Daily Riches: Fat Women Walking (Gary Thomas)

After the Women’s March on Washington D.C., a Texas judge posted: “Just think about this. After just one day in office, Trump managed to achieve something that no one else has been able to do: he got a million fat women out walking.” An Indiana State Senator reposted a meme stating “In one day, Trump got more fat women out walking than Michelle Obama did in 8 years.”

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The man who originally posted the meme has since expressed regret: ‘I want to apologize for the insensitive social media post  …This represented a momentary lapse in judgment on my part for which I am truly sorry, …This does not reflect my feelings toward women….’

We all make mistakes, and perhaps jokes at women’s expense is one of the most common–and most commonly accepted–ones. In fact, so accepted that many men probably feel it’s a “non-issue.” But think about this:

“Those who have advanced in the Christian life have learned to develop an almost mystical memory that keeps them attuned to the fact that God is always with them … always watching, always caring, always hearing. …do I look at women through the eyes of God? Do I listen to them and hear them as God hears them? Do I think about them as God thinks about them? And do I speak of them as God would have me speak of them? …A man who refrains from lust but who looks at women with condescension and disrespect is not a godly man. His corruption may be of a different sort from the one who undresses women in his mind, but he certainly can’t live a compelling life. Why not? Because he hasn’t learned what it is to truly love.” Gary Thomas

“So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.”
Genesis 1:27

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Men, are you sensitive to how women are often treated “with condescension and disrespect” (or worse) simply because they’re women? Do you notice this in others around you? Do you notice it in yourself?
  • Women, have you grown so accustomed to being invisible, powerless or unappreciated that you have come to expect it and settle for it?
  • As a Christian, are you putting up with these kinds of attitudes in your political party? …in your church? …in your home?

Abba, teach me what it is to truly love.

For More: Simply Sacred by Gary Thomas

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

Daily Riches: The Glorious Imperfection of the Present Moment (Maria Popova, Junichiro Tanizaki and Leonard Cohen)

There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen

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“Unlike the Western conception of beauty—a stylized fantasy constructed by airbrushing reality into a narrow and illusory ideal of perfection—the zenith of Japanese aesthetics is deeply rooted in the glorious imperfection of the present moment and its relationship to the realities of the past…. This temporal continuity of beauty, a counterpoint to the West’s neophilia, is central to Japanese aesthetics. Rather than fetishizing the new and shiny, the Japanese sensibility embraces the living legacy embedded in objects that have been used and loved for generations, seeing the process of aging as something that amplifies rather than muting the material’s inherent splendor. Luster becomes not an attractive quality but a symbol of shallowness, a vacant lack of history:

We find it hard to be really at home with things that shine and glitter. The Westerner uses silver and steel and nickel tableware, and polishes it to a fine brilliance, but we object to the practice… We begin to enjoy it only when the luster has worn off, when it has begun to take on a dark, smoky patina. Almost every householder has had to scold an insensitive maid who has polished away the tarnish so patiently waited for. …We do not dislike everything that shines, but we do prefer a pensive luster to a shallow brilliance, a murky light that, whether in a stone or an artifact, bespeaks a sheen of antiquity.

Tanizaki speaks affectionately of ‘the glow of grime,’ which ‘comes of being touched over and over’—a record of the tactile love an object has acquired through being caressed by human hands again and again.” Maria Popova quoting Junichiro Tanizaki

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My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”
Psalm 51:17

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay”
2 Corinthians 4:7

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Might you be guilty of “fetishizing the new and shiny?” …of “neophilia?”
  • Does this reading tempt you to think differently about beauty? …aging? …friendship? …marriage? …spirituality?
  • Why would anyone prefer a “luster” to a “brilliance?”

Abba, help me to appreciate “the glow of grime”–especially in myself and my fellow homo sapiens.

For More: In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki

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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 regularly share something of unique value with you in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! Please leave a question or comment. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Prayer – Submitting Ourselves for Conversion (Joan Chittister)

“Prayer … is not a matter of mood. To pray only when we feel like it is more to seek consolation than risk conversion. To pray only when it suits us is to want God on our terms. To pray only when it is convenient is to make the God-life a very low priority in a list of better opportunities. To pray only when it feels good is to court total emptiness when we most need to be filled. The hard fact is that nobody finds time for prayer. The time must be taken. There will always be something more pressing to do, something more important to be about than the apparently fruitless, empty act of prayer. But when that attitude takes over, we have begun the last trip down a very short road because, without prayer, the energy for the rest of life runs down. The fuel runs out. We become our own worst enemies: we call ourselves too tired and too busy to pray when, in reality, we are too tired and too busy not to pray. Eventually, the burdens of the day wear us down and we no longer remember why we decided to do what we’re doing: work for this project, marry this woman, have these children, minister in this place. And if I cannot remember why I decided to do this, I cannot figure out how I can go on with it. I am tired and the vision just gets dimmer and dimmer. To pray when we cannot, on the other hand, is to let God be our prayer. The spirituality of regularity requires that we turn over our bruised and bleeding and fragmented and distracted selves to the possibility of conversion, in memory and in hope, in good times and in bad, day after day after day, morning and night, this year and next.” Joan Chittister

“always keep on praying”
Ephesians 6:18

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you hoping to “find time for prayer” or are you making time for prayer? Are you unmotivated because prayer seems “fruitless” and “empty?”
  • Chittister suggests that by prayer (fixed-time daily prayers over months and years) “we turn over our bruised and bleeding and fragmented and distracted selves to the possibility of conversion.” Is this the kind of prayer you’re praying?

Abba, help me to always pray and not lose heart.

For More: Wisdom Distilled From the Daily by Joan Chittister

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

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

Daily Riches: Hiatus for One Week

I’m going to be working with a ministry in Manhattan (Relief Bus) all this week – reaching out to and feeding the homeless. We’ll also have a prayer ministry and provide job counseling. I’m not able to post anything during week, regrettably, but I’ll be back on the regular schedule next Monday.

I really appreciate your interest in my Daily Riches @ richerbyfar.com. Your comments, sharing, reblogging, etc. are a real encouragement. See you next week.

Bill

 

Daily Riches: The Crucible of Interruptions (Mark Buchanan)

“Jesus … lived life with the clearest and highest purpose. Yet he veered and strayed from one interruption to the next, with no apparent plan in hand other than his single, overarching one: Get to Jerusalem and die. Otherwise, his days, as far as we can figure, were a series of zigzags and detours, apparent whims and second thoughts, interruptions and delays, off-the-cuff plans, spur-of-the-moment decisions, leisurely meals, serendipitous rounds of storytelling. …Purposefulness requires paying attention, and paying attention means … that we make room for surprise. We become hospitable to interruption. I doubt we can notice for long without this hospitality. And to sustain it we need … a conviction in our bones that God is Lord of our days and years, and that his purposes and his presence often come disguised as detours, messes, defeats. ‘I came to you naked,’ Jesus says. ‘I came to you thirsty.’ ‘When, Lord?’ we ask, startled. When He wore the disguise of an interruption. Think a moment of all the events and encounters that have shaped you most deeply and lastingly. How many did you see coming? How many did you engineer, manufacture, chase down? And how many were interruptions? The span between life as we intend it and life as we receive it is vast. Our true purpose is worked out in that gap. It is fashioned in the crucible of interruptions.” Mark Buchanan

“Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro … and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness … and he looked, and behold, [a] bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. So Moses said, ‘I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.'” Exodus 3:1-3

Moving From Head to Heart

  • What if Moses hadn’t “turned aside?”
  • Imagine yourself living as Jesus did, with “zigzags and detours …” etc. How would that feel?
  • Can you become more hospitable to what happens in “the [vast] span between life as you intend it and life as you receive it?”

Abba, “Grant us, we pray you, a heart wide open to all this joy and beauty, and save our souls from being so steeped in care or so darkened by passion that we pass heedless and unseeeing when even the thornbush by the wayside is aflame with the glory of God.” Walter Rauschenbusch

For More: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

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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: Putting Painful Longings in Perspective (Larry Crabb and Frederick Buechner) *

“First, our desires … are related not only to our fallenness but also, and more profoundly, to our humanness. In other words, it’s okay to desire. Second, when we look carefully at what we deeply desire, we come to realize that what we want is simply not available, not until Heaven. …Both errors in responding to our longings–hiding them in a flurry of Christian activity and focusing on them to find satisfaction–deny the simple truth that we legitimately want what we cannot have in this world. We were designed to live in a perfect world uncorrupted by the weeds of disharmony and distance. Until we take up residence in that world, however, we will hurt. It is, therefore, not only okay to desire, it is also okay to hurt.”  Larry Crabb

“… to grit your teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worse–is by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is more wonderful still. The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also against being opened up and transformed.” Frederick Buechner

Scorn has broken my heart
    and has left me helpless;
I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
    for comforters, but I found none.
They put gall in my food
    and gave me vinegar for my thirst.”
Psalm 69:19-21 

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are Christians allowed to have emotions like loneliness, sadness, and disappointment? Do you allow yourself to feel these kinds of emotions?
  • Do you try to bury your emotions “in a flurry of Christian activity?”
  • Do you “steel yourself” against feeling “the harshness of reality” by sheer force of the will?
  • Imagine the loneliness, disappointment and heartbreak that filled the life of Jesus. He didn’t let these emotions rule him, but he also didn’t deny or bury them. He offered them to his Father and “let something be done for him” that was “more wonderful” than being strong. He experienced life from above while in this world corrupted “by the weeds of disharmony.” Can you let God do that for you?

Abba, help me learn to embrace my emotions – even the most painful ones. Help me not to fear them, but to allow you to work in me through them. Help me to discover something more wonderful than being strong. Help me to be transformed.

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For More: Inside Out by Larry Crabb

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Thanks for your interest in Daily Riches! –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Technical Problems

Hi everyone, I’m away this week and thought I had all my regular readers covered with the blog going out daily via Buffer. I but discovered today that many of you are not receiving the blog – those of you have subscribed on the website. I’m very sorry, and disappointed about this. I will be back online Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. Please look for me then. In the meantime, if you go to the blog itself, you’ll be able to find something there to fill the void in the meantime.

I really appreciate all my followers/readers, and ask you to pray that God will use this small ministry of mine as he sees fit.

Thanks,

Bill

Daily Riches: Broken Before God … and Beloved (Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning, and John Egan) *

“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can, indeed, present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. … Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the ‘Beloved.’ Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.” Henri Nouwen

“Living in awareness of our belovedness is the axis around which the Christian life revolves. Being the beloved is our identity, the core of our existence. It is not merely a lofty thought, an inspiring idea, or one name among many. It is the name by which God knows us and the way He relates to us.”  Brennan Manning

“I stand anchored now in God before whom I stand naked, this God who tells me ‘You are my son, my beloved one.’”  John Egan

“Who then will condemn us? No one—
for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us,
and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand,
pleading for us.”
Romans 8:34

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you aware of how dangerous it could be for you to be really successful or popular? Can you list some of the possible pitfalls?
  • What about us makes power, success and popularity so intoxicating? (“the greatest trap”)
  • Do you feel loved by God?  Is that sense of His love at “the core of your existence?”
  • What can you change in your life to better hear “the sacred voice that calls you ‘the Beloved’?”
Abba, may the truth of your love for me be the foundation of everything I think, say and do. Jesus, thank you for pleading for me. Drown me in your love.

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For More: Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen

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

Daily Riches: The Primary Work of the Christian Leader (Gordon MacDonald & Henri Nouwen)

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

“The goal of education and formation for the ministry is continually to recognize the Lord’s voice, his face, and his touch in every person we meet.” Henri Nouwen

“How lovely is your dwelling place,
  Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
 for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
 for the living God.
 Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
 they are ever praising you.”
Psalm 84:1-4

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Christian leader, do you consider “the forming of your soul that it might be a dwelling place for God” to be your “primary work?” Selah. Have you established routines and prioritized practices accordingly?
  • When you think about whether or not you are successful, how often do you turn to consider how you’re doing at this “core activity?” If not this, what do you think about instead? Are other responsibilities, real or imagined, deterring you from this non-optional, first-level activity?
  • Gordon MacDonald is a wise guide here. Can you accept his warning that if you fail at this point you probably “will not last in leadership for a life-time … [or your work will] become less and less reflective of God’s honor” over time?  Can you take the time to be this kind of leader in spite of the expectations and pressures others place on you – even perhaps with little encouragement from anyone else?

Abba, I pray that the Christian leaders I know would live a life of deep intimacy with you. Call them to yearn for you like the psalmist does, and to seek your empowering presence. And Lord, help those of us under their care to prayerfully support them and diligently protect them when they attempt this greatest of all work.

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For More: Cultivating the Soul by Gordon MacDonald

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: “Approval Addiction” (Richard Foster)

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

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

Moving From the Head to the Heart

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

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

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

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

Daily Riches: Approval Addiction (John Ortberg)

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

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

From The Head to the Heart

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

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

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

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

Daily Riches: Contemplation (Thomas Merton)

“ … we should let ourselves be brought naked and defenceless
into the center of that dread
where we stand alone before God in our nothingness,
without explanation, without theories,
completely dependent upon his providential care,
in dire need of the gift of his grace,
his mercy and the light of faith.”
Thomas Merton

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.'”  Isaiah 6:1-5

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Can you imagine being “brought naked and defenceless … before God?”  … “standing alone before God in your nothingness?”  feeling “undone” in the presence of God?
  • Why would Merton suggest that we not resist this? (“we should let ourselves be brought…”)
  • Teresa of Avila prayed, “Let me not be afraid to linger here in your presence will all my humanity exposed. For you are God–you are not surprised by my frailties, my continuous failures.” Can you use these words as the basis for a prayer of your own?

Abba, it’s dreadfully painful to have “all my humanity exposed” before anyone, including you. It’s in your presence though, that I am exposed yet safe. In spite of my all my humanity, may I linger before you today, presenting myself for healing – and may I do this without any attempt to lessen the pain by offering up explanations or excuses.

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For More: Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton;
Let Nothing Disturb You by Teresa of Avila

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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 provide you with something of uncommon value each day in less than 200-300 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)