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Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

In our ladies’ Bible study we are going through the All Of Your Wonderful Deeds book in the A New Song series. Each week takes five days walking through a Psalm with a different author. Week 2 was on Psalm 18 and the daily devotional thoughts were written by Lisa Hahn. So far I have connected most with this Psalm and this week. I highlighted many lines and segments and typed them up to share with a friend who has much in common with me. Then I thought I’d include them here so I could remind myself of them and share them with all of you. 

Monday: God’s Daughter (v. 1-12)

  • “He is a Father who loves us perfectly, who is with us 24/7, and who knows us and meets even our most specific needs. David calls Him our Rock, our Deliverer, our Shield, our Stronghold, and the Horn of our salvation. So we are the Rock’s daughters – children of the Fortress.”
  • “God’s perfect love always has perfect results.”
  • “Sin and Satan do not go down easily, nor do our sinful natures.”
  • “When we honestly confront our sin, we realize we cannot save ourselves. So when our cry fro help reaches our heavenly Father’s ears, creation reels and rocks (v. 7). As God comes to rescue us, the psalmist gives us a picture of smoke, fire, hail, and earthquakes (vv. 7-12). In other words, to conquer this enemy, it takes much more power than you or I will ever have! Have you ever tried to rescue yourself with self-help books, denial, putting up a great facade, or sheer willpower?”
Tuesday: Just Like Nell (v. 13-19)
  • “Or we may buy into the lie that we really do have our sin in check, that it’s not all that bad, and that we can fight our own battles.”
  • “Although from toddlerhood we encourage self-reliance with applause for ‘I did it all by myself’ accomplishments and we all like a pat on the back for a job well done, we are far from being self sufficient – especially when it comes to defeating our sin.”
  • “In our psalm, we have an awesome picture of God’s power and wrath against our enemy. God’s righteous anger causes creation to erupt with fury. And we have the vivid picture of God scooping us out of harm’s way and drawing us up to safety. Notice that we do nothing. We are completely passive in this rescue operation. God gathers us to Himself so He can manifest His glory.”
Wednesday: His Way Is Perfect (v. 20-30)
  • “By simply being Noah’s mom, I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. I was doing something right after all.” (Emphasis mine)
  • “Yesterday, we read that God placed us in a broad or spacious place (v. 19). We have a big realm in which to serve Him in our homes, communities, workplaces and churches. David served God by ruling over Israel. God reduced him from his enemies for that specific purpose… So, when David experienced uncertainty, he still knew that God was working in his life to bring about what He had promised.”
  • “When doubting my worth or direction in life, His perfect wisdom calls me back to where I am today.”
  • “Someday, my callings may change, but for now I will keep an eye out for all the little opportunities for service that God carefully weaves into my days. I thank Him that He doesn’t change, that His promises are intact no matter how I feel, and that He has plans to use me despite my imperfections. His way is perfect, and I look forward to serving Him today!”
Thursday: Ready For Battle (v. 31-42)
  • “Not only are lists helpful for forgetful types such as myself, but they also provide a sense of security and satisfaction as I cross of that final item, knowing that my preparations for wherever I am going or for whatever I am doing are complete.”
  • “God gives us quite a list in our Bible reading for today. It reads as a list of what He does or what He is for us as we travel through each day. It is a list of things that prepare us for our trip out into the world or around our homes each morning. He is our shield. He is our rocky. He arms us with strength. He makes our way perfect. He makes our feet like a deer’s. He enables us to stand. He trains our hands. He gives us a shield of victory. He broadens our path. We are certainly well-equipped each day!”
  • “We often don’t want to take time to be properly equipped for our daily battles. We wake up and follow our route in, too often ignoring the list of things that would add to the strength God already proves for us.”
  • “The list of things He does for us in no way depends upon the list of things we do.”
Friday: Valued Forever (v. 43-50)
  • “I think that either we are taught or we choose what to value. If we hear someone we respect singing the praise of a particular object, we value it more.”
  • “Giving glory to God showed clearly what David valued –  not his own glory or strength, but that of the God he praised.”
  • “God valued David not because of the great things he accomplished. Rather, God chose to value David…” (emphasis mine)
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I Had No Time

When I was a young girl my mother came across a poem that her grandmother had cut out of a church bulletin board many years ago.  Through most of high school and almost all of college, this poem was tacked up on my bulletin board.  It always caught my attention.  It was something I always wanted to be reminded of.  And though it’s not currently posted, I still come across it now and again.  Like today.  And I thought I’d share.

The day slipped by and time was spent

And all the good things that I meant

To do were left undone because

I had no time to stop and pause,

But rushed about, went here and there,

Did this and that, was everywhere.

I had not time to kneel and pray

For that lost soul across the way;

I had no time to meditate,

On worthwhile things. No time to wait,

Upon the Lord, and here Him say:

“Well done, my child,” at close of day.

And so, I wonder, after all

When life is o’er and I hear the call

To meet my Savior in the sky,

Where saints live on and never die,

If I can find one soul I’ve won

To Christ by some small deed I’ve done

Or will I hang my head and whine,

“Forgive me, Lord, I had no time.”

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So I’ve been reading Heart of the Artist by Rory Noland (that’s my “arts and mime” related book of the moment, in case you’re wondering why I’m reading several at once).

It’s been great so far (I think I’m about half way through).  Each week I read a chapter and I think it’s the best and most needed (for me to read) yet!  And that happened again today. But today’s chapter was so good that I wanted to share brief excerpts of it.  Things I needed to hear and I think others could, too.  There’s a part especially relevant if I ever have (or ever do) ask for your feedback on a mime or story or something of mine.

Good quotes:

Sometimes those of us with artistic temperaments get defensive when we’re criticized. We can be overly sensitive, and we let the least little thing hurt us.

In effort to protect our self-esteem, we open ourselves up to something more damaging than a bruised ego, and that’s deception. Believe me, being deceived about your abilities is far worse than knowing and accepting your strengths and weaknesses.

Because [we artists are] going to pick up a lot of things [that others might not even notice], we need to be careful that we don’t pick up something that’s not really there. Our intuition is not infallible.

If you’re taking something personally but are not sure it was meant to be taken that way, check it out.

To be vulnerable is a price every performer pays… You pour your heart and soul into creating something, and you hold it protectively in your hands. When it comes time to show it to the world, you open your hands up slowly, hoping no one will kill your brainchild before it has a chance to become something. Because art is such a personal thing, it’s difficult for us to separate ourselves from our work.

And here are some words about offering feedback.  Most of these are edited down and paraphrased.

What makes criticism constructive is the way it’s delivered. If it’s not offered in a loving way, it can do more harm than good.

  1. Give your overall reaction first.  If your overall reaction is that it was good or great, say that before pointing out any flaws you found.  Often, we take for granted that the person knows it was great or we fail to say that aloud simply because it doesn’t seem specific enough.  But “remember, to the artist who’s excited about what the or she is working on and seeks your opinion, your first words represent your overall reaction.”
  2. Try to say something positive and let positive words be your first.  Give feedback in a way that shows love and respect and treats the person with dignity.  Mention strengths before weaknesses.
  3. Acknowledge the hard work and effort that was put into something even if it failed.  They did not work to fail.  “Most people have no idea who many hours an artist has invested in a performance or in a work.”
  4. Avoid hyperboles and negative comparisons.  Don’t use hyperboles even in a positive sense.  Avoid any uses of “that was the best,” “that was the absolute worst,” and the like.  Also, don’t emphasize something by comparing negatively to something else.  His example was calling a piece of music “warmed-over Tchaikovsky.”
  5. Be honest.  Don’t be warm-fuzzy and fluffy and make things up or exaggerate.  Be honest, but give the truth with love.  And don’t be trite.

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Hebrews 13

So gonna do this quick over lunch so I don’t forget.

Because you know how sometimes you get so familiar with Bible verses that they get separated in your mind from their original context?  Especially verses which you hear quoted by themselves more often than you hear them in a passage… or verses that you’ve memorized but then forgotten the context over time?

And then suddenly you see them in context and you are wonder-struck?

That happened to me this morning.  When I got to work I sat down to do morning prayers with The Virtual Abbey.  (It’s a wonderful start to any day!)  And I was praying through the prayer, which often includes some scripture to meditate on.

Today it was from Hebrews 13.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?”
Now, I know and can quote “I will never leave you nor forsake you” – I could even tell you it’s from Hebrews (though there it is being quoted from Deuteronomy).  But the verse prior to it is what struck me.
Keep your lives free from the love of money.
Be content with what you have.

Why?  Because God will never leave nor forsake us.  He is the source of all we truly need and He is the source of our contentment!

I never knew that the “I will never leave nor forsake you” quote in Hebrews began with a because.

And that’s something to ponder.

Don’t love money.

Be content.

Because God is with us.

He is our All in All.

And to repeat a favorite quote of mine:

If there is one thing I do not want, it is to end up before the throne of the Lamb of God, my hands so tightly clutching the burnt tatters of rags, ashamed to admit that He who is All in All was not made all in my own estimation.

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That was the title of today’s chapter. It’s the last chapter of the book. For the past month or so I’ve been going – slowly and reflectively – through Beginning Again: Benedictine Wisdom for Living with Illness by Mary C. Earle. It’s been really good.

Today I discovered that I should read more of Thomas Merton. I’ve known the name. But I never knew he struggled with illnesses all his life. Earle says this of him, something I hope that (other than the hermit part) can someday be said of me, “In all of this life as a hermit, a writer, a contemplative, a prophet, he lived with his illnesses and ailments. Those labels do not define him, though they were clearly one shaping force in his life.”

She then shared a prayer of Merton’s. One that resonates so deeply within me. So I thought I would post it… as my own heart’s prayer and as a reminder for days to come…
_______________
O Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going,
I do not see the road ahead of me,
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think
I am following Your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe
that the desire to please You
does in fact please You.
And I hope I have that desire
in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything
apart from that desire to please You.
And I know that if I do this
you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust You always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear,
for You are ever with me,
and You will never leave me
to make my journey alone. Amen.

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Rest Easy…

So I just got through what are probably the two most difficult chapters for me in the book I’m currently doing for devotions. The book is “Beginning Again: Benedictine Wisdom for Living with Illness.” I bought it 2+ years ago and have just now managed to start it. I should’ve had it 10 years ago after I was diagnosed. On the other hand, some things I’ve learned over the years with fibro have helped me understand and apply what she’s saying more readily than I would have then…

In any case, the last two chapters were on diet and rest. Big issues for me. Diet because I’ve come to know that I need to be disciplined and control my blood sugar through diet but I am good at rationalizing “cheats” and I tend to mood eat.

Rest is difficult for a different reason. Because I want to be seen as an over-comer, an achiever, one who “pushes through” and is overtly victorious… because I want to be seen as productive, as not lazy, as “carrying my weight”… because I care too much what others think in the first place…

I underlined a good bit in the rest chapter… and I wanted to collect all that here. Typing it up will help it to soak in more and perhaps I can encourage others. Because it’s not only people with chronic illnesses who need to be good stewards of their bodies and get proper rest!
___________________________

“It’s natural to feel frustrated by your own inactivity.”

“When we regard rest from this perspective, we become more attuned to God’s own creative activity within our own bodies- knitting broken bones, authoring and guiding all of the wondrous processes of respiration, digestion, elimination, mending tissues recently severed by surgery. We become aware that we are partners with God in helping our bodies heal as much as they can. We can’t, of our own free will and doing, make the process happen, but we can help it along. The practice of Sabbath rest reminds us that we are continually in the hands of the living God…”

“[Through illness] We may be jolted into the acute awareness- an awareness that is so intrinsic to Jewish theology- that our souls and our bodies are one, and that by unconsciously hurting or pushing our bodies, we have done the same to our souls.”

“So often our deep identity, our true self, is lost in myriad activities and covered over by incessant work.”

“For others, the rest will force a confrontation between notions of what you should be doing and what you can do… Some people feel worthless when they’re not being productive, as society defines it.”

“Pray as you are, not as you think you should be.”

“…the imposed rest was leading me to see that I am a created being, spoken into being by God. Resting began to be a way to cooperate with the processes of healing, ratehr than to work against them. Resting offered me time to reflect, to see, to remember, to pray. Rest le me to trust that something was happening even if I wasn’t the one making it happen. What a surprise!”

“These women and men [who followed the desert tradition] understood that ceaseless busyness was one wa to create illusions of our own importance, about who we are and what we are here for.”

“We live in a society in which our identities and our sense of meaning are intimately tied to work, particularly to being ‘productive’… Henri Nouwen observed that we are called to be fruitful, not productive.”

“Fruitfulness, or fecundity, is the aim of a faithful life. Nouwen comments, ‘The great mystery of fecundity is that it becomes visible where we have given up our attempts to control life…'”

“When we are in a productive mode, it is easy to live with the illusion that we are doing everything under our own steam, and that we are the ones who made the world.”
________________

Of course, the prayer at the end of the chapter struck me as well. In part because I need to pray it. In part because it hints to that “in quietness and trust shall be your strength” verse that keeps cropping up in my life…

“O God of peace, who has taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength: By the might of your Spirit lift us, we pray, to your presence, where we may be still and know that you are God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

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From today’s Finan reading (from Celtic Daily Prayers):

“We are not asked to live a blinkered or protected existence in a safe, ivory-towered environment. We are sent to walk confidently with a pure heart into the world of people and culture and pain and pressure. It need not contaminate us, if only we live the life that has taken root deep inside of us. God wants to plant us in places where we can make a difference and be His presence – not in any self-conscious way.

There may be times when we need to speak out, opt out explain our beliefs are different from those around us – but we should not provoke confrontations or become defensive. These times, when they happen, may lead to miracles or to persecution – or both.”

~ Columbanus

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