Daily Riches: Five Most Popular Posts in 2015

Happy new years and major thanks for all of you who subscribe to (or otherwise follow) and share my blog. It’s definitely a labor of love for me, and your interest, prayers and support mean a lot.

My Stats:

  • Posted 295 times  (602 posts in the archives)
  • Read in 18 Countries (including Zimbabwe)
  • Viewed 33,000 times in 2015

The most popular post on my busiest traffic day (167 views) was Daily Riches: When More Knowledge, Enthusiasm and Motivation Doesn’t Work (Pete Scazzero).

So, especially to the many who encourage me, to those who are giving prayerful consideration to the posts, to those who read on a daily basis–but really to everyone involved in this project … THANK YOU. I love the connection we have, the “riches” we can share together, and the knowledge that God is at work in all of it.

May you live in the love of God, surrounded by the grace of God–and may God be glorified.


Daily Riches: Make Up Your Mind About Others … Once and For All (Henri Nouwen and Marcus Borg)

“To the degree that we accept that through Christ we ourselves have been reconciled with God we can be messengers of reconciliation for others. Essential to the work of reconciliation is a nonjudgmental presence. We are not sent to the world to judge, to condemn, to evaluate, to classify, or to label. When we walk around as if we have to make up our mind about people and tell them what is wrong with them and how they should change, we will only create more division. Jesus says it clearly: ‘Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge; … do not condemn; … forgive’ (Luke 6:36-37). In a world that constantly asks us to make up our minds about other people, a nonjudgmental presence seems nearly impossible. But it is one of the most beautiful fruits of a deep spiritual life and will be easily recognized by those who long for reconciliation.” Henri Nouwen

“Those of my university students who have grown up outside of the church (about half of them) have a very negative stereotypical view of Christianity. When I ask them to write a short essay on their impression of Christianity, they consistently use five adjectives: Christians are literalistic, anti-intellectual, self-righteous, judgmental, and bigoted.” Marcus Borg

“Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another.
If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.”
Romans 9:8

Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • How often do you judge, condemn, evaluate, classify or label someone? …even someone you don’t really know?
  • When you catch yourself, do you beat yourself up? Can you just stop? Can you take another look and practice compassion–or attempt some understanding?
  • Can you make up your mind once and for all to see others as God does–with compassion, forgiveness and grace? …to see them as bearing God’s image? …as someone God loves? …as someone God is for? …as a confused person in need of a Savior? …as a broken person in need of a friend? …as someone like you?
  • Do you ever look at people (like while waiting in the doctor’s office) and just let your heart go out to them in love? Try it!

Abba, remind me daily that I’ve made up my mind to look upon others only with love. May your love for me spill over to others.

For More: Bread for the Journey by Henry Nouwen


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

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: That’s Me … Losing My Ambition (The Order of Julian of Norwich)

“What matters is to make space for God by embracing His will. In Advent the most beautiful exemplar goes ahead of us: ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word.’ I am yours absolutely, do your will in me and through me. I turn over to you all my ambitions even of the most religious and spiritual kind. Do your will in darkness or in pain if necessary; I do not ask to understand. I commit myself to you completely. However Mary spent her days, we are told the only things that matter and those things—surrender, holding fast to God’s promises, expecting fulfillment—must be true of all who belong to Christ. The contemplative life has this Marian attitude or mode of being writ large into it. The dynamism of this perspective comes from living out of the hand of God, and not our own resources. Otherwise, it is not a dramatic way; faith keeps us in the here and now—in this moment and no other; in this situation and no other. Here is my Jesus, here in this moment, this duty, this set of circumstances. What a test of faith is the daily round of duties, the pressure of seeming trivialities, in the dull, wearying pain, lacking all glamour and grandeur. Especially when, as Mary in her lifetime, we are among those who fall below the radar of the worthwhile, where nobody notices, no stories or articles are written, no photos appear, and we ourselves seem utterly forgotten and swept along by events, The essentials for Mary were offering herself absolutely, hearing the word and living it in all its challenges, and the final consummation of perfect faith and surrender.”

“Mary responded, ‘I am the Lord’s servant.
May everything you have said about me come true.’”
Luke 1:38
Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • It’s common to make too much of Mary, and also to dismiss her. Instead, can you learn something valuable from Mary’s example?
  • Most of us “fall below the radar of the worthwhile” while wishing to be noticed or remembered. Can you offer yourself to God in the “daily round of duties … [and] seeming trivialities” and be unconcerned about the impact you’re making?
  • It’s “seeming trivialities” right? We never know what will matter in the end. Do you have a practice that “keeps you in the here and now?” … grounded? …above the circumstances? …unconcerned about your own “grandeur?”

Abba, teach me this Marian mode of being.

For More: the website of The Order of Julian of Norwich


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. Thanks for following and sharing my blog. I appreciate it! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Sacred Rhythm – Retreat and Advance (James Krueger)

“The temptation to separate contemplation and activity has hounded Christianity from the beginning, and from the beginning it has been rejected. When the disciples wanted to take up arms, Jesus pointed them to the cross, to God’s way of love and forbearance, so that they might remove the plank from their own eye before poking another’s eyes out. When the disciples wanted to hide behind locked doors, to wall themselves off from the clamoring world, Jesus penetrated through and sent them out into the world’s danger.  …Without first learning to retreat, one’s advancing becomes chaotic, confused, and contentious. Without knowing how to advance, one’s spiritual life becomes flimsy, sentimental, and tiresome. In contemplation, there must be decisive, prophetic action; in action, there must be openness, recollection, and prayer. Contemplative practice is not the domain of the lazy priest or the indolent monk. Living a contemplative life certainly means guarding against undue stresses and frenetic activity, but a life that is contemplative is not just a life lived at ease. Though relaxation, poise, and the quelling of free-floating anxiety can be by-products of a deep contemplative practice, these are not its goals. On the contrary, the contemplative is a soldier and her practice is preparation for, and the certainty of, a face-to-face confrontation with evil. The contemplative runs from the distractions of the world only to expose the clamor of evil and sin in the quiet of stillness and the light of an unwavering gaze—to confront there the enemy face-to-face as if in a mirror. In other words, she meets the enemy in her own heart. Realizing that I and my foe are one sheds a wholly different light on the command to forgive one’s enemies and pray for one’s persecutors, even as it brings to its logical conclusion the need to love one’s neighbor as oneself. If we can face the enemy with forbearance in the crucible of contemplative practice in a safe place of prayer, we will learn to face him anywhere. …Self-gifting love is the true goal of contemplative practice, not self-actualization….” James Krueger

“Before daybreak the next morning,
Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.”
Mark 1:35
Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • Unfortunately, most people naturally gravitate towards either activism without contemplation or the opposite. How about you?
  • Do you reject unloving activism as problematic–necessarily futile and transgressive?
  • Do you renounce self-centered contemplation as clueless–controverting God’s ultimate purpose?

Abba, help me learn this sacred rhythm.

For More: “This Restless Sea….” by James Krueger


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Chief Wounds of the Minister (Henri Nouwen)

“When loneliness is among the chief wounds of the minister, hospitality can convert that wound into a source of healing. Concentration prevents the minister from burdening others with his pain and allows him to accept his wounds as helpful teachers of his own and his neighbor’s condition. Community arises where the sharing of pain takes place, not as a stifling form of self-complaint, but as a recognition of God’s saving promises. Our loneliness and isolation have become so much a part of our daily experience, that we cry out for a liberator who will take us away from our misery and bring us justice and peace. To announce, however, that the Liberator is sitting among the poor and that the wounds are signs of hope and that today is the day of liberation, is a step that very few can take. But this is exactly the announcement of the wounded healer: ‘The Master is coming–not tomorrow, but today, not next year, but this year, not after all our misery has passed, but in the middle of it, not in another place but right here where we are standing.'” Henri Nouwen

“I lie awake,
lonely as a solitary bird on the roof.”
Psalm 102:7
Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • Can you relate to problem of loneliness in ministry, and the temptation to turn to others rather than God to sooth your pain?
  • Have you tried to accept your “wounds as helpful teachers of your own and your neighbor’s condition” – inviting God into that place of anguish, staying there with Him, receiving and learning from God?
  • In your own loneliness, have you learned that “the Liberator is sitting among the poor” (with you), so that you can testify to others that Jesus will care for the wounded, not when the misery has passed, not “in another place” but here and now?

Abba, help me take the difficult steps to seek you and find you in the midst of my woundedness and need.

For More: The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen


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

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: The Human Chaos in Which We Are Stuck (Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Edwin Robertson)

“Such a moment is strange to none of us, certainly not to any who have seriously sought to live with God. When we are disturbed by the chaos in our own personal life, when we are not ready to face it, when again and again every security fails us and there is no firm ground under our feet, when our life hangs between good intentions and shame, when it becomes inevitably clear that we are weak, when some unmanageable fate comes over us, a great sorrow or a great passion and we are horrified at the inevitable working out of this fate, when we can see only how faithless and hopeless we are caught in our errors or when friendships are finally broken, when with the best will in the world we cannot find reconciliation with the other, in short, when we take seriously the whole human chaos in which we are stuck–then it all comes over us and we say to God: Lord, I can bear no more. I can’t take any more. No, I don’t want any more. I am too deep in the mire. God, don’t speak any more to me, for I will not hear you. God, we have nothing more to do with each other. And then it happens that we want to hear something new and at that moment, we hear afresh: ‘Peace, courage.’ Courage, which God gives is like a mother taking hold of her child who is out of control with so many faults and failures, who is now very unhappy and begins to cry. She takes his hand and gives him a new chance: ‘Now, let’s try that once more.’ Courage, courage–so God speaks to us when we are disgusted with ourselves.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“‘How can someone like me, your servant, talk to you, my lord?
My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe.’
Then the one who looked like a man touched me again, and I felt my strength returning.
‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said, ‘for you are very precious to God.
Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!’”
Daniel 10:15-19

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Dare you admit to yourself or others the “human chaos in which we are stuck?” If not, why not?
  • When you’re “deep in the mire” and angry with God, do you feel safe being as honest with God as Bonhoeffer is here?
  • When you’re acting like a child and God wants to parent you, can you let God do that?

Abba, grant me courage when I’m overwhelmed and in despair. Take my hand. Hold me tight.

For More: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Christmas Sermons edited by Edwin Robertson


Thanks for your interest. When you feel I “got it right”, please share it in your network! – Bill

Daily Riches: A Silent Conversation of the Soul with God (Brother Lawrence, Pete Scazzero)

“God invites us to practice the presence of people within an awareness of His presence. That is no small task, especially at this time of year.
How then can we do this? By intentionally practicing His presence first. No greater teacher can offer us insight on how to do this better than Brother Lawrence, a 16th century Carmelite from Paris. I reread The Practice of the Presence of God every couple of years to remind myself of his simple, timeless wisdom. Here are a few of his gems for you to prayerfully consider this Christmas:

  • I make it my business only to persevere in His holy presence…or, to speak better, a habitual, silent, and secret conversation of the soul with God.
  • The time of business does not differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of the kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees.
  • His prayer was nothing else but a sense of the presence of God.
  • As for set hours of prayer, they are only a continuation of the same exercise…simple attention and passionate regard to God.
  • (He) resolved to use his utmost endeavor to live in a continual sense of His presence, and, if possible never to forget Him.

Jesus said it simply: If we remain in Him, we will bear abundant fruit (i.e. not so much us holding a position, but allowing ourselves to be held). If we don’t, we won’t give anything lasting or substantial. May we practice His presence this Christmas and, in so doing, offer our presence to those around us.” Pete Scazzero

“Be still in the presence of the Lord”
Psalm 37:7

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • To what degree is your life “a habitual, silent, and secret conversation of your soul with God?”
  • Can you “possess God in great tranquility” in the midst of something like the “noise and clatter of the kitchen?”
  • Perhaps instead of asking whether we can do what Brother Lawrence did, we would do well to see that we are “practicing” as he did–regularly giving God our “simple attention and passionate regard.”

Abba, teach me to practice never forgetting you through the hours of my day–always giving you my loving attention.

For More: Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence


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

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Insisting on Human-to-Human Connections (Omid Safi)

“In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal? What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, ‘How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?’ When I ask, ‘How are you?’ that is really what I want to know. I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul. Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a human doing. Tell me you’re more than just a machine, checking off items from your to-do list. Have that conversation, that glance, that touch. Be a healing conversation, one filled with grace and presence. Put your hand on my arm, look me in the eye, and connect with me for one second. Tell me something about your heart, and awaken my heart. Help me remember that I too am a full and complete human being, a human being who also craves a human touch. …How is the state of your heart today? Let us insist on a type of human-to-human connection where when one of us responds by saying, ‘I am just so busy,’ we can follow up by saying, ‘I know, love. We all are. But I want to know how your heart is doing.’” Omid Safi

“The swiftest runners won’t be fast enough to escape.
Even those riding horses won’t be able to save themselves.”
Amos 2:15

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Many people commented on Safi’s original post, deploring how busy they are and how trapped they feel. How about you?
  • How is your heart doing at this moment? …yesterday? …typically?
  • I’ve gotten to the point where I sometimes answer the question “How’s it going?” with just “Hi.” Isn’t that sad?
  • Do you ask people how they are–and then wait for an answer? …a real answer? Do you listen to the answer? Is your response evidence that a “human-to-human connection” has occurred?

Abba, break me of busyness that keeps me from experiencing loving human connections, and from hurry that cannot save me.

For More: Crazy Busy by Edward Hallowell


Thank you for your support of my blog! I wish you a new year full of divine favor. – Bill

Daily Riches: Recognizing Christ When He Comes (Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Edwin Robertson)

“How often have you thought that to see Jesus would be marvelous, that you would give everything you have to know that He was with you. …Jesus knew that His followers would want to see Him and have Him by them in human form. But how can this be? He told a parable about this—the scene of the last judgment when He would divide the nations as a shepherd divides His sheep from the goats. He said to those who were truly His flock of sheep … Come you who are blessed by my Father… I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me. When [they] …asked in surprise, “When? Where?,” He answered, I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me. …With that we face the shocking reality. Jesus stands at the door and knocks. He asks for help in the form of a beggar, a down-and-out, a man in ragged clothes, someone who is sick, even a criminal in need of our love. He meets you in every person you encounter in need. So long as there are people around, Christ walks the earth as your neighbor, as the one through whom God calls to you, demands of you, makes claims upon you. That is the great seriousness of the Advent message and its great blessing. Christ stands at the door. He lives in the form of people around us. Will you therefore leave the door safely locked for your protection, or will you open the door for Him? It may seem odd to us that we can see Jesus in so familiar a face. But that is what He said. Whoever refuses to take seriously this clear Advent message cannot talk of the coming of Christ into his heart. …Christ knocks!” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Look! I stand at the door and knock.”
Revelation 3:20

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Jesus claims powerful solidarity with the poor and disenfranchised. What is your attitude toward them?
  • Will your desire for safety keep you from “opening the door” to a needy person?
  • Consider the meaning of Christ’s coming in this light. Have you understood it?

Abba, stretch my heart to make room for the ones you love.

For More: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Christmas Sermons edited by Edwin Robertson


Thanks so much for your support of this blog! If you liked it, please share it. Merry Christmas everyone! – Bill

Daily Riches: Waiting As Receiving the Future From God (Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Edwin Robertson)

“A longing emerges within us, which will not be silenced, a longing that all should be fulfilled amidst all the failures and against all the evidence, yet, we protest its fulfillment all the stronger. This is a waiting within us for nothing less than that this world will be redeemed through and through—not by this or that political means, but by God. When God himself comes to us, then Advent truly begins to become real. When we see all our hopes and dreams shattered by questioning, by fruitless efforts and failures, when the narrowness of our existence wounds us; when suddenly we are tormented by the thought that all is lost and fallen into oblivion; and when the cry is wrenched from us: ‘Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down”’ (Isaiah 64:1), then perhaps we can understand what the Bible means by ‘waiting.’ …Thus we live today under the shadow of his coming, not some dreaded disaster or some fate, but the coming of the God of justice, of love, and of peace. Not finding our own way to God into the future, but receiving the future from God. We know that we cannot go to God, but God comes to us, enfolding us in his unbelievable grace, otherwise our life is lost, and our waiting is in vain. We can only wait, watchfully wait; that means patiently waiting, totally deaf to those who would sow doubts in our mind, blind to every power that stands between us and that future which God wills for us. One thing is needful: the conviction that we shall see God, we shall hear God, we shall receive God, we shall know God, we shall serve God. In some incomprehensible way, God will—otherwise nothing, absolutely nothing else, counts.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down.”
Isaiah 64:1
Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • Can you wait in such a way that you’re “deaf to those who would sow doubts in your mind?”
  • While you wait can you be “blind to every power that stands between you and that future which God wills for you?”
  • Can you wait, confident of the fact that “God will” – and counting on “absolutely nothing else?”

Abba, every day I’m waiting for the future you have for me.

For More: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Christmas Sermons edited by Edwin Robertson


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

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Leaving Church? (Rachel Held Evans)

“Writing Searching for Sunday forced me to consider that perhaps real maturity is exhibited not in thinking myself above other Christians and organized religion, but in humbly recognizing the reality that I can’t escape my own cultural situatedness and life experiences, nor do I want to escape the good gift of my (dysfunctional, beautiful, necessary) faith community. This consideration made the writing process infinitely more difficult and infinitely more rewarding. I suspect it is having the same effect on my faith. The truth is, I am a Christian, which means I am religious. And I am an American, which means my Christianity is profoundly affected by privilege, by Western philosophy, by 17th century Puritanism, and by Psalty the Singing Songbook. My American Christian heritage includes both Martin Luther King Jr. and the white segregationists who opposed him–a reality that is both empowering and uncomfortable, but one I can’t escape, one I want to look squarely in the eyes. Loving the Church means both critiquing it and celebrating it. We don’t have to choose between those two things. But we cannot imagine ourselves to be so far above the Church that we are not a part of it. Like it or not, those of us who continue to follow Jesus will have to do so with our adopted siblings by our side. Yes, we are called to grow and mature, and yes, our convictions and denominational affiliations will likely change, but I’ve found I’m a better writer—and a better person—when I’m more focused on outgrowing the old me than I am on outgrowing other people in my community. After all, this is Kingdom growth. There aren’t ladders, only trellises.” Rachel Held Evans

“I will build my church,
and all the powers of hell
will not conquer it.”
Jesus, Matthew 16:18

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you decided you must either only celebrate or critique the church?
  • “Those of us who continue to follow Jesus will have to do so with our adopted siblings by our side.” Hasn’t this always been the hard but inescapable reality about the church? It’s often hard to bear with others–but then remember that old joke: “If you find a perfect church, don’t go there. You’ll only ruin it!” Are you trying to escape inescapable reality?
  • Are you focused more on “outgrowing the old you” than you are on “outgrowing other people in your community?” If not, why not?

Loving Lord who loves us, teach us to love one another.

For More: Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. I truly appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Divine Forgiveness After a Shooting Rampage (Kari Huus, John Rudolf and Steve Munson)

“In 2001, incited by the 9-11 attacks, a Texas man went on a shooting rampage and killed two people, severely wounding another. The wounded man, who lost an eye when the assailant sprayed him with shotgun pellets, survived because he shrewdly played dead. Ten years later, the State of Texas was set to execute the shooter, when the survivor unexpectedly stepped forward to plead for him. ‘If I can forgive my offender who tried to take my life,’ he told BBC News, ‘we can all work together to forgive each other and move forward and take a new narrative on the tenth anniversary of 11 September.’ In short, he was asking the State of Texas to turn the other cheek, as he had done, the very cheek that was still full of pellets. Texas, long known for the conservative evangelicalism of its governors, refused, and the shooter, Mark Stroman, a white supremacist, was executed. His victim, Rais Bhuiyan, is a Muslim immigrant born in Bangladesh. As Rais explained, it was while on pilgrimage in Mecca after the attack that he received a ‘ray of light’ regarding forgiveness and compassion. Drawing on his own faith, he decided not only to forgive Stroman but also to take the further step to try to save him from execution. ‘The Qur’an teaches that those who forsake retribution and forgive those who have wronged them become closer to God,’ he said. ‘My faith teaches me that saving a life is like saving the entire human race.’ In this quest Rais was joined by the widows and family members of the two other victims killed during Stroman’s anti-Muslim rampage, a Pakistani and a Hindu from India. ‘We decided to forgive him and want to give him a chance to be a better person,’ said the brother-in-law of one of the slain. Bhuiyan also received a great deal of encouragement from all over the world, even from fellow Muslims back in Pakistan.” Steve Munson

“But I say, love your enemies!”
Jesus in Matthew 5:44

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Does this story sound to you like a parable Jesus might tell? And if so, what would be the parable’s point?
  • “The Qur’an teaches that those who forsake retribution and forgive those who have wronged them become closer to God.” Doesn’t the Bible teach this too?
  • A Muslim, a Pakistani and a Hindu walk into a courtroom …. It a tragic story, not the beginning of a joke. Why kind of emotions arise when you contemplate this story.

Jesus, may I follow you in forgiveness and love.

For More: Muslims, Christians and Jews by Carl Medearis


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. Thanks for reading and sharing my blog! – Bill

Daily Riches: Where God Goes … And Where God May Be Found (Henri Nouwen, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Karl Barth and Eugene Peterson)

“But it is not said of Jesus that he reached down from on high to pull us up from slavery, but that he became a slave with us. God’s compassion is a compassion that reveals itself in servanthood. Jesus became subject to the same powers and influences that dominate us, and suffered our fears, uncertainties and anxieties with us. …He gave up a privileged position, a position of majesty and power, and assumed fully and without reservation a condition of total dependency. Paul’s hymn of Christ does not ask us to look upward, away from our condition, but to look in our midst and discover God there. …In the Gospel stories of Jesus’ healings, we sense how close God wants to be with those who suffer. But now we see the price God is willing to pay for this intimacy. It is the price of ultimate servanthood, the price of becoming a slave, completely dependent on strange, cruel, alien forces. …Jesus moves, as Karl Barth says, from ‘the heights to the depth, from victory to defeat, from riches to poverty, from triumph to suffering, from life to death.’ Jesus’ whole life and mission involved accepting powerlessness and revealing in this powerlessness the limitlessness of God’s love. Here we see what compassion means. It is not a bending toward the underprivileged from a privileged position; it is not a reaching out from on high to those who are less fortunate below; it is not a gesture of sympathy or pity for those who fail to make it in the upward pull. On the contrary, compassion means going directly to those people and places where suffering is most acute and building a home there.” Henri Nouwen

“God had looked upon the poor of the world and had himself come to help. Now he was there, not as the Almighty One, but in the seclusion of humanity. Wherever there are sinners, the weak, the sorrowful, the poor in the world, that is where God goes. Here he lets himself be found by everyone.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”
John 1:14 (Eugene Peterson)

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Consider this. Jesus made himself “completely dependent on strange, cruel, alien forces” in order to serve you.
  • Does your compassion (like that of Jesus) transcend sympathy and pity and involve “servanthood?”
  • Do you think it’s realistic to talk of going “directly to those people and places where suffering is most acute and building a home there?” (In many ways Nouwen’s life shows what he must have had in mind.)

Abba, may you be found by everyone.

For More: Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life by Henri Nouwen

Thanks so much for reading and sharing this blog! – Bill

Daily Riches: With Every Emotion (Saint Francis and Wayne Simsic)

“What is the ‘spiritual heart?’ It is our deep longing for God, the center of our humanness. Francis recognized the hunger for the fullness of God’s love in his own life, in the lives of others, and in the world. In the early days of his conversion, he walked into the abandoned church of San Damiano and knelt before its Byzantine crucifix. He prayed: ‘Most high, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart….’ From the beginning, Francis had a strong awareness of a center where he struggled to discern God’s will. As adults in a busy world, we find it difficult to act from a heart center. We are too often tired, distracted, or goal oriented. We think too much, and our thoughts are the source of anxieties, guilt, and fears. We allow ourselves to be pulled into the past, into the future, and into fantasy. Thoughts split our minds from our hearts. Francis reminds us of our fundamental desire for wholeness. We yearn to integrate mind and heart. We begin by first getting in touch with our heart, in other words, cultivating a desire for God’s love. In time, thought will be guided more and more by a deeper spiritual energy. We will experience the revelation of the Spirit in the here and now–in these people, these birds, this landscape. The heart knows no boundary and gives us the capacity to engage others and the world with surprising intimacy and as truly unique and deserving of our respect. Francis’s childlikeness was a sign that he truly acted from his heart-center. He knew that he could not make himself a child of God–he simply needed to open his heart and allow God to love him. Responding to God’s presence like a child who trusted completely in a loving Parent, his relationship with God was spontaneous, uncluttered by ambition and calculation. Rather than promote his own agenda or hide behind fear, anxiousness, and other barriers to trust, Francis humbly accepted the mystery of his life and relied on the guidance of the Spirit. Cultivating a childlike trust of God in our own lives, we do not forfeit but enhance our deepest selves. Like Francis, we will uncover an unusual sensitivity to people, animals landscapes, and special places. The world will come alive and possess soul. The Spirit will reveal itself in surprising ways, unleashing a dynamic energy in all our relationships. Truly, a life is measured by the capacity of the heart.” Wayne Simsic

“Love the Lord your God
with all your heart….”
Jesus in Matthew 22:37

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are you “too often tired, distracted, or goal oriented?”
  • How often do you “experience the revelation of the Spirit in the here and now?”
  • Does your answer to the first question explain your answer to the second question?

“Let us love [you] Lord God … with every effort, every affection, every emotion, every desire and every wish.” St. Francis

For More: Living the Wisdom of St. Francis by Wayne Simsic


Thanks for reading and sharing this blog!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)


Daily Riches: The Miracles of the Nativity (Martin Luther, Roland Bainton and John Donne)

“Saint Bernard declared there are here three [Nativity] miracles: that God and man should be joined in this Child; that a mother should remain a virgin; that Mary should have such faith as to believe that this mystery would be accomplished in her. The last is not the least of the three. … ‘Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given’ (Isa. 9:6). This is for us the hardest point, not so much to believe that He is the son of the Virgin and God himself, as to believe that this Son of God is ours …Truly it is marvelous in our eyes that God should place a little child in the lap of a virgin and that all our blessedness should lie in him. And this Child belongs to all mankind. God feeds the whole world through a Babe nursing at Mary’s breast. This must be our daily exercise: to be transformed into Christ, being nourished by this food. Then will the heart be suffused with all joy and will be strong and confident against every assault.” Martin Luther

“Salvation to all that will is nigh;
That All, which always is all everywhere,
Which cannot sin, and yet all sins must bear,
Which cannot die, yet cannot choose but die,
Lo, faithful virgin, yields Himself to lie
In prison, in thy womb; and though He there
Can take no sin, nor thou give, yet He will wear,
Taken from thence, flesh, which death’s force may try.
Ere by the spheres time was created, thou
Wast in His mind, who is thy Son and Brother;
Whom thou conceivst, conceived; yea thou art now
Thy Maker’s maker, and thy Father’s mother;
Thou hast light in dark, and shutst in little room,
Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb.”
John Donne, “Annunciation”

“the baby to be born will be holy,
and he will be called the Son of God.”
Luke 1:35

Moving From Head to Heart

The hardest thing may not be believing God exists, or that God has appeared among men. The hardest thing may be to believe God is “for you” – that God has come among men intending good towards you.

  • Picture the people you know, remembering that the Son of God came for them and wants to do them good.
  • Look in the mirror and remember that the Son of God came for you and wants to do you good.
  • “God feeds the whole world through a Babe nursing at Mary’s breast.” What can you do in the year to come to be nourished by Christ or help others to be?

Oh, the glory of God become man for us.

For More: The Martin Luther Christmas Book by Roland Bainton

Thanks for reading and sharing this blog! – Bill