Daily Riches: Hurry and the Purpose of Life (Vianna Moog, Mother Teresa, Heidi Baker, Eugene Peterson) *

“It seemed then, that my purpose in life was to get the most out of life. … I still assumed that the way to this was to strive to do more and more things … always driving to do more things – to read more books, to learn more languages, to see more people, not to miss anything … a miser-like grabbing and piling up of experience.” Marion Milner in A Life of One’s Own  …………. “I began my lifework on the assumption that I might not live long enough to accomplish everything I’d like to. If I wanted to do anything worthwhile in my life I’d have to hurry up. I have been in a hurry ever since.” Robert Schuller

“The American no longer knows how to contemplate; he does not know how to reflect or even rest.”  Brazilian sociologist Vianna Moog

“The world is lost for want of sweetness and kindness. People are starving for love because everyone is in such a great rush.”  Mother Teresa

“Ministry is simply about loving the person in front of you. It’s about stopping for the one and being the very fragrance of Jesus to a lost and dying world.”  Heidi Baker

“When we are noisy and when we are hurried we are incapable of intimacy—deep, personal, complex relationships. ” Eugene Peterson

“This is what the Sovereign Yahweh,
the Holy One of Israel, says:
‘In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.’”
Isaiah 30:15

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you anxiously “striving” for more and more? Have you worried that you “might not live long enough” to accomplish everything you want to accomplish? What happens to you in the grip of such fears?
  • According to Moog, Americans don’t know how to contemplate, reflect “or even rest.” In Isaiah’s day God called the people to rest in him, but they “would have none of it.” Do you refuse God’s rest so you can strive for more and more? If so, why?
  • Salvation and strength are found in “quietness and trust” and “rest.” How can you create times of quiet, trusting rest in your daily schedule? your weekly schedule?

Abba, teach me to rest in you, trusting your care for me. Work in me to break the hold that “more” has on my life as I refuse, not your rest, but my striving.

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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: Attending to God in Prayer (Thomas Merton and John Higgins) *

Contemplative prayer, for Thomas Merton, “…is essentially a listening … meant to open man’s heart to God by enabling him to surrender his inmost depths to God’s presence within him. … Therefore, man’s whole life of prayer must consist in a dynamic and loving attention to the presence of God and an awareness of his own dependence upon Him. Man belongs to God and it is in prayer that he must come to realize that the depths of his own being and life are meaningful and real only to the extent that they are open to God.”  John Higgins

“First, [contemplation] is supposed to give you sufficient control over your mind and memory and will to enable you to recollect yourself and withdraw from exterior things … and second–this is the real end of contemplation–it teaches you how to become aware of the presence of God; and most of all it aims at bringing you to a state of almost constant loving attention to God, and dependence on Him.” Thomas Merton

 “O God, you are my God;
  I earnestly search for you.
  My soul thirsts for you;
  my whole body longs for you
  in this parched and weary land
  where there is no water.”
  Psalm 63:1

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you think of prayer as giving your “loving attention to the presence of God?” Think about this understanding of prayer and then about your prayers and the prayers of others. Isn’t it easy to fall short of being present to God in a loving way?
  • Making requests is central to prayer, but prayer filled only with speaking can distract us from any real “listening.” Does this happen to you? What could you do differently to make sure you’re not only speaking but listening?
  • If there ever was a time when we lived in a “parched and weary land where there is no water” for our thirsty souls, it’s now. Listen to the psalmist again as he prays from a place of deep longing for God. Does your urgency to find satisfaction in the person of God manifest itself in this kind of urgency?

Abba, as I pray with the words you’ve given, help me to enter into the experience of thirst and satisfaction that you have for me. You are my God. I need you every hour.

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For More:  Thomas Merton on Prayer by John J. Higgins

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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: Marriage and Spiritual Formation (Eugene Peterson and Jean-Pierre de Caussade) *

“There is something deeply flawed in me that separates me from the God who wills my salvation; that ‘something’ seems to be located in and around my will. …The relation of God’s will and my will … is the question. The way we answer it shapes our humanity in every dimension. …a few years into marriage, I was surprised to find myself at the center of what has turned out to be the richest experience yet in my will and God’s will. I had supposed when I entered marriage that it was mostly about sexuality, domesticity, companionship, and children. The surprise was that I was in a graduate school for spirituality–prayer and God–with daily assignments and frequent exams in matters of the will.” Eugene Peterson

“Everything helps me to God.” Jean-Pierre de Caussade

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do
I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.
Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  Matthew 26:39b

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • You don’t have to attend seminary for training in the life of faith. If you’re married, that is your “graduate school for spirituality.” Do you think about marriage that way?
  • Marriage is 24/7/365, so disappointing behavior, annoying habits and character flaws are obvious. Our divine “assignment” is loving without restraint, forgiving with abandon, returning good for evil–and other terribly difficult things. Are you accepting these “daily assignments?” What are the specifics of what this looks like in your home?
  • “Everything helps me to God.” You don’t have to be married. God will use something–life with a spouse, alone, with children, with parents, in a church, in a workplace–as your “school for spirituality.” Look around. Married or not, how is God working to shape you at the very heart of who you are in whatever school you’re in?

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For More:  The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson, and my
Downward Mobility at Home

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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: Knowing Self, Knowing God (John Calvin and Thomas Merton) *

“… true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But while joined by many bonds, which one precedes and brings forth the other is not easy to discern. In the first place, no one can look upon himself without immediately turning his thoughts to the contemplation of God, in whom he ‘lives and moves’ [Acts 17:28]. …the knowledge of ourselves not only arouses us to seek God, but also, as it were, leads us by the hand to find him. Again, it is certain that man never achieves a clear knowledge of himself unless he has first looked upon God’s face, and then descends from contemplating him to scrutinize himself.”  John Calvin

“If I find God I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find God.” Merton

“Contemplation is also the response to a call … from Him Who has no voice, and yet Who speaks in everything that is, and Who, most of all, speaks in the depths of our own being….”  Merton

“I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord.
They will be my people, and I will be their God….”
Jeremiah 24:7a

Moving From the Head to the Heart

Calvin insists that “sound and true wisdom” consists in essentially two things – knowing ourselves and knowing God. We must know ourselves intimately to know God properly, and we must know God intimately to know ourselves properly.

  • Are you devoting as much effort to knowing yourself as you are to knowing God? Can you imagine truly knowing one and not the other?
  • Have you been “aroused to seek God” or “find” him in a new way through “scrutiny of yourself?”
  • Are you responding to the “call from Him Who has no voice, and yet Who speaks in everything?”  Do you try to listen for his voice “in the depths of your own being?”

Abba, lead me, as it were, by the hand into a deeper experience of knowing myself … and you.

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For More: The Institutes by John Calvin

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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: The Embarrassment of Being Ourselves (Henri Nouwen, Harold Fickett and Philip Yancey) *

“The internationally renowned priest and author, respected professor and beloved pastor Henri Nouwen wrote over 40 books on the spiritual life. He corresponded regularly in English, Dutch, German, French and Spanish with hundreds of friends and reached out to thousands…. Since his death in 1996, ever-increasing numbers of readers, writers, teachers and seekers have been guided by his literary legacy … in over 22 languages.”

“In his review of Nouwen’s book The Road to Daybreak, Harold Fickett wrote that he found it disappointing to read that the same problems described a decade earlier in [Nouwen’s] The Genesee Diary–deficient friendships, unrequited love, hurt feelings at perceived slights–continued to plague Nouwen. Fickett went on to explain, ‘It’s disappointing in exactly the same way it’s disappointing to be ourselves–the same person with the same problems who learns and then must relearn again and again the basic lessons of religious faith. Nouwen does not spare himself or us the embarrassment of this perennial truth.’” Philip Yancey

“My eyes are ever on the Lord,
for only he will release my feet from the snare.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish.
Look on my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins. …
do not let me be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.”
Psalm 25:15-20

Moving from Head to Heart

  • Like Nouwen, Fickett and Yancey, are you “the same person with the same problems” you had ten years ago? Welcome to the human race!
  • It’s “disappointing to be ourselves”, but what can we do? We can give up and live in shame, or be one “who learns and then must relearn again and again the basic lessons of religious faith.” Can you accept your bad track record and refuse to give up?
  • Can you be honest with others about the need for God’s grace in your life, not “sparing” them your embarrassment, to encourage them?

Abba, today I will take refuge in you.

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For More:  Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey

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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: Is Monastic Life Pointless? (Judith Valente, Aldous Huxley and Mother Teresa) *

“In all the historic formulations of the Perennial Philosophy it is axiomatic that the end of human life is contemplation … that a society is good to the extent that it renders contemplation possible for its members; and that the existence of at least a minority of contemplatives is necessary for the well-being of any society.”  Aldous Huxley

“I used to think of monasteries as hopeless throwbacks to the past, a case of let the last monk or sister standing turn out the lights. Now I look upon them as windows to the future — a future we desperately need in our society. One that stresses community over competition, consensus over conflict, simplicity over consumption, service over self-aggrandizement and quiet over the constant chatter in our lives.” Judith Valente

“The day consists primarily in prayer. …We are contemplatives who live in the midst of the world. …If we were not in constant union with God, it would be impossible for us to endure the sacrifices that are required to live among the destitute.” Mother Teresa

In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.” Isaiah 30:15

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you see how contemplatives are “necessary for the well-being of any society?” Do you have any in your life to learn from?
  • Can you imagine a community that “stresses community over competition, consensus over conflict, simplicity over consumption, service over self-aggrandizement and quiet over the constant chatter in our lives?” Shouldn’t that be the church? Does your church regularly call its members to these “monastic” values? Do you practice some of them yourself?
  • Mother Teresa insists that radical service must be undergirded by a contemplative lifestyle. In Isaiah God says strength is found by trusting him in quiet “rest.” Does your trust in God lead you to quiet rest? Are you attempting to live contemplatively?

Abba, may I be a “contemplative in this world”, practicing these ancient values, for my good, and the good of my world.

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For More: Atchison Blue by Judith Valente

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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)

Daily Riches: “Slow Jesus” (Pete Scazzero and Barbara Brown Taylor) *

“Jesus moved slowly, not striving or rushing. He patiently waited through his adolescent and young adult years to reveal himself as the Messiah. Even then, he did not rush to be recognized. He waited patiently for his Father’s timing during his short ministry. Why is it then that we hate ‘slow’ when God appears to delight in it?” Peter Scazzero

“Jesus walked a lot…. This gave him time to see things. If he had been moving more quickly–even to reach more people–these things might have become a blur to him. Because he was moving slowly, they came into focus for him, just as he came into focus for them. …While many of his present-day admirers pay close attention to what he said and did, they pay less attention to the pace at which he did it.” Barbara Brown Taylor

“…Jesus’ brothers said to him, ‘You ought to leave here and go to Judea,
so that your disciples may see the miracles you do.
No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret.
Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.’
… Jesus told them, ‘I am not yet going up to this Feast,
because for me the right time has not yet come.'”
John 7:3-8

Moving From Head to Heart

  • “No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret.” Jesus clearly knew of his divine identity and mission from his youth, but he kept it “secret” most of his life! What kind of plan was that?
  • Dallas Willard famously remarked that the best word to characterize Jesus was “relaxed.” He ministered under a microscope and the shadow of his violent death. No-one really understood him. The power brokers of his day eventually all turned on him. It was in this context that he was “relaxed.” What does that reveal about him?
  • And yet, as his followers, we seem to “hate slow.” We don’t relax. Do you hate slow? Can you relax? What do your answers reveal about you?

LORD, grant me the grace to do one thing at a time today, without rushing or hurrying. Help me to savor the sacred in all I do, be it large or small. By the Holy Spirit within me, empower me to pause today as I move from one activity to the next. In Jesus’ name. (Scazzero)

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Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day by Pete Scazzero

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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)

Daily Riches: Our Deep Need for Approval (Anthony de Mello and Brennan Manning) *

“Look at your life and see how you have filled its emptiness with people. As a result they have a stranglehold on you. See how they control your behavior by their approval and disapproval. They hold the power to ease your loneliness with their company, to send your spirits soaring with their praise, to bring you down to the depths with their criticism and rejection. Take a look at yourself spending almost every waking minute of your day placating and pleasing people, whether they are living or dead. You live by their norms, conform to their standards, seek their company, desire their love, dread their ridicule, long for their applause, meekly submit to the guilt they lay upon you; you are terrified to go against the fashion in the way you dress or speak or act or even think.” Anthony de Mello

“When we freely assent to the mystery of our belovedness and accept our core identity as Abba’s child, we slowly gain autonomy from controlling relationships. We become inner-directed rather than outer-determined. The fleeting flashes of pleasure or pain caused by the affirmation or deprivation of others will never entirely disappear, but their power to induce self-betrayal will be diminished.”  Brennan Manning

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
   for my hope is in him.
 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
  my fortress where I will not be shaken.
 My victory and honor come from God alone.”
 Psalm 62:5-7a

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you aware of how much control over your life you’re giving away? Have you lost yourself somewhere in the process?
  • Is your core identity that of “Abba’s child?” If not, what needs to change?
  • Are you willing to be true to yourself and learn to resist the urge to “betray” yourself when you feel pressure from others?

Abba, help me to slowly gain autonomy from the controlling relationships in my life as I look for approval from you alone.

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For More: The Way to Love by Anthony de Mello

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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: Inconvenient Epiphanies (John L’Heureux and Dorothy Day) *

“Christ came into my room and stood there….

I had work to do….
I didn’t ask him to sit down;
He’d have stayed all day.
… So I said to him after a while,
Well, what’s up? What do you want?
And he laughed …
Said he was just passing by
And thought he’d say hello.
Great, I said. Hello.
So he left.
And I was so mad
I couldn’t even listen to the radio. I went
And got some coffee.
The trouble with Christ is
He always comes at the wrong time!”
John L’Heureux, “The Trouble with Epiphanies”

“If everyone were holy and handsome, with ‘alter Christus’ shining in neon lighting from them, it would be easy to see Christ in everyone. If Mary had appeared in Bethlehem clothed, as St. John says, with the sun, a crown of twelve stars on her head and the moon under her feet, then people would have fought to make room for her. But that was not God’s way for her nor is it Christ’s way for Himself now when He is disguised under every type of humanity that treads the earth.” Dorothy Day

“He came into the very world he created,
but the world didn’t recognize him.BwlWW2NCQAE0JYW
He came to his own people,
and even they rejected him.”
John 1: 10-11

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Would you say you’re a “driven” person? Do you sometimes choose to work when you know you should spend some time with Jesus?
  • Think about the reception that Joseph and Mary received looking for lodging in Bethlehem. Think about the world’s response to it’s creator, the Jew’s response to their Messiah. How often do you think you might have been oblivious to a divine “epiphany?”
  • Do you look for Jesus who is “disguised under every type of humanity that treads the earth?”

Abba, you are daily coming into my life and world, sometimes “seen”, but no doubt more often in many fabulous, unlikely disguises. Graciously open my eyes Lord. Graciously prepare my heart.

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For More:  Praying in the Presence of Our Lord by Dorothy Day

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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: The Limitations of Words (Hermann Hesse, Ernesto Cardinal, Ruth Hayley Barton, Mother Teresa) *

“When a person has grown old and has done his all, it is his task peacefully to make friends with death. He does not need other people. He knows them and has seen enough of them. What he needs is peace. It is not seemly to seek out such a person, to talk to him, to torment him with your chatter. At the gateway to his home the proper thing is to pass by, as if nobody lived there.” Hermann Hesse –  This was the notice on the door of his house upon award of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

“Whoever loves God wishes to be alone. Like newlyweds who do not want to have their intimacy interrupted by outsiders, those who have felt the love of God retire into silence and solitude.” Ernesto Cardenal

“In solitude and silence, we become quiet enough to hear a voice that is not our own.” Ruth Haley Barton

“… God cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence.” Mother Teresa

“… fools multiply words.”  Ecclesiastes. 10:14
“When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
but he who restrains his lips is wise.”  Proverbs 10:19
“The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint.”  Proverbs 17:27a

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you aware enough of the needs of others to know when to “pass by?” not to “torment them with your chatter?”  to “restrain your lips?”
  • Have you ever felt like a “newlywed” with God, wanting to “retire into silence and solitude” with him? If not, why not?
  • There is great value in silence. By silence we learn the limitations of speech. Are you able to refrain from words in order to let yourself hear “words that are not your own?”  for someone else to hear God’s words?

Abba, today I will hallow your name by leaving enough silent spaces to hear from you, waiting for my turn to speak, talking less and listening more, and speaking only out of love.

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For More:  Abide in Love by Ernesto Cardenal

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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: Disappointment in the Church (Dallas Willard) *

“Seventeen years of ministerial efforts in a wide range of denominational settings had made it clear to me that what Christians were normally told to do … was not advancing them spiritually. Of course, most Christians had been told by me as by others to attend the services of the church, give of time and money, pray, read the Bible, do good to others, and witness to their faith. And certainly they should do these things. … It was painfully clear to me [though] that, with rare and beautiful exceptions, Christians were not able to do even these few necessary things in a way that … would be an avenue to life filled and possessed of God. All pleasing and doctrinally sound schemes of Christian education, church growth, and spiritual renewal came around at last to this disappointing result.” Dallas Willard

“The average church-going Christian has a headful of vital truths about God and a body unable to fend off sin.”  Dallas Willard

“Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit
but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ.
I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.
Indeed, you are still not ready. … Are you not acting like mere humans?
1 Corinthians 3:1-3

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Have you ever felt like you just couldn’t get the Christian life to work? If so, did you ever doubt the faith itself, blame yourself – or blame God? Do you hear what Willard is saying in this regard: “It’s not your fault. You could hardly have done better. No one told you what to do.” Can you dare to accept that?
  • The usual approach “will guarantee that this transformation does not come to pass”, but there is a better approach, whose application will “expel the darkness… little by little.” Can you still believe that God can make you more than a “mere human?”
  • Will you make a new start? embracing untried practices as you seek “a life … possessed of God?” Do you hear God calling you to that?

Abba, help me in my new, better, wiser start.

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For More: The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard

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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)