Lent Quotes: Christ understands the weakness of men

February 29, 2012

I found the following quote in the Feb. 29th entry at Anglican Mainstream’s daily Lent Devotional.  May it encourage others as it has me.  I’m glad Christ knows my weakness and is easily found when I humble my heart to seek Him!  Oh that I weren’t so stubborn in often refusing His help and His grace!

 

“Christ, like a skillful physician, understands the weakness of men. He loves to teach the ignorant and the erring he turns again to his own true way. He is easily found by those who live by faith and to those of pure eye and holy heart, who desire to knock at the door, he opens immediately.”

– St. Hyppolytus (Treatise on Christ and Antichrist)


A Lenten Parable: Coffee & Life

February 29, 2012

Go check out Tara’s beautiful and powerful parable about French Presses, Coffee and Life at Story-Formed blog.

I related to it very well this morning, and I’m oh so glad that Jesus IS willing to make us clean and to heal us!


Lent Quotes: John Piper & John Wesley on Fasting – Fasting expresses AND assists our hunger for God

February 29, 2012

Another great passage from John Piper’s wonderful book on Fasting:  A Hunger for God, in which Piper draws on a powerful quote from John Wesley to explain how fasting both expresses AND assists a deep hunger for God in our lives:

One of the great effects of fasting is that it assists what it expresses. I mean that fasting is mainly an expression of the soul’s hunger for God. It is not a contrived means to make us love God. We love him and long for him. And then fasting rises up as a way of saying earnestly with our whole body what our hearts feel: I hunger for you, O God. Fasting expresses, rather than creates, hunger for God.

Nevertheless, it is also true that the very nature of fasting makes it an assistant to this hunger for God. The reason is that hunger for God is spiritual, not physical. And we are less sensitive to spiritual appetites when we are in the bondage of physical ones. This means that fasting is a way of awakening us to latent spiritual appetites by pushing the domination of physical forces from the center of our lives. John Wesley expressed this as well as anyone I have read. What he calls the “sensualizing” of the soul is a great hindrance to our longing for Jesus to return. Therefore fasting assists the very experience of hunger for God that it also expresses.

Fullness of bread [increases] not only carelessness and levity of spirit, but also foolish and unholy desires, yea, unclean and vile affections. . . . Even a genteel, regular sensuality is continually sensualizing the soul, and sinking it into a level with the beasts that perish. It cannot be expressed what an effect a variety and delicacy of food have on the mind as well as the body; making it just ripe for every pleasure of sense, as soon as opportunity shall invite.

Therefore, on this ground also, every wise man will refrain his soul, and keep it low; will wean it more and more from all those indulgences of the inferior appetites, which naturally tend to chain it down to earth, and to pollute as well as debase it. Here is another perpetual reason for fasting; to remove the food of lust and sensuality, to withdraw the incentives of foolish and hurtful desires, of vile and vain affections.

I do not mean to belittle the good gifts of God, as if eating were an evil or even a hindrance to spiritual sensitivity. Together with Wesley I simply mean to say that most of us run the risk of being overly “sensualized” simply by having every craving satisfied and rarely pausing in a moment of self-denial to discover if there are alive within us spiritual appetites that could satisfy us at a much deeper level than food, and that are designed for the honor of  God. Such is the appetite for the coming of King Jesus.

A Hunger for God, Crossway, 1997.  pp. 89 – 91

(A Hunger for God is available as a free eBook here)


1 Corinthians 2:1-5 and Sunday School Lesson

February 29, 2012

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
      LORD, let these words characterize the witness of all our clergy and lay leaders throughout this diocese. The power of their witness will not depend on excellence of speech or of wisdom in declaring your testimony. Help them make the choice to know nothing among us except Jesus Christ and him crucified. Paul came in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling, and his speech and his preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but he demonstrated the power of the Holy Spirit so that the Corinthians’ faith and ours should not rest on the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Thank you for his life and witness to us.

A word received: Keep listening.

STUDY GUIDE: SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON 21, March 4 2012
Theme Verse: Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)
Readings: Mark 8:31-38; Romans 8:31-39; Haggai 2:1-23; Psalm 16:5-11

A word received: I want to build you into the church I want. I AM the foundation and cornerstone. Look to me — let me build you up by my Holy Spirit and my word.

      Gospel: Mark 8:31-38

(verse 33b) “But you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” A word received: Where is your attention fixed? What are the concerns that drive you? I want you to look at what drives and motivates you. Are you concerned about the things of God or of men?

      Epistle: Romans 8:31-39

(verse 31b) A word received: So many of my people are deluded by the judgments of others. Look at my word to you. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Use this verse to armor your heart and your mind from the concerns of men.

      Old Testament: Haggai 2:1-23

(verse 4b) A word received: “‘And work; for I am with you’ says the LORD of hosts.” If you do the work I call you to, your strength will be sufficient for the task. Do not listen to the naysayers and the prophets of doom. I AM with you and I AM sufficient.

      Psalm: Psalm 16:5-11

(verses 7-8 ) A word received: Listen for my Spirit and I will instruct you. I will show you the way to go.

Wednesday: 119:49-72 * 49, [53]; Gen. 37:25-36: 1 Cor. 2:1-13: Mark 1:29-45
Thursday: 50 * [59, 60] or 19, 46; Gen. 39:1-23: 1 Cor. 2:14-3:15: Mark 2:1-12

      Notes from the Front Line

***** Start now reading and reflecting on the lessons for Sunday so that you can receive all that God has for you (Mark 8:31-38; Romans 8:31-39; Genesis 22:1-14; Psalm 16 or 16:5-11).

***** Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2012
From: Nigel Mumford
Subject: Daily Quote…
      R U spinning you wheels? R U lost in the moment of instant gratification and missing life in the process. Is your face buried in some electronic device? LOL. . I had a moment of truth TBTG. The other day as I was trying to take a photo DLPQ (sorry, just made that up) I was trying to get the image and missed it. Not only on my camera, but far more importantly, my eyes. I just missed it. I was looking at my camera! My focus was on the wrong thing. What is more important, the camera, the blackberry, the IPad, or life? Ummm. Now that was a life lesson. Jesus, BFF. Just sayin! GBU.

Albany Intercessor


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