Tag Archives: Devotion

The Shack

You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you – Frederick Buechner, Telling the Truth – page 209

An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of his children.  He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one he gives all of himself as fully as if there were no others – A.W. Tozer (page 218)

Earth has no sorry that heaven cannot heal – author unknown (page 231)

She lives where there is no impatience.  She does not mind waiting. (page 235)

Faith never knows where it is being led.  But it knows and loves the one who does the leading. – Oswald Chambers, page 239

Earth’s crammed with heaven

And every common bush afire with God

But only he who sees takes off his shoes

The rest sit around it and pluck blackberries – Elizabeth Berrett Browning



Gehenna was an actual place that Jesus’ listeners would have been familiar with.  So the next time someone asks you, if you believe in an actual hell, you can always say “Yes, I do believe that my garbage goes somewhere..” (page 68)

On the rich man…

He’s alive in death, but in profound torment, because he’s living with the realities of not properly dying the kind of death that actually leads a person into the only kind of life that’s worth living. (page 77)

How do you communicate a truth that complex and multilayered?  You tell a nuanced, shocking story about a rich man and a poor man, and you throw in gruesome details about dogs licking his sores, and then you tell about a massive reversal in their deaths in which the rich man in hell has the ability to converse with Abraham, the father of the faith.  And then you end it all with a twist about resurrection, a twist that is actually a about something about to happen in real history soon after this parable is told. (page 77)

There are individual hells, and communal, society-wide hells,

And Jesus teaches us to take both seriously.


There is hell now,

And there is hell later,

And Jesus teaches us to take both seriously. (page 79)

10 Financial Commandments

– the 10: 10: 80 rule for dealing with the money that comes into us, and it being very important what we also do with the 80% that we have

5. Thou shalt have a plan

– tells story of man who planned and saved over the Great Depression and is now very good with money

– NG – the Tearfund stories of coffee in Ethiopia and having a plan

Quote here is from Corinthians, being told to put money aside on the first day of the week.

6. Thou shalt declare “Enough”

– The leech has two daughters, “more, more” they cry – Proverbs 30:15

7. Thou shalt find an alternative way to keep score

– James on favouritism – James 2

8. Thou shalt look around

– Proverbs 19, whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord

9. Thou shalt seek wise counsel

10. Thou shalt look forward to the final audit

The Road Less Travelled

A full life

Key Words Suffering Pain Risk Gain Life
Source The road less travelled
Author M Scott Peck
Page 133
Quote If a person is not willing to risk pain then that person must do without many things:having children, getting married, the ecstasy of sex, the hope of ambition, friendship – all that makes life alive, meaningful and significant. Move out to grow in any dimension and pain as well as joy will be your reward. A full life will be full of pain. But the only alternative is not to live fully or not to live at all.

The essence of life is change, a panoply of growth and decay. Elect life and growth and you elect change and the prospect of death

References Life in its fullness (John 10:10)


I Love my family

Key Words Love Care Concern
Source The Road Less Travelled
Author M Scott Peck
Page 119
Quote Says that love is not a feeling, it is an act of will directed at the wellbeing of its object.

Thus even though an alcoholic may say “I love my family”, the fact that this is causing them hurt clearly shows that this is not an act of love


Judicious love

Key Words Love Judgement Struggle Pain
Source The Road Less Travelled
Author M Scott Peck
Page 111
Quote Love is not simply giving; it is judicious giving and judicious withholding as well. It is judicious praising and judicious criticizing. It is judicious arguing, struggling, confronting, urging, pushing and pulling inaddition to comforting. It is leadership. The word “judicious” means requiring judgment, and judgment requires more than instinct; it requires thoughtful and often painful decision-making.


Love is not self-sacrifice

Key Words Love Self-sacrifice Doormat
Source The Road Less Travelled
Author M Scott Peck
Page 111
Quote Tells story of minister who’s family are all having breakdowns because he is doing things for them all the time. In the end he had to stand up to them
References Eye for eye (Matthew 5:38-48)


American War Brides

Key Words Love Projection
Source The Road Less Travelled
Author M Scott Peck
Page 109
Quote Tells story of American soldiers who married brides when they couldn’t speak English.

Once the women learned to talk to the men they no longer wanted to be married to them, because they didn’t love them, they loved the image that had been projected onto them.


Owning Before giving up

Key Words Love Sacrifice Possession Ownership
Source The Road Less Travelled
Author M Scott Peck
Page 97
Quote Talks about insight of most mystics that we must own something before we can give it away. It reminds of a similary thing that Covey talks about in “7 Habits”

In Heaven

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp–
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.

Bob, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, ‘What’s the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How’d all these sinners get up here?
God must’ve made a mistake.

‘And why is everyone so quiet,
So somber – give me a clue.’
‘Hush, child,’ He said,
‘they’re all in shock.
No one thought they’d be seeing you.’


Remember…Just going to church doesn’t make you a
Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.

Every saint has a PAST…
Every sinner has a FUTURE!
Now it’s your turn… Share this poem.

Judgement And Terror

Judgement and terror

Key Words Judgement Terror Justice Violence Mercy
Source Exclusion and Embrace
Source Author Volf, Miroslav
Location 298
Quote God will judge not because God gives people what they deserve, but because some people refuse to receive what no one deserves; if evildoers experience God’s terror it will not be because they have done evil, but because they have resisted to the end the powerful lure of the open arms of the crucified Messiah.

The violence of the Rider on the white horse, I suggest, is the symbolic portrayal of the final exclusion of everything that refuses to be redeemed by God’s suffering love.

Should not a loving God be patient and keep luring the perpetrator into goodness? This is exactly what God does: God suffers the evildoers through history as God has suffered them on the cross. But how patient shold God be? The day of reckoning must come, not because God is too eager to pull the trigger, but because every day of patience in a world of violence means more violence and every postponement of vindication means letting insult accompany injury.

How we make mistakes

Nudge- People are Nudgeable

Biases and Blunders

We exist with a number of biases which we operate by, rules of thumb:

  • Anchoring –we navigate by what we know.  If we are asked about the population of a random city, our guess will be influenced by whether we have been thinking about Stirling or Chicago first of all
  • Availability – how close we are to a situation will affect our perception of how likely it is to happen
  • Representative – we have perceptions which we operate by, and we let our judgements be based on the variance with what we expect.  Examples include the famous Linda who is outspoken, bright and passionate about social justice.  People always are more likely to suggest that she is feminist bank teller, rather than just a bank teller.  It is all about our perceptions here.  Other perceptions include the randomness of German bombs in the second world war, where people detected patterns, and did not realise that you will of course get patterns.  Another example of this is the likelihood of sharp shooters in Basketball, or a streak of heads then tails.  It is quite likely that we will get three heads in a row, but we are still stunned when such a thing happens.
  • Over confidence and optimism – we are normally over-optimistice about our chances of catching disease, or our chances of coming above average in the class.
  • Framing – the way that we ask a question matters
  • Status Quo – we stick to what we already do
  • Gains and Losses – we are far more grieved by losses than we are by gains.

Thaler and Sunstein end by pointing out that people live busy lives, involving complex decisions, and the only way to navigate such a life is using rules of thumb.  Therefore, people are susceptible to rules of thumb and are therefore nudge-able.

Surprised By Hope – Part 2

Wright’s basic thesis is that hope is neither evolutionary optimism (the world will, in the state it is currently in, get better of its own accord), or dualistic escapism (the world is evil, and all we can do is wait to leave); but the hope of a true new creation.  He notes three themes

1. The goodness of creation

2. The nature of evil

3. The plan of redemption

He also describes six Biblical metaphors for New Creation

1. Seedtime and harvest – linking firstfruits and harvest with Passover and Pentecost

2. The victorious battle

3. Citizens of heaven and colonising the earth

4. God will be all and in all

5. New birth

6. The marriage of heaven and earth

Page 113 – On the waters covering the sea in Isaiah 11

Wright asks “How can the waters cover the sea?  The water is the sea.”

The earth, he says, is for the containment and embracing of the glory and the knowledge of the glory of God.

“We might even suggest, as part of a Christian aesthetic, that the world is beautfiul, not just because it hauntingly reminds us of its creator, but because it is pointing forwards:  it is designed to be filled, flooded, drenched in God; as a chalice is beautiful not least because of what we know it is designed to contain, or as a violin is beautiful not least because we know the music of which it is capable.

Page 119 – On optimism and pessimism

As I reflect on God’s future plans for the world, I am reminded d of the great teacher an pastor Bishop Lesslie Newbigin.  Someone once asked him whether, as he looked to the future, he was optimist or pessimistic.  His reply was simple and characteristic.  ‘I am,’ he said, ‘neither an optimist nor a pessimist.  Jesus Christ is risen from the dead!’

Page 122 – On the meaning of the Ascension

First, heaven relates to earth tengentially, so that the one who is in heaven can be present simultanously anywhere and everywhere on earth: the ascension therefore means that Jesus is avialbel, accessible, without people having to traval to a particular spot on the earth to find him.  Second, heaven is as it were the control room for earth; it is the CEO’s office, the place from which instructions are given.  ‘All authority is given to me,’ said Jesus at the end of Matehew’s gospel, ‘in heaven and on earth.”

Page 125

To embrace the ascension is to heave a sigh of relief, to give up the struggle to be God (and with it the inevitable despair at our constant failure), and to enoyur our status as creatures: image-bearing creatures, but creatures none the less.

Page 132

At the same time, older Enlightenment Liberalism, with its dislike of all ‘judgement’, has itself been under attack.  We have become a very moralistic, very judgmental generation.  We have judged apartheid and found it wanting.  We judge child-abusers and find them guilty.  We judge genocide and find it outrageous.  We have rediscovered what the Psalmist knew: that for God to ‘judge’ the world meant that he would , in the end, put it all to rights, straighten it out, producing not just a sigh of relief all round but shouting for from the trees, and the fields, the seas and the floods.

C.T.Studd – The Biography – Part 2

Spiritual Champagne

  Key Words Prayer Quiet Time Devotion
  Source C.T. Studd
  Source Author Grubb, Norman
  Location 59
  Quote The Lord is so good and always gives me a large dose of Spiritual Champagne every morning which braces one up for the day and the night.

Of late I have had such glorious times. I generally wake about 3.30am and fell quite wide awak, so have a good read, etc. and then have an hour’s sleep or so before finally getting up. I find what I read then is stamped indelibly on my mind all through the day: and it is the very quietest of times, not a foot astir, nor a sound to be heard, saving that of God.

If I miss this time I fell like Samson shorn of his hair, and so of all his strength. I see more and more how much I have to learn of the Lord. I want to be a workman approved, not just with a “pass” degree as it were. Oh! How I wish I had devoted my early life, my whole life to God and His Word. How much have I lost by these years of self pleasing and running after the world’s honours and pleasures.

  References Praying always (Ephesians 6)

Break on the judgment day

  Key Words Money Treasure Sacrifice
  Source C.T. Studd
  Source Author Grubb, Norman
  Location 67
  Quote Studd and his wife wrote a letter to General Booth of the salvation army, transferring over the last of their money:

You see we are rather afraid – notwithstanding the great early safety of Messrs Coutts and Co. and the Bank of England – we are, I say, rather afraid that they may both break on the Judgement Day. And this step has been taken not without most definite reference to God’s word and the command of the Lord Jesus who said “Sell that ye have and give alms. Make for yourselves purses that wax not old.” He also said “If you love me, keep my commandments” And again “He that saith I know him and keepeth not his commandments is a liar.”

  References Treasure in heaven (Matthew 6)
Sharing possesions (Acts 2:42-46)
Sharing possessions (Acts 4:32-37)
Sell what you have (Matthew 19:21)
Sell what you have (Mark 10:21)
Sell what you have (Luke 18:22)
Sell your possessions (Luke 12:3