Suffering


“We will never have the easy, unhesitating love of God that makes obedience to Jesus our natural response unless we are absolutely sure that it is good for us to be, and to be who we are.  This means we must have no doubt that the path appointed for us by when and where and to whom we were born is good, and that nothing irredeemable has happened to us or can happen to us on our way to our destiny in God’s full world….  It is confidence in the invariably overriding intention of God for our good, with respect to all the evil and suffering that may befall us on life’s journey, that secures us in peace and joy. We must be sure of that intention if we are to be free and able, like Joseph, to simply do what we know to be right.”[1]  (emphasis added in the Ogne & Roehl quote)


[1] From Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, 337-38 quoted in Ogne, Steve & Tim Roehl, TransforMissional Coaching:  Empowering Leaders in a Changing Ministry World (Nashville:  B & H Publishing, 2008), 182

Gratitude


Gratitude… goes beyond the “mine” and “thine” and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy. -Henri J. M. Nouwen

Christian Morality: It is not all about sex


Finally, though I have had to speak at some length about sex, I want to make it as clear as I possibly can that the centre of Christian morality is not here.  If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong.  The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins.  All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people inthe wrong, of bossing and patronising and spoiling sport, and back-biting; the pleasures of power, of hatred.  For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become.  They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self.  The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute.  But, of course, it is better to be neither.

(C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (MacMillan: New York, 1943) 94-95.