Archive for December, 2013

December 23, 2013

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again;’ and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatically necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we

– G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

My pastor used this in the sermon he preached this morning. Such a great sermon; such a great quote. 

December 15, 2013

The Gospel is Good News. Because God broke the power of evil at the cross, we can, along with Sarah [at Isaac’s birth], look at our cynicism and laugh. Not surprisingly, Jesus’ first miracle was making about 150 gallons of fine wine so a good party could become a great party (see John 2). Tragedy doesn’t have the last word. God saves the best for last.

from Paul Miller’s A Praying Life

December 13, 2013

When the story isn’t going your way, ask yourself, What is God doingBe on the lookout for strange gifts. God loves to surprise us with babies in swaddling clothes lying in mangers.

from Paul Miller’s A Praying Life

December 10, 2013

Diving Head-First into Advent

I realized back in high school that Christmas was something I needed to get ready for. As it turns out, if I just do December like it’s August, I get to Christmas Eve and realize I am totally ready for a holiday that requires no emotional engagement. (You know, like Labor Day.) Christmas is not that kind of holiday.

Since the gap this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the shortest possible, I feel a little bit like my current M.O. is “hurry up and wait.” Panic is not exactly the best way to get in the mood for Christmas, though, so I’m really trying to maximize this whole Advent deal.

For the past several years, I have focused my thinking during this season on the miraculous craziness that is the Incarnation. That the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. That the promised Messiah really showed up. That there was a time when God was a zygote. That the greatest story ever thought of is true.

This year, I’ve decided to zoom in on a different aspect of Advent – the fact that the story isn’t over. The life of Christ is the answer to all the pain and suffering and confusion and anger and sin in the world, which has yet to be fully realized. Those of us who celebrate Advent do so not just because Jesus came, but because He’s coming back, and as much as we look back with joy, we look forward even more with hope. The anticipation that builds during Advent is intended to make us hunger for the return of the King. Come, Thou long-expected Jesus…

December 1, 2013

Imagine a husband who really loves his wife. He is attentive to her needs. He listens to her heart. He is her best earthly gift. How would she react if he said to her, ‘Don’t ask me for anything. I’m your best gift.’ When I’ve said this at prayer seminars, everyone bursts into laughter. The husband’s love for his wife is not disengaged from responding thoughtfully and generously to her requests. If we separate our mundane needs (doing) from God’s best gift, his loving presence (being), then we are overspiritualizing prayer.

If we ask nothing of God, we are left adrift in an evil world. Such a position may feel spiritual because it seems unselfish, but it is unbiblical because it separates the real world of our desires from God’s world. The kingdom can’t come because it is floating.

– Paul Miller, A Praying Life