Posts from — January 2012
“The ancients were afraid that if they went to the end of the earth they would fall off and be consumed by dragons. But once we understand that Christianity is true to what is there, true to the ultimate environment – the infinite, personal God who is really there – then our minds are freed. We can pursue any question and can be sure that we will not fall off the end of the earth.”
– Francis Schaeffer, Art and the Bible
January 29, 2012 No Comments
A great scholar has given a beautiful definition of waiting upon God: “To wait is not merely to remain impassive. It is to expect — to look for with patience, and also with submission. It is to long for, but not impatiently; to look for, but not to fret at the delay; to watch for, but not restlessly; to feel that if He does not come we will acquiesce, and yet to refuse to let the mind acquiesce in the feeling that He will not come.” . . .
Once more, one who lives in the spirit of prayer will spend much time in retired and intimate communion with God. It is by such a deliberate engagement of prayer that the fresh springs of devotion which flow through the day are fed. For, although communion with God is the life-energy of the renewed nature, our souls “cleave to the dust,” and devotion tends to grow formal — it becomes emptied of its spiritual content, and exhausts itself in outward acts. The Master reminds us of this grave peril, and informs us that the true defense against insincerity in our approach to God lies in the diligent exercise of private prayer . . .
In the days of the Commonwealth, one of the early Friends, “a servant of the Lord, but a stranger outwardly,” came into an assembly of serious people, who had met for worship. “And after some time he had waited on the Lord in spirit he had an opportunity to speak, all being silent; he said by way of exhortation, ‘Keep to the Lord’s watch.’ These words, being spake in the power of God, had its operation upon all or most of the meeting, so that they felt some great dread and fear upon their spirits. After a little time he spake again, saying, ‘What I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch.’ Then he was silent again a little time, but the whole meeting, being sensible that this man was in some extraordinary spirit and power, were all musing what manner of teaching this should be, being such a voice that most of the hearers never heard before, that carried such great authority with it that they were all necessitated to be subject to the power.”
Soldier of Christ, you are in an enemy’s country; “Keep to the Lord’s watch.”
- David MacIntyre, The Hidden Life of Prayer
January 25, 2012 No Comments
“Naturally, we are inclined to be so mathematical and calculating that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We imagine that we have to reach some end, but that is not the nature of spiritual life. The nature of spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty, consequently we do not make our nests anywhere. Common sense says — “Well, supposing I were in that condition…”
We cannot suppose ourselves in any condition we have never been in. Certainty is the mark of the common-sense life: gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness, it should be rather an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. Immediately we abandon to God, and do the duty that lies nearest, He packs our life with surprises all the time. When we become advocates of a creed, something dies; we do not believe God, we only believe our belief about Him. Jesus said, “Except ye become as little children.” Spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, but uncertain of what He is going to do next. If we are only certain in our beliefs, we get dignified and severe and have the ban of finality about our views; but when we are rightly related to God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy.
“Believe also in Me,” said Jesus, not — “Believe certain things about Me.” Leave the whole thing to Him; it is gloriously uncertain how He will come in, but He will come. Remain loyal to Him.”
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
January 22, 2012 No Comments
We’ve been snowed in for the last week here in Seattle. Our weather was so unusual that even BBC picked up on it. Now don’t go making fun of us (thanks David) for being weather wimps. LA’s already done that. Even if we do whine a lot when anything non-transparent falls from the sky, hey — we’ve got hills. Lots of hills. And this is definitely the most snow I’ve ever seen hit my hometown.
Anyways, thanks to the unexpected free time I finally had no excuse to not organize my music and try out my new recorder. I found this old favorite while sifting through one of my “music to be re-filed” piles: Quietude by Carlos Salzedo. Enjoy.
January 20, 2012 No Comments
“Pleasures are shafts of glory as it strikes our sensibility . . . But aren’t there bad, unlawful pleasures? Certainly there are. But in calling them “bad pleasures” I take it we are using a kind of shorthand. We mean “pleasures snatched by unlawful acts.” It is the stealing of the apples that is bad, not the sweetness. The sweetness is still a beam from the glory . . .
I have tried since . . . to make every pleasure into a channel of adoration. I don’t mean simply by giving thanks for it. One must of course give thanks, but I meant something different . . . Gratitude exclaims, very properly, “How good of God to give me this.” Adoration says, “What must the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations are like this!” One’s mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun . . .
If this is Hedonism, it is also a somewhat arduous discipline. But it is worth some labour.”
- C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm
January 8, 2012 No Comments
A week or so ago, several friends pointed me to this amusing clip of Canadian hockey commentator Don Cherry:
For those of us who’d like a similar piano desk to punctuate our arguments, well — perhaps it’s not such a far-fetched idea! Check out this microphone that transforms any surface into a touch screen:
January 3, 2012 No Comments
At midnight praise the Lord,
Ye who this temple throng;
Lift up your hearts with one accord,
And close the year with song.
Light up the altar fire,
Forget the chilly night;
Let grateful love all hearts inspire,
Praise God with all your might.
Into the coming year
March ye with banners high;
Nor in the future need ye fear,
For Israel’s God is nigh.
But march with voice of praise,
Let music lead your way;
To God the Lord your voices raise,
On this, the New-Year’s day.
— Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)
January 1, 2012 No Comments