Quotes for the New Year

Happy New Year, everyone! I have been thinking about this pair of quotes from a sermon I attended last weekend, and they seem like a great way to start the new year.

1) “We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we know Who holds tomorrow.”

The start of a new year always bring the promise of new beginnings, but it also brings a promise of new challenges. Isn’t it interesting that we celebrate the birth of our Savior right before the start of the new year? Let that be reminder to all of us. We do not enter into the new year alone; we are accompanied by the greatest gift ever given to mankind. Immanuel. God-with-us.

2) “I am not as smart as God.”

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of this, because the way my brain gets to churning some days I could accidentally conclude that I was single-handedly solving the entire universe of problems. (Anyone else sometimes find themselves in this situation?) There are days I have a lot of questions for God. Why is a big one. So is how. It is a comfort, at the end of the day, to know that even when I cannot reason something through to my own satisfaction, there is Someone else who can. There are some things I will never understand. And that is okay. We have a God who knows all things, and is working all things together for the good of those who love Him.

Whatever the New Year may bring, we can rest in the assurance that we are infinitely cared for. The days of our lives are held – perfectly, protectively – in the very palm of His hand.

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13).

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Today’s Quote

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.” ~Edward Abbey

Who among us would choose difficult over easy?  And yet sometimes, isn’t that the point?

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;  and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Now hope does not disappoint… (Romans 5:3-5)

Happy Thanksgiving!

May we all find something today worth giving thanks for… because indeed there are many things… no matter what we may be facing.

Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us  sing

Power and majesty, praise to  the King

Mountains bow down  and the seas will roar

At the  sound of Your name

~ Darlene Zschech, Singer/Songwriter

(If you’ve never heard this song, you can get an unofficial sneak peek on YouTube.)

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever (1 Chronicles 16:34).

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Today’s Quote

Most of the time when I read stats about the condition of our world, the numbers are so incomprehensibly large that my eyes merely glaze over.  These stats, however, convicted me:

The truth is that the 143 million orphaned children, and the 11 million who starve to death or die from preventable diseases, and the 8.5 million who work as child slaves, prostitutes, or under other horrific conditions, and the 2.3 million who live with HIV add up to 164.8 million needy children.  And though at first glance that looks like a big number, 2.1 billion people on this earth proclaim to be Christians.

The truth is that if only 8 percent of the Christians would care for one more child, there would not be any statistics left.

~Katie Davis, Kisses from Katie (2011, p. 91-92)

Only 8 percent.  Eight percent!!  Suddenly, that is a number I can understand.  That is a number that even seems possible.

Here in the U.S. we’ve heard a lot in the past year about the wealthiest 1% versus the 99% of “ordinary Americans”.  Protestors rally carrying signs that proclaim “We are the 99.”  I’d like to propose a new question.  Not, are we part of the 99, but are we part of the 92?

Or are we part of that 8% that is following Jesus’ command to love our neighbor as ourselves?

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”  “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”  The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.  (John 21:15-17)

Thought of the Day

Paraphrase from Professor Timothy B. Shutt:

If we aren’t careful, we can make a god out of our idea of God.

Certainly made me stop and think.  Perhaps all those times God is not acting how we expect, He is simply smashing idols.

I am who I am… You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 3:14, 20:3)

Today’s Quote

“It is often said the church is a crutch.  Of course it’s a crutch.  What makes you think you’re not limping?”

This quote is originally attributed to William Sloane Coffin, and was used by my pastor this Sunday during his sermon.  It made me think: how often do we shy away from derisive comments because we are afraid of the truth they may contain?  What do hard comments really say about us?  About our God?    When someone says “The church is a crutch!” my knee-jerk reaction is to exclaim, “No it’s not!”  even when part of me fears that it is.

But fear is a devil’s ploy.  Because when we face the hard questions, we are rewarded with an even greater truth.

How brilliant this response is in it’s simplicity.  How foolish I was to fear it.  “Of course the church is a crutch.”  Thank God.