Cute synopsis of a profound book. I will make only one point about this preview. Note the amphibian on the shoulder of the person is the last scene in this preview.
Solitude and silence are the most radical of the spiritual disciplines because they most directly attack the sources of human misery and wrongdoing. To be in solitude is to choose to do nothing. For extensive periods of time. All accomplishment is given up. Silence is required to complete solitude, for until we enter quietness, the world still lays hold of us. When we go into solitude and silence we stop making demands on God. It is enough that God is God and we are his. We learn we have a soul, that God is here, that this world is “my Father’s world.
– Dallas Willard (from the intro to Invitation to Solitude & Silence by Ruth Haley Barton)
Posted by Bill Taber | Feb 18, 2020
“THE MYSTERY OF GOD”
Seeking God through solitude and silence seems to have ushered me into a place of encountering the Mystery of God—a place where I lay out the issues of my heart to God alone and become vulnerable to him for whatever happens next. Whatever happens next may not be what I wanted or expected, but with hindsight over time I begin to see that, indeed, “all things have been working out for my good” (Romans 8:28). Making time to reflect in the presence of God has allowed me to see that God has been more interested in me and the development of my heart than in “magically” responding to my list of wishes and wants. There have been times when he has surprised me by throwing my agenda out the window and turning me in an entirely new direction altogether.
SEEKING GOD THROUGH SOLITUDE AND SILENCE SEEMS TO HAVE USHERED ME INTO A PLACE OF ENCOUNTERING THE MYSTERY OF GOD.
This type of unexpected redirection happened on a weeklong personal retreat a couple of months after my divorce in 2012. My work background is as an accountant, and after divorcing I resigned from my job at the time, intending to take several months off to begin putting my life back together and applying for another accounting position. As a hobby, I had already developed an enjoyment of noticing the wonderful variety of wildflowers while hiking in the woods. A couple of days into this retreat I was looking through a wildflower book I had purchased, when suddenly I “heard” the voice of the Lord as clearly as I ever had, saying: “You’re looking at it!” I was quite stunned and had no idea what this meant, nor that a process of nurturing and building my heart anew was about to begin.
“NURTURE IN NATURE”
With the encouragement and support of my first Battle teammates, I embarked on a journey to become a volunteer naturalist and see where it would take me. Awe and wonder flooded my heart as I studied and engaged in work projects out in nature. In the end, this was not about becoming a naturalist—it was about experiencing the love of God in my heart like never before. It was as if all of my senses came alive!
Day after day for two years, as I headed out to work at a nature park or a municipal park, or into the woods to hike alone, I entered into a sense of freedom and spaciousness. The trees, streams, rocks, birds, wild turkey, deer, chipmunks, snakes, sunrises and sunsets, etc., all became my companions in adventure—and especially wildflowers. I took my camera with macro setting and photographed every wildflower I saw. I would spend hours magnifying them on my computer, with unceasing amazement at the intricate beauty displayed, hidden from the unaided eye. What a beautiful world! What an awesome God! As season moved into next season, I was thrilled to find new wildflowers to photograph, almost daily. When not on work projects or at seminars or attending naturalist classes, I was alone in the woods with God.
I maintained a constant awareness of him, discussing my experiences with him, growing in my love for him. And the deep gratitude I felt! When guilt would creep in to rob me of all this, he was quick to knock it down. This was for me. I needed it more than I could understand. I was being changed. I was being nurtured. I was being loved.
Slowly, things like trust and rest and peace began showing up more in my inner self. I began paying less attention to things that drive me, and more attention to those that draw me. And it began after my life had been drastically altered by divorce, propelling me to take “time away” in order to simply be with the Lord in solitude and silence.
If something I’ve written has caught your attention, what might your own life experience be saying to you? Has the path you’re on taken you to an unexpected dead end, as you stand looking over at an alternative that somehow tugs at your heart, though it’s uncertain where it will lead you? Is that “tug”—an undeniable spark of life—greater than the fear that accompanies it? What will you choose? Suppress the desire? Or explore it with God and see if it holds an invitation from him to become more of who he uniquely made you to be? Ask him if taking some extensive time away to lay out the issues of your heart before him is what He has in mind for you—for whatever comes next!
God’s basic will for your life is not what you do or where you live or whether you marry or how much you make—it’s who you become.
– John Ortberg, from All the Places to Go
Posted at The Wellspring Group
“God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing ye dismay.
Remember Christ the Savior was born on Christmas Day.
To save us all from Satan’s pow’r when we were gone astray.”
I said to My gentlemen this morning: “May we be His gentlemen today!”
I just read this morning of King David–in the line of our Messiah.
King David sinned greatly against himself, against his Nation, against a woman and against His Lord. He awareness was clouded, His spirit was numb, His soul was distorted. He was for all practical purposes lost. Satan’s pow’r was reigning in his life and domain.
It took a prophet to make him sober, see the gravity and depth of which he had fallen so quickly. He did repent and also paid dearly in consequences.
Satan’s pow’r roams now and He goal is to take you down–even in this beautiful season. Guard your heart with all diligence because he is on the prowl.
Pray! Claim the protection of the Lord and His Spirit. Do not fear! The Lord makes a way forward when our circumstances says to us there is no way. You will move forward in His care.
Christmas Eve gifts to you!
I’m tired of all the people denying that we are. No matter what your intentions are, you’re honestly not helping anyone by denying that it’s happening. Just go to Egypt. See for yourself how the Copts are treated. Ask them if they know someone who has been killed in the bombings, you will likely find someone who knows someone who was killed or injured by them or the mobs. Egypt has problems with the way it treats the Copts. That’s an observable fact. In some parts of Cairo and the rest of the country, I get stared at and harassed if I go without hijab. That shouldn’t happen. None of this should be happening frankly.
An Islamist mob burning down a church.Continue reading
The LORD is God and You are Not!
In Illinois, the Satanic Temple of Chicago got permission this year to erect a sculpture stepping on Christmas. Placed near a Nativity, a Christmas tree and a Menorah in the Illinois Capitol’s rotunda, the edifice depicts a snake wrapped around a woman’s hand as she holds an apple. It makes Satan the hero for promising that if Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, it would render them “like gods, knowing good and evil.”
Also in the rotunda is a sign that says “religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” That would be news to the Christians who led the fight against slavery, fought for civil rights, ended child labor, founded hospitals and advanced the concept of mercy in a very cold world.
Since this kind of detail is absent from most school history books, the results of the Grinnell survey should not come as a surprise, nor the official acceptance of a Satanic sculpture as morally equivalent to a creche.
The good news is that despite all their best efforts to snuff them out, the lights sparkling in commercial splendor and on front lawns all across America still point to a baby born 2,000 years ago who brought God’s love for humanity into startlingly bright focus.
• Robert Knight is a contributor to The Washington Times. His latest book is “A Nation Worth Saving: 10 Steps to Restore Freedom” (djkm.org/nation, 2018).
Today’s cultural vandals can look back for inspiration to the 20th century. In the atheist Soviet Union, the Communists got rid of St. Nicholas and replaced him with the secular “Grandfather Frost.” In 1938, when Germany’s Nazis annexed Austria, one of the first things they did was to ban Christmas observances in public schools. As Maria Trapp of “The Sound of Music” fame recounts one of her children saying, “In school we are not permitted to sing any religious songs with the name of Christ or Christmas. We can hardly sing any Bach for that reason.”
Some of the pressure to downplay Christmas in America comes from Grinchly atheists, but some of it’s the work of liberals terrified of offending immigrants from predominantly Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist countries. Where else in the world do countries willingly shed their cultural heritage so that newcomers won’t be offended? Well, OK, Europe. That continent is trying to live down its Christian past so that, as Mark Steyn has chronicled, Eurabia can rise in its place.
Even though Islamic doctrine opposes much of the liberal social agenda, progressives have elevated it and other religions as a wedge against their real foe, Christianity.
“For example, the arrival of a small Muslim group in a large Christian-populated town allows Democrats to argue that religious equality requires the cultural visibility of Christianity be reduced to the same level as Islam,” Breitbart’s Neil Munro explains in an article about the Grinnell findings.
Following public backlashes in California and Virginia over the introduction of Islamic concepts in public schools, defenders of the practice insisted that a well-rounded education include comparative religion. That’s not a bad idea, but it’s not the same as honestly teaching the importance of the Bible and Christianity to America’s history and government structure. You can’t really understand America without it.
All too often, offering “comparative religion” has meant pretending that all religions teach the same thing. In Georgia, for instance, in 2015, a sample classroom guide said that Islam, Christianity and Judaism share the “same God,” which is patently false.
In Staunton, Virginia, a high school session on comparative religion had students copy in calligraphy the Shahada, the Islamic statement of faith, which says, “There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger.”
More to come.