Daily Riches: Entering The Realm of Virgin Territory (Loretta Ross-Gotta)

“What matters in the deeper experience of contemplation is not the doing and accomplishing. What matters is relationship, the being with. We create holy ground and give birth to Christ in our time not by doing but by believing and by loving the mysterious Infinite One who stirs within. This requires trust that something of great and saving importance is growing and kicking its heels in you. The angel summoned Mary, betrothed to Joseph, from the rather safe place of conventional wisdom to a realm where few of the old rules would make much sense. She entered that unknown called ‘virgin territory.’  She was on her own there. No one else could judge for her the validity of her experience. She can measure her reality against Scripture, the teachings of her tradition, her reason and intellect, and the counsel of wise friends.  But finally it is up to her. …God asks us to give away everything of ourselves. The gift of greatest efficacy and power that we can offer God and creation is not our skills, gifts, abilities, and possessions. The wise men had their gold, frankincense, and myrrh, Paul and Peter had their preaching. Mary offered only space, love, belief. What is it that delivers Christ into the world—preaching, art, writing, scholarship, social justice? Those are all gifts well worth sharing. But preachers lose their charisma, scholarship grows pedantic, social justice alone cannot save us. In the end, when all other human gifts have met their inevitable limitation, it is … the bold virgin with a heart in love with God who makes a sanctuary of her life, who delivers Christ who then delivers us. Try it. Leave behind your briefcase and notes and proof texts. Leave behind your honed skills and knowledge. Leave the Christmas decorations up in the attic. Go to someone in need and say, “Here, all I have is Christ.” And find out that that is enough.” Loretta Ross-Gotta

“Mary responded, ‘I am the Lord’s servant.
May everything you have said about me come true.’”
Luke 1:38

Moving From Head to Heart

  • If you gave your “skills, gifts, abilities, and possessions” to God–how could that not be the ultimate gift?
  • Have you considered the “inevitable limitation” of any gifts you could give to God? …to others?
  • How could you practice ministering with an “all I have is Christ” approach this advent season? Would that be “virgin territory” for you?

Abba, help me to believe that Christ is enough.

For more: Letters From the Holy Ground by Loretta Ross-Gotta

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and God seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. I appreciate your interest! Please leave a comment or question. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Mystical Vocabulary of the Saints (Bonaventure, Richard Rohr and Reginald Heber)

“We are each loved by God

in a particular and incomparable way,
as in the case of
a bride and bridegroom.”
Bonaventure

“Divine intimacy is always and precisely particular and made to order–and thus ‘intimate.’  …But which comes first? Does feeling safe and held by God allow you to deal with others in the same way? Or does human tenderness allow you to imagine that God must be the same, but infinitely so? I do not suppose it really matters where you start; the important thing is that you get in on the big secret from one side or the other. Yes, ‘secret,’ or even ‘hidden secret,’ is what writers like the Psalmist (25:14), Paul, Rumi, Hafiz, Bonaventure, Lady Julian, and many mystics called it. And for some sad reason, it seems to be a well-kept secret. Jesus praises God for ‘hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them only to the little ones’ (Matthew 11:25). Well, what is it that the learned and the clever often cannot see? The big and hidden secret is this: an infinite God seeks and desires intimacy with the human soul. Once you experience such intimacy, only the intimate language of lovers describes what is going on for you: mystery, tenderness, singularity, specialness, changing the rules ‘for me,’ nakedness, risk, ecstasy, incessant longing, and of course also, necessary suffering. This is the mystical vocabulary of the saints.”

“Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
Vainly with gifts would His favor secure;
Richer by far is the heart’s adoration,
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.”

“Epiphany” by Reginald Heber

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“The Lord is a friend to those who fear him.”
Psalm 25:14
.
Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • Does feeling “safe and held by God” make you want to deal with others so they feel the same way?
  • Does human tenderness at its best allow you to imagine God’s tenderness towards you, but “infinitely so?”
  • Is the “language of lovers” the best way to characterize your relationship with God, or have you settled for/experienced only something less? Instead of as God’s beloved, would you describe yourself as a hard-working servant? a skillful apologist? a diligent rule-keeper?

Abba, more than anything, let me lean into your intimate love for me.

For More: Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi by Richard Rohr

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

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

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

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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: 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
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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

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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

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Thanks for reading and sharing this blog! – Bill

Daily Riches: Emotions as Sirens (Richard Rohr)

“Bill Wilson saw ’emotional sobriety’ as the final culmination of the Twelve Steps. Full sobriety is not just to stop drinking, but to become a spiritually awakened person who has found some degree of detachment from your own narcissistic emotional responses. The word emotion comes from the Latin for movement. It’s a body-based reaction that snags you quickly and urgently. The body holds shame, guilt, hurts, memories, and childhood conditioning. Emotions feel like truth. So it’s very hard to ‘unhook’ from our feelings. This is true for all of us. Emotions in and of themselves have no moral value; they are neither good nor bad. They are just sirens alerting us of something we should pay attention to. If we learn to listen to them instead of always obeying them, they can be very good teachers. We need to be aware that our emotions can mislead us because we often misread the situation. Emotions are far too self-referential and based in … what some call our defense mechanisms. Our basic ‘programs for survival,’ which are the source of most emotions … we falsely assume will give us happiness. The problem is, these programs will not work in the long haul. They are almost entirely dependent on outside events and other people conforming to our needs. They are inherently unstable because your happiness moment by moment is based outside of yourself. All the great religions of the world at the highest levels would say God alone–something stable, inside us, and reliable–is the source of all sustained happiness. Once you encounter a Loving God … you have found both your Ground and your Goal. John of the Cross, Teresa of Ávila, and many other mystics believed the experience of absolute union between God and the soul is essential to transformation. Then happiness is an ‘inside job’ and not dependent on outer circumstances or other peoples’ response to you. Of course, you will still have ups and downs and emotions of all kinds, but they don’t have you. You don’t identify with them; you let them come and you let them go.” Richard Rohr

“Fools vent their anger.”
Proverbs 29:11

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are you aware that emotions “feel like truth” but aren’t?
  • How can you learn to listen to your emotions rather than obeying them?
  • Do your emotions “have you” or can you feel them and then “let them go?”

Abba, help me learn from, rather than be mastered by, my emotions.

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For More: Breathing Under Water by Richard Rohr

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

Daily Riches: Emulating Rabbi Jesus (Keri Wyatt Kent, Rob Bell)

“When Jesus spoke of his ‘yoke,’ his listeners in that day and culture would understand it a bit differently than we might. A rabbi like Jesus would tell his followers how he interpreted the Torah … and the Prophets. His interpretation of how to apply God’s law, how to live it out, was called his yoke. For example, a rabbi’s yoke was simply his teaching on what it means, practically speaking, to ‘love your neighbor’ or ‘honor your parents.’ What specific things did you need to do to comply with those rules? And which rules were the most important? That’s what a rabbi’s yoke addressed. A rabbi’s disciples would take on his yoke, that is, try to emulate their master, try to live out God’s law by using the rabbi as a role model. That’s why, in the gospel stories, you often find people asking Jesus questions such as ‘Which is the most important commandment?’ or ‘Who is my neighbor?’ They are asking, okay, Jesus, what’s your yoke? Learning this (thanks to Pastor Rob Bell) was revolutionary for me. I had always thought of a yoke as a heavy burden, and I was confused about how a yoke could be easy or light. If a yoke is simply a way of life, a lifestyle that Jesus modeled, a way of life that says simply love God and love each other, then it is entirely possible. It could be something light. …The metaphor also reminds us that we are not working by ourselves. Instead, we are yoked to Jesus, and he shares equally in the burden of our transformation. He is at our side and is for us. We’re not carrying the burden of living the Christian life alone. Jesus is not the farmer driving the ox; he’s the other ox pulling with us. We need to slow down enough to notice that he’s there and work with him, not against him.” Keri Wyatt Kent

“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you … and you will find rest for your souls.”

Jesus in Matthew 11:29

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Before we can “do what Jesus did” we need to live as Jesus lived. Jesus practiced simplicity, slowness and sabbath. Are you “emulating Jesus” in any of these ways?
  • Jesus loved God and others. Can you do that?
  • Do you ever feel like Jesus is “the farmer driving the ox” – and that you’re the ox? Where does that come from?

Abba, help me remember you’re right beside me. Help me work with you, not against you.

For More: Breathe by Keri Wyatt Kent

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. If this was helpful, please share! –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Loneliness and Fear (Robert Frost, Macrina Wiederkehr and Jim Palmer)

“Where had I heard this wind before

Change like this to a deeper roar?
What would it take my standing there for,
Holding open a restive door,
Looking down hill to a frothy shore?
Summer was past and the day was past.
Sombre clouds in the west were massed.
Out on the porch’s sagging floor,
Leaves got up in a coil and hissed,
Blindly struck at my knee and missed.
Something sinister in the tone
Told me my secret must be known:
Word I was in the house alone
Somehow must have gotten abroad,
Word I was in my life alone,
Word I had no one left but God.”
Robert Frost, “Bereft”

“My loneliness attracts me to the feet of Jesus. Like a magnet I am drawn there, longing to be all one with God. The separateness I keep choosing makes me desperately homesick, and so I am willing, at last, to surrender my divided heart. I am homesick to be one with God. Union with God is the only heaven there is, and it begins here on earth. …There is someone I must become. There is someone I must be grafted onto, and how lonely I am until it is accomplished. My loneliness blesses me because it shows me that I’m not enough all by myself, and so I am impelled to reach out my arms and heart to God and to others. My loneliness blesses me because it encourages me to allow myself to be vulnerable. My loneliness blesses me because it won’t let me hide in the illusion of my self-sufficiency.” Macrina Wiederkehr

“Fear, guilt and shame can be useful on your spiritual journey. When you experience these, follow the trail back to the idea, notion, belief or concept that was the source.” Jim Palmer

“Whom have in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
My health may fail,
and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.”
Psalm 73:25, 26

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Have you experienced the loneliness, the fear of being alone, with “no one left but God?”
  • Can you “follow the trail [of that feeling] back to … the belief or concept that was the source?”
  • Is there a way that your loneliness “blesses” you?

Abba, may loneliness carry me to you.

For More: A Tree Full of Angels by Macrina Wiederkehr

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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 Furious Love of God (Brennan Manning, John Chrysostom and Edwina Gateley)

“Many Christians have never have grabbed ahold of God. They do not know, really know, that God dearly and passionately loves them. Many accept it theoretically; others in a shadowy sort of way. While their belief system is invulnerable, their faith in God’s love for them is remote and abstract. They would be hard-pressed to say that the essence of their faith-commitment is a love affair between God and themselves. Not just a simple love affair but a furious love affair. How do we grab ahold of God? How do we overcome our sadness and isolation? …How, how, how? The answer comes irresistibly and unmistakably: prayer. …The task of contemplative prayer is to help me achieve the conscious awareness of the unconditionally loving God dwelling within me.” Brennan Manning

“God loves us more than a father, mother, friend, or any else could love, and even more than we’re able to love ourselves.” John Chrysostom

Be silent.
Be still.
Alone.
Empty
Before your God.
Say nothing.
Ask nothing.
Be silent.
Be still.
Let your God look upon you.
That is all.
God knows.
God understands.
God loves you
With an enormous love,
And only wants
To look upon you
With that love.
Quiet.
Still.
Be.”
“Let Your God Love You” by Edwina Gateley

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me.”
Jesus, to his disciples in John 15:9

  • Year’s ago a Christian friend embarrassed me by asking, “So, do you love the Lord?” I wanted to talk about my “invulnerable belief system.” Is your relationship with God “a furious love affair?”
  • Manning makes it clear that many of us struggle with this. We know God’s love for us in a “shadowy way” or “theoretically.” It’s difficult for us to overcome “our sadness and isolation” from God. Are you able to be still and quiet, just “letting God look upon you” with the same love he has for Jesus his son – soaking in it, soaking it in? Why not do that now?
  • Is the way you practice prayer likely to lead you into a growing sense of God’s love for you? If not, what needs to change?

Abba, help me want you and seek you as much as you want me and seek me. Dissatisfy me with theory. Move me past theology. Unnerve me with your furious unfailing love for me.

For More: The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning

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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: What Can’t Happen in The Group (Calvin Miller, Brother Lawrence and John Philip Newell )

“The intrigue of the table in Psalm 23 has marked my life as a pastor. The metaphor mixes itself in glory. The shepherd becomes the sheep and God becomes the shepherd. There is no flock. There are only two. The shepherd and his love walk along and uninterrupted from the pleasant fields through the threatening chasm and back again. Their glory is not the path they walk but their togetherness. And how do we come to the table in the wilderness? Exactly as we would to any other table – hungry. Our hunger is for him whom we really can never know fully in a group, no matter how religious that group is.” Calvin Miller
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“He lays no great burden upon us — a little remembrance of him from time to time, a little adoration; sometimes to pray for his grace, sometimes to offer him your sorrows, sometimes to return him thanks for the benefits he has bestowed upon you and is still bestowing in the midst of your troubles. He asks you to console yourself with him the oftenest you can. Lift up your heart to him even at your meals, or when you are in company — the least little remembrance will always be acceptable to him. You need not cry very loud: he is nearer to us than we think. To be with God, there is no need to be continually in church.” Brother Lawrence

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.”
Psalm 23: 1,2

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you seeking something from God at church, which you “can never know fully in a group?”
  • Does being “continually in church” seem to you like the key to being near to God? Can you imagine how it could actually be a major hindrance?
  • During a typical day, do you “console yourself with [God] the oftenest you can?” Have you considered setting specific daily times to recalibrate your relationship with God? to remember who you are to him? to remember to be aware that God is “nearer to you than you think?”

“Amidst the tiredness that overcomes my body and the tensions that linger in my mind, amidst the uncertainties and fears that haunt me in the darkness of the night, let me know your presence, O God, let my soul be alive to your nearness.” John Philip Newell

For More: Sounds of the Eternal: A Celtic Psalter by John Philip Newell

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

Daily Riches: “A Table Only For Two” Calvin Miller, Henri Nouwen, and Gail Morgan)

“Fellowship with Christ is a table only for two — set in the wilderness. Inwardness is not a gaudy party, but the meeting of lovers in the lonely desert of the human heart. There, where all life and fellowship can hold no more than two, we sit together and he speaks as much as we, and even when both of us say nothing there is our welded oneness. And suddenly we see we cannot be complete until his perfect presence joins with ours.” Calvin Miller

“The priest looked at her sharply. ‘You can offer idleness to God,’ he said. ‘Unemployment, idleness, whatever. To do nothing in someone’s presence is a greater compliment than being busy and preoccupied.'” Gail Morgan

“To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude. This requires not only courage but also a strong faith. As hard as it is to believe that the dry desolate desert can yield endless varieties of flowers, it is equally hard to imagine that our loneliness is hiding unknown beauty. The movement from loneliness to solitude, however, is the beginning of any spiritual life because it is the movement from the restless sense to the restful spirit, from the outward-reaching cravings to the inward-reaching search, from the fearful clinging to the fearless play.”  Henri Nouwen

“When Jesus is present, all is well, and nothing seems difficult;
but when Jesus is absent, everything is hard.”
Thomas a Kempis

“Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.”
Psalm 25:16

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Behind your outward religious life, is there a hidden, intimate spiritual life just between you and Christ – where you meet as if “at a table only for two?”
  • Are you working, when loneliness overcomes you, to embrace it as a divine guide into a potent solitude instead, where you are “alone” but “Jesus is present?”
  • Have you determined to keep your most intimate life with God a private matter between you and God, so as not to demean it or puff up yourself?

Abba, meet with me in the lonely desert of my human heart. Teach me how to be unbusy and unpreoccupied in your presence, attending to you in love.

For More:  The Table of Inwardness by Calvin Miller

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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 Divine Emphasis on Economic Justice (Walter Brueggemann)

 “But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the commands and decrees I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, then I will uproot Israel from this land …. reject this Temple …. [and] make Israel an object of mockery….” 1 Kings 9:6-7

“…the problem that now jeopardizes the city [Jerusalem] is not a large disregard of creation. That is too cosmic for this poet [Jeremiah] or the God he speaks. The problem for biblical faith is always more concrete. When the moral shape of reality is disregarded, the crisis does not show up in some generalized way. It shows up, characteristically, as neighbor crisis…:

“Like fowlers they set a trap;
they catch human beings.
Like a cage full of birds….”
Jeremiah 5:26b-27a

“They use and abuse and exploit because, without an ‘if,’ [see 1 Kings above] everything is possible – greed, brutality, despair, all of it, with the neighbor as target. In our stupidity, these folk do not look like neighbors that are protected by God’s ‘if.’ They look only like an inconvenience, or even a threat. And, you guessed it: this whole abusive insensitivity comes down, as it always does, to economics. it does not come down to sexuality or to purity or to private morality, but to dollar power and dollar manipulation:

“Therefore they have become great and rich,
they have grown fat and sleek,
They know no limits in deeds of wickedness;
they do not judge with justice
the cause of the orphan, to make it prosper,
and they do not defend the rights of the needy.”
Jeremiah 5:27b-28

…The poet makes a  very quick, very large travel from the God who tames chaos (v. 22) to the crisis of drought (v. 24) to economic abuse of neighbor (vv. 26-28). In such a quick review, the poet places on God’s lips the assertion of a connection between specific neighbor care and the vast problem of chaos and order. And between the specific neighbor and the large order of the cosmos is the problem of drought and the undoing of a ‘sustainable creation.’ It is all there, all held together, in five quick verses, all an invitation for the numbed city to awaken, for those who refuse to see and to fear and to tremble [vv. 21,22].” Walter Brueggemann

Moving From Head to Heart

  • If “neighbor crisis” signifies a society’s moral failure, how would measure your society?
  • The prophets emphasize economic justice (“defending the rights of the needy.”) Is this important to you?
  • Today, when our cities “refuse to see and to fear and to tremble” we are hardly surprised, but what about when Christian communities are “numbed?”

Abba, may we not be your foolish and senseless people.

For More: Threat of Life by Walter Brueggemann

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 Thanks for reading/sharing! –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: When More Knowledge, Enthusiasm and Motivation Doesn’t Work (Pete Scazzero)

“Martin Luther’s intensely disliked Jews and wrote essays against them that were resurrected and used by the Nazis. He also advised the German nobles to slaughter the rebelling peasants without mercy. Ulrich Zwingli condoned the torture and drowning of Anabaptists … because they believed in baptism by immersion. Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield were slaveholders… The great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Asuza Street (1906) in Los Angeles split terribly over race, resulting in black and white churches throughout America for decades. Many leaders of the Protestant Missionary Movement, along with a number of contemporary Evangelical leaders, failed in their marriage and family life. John Wesley, for example, couldn’t live with his wife; his marriage was … deeply troubled.

“We are quick to point out the sins of the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox churches located primarily in the Eastern part of the world (e.g. The Coptic church of Egypt, the Syrian Church, The Russian Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, The Armenian Church, the churches located in Iran, Iraq and in the Arab world.) We forget that, for the first 1054 years, there was only one church – the one, holy, catholic (i.e. universal), church. I meet many Christians who ignore this history, acting as if God jumped from the book of Acts to the Protestant Reformation. And [who think] if people are not evangelical or charismatic Protestants, then they are probably not Christian. There is much we can learn from Roman Catholics and Orthodox believers – even though they have plenty of problems and we do not agree on a number of points. Remember, a true believer is someone who has a living relationship with Jesus Christ who died and rose again for our sins, not someone who worships like we do. If we are going to slow down for loving union with Jesus and experience deep transformation, we must learn from those with a long history of learning in these areas. Key dimensions of a full-orbed, biblical spirituality are not strong in American Christianity. Disciplines such as silence, stillness, solitude, and waiting on God, for example, are almost nonexistent in our churches.” Pete Scazzero

“… the truth will set you free.” – Jesus

 Moving From Head to Heart

  • Different religious traditions emphasize different things. Are you aware of important spiritual practices not emphasized in your tradition?
  • All Christians are misguided or misinformed in some ways. Could some Christians, misinformed about some things, know something of value you don’t know about others?
  • Does your church communicate the importance of “silence, stillness, solitude, [slowing down] and waiting on God?” – things that work where more information, inspiration and motivation don’t?

Abba, teach us that promised freedom which is freedom indeed.

For More: Finding Our Way Again by Brian McLaren

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

Daily Riches: God Disguised In Your Day (Paula D’Arcy, Jim Palmer, Dallas Willard, Richard Rohr, Frederick Buechner and Rosalind Goforth)

“God comes to you disguised as your life.” Paula D’Arcy*

“Listen to your life.” Frederick Buechner

“You don’t need to find a spiritual path. Your life is your spiritual path. The next moment is your teacher. Whatever arises next, make it your spiritual path. What does the present moment require of you?
Nothing? Then nothing is your path.
To notice something? Then noticing is your path.
To act? Then your action is the path.
To give love? Then expressing love is your path.
To create? Then creating is your path.
To eat? Then eating is your path.
To be aware of your true Self? Then awareness is your path.
To shed tears? Then your tears are the path.
To be courageous? Then courage is your path.
To notice a pattern of thought or behavior? Then your noticing is the path.
To seek? Then seeking is your path.
To let go of seeking? Then the cessation of seeking is your path.
To be content? Then being content is your path.
To be struck by beauty? Then awe and wonder is your path.
To be seized by bliss and ecstasy? Then bliss and ecstasy is your path.”
Jim Palmer

“In a life of participation in God’s kingdom rule, we are not to make things happen, but only to be honestly willing and eager to be made available. …learning to live in such a way that we can receive the loving presence and relationship in our lives that is present in the trinity.” Dallas Willard

“Knowing God’s presence is simply a matter of awareness, of fully allowing and enjoying the present moment.  …Then life makes sense. Once I can see the Mystery here, and trust the Mystery even in this little piece of clay that I am, in this moment of time that I am–then I can also see it in you, and eventually in all things. …[This] is simply pure and unbounded awareness on our part.  …God is in all things precisely in God’s ever newness and God’s ever possibility.” Richard Rohr

“This is the day the Lord has made.” Psalm 118:24

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you remember today to listen as God comes to you “disguised” as your day?
  • Are you willing and eager to experience God’s loving presence in your day, no matter what that involves?
  • Can you try to maintain awareness of “God’s ever newness and God’s ever possibility” in your day?

“Lord, if this that I am now going through is the right road home, then I will not murmur!” [Rosalind Goforth]

For More: Now and Then by Frederick Buechner

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*Paula D’Arcy was twenty-seven years old and three months pregnant when a drunk driver killed her husband and her one-year-old child.

Daily Riches: The Mystics and Prayer (Abraham Heschel, Macrina Wiederkehr, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Emily Dickenson, Soren Kierkegaard, and David Benner)

“Our need of Him is but an echo of His need of us.” Abraham Heschel

“I strain toward God; God strains toward me.
I ache for God; God aches for me.
Prayer is mutual yearning,
mutual straining,
mutual aching.”
Macrina Wiederkehr

“Closer is he than breathing
and nearer than hands and feet.”
Alfred Lord Tennyson

“The soul should always stand ajar.”
Emily Dickenson

“Always be in a state of expectancy, and see that you leave room for God to come in as he likes.” Oswald Chambers

“Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace. If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace.” Amy Carmichael

“Just as in earthly life lovers long for the moment when they are able to breathe forth their love for each other, to let their souls blend in a soft whisper, so the mystic longs for the moment when in prayer he can, as it were, creep into God.”  Soren Kierkegaard

“Just imagine how different your life would be if moment by moment you were constantly open to God. Think of how much your experience of yourself, others and the world would change if you were continuously attuned to the loving presence of God and allowed the life of God to flow into and through you with each breath. …It holds the possibility of helping us move from occasional acts of praying to a life of prayer.” David Benner

“For in him we live and move and exist.
As some of your own poets have said,
‘We are his offspring.’”
Acts 17:28
St. Paul, quoting Epimenides and Aratus

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you imagine a God who “needs” you? …who “aches for you?” (Heschel is an expert in the Hebrew prophets where these ideas recur.)
  • Can you imagine a God who is “closer than your hands and feet?” …in whom you “live and move and exist?”
  • Can the mystic’s aspiration to “creep into God” motivate you to deeper intimacy – to keep your “soul ajar?” … in “a state of expectancy?” …to “leave room for God to come as he likes?” …to “allow his life to flow through you with each breath?”

Abba, satisfy my longing for deeper intimacy with you.

For More: A Tree Full of Angels by Macrina Wiederkehr

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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. 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.”