Terri Kraus
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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

          100 Most Beautiful Words:         

          #1 — adroit  
          Dexterous, agile

          #2— adumbrate  
          To very gently suggest.  



Reflection: Longing, John Chrysostom (Antioch)
Prayer and converse with God is a supreme good: it is a partnership and union with God.  As the eyes of the body are enlightened when they see the light, so our spirit, when it is intent on God, is illuminated by his infinite light.  I do not mean the prayer of outward observance but prayer from the heart; not confined to fixed times or periods but continuous throughout the day and night.
Our spirit should be quick to reach out toward God, not only when it is engaged in meditation; at other times also, when it is carrying out its duties, caring for the needy, performing works of charity, giving generously to the service of others, our spirit should long for God, and call him to mind, so that these works may be seasoned with the salt of God's love, and so make a palatable offering to the Lord of the universe...
Prayer is the light of the spirit; true knowledge of God, mediating between God and man.  The spirit, raised up to heaven by prayer, clings to God with the utmost tenderness; like a child crying tearfully for its mother, it craves the milk that God provides.  It seeks the satisfaction of its own desires, and receives gifts outweighing the whole world of nature.
Prayer stands before God as an honored ambassador.  It gives joy to the spirit, peace to the heart.  I speak of prayer, not words.  It is the longing for God, love too deep for words, a gift not given by man but by God's grace.


Sermon Snips:  From the current series "The Gospel of Grace and Peace" by Dr. Josh Moody, Sr. Pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL 
August 23, 2009—Galatians 3:15-18

. . . Faith is not a work. It is not a combination of faith plus works, it is the covenant, it is the promise.  It is God’s will. And our faith is not something we “magic up,” or make happen, or project onto some screen of reality in our own innate psychological power, anymore than if I really really believe I have inherited a million dollars, that will make me a millionaire.  But if I have inherited, then faith is simply accepting that inheritance gratefully and living a changed life as a result. 
And so, as we conclude, I want you to see how wonderful if is to live as people of the covenant.  
Perhaps you are someone who does not; perhaps you are someone who is religious but has never understood that it is not by works.  So many Christian people from good Christian homes spend their lives living as it if was a work, a moral effort that will get them to heaven. 
The great evangelist George Whitfield once cried out, “Works! Works!  A man would as soon get to the moon by a rope of sand as get to heaven by works”, which is typically Whitfield in his rather creative use of metaphors, but—he’s right.  But not only is it impossible, it’s not necessary.  It is not how God has designed things in His salvation plan.  He has a will, a covenant, and the seed of that will, that covenant, is Christ.  And if we believe in Christ, then we are the recipients, the inheritors of all that promised blessing. 
But perhaps, on the other hand, you are a person who is a real Christian believer, and is looking at the next few months and weeks with a degree if trepidation; some great new challenge is ahead of you, and you’re not sure whether you are up to it.  Well, remember God’s covenant with you. “The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it.”  I’m not saying that no Christian ever struggles.  I’m a pastor; I know Christians struggle.  But I am saying that whatever the physical struggles may be, every Christian—and that includes you, if you are a Christian—every Christian has a perspective on life because of this covenant, which frees them from the sting of all the troubles in the entire world.  They can walk through fire and not be burned.  They can run and not grow weary.  I’m not being fanciful.  This is not preachers’ rhetoric on a Sunday morning that is no good to cash on a Monday morning.  It is a matter of the Spirit revealing through the Word the real state of affairs.  Christ is God’s promised seed.  I am in Christ.  And therefore, what do I have to worry about? 
A fellow called Jeremiah Burrows put it like this, in his reflections on Christian contentment, which I think in our day we might really call reflections on Christian flourishing.  He writes this:  “It is not trouble that troubles, but discontent.  It is not the water without the ship, but the water that gets within the leak which drowns it.  It is not outward affliction that can make the life of the Christian sad.  A contented mind would sail above these waters.  A mind, with the revelations of the Spirit through God’s Word, that rests in the covenant of Christ.”
We all have our troubles and our own fears, our trepidations about the future.  The Christian can float above them and smile at adversity, not with that "cheesy" Christian smile, you know.  But even if it is not natural for you to beam, inside you’re okay.  The water of adversity is not getting in. You know where you stand in Christ, all because of this covenant and your relationship to Christ, the seed. 
My friends, I think it is a matter of awesome majesty, the more I have reflected upon this this week—this will of God—that He has bound Himself in Christ to rescue a sinful people.  It is a matter of such grandeur and such beauty that if we could but touch a tithe of it, I think it would change our lives and give us such a fresh view of the universe, and our place in it, that we would, as it were, walk on air, and give our lives with sacrificial joy to all that God has for us. 
We are a covenant people, we Christians.  We gather in church—covenanted, promised, guaranteed, willed by God Himself—all the way back to Abraham, all those thousands of years ago.  We are no new creation of the moment, we are not a speck of dust on the guillotine.  You and I, if we are Christians, are born in the mind of God to be included in Christ.  It is His will, His covenant. 
My prayer for you is that it would be of deep encouragement and strengthening as we seek to give God all praise forever and ever. 

Quotes: John Piper

"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. Or: The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying him forever. My life is devoted to helping people make God their God, by wakening in them the greatest pleasures in him."
"People that make a difference in the world are not people that have mastered a lot of things; they are people that have been mastered by a very few things that are very very great."

Quotes:  Victor Borge
"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."


Book Review:  The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein

Of all the fiction books I’ve read lately, this has to be one of my favorites.  It caught my attention because of the uniqueness of it’s narrator:  it’s a heartwarming tale told by Enzo, a much-loved, loyal family dog, about his human family.  Enzo is not an ordinary canine.  He’s a philosopher with a human-like soul.  His master, Denny Swift, is a racecar driver, who is trying to make it in the world of professional racing to support his wife, Eve, and daughter, Zoe. Through listening to Denny and watching television extensively, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition.  He’s learned that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast, and knows that all of life’s ordeals can be successfully navigated using the same techniques employed on the racetrack.  When Denny is faced with a series of serious, life-changing crises, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, and realize his dream that Denny will become a racing champion, and that he himself will return after death as a human.  I loved this book, not because I agree with the theology of its ending, but because it is a deeply funny, uplifting story of family, love, loyalty and hope.  You don’t have to love dogs (I do!) or believe in reincarnation (I don’t!) to enjoy this book. The writing is superb.  You will laugh, you will cry, and remember it long after you've read the last page. Here's the link to it on Amazon:


http://www.amazon.com/Art-Racing-Rain-Novel/dp/0061537969/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1251903935&sr=1-1



Scripture:  John 14:27
  I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the       world cannot give.  So don't be troubled or afraid. 
(Are there any better words than these?)

3 comments:

  1. I've been chewing on this recently:

    "There are always those who take it upon themselves to defend God, as if Ultimate Reality, as if the sustaining frame of existence, were something weak and helpless. These people walk by a widow deformed by leprosy begging for a few paise, walk by children dressed in rags living in the street, and they think, 'Business as usual.' But if they perceive a slight against God, it is a different story. Their faces go red, their chest heave mightily, they sputter angry words. The degree of the indignation is astonishing. Their resolve is frightening.
    These people fail to realize that it is on the inside that God must be defended, not on the outside. They should direct their anger at themselves. For evil in the open is but evil from within that has been let out. The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of the public arena but the small clearing of each heart. Meanwhile, the lot for widows and homeless children is very hard, and it is to their defense, not God's, that the self-righteous should rush."
    -excerpt from "Life of Pi" by Yann Martel

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  2. Terri!

    I have some favorite words for you:

    "friends" and "good to hear from you!"

    Happy blogging. I'll be back to check on you. Did you know that you can check hits with Google Analytics? Handy free reports, like how fast people bounce off my page after they googled phrases like "I'm on my way, I'm making it big time" and found my random blog post.

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  3. "Thou God seest Me". Gen 16:13. Is one of my favorite phrases of the Bible. Thanks for this wonderful blog. So much meat here! I am thoroughly enjoying it. Once again, you are introducing me to so much.

    ReplyDelete