All Praise – July 24

A Year with Aslan from Voyage of the Dawn Treader

God reigns, so he owns everything .. but that doesn’t stop us from wanting more.

As Eustace finds himself in the dragon’s lair, he finds the ground is hard & prickly’ it’s dark, & all he can think about is getting back to the others ..Then he realizes it’s treasure, & he begins to think how much can he carry.

“I’ll slip that on my own wrist.  Too big, but not if I push it all the way up here..Then fill my pockets with diamonds, that’s easier than gold, & then he got to the less uncomfortable part of the pile.”

 

The longer we spend tinkering with the treasures of the world, the less uncomfortable it becomes.

Ransomed Heart Devotion

Is God your everything, or is there something else?

In the Journey of Desire John Eldredge says…

Once we come to accept that we can never find the life we’ve been seeking, what then?  We’re never living, but only hoping to live. We can only hope for what we desire. There simply must be something more…

& there is.  & his name is Jesus.

 

Quotes

Howard Thurman

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive – because the world needs people that come alive.

Donald Miller ~ Blue Like Jazz

The wonder of God happens above our formula.  The more I climb outside my pat answers, the more my heart enters into worship.

CS Lewis

Courage isn’t simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.

Brennan Manning ~ The Ragamuffin Gospel

Rationalization begins with a look in the mirror.  We don’t like the sight of ourselves as we really are, so we try cosmetics, makeup, the right light, & the proper accessories to develop an acceptable image of ourselves.  Self-deception prevents us from seeing ourselves as we really are.

Henry Nouwen ~ DIscernment

The Hebrew word for good & blessing at times means rain.  God is not far from us that we should have to descend to the depths of the sea or ascend to the clouds to find him.

Scriptures

Malachi 4:6

Zechariah 12:3

Psalm 44:3

John 15:1-17

All Praise – July 17

A Year with Aslan from Voyage of the Dawn Treader

As Christians we must remember the empty tomb, but also where we’re headed..& why.

As Caspian is getting ready to lead the crew on the search for the 7 friends of his father who never returned, Reepicheep has a different goal.

Why should we not come to the very eastern end of the world? I expect to find Aslan’s own country. Lucy asks if it’s even the kind of country you could sail to, & Reep says I don’t know, but the spell has been on me all my life.

The same may be true of your journey.  There may be others on the boat who’s journey is a lot different than yours .. but the goal, the destination, is the same.

& Jesus is the Lord of us all.

Ransomed Heart Devotion

Aren’t you ready for victory?  In the Sacred Romance, John Eldredge reminds us of this great scripture in Isiah 14, where it says…

Those who see you [talking about Satan], ponder your fate: Is this the man who shook the earth & made kingdoms tremble?

In other words, “You’re the one we’ve been scared of all this time?”

Eldredge goes on to say that time is not now, but will come someday. In the meantime, are adversary will continue to use arrows, & try to get us to doubt our Prince.

 

Quotes

Desert Wisdom

In the beginning there is struggle & a lot of work for those who come near to God.  But after that there is indescribable joy.  It’s just like building a fire: at first it’s smoky & your eyes water, but later you get the desired result.

Philip Yancey ~ What’s So Amazing About Grace?

The image Jesus used to describe the church’s destiny – “the gates of hell will not prevail against it” – is a metaphor of offense, not defense.  Christians are storming the gates, & they will prevail.  No matter how it looks at any point in history, the gates guarding the powers of evil will not withstand an assault by grace.

Henry Nouwen ~ Discernment

Just as it is impossible to see your face in troubled water, so also the soul, unless it is clear of alien thoughts, is not able to pray to God in contemplation.

Brennan Manning ~ The Ragamuffin Gospel

The dawn of trust requires letting go of our craving spiritual consolations.  Tangible reassurances cannot create trust, sustain it, or guarantee any certainty of its presence.

Jay Milbrandt ~ go + do

Definition is the death of discovery.  Exploration gives us a reason to dream. The less I know, the more thrilling the ride.

Scriptures

Psalm 102:12

Amos 5:15

Ezekiel 1:3

All Praise – July 10

A Year with Aslan from The Silver Chair

As Jill sticks her head out of a little hole in the ground, she begins calling for help.  & it says…

 

The Narnians, who hadn’t noticed the little hole, came running.  As many as could scramble up the bank, a dozen or more hands stretched out to help.  We’re talking squirrels & owls; bears & badgers; & even a great panther there to join the party.

The lesson for us is don’t assume somebody else is taking care of it, & remember we can miss out on the blessing of denying ourselves.

Ransomed Heart Devotion

Our spiritual lives will awaken when we begin to look with the eyes of our heart.

In Waking the Dead, John Eldredge points to Ezekiel 36, where God says …

I will give you a new heart & put a new spirit in you.  John goes on to say that’s when we discover things are not what they seem.  We’re at war. We must fight for the life God intends for us, which is to say we must fight for our heart, because it is the wellspring of that life.

Thankfully the hero of our story is one who redeems.

Quotes

Matt Redman ~ Mirror Ball

No one needs a small god.  Small gods are blown over in the storms of life & hold out no hope for anyone.  We need a big God – One who is strong & awesome in power.  This is exactly who we find in Jesus.

Henry Nouwen ~ Discernment

I will see great things when I am willing to be seen.  I will receive new eyes that can see the mysteries of God’s own life, but only when I allow God to see me, all of me, even those parts that I myself do not want to see.

Jay Milbrandt ~ go + do

If you struggle to find the things that make you come alive, watch the joy of others.  Seeing others truly happy can be enchanting.

Bob Goff ~ Love Does

Words can launch us.  The words people say to us not only have shelf life, they have the ability to shape life.

Scriptures

John 1:14

Matthew 7

Isaiah 6:1-5

All Praise – July 3

A Year with Aslan from The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe

 

It’s right after a meal Peter & Aslan are walking together. Aslan is giving Peter the battle plan for cutting off the White Witch, & Peter is kinda half paying attention.  As Aslan gets done, Peter says…

“But you will be there yourself, Aslan?” Like “Why do I have to know all this?”, but Aslan tells him I can give you no promise of that.

The lesson for us – Jesus is in us, but we must also pay attention to the instructions he’s given us.

 

Ransomed Heart Devotion

When your hope is in Jesus, it brings true freedom.

In Waking the Dead, John Eldredge points to Ezekiel 36, where it says..

I will give you a new heart & put a new spirit in you. 

& he goes on to say the resurrection confirms that promise.  It was life he offered us. We are free to be what he meant when he made us. You HAVE new life..& you have a new heart.

Quotes

Philip Yancey ~ What’s So Amazing About Grace

The finer the net is woven, the more numerous are the holes.

AW Tozer ~ God Tells the Man Who Cares

The important thing about a man is not where he goes when he is compelled to go, but where he goes when he is free to go where he will.  Choice reveals what kind of man he is.  Choices always do.

Henry Nouwen ~ Discernment

We will not survive if we look down at the waves.  But we do not have to look down & drown.  Jesus calls us to look up & forward to the one who stands in the midst of the storm.  He is with us now, he will be with us tomorrow, & he will still be there in the future.  He is our home.

Matt Redman ~ Mirror Ball

When we study a person for a while we will likely find a chink in their armor – an inconsistency of some kind, sin, or an exaggerated claim.  For although we each have admirable qualities, none of us are anywhere near as consistent as we would like to be.  God, however, is different.  Search for as long as you like but you will find no gaps in His greatness & no limits to His love; no shady areas, no inconsistencies, & no missing the mark.  No fading.  No faltering.  No failing.  No off-days.

Brennan Manning ~ Ragamuffin Gospel

It is not objective proof of God’s existence that we want but the experience of God’s presence.

 

Scriptures

Hebrews 12:14

Ecclesiastes 11:5

Acts 4:12

Psalm 107

Matthew 10:6-8

All Praise – June 19

A Year with Aslan from The Magician’s Nephew

Uncle Andrew had heard what he thought was singing, but when he saw it was a lion he thought it must have been a roar. & it says…

The more the lion sang, the more he tried to convince himself. & eventually, he did…He couldn’t hear the song, only the roar in his ears.

If we want to hear the voice of Jesus, we have to open our ears…& believe.

Ransomed Heart Devotion

Many generations of Americans have sung “We Shall Overcome”, & they would all tell you it doesn’t come without a fight.  In Waking the Dead, John Eldredge says…

Any movement toward freedom & live will be opposed.  Sadly, many accusations will actually be spoken by Christians.  When we make those kinds of agreements with demonic forces, we come under their influence.  Some spirit whispers “I’m an idiot”, & we agree..& then spend years trying to sort thru feelings of insignificance.  We end the agony by breaking the agreement.

Quotes

Anthony Doerr ~ All the Light We Cannot See

In heaven, will we really see God face to face?  What if you’re blind?  & the answer comes…I’d expect if God wants us to see something, we’ll see it.

Brennan Manning ~ Ragamuffin Gospel

We actually come to believe our illusions & rationalizations & clutch them to our hearts like favorite teddy bears.

Henry Nouwen ~ Discernment

Someone listened, understood, & became a friend.  The 2 lost disciples found a new place where the events that had led to sadness were transformed into joy.  They recognized that they were no longer alone.

Matt Redman ~ Mirror Ball

[At the Cross] we find the purest love this world will ever see.  An act so mysterious, we find justice, sacrifice & suffering; obedience, endurance, & hope.  But…in the center, making sense of them all, we find love.

 

Bob Goff ~ Love Does

I think a father’s job, when it’s done best, is to get down on both knees, lean over his children’s lives, & whisper “Where do you want to go?

Scriptures

Psalm 28:7

Proverbs 12:20

Acts 4:33

Colossians 1:27

Isaiah 37:16

All Praise – June 12

A Year with Aslan from The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe

After Aslan’s death on the Stone Table, Susan & Lucy see mice all over & they’re trying to shew them away, but then they notice they’re chewing the ropes.  The girls are so caught up in that, they almost fail to notice that in the midst of this devastating loss..the world is coming to life behind them.

The birds are singing..the trees are alive..& the ropes are gnawed through.

Jesus didn’t just come to die for us .. but to redeem us, buy us back from the clutches of sin.

Ransomed Heart Devotion

Sometimes remembering is a longing for things to be the way they were.  In the Sacred Romance, John Eldredge calls it a holy longing.

Sadly, many of us have been led to feel that somehow we ought to want less, not more.  In Romans 8, Paul says we groan inwardly as we wait eagerly. There may be times when all we have to go on is a sense of duty, but if that’s all we have we will never make it.  Our Hero is the example.  We can make it, buy only thru a passionate desire for the joy set before us.

 

Quotes

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Those who let Jesus’ yoke rest on them .. without resistance .. will find the burden they must bear to be light.  Discipleship can lead to painful separations, but in the gentle pressure of this yoke we will receive strength..& mercy beyond measure.

Brennan Manning ~ Ragamuffin Gospel

Our halo gets too tight & a carefully disguised attitude of moral superiority results. `The deeper we grow in the Spirit of Jesus, the poorer we become.

Henry Nouwen ~ Discernment

Waiting for the promise means paying attention to what is happening right now before our eyes – because that’s where we see the first rays of God’s glory.

Donald Miller ~ Blue Like Jazz

We believe things we can’t explain.  Everybody does.

AW Tozer ~ God Tells the Man Who Cares

The Bible was written in tears..& to tears it will yield its best treasures.

Bob Goff ~ Love Does

Almost every time I type in the word love it gets changed to live.  It’s kind of a reminder to me that fully loving & fully living are synonymous.

Scriptures

1 Timothy 6:19

Hebrews 13:15

Acts 20:28

1 John 2:1

All Praise – June 5

A Year with Aslan from The Magician’s Nephew

Queen Jadis is explaining why she used the magic word to kill everyone, & not unlike we see today she passes the blame, saying..

It was my sister’s fault.  At any moment I was ready to make peace, if only she’d yield the throne to me.  But she would not.

The bible says pride comes before destruction.  But there is humility at the cross.

Ransomed Heart Devotion

Soaring on wings like eagles doesn’t happen without a fight. In Waking the Dead, John Eldredge writes…

The Religious Spirit has turned discipleship into a soul-killing exercise of principles.  Most folks don’t even know they can walk with God, let alone hear his voice.  & it makes it next to impossible to break free by spreading the lie that there is no war.  So we’ve acquiesced, & surrendered without a fight. 

Thankfully we’re not left alone.  We have a Redeemer.

Quotes

Jay Milbrandt ~ go + do

As a society we’ve become accustomed to always doing something, but there must be a concrete goal & metrics by which we measure success.  We must return with drastically different before & after pics to make our time there legitimate.

Matt Redman ~ Mirror Ball

The first & last signs of the kingdom to come are worship.  Evangelism is a temporary necessity.  Justice & acts of compassion are great signs, but no one will be in need of them in heaven.  The same is true of healing.  We will be left with worship: an unending song of praise forever reverberating around the throne of God.

Philip Yancey ~ What’s So Amazing About Grace

The original followers of Jesus watched their beloved Jerusalem burn to the ground, & I’m sure they looked back thru tears as they moved on to Rome & Spain & Ethiopia.

Teddy Roosevelt

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Scriptures

1 Corinthians 4:5

Proverbs 4:23

Psalm 27:4

All Praise – May 29

A Year with Aslan from Voyage of the Dawn Treader

As night is falling, the gang notices a huge dragon has parked itself on the beach right in between them & their ship.  This is before they realize it’s Eustace.  Lucy says…

Perhaps it’ll go away”, but Edmund reminds her “It’ll be worse if it does, because then we won’t know where it is.”  They all got up & moved forward, & felt fonder of everyone else.

Troubles are always coming, but they can help us forge tighter bonds – if we do not give up hope.

Ransomed Heart Devotion

Every great story involves a quest.  In The Sacred Romance, John Eldredge reminds us …

Bilbo Baggins ran from the door & launched into an adventure; Alice stepped through the looking glass; Peter, Susan, Edmund, & Lucy stumbled through the wardrobe; Abraham left his country & never came back. We have that same choice, to be like Abraham, or Robinson Crusoe, who lived in his own world with himself as the central character. 

Of course Crusoe was stranded with no hope of rescue.  We HAVE been rescued.

Quotes

Oswald Chambers ~ My Utmost for His Highest

We all have dreams, but sooner or later we realize we have no power to accomplish them & we think they’re dead.  Then God comes & says “Arise”.. & with it comes His miraculous power.

Donald Miller ~ Blue Like Jazz

In some ways we treat our neighbors BETTER than we treat ourselves, because we’d never say the things to a neighbor that we tell ourselves every day.

Howard Thurman

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive – because the world needs people that come alive.

Brennan Manning ~ The Ragamuffin Gospel

Our world has lost its sense of wonder.  Thanks to satellite TV & jets, we can visit places once only accessible only to a Balboa or other daring explorers.  God is being edged out of His world by science, [in the sense that] we believe all enigmas can be solved.  We get so preoccupied with the plans & projects that we conceive, that we become immune to the glory of creation.

AW Tozer ~ Set of the Sail

The heart seldom gets hot while the mouth is open.  No man is qualified to speak who has not first listened.

Henry Nouwen

It’s hard not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause – but I wonder if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to listen to their stories & tell your own, & to let them know you don’ just like them, but truly love them.

Bob Goff ~ Love Does

Jesus was always talking about a reverse economy.  He talked about how if you want to receive, you give.  If you want to lead, you follow.  That the poor are rich & you only really live for certain things if you are ready to die to them.

Scriptures

2 Samuel 22:50

Ecclesiastes 12

Matthew 6:22

Proverbs 21:31

Psalm 8:2

All Praise – May 22

A Year with Aslan from Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Christ lives in us, but sometimes it’s hard to get him out of us .. so other’s can see.  After Eustace has been turned into a dragon, Aslan tells him there’s only one way to get back to what he was.  Eustace says ..

I was afraid of his claws, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.  The first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. He peeled the beastly stuff right off—& there I was, very tender underneath…

Ransomed Heart Devotion

How great is our God? Great enough that he doesn’t do things halfway.  In Beautiful Outlaw, John Eldredge writes…

Satan took our hearts captive back in Eden. Some he has snared thru abuse, some thru seduction.  Jesus won’t take a shortcut. He never overwhelms anyone’s will.  He woos, confronts, delivers, heals – but still lets them walk away if they choose. Oh how hard it is to rescue the human heart.

 It’s done one step at a time.

Quotes

Don Miller ~ Blue Like Jazz

God’s love will never change you if you don’t accept it.

Lewis Smedes ~ How Can It Be All Right When Everything Is So Wrong?

Grace isn’t a ticket to Fantasy Island, or some potion to charm life to our liking; Grace looks reality full in the face, sees its sad edges & yet feel it is good & right for you to be alive.

Philip Yancey ~ What’s So Amazing About Grace?

The image Jesus used to describe the church’s destiny – “the gates of hell will not prevail against it” – is a metaphor of offense, not defense.  Christians are storming the gates, & they will prevail, because evil will not withstand an assault by grace.

Brennan Manning ~ The Ragamuffin Gospel

Discipleship is a life of sublime madness.  The truth of the gospel does not rise & fall on the issues of the day.  It deserves to be accepted or rejected for what it is:  an answer to the most fundamental questions a person may ask – Is life absurd or does it have a purpose?

Jay Milbrandt ~ go + do

When we stop taking risks our bodies start to deteriorate.  We lose strength, coordination & joy.  Our lives start to deteriorate, especially our spiritual lives.

St. Bernard

While earthly bread is in the cupboard it can be stolen or simply go bad, but if you eat it, what have you to fear?  Keep the word of God in this way .. & it will keep you. 

Scriptures

1 Chronicles 16:31

Hebrews 10:14

2 Corinthians 3:6

Psalm 34:1

Isaiah 42:10

All Praise – May 15

 

Quotes

Henry Nouwen ~ Discernment

Community proclaims love is stronger than fear, joy is deeper than sorrow, unity is more real than division, & life is stronger than death.

Donald Miller ~ Blue Like Jazz

Everybody wants to be fancy & new.  Nobody wants to be themselves.

Lewis Smedes

Forgiving does not erase a bitter past. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.

Matt Redman ~ Mirror Ball

God doesn’t like being underestimated.  When we stay within our comfort zone & fail to trust Him for the big things, it’s dishonoring to God & disadvantageous to us.  When we trust against the world’s odds & act upon the promises of God, He will gain much glory .. & we will not be left unsatisfied.

 

Scriptures

1 Corinthians 13:12-13

Romans 8:28