosing sides in the vast, strange battle. To say, “I’m sorry”; to be silent; to say “I love you,” “I care.” It is these little things that are going to make the difference. For God chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, the weak to overthrow the strong.
– The Irrational Season (1977) by Madeleine L’Engle
I’ve written about this before, I’m sure; I am writing to myself again. I long for community, real and true. I think I’m settling for cocktail-party relationships via social media. I see the words “I love you”, “I care” “praying” all over facebook, but what does it really mean? Is it so others can see you are so concerned? To do so in person is another kettle of fish all together.
It is not easy to say I’m sorry, especially I’m sorry without a but after it. However, it’s often too easy to say I love you – love ya – as an alternate to see ya later. Said too easily and it looses its meaning. Saying I care may be harder; harder still to show you care in a tangible may.
But the hardest may be to be silent. Silent when you want to scream or cry or yell or explain or accuse or complain.
My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. – Psalm 62:5
Help me, LORD, to be silent. To show love and care. To pray.
“I felt that so much Scripture floating around might tend to harden some hearts, that Scripture should be treated with reverence and not pasted to any flat surface you could find- at least, that was what I said when Brethren asked why I didn’t carry a ‘The Peace of God Passeth All Understanding’ bookbag to school. “
– Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor
I see scripture misplaced/misused all over, but most noticeably on T-shirts, like this one…
or this one…
Then there are the comments and catch phrases.
As Matt Redmond pointed out on twitter, the phrase “a God Thing” is just so wrong.
A few more:
Do your Best, and God will do the Rest!
How will you spend eternity, Smoking or non smoking? (this one is just so sad)
WARNING! Exposure to the Son may prevent burning. (ditto)
A better idea would be to follow Psalm 119:11 –
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
We love wherever we can love, and the power of that love spreads until the circumference of the circle of love grows wider and wider…even though I know to my rue that the circumference of my love is still much too small. – The Irrational Season (1977) by Madeleine L’Engle
I feel like I keep giving myself this same message; to love wherever I can love. And I also keep seeing that the circumference of my love is also still too small.
God’s word has told me: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” – John 14:15
And what are these commandments? “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27
So, I think this circle of love begins with God’s love for me and my love for Him. The circumference can’t grow unless this is firmly established. After that, the boundaries can grow and stretch beyond measure.
Extravagant Grace is a book written by Barbara Duguid. She uses John Newton’s teaching on sanctification to explain God’s sovereignty over sin. Duguid is the wife of a Presbyterian pastor in Pennsylvania and the mother of six. The quotes in this series come from her book. “The baby Christian and the maturing believer know that they ought to be humble… the grown-up in Christ, however, IS truly humble. He habitually looks back on the way God has faithfully led him and can see the innumerable times that God has given him good in return for his evil.”
I think I fall somewhere in between the maturing and grown-up Christian. I am still learning a lot of lessons in being humble. Hard lessons sometimes. I found I thought too much of myself, my credentials, my experience. It is all for nothing without Christ.
The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility. Proverbs 15:33
Extravagant Grace is a book written by Barbara Duguid. She uses John Newton’s teaching on sanctification to explain God’s sovereignty over sin. Duguid is the wife of a Presbyterian pastor in Pennsylvania and the mother of six. The quotes in this series come from her book. “When we are standing tall and strong we do not tend to look at Christ – we don’t need Him. But when we fall flat on our faces, overcome with sin and weakness, there is nowhere else for us to look but to the One who has died our death and lived the life we should have lived.”
How many times have you found this to be true? Yes, I praise and thank Him when the big, obvious answers to prayer are seen. I am joyful when an unexpected blessing comes and I give Him the glory.
But what about every day, when it’s the same thing you did the day before? I think I sometimes forget to go to God when everything is going smoothly. I forget to be grateful when everything is going as it should.
Seems some of us go from blessing God to begging Him. What would your friends think if that was the way you treated your friendship? Don’t you think your friend wants to just hang out with you sometimes?
My prayer is that I go to God every day, not just when I’ve messed up big time. Because, really, I mess up every day.
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
J. Gresham Machen lived from 1881-1937. He was a Presbyterian churchman, a New Testament scholar, a Princeton Theological Seminary professor, founder of the Westminster Theological Seminary and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Machen is considered to be the last of the great Princeton theologians. The quotes in this series come from his book, “Christianity and Liberalism”.
“…the secret signature of each soul…. This signature on each soul may be a product of heredity and environment, but that only means that heredity and environment are among the instruments whereby God creates a soul.”
April – 2017
What a profound and wonderful statement. We are all wonderfully made and we are all different. We are not sprung up randomly , we don’t come into our families by chance. God knows us, he knows what is written on our souls.
“It is our way of looking at life, our interpretation of the universe, our orientation to reality. “ – from Christian Worldview – A Student’s Guide by Philip Graham Ryken
Whenever we bump into the world, our worldview has a way of spilling out. It comes out in what we think and love, say and do, praise and choose. – from Christian Worldview – A Student’s Guide by Philip Graham Ryken
Read that again and let it sink in. … what we think and love….praise and choose… . Much of what I think no one will ever know. But I will, and I must live with it. What I love? I’m afraid what I really love shows in what I write about and talk about. My love for Christ often fades into the background, and that is truly telling. And shaming. My worldview shows in what I choose to do with my time.
I’m beginning to think my worldview needs a little adjustment.