Beyond the Reach of Darkness

“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

There are some things ‘Mordor’ can’t touch—all darkness is fleeting. From everlasting to everlasting the star will shine in all its beauty. And us with Him.

His love endures forever.

Now that’s hope.

—j

The Dead Stuff Among Us

Back from ministry in Ireland—high time for another great quote.

Jesus prayed for all His future followers—us—that we may be “one” as He and His Father were one. What did He mean? What should we do? C.H. Spurgeon had an idea…

“Are you alive by the life of Christ? Does God dwell in you, and do you dwell in him? Then, my dear brother, give me your hand. Never mind about a thousand differences if you are in Christ and I am in Christ, we cannot be two—we must be one. Let us love each other with a pure heart fervently. Let us live on earth, as those who are to live together a long eternity in heaven. Let us help each other’s spiritual growth. Let us aid each other as far as possible in every holy, spiritual enterprise, which is for the promotion of the Kingdom of the Lord; and let us chase out of our hearts everything that would break the unity that God has established. Let us cast from us every false doctrine, every false thought of pride, of enmity, of envy, of bitterness, that we, whom God has made one, may be one before men, as well as before the eye of the heart-searching God. May the Lord bless us, dear friends—as a Church, make us one, and keep us so; for it will be the dead stuff among us that will make the divisions. It is the living children of God that make the unity; it is the living ones that are bound together. There will be no fear about that—Christ’s prayer takes care of us, that we shall be one…” —CHS

It’s not an ideal—it’s just what He asked His Father to do with us. No wonder He taught us to pray “Thy will be done”.

—j

Death by Cupcake

A.W. Tozer’s opening line caught me off guard. When the shock wore off, it began to make sense…

“Make sure that you don’t substitute prayer for obedience. Prayer is the oxygen of Christianity, but if we pray without preaching the gospel as we have been commanded to, we are drawing near to God with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him. Make sure you put legs to your prayers and reach out to those who are going to Hell.”

It seems that Bono of U2 agreed…

“Christians who prize “politeness” over candor may end up living a trivialized life. You’ve gotta be very careful that grace and politeness do not merge into a banality of behavior where we’re just nice—sort of ‘death by cupcake.’”

Pray to proclaim.

—j

Well Done, Guys

God wants heaven filled, and its radiant population continues to grow. Last Monday it gained Pastor Douglas Mark, known to me as “Dougie”. I knew him all of five hours on earth though it feels like we were lifelong friends. As he prepared for his graduation, he wrote some lyrics in his prayer diary, which were read to him as he stepped into glory…

‘Just think of stepping on shore—And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand—And finding it’s God’s!
Of breathing new air—And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory—And finding it Home!’

Welcome home, Dougie…and Jack…and Roger—faithful shepherds of God’s flock; servants of Jesus.

Well done, guys.

—j

Do This Twice

Another marvelous prayer.

“I am no longer my own, but Yours.
 Put me to what You will, rank me with whom You will; Put me to doing, put me to suffering; Let me be employed for You or laid aside for You; Let me be exalted for You, or brought low for You; Let me be full, let me be empty;
 Let me have all things, let me have nothing; I freely and heartily yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, You are mine, and I am Yours. So be it. And the covenant that I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.” —The Methodist Covenant Prayer

Now, pray it again with all your heart—and watch happens to your day.

Blessings.
—j

Pray for Your Pastor

You may not even go to church, but pastors are still a presence in your neighborhood. They’re (mostly) holy-men, people you seek out when the world goes wrong or when God comes knocking. They’re also human—and the devil hates them. Behind all the spirituality there’s a battle going on…

“Pray for your pastor: 97% of pastors have been falsely accused or hurt by their trusted friends; 70% of pastors battle with depression; 7,000 churches will close each year; 1,500 pastors quit each month; 10% will retire a pastor; 80% of pastors feel discouraged; 94% of pastor’s families feel the pressure of the ministry. 78% of pastors have no close friends; 90% of pastors report working 55-75 hours per week. Pray for your pastor.” —Victor Marx

Thanks for praying.

—j

Monday Morning Prayer

“Dear Lord, So far today, I’ve done all right. I haven’t gossiped, haven’t lost my temper, haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or over indulgent. I’m very thankful for that. But, in a few minutes, God, I’m going to get out of bed. And from then on, I’m probably going to need a lot more help.”
Author Unknown

Amen…!

—j