Daily Riches: The Wine We Are Becoming (Henri Nouwen, Avery Dulles, Hellen Keller and St. John of the Cross

“We never know the wine we are becoming while we are being crushed like grapes.” Henri Nouwen

“The good life does not have to be an easy one, as our blessed Lord and the saints have taught us. …Suffering and diminishment are not the greatest of evils, but are normal ingredients in life, especially in old age. They are to be accepted as elements of a full human existence. Well into my 90th year I have been able to work productively. As I become increasingly paralyzed and unable to speak, I can identify with the many paralytics and mute persons in the Gospels, grateful for the loving and skillful care I receive and for the hope of everlasting life in Christ. If the Lord now calls me to a period of weakness, I know well that his power can be made perfect in infirmity. ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord!’”  Avery Dulles

“Contradictions, sickness, scruples, spiritual aridity, and all the inner and outward torments are the chisel with which God carves his statues for paradise.”  Alphonsus Liguori

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” Helen Keller

“And I saw the river over which every soul must pass to reach the kingdom of heaven and the name of that river was suffering – and I saw the boat which carries souls across the river and the name of the boat was love.”  Saint John of the Cross

“it was fitting for Him
for whom are all things,
and through whom are all things,
in bringing many sons to glory,
to perfect the author of their salvation
through sufferings.”
Hebrews 2:10

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Think of people you know and all the reasons that people suffer. Do you think you can somehow escape suffering?
  • Jesus suffered in order to be perfected. Some things can only be accomplished by suffering. Can you embrace suffering in your life as not only inescapable, but necessary, even good?
  • “The good life does not have to be an easy one”, in fact, it can’t be. How are you making your life a good life “while you are being crushed like grapes?”

Abba, thank you for the boat that carries me across the river of suffering.

For More: St. John of the Cross: Selected Writings

_________________________________________________

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 Encounter with Jesus (Madeleine L’Engle, Pope Francis, Henri Nouwen, Heidi Baker, and Teresa of Avila)

“We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.” Madeleine L’Engle

“Giving them the beauty of the Gospel, the amazement of the encounter with Jesus … and leaving it to the Holy Spirit to do the rest. It is the Lord, says the Gospel, who makes the seed spring and bear fruit.” Pope Francis (on evangelism) “The witness of a Christian life is the first and irreplaceable form of mission.” Pope John Paul II

“If we want to be witnesses like Jesus, our only concern should be to be as alive with the love of God as Jesus was.” Henri Nouwen

“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

“Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.”
Teresa of Avila

“God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.” Acts 2:32

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Proofs and arguments are no substitute for an “encounter with Jesus”, and such an encounter, will often be through you. What are the implications of this as you think about sharing your faith?
  • There are many ways to unintentionally skew the divine intention for another person to encounter Jesus. How do you get in the way? What can you do to facilitate such an encounter?
  • Our need to be “the very fragrance of Jesus” to the one before us, means that the most critical part of evangelism occurs before any meeting or conversation takes place – in our preparation to give “the witness of a Christian life” and be “alive with the love of God.” What can you do to be “alive with the love of God?”

Abba, by your grace, when others encounter me, may they also encounter Jesus and his love – and be changed.

For More: Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle

_________________________________________________

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 Wine We Are Becoming (Henri Nouwen, Avery Dulles, Hellen Keller and St. John of the Cross)

“We never know the wine we are becoming while we are being crushed like grapes.” Henri Nouwen

“The good life does not have to be an easy one, as our blessed Lord and the saints have taught us. … Suffering and diminishment are not the greatest of evils, but are normal ingredients in life, especially in old age. They are to be accepted as elements of a full human existence. Well into my 90th year I have been able to work productively. As I become increasingly paralyzed and unable to speak, I can identify with the many paralytics and mute persons in the Gospels, grateful for the loving and skillful care I receive and for the hope of everlasting life in Christ. If the Lord now calls me to a period of weakness, I know well that his power can be made perfect in infirmity. ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord!'”  Avery Dulles

.
“Contradictions, sickness, scruples, spiritual aridity, and all the inner and outward torments are the chisel with which God carves his statues for paradise.”  Alphonsus Liguori

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” Helen Keller

“And I saw the river over which every soul must pass to reach the kingdom of heaven and the name of that river was suffering – and I saw the boat which carries souls across the river and the name of the boat was love.”  Saint John of the Cross

“it was fitting for Him
for whom are all things,
and through whom are all things,
in bringing many sons to glory,
to perfect the author of their salvation
through sufferings.”
Hebrews 2:10

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Think of people you know and all the reasons that people suffer. Do you think you can somehow escape suffering?
  • Jesus suffered in order to be perfected. Some things can only be accomplished by suffering. Can you embrace suffering in your life as not only inescapable, but necessary, even good?
  • “The good life does not have to be an easy one”, in fact, it can’t be. How are you making your life a good life “while you are being crushed like grapes?”

Abba, thank you for the boat that carries me across the river of suffering.

For More: St. John of the Cross: Selected Writings

_________________________________________________

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: Mysticism (Richard Rohr, Daniel Clendenin, Thomas Merton)

“The Franciscan priest Richard Rohr has written some thirty books, many of which are variations on the same theme. Not long into this book [Eager to Love] he says as much in a footnote. The idea that ‘our deepest identity is hidden from us,’ and that the purpose of authentic religion is to help us recover our true identity in God, is ‘the core message of this entire book, and really my only message in all of my books’ (pp. 66, 276).  In this version of that theme, Rohr returns to his Franciscan roots to help us recapture the ‘experiential heart of the gospel,’ … which stands in stark contrast to spirituality that’s little more than theological concepts, religious ritual, and institutional conformity. Authentic spirituality [requires] …  ‘mysticism’ … – experiential knowledge of spiritual things, as opposed to book knowledge, secondhand knowledge, or even church knowledge.’” Daniel Clendenin

“If they [Christians] are to live as true members of Christ and radiate the divine influence among the men with whom they are in contact, they will be obliged to develop rich interior lives of union with God…. To be a Christian then, is to be committed to a deeply mystical life. … By faith one not only consents to propositions revealed by God, one not only attains to truth in a way that intelligence and reason alone cannot do, but one assents to God Himself. One receives God. One says ‘yes’ not merely to a statement about God, but to the Invisible, Infinite God Himself….” Thomas Merton

“And all of us, with our unveiled faces like mirrors
reflecting the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the image that we reflect
in brighter and brighter glory;
this is the working of the Lord who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:18

Moving From the Head to the Heart

It’s possible master knowledge about God (“book knowledge”) and still not have “experiential knowledge” of God. If we’re not careful, we can be “experts” on God who have no radical relationship with him – no transforming “assent” to his Invisible, Infinite person.

  • Do you talk more about God than with him?
  • Is your experience of God “secondhand?”
  • What are you doing to “develop a rich interior life of union with God?”

Abba, protect me, and all of us who love you, from settling for less than you have for us.

For More: New Seeds by Thomas Merton

_________________________________________________

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 Restless Self Loves Its Illusions (Henri Nouwen)

“While teaching, lecturing, and writing about the importance of solitude, inner freedom, and peace of mind, I kept stumbling over my own compulsions and illusions. What was driving me from one book to another, one place to another, one project to another? …What was turning my vocation to be a witness to God’s love into a tiring job? These questions kept intruding themselves into my few unfilled moments and challenging me to face my restless self. Maybe I spoke more about God than with him. Maybe my writing about prayer kept me from a prayerful life. Maybe I was more concerned about the praise of men and women than the love of God. Maybe I was slowly becoming a prisoner of people’s expectations instead of a man liberated by divine promises. …I had succeeded in surrounding myself with so many classes to prepare, lectures to give, articles to finish, people to meet, phone calls to make, and letters to answer, that I had come quite close to believing that I was indispensable. …While complaining about too many demands, I felt uneasy when none were made. While speaking about the burden of letter writing, an empty mailbox made me sad. While fretting about tiring lecture tours, I felt disappointed when there were no invitations. While speaking nostalgically about an empty desk, I feared the day on which that would come true. In short: while desiring to be alone, I was frightened of being left alone. The more I became aware of these paradoxes, the more I started to see how much I had indeed fallen in love with my own compulsions and illusions, and how much I needed to step back and wonder, ‘Is there a quiet stream underneath the fluctuating affirmations and rejections of my little world?’” Henri Nouwen

“[Jesus] appointed twelve
that they might be with him….”
Mark 3:14

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Has being a Christian or a minister become a “tiring job” for you?
  • Is your doing for God anchored in your being with God?
  • What were some of Nouwen’s illusions? his motivations? What are some of yours?
  • Is there a still point that anchors your life? What is that?

Abba, may I be a person liberated by divine promises, then useful to you and others.

For More:  The Genesee Diary by Henri Nouwen
_________________________________________________

 

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

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

 

Daily Riches: Love Begins With Not Judging Others (Henri Nouwen, Ram Dass, Thomas Merton and Jean Vanier) *

“When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight ….And you look at the tree and you allow it. …You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You’re too this, or I’m too this.’ That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.” Ram Dass20131018_164446

“We spend an enormous amount of energy making up our minds about other people. Not a day goes by without somebody doing or saying something that evokes in us the need to form an opinion about him or her. We hear a lot, see a lot, and know a lot. The feeling that we have to sort it all out in our minds and make judgments about it can be quite oppressive. The desert fathers said that judging others is a heavy burden, while being judged by others is a light one. Once we can let go of our need to judge others, we will experience an immense inner freedom. Once we are free from judging, we will be also free for mercy.” Henri Nouwen

“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image.” Thomas Merton

“To love someone is … to reveal to them their beauty and value, to say, ‘You’re beautiful. You’re important.'” Jean Vanier

“Or how can you say to your brother, Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’
when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye?” – Jesus

Moving From Head to Heart

  • God’s job is to judge, and ours is to love. Can you leave the judging to God? could that free you to love? free you “for mercy?”
  • Can you start by letting others be “perfectly themselves?” If not, why not?
  • How effective are you at revealing to others that they’re “beautiful … important?”

Abba, help me love well by appreciating instead of evaluating.

_________________________________________________

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: Are You Disillusioned with Your Church? (Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Henri Nouwen)

“A great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we are fortunate, with ourselves, is bound to overwhelm us as surely as God desires to lead us to an understanding of genuine Christian community. By sheer grace God will not permit us to live in a dream world even for a few weeks and to abandon ourselves to those blissful experiences and exalted moods that sweep over us like a wave of rapture. …Only that community which enters into the experience of this great disillusionment with all its unpleasant and evil appearances begins to be what it should be in God’s sight, begins to grasp in faith the promise that is given to it. The sooner this moment of disillusionment comes over the individual and the community, the better for both. …Every human idealized image that is brought into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be broken up so that genuine community can survive. Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest, and sacrificial.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
 .
“Community is the place where the person you least want to live with always lives.” Henri Nouwen
 .

But we have this treasure in clay pots so [it is clear] that the awesome power … doesn’t come from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Has your church entered into “the experience of great disillusionment with all its unpleasant and evil appearances?” How do you feel about that?
  • Is God at work to break you and others of your illusions about the church (i.e., to dis-illusion you)? Why would he do that?
  • Do you have idealized expectations for your church that make you a danger to “genuine community” even though you’re “honest and earnest” in your support of it?
  • What is “the promise given” that God wants you to “grasp” when it comes to the Christian community?

  For More: Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

_________________________________________________

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 Perils of Success (Paul Pearsall, Henri Nouwen, Mark Nepo, John de Graaf) *

“Everyone said I was doing really well, but something inside me was telling me my success was putting my soul in danger.” Henri Nouwen

“Sweet success is being able to pay full and undivided attention to what matters most in life… experienced as a fulfilled and calm spirit that doesn’t compare itself to the happiness and success of others. It is characterized by an unhurried daily life led without the burden of the drive for victory over others or to get more status and ‘stuff.’ It is being able to regularly share with those we love a persistent sense of glee in the simple pleasures that derive from being alive and well at this moment in time. …Put simply, toxic success is constant distraction caused by pressure to do and have more; sweet success is attending fully to the now with the confident contentment that enough is finally enough. Overcoming toxic success syndrome is not a matter of giving up the good life, it is a matter of getting it back by freeing ourselves from the short-term illusion that so many of us now call ‘success.’ It is recovering from the social virus author John de Graaf calls ‘affluenza … a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.'” Paul Pearsall

“… care for your soul as if it were the whole world.” Mark Nepo

“This is what the Lord says:
‘Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”
Jeremiah 6:16

Moving From The Head to The Heart

  •  Reread the first half of Pearsall’s definition of “sweet success.” What Pearsall as a psychoneuroimmunologist recommends, Jesus lived. This is the kind of life Jesus wants for you.
  • Do you feel like your soul could be “in danger?” Are you walking “where the good way is?”
  • Are you caring for your soul “as if it were the whole world?” How, specifically?

Abba, deliver me from the illusions and pathologies of my day. Help me to find rest for my soul as I walk in the ancient paths.

__________

For More: Toxic Success by Paul Pearsall

_________________________________________________

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: Learning From the Poor (Dallas Willard, Henri Nouwen and Bernard of Clairvaux) *

“The mystery of ministry is that the Lord is to be found where we minister. That is what Jesus tells us when he says: ‘Insofar as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me’ (Matthew 25:40). Our care for people thus becomes the way to meet the Lord. The more we give, support, guide, counsel and visit, the more we receive, not just similar gifts, but the Lord himself. To go to the poor is to go to the Lord.” Henri Nouwen

“… shopping, banking, even living in the poorer districts of our area will do much to lend substance to our grasp of how the economically deprived experience their world—and ours. This will add a great substance to our understanding, prayers, and caring that can never be gained by an occasional ‘charity run’ or by sending money to organizations that work with the poor. Remember, Jesus did not send help. He came among us.” Dallas Willard

“Only charity can convert the soul, freeing it from unworthy motives.” Bernard of Clairvaux

“…be willing to associate with people of low position.”  Romans 12:16

Moving From the Head to the Heart

Everyone is at a different place when it comes to ministry to the poor. Some of us make “charity runs”, some “send money” to international or local aid organizations, some have yet to do much of anything. Nouwen even discusses whether it’s possible to truly share the life of the poor by living among them (Gracias!, 115). It’s not always easy to help, but we try.

  • Do you see loving the poor as something that defines what it means for you to love Jesus?
  • Do you regularly do anything that helps you to grasp how the poor “experience their world—and ours?”
  • Can you set aside some quiet time before God in the next week where you ask him to show you about his love for the poor and what that might mean for you?

__________

For More: The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard

_________________________________________________

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: Suffering’s Unwelcomed Gift (David Benner, Richard Rohr and Henri Nouwen) *

“Suffering can be a path to awakening when we engage it with receptivity to the gifts it holds rather than simply attempt to endure it. One of those gifts is that suffering has unique capacity to help us soften and release attachments and move toward a life of non-attachment. Simone Weil said that suffering that does not detach us is wasted suffering. Don’t waste suffering. It’s always a shame to have to repeat lessons because we don’t get their point but suffering is a particularly bad lesson to be slow to get.” David Benner

“Real holiness doesn’t feel like holiness; it just feels like you’re dying. It feels like you’re losing it. And you are! Every time you love someone, you have agreed for a part of you to die. You will soon be asked to let go of some part of your false self, which you foolishly thought was permanent, important, and essential! You know God is doing this in you and with you when you can somehow smile and trust that what you lost was something you did not need anyway. In fact, it got in the way of what was real.”  Richard Rohr

“… in the middle of the pain there is some hidden gift. I, more and more in my life, have discovered that the gifts of life are often hidden in the places that hurt most.” Henri Nouwen

“Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” Hebrews 5:8

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you imagine embracing suffering that comes your way as a giver of “gifts?” Can you remember to look for such a gift when you’re in those “places that hurt most?”
  • Has suffering in your life caused you to loosen your grip on things? Has it changed your perspective about what is “permanent, important, and essential?”
  • When it “feels like you’re dying” or “losing it”, can you trust God to be at work for your good in the very thing that is “killing” you?

Abba, your Son suffered that he might know me. Help me to embrace the gifts of suffering that I might know him. I know I’m going to want to run from it like the disciples ran from the garden.  Strengthen me.

__________

For More: Spirituality and the Awakening Self by David G. Benner

_________________________________________________

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

Daily Riches: The Primary Work of the Christian Leader (Gordon MacDonald, Henri Nouwen and Parker Palmer) *

“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

“Before we can conquer the world we must conquer the self.” Oswald Sanders

“Self care is never a selfish act. It is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have – the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” Parker Palmer

“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,
  Almighty Yahweh!
My soul yearns, even faints,
 for the courts of Yahweh;
my heart and my flesh cry out
 for the living God.”
Psalm 84:1-2

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?” Have you established routines and prioritized practices accordingly?
  • When you think about whether 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.

__________

For More: Cultivating the Soul by Gordon MacDonald

_________________________________________________

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: Reigning in a Critical Spirit (Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Henri Nouwen) *

“Often we combat our evil thoughts most effectively if we absolutely refuse to allow them to be expressed in words. It is certain that the spirit of self-justification can be overcome only by the Spirit of grace; nevertheless, isolated thoughts of judgment can be curbed and smothered by never allowing them the right to be uttered…. Thus it must be a decisive rule of every Christian fellowship that each individual is prohibited from saying much that occurs to him.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“If we could control our tongues,
we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth.
And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go,
even though the winds are strong.
In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.
…People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue.
It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father,
and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.
And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth.
Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”
James 3:2-10

“It is a good discipline to wonder in each new situation if people wouldn’t be better served by our silence than by our words.” Henri Nouwen

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Think about your conversations at church. Do you tend to say whatever occurs to you? Could you determine never to speak in defense of yourself or in judgment of another?
  • Does your congregation have a “decisive rule … that each individual is prohibited from saying much that occurs to him?”
  • Both James and Bonhoeffer admit the difficulty of controlling our words. Even so, both men seem to suggest that we will control ourselves by controlling our words. Can you control your words?

Abba, may my words be surrounded by much silence and informed by much love.

__________

For More: Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

_________________________________________________

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

Daily Riches: The Willingness to Wait (Henri Nouwen and Pete Scazzero) *

“A waiting person is a patient person. The word ‘patience’ implies the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there. Impatient people expect the real thing to happen somewhere else, and therefore they want to get away from the present situation and go elsewhere. For them the moment is empty. But patient people dare to stay where they are.” Henri Nouwen

“Do not leave Jerusalem,
but wait for the gift my Father promised,
which you have heard me speak about.”
Jesus in Acts 1: 4

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you a patient person? Able to stay where you are, even if it seems nothing is happening?  waiting expectantly to see what God will do?
  • Are you a patient person, willing to look for God’s fullness where you are?  willing to live in the present situation and it’s fullness – a fullness which may not be obvious?
  • Can you resist the urge to “go elsewhere”, running to a better moment rather than the present one that seems so “empty?” Can you “dare to stay where you are?”
  • Think about the quiet seemingly empty moments in the various Biblical accounts that exploded into significance when God acted in them. What might you miss if you can’t stay put in “quiet, empty” moments?

“Lord grant me the grace to do one thing at a time today, without rushing or hurrying. Help me to savor the sacred in all I do, be it large or small. By the power of the Holy Spirit, empower me to pause today as I move from one activity to the next. Declutter my heart, O God, until I am quiet enough to hear you speak out of the silence. Forgive me for running my life without you sometimes. Help me to be still, to surrender to your will, and to rest in your loving arms. Amen.”  (Pete Scazzero)

__________

For More: The Daily Office by Peter Scazzero

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” 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. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Embarrassment of Being Ourselves (Henri Nouwen, Harold Fickett and Philip Yancey) *

“The internationally renowned priest and author, respected professor and beloved pastor Henri Nouwen wrote over 40 books on the spiritual life. He corresponded regularly in English, Dutch, German, French and Spanish with hundreds of friends and reached out to thousands…. Since his death in 1996, ever-increasing numbers of readers, writers, teachers and seekers have been guided by his literary legacy … in over 22 languages.”

“In his review of Nouwen’s book The Road to Daybreak, Harold Fickett wrote that he found it disappointing to read that the same problems described a decade earlier in [Nouwen’s] The Genesee Diary–deficient friendships, unrequited love, hurt feelings at perceived slights–continued to plague Nouwen. Fickett went on to explain, ‘It’s disappointing in exactly the same way it’s disappointing to be ourselves–the same person with the same problems who learns and then must relearn again and again the basic lessons of religious faith. Nouwen does not spare himself or us the embarrassment of this perennial truth.’” Philip Yancey

“My eyes are ever on the Lord,
for only he will release my feet from the snare.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish.
Look on my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins. …
do not let me be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.”
Psalm 25:15-20

Moving from Head to Heart

  • Like Nouwen, Fickett and Yancey, are you “the same person with the same problems” you had ten years ago? Welcome to the human race!
  • It’s “disappointing to be ourselves”, but what can we do? We can give up and live in shame, or be one “who learns and then must relearn again and again the basic lessons of religious faith.” Can you accept your bad track record and refuse to give up?
  • Can you be honest with others about the need for God’s grace in your life, not “sparing” them your embarrassment, to encourage them?

Abba, today I will take refuge in you.

__________

For More:  Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey

_________________________________________________

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: Solitude and the Chattering Monkeys (Henri Nouwen, Pope Francis and David K. Flowers) *

“In solitude I get rid of my scaffolding; no friends to talk with, no telephone calls to make, no meetings to attend, no music to entertain, no books to distract, just me—naked, vulnerable, weak, sinful, deprived, broken—nothing. It is this nothingness that I have to face in my solitude, a nothingness so dreadful that everything in me wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something. But that is not all. As soon as I decide to stay in my solitude, confusing ideas, disturbing images, wild fantasies, and weird associations jump about in my mind like monkeys in a banana tree. Anger and greed begin to show their ugly faces. I give long, hostile speeches to my enemies and dream lustful dreams in which I am wealthy, influential, and very attractive—or poor, ugly, and in need of immediate consolation.  … The task is to persevere in my solitude, to stay in my cell until all my seductive visitors get tired of pounding on my door and leave me alone.” Henri Nouwen

“In the history of salvation,
neither in the clamour nor in the blatant,
but the Shadows and the Silence
are the places in which God chose
to reveal himself to humankind.”
Pope Francis

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you avoid solitude? If so, why?
  • Are you expecting to find God, or be found by him in crowd’s “clamour?”
  •  Are you willing to “persevere” in your solitude until the “monkeys in the banana tree” give up and leave you alone?

“The world is full of people wanting to solve [its] problems. But the world would profit much more if people would first confront their own anxieties and the things that cause them 1) to have to fill every silence with meaningless chatter, 2) to stay constantly busy, and 3) to do anything to avoid being still.” David K. Flowers

Abba, deliver me from these tactics.

__________

For More: The Essential Henri Nouwen

_________________________________________________

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)