Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Life, as it is

"When God wanted to show his deepest feelings about us, he sent His Son. And he didn't send him to live in a castle. He demonstrated God's love in the midst of life at its best and life at its worst. He came into the world in such a way as to say , "I am one of you." Why else would he be born in a manger? It was to say to us that we were never to be surprised at where he turned up. Once and for all he was saying, "I am here to be involved in life."

He entered into life wholeheartedly. He identified with it. He put himself within the limits of life and made no claims of immunity. He joined in exploring its possibilities. He suffered and worked at it. He addressed himself to the ills of society. He pleaded for the poor and defended those who were attacked. He entered into disappointments and struggles that are the daily occurrences of every man's life. He embraced the world as his own. He came into the sweat, dust, and tears of life.

Jesus was a holy man. But I think we often think it was because he withdrew from life. There were times when he had to be alone with the Father. But I am beginning to believe that his holiness did not come because he withdrew from life; he was holy because he entered into life at every level.

Some people imagine a Jesus who, when confronted with sorrow or sickness, slipped into a phone booth and took off his glasses and put on his God suit. It helps me more to know that he didn't have some sort of spiritual overdrive that lifted him out of the context of life. He hung in there and wept and bled and talked and healed. He was not less involved with life than we are. He was infinitely more caught up in it.

As I go to work each morning, I come up the hill to where I-65 and I-24 merge. As you top the hill, you can see the skyline of Nashville in the distance. It is nearly always interesting to see. Sometimes it is sparkling in the morning sunlight and sometimes it is shrouded in fog. As all the lanes come together everyone is jockeying for position. I'm trying to stay in the outside lane as long as I can because it is faster. Finally I have to get over in the right line to catch I-265 around to the office. Other people are trying to do just the opposite. Frankly, I hardly ever pray over the city.

One morning Jesus came riding over the hill from Bethany and looked down on the city of Jerusalem. It was a city that had great meaning to him. It was a city in which he had preached and healed. It was the city in which he was to die. As he saw the city in the morning mist, his eyes filled with tears and he prayed. "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I would have gathered you to myself, like a mother hen gathers her chicks, but you would not."

Now I ask you, who is the most involved in life? Me, blowing and honking and changing lanes, or Jesus, weeping and praying over the city? Jesus loved life and people and flowers and causes and was more aware of them than we are. In that very sacrament of humanity, his dignity and likeness to his father was magnified. In the process of revealing God to us, he also demonstrates that humanity is possible and desirable.

So the great challenge is for you to live your life in union with him. The union is here. This is the place. You are the one. The union will manifest itself in the everyday noise and the crowded streets of your life. You can be what you are. You can think what you think. You can have your temper. You can have your will. You can have your emotions. He will bring his life as the union. It is in that life together that you are gently transformed and remade."

"See you at the house.", Bob Benson, Generoux Publisher, 1986, pages 53-54)

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Voice of God

"I am not sure exactly what all I think we mean when we say that we are made in the image of God. But part of it, I believe, is that the calling voice of God is sounding out in the caves and caverns deep beneath the soil of our souls. And it is by obeying this call we learn who we truly are and what we can become.

So if I do not seem to hear him speak from the outside, and if there does not seem to be any message from the sky, then I must listen to the voice that is within me. For that voice, too, is the purposeful, calling voice of God to us."

(See You at the House, Bob Benson, page 45)

Thursday, September 18, 2008


"Prayer is the link between the physical and the spiritual world -- and since the spiritual world controls the physical, getting connected to the world above affects our functioning in the world below. And because prayer is relational, the Holy Spirit will communicate God's heart back to us by connecting with our human spirit so that we'll hear God talk to us in the deepest part of our being. That's why prayer cannot be rushed. It's also why taking time to meditate and be still before God is so important. It allows the Holy Spirit to share God's thoughts with us, so that we begin thinking His way."
("The Word for You Today", Fall 2008, pg. 12)

Friday, September 12, 2008


"Because God is holy, holiness remains the standard that all humanity must meet, yet that all humanity - save One - has failed."
(Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus, pg. 31)

That is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it. (Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Get Up and Run!

"Victory belongs to those who keep looking at the goal, not the going; not the process, but the prize; not the trial, but the treasure that's promised to those who persevere. A twofold theme of Christianity is rising again and running the race. But you can't win if you don't run and risk falling. And no matter what caused you to fall, the word for you today is, "Take God's hand, get up, and run!"
("The Word For You Today", Fall 2008, 9/7/08)