Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.
The reality of loving God is loving him like he's a Superhero who actually saved you from stuff rather than a Santa Claus who merely gave you some stuff.
Spending time with God is the key to our strength and success in all areas of life. Be sure that you never try to work God into your schedule, but always work your schedule around Him.
Good works is giving to the poor and the helpless, but divine works is showing them their worth to the One who matters.
I am fallen, flawed and imperfect. Yet drenched in the grace and mercy that is found in Jesus Christ, there is strength
The world takes us to a silver screen on which flickering images of passion and romance play, and as we watch, the world says, “This is love.” God takes us to the foot of a tree on which a naked and bloodied man hangs and says, “This is love.
Work is a blessing. God has so arranged the world that work is necessary, and He gives us hands and strength to do it. The enjoyment of leisure would be nothing if we had only leisure. It is the joy of work well done that enables us to enjoy rest, just as it is the experiences of hunger and thirst that make food and drink such pleasures.
We sinned for no reason but an incomprehensible lack of love, and He saved us for no reason but an incomprehensible excess of love.
If your life is Christ, then your death will be only more of Christ, forever. If your life is only Christlessness, then your death will be only more Christlessness, forever. That's not fundamentalism, that's the law of non-contradiction.
Those who meet Jesus always experience either joy or its opposites, either foretastes of Heaven or foretastes of Hell. Not everyone who meets Jesus is pleased, and not everyone is happy, but everyone is shocked.
The connection between art and Christ is like the connection between sunlight and the sun. It is, in fact, the connection between Sonlight and the Son.
Watching my parents I've learnt a lesson many do not recognize. True love is not signaled by romantic, candle light dinners, red roses glistening with dew, or even Valentine's day celebrations. While these things may accompany our feelings, love is truly more than all those! Love is being with your spouse even when its not pleasing. Sometimes, love is walking down the hall, with your spouse hanging onto your shoulders and walking at a turtle's pace down the hall, just because surgery made life a burden. Love is patient, love is kind, love is Jesus! May we always remember love is not always tied in bows!
There is no other way to determine the difference between the will of God and the crafts of satan... Jesus is the way, the truth and the life... The Holy Spirit of God is the Comforter...
For to speak the truth, there are but few that care thus to spend their time, but choose rather to be speaking of things to no profit.
What we believe about God is the most important truth we believe, and it's the one truth that does the most to shape us. God is the Sun too bright for us to see. Jesus is the Prism who makes the colors beautiful and comprehensible.
Truth is the same always. Whoever ponders it will get the same answer. Buddha got it. Patanjali got it. Jesus got it. Mohammed got it. The answer is the same, but the method of working it out may vary this way or that. (115)
What's the truth? The truth is what people WANT. Liars are basically idealists, liars are saints and prophets. Jesus was a liar.
I see the Christian world like this: we've inherited a divided map of the truth, and each of us has a piece. Our traditions teach us that no one else has a valid map and that our own church's piece shows us all the terrain and roads that exist. In fact, there is much more terrain, more roads, and more truth for us to see if we can accept and read one another's maps, fitting them together to give us a clearer picture of the larger Christian tradition.
These are the three stages of enlightenment, the three glimpses of satori. 1. The first stage enlightenment:A Glimpse of the WholeThe first stage of enlightenment is short glimpse from faraway of the whole. It is a short glimpse of being. The first stage of enlightenment is when, for the first time, for a single moment the mind is not functioning. The ordinary ego is still present at the first stage of enlightenment, but you experience for a short while that there is something beyond the ego. There is a gap, a silence and emptiness, where there is not thought between you and existence. You and existence meet and merge for a moment. And for the first time the seed, the thirst and longing, for enlightenment, the meeting between you and existence, will grow in your heart. 2. The second stage of enlightenment:Silence, Relaxation, Togetherness, Inner BeingThe second stage of enlightenment is a new order, a harmony, from within, which comes from the inner being. It is the quality of freedom.The inner chaos has disappeared and a new silence, relaxation and togetherness has arisen.Your own wisdom from within has arisen.A subtle ego is still present in the second stage of enlightenment. The Hindus has three names for the ego:1. Ahamkar, which is the ordinary ego.2. Asmita, which is the quality of Am-ness, of no ego. It is a very silent ego, not aggreessive, but it is still a subtle ego.3. Atma, the third word is Atma, when the Am-ness is also lost. This is what Buddha callas no-self, pure being.In the second stage of enlightenment you become capable of being in the inner being, in the gap, in the meditative quality within, in the silence and emptiness.For hours, for days, you can remain in the gap, in utter aloneness, in God. Still you need effort to remain in the gap, and if you drop the effort, the gap will disappear. Love, meditation and prayer becomes the way to increase the effort in the search for God. Then the second stage becomes a more conscious effort. Now you know the way, you now the direction. 3. The third stage of enlightenment: Ocean, Wholeness, No-self, Pure beingAt the third stage of enlightenment, at the third step of Satori, our individual river flowing silently, suddenly reaches to the Ocean and becomes one with the Ocean.At the third Satori, the ego is lost, and there is Atma, pure being. You are, but without any boundaries. The river has become the Ocean, the Whole.It has become a vast emptiness, just like the pure sky. The third stage of enlightenment happens when you have become capable of finding the inner being, the meditative quality within, the gap, the inner silence and emptiness, so that it becomes a natural quality. You can find the gap whenever you want.This is what tantra callas Mahamudra, the great orgasm, what Buddha calls Nirvana, what Lao Tzu calls Tao and what Jesus calls the kingdom of God.You have found the door to God. You have come home.
When we begin to reflect Christ, the Bible, when more understood as being centered around Christ, seems to be potentially every man's biography regarding God's promised experiences and truth for him - his individual, unique path of humbling oneself before the Lord and then being exalted by the Lord back into his true and righteous personhood. Many followers may speak of it merely to try to change other people (before changing themselves), but the prophets speak of it as a living word which miraculously tells their very own experiences.
As followers of Christ, we are to be careful not to remain victims of the many cultural presuppositions of who he is, and what he teaches, insofar as taking for granted our own caricatures of him. Let it boil in both mind and heart the question, 'If Jesus were to appear today, how many of us would actually recognize him and his teachings (or would it simply be a recount of his first visit)?
...there is therefore now no condemnation for two reasons: you are dead now; and God, as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, has been dead all along. The blame game was over before it started. It really was. All Jesus did was announce that truth and tell you it would make you free. It was admittedly a dangerous thing to do. You are a menace. Be he did it; and therefore, menace or not, here you stand: uncondemned, forever, now. What are you going to do with your freedom?
Zoroastrianism? Oh, there’s never been but a few hundred thousand of them at any one time, mostly located in Iran and India, but that’s it. The one true faith. If you’re not a Zoroastrian, I’m afraid you are bound for Hell.”The man looked stunned and shocked. It's not fair. The demon gave a mirthful laugh. “Well, it was fair when you were sending all the Chinese to Hell who had never heard of Jesus. Wasn’t it?
Stories are masks of God.That's a story, too, of course. I made it up, in collaborations with Joseph Campbell and Scheherazade, Jesus and the Buddha and the Brother's Grimm.Stories show us how to bear the unbearable, approach the unapproachable, conceive the inconceiveable. Stories provide meaning, texture, layers and layers of truth.Stories can also trivialize. Offered indelicately, taken too literally, stories become reductionist tools, rendering things neat and therefore false. Even as we must revere and cherish the masks we variously create, Campbell reminds us, we must not mistake the masks of God for God.So it seemes to me that one of the most vital things we can teach our children is how to be storytellers. How to tell stories that are rigorously, insistently, beautifully true. And how to believe them.
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
The moment God is figured out with nice neat lines and definitions, we are no longer dealing with God.
Our tendency in the midst of suffering is to turn on God. To get angry and bitter and shake our fist at the sky and say, God, you don't know what it's like! You don't understand! You have no idea what I'm going through. You don't have a clue how much this hurts. The cross is God's way of taking away all of our accusations, excuses, and arguments.The cross is God taking on flesh and blood and saying, Me too.
The irony is that while God doesn’t need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don’t really want Him most of the time.
Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering.... The love of God did not protect His own Son.... He will not necessarily protect us - not from anything it takes to make us like His Son. A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process.
And then I stand in front of God's Throne squinting up at His blazing glory and He says, 'You had your opportunities, boy. But did you listen? No. You went on heedlesly reading that garbagey magazine with pictures of naked girls in it. How juvenile! I gave geese more sense than that.'Please, God. I'm only fourteen years old. A teenager. Have mercy. Be loving.I was,' says God. 'For eons. And look at what it got me. You.'God turns in disgust, just the way Daddy does. 'Sorry, but I'm the Creator. I take it personally. There are slugs and bugs and night-crawlers I feel better about having created - I mean, there are sparrows - I've got my eye on one right now. Is that sparrow consumed with lust? No. He mates in the spring and that's the end of it. Consider the lilies. Do they think about lily tits all the time? No. They look not and they lust not, and yet I say unto you that you will never be half as attractive as they. Therefore, I say unto you, think not about peckers and boobs and all that nonsense and your Heavenly Father will see that you meet a good woman and marry her, just as I do for the sparrow and walleye - yea verily, even the night-crawler and the eelpout. But I've told you this over and over for nineteen centuries. And now, verily, it's too late. Time's up, buster. Lights out! Game's over!
We might be wise to follow the insight of the enraptured heart rather than the more cautious reasoning of the theological mind.
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
The gifts of the Master are these: freedom, life, hope, new direction, transformation, and intimacy with God. If the cross was the end of the story, we would have no hope. But the cross isn't the end. Jesus didn't escape from death; he conquered it and opened the way to heaven for all who will dare to believe. The truth of this moment, if we let it sweep over us, is stunning. It means Jesus really is who he claimed to be, we are really as lost as he said we are, and he really is the only way for us to intimately and spiritually connect with God again.