Daily Riches: The Downward Path To Freedom (Richard Rohr)

“Jesus himself taught and exemplified the path of descent, which Christians have often called ‘the way of the cross.’ The path downward is much more trustworthy than any path upward, which tends to feed the ego. Like few other Christians, it was Francis of Assisi who profoundly understood that. Authentic spirituality is always on some level or in some way about letting go. Jesus said, ‘the truth will set you free’ (John 8:32). Once we see truly what traps us and keeps us from freedom we should see the need to let it go. But in a consumer society most of us have had no training in that direction. Rather, more is usually considered better. True liberation is letting go of our small self, letting go of our cultural biases, and letting go of our fear of loss and death. Freedom is letting go of wanting more and better things, and it is letting go of our need to control and manipulate God and others. It is even letting go of our need to know and our need to be right—which we only discover with maturity. We become free as we let go of our three primary energy centers: our need for power and control, our need for safety and security, and our need for affection and esteem. Francis sought freedom in all three parts of life. My good friend Fr. John Dear puts it very well: ‘Francis embodies the Gospel journey from violence to non-violence, wealth to poverty, power to powerlessness, selfishness to selfless service, pride to humility, indifference to love, cruelty to compassion, vengeance to forgiveness, revenge to reconciliation, war to peace, killing enemies to loving enemies. More than any other Christian, he epitomizes discipleship to Jesus. . . .'” Richard Rohr

“the truth will set you free”
Jesus in John 8:32

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • We often think of spiritual formation as mostly an “adding on” of virtues–for instance patience or love. Have you even thought of approaching spiritual formation by subtracting behaviors–like hurry–a practice that prevents love and contradicts patience?
  • To say “we have no training” in this is an understatement. Everything in our society teaches us the opposite. Are you seeking out other voices to teach you these kinds of truths and reinforce them in your heart and mind?
  • What can you do to more effectively “epitomize discipleship to Jesus?”

Abba, help me to join Jesus and Francis on the path of descent.

For More: You Will Be My Witnesses by John Dear

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

Daily Riches: What It Means to Love (Gary Thomas, Radiohead)

“If I could be who you wanted … all the time … all the time” Radiohead – “Fake Plastic Trees”

“’Gary, I kind of locked the keys in the car.’ I put down the phone, ready to drive over and bail Lisa out, but when I went to retrieve another set of keys, I noticed the empty hooks where we keep Lisa’s car keys. Apparently, Lisa had lost the last set. I had to go through her coats, her pants, her purse, her shoulder bags—anything I could think of—to find a key so I could get her home. Lisa is a lastborn, and she does lastborn things. She loses stuff. She ‘forgets’ her purse or leaves her wallet at the store.  …I grew up in a household where my mom had enough food, toilet paper, light-bulbs, and batteries stockpiled to last us at least a year. You could have stretched our supply of toilet paper from Seattle to Tacoma. Lisa shops from an entirely different perspective. She buys stuff a day or two (or occasionally a week or two) after we run out. Some mornings, it’s milk. Some nights, it’s toilet paper. Some afternoons, we’re out of keys. …I could read a how-to book that might tell me how to communicate my frustration. Lisa and I could have several talks about being more proactive. Maybe I could draw up charts, or we could try to redivide responsibilities. Or after two decades of marriage I could just accept that some things will never change, because they won’t. I can’t expect Lisa to become a different person just because she’s married to me—just as she must put up with countless episodes of my own quirks, limitations, and irritating qualities embedded in me as if they were encased in granite. Rather than let little disappointments and minor annoyances steal what is most important, it’s healthier to have a spiritual funeral and bury certain expectations. That, sometimes, is what it means to love.” Gary Thomas

“and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those
who sin against us.”
Jesus, in Matthew 6:12

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you expect your spouse to be like you? Consider what that might look like.
  • Did you enter marriage with realistic expectations? Do you have realistic expectations now?
  • If loving means simply ignoring a lot of bothersome things, are you a loving spouse?

Abba, if I could be who you wanted.

For More: Simply Sacred: Daily Readings 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 and share my blog. My goal is to regularly share something of unique value with you in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill

Daily Riches: Nonviolence, Courage and the Beloved Community (Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Lewis)

“It must be emphasized that nonviolent resistance is not a method for cowards; it does resist. …[It] is ultimately the way of the strong man. It is not a method of stagnant passivity… For while the nonviolent resister is passive in the sense that he is not physically aggressive toward his opponent, his mind and his emotions are always active, constantly seeking to persuade his opponent that he is wrong. The method is passive physically but strongly active spiritually. It is not passive non-resistance to evil, it is active nonviolent resistance to evil. …Nonviolence … does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding. The nonviolent resister must often express his protest through noncooperation or boycotts, but he realizes that these are not ends themselves; they are merely means to awaken a sense of moral shame in the opponent. The end is redemption and reconciliation. The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness. …Nonviolent resistance [requires] a willingness to accept suffering without retaliation, to accept blows from the opponent without striking back… The nonviolent resister is willing to accept violence if necessary, but never to inflict it. He does not seek to dodge jail. If going to jail is necessary, he enters it ‘as a bridegroom enters the bride’s chamber.’ …Nonviolent resistance … avoids not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him. At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love. The nonviolent resister would contend that in the struggle for human dignity, the oppressed people of the world must not succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter or indulging in hate campaigns. To retaliate in kind would do nothing but intensify the existence of hate in the universe. Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

“But Peter and the apostles replied,
‘We must obey God rather than any human authority.’”
Acts 5:29

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Will you resist evil–and pay a price if necessary?
  • Is Jesus’ ethic of love the “center” of your life? (returning good for evil)
  • Are you working to reject even an “internal violence of spirit?” (bitterness and hate)

“[May we] …move our feet, our hands, our hearts, our resources to build and not to tear down, to reconcile and not to divide, to love and not to hate, to heal and not to kill.” (John Lewis)

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

Daily Riches: Subterranean Rivers of Grace (Eugene Peterson and Tim Keller)

“… the conditions that so often induce hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth among so many of us are relativized by Jesus’ prayer of thanksgiving. Hidden kingdom energies surge just beneath the surface all around us. Huge subterranean rivers of prayer–faith and obedience and praise, intercession and forgiveness and deliverance, holiness and grace–glow freely underground. And in virtually every nook and cranny on earth, obscure in the shadows, overlooked in the crowds, are the ‘infants.’ These are the ‘babes and infants’ that God has always used as a bulwark to ‘still the enemy and the avenger’ (Ps. 8:2) Jesus does not minimize the ‘conditions.’ He takes them very seriously indeed. He confronts and rebukes. He exposes pretension and weeps over hardened hearts. But he doesn’t despair. He doesn’t second-guess the Father. He doesn’t dilute his holy resolve with something less than holy.” Eugene Peterson

“I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned,
and revealed them to little children.”
Jesus in Matthew 11:25

“The Bible never counsels indifference to the forces of darkness, only resistance, but it supports no illusions that we can defeat them ourselves. Christianity does not agree with the optimistic thinkers who say, ‘We can fix things if we try hard enough.’ Nor does it agree with the pessimists who see only a dystopian future. The message of Christianity is, instead, ‘Things really are this bad, and we can’t heal or save ourselves. Things really are this dark—nevertheless, there is hope.’ The Christmas message is that ‘on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.’ Notice that it doesn’t say from the world a light has sprung, but upon the world a light has dawned. It has come from outside. There is light outside of this world, and Jesus has brought that light to save us; indeed, he is the Light.” Tim Keller

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Terrible “conditions” in our world may make us oblivious that “hidden kingdom energies surge just beneath the surface all around us.” Are you aware of these energies?
  • The opposite mistake minimizes the conditions. Failing to notice, confront or rebuke injustice falls short in another way. For one thing, it fails to love victims the way Jesus did.
  • Can you admit the darkness, confront the injustice, and continue to live with hope because you know God works in our world in innumerable, powerful, hidden ways–and that “light” will prevail in the end?

Abba, deliver me from settling for hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth.

For more: Tell It Slant by Eugene Peterson

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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. Thanks! – Bill

 

 

Daily Riches: Only Love Can Do That (Parker Palmer, Martin Luther King, and Thomas Merton)

“Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking.” Carl Jung

“Violence is any way we have of violating the integrity of the other. Racism and sexism are violence. Derogatory labeling of any sort constitutes violence. Rendering other people invisible or irrelevant is an act of violence. So is manipulating people towards our ends as if they were objects that existed only to serve our purposes. …Violence is not just about bombing or shooting or hitting people. To create peace in our lives–and our world–we need to be able to sit with frustration and hold the tension of opposite views.” Parker Palmer

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The child is totally available in the present because he has relatively little to remember, his experience of evil is as yet brief, and his anticipation of the future does not extend very far. The Christian, in his humility and faith, must be as totally available to his brother, to his world, in the present, as the child is. But he cannot see the world with childlike innocence and simplicity unless his memory is cleared of past evils by forgiveness, and his anticipation of the future is hopefully free of craft and calculation. For this reason, the humility of Christian nonviolence is at once patient and uncalculating. The chief difference between nonviolence and violence is that the latter depends entirely on its own calculations. The former depends entirely on God and on his word.” Thomas Merton

“How I wish today that you of all people
would understand the way to peace.”
Jesus in Luke 19:42

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you have the humility required to “hold the tension of opposite views?”
  • Is your past flooded with forgiveness so that, like a child, you have “little to remember?”
  • As you anticipate the future, are you depending on “your own calculations” or depending “on God and on his word?”
  • How can you begin practicing a new “way?”

Abba, help me understand the way of peace.

For More: “The Violence of Our Knowledge” by Parker Parker

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Thanks for reading and sharing my blog! – Bill

Daily Riches: Let Your Anger Teach You (Henri Nouwen)

“This afternoon I had a long talk with John Eudes (the abbot of the monastery). He was very open, personal, warm, and made it easy to talk freely. I talked mostly about my anger: my inclination to become angry and irritated with people, ideas, or events.  …I realised that my anger created restlessness, brooding, inner disputes, and made prayer nearly impossible. But the most disturbing anger was the anger at myself for not responding properly, for not knowing how to express my disagreement, for external obedience while remaining rebellious from within, and for letting small and seemingly insignificant events have so much power over my emotional life. In summary: passive aggressive behaviour. We talked about this on many levels and in many ways. Most important for me at this point seem the following … suggestions:

  • Allow your angry feelings to come to your awareness and have a careful look at them. Don’t deny or suppress them, but let them teach you.
  • Do not hesitate to talk about angry feelings even when they are related to very small or seemingly insignificant issues. When you don’t deal with anger on small issues, how will you ever be ready to deal with it in a real crisis?
  • Your anger can have good reasons. Talk to [someone] about it. …If [that person feels] that your anger is unrealistic or disproportionate, then [you and they] can have a closer look at what made you respond so strongly. …
  • On a deeper level you might wonder how much of your anger has to do with ego inflation. Anger often reveals how you feel and think about yourself and how important you have made your own ideas and insight. When God becomes again the center and when you can put yourself with all your weaknesses in front of Him, you might be able to take some distance and allow your anger to ebb away and pray again.” Henri Nouwen
“Mockers can get a whole town agitated,
but the wise will calm anger.”
Proverbs 29:8
.
Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • Have you experienced how anger can neutralize prayer–and the reverse?
  • Do you find that “small and seemingly insignificant events have so much power over your emotional life?”
  • Can you “take a look” at your angry feelings and “let them teach you?” (e.g., “What does my response say about me?”)
  • What is your anger telling you about “how you feel and think about yourself?” …about your sense of your own importance?

Abba, let me learn the hard lessons my anger wants to teach me.

For More: The Genesee Diary by Henri Nouwen

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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. I appreciate your interest! – Bill

Daily Riches: Following His Majestic Lead (Walter Brueggemann)

the one who had nowhere to lay his head,
no safe place,
no secure home,
no passport or visa,
no certified citizenship.

We gather around him in our safety, security, and well-being,
and fret about ‘illegal immigrants.’
We fret because they are not like us
and refuse our language.
We worry that there are so many of them
and their crossings do not stop.
We are unsettled because it is our tax
dollars that sustain them and provide services.
We feel the hype about closing borders and heavy fines,
because we imagine that our life is under threat.

And yet, as you know very well,
we, all of us–early or late–are immigrants
from elsewhere;
we are glad for cheap labor
and seasonal workers
who do tomatoes and apples and oranges
to our savoring delight.

And beyond that, even while we are beset by fears
and aware of pragmatic costs,
we know very well that you are the God
who welcomes strangers,
who loves aliens and protects sojourners.

As always, we feel the tension and the slippage
between the deep truth of our faith
and the easier settlements of our society.

We do not ask for an easy way out,
but for courage and honesty and faithfulness.
Give us ease in the presence of those unlike us;
give us generously amid demands of those in need,
help us to honor those who trespass
as you forgive our trespasses.

You are the God of all forgiveness.
By your gracious forgiveness transpose us
into agents of your will,
that our habits and inclinations may more closely
follow your majestic lead, that our lives may
joyously conform to your vision of a new world.

We pray in the name of your holy Son, even Jesus.”

Walter Brueggemann

“He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice.
He shows love to the foreigners living among you
and gives them food and clothing.”
Deuteronomy 10:18

Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • Is your God one “who welcomes strangers, who loves aliens, and protects sojourners?” Has God welcomed you in this way?
  • How, do you suppose, God “gave food and clothing” to foreigners living among Israel (Dt. 18) or ensured “that orphans and widows receive justice?”
  • Helping those in need can be a discomforting, even dangerous act. It’s also not always easy to know how to help. As one who belongs to God, how can you be an “agent of his will”, following God’s majestic lead?

God of the helpless–help me follow your majestic lead.

For More: Prayers for A Privileged People by Walter Brueggemann (2010)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For More: Bread for the Journey by Henry Nouwen

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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 Pity of a Life Without Problems (Dallas Willard and Thomas Merton)

“People [who cannot forgive themselves] refuse to live on the basis of pity. Their problem is not that they are hard on themselves, but that they are proud. …They do not want to accept that they can only live on the basis of pity from others, that the good that comes to them is rarely ‘deserved.’ …I have used the word pity … rather than the word mercy … because only pity reaches to the heart of our condition. The word pity makes us wince, as mercy does not. Our current language has robbed mercy of its deep, traditional meaning, which is practically the same as pity. To pity someone now is to feel sorry for them, and that is regarded as demeaning, whereas to have mercy now is thought to be slightly noble—just ‘give’em a break.’  …But no, I need more than a break. I need pity because of who I am. If my pride is untouched when I pray for forgiveness, I have not prayed for forgiveness. I don’t even understand it. In the model prayer, Jesus teaches us to ask for pity with reference to our wrongdoings. Without it, life is hopeless. And with it comes the gift of pity as an atmosphere in which we then can live. To live in this atmosphere is to be able simply to drop the many personal issues that make human life miserable and, with a clarity of mind that comes only from not protecting my pride, to work for the good things all around us we always can realize in cooperation with the hand of God.” Dallas Willard

“Only the man who has faced despair is really convinced that he needs mercy. Those who do not want mercy never seek it. It is better to find God on the threshold of despair than to risk our lives in complacency that has never felt the need of forgiveness. A life without problems may literally be more hopeless than one that always verges on despair.” Thomas Merton

“But let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great.” 1 Samuel 2:14

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are you unable to forgive yourself? If so, why?
  • Are you done “protecting your pride” so you’re freed to show pity?
  • Is your preference “a life without problems?”

Abba, I’m very grateful for your great mercy.

For More: The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
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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: Start Somewhere (Toby Mac, Katherine Anne Porter and Heidi Baker)

“Last night, everything was movin’ so fast

I could barely keep track
of my offenses or your defenses.
In hindsight, I woulda, coulda, shoulda not gone there
But left without a word to spare.
Was it your offenses or my defensiveness?

That’s got me thinkin’ that we’re never gonna get it right.
I wanna straighten this before the sun goes down tonight.
If I could only fight the bitterness I feel inside.
This thing is eatin’ me alive.

Well I’m right here
And you’re right there
And God knows we’ve got to start somewhere.
‘Cause I’m messed up
And you’re broken
And those shots we fired are still smokin’.

I’m tossin’ and turnin’ on the things I’d undo.
As I wrestle with the painful truth
my sleep escapes me as guilt berates me.
Exhausted, the memories are drawing so near
I can see it like a world premiere.
When did my objective lose all objectiveness?

I said some things that I regret
And if I could, I’d take ’em back.
If I could turn my words around
You wouldn’t hear a sound.

But here I am, and there you are,
The space between us is not so far.
I’m reaching out my hand in love,
Before the fading sun,
forgive me for what I’ve done.
Start Somewhere”,  Toby Mac

“Love must be learned and learned again and again.
Hate needs no instruction, but waits only to be provoked.”
Katherine Anne Porter

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

.
… love covers over a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4:8

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you find love something that must be “learned and learned again and again” – either in marriage and/or in your relationship with God? If so, why?
  • Do you have a sense of being “messed up and broken?” Of relational regret? Of needing forgiveness?
  • There’s no telling about your spouse, but God is definitely waiting for you to drop your defensiveness, to “start somewhere”, to “reach out your hand in love.” Can you do that now?

Abba, in your love, cover my many sins, and may I be quick to love others in that same way.

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For More: The Necessary Enemy by Katherine Anne Porter

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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: True Greatness as Great Humility (William Law) *

“Condescend to all the weaknesses and infirmities of your fellow-creatures, cover their frailties, love their excellencies, encourage their virtues, relieve their wants, rejoice in their prosperities, compassionate their distress, receive their friendship, overlook their unkindness, forgive their malice, be a servant of servants, and condescend to do the lowest offices to the lowest of mankind.”    William Law

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness,
humility, gentleness and patience.
Bear with each other and forgive one another
if any of you has a grievance against someone.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
And over all these virtues put on love,
which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
Colossians 3:12-14

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
not looking to your own interests
but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Philippians 2:3-4

“For it is the one who is least among you all
who is the greatest.”
Jesus, in Luke 9:48

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • If you were to name three truly great people, who would they be? What would your criteria be? Would any of them be those whom Jesus calls “the least?”
  • Slowly and prayerfully read over Law’s list again. These are difficult words, but they really only restate in some way what the Bible already calls us to do. What is your response?
  • Are you willing to live by this kind of counter-cultural set of values? In what specific way could you begin to do so, or to do so more than you do already? Can you ask God to show you now?

Abba, I resist giving up my rights and dislike condescending to others. Like the disciples, I’m afraid I’m more interested in honor than humility. Help me to take the more difficult, more honorable, more loving road this day. Let me begin in some small but concrete way.

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For More: A Call To A Devout and Holy Life by William Law

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Thomas Merton’s goal is his writing is the same as mine in this blog: “The purpose of a book of meditations is to teach you how to think and not to do your thinking for you. Consequently if you pick up such a book and simply read it through, you are wasting your time. As soon as any thought stimulates your mind or your heart you can put the book down because your meditation has begun.” I’m not Thomas Merton (!), yet I hope these Daily Riches will lead you into much life-enriching mediation. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Limitations of Love (Henri Nouwen) *

“Forgiveness is to allow the other person not to be God. Forgiveness says, ‘I know you love me, but you don’t have to love me unconditionally, because no human being can do that…’ To forgive other people for being able to give us only a little love–that is a hard discipline. To keep asking others for forgiveness because we can only give a little love–that is a hard discipline…. If we can forgive that another person cannot give us what only God can give, then we can celebrate that person’s gift. Then we can see the love that person is giving us as a reflection of God’s great, unconditional love.” Henri Nouwen

“A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you,
so you must love one another.”
John 13:34

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • The love of Jesus for us was and is unconditional. He isn’t deterred in his love for me “however undeserving I am” (Teresa of Avila). We’re called to love that way, but “it’s a hard discipline.”
  • Can you forgive others for “not being God” – for failing to give you “what only God can give?” Can you do this with your spouse? family members? people at church? your pastor?
  • Can you forgive yourself for “not being God” to others – for failing to give them “what only God can give?”
  • What can you do to keep these limits before you, so you remember them when you or others fall short in loving well?

Abba, forgiving and loving well is a hard discipline. May my often feeble attempts to forgive and love point beyond themselves, even in their limitations, to your perfect forgiveness and love.

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For More: A Spirituality of Living by Henri Nouwen

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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 about 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: True Greatness (William Law)

“Condescend to all the weaknesses and infirmities of your fellow-creatures, cover their frailties, love their excellencies, encourage their virtues, relieve their wants, rejoice in their prosperities, compassionate their distress, receive their friendship, overlook their unkindness, forgive their malice, be a servant of servants, and condescend to do the lowest offices to the lowest of mankind.”    William Law

“Jesus, knowing their thoughts,
took a little child and had him stand beside him.
Then he said to them,
“Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me;
and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.
For it is the one who is least among you all
who is the greatest.”
Luke 9:47,48

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • If you were to name three truly great people, who would they be? What would your criteria be? Would any of them be those whom Jesus calls “the least?”
  • Slowly and prayerfully read over Law’s list again. I hear this call as a very difficult one. What is your response?
  • What action can you plan to take to create opportunities for you to practice true greatness in terms of this kind of humility?

Abba, I resist giving up my rights and dislike condescending to others. Like the disciples, I’m afraid I’m more interested in being honored than in humility. Help me to take the more difficult, more honorable, more loving road this day.

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For More: A Call To A Devout and Holy Life by William Law

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

Daily Riches: Embracing Limits (Henri Nouwen)

“Forgiveness is to allow the other person not to be God. Forgiveness says, ‘I know you love me, but you don’t have to love me unconditionally, because no human being can do that…’ To forgive other people for being able to give us only a little love–that is a hard discipline. To keep asking others for forgiveness because we can only give a little love–that is a hard discipline…. If we can forgive that another person cannot give us what only God can give, then we can celebrate that person’s gift. Then we can see the love that person is giving us as a reflection of God’s great, unconditional love.” Henri Nouwen

“A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you,
so you must love one another.”
John 13:34

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • The love of Jesus for us was and is unconditional. He isn’t deterred in his love for me “however undeserving I am” (Teresa of Avila). We’re called to love that way, but “it’s a hard discipline.”
  • Can you forgive others for “not being God” – for failing to give you “what only God can give?” Can you do this with your spouse? family members? people at church? your pastor?
  • Can you forgive yourself for “not being God” to others – for failing to give them “what only God can give?”
  • What can you do to keep these limits before you, so you remember them when you or others fall short in loving well?

Abba, forgiving and loving well is a hard discipline. May my often feeble attempts to forgive and love point beyond themselves, even in their limitations, to your perfect forgiveness and love.

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For More: A Spirituality of Living by Henri Nouwen

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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 about 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)