by: Philip Yancey
“Accommodation—watering down the message. Jesus certainly never did that. Or domination—the “let’s get our country back” mentality. What it tends to do is alienate people, turn them off. My approach is for us to become pioneer settlements of the Kingdom of God and show the world a different way to be human. We’re not called to clean up society. Jesus and Paul spent no time on that. We’re not going to convert everybody in the world. That would be nice, but it’s not going to happen.
I found this verse in Hebrews 12:15. It says, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God.” If we went through life seeing to it that no one misses the grace of God, we (Christians) would stand out. We would show the world a better way to be human.”
by Beverly Gorman
The Invitation, the Dance and ultimately Union…. so beautifully poetically scripted in the Song of Songs. Where is our resistance and where are we welcoming the pursuer of our souls…. our Beloved.
The beautiful dance between the 2 dancers in the film clip below shows this intimate encounter between the lover and the beloved. But the question lingers…. why did she leave him at the end of the dance after this beautiful encounter?
The woman dancing is me… I have left my Beloved many times after such sweet and intimate encounters… chasing after other lovers, pursuing my own agenda and returning to the addictions and attachments that so easily compete for my affections. But my lover continues to woo me, to pursue me, to call me, to seek me, even after I have deserted him for other lovers.
‘Come my shy and modest dove- leave your seclusion, come out in the open. Let me see your face, let me hear your voice. For your voice is soothing and your face is ravishing.’ Song of Songs 2: 14
Will I continue to resist Him or be welcomed back into the loving arms of the One who always remains? He is patiently steadfast as He waits for my return so that we might begin the dance once again!
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love, rivers cannot wash it away.” Song of Songs 8: 6-7
Click on the invitation to enter the dance!
You never know what may cause tears. The sight of the Atlantic Ocean can do it, or a piece of music, or a face you’ve never seen before. A pair of somebody’s old shoes can do it. Almost any movie made before the great sadness that came ov…er the world after the Second World War, a horse cantering across a meadow, the high-school basketball team running out onto the gym floor at the start of a game. You can never be sure. But of this you can be sure. Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention.
They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are, but more often than not God is speaking to you through them of the mystery of where you have come from and is summoning you to where, if your soul is to be saved, you should go to next
by Andy Wood
Does God like to have fun? You bet! Have you ever noticed that when God makes people, or puppies, or even a platypus, one of the first things they learn is how to laugh and play? It’s just sad that over the course of time we forget that.
Does God like to have fun? Absolutely. How else can you explain the fact that He created stars larger than the sun that we will never even discover, much less see?
Fun for people comes from three places, and since we are created in His image, I think it’s pretty safe to say that God’s fun-loving side touches these three areas as well.
1. Anticipation. Anticipating something exciting is usually as fun, if not more fun, than the actual event. It’s also fun to help other people anticipate. God has fun by allowing us to anticipate what is to come in eternity. Think how long it has been since Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions. I’m going to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again…”
2. Adventure. When you do things that are new, faster, riskier, or an escape from the routine, you are having fun. And the fun-loving God loves adventure, too. I don’t think that God has hobbies, but He has created a masterpiece of a universe for His pleasure.
3. Affection. Fun is wrapped up in people. Usually our anticipation and our adventure is made complete by somebody we care about. Fun is rooted in fellowship and intimacy. That’s why there was a Garden of Eden, and why there will be a heaven. That’s why Jesus had twelve disciples, who were all so very different. That’s why we may have some fun by ourselves, but not for very long.
The next time you hear His voice, regardless of the means of delivery, remember this – it brings great pleasure to the God of Heaven to reveal His will, His heart, and His secrets to you. Trust me – when you’re listening, He’s having a blast!
Life – the temptation is always to reduce it to size. A bowl of cherries. A rat race. Amino acids. Even to call it a mystery smacks of reductionism. It is the mystery.
As far as anybody seems to know, the vast majority of things in the universe do not have whatever life is. Sticks, stones, stars, space — they simply are. A few things are and are somehow alive to it. They have broken through into Something, or Something has broken through into them. Even a jellyfish, a butternut squash. They’re in it with us. We’re all in it together, or it in us. Life is it. Life is with.
After lecturing learnedly on miracles, a great theologian was asked to give a specific example of one. “There is only one miracle,” he answered. “It is life.”
Have you wept at anything during the past year?
Has your heart beat faster at the sight of young beauty?
Have you thought seriously about the fact that someday you are going to die?
More often than not, do you really listen when people are speaking to you instead of just waiting for your turn to speak?
Is there anybody you know in whose place, if one of you had to suffer great pain, you would volunteer yourself?
If your answer to all or most of these questions is no, the chances are that you’re dead.
– Originally published in Wishful Thinking and later in Beyond Words-Buechner
written by: Nicole Mills
On the spiritual journey, no one chooses to travel through the desert. Life is bleak in this dry and barren place, not exactly flowing with milk and honey. Occasionally, the diversionary cause might be identifiable—the missed promotion, the illness, the failed marriage, the success that was just out of reach—but more often, we one day just find ourselves thirsty, wandering, and lost in a dispirited emptiness. As we become aware of our location, the questions begin, like a child asking, “Are we there yet?” before even getting out of the driveway. Where are you God? Am I doing something wrong? Why can’t my walk with you be as easy as it was at first? Why are you allowing this to happen? Isn’t there a shortcut?
Apathy and temptations grow when answers and escape don’t arrive. Listlessly we roam through our days, frustrated and ashamed by our non-productivity. Eventually, we realize there is nothing we can do to rush this process. There is no shortcut through the desert. We can’t “do” our way out of this arid landscape; we must wait for God. And God does not move hastily. The Israelites discovered this on their forty-year trek. Perhaps, on a smaller scale, this is our lesson too. Maybe during this season we aren’t supposed to be productive. Maybe we too are learning how to wait. . . not in a lethargic passivity, but in a falling surrender. Maybe it is in this kind of waiting that the bedrock of trust is poured so that when it’s time, there is a launch pad ready to take us into our promised land.
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” ― A.W. Tozer The Knowledge of the Holy
A journal entry by Randy Martin
I usually react negatively to these “most important” quotes but this one caught my eye and heart. It begs this question for me; “What do I think about God each day I awake”. And this eventually leads to my final question, “How do I live each day with what I think about God each morning?” I’m thinking about the names of God: Father, Provider, Holy One, Savior…. you know the list. But let me first speak about this in a personal analogy.
My wife is a great cook. She can cook anything and, for me, her soups are the best. I like to watch her tweak the taste of her soup with a little more of this or that spice or adding a bit more cream. The outcome is always amazing!
So each morning I can think, “My wife is a great cook”. This is a little information about her that I store in my head. Maybe one day at work when she calls and says that she’s fixing a steak with succotash I dream of the taste of a juicy, well seasoned steak and buttery succotash in my mouth. These first two “thinkings” are just about me with no benefit to my wife or others. I’m stagnate in a self-centered thinking. I need to move on… both to my wife and others.
So now I have some new ideas. Maybe I should:
- Thank her for that special dinner she just made, maybe even thank her every time she cooks.
- Tell her she is a great cook even when she’s nowhere near the kitchen.
- Tell others she is a great cook. Share her cooking with them. Invite them to our home to taste and see that her cooking is good!
And so it is with God. This morning I think of God as my Provider. Do I stop at just knowing, enjoying and experiencing that? No, I must respond to Him with gratitude and praise — even when His provision is not in sight. Tell Him and tell others.
At the Meadow, we want you to experience God fully in all of his names. Pick one name for God that touches your heart and praise and pass on that name today.
You can be bored by virtually anything if you put your mind to it, or choose not to. You can yawn your way through a trip to the Grand Canyon or an afternoon with your dearest friend or a sunset or when Lincoln delivered a few remarks at Gettysburg.
To be bored is to turn down cold whatever life happens to be offering… you at the moment. It is to cast a jaundiced eye at life in general, including most of all your own life. You feel nothing is worth getting excited about because you are yourself not worth getting excited about.
To be bored is a way of making the least of things you often have a sneaking suspicion you need the most.
To be bored to death is a form of suicide.
~ Whistling in the Dark –Frederick Buechner