Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Human slavery higher today than ever before

Buying and selling people into forced labor and sex trade is higher than ever. Why then are people apparently unconcerned? Americans today often hear about the sins of slavery, usually for the goal of political power -- but these same persons are silent about the much worse level of slavery TODAY. There are now twice as many humans enslaved now than at the peak during the whole 350 years of the transatlantic slave. But no outrage among the leading politicians of our country! Interesting. Maybe they aren't concerned about slavery at all, but about political power and monetary gain?

Link: Slavery's Global Comeback.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Christmas Season child-slavery alert

In India, 15 million children of grade-school age are being forced to work full time or longer in child slavery "sweatshops." Cut-price Christmas decorations and items are made by child slaves. So, BE AWARE this Christmas Season. Please take an extra effort to be sure that you don't purchase items made from sweatshops.

Priyanke Ribhu of Global March Against Child Labor says many children in India are often lured away from their parents by gangmasters who befriend their parents in the remote villages where they live.

The gangmasters reportedly promise parents their kids will be taken to a better place where they will be provided a real education and many great opportunities they could not receive in their villages. Parents are also often told the children will be able to send money back home to help their families.
Far too often the children simply end up locked away behind padlocks only to work 17-,18-, even 19-hour days with no one to help them. Holiday decorations similar to those discovered in the recent raid can be found on eBay and in other marketplaces online or in stores.

PLEASE NOTE: The items are often sold off into a sophisticated network of suppliers that make it nearly impossible for retailers or consumers to know whether the goods they are purchasing have been made by child labor.
Be aware of items, especially sold on eBay and online Markets. If it says "handmade" or does not list the country in which it was made; or, if it is extremely low-priced or if it says "handmade" and comes from India. Key: Too-low prices and species manufacture and/or country of origin. The people exploiting these children and marketing these items on the backs of child slaves are sophisticated, btw. And they are motivated. They are making millions from the broken lives of children.

Link: Enslaved children article.

Also: You can sign an e-petition asking the Indian Government to take immediate action. Here:

Let's do our part in making sure that the greatest Season of All is celebrated with honest items!


NOTE: 61 million children are currently denied education and life-freedom. 115 Million are currently involved in hazardous work. Many children are sold into slave work markets, especially the boys. The girls are often sold as child brides or sold into child-prostitution. It's a horrid state of affairs. Make a difference!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving confession

I saw this picture of Thanksgiving revisited, and just had to juxtapose it with the original. It's very convicting... perhaps it reveals some underlying reasons why America has gone down suicidal paths in national practices and politics.

When I shared this picture with friends, it surprised me to hear many of them laugh and equate this with people who like football. Yes, the subjects in the second picture are watching football, but that isn't the meaning of it, in my opinion. The real significance is much larger -- and no! I don't think that we should return to the trappings of that first Thanksgiving, before anyone takes such a foolish notion, lol. I just think the picture is convicting, fairly indicative of America's heart -- we've lost our absolute sense of dependence on God and what lived thanksgiving means; and, we are now caught in the life expectation of self-expression and creature-comfort, living out our lives in excess, essentially unhinged from dependence on God. We are not so much interested in seeking divine will as we are interested in the next corpulent meal and winning team -- or latest favorite show or program.

Does this mean I will not eat turkey and watch football on Thanksgiving? Not necessarily. But it does mean that I will try to match that commitment to the food and football with a passion for seeking divine will that day, and giving utter thanks -- with more than words.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It is truth and not serenity that a man’s nature requires of him

Neither doing nor knowing but Being. And Love is the Test

What is the righteousness which is of God by faith?

It is simply the thing that God wants every man to be, wrought out in him by constant obedient contact with God himself. It is not an attribute either of God or man, but a fact of character in God and in man. It is God’s righteousness wrought out in us, so that as He is righteous, we too are righteous.

It does not consist in obeying this or that law, not even the keeping of every law, so that no hairsbreadth did we run counter to one of them. To be righteous is to be such a heart, soul, mind, and will, as would recoil with horror from the than lightest possible breach of any law of God. It is to be so in love with what is fair and right as to make it impossible for a person to do anything that is less than absolutely righteous. It is not the love of righteousness in the abstract that makes anyone righteous, but such a love of fair play toward everyone with whom we come in contact, that anything less than fulfilling, with a clear joy, our divine relation to him or her, is impossible.

More powerful than all powers is being. To be is more powerful than even to do. Action may be hypocrisy, but being is the thing in itself and is the parent of action.

If by neglect of its wings an eagle should sink to become a sparrow, it would then recognize only the laws of sparrow life. For the sparrows of humanity do not generally believe in a consuming fire and an outer darkness, where all that will be left is an ever renewed “alas!” The “alas” is that they neglected their wings, neglected to try to see beyond their own horizons, neglected to do the words of Him who alone is life.

It is truth and not serenity that a man’s nature requires of him. It is help, not the leaving of cards at doors, that will be recognized as the test. It is love, and no amount of flattery, that will prosper. Differences as wide as that between a gentleman and a cad will contract to a hairsbreadth in that day. The customs of the trade and the picking of pockets will go together, with the greater excuse for the greater need and less knowledge. Liars the most gentlemanly and the most rowdy will go as liars just the same.

The first shall be last and the last first.


George MacDonald, Discovering the Character of God, edited by Michael R. Phillips, 175-176.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yom Kippur blessings

Readings for YOM KIPPUR: The Day of Atonement

Micah 7:18-19: You cast all our sins into the depths of the sea!

 Who is a God like you,
       who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
       of the remnant of His inheritance?
       You do not stay angry forever
       but delight to show mercy.

 You will again have compassion on us;
       you will tread our sins underfoot
       and cast all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.


Psalm 103: As far as the east is from the west…

 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
       slow to anger, abounding in love.
 He will not always accuse,
       nor will he harbor His anger forever;
 He does not treat us as our sins deserve
       or repay us according to our iniquities.
 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
       so great is His love for those who fear Him;
 as far as the east is from the west,
       so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

 As a father has compassion on His children,
       so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him;
 for He knows how we are formed,
       He remembers that we are dust.



Isaiah 38: 13-17: God only intends wholeness from the brokenness

I waited patiently till dawn,
       but like a lion he broke all my bones;
       day and night you made an end of me.
 I cried like a swift or thrush,
       I moaned like a mourning dove.
       My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens.
       I am troubled; O Lord, come to my aid!"
 But what can I say?
       He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this.
       I will walk humbly all my years
       because of this anguish of my soul.
 Lord, by such things men live;
       and my spirit finds life in them too.
       You restored me to health
       and let me live.
 Surely it was for my benefit
       that I suffered such anguish.
       In your love you kept me
       from the pit of destruction;
       you have put all my sins
       behind your back.



Isaiah 61: Her deliverance shines out like the dawn!

For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, 
and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest,
Until her deliverance shines out like the dawn, 
and her salvation as a burning torch.
The nations shall see your deliverance, 
and all rulers shall see your glory;
Then you shall be called by a new name 
which the mouth of God will give.
You shall be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, 
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.



Kol nidre: O God, forgive my lacking vows!

One aspect of the evening prayer on Yom Kippur is an opening prayer that begs God’s forgiveness for the failed vows between the individual and God: the person asks God to forgive the fact that she or he could not keep the vows that s/he spoke before God, that previous year.  

Bread upon the water: You have cast all my sins into the depths of the sea!

Another powerful ritual of Atonement is the enacted casting of one’s sins away: at sunset or after sundown, the person walks to the ocean or to a flowing river or stream, and takes bread, rips the bread into pieces, and prays – quoting Micah 7:19: “Lord, you are a God of compassion. You will tread our sins underfoot, and cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” The person then casts the bread out into the water, in the Presence of the Almighty, asking Him to bear the burden of the sin, and giving it to Him…

It symbolizes, of course, our repentance and the divine bearing of sin [the divine Atonement – only God can carry sins away, into the depths of forgetfulness].  

A prayer for the symbolic casting of bread on the water

Dear Father, thank you for your compassion,
  You have trodden my sins underfoot,
   You have cast all my sins into the depths of the sea,
    Where you choose not to remember them against me –
  Abba, here is a mystery: How can you, the all-knowing God,
      Not remember my sins? Ah, it is not that you cannot remember,
        For you are the One who heals me:

      It is rather that you choose not to remember!
  Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Abba, here I stand beside this river,
  And I give you all that weighs me down…
Jesus, you came as the Bread of Heaven
   Come down to give life to the world:
  You said that the bread you would give
   Is your flesh for the life of the world –
   And that the one who eats of this bread
    Will live forever.
  You said that this bread was your body,
    Broken for us, broken for me,
     To take away the brokenness I incurred…
 Oh, Jesus! In this moment be my Bread:
  Be my bread to feed my soul,
  And in yourself take away the weight of my sins:
 You said that you cast my sins into the depths of the sea –
  So I cast my burdens upon you this moment…
Take them, Lord Jesus Christ, Bread of Life!
 Take away my leaven, take all the leaven of sin from the loaf,
  And let me live again, renewed, for you!

Bread of Heaven, be my bread, be my Savior
Who takes away the sins of the world,
Who bears the burden of those weighed down,
Whose wounds bring healing, pure and free!
O Breath of Heaven! Lighten my darkness…
Pour over me your holiness, for you are holy
And I am needy! Breath of Heaven, bread of life
I cast myself upon you, like bread upon the waters,
Forgive me for where I’ve failed your intent,
And let me return after many days,
Like new bread returned: without leaven, whole, pure and true!
Abba! This is pray, in tears, yet in humble rejoicing…
  In Jesus’ name – Oh, let your Spirit reign over me
  To lighten me, guide me and fill me,
   My Living God!
Thank you for your Atonement, I take it, like a child
 Thirsting in the desert, water for my soul,
  Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen!


 Peace be upon Israel! O LORD God Almighty, bless your People with peace.



Monday, September 17, 2012

Providential shark: And God appointed a w... er, shark!

Man adrift on ocean led to rescuers by a shark

A pretty neat story of Providence, fresh off the newswires:

A man who survived while adrift in the Pacific for 106 days is crediting a shark for helping to save his life.

Toakai Teitoi, 41, a policeman from the Central Pacific island nation of Kiribati, had been traveling with his brother-in-law on what was supposed to be a short voyage, beginning May 27, from the Kiribati capital of Tarawa to his home island of Maiana. But the mariners decided to fish along the way, and fell asleep during the night.

When they awoke they were far at sea and adrift in their 15-foot wooden vessel. They soon ran out of fuel, and were short on water. "We had food, but the problem was we had nothing to drink," Teitoi told Agence France-Presse news service.

Dehydration was severe. Falaile, the 52-year-old brother-in-law, died on July 4. That night, Teitoi slept next to him, "like at a funeral," before an emotional burial at sea the next morning.

Teitoi shared scant details of the ordeal after arriving in Majuro, in the Marshall Islands, on Saturday. He said he prayed the night Falaile died, and the next day a storm arrived and, over the next several days, he was able to fill two five-gallon containers with fresh water. Days and weeks passed, however, and Teitoi, a father of six, did not know whether he'd live or die.

He subsisted mostly on fish and protected himself against the searing tropical sun by curling up in a small, covered portion of the bow.

It was on the afternoon of Sept. 11 that he awoke to the sound of scratching against his boat. A six-foot shark was circling the boat and, Teitoi said, bumping against its hull. 

The shark woke him and alerted him to a passing boat! So awesome... of course, we have to credit God for sending the rain in answer to Toakai's prayers. But little did he know that he would need a shark to wake him up and point him in the right direction! So, God answered his prayers with a storm and also with a wild animal -- a rather dangerous one, too, lol.

It reminds me of a story where wild lions protected a little girl, in Africa -- frightening off her kidnappers and then surrounding her until help came.

A group of lions rescued a girl of 12 from her kidnappers in Ethiopia.

The abductors wanted to force the girl into marriage. While kidnappers were transporting the girl to a different village, a group of lions crossed their road, chased them off and protected her until Ethiopian police rescued her.

The men had held the girl for a week in the remote south-west of the country, repeatedly beating her, before the lions chased them away. "They stood guard [for half a day] until [police and family] found her and then they just left her like a gift," police officer said.


It also reminds  me of the Book of Jonah, where the theme of the book is Providence.

The recurring meme of Jonah is the faithful appointment of God -- from great to small. God appoints a massive storm, a great fish... and then a little worm. Lesson: The heavenly Father is in the macroscale -- in the storm -- and in the microscale -- the little worm. And Abba is at work in things that take away the comfort of Jonah: Storm, whale and worm were all irritants to him, but they played a faithful part. :-)

Be encouraged! Trust God, even while on the ocean for many days... needing water, needing intervention, needing things not even known. He knows, though. And He cares!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

His Mysterious Ways: Leaves of Grace

Jane Sexton, from Piedmont, SC, writes of a time when her faith was tested...

She says, "I was at my wit’s end, broke, and running out of time. What was I going to do?"

Listen to her amazing story, shared from Guideposts special online story:

A Leafy Answer

by Jane Sexton

Just thirty-two cents in our bank account, I thought when I awoke one breezy fall morning, my stomach tightening. How am I ever going to pay the babysitter today?

My husband, Boyd, and I had just moved back to South Carolina from Tennessee with our five-year-old, Mindy, and baby, Meredith, to be closer to my mom. Boyd had found a good job as a HR manager, but wouldn’t be getting paid till the following week and the moving expenses had drained our bank account.

I was taking a class in the afternoons to renew my teaching certificate since I’d taken time off to stay home with our girls for the last few years. Mom had graciously loaned me the money for the class, but I still needed to pay the babysitter, a wonderful older lady who was happy to watch the girls for only five dollars. There was just one catch. She insisted on being paid up front each day. It had seemed completely doable when I first talked to her, but now five dollars might as well been five hundred.

Lord, I really need five dollars today! I prayed.

“I thought it would be easy to come up with the money,” I told Boyd when he came home for lunch at noon. “But now I don’t know what to do. And I can’t miss my class this afternoon.”

“Pray about it,” he said as he got ready to head back to work. “I know you said you need to rake the leaves out of the ditch in the front yard today. Maybe something will come to you while you’re doing that.”

 “I’ve been praying,” I said. But it doesn’t feel like God is listening.” I kissed Boyd goodbye then laid the baby down for her nap.

 “I guess we should rake those leaves,” I said to Mindy. “Let’s go outside and you can help Mommy.” I handed Mindy her little rake then grabbed mine and headed for the ditch. Lord, I need that money now! I prayed. Please! I continued to pray while I struggled to get the muddy leaves out of the ditch.

Stopping to lean on the rake for a break, I looked down and noticed something strange in the pile. “I wonder what that could be,” I said aloud. Mindy squatted down next to me as I bent to examine the unusual-looking leaf. I gingerly picked it up out of the pile and wiped off the mud. That’s when I saw that it wasn’t a leaf at all. It was a wet, muddy, folded five-dollar bill.


Pretty neat! Reminds me of a time when my brother Gerald prayed for a miracle on a snowy Chicago day: The Miracle of the Lost Lens.

God has His ways -- but they are mysterious, no question.

Isaiah 55:8-11 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."


Monday, September 10, 2012

Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you

Psalm 55:22 -- Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you...

Genesis 49:23 -- The archers bitterly attacked him, shot at him, 
              and harassed him severely, yet his bow remained unmoved; 
   his arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob 
     (from there is the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel), 
    by the God of your father who will help you, 
    by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, 
  blessings of the deep that crouches beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. 
The blessings of your father are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents, 
up to the bounties of the everlasting hills.

Psalm 35:35 -- Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion

Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion – to you our vows will be fulfilled!

Psalm 65

Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion;
    to you our vows will be fulfilled.
You who answer prayer,
    to you all people will come.
When we were overwhelmed by sins,

    you forgave our transgressions.
Blessed are those you choose

    and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,

    of your holy temple.

You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
    God our Savior,
 the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas,
who formed the mountains by your power,

    having armed yourself with strength,
who stilled the roaring of the seas,

    the roaring of their waves,
    and the turmoil of the nations.
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;

    where morning dawns, where evening fades,
    you call forth songs of joy.

You care for the land and water it;
    you enrich it abundantly.
 The streams of God are filled with water
    to provide the people with grain,
    for so you have ordained it.
10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges;

    you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
11 You crown the year with your bounty,

    and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;

    the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks

    and the valleys are mantled with grain;
    they shout for joy and sing.


Devotional thoughts:

Verse 3: When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions.


The language here expresses the feeling which all may have, and should have, and which very many do have, when they approach God, that, although they are deeply conscious of sin, God will so graciously remove the guilt of sin, and lift off the burden, cleansing the soul by his grace, as to make it not improper that we should approach him, and that he will enable us to do it with peace, and joy, and hope.


How can one who is overwhelmed by sins approach the holy God with praise? The clue is in the last part of the verse: You forgave our transgressions. And, the next verse goes even further: Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts!

The child of God can come to the throne of the Most High with praise, in the joy of full belonging, because the Holy God is the One who has acted to forgive her sins, and has already declared favor for the child approaching Him: we are chosen to draw near to Him.

This divine choice is God for us. As Jesus taught us: "You did not choose me, but I chose you, and ordained that you should bear much fruit." God for us, granting us salvation in Christ – such great salvation! And it is “not by works, so that no one can boast. It is by grace we have been saved, through faith – and this not from ourselves, it is fully the gift of God!” Eph. 2:8-9

It is in this divine choice and declaration of pardon that the chosen child comes to God. It is thus that we come to Him in praise: Fully known for who we are, and fully chosen in spite of that reality. And so we praise!

And thus, our lives become thanksgiving. Truly it is said,

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16


Sunday, September 02, 2012

A prayer for Labor Day from St. Athanasius

Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8

The merciful and compassionate Lord has given nourishment to those who fear him. Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever throughout the ages. Almighty God and Our Lord Jesus Christ, whose name is above all things, we give you thanks and praise because you have given us a portion of your goods and nourishment for our bodies. We pray and beseech you to give us in like manner heavenly nourishment. Make us fear and reverence your law, and grant that we may never disobey your precepts. Write on our hearts your law and your justice. Sanctify our mind, our soul, and our body through your dear Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, to whom with you belongs glory, dominion, honor, and adoration forever and ever. Amen.

Athanasius, quoted by Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette in Blessings of the Table: Mealtime Prayers Throughout the Year.

We are the work of His hands -- our labor is a gift, let us give it with thanksgiving and honor God with the return. 

He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God. Psalm 50:23


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Murray: The necessity of waiting on God

The necessity of waiting on God

My soul waits only upon God; from Him comes my salvation. Ps. 62:1

If salvation indeed comes from God, and is entirely His work, it follows that our first and highest duty is to wait on Him to do the work that pleases Him. Waiting becomes then the only way to the experience of a full salvation, the only way to truly know God as the God of our salvation.

All the difficulties that would hold us back from full salvation have their cause in this one thing: the defective knowledge and practice of waiting upon God. All that the Church and its members need for the manifestation of the mighty power of God in the world, is the return to… the place of unceasing dependence upon God.

Let us strive to see what the elements are that make up this most blessed and needful waiting upon God: it may help us to discover the reasons why this grace is so little cultivated, and to feel how infinitely desirable it is that the Church, that we ourselves, should at any price learn its blessed secret.

The deep need for this waiting on God lies equally in the nature of man and the nature of God. God, as Creator, formed man to be a vessel in which He could show forth His power and goodness. Man was not to have in himself a fountain of life, or strength, or happiness: the ever-living and only living One was each moment to be… all that he needed. Man's glory and blessedness was not to be independent, or dependent upon himself, but dependent on a God of such infinite riches and love. Man was to have the joy of receiving every moment out of the fullness of God. This was his blessedness as an unfallen creature. When he fell from God, he was still more absolutely dependent on Him. There was not the slightest hope of his recovery out of his state of death, but in God, His power and mercy.

It is God alone who began the work of redemption; it is God alone who continues and carries it on each moment in each individual believer. Even in the regenerate man there is no power of goodness in himself: he has and can have nothing that he does not each moment receive; and waiting on God is just as indispensable, and must be just as continuous and unbroken, as the breathing that maintains his natural life.

It is, then, because Christians do not know their relation to God of absolute poverty and helplessness, that they have no sense of the need of absolute and unceasing dependence, or the unspeakable blessedness of continual waiting on God. But when once a believer begins to see it, and consent to it, that he by the Holy Spirit must each moment receive what God each moment works, waiting on God becomes his brightest hope and joy. As he apprehends how God, as God, as Infinite Love, delights to impart His own nature to His child as fully as He can, how God is not weary of each moment keeping charge of his life and strength, he wonders that he ever thought otherwise of God than as a God to be waited on all the day. God unceasingly giving and working; His child unceasingly waiting and receiving: this is the blessed life.

Truly my soul waits upon God; from Him comes my salvation.

May God teach us the blessedness of waiting on Him. My soul, wait thou only upon God!


A. Murray, Waiting on God.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A life-changing book


Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It

The CDC has now declared that pretty much everyone is fat.

And it has just gotten worse since the government introduced the official Food Pyramid guide for the general populace. Who could have seen that coming? The government gets involved in obesity and health care, and things get worse! Imagine that, lol.

Well, I used to follow the Food Pyramid, and wonder why I couldn't significantly lose weight, even with good exercise. Now I know.

And I'll never need to wonder again. And, another lesson on government meaning well, but hurting the people it supposedly wants to help... Edit: A reader has pointed out that the science community led the way on American conventional food wisdom, with the government only following the scientific community down the wrong road. Good point.

If anyone wants to get healthy and lose weight in a good way -- actually, gain a lifestyle that is healthy -- here's a clue. Sharing the wealth!


p.s. Tip of the cap to Instapundit.

UPDATE: A reader from Instapundit comments:

Instapundit is a regular spot I check most days, and I noted your frequent references to Gary Taubes’ books and decided to put his advice to the test. I cut to drinking only tea, coffee, and (lots and lots of) water while eating very low carbs and sugar over the summer starting in early July. Less than two months later, I have lost over 25 pounds, my BMI has gone from high 27 down to 23ish. I just did my health screening at work, and while we were sitting and waiting for blood results to come back, the screener asked some questions and found out about the diet change. She told me my cholesterol would probably be elevated. I smiled and said, “I guess we’ll see.” It came back a healthy 154. Imagine that. You mean this stuff works?

The diet change and weight loss have actually aided me in waking up better and earlier, as well. I work 60-80+ hours a week as a music teacher, so this has had a huge impact. I’ve been able eat breakfast, study/memorize scripture, pray, organize, and get some much-needed composure before facing the horde of delightful (but sometimes trying) young musicians I interact with every day. I have more energy when I interact with my wife and three young children. Life is still hard: long work days, being patient with students, finding time with my family, etc. But what a help this lifestyle change has been.

So thank you for sharing the information. I had heard/read some of the info before, but it was often distorted, incomplete, and/or confusing. For some reason, catching it on your blog was the tipping point where I looked into it and gave it an honest go.

p.s.s. A helpful link and short video: 5 Foods to NEVER Eat.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Faith as the awareness and acceptance of God

Faith: A gift from God that makes us aware of Him and responsive to His will

Faith is an immediate awareness of God’s reality, and our wholehearted ‘Yes!’ to God himself, who confronts us in the moment of revelation and is as certain as the being of a lover to his beloved. 

-- John Knox, Christ and the Hope of Glory

Sunday, March 25, 2012

True prayer: Entering the mystery of Eternal Love

Abba: "Pray on, my child; I am hearing you!"

by George MacDonald

One way is clear: the prayer will react upon the mind that prays, its light will grow, will shine the brighter, and draw and enlighten the more. But there must be more in the thing. Prayer in its perfect idea being a rising up into the will of the Eternal, may not the help of the Father become one with the prayer of the child, and for the prayer of him he holds in his arms, go forth for him who wills not yet to be lifted to his embrace?

To His bosom God himself cannot bring His children at once, and not at all except through His own suffering and theirs. But will not any good parent find some way of granting the prayer of the child who comes to him, saying, 'Papa, this is my brother's birthday: I have nothing to give him, and I do love him so! could you give me something to give him, or give him something for me?'

'Still, could not God have given the gift without the prayer? And why should the good of any one depend on the prayer of another?'

I can only answer with the return question, 'Why should my love be powerless to help another?' But we must not tie God to our measures of time, or think He has forgotten that prayer even which, apparently unanswered, we have forgotten. Death is not an impervious wall; through it, beyond it, go the prayers. It is possible we may have some to help in the next world because we have prayed for them in this: will it not be a boon to them to have an old friend to their service? I but speculate and suggest.

What I see and venture to say is this: If in God we live and move and have our being; if the very possibility of loving lies in this, that we exist in and by the live air of love, namely God himself, we must in this very fact be nearer to each other than by any bodily proximity or interchange of help; and if prayer is like a pulse that sets this atmosphere in motion, we must then by prayer come closer to each other than are the parts of our body by their complex nerve telegraphy.

Surely, in the Eternal, hearts are never parted! Surely, through the Eternal, a heart that loves and seeks the good of another, must hold that other within reach! Surely the system of things would not be complete in relation to the best thing in it--love itself, if love had no help in prayer. If I love and cannot help, does not my heart move me to ask Him to help who loves and can? – Him without whom life would be to me nothing, without whom I should neither love nor care to pray! – will he answer, 'Child, do not trouble me; I am already doing all I can'? If such answer came, who that loved would not be content to be nowhere in the matter?

But how if the eternal, limitless Love, the unspeakable, self-forgetting God-devotion, which, demanding all, gives all, should say, 'Child, I have been doing all I could; but now you are come, I shall be able to do more! here is a corner for you, my little one: push at this thing to get it out of the way'!

How if he should answer, 'Pray on, my child; I am hearing you; it goes through me in help to him. We are of one mind about it; I help and you help. I shall have you all safe home with me by and by! There is no fear, only we must work, and not lose heart. Go, and let your light so shine before men that they may see your good things, and glorify me by knowing that I am light and no darkness'! – what then? Oh that lovely picture by Michelangelo, with the young ones and the little ones come to help God to make Adam!


George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons