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"...who forgiveth all thine iniquities."

Over ninety years ago Mark Guy Pearse released an exceptional book of exposition of Psalm 103 entitled "Praise: Meditations in the 103rd Psalm"

Listen to the following:

"Once when I was away among mountains, the guide said to me: "There is a wonderful echo here if you can but wake it up. Stand here with your back to this rock, and turn yourself towards that point, and now shout." I shouted. And from a hundred hollow places came the wonderful responses- far away behind me I heard it rolling in the caves and up amongst the hills; it went ringing across the lake to left of me and right of me; from away at the end of the lake it came back to me, and then away, away; whilst faint echoes of the echoes lingered in the air.

Ah, such an echo is there in the mount of the Lord if we can but wake it up. Set thy foot firm upon the promises of our God. Set thine eye upon the Crucified. Let all thy soul go forth in deepest love …

Great Lyrics

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Readers of this blog probably have noticed that I bemoan the dwindling use of the good old hymns in our church services. Recently I posted the lyrics of the classic entitled "The Church's One Foundation". I might also think of "Christ the Lord is Risen Today", "He Leadeth Me", "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" or "It is Finished".

In some sanctuaries the old hymnals are found in the pews as a testimonial to our heritage, but rarely picked up. My goodness, these songs have five or six or more verses. Much too long for the attention span of the average parishioner...and to stand while singing? Hardly.

Instead we resort to the overhead screen, bright colour and selections with no more than three verses. These songs do not teach. They fail to name the name Jesus. Under the guise of worship they often state the obvious: 1."You are Lord" 2. "I give you my all" 3. "You are welcome in this place" 4. "Take us…

Like the Cedars of Lebanon

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(Today's entry in Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles Cowman)

"What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter" (John 13:7).

We have only a partial view here of God's dealings, His half-completed, half-developed plan; but all will stand out in fair and graceful proportions in the great finished Temple of Eternity! Go, in the reign of Israel's greatest king, to the heights of Lebanon. See that noble cedar, the pride of its compeers, an old wrestler with northern blasts! Summer loves to smile upon it, night spangles its feathery foliage with dewdrops, the birds nestle on its branches, the weary pilgrim or wandering shepherd reposes under its shadows from the midday heat or from the furious storm; but all at once it is marked out to fall; The aged denizen of the forest is doomed to succumb to the woodman's stroke!

As we see the axe making its first gash on its gnarled trunk, then the noble limbs stripped of their branches, and at last the "Tree…

The 104th

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10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
it flows between the mountains.
11 They give water to all the beasts of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds of the sky nest by the waters;
they sing among the branches.
13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
14 He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for people to cultivate—
bringing forth food from the earth:
15 wine that gladdens human hearts,
oil to make their faces shine,
and bread that sustains their hearts.
16 The trees of the LORD are well watered,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17 There the birds make their nests;
the stork has its home in the junipers.
18 The high mountains belong to the wild goats;
the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.

19 He made the moon to mark the seasons,
and the sun knows when to go down.
20 You bring darkness, it becomes night,
and all the beasts of the forest prowl.
21 The lions roar for…

Of Birds, Fish and Flowers

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Natalya is a hair stylist at First Choice Hair Cutters. She cut my hair this afternoon after I finished my Saturday shift at the grocery store. I really needed a trim. The little children at the store were starting to cry.

The woman was originally Ukrainian. Very personable. Very happy to engage in conversation. We spoke of how the afternoon had turned around nicely. Sunny. Moderate temperature. January almost gone.

Natalya mentioned that she had seen a group of geese. A "skein" I said. "Yeah, that's it. Does that mean that they are back from the south?"

"Oh, there are a bunch of lazy ones here in Waterloo who find enough scrub farm yield that they never have to leave." I told about other beautiful sightings soon to come with trumpeter swans and snow geese. I told about the aerodynamics in the flight pattern and the shifting role of V-leader. I told her that the geese mated for life. That got us talking about eagles.

Natalya then came to my left side with…

Not So Easy Lay-Up

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I have renewed acquaintance with an old school chum after a hiatus of many years. We chatted at my Dad's funeral. He began including me in his e-mail circulars. He was fascinated to discover that his second-stringer team-mate in basketball had gotten religion.

My friend invited a dialogue on spirituality over the internet. His past disciplines were philosophy and history. It became apparent that he could only see Jesus as one of many great thinkers. He denied His divinity. Thought that God and heaven could not be proved. Indicated that his life ethic was to be the best that he could be. Saw Church as a place for priests/pastors to condemn and manipulate. Saw the doctrine of substitutionary atonement as a crutch for weaklings who never expected to get much out of life and had simply decided to trust. Miserable, lack-lustre, self-deprecating 'sinners saved by grace'.

In all of these pronouncements my friend has remained specific and courteous. He has had some background with G…

So Great Philosophers?

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(Taken from The Message by Eugene Peterson)

First Corinthians Chapter Two:

1-2You'll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God's master stroke, I didn't try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.
3-5I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate—I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God's Spirit and God's power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God's power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.

6-10We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it's not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date …

"Wully" Ward

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My Dad's best friend lived across the street. Big man. Heavy. General insurance broker. Born in the northland (Burk's Falls)...moved to the big city. College football enthusiast. Time-keeper with Dad at many a Western Mustangs football game. Daily morning "coffee club" partner. Fishing buddy. Cottage enthusiast.

Bill was about ten years younger. He died years before Dad from complications with pneumonia. His funeral service was ministered by a friend who gave an honest-to-goodness Gospel hope message. His son and daughter, Bob and Janet handled the reminiscences admirably.

"Wully's" favourite expression in a wide variety of circumstances was "Mercy". That was it. No embellishment. But the way he said it invested it with mystery and respect.

He was a fair-minded man with a big sense of humour. Coming from him "mercy" sounded like something good. But I never heard him express a Gospel message or allusion. His life's message had an im…

Our Only Order of Service

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Acts 2:

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere he…

"Berty"

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Two loving wives supporting and encouraging two husbands with great disappointments. That is the unsung message in the recent film The King's Speech.

Albert, the second son of England's King George V, is proving a frustration and a challenge to the monarch. He must break his son of the embarrassing stuttering and get him before the public with increasing frequency. The film starts with an official occasion where Berty absolutely freezes at the microphone. Audience members cringe and look the other way in disappointment.

But the King knows his sons' fibre and suspects that in some way eldest David will prove a disappointment and Albert will have to rally. Nothing could prove more terrifying.

A succession of bogus speech therapists are called in, only increasing the frustration. As an apparent last ditch effort, wife Elizabeth goes to the humble quarters of Lionel Logue, an Australian with an uncanny, although uncertified talent to restore proper speech. This he developed with …

The Church's One Foundation

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(Lyrics by Samuel J. Stone, 1839-1900)

The Church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her
And for her life He died.

She is from every nation,
Yet one o’er all the earth;
Her charter of salvation,
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy Name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses,
With every grace endued.

The Church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord to defend,
To guide, sustain, and cherish,
Is with her to the end:
Though there be those who hate her,
And false sons in her pale,
Against both foe or traitor
She ever shall prevail.

Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed:
Yet saints their watch are keeping,
Their cry goes up, “How long?”
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song!

’Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore;
Till,…

Silent Before Herod

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(Taken from James Stalker's classic The Trial and Death of Jesus Christ))

"Herod at last exhausted himself, and then he waited for Christ to speak. But Jesus uttered not a word. The silence lasted till the pause grew awkward and painful, and till Herod grew red and angry; but Jesus would not break it with a single syllable.

For one thing, the entire proceedings were irrelevant. Jesus had been sent to Herod to be tried; but this had never been touched upon. Had Jesus, indeed, desired to deliver Himself at all hazards, this was a rare opportunity; because, if He had yielded to Herod's wishes and wrought a miracle for his gratification, no doubt He would have been acquitted and sent back loaded with gifts. But we cannot believe that such an expedient was even a temptation to Him. Never had He wrought a miracle for His own behoof, and it is inconceivable that He should have stooped to offer any justification of the estimate of Himself which this man had formed. Jesus was …

His Beloved "Reb"

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He told his wife and daughter to stay in the house. He loaded the shotgun and went outside to hide behind some garbage cans. He had robbed these men, men who knew him, to feed his desperate drug habit. They would be coming. They knew where he lived. He found himself praying, "Help me Jesus, help me Jesus. Save me Jesus." A pact was made that if he survived the night he would give his life to the Lord. What was there to give? Petty juvenile thief, turned armed robber, turned jailbird, turned neighbourhood drug king, turned desperate addict.

And the Lord showed mercy. Henry Covington survived the night. He told his wife of the strange pact. She joined with him in a struggle to withdraw from the life and the crack...

In later years author Mitch Albom would meet this man who was pastoring a dilapidated church in recession weary Detroit, offering food and shelter to the homeless and preaching on the wonder of second and third chances with Jesus.

Albom was investigating worthy causes…

Trivial Us

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My attention was drawn to an excerpt from the 1976 movie Network. Actor Peter Finch plays a controversial TV host who turns against the agenda of his employer network to expose how the media is systematically "dumbing down" its audience.

Lifestyles, public interest, priorities and political choice are all manipulated for the benefit of the sponsors. Everyone is too lazy to read, or to form an opinion or to voice protest. A sense of hopelessness and powerlessness sets in and the populace seek fun and games for relief and outlet.

Sound familiar? (35 years later). At every street corner I see young people head down and texting rather than attending to the things around them.

These days people don't talk or exchange opinions or allow themselves to get angry. Jobs are replaced by electronic gadgets (car wash, gas pump, grocery check-out, bank teller, parking lot attendant). Opportunities for conversation and "pressing flesh" are shrinking daily. Young people text and c…

He Shines

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(Today's entry in Come Ye Apart by J.R. Miller)

The Light of the World


“To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death”

Luke 1:79

Suppose the sun were never to rise again, and the light of every star were put out, what a gloomy world this would be! This is the picture of the world, in a moral and spiritual sense, without Christ, as it is painted in these words, “darkness and the shadow of death!” — no light to guide, to cheer, to produce joy and beauty.

A world without Christ would be utter blackness unilluminated by a singe ray of sun or even by a single far-away star. Christ is light. Only think what light does for us! It makes our days very bright; it shows us all the beautiful things that are around us. But it does far more. It produces all the life of the earth, and then nourishes it. There would not be a bud or a root or a leaf were it not for the sun. Nor would there be any beauty, for every lovely thing in nature the sun paints. Think of Christ, then ,…

Let Me Buy Some of That

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Simon was a prominent wizard in Samaria with numerous miraculous achievements to his credit. His power at this point was all from the dark side.

He watched the dramatic changes in people arising from the message and ministry of Philip the evangelist. Acts chapter 8 tells us that Simon also believed and was added to the numbers of the church.

But the "old man" still had throttle holds in Simon's life. He still lusted for notoriety and power. (So much for the simplistic suggestion that with salvation problems just evaporate.)

Soon Peter and John were in town inviting believers into the subsequent experience of the baptism in the Holy Ghost. Simon must have observed something very arresting, although the text does not specify that candidates for the blessing then spoke in other tongues.

He blurted out that he was desperate to receive this great power and prepared to pay money for it. Peter's rebuke was very harsh and comes close to suggesting that Simon had fallen out of gr…

Justice in the End

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(Taken from the narrative poem Evangeline by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Villagers are discussing the mysterious arrival of English ships in the bay. Do they mean ill for the French residents of Grand Pre?)

Then up rose from his seat by the fireside Basil the blacksmith,
Knocked from his pipe the ashes, and slowly extending his right hand,
"Father Leblanc," he exclaimed, "thou hast heard the talk in the village,
And, perchance, canst tell us some news of these ships and their errand."
Then with modest demeanor made answer the notary public --
"Gossip enough have I heard, in sooth, yet am never the wiser;
And what their errand may be I know not better than others.
Yet am I not of those who imagine some evil intention
Brings them here, for we are at peace; and why then molest us?"
"God's name!" shouted the hasty and somewhat irascible blacksmith;
"Must we in all things look for the how, and the why, and the wherefore?
Daily injustice is do…

Penance on a Dare

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Brad entered the cathedral late Wednesday afternoon on a dare. He was undergoing the same programmed scepticism of University which many a Bible-raised youth encountered in the halls of academia and sophisticated doubt. His fraternity buddies knew that he had been raised Baptist. They had made it a part of his hazing that he should enter the largest Catholic church in the downtown and undergo confession, and then report.

Once inside he was struck by the colour and beauty of the stained glass, the subdued lighting, the respectful quiet, the smiles from complete strangers. He saw them sitting in the first two pews and disappearing at intervals through the three oak doors.

People on either side of Brad were kneeling in silence with faces directed forward and down. In ten minutes Brad's turn came and he tried to remember the dialogue which one of his frat buddies had related:

"Father forgive me, for I have sinned. It has been ten months since my last confession."

"Yes, my s…

Excerpt from www.medjugorje.org

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"I don't think that anyone could argue, regardless of religious orientation, that today's world is in a state of crisis. All one has to do is read the newspaper or watch television to be see how eroded the morals of our world have become. It is shocking to see and hear the examples of inhumanity, cruelty, violence, abuse, drugs, war, crime, etc., etc. Much of the world has strayed far from a life centered around God and family. The answers which we need to redirect our life can be found by reading and living Our Lady's messages and the Scriptures.

"You are ready to commit sin, and to put yourselves in the hands of satan without reflecting." (May 25, 1987)

"Do not allow satan to gain control of your hearts, so you would be an image of satan and not of me." (January 30, 1986)

"Children, darkness reigns over the whole world. People are attracted by many things and they forget about the more important."

"Light won't reign in the world un…

Madonna Pieta

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Look at this picture. Troublesome! Classic Roman Catholic sculpture by Michelangelo. Showing the Mother all-capable, muscular, almost mannish, dealing with the problem of Golgotha.

The Son appears dead, wasted, prone, again in the lap of his Mother. And so it goes on in Catholicism. The Son is still impaled on the cross in many a hospital room. His body is still repeatedly broken in the revered host of the mass.

The suggestion is that Christ is all about suffering and passivity. His Mother is all about coping, overcoming and activity.

But let us in all honesty go to that interesting, insightful, victorious, friendly man who met the two on the Road to Emmaus and shared the Good News of fulfilled prophecy and resurrection power. The risen Lord and Christ!

The cult of Mariolatry has the potential to handicap the Good News. And the distraction continues. Pope Pius IX (1854) and the immaculate conception of Mary. Pope Pius XII (1950) and the assumption of Mary. And let us not forget the appar…

Lovely Little Mary

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Scripture tells us about the Annunciation, the visit to Elizabeth's happy home, the betrothal and marriage to Joseph, the birth in the manger, the visit to the temple for the child's circumcision, the visit from the magi, the flight into Egypt, the return to Nazareth, the later visit to Jerusalem and her son's absence while in dialogue with the scholars, the miracle at the wedding feast in Cana, her attempt to remove her son from the stresses of overmuch ministry, her painful presence at the scene of crucifixion, her growing relationship with John the beloved, her inclusion with the 120 at Pentecost.

And that's it!

Historic tradition tells us something about her later life in Ephesus with John. Nothing about her death. Certainly nothing about her assumption into heaven.

Where have these things come from about her super-human features in the likeness of her Son? An immaculate conception...of Mary. A deathless assumption into heaven...of Mary. Perpetual virginity. A mediat…

The Nature of His Teaching

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(Taken from The Life of Jesus Christ by James Stalker)

91. The most prominent of them seems to have been Authority: 'The people were astonished at His doctrine, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.' The first thing which struck His hearers was the contrast between His words and the preaching which they were wont to hear from the scribes in the synagogues. These were the exponents of the deadest and driest system of theology that has ever passed in any age for religion. Instead of expounding the Scriptures, which were in their hands, and would have lent living power to their words, they retailed the opinions of commentators, and were afraid to advance any statement, unless it were backed by the authority of some master. Instead of dwelling on the great themes of justice and mercy, love and God, they tortured the sacred text into a ceremonial manual, and preached on the proper breadth of phylacteries, the proper postures for prayer, the proper lengt…

Isaac Jogues (1607-1646)

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We miss the historical writings of Pierre Berton. In one of his books he tells the story of the Jesuit Isaac Jogues who was killed in New York state (Auriesville) through treachery in 1646. He was one of the six eventually canonized as the martyrs of Huronia, most notable being Brebeuf and Lalemant (1649).

As Berton tells the story (The Wild Frontier) this young Frenchman entered The Society of Jesus with visions of martyrdom, almost chronically so. His early stay in Huronia around Midland was fraught with misunderstanding. The black robes seemed to hover around death giving baptism and last rites to doomed sick babies and elderly. The very act of prayer and sprinkling was regarded as a form of witchcraft by the natives. Nothing was more loathsome than a witch. This earned Jogue his first near-death experience - running the gauntlet and suffering crushing or amputation of most fingers.

The black robes also had the unenviable position of bringing with them strains of disease such as infl…

So Who's Peripheral?

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Today I saw something fascinating in The Message (Eugene Peterson) in Paul's Letter to the Ephesians:

Chapter 1:
20-23All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ's body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.

Is this an honest paraphrase of the King James Version?

20Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world,…

Holidays

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The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,
When the full river of feeling overflows;
The happy days unclouded to their close;
The sudden joys that out of darkness start
As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are-a fairy tale
Of some enchanted land we know not where,
But lovely as a landscape in a dream.

(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Endless Toil, Ceaseless Compassion

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(Taken from The Gospel of Mark by Alexander Maclaren. 1826-1910)

When He (Jesus) would carry His wearied disciples with Him for a brief
breathing time to the other side of the sea, and get away from the
thronging crowd, 'the people saw Him departing, and ran afoot out of
all cities,' and, making their way round the head of the lake, were
all there at the landing place before Him. Instead of seclusion and
repose He found the same throng and bustle. Here they were, most of
them from mere curiosity, some of them no doubt with deeper feelings;
here they were, with their diseased and their demoniacs, and as soon
as His foot touches the shore He is in the midst of it all again. And
He meets it, not with impatience at this rude intrusion on His
privacy, not with refusals to help. Only one emotion filled His heart.
He forgot all about weariness, and hunger, and retirement, and 'He was
moved with compassion towards them, because they were as sheep not
having a shepherd, and He began to teach the…

Chaplain's Note

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Bob came into Oncology looking for Ken's room. Finally he had found the magazines requested, Canadian Geographic and Field and Stream. The old boy still saw himself as an outdoorsman with a host of stories from the northland and earlier days.

There had not appeared to be any opening of a spiritual nature, but Bob was prepared to be patient. Perhaps it was time to leave one of his cards on the bedside table:

"My name is Bob. I am a volunteer Chaplain here at St. Margaret's with hours 9 to 4 on Tuesday through Thursday and Friday evening 6:30 to 8:30 for friends and relatives. My phone extension is 5729.

It is not my intention to add to the numbers of any particular church. I do desire to help patients understand Jesus more clearly. Healing involves body, mind and soul; it considers both present and past. Nothing frustrates healing worse than anxiety and unforgiveness. Peace with God brings peace with others, and ultimately a greater degree of contentment with self.

I can talk …

Soul Adrenaline

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Hebrews 12:

1-3Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
4-11In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don't feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that G…

Creation Sings

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Steve Green's music videos are usually spell-binding. I include here a link to You Tube for the song Creation Sings. Prepare yourself for a visual feast from this planet! (Largely Disney images, I think.)

Simply select, copy and paste the following link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXyqg1YKv78

This Gnat So Small

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To think that You
Regard it all
Without a skip or miss.
Creation's spin
Men's hurts within
My hopes and trials and bliss.

Is just to sense
An un-summed Care
Which wearies not, nor wanes.
Though nations roar,
And lust for more,
You never drop the reins.

What marvel this!
That I am known
And figure in the blend.
This gnat so small
Receives Your all.
And comforts without end.

Silver Boxes

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Heard of this inspiring message by Florence Littauer on encouraging words given to others to help them achieve their dreams:

Silver Boxes with Bows on Top

Everywhere we turn negativity assaults us. Crime is up, the economy is down, education is in trouble and traffic is bad. Oh, how we long to be "home, home on the range-where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day." Imagine what your day would be like if everyone you met offered you "encouraging words" to counterbalance life's discouragement. What about your childhood? Were you encouraged and motivated to fill your dreams? What could you have done all your life, what could you have become if someone had been there to tell you, "you can do it." In this classic message, based on Ephesians 4:29, Florence shares the value of encouraging words. You will learn to speak words that edify, build up and minister grace to the hearer. Silver Boxes is Florence's most popular p…

Always One Fact More

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The stiff, incommmunicative neighbour has a loveless marriage. The prank-playing youth has a learning disability. The profane teenage girl gets to watch her parents fight every second day. The painfully shy young man once had a teacher who systematically humiliated him. These are the one facts more which should give us pause and a much more sympathetic ear to our fellow travelers.

But we have a wealth of life experience. We think that we have seen it before. We believe that we have discernment. We know where not to waste our time. And Omniscience looks on and shakes His head at such presumption. Love would have waited and watched, prayed and sought an honest opportunity to bless.

God also reserves the one fact more in our life of faith. Oh, to be saved. Oh, to be healed. Oh, to finish that study. Oh, to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Then it will be clear sailing and increased usefulness in the Kingdom of God. Then we will certainly have the "word in season" for him that is w…

The World's Laughter

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I love to listen to Steve Brown and the Key Life radio broadcast. He often pokes fun at religious pomposity in himself and in the church.

Yesterday he was giving anecdotes of new believers who were behaving unreasonably in the eyes of their friends and neighbours. A new-found faith had appeared to establish such certainty in the big issues of life. The convert felt himself to be a valuable providence for others. Such fanaticism. Such half-cooked reality! Such unapproachable self-assurance. It deserved the world's laughter.

He spoke of an old friend who with embarrassment told the following story: She had just gotten saved. The Holy Spirit had turned on some of the lights concerning Christ's finished work of redemption. She wanted to impact some of her neighbours. (She couldn't bear to see them go to Hell, or so she thought.) Written invitations were sent out for a Bible study. She cleaned up the house. Scattered around open Bibles. Put away all the secular magazines and nove…

Of Old Calendars

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Today I put the 2010 calendar in the garbage. Full of reminders, appointments, pretty pictures. But now pointless to retain, and only likely to create confusion.

We must do the same with most of our experiences from the past year. Whatever the success or failure, it is time for growth, repentance, searching and confidence that Jesus will provide sufficient light, purpose and safe-guarding for the unknown days ahead. The past is past. One needs neither the false confidence nor condemnation.

Today's devotional portion in Daily Light for the Daily Path (Bagster) is very helpful:

This one thing I do, forgetting those
things which are behind, . . . I press
toward the mark for the prize of the
high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

FATHER, I will that they . . . whom thou hast given to me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given to me.--I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him a…