Monday, September 28, 2009

Article Link

I thought I'd share what I would consider an excellent "Top Ten List: Top Devotional Books" from a great professor at Asbury Theological Seminary. Dr. Kinghorn is a professor at Asbury and, most importantly, a man after God's own heart. He is an honest, earnest man with a love for God that is evident in his teaching and his life.

I have used and will certainly return to some of the resources on his list. The others are on my mental list of ones to use in the future. Off the top of my head, my own personal list would also include:
Reflections for Ragamuffins by Brennan Manning
Bread for the Journey by Henri Nouwen
A Testament of Devotion by Thomas Kelly
This Day with the Master by Dennis Kinlaw

Enjoy Dr. Kinghorn's list. I hope it helps in your own search for a meaningful, encouraging, and challenging devotional. Feel free to share your own favorites through my blog comments!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Fruit of the Spirit is Patience...

I am the Quote Queen, so I thought I'd share a couple of nuggets from a book I've read a couple of times. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking meaning and purpose and wrestling with the things of God and life in general. It is called An Incomplete Guide to the Rest of Your Life by Stan Gaede. I am pretty sure I've mentioned it before on my blog. Enjoy these nuggets on patience and trusting God.

"God is God...and we are not. And there is absolutely nothing in Scripture - from beginning to end - to suggest that God intends to operate on our timetable. Quite the reverse. God does almost nothing according to our calendar, and he tells us nothing - not a thing- about how he has numbered our days. What he gives us in abundance are evidences of his faithfulness to those who love him. That we know for sure. But he rarely tells us what's in store for us just around the corner." (p.43)

"...God does not do what we expect him to do precisely because is infinitely more gracious and merciful than we would ever be in a million years. God is inscrutable precisely because he is unbelievably longsuffering and infinitely loving.

Unbelievably. That's why patience is a fruit of the spirit, by the way. Because it doesn't come naturally to us. But it does come naturally to God. Which is why we don't always understand him. And why others will not always understand us when we are patient and longsuffering because of the Spirit's work in our lives." (p.45-46)

And so we trust, hope, believe, and hold on, remembering that God has a history of steadfast love and redemption. His plans have not changed simply because our circumstances are not ideal at the moment. In his infinitely love he will make all things new and bring it all together for good. Always has, always will...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Naked Truth

"Jesus, it seems to me, would teach...that it is always a privilege to help anybody, because all men are of the same caste, the very highest caste. They are all sons of God. They are men in which God dwells. And, indeed, I think it is not poetic fancy merely, but the naked truth. That by coming to men with nothing but a loving desire to help them you do actually come near to God Himself; perhaps nearer than when you kneel before the altar."

This is yet another quote from the remarkable book I've been talking about in the last few posts, Leslie Weatherhead's The Transforming Friendship. I love this one because it speaks to the deepest part of me. It just sums it all up for me. It warms me to read something like this. It also convicts me to the core.

How many sermons have we heard on "The Naked Truth" that dealt more with what we should or should not do as Christians than on living a life of love? We are so busy trying to fix everyone and make them more like us when the image of God Himself resides in them somewhere already. We need to find a way to see that and call that forth in each other rather than trying to fix or change people because they make us uncomfortable.

I read once , "To love another person is to see the image of God in them. That unique spark entrusted only to them..." (I read this in the fanstastic book Becoming Friends: Worship, Justice, and the Practice of Christian Friendship by Paul J. Waddell). I am always so grateful when others see past my obvious imperfections and look instead for Jesus in me. I want to do this more often with others I encounter, in friends and in those that frustrate me. I know that doing so would make me a much more patient, gracious person. It would soften my spirit and make me more like Jesus. Most importantly of all, it would bring me closer to God Himself. And nothing but good can come of that connection!

Weatherhead has really done nothing more in this book than remind us of what Jesus instructed us to do throughout His earthly ministry: love God and love people. So simple and yet so complex. Really it is only complex because we make it that way. If we would stop and seek to see God in each person we encounter (and I would argue most especially ourselves first, as this enables us to see it in others) we would find ourselves more content and more at peace...with ourselves and others.

I know some people who are already seasoned veterans at this and I envy them a little. I long to be more like that myself. I'm done talking about it. I think I'm going to go for it! Want to join me?