Daily Riches: Search Your Heart … And Be Silent (Soren Kierkegaard, Isaac of Ninevah, and Brigid Herman) *

“Every man who delights in uttering a multitude of words, even though he says admirable things, is empty within.
If you love truth, be a lover of silence.”
Isaac of Ninevah

“The present state of the world, the whole of life, is diseased.
If I were a doctor and were asked for my advice, I would reply:
‘Create silence! Bring men to silence.
The Word of God cannot be heard in the noisy world of today.
Create silence.'”
Soren Kierkegaard

“The most formidable enemy of the spiritual life is self-deception
and if there is a better cure for self-deception than silence,
it has yet to be discovered.”
Brigid E. Herman

“Tremble and do not sin;
  when you are on your beds,
   search your hearts and be silent.”  
  Psalm 4:4

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you ever delighted in “uttering a multitude of words … even admirable things” – and then regretted it later? If so, what was it exactly that you regretted?
  • Most people find silence uncomfortable. What about you? What does your answer say about you?
  • Can you imagine “loving” silence? Why would you want to love silence?
  • Do you think the Word of God can be heard in the noisy world of today? Think first before you answer.

Abba, the ever-present noise without and the plague of flies within make finding and experiencing silence challenging – and all the more necessary. Please help me to search my heart in a silent place where I can be cured from my self-deception and escape the disease of my world.

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For More: The Ministry of Silence by Brigid E. Herman

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“A faith without doubts is like a human body with no antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask the hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.” – Tim Keller   In these Daily Riches I hope to encourage “long reflection” rather than simplistic faith. Thanks for reading and sharing this daily blog! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: What God Must Do to Live In Us (Dietrich Bonhoeffer and John Donne) *

“In life with Jesus Christ, death as a general fate approaching us from without is confronted by death from within, one’s own death, the free death of daily dying with Jesus Christ. Those who live with Christ die daily to their own will. Christ in us gives us over to death so that he can live within us. Thus our inner dying grows to meet that death from without. Christians receive their own death in this way and in this way our physical death very truly becomes not the end but rather the fulfillment of our life with Jesus Christ. Here we enter into community with the One who at his own death was able to say, ‘It is finished.’” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Here I never saw myself but in disguises; there, then, I shall see myself, but I shall see God too…. Here I have one faculty enlightened, and another left in darkness; mine understanding sometimes cleared, my will at the same time perverted. There I shall be all light, no shadow upon me; my soul invested in the light of joy, and my body in the light of glory.” John Donne

“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”
2 Corinthians 2:10

Moving From Head to Heart

  • “Christ in us gives us over to death (crucifixion) so that he can live (resurrection) within us.” What has this meant in your life?
  • These mini-deaths are “free” in that we choose them or submit to them. Have you been able choose to receive these kinds of difficult losses and trials as Christ’s “gift?”
  • “Our inner dying grows to meet that death from without.” How do these words affect your feelings about your own death?
  • Take a few moments to think about your physical death becoming “not the end but rather the fulfillment of [your] life with Jesus Christ.” Sit with that in quietness. What emotions arise from that?

Abba, the experience of death from within is both painful and frightening. Even so, I want to embrace the “deaths” you send my way so that Jesus will live more fully in me. Please help me “die to my own will” as I submit to your will for me when it comes to this “daily dying with Jesus Christ.”

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For More: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

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“Let us, on both sides, lay aside all arrogance. Let us not, on either side, claim that we have already discovered the truth. Let us seek it together as something which is known to neither of us. For then only may we seek it, lovingly and tranquilly, if there be no bold presumption that it is already discovered and possessed.” Augustine   My prayer is that these Daily Riches will always be offered and received in this irenic, unpresumptous spirit. Thank you for reading and sharing my daily posts. Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Busyness – Evidence of Laziness and Vanity (Eugene Peterson) *

“I want to appear important. What better way than to be busy? The incredible hours, the crowded schedule, and the heavy demands of my time are proof to myself and to all who will notice – that I am important. …I live in a society in which crowded schedules and harassed conditions are evidence of importance, so I develop a crowded schedule and harassed conditions. When others notice, they acknowledge my significance, and my vanity is fed. …Busyness is the enemy of spirituality. It is essentially laziness. It is doing the easy thing instead of the hard thing. It’s filling our time with our own actions instead of paying attention to God’s action. It’s taking charge.” Eugene Peterson

“Martha… said, ‘Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you
that my sister just sits here while I do all the work?
Tell her to come and help me.’
But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha,
you are worried and upset over all these details!
There is only one thing worth being concerned about.
Mary has discovered it,
and it will not be taken away from her.’”
Luke 10:40-42

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Martha failed to realize she had an agenda for Jesus’ visit, and that it was her, not her sister who was creating stress. (This is Merton’s “activity … where no activity is required.”) Have you fallen into this trap lately?
  • If we didn’t have the analysis by Jesus, wouldn’t we assume that Mary’s inconsiderate sister was wrong for refusing to help? that Martha realized what was important and that Mary did not? (Think about the prescriptions of hospitality both now and then.) Which sister would we admire more? We only know better because we’ve become so familiar (if not comfortable) with this story. Don’t you agree that Jesus’ analysis is unexpected and counterintuitive?
  • Which sister do you resemble more? If Martha, could it be because you “want to appear important?”

Abba, I often feel I know just what needs to happen, and just as often fail to consider that you may have other plans or priorities. Help me to be more aware of my motives, and to listen to you before creating more drama for myself and others.

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For More: The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson

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“Then suddenly it happened, I lost every dime, but I’m richer by far, with a satisfied mind.” (“Satisfied Mind”, lyrics by Red Hayes and Jack Rhodes) Often it’s in our most painful losses that we find what really matters, and the satisfaction found in God alone. I hope that Daily Riches will help you to be “richer by far” as you grow in such satisfaction. Thanks for reading and sharing Daily Riches!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Spiritual Formation Every Moment, Every Day (J. I. Packer) *

“Cross-bearing is the long lesson of our mortal life. It is a part of God’s salvation, called sanctification. It is a lesson set before us every moment of every day. It concerns this strange and daunting business of how strain and pain–passion, in the sense of conscious suffering voluntarily accepted–may be transmuted into glory. If life were an art lesson, we could describe it as a process of finding how to turn this mud into that porcelain, this discord into that sonata, this ugly stone block into that statue, this tangle of threads into that tapestry. In fact, however, the stakes are higher than in any art lesson. It is in the school of sainthood that we find ourselves enrolled and the artifact that is being made is ourselves.” J. I. Packer

“Surely it was for my benefit
  that I suffered such anguish.”
  Isaiah 38:17
(King Hezekiah, after recovering from a near fatal illness)

From the Head to the Heart

  • What could you do on a daily basis to be more aware of God’s work in you, “transmuting” you, in “every moment of every day?”
  • What kinds of things keep you from this awareness?
  • Packer reminds us that this is “the long lesson of our mortal life.” Can you be patient with yourself and God during this long, gradual process of “strain and pain” and “anguish?”

Abba, help me to be mindful each day of the ways you’re working to change me through my circumstances – especially when it comes to “conscious suffering voluntarily accepted.” Help me in this school of sainthood.

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For More: Christianity: The True Humanism by J. I Packer and Thomas Howard

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These Daily Riches are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you with something of uncommon value each day in 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others as we learn together to find our satisfaction in our unfailingly loving God. (Psalm 90:14) . I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest! – Bill

Daily Riches: Your Soul as God’s Dwelling Place (Gordon MacDonald, Parker Palmer and Richard Foster) *

“The forming of the soul that it might be a dwelling place for God is the primary work of the Christian leader. This is not an add-on, an option, or a third-level priority. Without this core activity, one almost guarantees that he/she will not last in leadership for a life-time or that what work is accomplished will become less and less reflective of God’s honor and God’s purposes.”  Gordon MacDonald

“Self care is never a selfish act. It is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have – the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” Parker Palmer

“The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.” Richard Foster

“I am the vine; you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you,
you will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing.”
Jesus in John 15:5

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • The first quote is meant for pastors, but isn’t it true for all of us? The problem is, many of us (pastors included) don’t think of the forming of our own soul as our “primary work.” Do you think of this as your most important work, or are you more focused on serving God and others?
  • Can you imagine offering your best self to your marriage, your family, your neighborhood, your church, your country – to anything – without such a focus?
  • Gordon MacDonald and many of us insisted on learning this the hard way. Will you also need to learn by suffering and painful loss, or can you heed these words of warning? Can you make an action plan so that you don’t fool yourself now with merely good intentions?

Abba, I know that you have taken up residence in me already, and that I’ll always be your dwelling place. It’s only whether I’ll be a holy or unholy one, whether an expansive, welcoming one, or a restricted inhospitable one. Help me to welcome you as lovingly as you have welcomed me.

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For More: “Cultivating the Soul: Spiritual Formation Can Happen, Without Saying a Word” (article) by Gordon MacDonald

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“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.” (Marie Antionette) , and thus “Men more often require to be reminded than informed.”  (Samuel Johnson) The purpose of Daily Riches is to return again and again to a list of critical concepts at the core of the spiritual life. “Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you [may] already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught.” (2 Peter 1:12)  I appreciate your interest! When you find this helpful, please share! – Bill

Daily Riches: Praised, Blamed – and Loved by God (Donald McCullough) *

“One of the most important gifts that came my way in those days of misery [removal from ministry], I now realize, was the loss of public approval. … It forcibly separated me–the essential me– from the public’s perception of me. … To learn, not just in my head but in the depths of my being, that I was someone different from and always more than the perception of others was like being in a hot, stuffy room and having the windows thrown open. … [Now] I’m not much impressed with the cheering or overly worried about the jeering. I am who I am thank God. And yes, thank God, because who I am is a child of God, a beloved of God, a man in whom God takes delight. I had known this before, to be sure, but I didn’t know how much I still needed to learn it until I came to the limitations of public approval. Enduring these limitations was something I wouldn’t have wished on my worst enemy; now it’s something that, if not for the dishonor of it, I would covet for my dearest friends.”  Donald McCullough

“Everyone said I was doing really well, but something inside me was telling me my success was putting my soul in danger.”  Henri Nouwen

“I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court;
indeed, I do not even judge myself.  …
It is the Lord who judges me. …
He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness
and will expose the motives of the heart.
At that time each will receive their praise from God.”
the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:3-5

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you know in the depths of your being that you’re “someone different from and always more than the perception of others?”
  • Have you come to the place where you can “care very little” about the cheering or jeering (or judgment) of others?
  • The next time someone cheers you or jeers you, can you return to your “essential” status as “beloved of God” instead of letting cheering or jeering define you?

Abba, I need to sense you love for, acceptance of,  and approval of me in the depths of my being. Please keep me from being distracted from this by what others think of me – by either their blame or their praise.

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For More: The Consolations of Desolation by Donald McCullough

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“Then suddenly it happened, I lost every dime, but I’m richer by far, with a satisfied mind.” (“Satisfied Mind”, lyrics by Red Hayes and Jack Rhodes) Often it’s in our most painful losses that we find what really matters, and the satisfaction found in God alone. I hope that Daily Riches will help you to be “richer by far” as you grow in such satisfaction. Thanks for reading and sharing Daily Riches!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Solitude and Silence in a World of Noise (George Orwell, Kathleen Norris and Peter Scazzero) *

“It seemed to him that he knew exactly what it felt like to sit in a room like this, in an armchair beside an open fire with your feet in the fender and a kettle on the hob, utterly alone, utterly secure with nobody watching you, no voice pursuing you, no sound except the singing of the kettle and the friendly ticking of the clock. … To do anything that suggested a taste for solitude, even to go for a walk by yourself, was always slightly dangerous. There was a word for it in Newspeak: ownlife, it was called, meaning individualism and eccentricity.” George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-four 

“The ordinary, daily practice of silence
is a prophetic stance in our world of noise.
It is one of the greatest gifts we can offer the world.”
Kathleen Norris

“Intentional silence serves as a necessary
and valuable counterweight
to a society filled
with thoughtless and excessive words.”
Peter Scazzero

“Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.”   Psalm 4:4

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you know what it feels like to “sit in a room … utterly alone … [with] no sound?” Do you seek out or avoid such experiences?
  • In Orwell’s created world, to have your ownlife was considered “slightly dangerous.” Look at Scazzero’s quote again and consider why that would be.
  • Do you make the experience of solitude and silence a priority in your life? Is it reflected in some plan or schedule? If not, why not?

Abba, as I seek you in the silence of solitude, may I encounter reality, experience sanity and discover wisdom. I want to have my ownlife, not one choreographed for me by those who control the noise and nonsense – the disinformation, the mythology – of my world.

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“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against.” (Malcolm X)  I love these words of Malcolm X , but I don’t agree with everything he’s said, written or done. The same is true for those who show up on the pages of Daily Riches. Eventually, writers and teachers from many diverse backgrounds will make an appearance here, and I offer their insights to you without any kind of vetting for “orthodoxy.” Sometimes we learn the most from those with whom we differ, and to turn only to those who are always right or reliable would eliminate everyone. My working assumption in Daily Riches is that the spirit of God will lead you into all truth. So I hope you’ll read, seeking to have your “truth” challenged, critiqued, and improved – and that a priori you’ll be for the truth no matter who tells it. That’s difficult but always worth the effort. Thanks for reading and sharing my daily blog. Bill (Psalm 90:14)

 

Daily Riches: Being the Beloved of God (Henri Nouwen) *

“Many voices ask for our attention. There is a voice that says, ‘Prove that you are a good person.’ Another voice says, ‘You’d better be ashamed of yourself.’ There also is a voice that says, ‘Nobody really cares about you,’ and one that says, ‘Be sure to become successful, popular, and powerful.’ But underneath all these often very noisy voices is a still, small voice that says, ‘You are my Beloved, my favor rests on you.’ That’s the voice we need most of all to hear. To hear that voice, however, requires special effort; it requires solitude, silence, and a strong determination to listen. That’s what prayer is. It is listening to the voice that calls us ‘my Beloved.'”  Henri Nouwen

“The silence of solitude is nothing but dead silence when it does not make us alert for a new voice sounding from beyond all human chatter.” Nouwen

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is Christ’s love,
and to know by experience this love that surpasses knowledge —
that you may be filled to the measure
of all the fullness from God.”
Ephesians 3:17b-19 (my trans.)

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • I’ve heard all these other insistent, noisy voices, with their deceiving and devastating counsel. Have you?
  • Just how “wide and long and high and deep is Christ’s love” for you? Do you actually “know by experience” about God’s love for you, or is this something you merely believe or confess?
  • Are you spending sufficient time in the silence of solitude to hear for yourself that you are God’s “beloved?” If not, what specifically can you do about that?

Abba, may I be rooted and grounded in Christ’s unfailing love for me, comprehending that which surpasses knowledge as I experience it in the deepest part of who I am. Help me to protect silent spaces where I can listen to your voice.

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For More: The Still, Small Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen

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Thomas Merton expresses my heart for Daily Riches: “If I dare, in these few words, to ask you some direct and personal questions, it is because I address them as much to myself as to you. It is because I am still able to hope that a civil exchange of ideas can take place between two persons — that we have not yet reached the stage where we are all hermetically sealed, each one in the collective arrogance and despair of his own herd.” I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. (Psalm 90:14) . I appreciate your interest! – Bill

Daily Riches: The Spiritual Journey is a Series of Humiliations (Thomas Keating and Richard Rohr) *

“The spiritual journey is not a career or a success story. It is a series of humiliations of the false self that become more and more profound. These make room inside us for the Holy Spirit to come in and heal. What prevents us from being available to God is gradually evacuated. We keep getting closer and closer to our center. Every now and then God lifts a corner of the veil and enters into our awareness through various channels, as if to say, ‘Here I am. Where are you? Come and Join me.'” Thomas Keating

“The path of descent is the path of transformation. Darkness, failure, relapse, death, and woundedness are our primary teachers, rather than ideas or doctrines.” Richard Rohr

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He lifts up;
and every branch that bears fruit,
He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”
John 15:1,2 [my trans.]

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are you able to think of the Christian journey as “a series of humiliations?”  as a painful cutting away? as a “path of descent?”
  • If the “false self” consists of all the masks we wear, our defense mechanisms and egocentric way of life, can you see why it must be “humiliated” or put in its place? Can you see the need for this in your life?
  • Can you see God’s good behind it (availability, fruitfulness, transformation) and hear his invitation: “Here I am. Where are you? Come and Join me.”?

Abba, thank you for seeking greater intimacy with me – for evacuating and pruning away what hinders me from that intimacy – and from fruitfulness. Here I am Lord, willing to embrace the necessary humiliation and loss to be made more whole.

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For More: The Human Condition: Contemplation and Transformation by Thomas Keating

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Thomas Merton’s goal is his writing is the same as mine in this blog: “The purpose of a book of meditations is to teach you how to think and not to do your thinking for you. Consequently if you pick up such a book and simply read it through, you are wasting your time. As soon as any thought stimulates your mind or your heart you can put the book down because your meditation has begun.” I’m not Thomas Merton (!), yet I hope these Daily Riches will lead you into much life-enriching mediation. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Trying to Give Water From an Empty Well (Parker Palmer and Pete Scazzero) *

“When I give something I do not possess, I give a false and dangerous gift, a gift that looks like love but is, in reality, loveless – a gift given more from my need to prove myself than from the other’s need to be cared for. One sign that I am violating my own nature in the name of nobility is a condition called burnout. Though usually regarded as a result of trying to give too much, burnout in my experience results from trying to give what I do not possess – the ultimate in giving too little! Burnout is a state of emptiness, to be sure, but it does not result from giving all I have; it merely reveals the nothingness from which I was trying to give in the first place.” Parker Palmer

“Remaining in loving union with Jesus is a matter of life and death for us as well as for everyone who looks to us for nourishment.” Peter Scazzero

“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
Jeremiah 2:13

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you ever felt burned out? Looking back, to you have insight now into what happened? Were you “giving something you did not possess?”
  • Do you see “nourishing your soul” as a matter of life and death for you? Do you see how failing do to so can make you “dangerous?”
  • Is busyness, drivenness, exhaustion or a dangerous sense of self-sufficiency keeping you from nourishing your soul?
  • You you have a specific plan to cultivate loving union with God, “the spring of living water?” If not, where could you begin?

Abba, when I come to the end of my rope – when my well is empty  – when I’m running on fumes – when my experience of you is tired or second-hand … may I remember then to address the “nothingness” in my inner life before I attempt to do anything else.  And may I remember my need even when it seems like I’m doing fine.

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For More: Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer

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“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.” (Marie Antionette) , and thus “Men more often require to be reminded than informed.”  (Samuel Johnson) The purpose of Daily Riches is to return again and again to a list of critical concepts at the core of the spiritual life. “Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you [may] already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught.” (2 Peter 1:12)  I appreciate your interest! When you find this helpful, please share! – Bill

Daily Riches: Desolation’s Gift (Ruth Barrows and Kathleen Norris) *

“‘God is trying to get us to accept a state where we have no assurance within that all is well … where no clear path lies before us, where there is no way; a state of spiritual inadequacy experienced in it’s raw, humiliating bitterness.’ Only when we admit that we have “no way” do we have any hope of finding one. Out of what seems desolate a newly vigorous faith can arise, a certainty that is not subject to changes in moods or feelings, or the vicissitudes of life.” Kathleen Norris, quoting Carmelite Ruth Burrows

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way,
consider it an opportunity for great joy.
for when your endurance is fully developed,
you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
James 1:2,4

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Our first response is not usually to look at “desolation” and “troubles” as gifts or an “opportunity for great joy.” Burrows, Norris and James team up to convince us otherwise.
  • Being “complete” (James) sounds a lot like Norris’s “vigorous faith” … not subject to changes in moods or feelings, or the vicissitudes of life.” Have you experienced the kind of faith that transcends feelings and circumstances? If so, did you learn it in times of ease, or in times of trouble?
  • Have you ever thought of desolation as God’s gift to you as his child – “giving” trouble into your life so you enter a state where “there is no way?”  where you experience “spiritual inadequacy” and “humiliating bitterness?” I imagine for many who follow Jesus, that would be a new, and perhaps disturbing thought. It sounds pretty brutal. Might it be true?
  • Can you embrace desolation in your life in order to receive its gift? Perhaps if we can remember the ministry of desolation in our lives, we won’t refuse it. Is there desolation at work right now in your life? Will you embrace it?

Abba, thank you for working in me to make me whole. Help me to embrace your sometimes painful love.

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For More: Acedia & Me by Kathleen Norris

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“There grows in me an immense dissatisfaction with all that is merely passively accepted as truth, without struggle and without examination. Faith, surely, is not passive, and not an evasion. And today, more than ever, the things we believe, I mean especially the things we accept on human faith—reported matters of ‘fact,’ questions of history, of policy, of interpretation, of wants—they should be very few.” Thomas Merton   These Daily Riches are designed to encourage examination of convictions, of faith, so that we increasingly trust in the God who is really there, and less in our ideas of Him. Thanks for reading and sharing my daily blog. –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: When No One is Applauding (Richard Foster) *

“Because our daily tasks afford us constant opportunity to engage in the ministry of small things it is through this work that we become most intimately acquainted with God. … Small things are the genuinely big things in the kingdom of God. It is here we truly face the issues of obedience and discipleship. It is not hard to be a model disciple amid camera lights and press releases. But in the small corners of life, in those areas of service that will never be newsworthy or gain us any recognition we must hammer out the meaning of obedience. Amid the obscurity of family and friends, neighbors, and work associates, we find God.” Richard Foster

“Whoever can be trusted with very little
can also be trusted with much,  
and whoever is dishonest with very little
will also be dishonest with much.”
Luke 16:10

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you normally think of your “daily tasks … amid the obscurity of family and friends” as opportunities for important ministry? as opportunities for profound personal transformation? as opportunities to “find God?”
  • Are you content to labor away in obscurity, ministering for God in a way that no one but God will ever notice? What does your answer say about you?
  • Sometimes it’s hard for me when I realize, “I’m invisible. No one notices me. No one is applauding.” Can you relate? Do you think this painful experience can be beneficial?

Abba, I want to live with you as my sole audience, needing only your applause. Deliver me from the worry about what others think of me. Help me to do “small things” faithfully, with confidence that you’re using them to shape my life.

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For More: The Challenged of the Disciplined Life by Richard Foster

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: A Spirituality of Waiting (Henri Nouwen) *

“To wait open-endedly is an enormously radical attitude toward life. So is to trust that something will happen to us that is far beyond our imaginings. So, too, is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life, trusting that God molds us according to God’s love and not according to our fear. The spiritual life is a life in which we wait, actively present to the moment, trusting that new things will happen to us, new things that are far beyond our own imagination, fantasy, or prediction. That, indeed, is a very radical stance toward life in a world preoccupied with control.”  Henri Nouwen

“Hear my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
In the morning, Lord,
you hear my voice;
in the morning
I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.”
Psalm 5:2,3

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are you willing to try to resist your fears and allow God to “mold you according to his love?”
  • Nouwen describes our world as one “preoccupied with control.” What are you attempting to control in your life that you need to relinquish to God?
  • Take a moment to open your hands to God and pray, releasing control to him of whatever you may be grasping, and welcoming whatever it is he wants to give you in his love. Are you able to do that? How does it make you feel?

Abba, help me to succeed in “waiting patiently in expectation” (Simone Weil) rather than trying to control my life and those around me. Help me to trust you when I’m disillusioned, anxious, confused, angry, frustrated, in a hurry, or when I feel like you’re not paying attention. Help me to embrace the anxiety that is a part of waiting well.

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For More: “A Spirituality of Waiting” by Henri Nouwen (PDF)

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“A faith without doubts is like a human body with no antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask the hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection” – Tim Keller  In these Daily Riches I hope to encourage “long reflection” rather than simplistic faith. Thanks for reading and sharing this daily blog! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: When You’re Addicted to the Approval of Others (John Ortberg) *

“Vast amounts of human behavior, though painstakingly disguised, are simply attempts at showing off. … If we begin listening for these kinds of comments, we will discover that attempting to control the way others think of us is one of the primary uses we put words to in contemporary society. Human conversation is largely an endless attempt to convince others that we are more assertive or clever or gentle or successful than they might think if we did not carefully educate them.”  John Ortberg

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood
and speak truthfully to your neighbor,
for we are all members of one body.”
Ephesians 4:25

From The Head to the Heart

  • How much does it matter to you what other people think of you?
  • In conversation or on social media, do you work hard to cause people to see you in a certain way? What does your answer say about you?
  • What would it look like if you stopped trying to “carefully educate” others so they would think well of you? Can you name several things that would change?

Abba, you are enough for me. You suffice. I only really need to please you. Help me to remember this in the midst of all the temptations to do otherwise. Help me to live each day for your approval.

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For More: The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg

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“Let us, on both sides, lay aside all arrogance. Let us not, on either side, claim that we have already discovered the truth. Let us seek it together as something which is known to neither of us. For then only may we seek it, lovingly and tranquilly, if there be no bold presumption that it is already discovered and possessed.” – Augustine   My prayer is that these Daily Riches will always be offered and received in this irenic, unpresumptuous spirit. Thank you for reading and sharing my daily posts. Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Where We Expect God Least, There He Comes (Frederick Buechner) *

“Once [those who believe in God] have seen him in a stable, they can never be sure where he will appear or to what lengths he will go or to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation he will descend in his wild pursuit of man. If holiness and the awful power and majesty of God were present in this least auspicious of all events, this birth of a peasant’s child, then there is no place or time so lowly and earthbound but that holiness can be present there too. And this means … [there is] no place where we are safe from his power to break in two and recreate the human heart because it is just where he seems most helpless that he is most strong, and just where we least expect him that he comes most fully.”  Frederick Buechner

“… he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”
Isaiah 53:3

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • The birth of Jesus was the “least auspicious of all events.” In other words, God was up to something big, but no-one would have guessed it. But “where we least expect him … he comes most fully.” Where do you “least expect” God to come?
  • In weak people and inauspicious situations God is often “most strong.” Are you weak, even tragically flawed? Are you in a hopeless situation? Doesn’t that actually make your life more likely as a staging ground for some work of God? Can you think about your life in that way?

Abba, I want to learn to expect you not only there but “here”, not only then, but “now”, not only for them, but “for me.” I admit I’m an unlikely candidate who seems likely to fail. Help me therefore all the more to look with expectation for your coming in my life.

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For More: Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons by Frederick Buechner

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)