Daily Riches: Love Turned Inward on the Self (Hannah Hurnard, Gustavo Gutierrez, John Bunyan and Julian of Norwich)

“Holiness is a most lovely word in the Bible sense. It means to be separated and set apart; separated, in fact, from all that is not love and set apart for one purpose only, that the Spirit of Holy Love may dwell in us and think in us and express himself through us. Holy people are people in whom holy love is incarnate.  …There is no evil except in the negation of love, which is the law on which God has founded his whole universe. Sin is love turned inward to the self, instead of outward to our Creator and to all mankind whom he has created.” Hannah Hurnard

“Liberation from sin is liberation from the refusal to love.” Gustavo Gutierrez

“Sin is the dare of God’s justice, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power, and the contempt of His love.” John Bunyan

“God wishes to be seen,
and He wishes to be sought,
and He wishes to be expected,
and He wishes to be trusted.”
Julian of Norwich

“… love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Jesus, in Mathew 5:43-48

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • When you name your worst sin, is it “love turned inward upon itself?”
  • When you sin against God, do you think of it as “the contempt of His love?”
  • Can you sense God being disappointed and hurt by your failure to reciprocate his loving overtures? …by your “refusal to love?” …to “seek” him?

Loving Father, the only thing more astonishing than my sin is your loving grace. The only thing more predictable than my failure is your faithfulness. My sin is new every morning, but so is your unfailing love. Thank you for drawing me to you. Thank you for holding me there.

For More:  The Winged Life by Hannah Hurnard

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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 Prayer of Consent (Francis Fenelon and Thomas Keating)

“What God asks of us is a will which is no longer divided between Him and any creature. It is a will pliant in His hands which neither seeks nor rejects anything, which wants without reserve whatever He wants and which never wants under any pretext anything that He does not want. …Happy are those who give themselves to God! …placing our will entirely in the hands of God, we want only what God wants, and thus we find His consolation in faith and consequently hope in the midst of all suffering. …Happy are those who throw themselves with bowed heads into the arms of the ‘Father of mercies’ and the ‘God of all consolation’.” Francis Fenelon

“Contemplative prayer is a deepening of faith that moves beyond thoughts and concepts. One just listens to God, open and receptive to the divine presence in one’s inmost being as its source. One listens not with a view to hearing something, but with a view to becoming aware of the obstacles to one’s friendship with God. …In contemplative prayer the Spirit places us in a position where we are at rest and disinclined to fight. …Little by little, we enter into prayer without intentionality except to consent… and consent becomes surrender … and surrender becomes total receptivity… and, as the process continues, total receptivity becomes effortless, peaceful.… It is free and has nothing to attain, to get, or desire … So, no thinking, no reflection, no desire, no words, no thing … just receptivity and consent.” Thomas Keating

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
1 Samuel 15:22

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you imagine being “pliant” in God’s hands, never wanting “anything that He does not want?”
  • Are you willing to listen in prayer “with a view to becoming aware of the obstacles to [your] friendship with God?” …becoming “disinclined to fight?”
  • Are you willing to enter into a kind of prayer permeated only by “receptivity and consent?” Imagine what that would look like.

Abba, draw me to you, so that I throw myself with a bowed head into your arms, surrendering to you – the God who loves me and desires only good for me – the God of all mercy and consolation.

For More: Devotional Classics by Richard Foster and James Bryan Smith

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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)

Daily Riches: Mindfulness – “Now, Here, This” (Ruth Haley Barton, Cynthia Bourgeault and Richard Rohr)

“Discernment is first of all a habit, a way of seeing that eventually  permeates our whole life. It is the journey from spiritual blindness (not seeing God anywhere or seeing him only where we expect to see him) to spiritual sight (finding God everywhere especially where we least expect it.)”  Ruth Haley Barton

“The spiritual life can only be lived in the present moment, in the now. All the great religious traditions insist upon this simple but difficult truth. When we go rushing ahead into the future or shrinking back into the past, we miss the hand of God, which can only touch us in the now.” Cynthia Bourgeault

“Most of Jesus’ contemporaries missed the ‘Real Presence’ that was right in their midst, and most of them were religiously observant people…. They were looking for religion, and he was just a human being.” Richard Rohr

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

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Which describes you – unaware of God, looking for God in expected places, or expecting God everywhere? (Is God ubiquitous or “everywhere present” for you?)
  • We confess God ‘s activity in the past and anticipate God’s activity in the future. Do you expect God to show up in the present? …to “touch you in the now?”
  • Imagine all the people who saw and listened to Jesus when he walked the earth – God in their very midst – who “didn’t recognize him” and even “rejected him.” I wonder how often we fail to recognize him in our day.
  • What practices can you adopt that would help you to be more mindful of the God “in whom you live and move and exist?” (Acts 17:28)

Abba, help me to really “stop, look and listen” as I go through my day. Teach me to be more present to myself, to others and to you.

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For More: Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation by Ruth Haley Barton

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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)

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

 

Daily Riches: Seeking God, Escaping Illusion (Thomas Merton)

“This is what it means to seek God perfectly: to withdraw from illusion and pleasure, from worldly anxieties and desires, from the works that God does not want, from a glory that is only human display; to keep my mind free from confusion in order that my liberty may be always at the disposal of His will; to entertain silence in my heart and listen for the voice of God; …to love all men as myself; to rest in humility and to find peace in withdrawal from conflict and competition with other men; to turn aside from controversy and put away heavy loads of judgment and censorship and criticism and the whole burden of opinions that I have no obligation to carry; to have a will that is always ready to fold back within itself and draw all the powers of the soul down from the deepest center to rest in silent expectancy for the coming of God, poised in tranquil and effortless concentration upon the point of my dependence on Him; to gather all that I am, and have all that I can possibly suffer or do or be, and abandon them all to God in the resignation of a perfect love and blind faith and pure trust in God, to do His will.” Thomas Merton

“So like a fish going towards the sea, we [monks] must hurry to reach our cell*
for fear that if we delay outside we will lose our interior watchfulness.”
Anthony the Great

“Any trial whatever that comes to you can be conquered by silence.” Abbot Pastor

“Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.” Abbot Moses

*an ancient term for a quiet, private place to be with God

“But when you pray,
go into your room [and]
close the door”
Jesus, in Matthew 6:6

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • What two or three aspirations in Merton’s words resonate most with you? Can you form a prayer around them?
  • The dessert fathers had a plan for escaping the grip of illusion, confusion and judgment, and for cultivating liberty, peace and “silent expectancy for the coming of God.” Do you have such a plan?

Abba, help me to abandon myself to you in the resignation of a perfect love.

For More: The Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton

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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. 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 Gods Are Dying (Frederick Buechner)

“The gods are dying. The gods of this world are sick unto death.  …Which gods? The gods that we worship. The gods that our enemies worship. Their sacred names? There is Science, for one: he who was to redeem the world from poverty and disease, on whose mighty shoulders mankind was to be borne onward and upward toward the high stars. There is Communism, that holy one so terrible in his predilection for blood sacrifice but so magnificent in his promise of the messianic age: from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. Or Democracy, that gentler god with his gospel of freedom for all peoples, including those people who after centuries of exploitation and neglect at the hands of the older democracies can be set free now only to flounder in danger of falling prey to new exploiters. And we must not leave out from this role of the dying what often passes for the god of the church: the god who sanctifies our foreign policy and our business methods, our political views and our racial prejudices. The god who, bless him, asks so little and promises so much: peace of mind, the end of our inferiority complexes. Go to church and feel better. The family that prays together stays together. Not everybody can afford a psychiatrist or two weeks of solid rest in the country, but anybody can afford this god. He comes cheap. These are the gods in whom the world has puts its ultimate trust. …And where are they now?  …Where is the security that they promised? Where is the peace? The terrible truth is that the gods of this world are no more worthy of our ultimate trust than are the men who created them.” Frederick Buechner

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

 Moving From Head to Heart

  • Science, politics and religion – each in it’s own way and time, seemed so promising. Have you seen the limitations of each? If so, does that affect your practice of any of them?
  • Do you ever think of shortcomings of “the god of the church?” If so, what are they?
  • Is your “ultimate trust” actually in something man-made?
  • Is your understanding of god obscuring your view of the God who is there?

Abba, we long to know you as you are – or at least we think we do.

For More:  The Magnificent Defeat by Frederick Buechner

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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. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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.”

 

Daily Riches: The Soul in Darkness (William Cowper and Mother Teresa)

“Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.”  “Darkness is such that I really do not see – neither with my mind nor with my reason – the place of God in my soul is blank – There is no God in me – when the pain of longing is so great – I just long and long for God. … The torture and pain I can’t explain.” Mother Teresa

“The Lord will happiness divine
On contrite hearts bestow;
Then tell me, gracious God, is mine
A contrite heart or no?

I hear, but seem to hear in vain,
Insensible as steel;
If aught is felt, ’tis only pain,
To find I cannot feel.

I sometimes think myself inclined
To love Thee if I could;
But often feel another mind,
Averse to all that’s good.

My best desires are faint and few,
I fain would strive for more;
But when I cry, ‘My strength renew!’
Seem weaker than before.

Thy saints are comforted, I know,
And love Thy house of prayer;
I therefore go where others go,
But find no comfort there.

Oh make this heart rejoice or ache;
Decide this doubt for me;
And if it be not broken, break –
And heal it, if it be.”
William Cowper

“Yet I still belong to you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.
Whom have I 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 73:23-26

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you ever felt like the Christian faith worked for others but not for you?
  • Do you know how to “keep on” as one who “belongs to God” no matter what darkness may come?
  • Are you learning in the light, what you will need to know when darkness inevitably comes?

Abba, my heart, if it be not broken, break – and heal it, if it be. And may you be the strength of my heart even when my health fails and my spirit grows weak.

For More: Before the Door of God by Jay Hopler and Kimberly Johnson, eds.

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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.”

 

Daily Riches: The Pinnacle of God’s Creation (Gregory Boyd, Jonathan Edwards, Augustine)

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Augustine

“As the New Testament and the church tradition teach, the life of God is nothing other than the perfect love that eternally unites the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and this Triune God spoke creation into being with the ultimate goal of inviting humans to share in this life. …[Jonathan] Edwards painted a portrait of the Trinity in which the love and joy of the three divine persons was so full and intense, it simply could not be contained. God’s fullness thus yearned to be expressed and replicated by sharing it with others. So this fullness overflowed, as it were, as God brought forth a creation that mirrored his triune beauty. And the pinnacle of this creation is created beings whose yearning for God mirrors, in a small way, his yearning for them. But whereas God’s yearning comes out of his fullness, our yearning comes out of emptiness. It’s a beautiful arrangement. The God of overflowing love longs to pour his love into others, so he creates beings that long for his love to be poured into them. But in my opinion … it wasn’t God’s original intention for us to ever go a moment with this longing unsatisfied. Living without the fullness of God’s love is a reality we have brought on ourselves through our rebellion, and it’s completely unnatural to us. And try as we may to run from it or numb it, the pain of our unnatural emptiness is acute and incurable. The profundity of our emptiness is the negative reflection of the profundity of the fullness of the One we long for.” Gregory Boyd

“And may you have the power to understand …
how wide, how long, how high, and how deep [God’s] love is.”
Ephesians 3:18

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Imagine a God whose eternal essence consists of “perfect love that eternally unites the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” Now imagine that God choosing to love you and make God’s “home” in you. What feelings arise?
  • Have you ever thought of your deep-seated yearning for intimacy with God as mirroring God’s deep-seated yearning for intimacy with you?
  • Have you ever thought of the profundity of your existential “emptiness” as the “negative reflection of the profundity of the fullness” God wants for you?

Abba, make your home in me.

For More: Benefit of the Doubt by Gregory Boyd

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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)

Daily Riches: The Homing Device of a Hungry Heart (Gregory Boyd)

“Every human being with normal mental and emotional faculties longs for more …If only this, that, or some other thing were different, we say to ourselves, then we’d feel complete and happy. …Acquiring the better job, the bigger house, the new spouse, or world fame we longed for may provide a temporary sense of happiness and completeness, but it never lasts. Sooner or later, the hunger returns. [We have] …a vague and bittersweet nostalgia and/or longing for a distant country, but one that cannot be found on earth. …a quasi-mystical sense that we (and our present world) are incomplete, combined with an unattainable yearning for whatever it is that would complete it. …this longing is not puzzling from a biblical perspective, for Scripture teaches us that humans and the entire creation are fallen and estranged from God. Lewis saw [this] as reflective of our ‘pilgrim status.’ It indicates that we are not where we were meant to be, where we are destined to be; we are not home.

Our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off is . . . the truest index of our real situation. C. S. Lewis

“With Lewis, Christians have always identified this [uneasiness or longing] that resides in the human heart as a yearning for God. …as a sort of homing device placed in us by our Creator to lead us into a passionate relationship with him. …It’s my conviction that we are made to perpetually share in a life in which we are perfectly and unconditionally loved, in which we experientially know we could not mater more to God than we already do, and in which we feel absolutely secure in his love and worth, for we know that nothing – including the loss of our biological life – could cause us to lose this life.” Gregory Boyd  [my emphasis]

“I came that they may have life … abundantly.”
John 10:10

 Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you feel like a “pilgrim” on this earth? Is there a sense of unfulfilled longing deep within you?
  • Can you live with that, waiting upon God, or do you insist on attempting to fill it with things-other-than-God?
  • Reread the last (italicized) sentence. This is what God wants for you. Have you begun to enter into it?

Abba, I will hope in you.

For More: Benefit of the Doubt by Gregory Boyd

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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.”

Daily Riches: The Quest of the Soul and Organized Religion (Richard Rohr and Dallas Willard)

“Organized religion often becomes problematic – not wrong, I’m just saying problematic – when you move into the second half of life because it tends, in most instances, not to answer the questions that the soul is asking. Many people have found various forms of para-church, like the Franciscans. But not everybody is called to be a priest or a nun…. You need to find some way to learn or study or to pray alongside your Sunday worship community, some form of para-church grouping ….’  The Sunday service alone seldom leads people on deeper or even real journeys; we must begin to be honest about this. All that organized religion can do is to hold you inside the boxing ring long enough so you can begin to ask good questions and expect bigger answers. But it seldom teaches you how to really box with the mystery itself. Organized religion does not tend to cook you! It just keeps you on a low, half-cold simmer. It doesn’t teach you how to expect the mystery to show itself at any profound level. It tends, and I don’t mean to be unkind, to make you codependent upon its own ministry, instead of leading you to know something for yourself, which is really the whole point.” Richard Rohr

“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.  …All pleasing and doctrinally sound schemes of Christian education, church growth, and spiritual renewal came around at last to this disappointing result.” Dallas Willard

“I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee.” Paul in Acts 26:5

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Pastor, are you guiding people in their own “deeper journeys” with God, or mediating between them and God?
  • Are people “advancing … spiritually” in significant, measurable ways, in your church? Are they prepared for times of doubt, disillusionment, disappointment with God and each other? Do they understand the value of waiting, of suffering, of brokenness, or failure? Do they know how to keep trusting in the dark?
  • Organized religion can be “problematic” or “disappointing.” Does it have to be? What exactly are you “organized” to accomplish in your church?

Abba, give great wisdom and deep courage to those who lead us in the faith.

For More:  Silent Compassion by Richard Rohr

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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.”

Daily Riches: A Dialogue of Love That Never Stops (Thomas Merton and Elizabeth of the Trinity)

“This is the real end of meditation – 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. [It teaches] …a man how to work himself free of created things and temporal concerns, in which he finds only confusion and sorrow, and enter into a conscious and loving contact with God….” Thomas Merton

“I love to penetrate beyond the veil of the soul to this inner sanctuary where we live alone with God. He wants us entirely to himself, and is making there within us a cherished solitude. Listen to everything that is being sung … in his heart. It is Love, the infinite love that envelops us and desires to give us a share … in all his blessedness. The whole Blessed Trinity dwells in us, the whole of that mystery which will be our vision in heaven. Let it be our cloister. You tell me that your life is passed there. So is mine. I am ‘Elizabeth of the Trinity’ – Elizabeth disappearing, losing herself, allowing herself to be invaded by the Three. Let us live for love, always surrendered, immolating ourselves at every moment, by doing God’s will without searching for extraordinary things. Then let us make ourselves quite tiny, allowing ourselves to be carried, like a babe in it’s mother’s arms, by him who is our all…. In the morning let us wake in Love. All day long let us surrender ourselves to Love, by doing the will of God, under his gaze, with him, in him, for him alone…. And then, when evening comes, after a dialogue of love that has never stopped in our hearts, let us go to sleep still in love. And if we are aware of any faults, let us simply abandon them to Love, which is a consuming fire….” Elizabeth of the Trinity

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine….”
Song of Solomon 6:3

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you imagine giving “constant loving attention to God?  … living a day under (and aware of) his gaze?
  • What are you doing to become more aware of God’s presence in your day? …to become less aware of “temporal concerns?” … to be better at “attending” to him?
  • Can you simply abandon yourself and your faults to Love?

Abba, before I die, may I experience at least one day under your gaze, with you, in you alone, where a dialogue of love between us never stops.

For More: Voices of the Saints by Bert Bhezzi

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Priority of Presence, The Necessity of Revelation (Aidan Kavanagh, Kathleen Norris, Mark Buchanan)

“Some knowing is never pursued, only received. And for that, you need to be still.” Mark Buchanan

“It was a presence, not faith, which drew Moses to the burning bush. And what happened there was a revelation, not a seminar. It was a presence, not faith, which drew the disciples to Jesus, and what happened then was not an educational program but his revelation to them of himself as the long-promised Anointed One…. Their lives, like that of Moses, were changed radically by that encounter with a Presence which upended all their ordinary expectations. Their descendants in faith have been adjusting to that change ever since, drawn into assembly by that same Presence, finding there always the troublesome upset of change in their lives of faith to which they must adjust still. Here is where their lives are regularly being constituted and reconstituted under grace.” Aidan Kavanagh

“We make such a fuss about ‘seeking God.’ We’re anxious about so many things, and faith, prayer, and searching for God are not excepted. Are you doing it right? Will a retreat teach us a better way? Which method of prayer will be most effective for us? What church congregation will best ‘feed us spiritually’? Probably the best thing we can do is to relax, take a deep breath, stop thinking about what we want or need, and forget about it. Seeking God, that is. Instead we might wait, and begin to silently ponder the ways in which God may already have been seeking us, all along, in the faulty, scary stuff of our ordinary lives.” Kathleen Norris

“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
I was found by those who did not seek me.
To a nation that did not call on my name, I said,
‘Here am I, here am I.’”
Isaiah 65:1

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you focused on diligently “pursuing” rather than humbly “receiving” from God?
  • Are you trusting educational programs, oblivious to God’s revelatory program – where ongoing encounters with his Presence are the key to transformation?
  • Have you made sanctification or spiritual formation into one more  project, when instead you should “wait, and … silently ponder” how God may have been coming to you? …how God is coming to you now?

Abba, help me learn to see what I routinely miss from you.

For More: On Liturgical Theology by Aidan Kavanagh

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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: Seeking God, Escaping Illusion (Thomas Merton – on his centenary)

“This is what it means to seek God perfectly: to withdraw from illusion and pleasure, from worldly anxieties and desires, from the works that God does not want, from a glory that is only human display; to keep my mind free from confusion in order that my liberty may be always at the disposal of His will; to entertain silence in my heart and listen for the voice of God; …to love all men as myself; to rest in humility and to find peace in withdrawal from conflict and competition with other men; to turn aside from controversy and put away heavy loads of judgment and censorship and criticism and the whole burden of opinions that I have no obligation to carry; to have a will that is always ready to fold back within itself and draw all the powers of the soul down from the deepest center to rest in silent expectancy for the coming of God, poised in tranquil and effortless concentration upon the point of my dependence on Him; to gather all that I am, and have all that I can possibly suffer or do or be, and abandon them all to God in the resignation of a perfect love and blind faith and pure trust in God, to do His will.” Thomas Merton

“So like a fish going towards the sea, we [monks] must hurry to reach our cell*
for fear that if we delay outside we will lose our interior watchfulness.”
Anthony the Great

“Any trial whatever that comes to you can be conquered by silence.” Abbot Pastor

“Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.” Abbot Moses

*an ancient term for a quiet, private place to be with God

“But when you pray,
go into your room [and]
close the door”
Jesus, in Matthew 6:6

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • What two or three aspirations in Merton’s words resonate most with you? Can you form a prayer around them?
  • The dessert fathers had a plan for escaping the grip of illusion, confusion and judgment, and for cultivating liberty, peace and “silent expectancy for the coming of God.” Do you have such a plan?

Abba, help me to abandon myself to you in the resignation of a perfect love.

For More: The Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton

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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 Prayer of Consent (Francis Fenelon and Thomas Keating)

“What God asks of us is a will which is no longer divided between Him and any creature. It is a will pliant in His hands which neither seeks nor rejects anything, which wants without reserve whatever He wants and which never wants under any pretext anything that He does not want. …Happy are those who give themselves to God! …placing our will entirely in the hands of God, we want only what God wants, and thus we find His consolation in faith and consequently hope in the midst of all suffering. …Happy are those who throw themselves with bowed heads into the arms of the ‘Father of mercies’ and the ‘God of all consolation’.” Francis Fenelon

“Contemplative prayer is a deepening of faith that moves beyond thoughts and concepts. One just listens to God, open and receptive to the divine presence in one’s inmost being as its source. One listens not with a view to hearing something, but with a view to becoming aware of the obstacles to one’s friendship with God. …In contemplative prayer the Spirit places us in a position where we are at rest and disinclined to fight. …Little by little, we enter into prayer without intentionality except to consent… and consent becomes surrender … and surrender becomes total receptivity… and, as the process continues, total receptivity becomes effortless, peaceful.… It is free and has nothing to attain, to get, or desire … So, no thinking, no reflection, no desire, no words, no thing … just receptivity and consent.” Thomas Keating

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
1 Samuel 15:22

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you imagine being “pliant” in God’s hands, never wanting “anything that He does not want?”
  • Are you willing to listen in prayer “with a view to becoming aware of the obstacles to [your] friendship with God?” …becoming “disinclined to fight?”
  • Are you willing to enter into a kind of prayer that is permeated by only “receptivity and consent?” Imagine what that would look like.

Abba, draw me to you, so that I throw myself with a bowed head into your arms, surrendering to you–the God who loves me and desires only good for me–the God of all mercy and consolation.

For More: Devotional Classics by Richard Foster and James Bryan Smith

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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)

Daily Riches – One Year Anniversary! Thanks all!

On January 1 last year my blog “Daily Riches” was born. Since then, I’ve posted 304 times, had over 20,000 views by people in 108 countries, and gained 184 faithful daily followers.

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My most popular post was on “Approval Addiction” (176 views): https://richerbyfar.com/2014/02/06/daily-riches-approval-addiction-richard-foster/

Thanks to so many of you for your encouragement and support in the last year! I wish you the best, and I hope you’ll keep reading and sharing “Daily Riches.”

Bill