All Praise – August 21

A Year with Aslan from Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Sometimes we see love in the most unlikely places, from the most unlikely sources.

As Eustace has gotten tired of being a dragon, he even hates seeing his own reflection in the water as he’d fly.  While Reepicheep had been one of his biggest critics, oddly enough in his time of distress Reep was also his closest companion.  It says..

The mouse would creep away from the merry circle at the camp fire & sit down by the dragon’s head, & explain that there had been more than a hundred examples of emperors, kings, dukes, knights, poets, lovers, astronomers, philosophers & magicians who had fallen from prosperity & recovered to live happily ever after.  It didn’t seem so comforting, but it was kindly meant & Eustace never forgot it.

Sometimes the greatest of God’s wonders .. is a friend.

Ransomed Heart Devotion

There is power in Jesus’ name, but there’s also direction.  In The Sacred Romance, John Eldredge says…

This life ought to be spent only as a journey towards heaven. That’s the only story worth living now.  Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began & finished this race.  Study how he did it.  He remembered where he was headed, & that memory & desire will make all the difference in our journey too.

Quotes

AW Tozer ~ Worship: The Missing Jewel

Worship rises or falls depending on the attitude we take toward God, whether we see Him as big..or little.  If there’s any disease in the Church, it’s that we don’t see God as great as He is.

Henry Nouwen ~ Discernment

Beauty is fragile.  Touch it too roughly & it’s gone, grasp it too firmly & its petals fall away.  It must be held onto lightly & gazed on attentively or it slips away.  You can’t analyze it or pull it apart to see what it’s made of or how it got there, if you want to experience the flower in the field.  So, too, are our lives.

Bob Goff ~ Love Does

He wants us to bring all of the faith we have to Him, even if it’s just a dime.  & He promises that He will trade up with us – because He himself is what we have the chance to trade for.

Derek Sivers ~ CD Baby

The key to starting a movement is not the first person, but the second – the follower.  The follower legitimizes the first & convinces the crowd that the activity is worthwhile.  Movements don’t start with 1 person – they start with 2 or more.

Brennan Manning ~ The Ragamuffin Gospel

For the Christian, the second journey usually occurs by a second call from the Lord Jesus.  A summons to a deeper, more mature commitment of faith where the naivete, first fervor, & untested idealism of the morning have been seasoned with pain, rejection, failure, loneliness, & self-knowledge.

Scriptures

Psalm 149:4

Proverbs 18:10

Luke 24:13-35

Hebrews 10:16-18

1 Corinthians 9:1-18

All Praise – August 14

A Year with Aslan from The Last Battle

Have you ever felt embarrassed after doing something you knew you shouldn’t do?  In the Last Battle, Puzzle shows himself again after a rather uncomfortable episode where he had dressed up like Aslan.

& even though he felt ridiculous, & nervous about meeting Aslan, he was met with grace .. & the words from Queen Lucy, …

            You’ll find it will be all right when you really do.

Ransomed Heart Devotion

Because God is alive, we can face tomorrow .. but resurrection means so much more.  In Waking the Dead, John Eldredge says…

We’re enchanted by tales of transformation. The Phoenix rises; Cinderella becomes queen; The Ugly Duckling becomes a swan; Pinocchio becomes a real boy.  It’s the essential part to any story, because it’s the secret to Christianity.  You must be born again.  Keeping the law, following the rules won’t do.  We need transformation.

Quotes

AW Tozer ~ Faith Beyond Reason

If I can learn what you admire, I will know what you are .. for people are what they think about when they are free to think about what they will.

Henry Nouwen ~ Discernment

Contemplation looks not so much at things as through them, into their hearts, into their centers, to discover the whole world of spiritual beauty.

Jay Milbrandt ~ go + do

It’s in that vast mutual rescue that we find the places of suffering that are unreached by goodness & God’s grace.

Charles Schulz ~ Creator of Peanuts

A whole stack of memories never equal one little hope.

 

Scriptures

Philippians 3:8

Hebrews 13:15

Nehemiah 8:10

Acts 5:41

Psalm 27:5

All Praise – August 7

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

Grace isn’t just our gift from God, it’s our gift to each other.

 

As the 4 Pevensie kids are wandering thru the snow, Edmund tells Peter they should head back toward the lamppost. That’s when Peter realizes Edmund lied to him about being in Narnia before, & that’s what starts the process in Edmund’s mind of paying them all back.

Just think of how justified he would have felt, if he had just told the truth in the first place. We live in a culture that wants everything now, from pop tarts to peace of mind.That’s because we’re sinners..in need of a savior.

Ransomed Heart Devotion

Either Jesus is our everything or He’s not.  We can’t have it both ways.  In Wild At Heart, John Eldredge says..

The culture comes along with figures like John Wayne & James Bond, & the one thing they all have in common is that they are loners. We come to believe needing anyone for anything is a sort of weakness.  From the very beginning, ours was meant to be a desperately dependent existence.  When Jesus says “Apart from me, you can do nothing”, He’s not mocking us. We’re made for union with Him.

Quotes

Bob Goff ~ Love Does

When love does, love does it big.

Jay Milbrandt ~ go + do

Ambassadors don’t exist to make everyone a citizen of his or her nation.  Rather, they represent the interests of their sending country – a goal, an idea, or a vision.

Philip Yancey ~ What’s So Amazing About Grace?

The largest & deepest reference of the Gospel is not to the world or its social problems, but to Eternity.

Henry Nouwen  Discernment

Getting answers to my questions is not the goal of the spiritual life.  Living in the presence of God is.

4th Century Egyptian Monks

A direct confrontation with the forces of evil required such spiritual maturity that few would be ready for it.  Instead of paying so much attention to the prince of darkness, focus on the Lord of light, & thus thwart the power of darkness.

Scriptures

Revelation 7:17

Psalm 13

1 Thessalonians 1:5

Revelation 20:6

Isaiah 52:10

All Praise – July 31

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

Perhaps one of the deepest mysteries of all time is how we win by his sacrifice. That’s hard to grasp even now, after the resurrection.  Just think how tough it must have been to trust him before.

As the White Witch is accusing Edmund to Aslan, calling him a traitor, she says…

You know every traitor belongs to me as my lawful prey.  The others are ready to fight, but Aslan simply says “It’s true. I don’t deny it.

While everyone is expecting him to pounce, he knows what’s going to happen.  That he’ll pay the price.

Ransomed Heart Devotion

Greater is he in me than he who is in the world .. & in Waking the Dead, John Eldredge reminds us that makes us greater, too.

We have a crucial role to play.  Neo sees himself as Thomas Anderson, but he’s the One who can break the power of the Matrix.  Frodo is the Ring Bearer.  Dorothy is just a farm girl from Kansas.  Joan of Arc was illiterate & everyone doubted her.  You see this throughout Scripture, too.  A little boy slays a giant; a loudmouthed fisherman leads the church; & a prostitute performs the deed Jesus asked of all of us.  Things are not what they seem.  WE are not what we seem.

Quotes

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.

Henry Nouwen ~ Discernment

We will not succeed if we stay in the boat.  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.

Philip Yancey ~ What’s So Amazing About Grace?

Christians may choose to enter an arena of power, but when we do we dare not leave love behind.  The kingdom of God thrives where its subjects follow the desires of the King.

Brennan Manning ~ The Ragamuffin Gospel

The noonday devil of the Christian life is the temptation to lose the inner self while preserving the shell of edifying behavior.  Suddenly I discover I’m ministering to AIDS victims to enhance my resume.  At some unremembered moment I have lost the connection between internal purity of heart & external works of piety.

Matt Redman ~ Facedown

It’s only as we breathe in the wonders of god that we can breathe out a fuller response to him.

Scriptures

Amos 3:3

Ecclesiastes 3

2 Corinthians 4:18

Psalm 51:12

1 Peter 1:17-18

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