In the past year (2015), I've begun to cultivate my TWITTER ACCOUNT
using it primarily as a file of quotations.  Come join me!
(Click on TWITTER ACCOUNT above.)

Then just a little while after that, still when I was fifteen, I came across the life and writings of St Francis of Assisi – and I recognized in him the quiet eye, the single-pointed concentration of being, that I knew I wanted. And the joy of a pared-down life, the freedom and exhilaration of irreducible minimalism. Exposure to angels, to the presence of God. Luminous humility.

I loved Francis then and I do still. I love his slightly unhinged literalism, the blaze of his compassion and tenderness, his astonishing self-discipline, his ability to turn away from himself to a gaiety so translucent that Holy Spirit shone right through.

So, there was Francis, lodged in my mind and heart, in my consciousness. (Pen Wilcock, here)

I never saw a fruit-bearing Christian who was not a student of the Bible. So few grow, because so few study.  (D.L. Moody)

"An intense encounter with God can give us the courage to do the necessary things we wish we didn't have to do…The lost do not wrestle with God nearly as much as we who belong to Him…..So, let the Esaus of this life run! This is the only chance they'll get! And, yes, let the Jacobs limp. We have been with God! Though our humanity may be wounded, our souls are made whole by the One with whom we wrestle." (Beth Moore in"The Patriarchs" Bible study)

 “Let go of your complaints. Forgive those who loved you poorly. Step over your feelings of being rejected and have the courage to trust that you won’t fall into an abyss of nothingness, but into the safe embrace of a God whose love will heal all your wounds.” - Henri Nouwen

 Jesus calls us to his rest, and meekness is His method. The meek man cares not at all who is greater than he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort.” -Tozer

 "Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God's handwriting." -Emerson

 Every man loves the mercies of God, but a believer loves the God of his mercies. John Flavel

Turning toward Jesus means turning toward all of the people the rest of the world has forgotten about. (Andrew Draper, Twitter)

 As one striving to live 'cloistered in heart,' I look upon my life, even my body, as a 'monastery.' I can be a place where God is loved, served, lived for in the midst of the world. I do not stand out from people around me. I look like members of my family, dress like other women my age, talk like everyone else. No one passing me on the sidewalk would cry out 'why, look at that - there goes a walking monastery!' Yet my prayers and babysteps toward holiness happen, in large part, right in the midst of everyday life.   The Cloistered Heart
Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.  (Spurgeon)

God's goodness is demonstrated both by saying "no" to much of what you think you need and delivering what HE knows you really need.  (Paul David Tripp)

"Jesus calls us to His rest, and meekness is His method. The meek man cares not al all who is greater than he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort." - A.W.Tozer

The bad news is time flies. The good news is that you're the pilot. – Michael Altshuler

'The holiness of saints does not
depend on anything sensational, 
but on little things
which seem but trifles 
in the eyes of the world.'
Pope St. John XXIII

 "Maturity is the ability to joyfully live in an imperfect world." —Richard Rohr,

Faith is not the clinging to a shrine, but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.
Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement, [to] get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.
Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.
When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people. Know that every deed counts, that every word is power…
Above all, remember that you must build your life as if it were a work of art.
~Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel 
(January 11, 1907 – December 23, 1972)

'When we have once placed ourselves 
in the hands of God, we need fear no evil. 
If adversity comes, He knows how to turn it to our advantage, through means which will in time be made clear to us.' 
St. Vincent de Paul

Jesus wept, but he never complained.  Spurgeon

"Pride is concerned with who is right. 
Humility is concerned with what is right.” ― Ezra Taft Benson

'God allows His greatest servants to make the most humiliating mistakes. 
This humbles them in their own eyes and in the eyes of their fellow men. 
It prevents them from seeing and taking pride in the graces God bestows on them.'
St. Louis de Montfort

Let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings! (Henry Ward Beecher)

'Do you really want to be a saint? 
Carry out the little duty 
of each moment. 
Do what you ought 
and concentrate 
on what you are doing.'
St. Josemaria Escriva

 Every flower in spring is not a fruit in autumn.  (Hebrews 10:38) 
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

 'We must be faithful to the present moment, or we will frustrate the plan of God for our lives"  (Solamus Casey)

Solitude is first a quality of the soul, 
and the hermitage is enclosed in oneself, 
before one is enclosed in the hermitage.
St Charbel

'Listen to the sermon preached to you by the flowers, the trees, the shrubs, the sky, and the whole world. Notice how they preach to you a sermon full of love, of praise of God, and how they invite you to glorify the sublimity of that sovereign Artist who has given them being.'  St. Paul of the Cross

Jesus doesn't love me because I'm good. Jesus loves me because he's good. (Rich Mullins)

A sign you're growing in grace: You're not as compelled to offer commentary and criticism about most people and topics.  (Scotty Smith tweet)

 "Our tears are what happens when it rains deep inside our hearts and we cannot hold the rain any longer." -Philippos

“There are many things that can only be seen through eyes that have cried.” ~ Oscar Romero

Tears are redemptive contact lenses. Through them we see other people's pain and struggles much more clearly.  ~Scotty Smith

"I am your message, Lord.  Throw me like a blazing torch into the night, that all may see and understand what it means to be a disciple."  (Mother Maria Skobtsova)

Sometimes God breaks our legs so we'll fall on our knees in complete dependence on him. That's called grace.  (Burk Parsons tweet)

 “When language fails us, we weep; tears have an ineffable dimension, giving expression to feelings that are “too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)  

Do not, then, stir yourself up to useless interior activities. Avoid everything that will bring unnecessary complications into your life. Live in as much peace and quiet and retirement as you can, and do not go out of your way to get involved in labors and duties no matter how much glory they may seem to give God. Do the tasks appointed to you as perfectly as you can with disinterested love and great peace in order to show your desire of pleasing God. Love and serve Him peacefully and in all your works preserve recollection. Do what you do quietly and without fuss. Seek solitude as much as you can, dwell in the silence of your own soul and rest there in the simple and simplifying light which God is infusing into you.~ Thomas Merton

  “…Only the tears of repentance are able to cleanse the soul.” St. Anthimos of Chios  

Christian joy produces tears because it is qualitatively so like sorrow, because it comes from those places where Joy and Sorrow are at one, reconciled, as selfishness and altruism are lost in Love.” —J.R.R. Tolkien   
Pay attention to the things that bring a tear to your eye or a lump in your throat;  they are signs that the holy is drawing near. ~ F.Buechner    

 “When language fails us, we weep; tears have an ineffable dimension, giving expression to feelings that are “too deep for words.” (Ro. 8:26

At once physical and spiritual, tears stand at the enigmatic point of intersection between body and soul.  They are complex and polyvalent, far more so than laughter.”  – Bishop Kallistos Ware   

“God is visiting you when tears come during prayer.” Elder Amphilochios Makris  

 God sees us as we are, loves us as we are, and accepts us as we are. But by His grace, He does not leave us as we are.  (Tim Keller)

55 Maxims for Christian Living
by Fr. Thomas Hopko

1. Be always with Christ.
2. Pray as you can, not as you want.
3. Have a keepable rule of prayer that you do by discipline.
4. Say the Lord’s Prayer several times a day.
5. Have a short prayer that you constantly repeat when your mind is not occupied with other things.
6. Make some prostrations when you pray.
7. Eat good foods in moderation.
8. Keep the Church’s fasting rules.
9. Spend some time in silence every day.
10. Do acts of mercy in secret.
11. Go to liturgical services regularly
12. Go to confession and communion regularly.
13. Do not engage intrusive thoughts and feelings. Cut them off at the start.
14. Reveal all your thoughts and feelings regularly to a trusted person.
15. Read the scriptures regularly.
16. Read good books a little at a time.
17. Cultivate communion with the saints.
18. Be an ordinary person.
19. Be polite with everyone.
20. Maintain cleanliness and order in your home.
21. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
22. Exercise regularly.
23. Live a day, and a part of a day, at a time.
24. Be totally honest, first of all, with yourself.
25. Be faithful in little things.
26. Do your work, and then forget it.
27. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
28. Face reality.
29. Be grateful in all things.
30. Be cheefull.
31. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
32. Never bring attention to yourself.
33. Listen when people talk to you.
34. Be awake and be attentive.
35. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
36. When we speak, speak simply, clearly, firmly and directly.
37. Flee imagination, analysis, figuring things out.
38. Flee carnal, sexual things at their first appearance.
39. Don’t complain, mumble, murmur or whine.
40. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
41. Don’t seek or expect praise or pity from anyone.
42. We don’t judge anyone for anything.
43. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
44. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
45. Be defined and bound by God alone.
46. Accept criticism gratefully but test it critically.
47. Give advice to others only when asked or obligated to do so.
48. Do nothing for anyone that they can and should do for themselves.
49. Have a daily schedule of activities, avoiding whim and caprice.
50. Be merciful with yourself and with others.
51. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
52. Focus exclusively on God and light, not on sin and darkness.
53. Endure the trial of yourself and your own faults and sins peacefully, serenely, because you know that God’s mercy is greater than your wretchedness.
54. When we fall, get up immediately and start over.
55. Get help when you need it, without fear and without shame.
"Those seeking the life of the spirit should be cheerful and free, and not neglect recreation. Married people must act in conformity with their vocation--but their progress will of necessity be but the pace of a hen." --Teresa of Avila

"As long as Christ sits on the throne, every day is a good day and all days are days of salvation." AW Tozer

 Saying "Preach the gospel at all times, use words if necessary" is similar to saying "Feed the hungry at all times, use food if necessary."  Burk Parsons

“I am struck by how sharing our weakness and difficulties is more nourishing to others than sharing our qualities and successes.”  Jean Vanier

"If you want to hear God speak, read the Bible. If you want to hear him speak audibly, read it out loud."  Justin Peters

“The silence of God is not absence.”  Tim Keller

...we teach what we know, but reproduce who we are.  from here

"Let me face what Thou dost send with the strength Thou dost supply:
When Thou prosperest my undertakings, let me give heed that Thy word may prosper in my heart:
When Thou callest me to go through the dark valley, let me not persuade myself that I know a way round..."
                                       ~ from the prayers of John Baillie

But . . . the longing for solitude, simplicity, silence, smallness . . . it feels not so much like a choice as a metamorphosis; a gradual change of one’s entire interior orientation, until participation in society becomes like the visits of a mermaid to dry land.
If it is self-indulgence, even still I can no more help it than the daisy can help opening her petals, turning her face, to the sun.  Pen, here.

Anytime I'm being cross, I'm not bearing the cross. Impatience reveals a lack of humility.  (Rick Warren, tweet)

There are a number of things to be learned from sin. One is compassion. The other is understanding. The third is humility. The fourth is perception. Without the ability to own our own sins, these qualities are all hard to come by indeed.  (Joan Chittister)

Those who are repulsed by the notion of a holy God now should not expect to be in his holy heaven later. ~Kevin DeYoung

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. (Unknown)
The Enemy makes the worst out of God's best. God makes the best out of the Enemy's worst. (Louie Giglio)

  Everything that surrounds me is a potential source of inspiration and influence for my designs. You become sensitive to all the beauty around you when you are constantly searching for inspiration.  ~Gesa Hansen

 We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God, who will thwart our plans and frustrate our ways time and again, even daily, by sending people across our path with their demands and requests.

We can, then, pass them by, preoccupied with our more important daily tasks. When we do that, we pass by the visible sign of the cross raised in our lives to show us that God's way, and not our own, is what counts.

It is a strange fact that, of all people, Christians and theologians often consider their work so important and urgent that they do not want to let anything interrupt it.

They think they are doing God a favor, but actually they are despising God's "crooked yet straight path".

They want to know nothing about how human plans are thwarted. But it is part of the school of humanity that we must not spare our hand where it can perform a service.

We do not manage our time ourselves but allow it to be occupied by God.  (Bonhoeffer)

 "I don't think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains." ~ Anne Frank -The Diary of a Young Girl

I am giving Thee worship with my whole life,
I am giving Thee assent with my whole power,
I am giving Thee praise with my whole tongue,
I am giving Thee honor with my whole utterance,
I am giving Thee love with my whole devotion,
I am giving Thee kneeling with my whole desire,
I am giving Thee love with my whole heart,
I am giving Thee affection with my whole sense,
I am giving Thee my existence with my whole mind,
I am giving Thee my soul, O God of all gods.

-(Celtic prayer to be recited daily upon arising)

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” 
~Eleanor Roosevelt

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” (Frederick, Buechner, Wishful Thinking)

I am strong, because I’ve been weak.

I am fearless, because I’ve been afraid.

I am wise, because I’ve been foolish.

  The danger of regular teaching about forgiveness is that if one tries to start in any other place than reality, emotional fistulas can be created as the scar forms *over* the hurt, enclosing it inside. Then it has to be opened up again or it can go toxic and make you ill. Honesty is ever so important in spiritual path, even though inevitably it makes one look less shiny. (Em, in a comment to THIS POST)

…it is difficult for us to appreciate the reality of God sovereignly doing as He pleases in our lives because we do not see God doing anything. Instead we see ourselves or other people acting and events occurring, and we evaluate those actions and events according to our own preferences and plans. We see ourselves influencing or perhaps even controlling or being controlled by the actions of other people, but we do not see God at work. But over all the actions and events of our lives, God is in control doing as He pleases— not apart from those events, or in spite of them, but through them. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery— a malicious act in and of itself—but in due time Joseph recognized that through his brothers’ actions God was acting. He could say to them, “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Gen.45:8). Joseph recognized the hand of God in his life sovereignly directing all the events to bring about God’s plan for him.

 "Thankfulness works in the Christian community as it usually does in the Christian life. Only those who give thanks for the little things receive the great things as well.
If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian community in which we have been placed, even when there are no great experiences, no noticeable riches, but much weakness, difficulty, and little faith...then we hinder God from letting our community grow according to the measure and riches that are there for us all in Christ Jesus.

Christian community is not an ideal we have to realize, but rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate." -Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"We who live in quiet places have the opportunity to become acquainted with ourselves, to think our own thoughts and live our own lives." Laura Ingalls Wilder

If you entrust God with your "here" He will take you "there". If you give Him your "now", He will take care of "then". (Christine Caine)

“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”
― Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

Scotty Smith tweeted the prayer of my heart! "Jesus, turn our theology into doxology today, our protests into prayers, our worries into worship & our fears into faith." 
 We equip by EXAMPLE. Lead by LIVING it. Disciple by DOING. Mentor by MODELING. SHOW it then say it. PATTERN it then preach it!  (Rick Warren)

Reel us back in anytime we move away from the “sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3). Teach us how to be stewards of technology, not slaves to technology. Teach us how to be creative, not cute; faithful, not manipulative; simple, not spectacular. And let us never forget that you are not seeking “great worship” but true worshipers—those who worship you “in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23).   (Scotty Smith)

If we love our dream of community more than we love the actual Christian community we will damage the community. (Bonhoeffer)
After primary needs are met, we do not need money to be happy; we need God, loving friends, and passion for a project.
"Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more" - Wendell Berry

Seldom repress a generous impulse.  (George Sweeting)

The PAST is where you learned the lesson.  The FUTURE is where you apply the lesson.
False holiness is just as much a threat as casual sinfulness.  (Orlund)

Have courage for the great sorrows of life
and patience for the small ones;
and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task,
go to sleep in peace.
God is awake.
Victor Hugo
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. ~Reinhold Neibuhr~"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." Albert Einstein

"Spend your time in nothing which you know must be repented of; in nothing on which you might not pray for the blessing of God; in nothing which you could not review with a quiet conscience on your dying bed; in nothing which you might not safely and properly be found doing if death should surprise you in the act." ~ Richard Baxter

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. (Melody Beat))tie

"If God be your partner make your plans LARGE." Dwight L. Moody

 Instruction does much, but encouragement does everything (Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe)
This being with God in solitude and contemplation nurtures an inner sacredness. Our secret does not lie in our achievements, but in our friendship with God. What is seen by others around us does not explain all that we are. There is an inner life with God, nurtured by the Spirit, that is the great secret of one's existence.

Out of this inner sacredness sustained and guarded by God, I may live, act, and speak. And this will give my acting and speaking an authenticity, freshness, and creativity.

Things then do not come from empty wells, tired places, and the barren and wounded spaces of our lives. Things do not come from mere repetition of the boringly familiar and artificial. Instead they come from the sacred silences that characterize our lives. (From Whispers from the Edge of Eternity by Charles Ringma)

Taking responsibility strengthens your mind.
Making excuses weakens it.
"A gentle and quiet spirit is not only imperishable; it is precious in the sight of God. It's also one of the hardest qualities to cultivate. Far from a sign of weakness, a gentle and quiet spirit is the sign of a woman who is strong in faith, mind and character." --Anna Sofia & Elizabeth Botkin
A wounded healer is someone who can listen to a person in pain without having to speak about his or her own wounds. (Henri Nouwen)

"WHEN and THEN" thinking (When something happens, then I'll...) wastes life. Do it now. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed. Ecc.11:4     ~RickWarren

 It is the goal of my life to never say NO to God. (Rick Warren)

The more a true saint loves God with a gracious love, the more he desires to love him, and the more uneasy is he at his want of love to him; the more he hates sin, the more he desires to hate it, and laments that he has so much remaining love to it;
the more he mourns for sin, the more he longs to mourn for sin;
the more his heart is broke, the more he desires it should be broke;
the more he thirsts and longs after God and holiness, the more he longs to long,
and breathe out his very soul in longings after God:
the kindling and raising of gracious affections is like kindling a flame;
the higher it is raised, the more ardent it is; and the more it burns,
the more vehemently does it tend and seek to burn.
Jonathon Edwards

Don't wait for inspiration to create action. Let your action create inspiration.  (Rick Warren)

Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." (Picasso)

Remember: The greatest threat in life is indifference.

 Obedience to revealed truth guarantees guidance in matters unrevealed. Greg Laurie

 Seeing that a Pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwrecks, there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness.  (John Calvin)

To affirm a person is to see the good in them that they can't see in themselves and to repeat it in spite of appearances to the contrary.  (B. Manning)

Do I live in a "should" world or one that I am "passionate" about? God help me to move away from my "should do" world.

I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you. (Friedrich Nietzsche)

Alicia Britt Chole ‏"From God's perspective, anonymous seasons are sacred spaces: to be rested in, not rushed through, & most definitely never to be regretted."

 "The reason worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work." Robert Frost

 "O God, I crave Thy blessing upon this day of rest and refreshment.  Let me rejoice today in Thy worship and find gladness in the singing of Thy praises.  Forbid, I beseech Thee, that only my body should be refreshed today and not my spirit.  Give me grace for such an act of self-recollection as may again bring together the scattered forces of my soul.  Enable me to step aside for a little while from the busy life of common days and take thought about its meaning and its end....May [Jesus Christ] be in me and I in Him, even as Thou wert in Him and through Him mayest be in me and I at rest in Thee."  ~Sunday morning prayer of John Baillie
“God receives none but those who are forsaken, restores health to none but those who are sick, gives sight to none but the blind, and life to none but the dead. He does not give saintliness to any but sinners, nor wisdom to any but fools. In short: He has mercy on none but the wretched and gives grace to none but those who are in disgrace. Therefore no arrogant saint, or just or wise man can be material for God, neither can he do the work of God, but he remains confined within his own work and makes of himself a fictitious, ostensible, false, and deceitful saint, that is, a hypocrite.” (Luther W.A. 1.183ff).

“I can feelingly say, he has proved himself stronger than I and his goodness superior to all my unworthiness.  He tells me (and enables me to believe it) that I am fair, and there is no spot in me.  Though an enemy, he calls me his friend; though a traitor, a child; though a beggared prodigal, he clothes me with the best robe and has put a ring of endless love and mercy on my hand.  And though I am sorely distressed by spiritual and internal foes, afflicted, tormented and bowed down almost to death with the sense of my own present barrenness, ingratitude and proneness to evil, he secretly shows me his bleeding wounds and softly and powerfully whispers to my soul, ‘I am thy great salvation.’  His free distinguishing grace is the bottom on which is fixed the rest of my poor weary tempted soul.   On this I ground my hope, often times when unsupported by any other evidence, save only the Spirit of adoption received from him.  When my dry and empty barren soul is parched with thirst, he kindly bids me come to him and drink my fill at the fountainhead.  In a word, he empowers me to say with experiential evidence, ‘Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.’ Amen and amen.”
Joseph Hart (1712-1768), quoted in Peter C. Rae, “Joseph Hart and His Hymns,” Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology 6 (1988): 22-23.

Prayer is the Alpha and Omega of planning. Don't just brainstorm, praystorm.~ Mark Batterson

 “It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.” -- Thoreau

If a commission by an earthly king
is considered an honor,
how can a commission by a Heavenly King
be considered a sacrifice?
~ David Livingstone

Many of Dr. Seuss-isms here

I would like to consider briefly one of these channels that can lead us to God and also be helpful in our encounter with him: It is the way of artistic expression, part of that via pulchritudinis~"way of beauty"...which modern man should recover in its most profound meaning. Perhaps it has happened to you at one time or another~ before a sculpture, a painting, a few verses of poetry or a piece of music~ to have experienced deep emotion, a sense of joy, to have perceived clearly, that is, that before you there stood not only matter~ a piece of marble or bronze, a painted canvas, an ensemble of letters or a combination of sounds~ but something far greater, something that "speaks," something capable of touching the heart, of communication a message, of elevating the soul. A work of art is the fruit of the creative capacity of the human person who stands in wonder before the visible reality, who seeks to discover the depths of its meaning and to communicate it through the language of forms, colors, and sounds. Art is capable of expressing, and of making visible, man's need to go beyond what he sees; it reveals his thirst and his search for the infinite. Indeed, it is like a door opened to the infinite, opened to a beauty and a truth beyond the everyday. And a work of art can open the eyes of the mind and heart, urging us upward." ~ Pope Benedict XVI

O that thou couldst dwell in the knowledge and sense of this! Even, that the Lord beholds thy sufferings with an eye of pity; and is able, not only to uphold thee under them, but also to do thee good by them. Therefore, grieve not at thy lot, be not discontented, look not out at the hardness of thy condition; but, when the storm and matters of vexation are sharp, look up to Him who can give meekness and patience, can lift up thy head over all, and cause thy life to grow, and be a gainer by all. If the Lord God help thee proportionaly to thy condition of affliction and distress, thou wilt have no cause to complain, but to bless His name.
I. Penington

A great quote is the highest form of literature,needing no context to liberate a life, save a soul, or direct a destiny. (seen on a Rick Warren tweet).

“For having lost so much time, you have the greater need of diligently improving what time yet remains” Jonathan Edwards

 Not many of us are living at our best, We linger in the low because we are afraid to climb the mountains. The steep and ruggedness discourage us, so we stay in the midst of the valleys and never learn the mysteries of the hills, We do not know what is lost by our self-indulgence, what glory awaits if we only have the courage to climb, or what blessings we will find if we only ascend the mountains of God! J.R.Miller

Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year.
- Victor Borge

 "You will never find Jesus so precious as when the world is one vast howling wilderness." —Robert Murray M'Cheyne

Worry is not believing God will get it right, and bitterness is believing God got it wrong.(Tim Keller)
Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you.
- Winston Churchill

Our only business is to love and delight ourselves in God. Brother Lawrence

  "HATE SIN! Instead of loving it, cleaving to it, excusing it, playing with it,
we ought to hate it with a deadly hatred." ~ J.C. Ryle

 “A friendship does not grow up spontaneously. It must have a good soil in which to take root, good seed from which to start, and care and cultivation, in order to become its best. The good soil is sincerity and truth coupled with kindness and affection. The good seed is love and appreciation.”

“And it must be watched closely that no weeds of jealousy or envy creep in, and the soil must be constantly stirred by kind acts, words of appreciation and affection, and mutual admiration. There dare be no selfish interests nor untrusting suspicions in true friendship. The smallest bit of mistrust will blight it like frost. Friendship is tender, but it is beautiful.”
~ Taken from the book: Beautiful Girlhood by: Karen Andreola, pgs. 97-98 ~

Faith is the vision of the heart; it sees God in the dark as well as in the day.-Unknown
Be a connector, not a networker. Connectors are others-focused, while networkers are me-focused. (seen on Twitter)

If you're not willing to learn, no one can help you.  If you ARE willing to learn, no one can stop you!

"As important as it is to keep picking yourself up and brushing yourself off, it's also important to stop tripping over your own two feet."

Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it. Plan more than you can do, then do it.~~ Anonymous

The grass is always green where you water it!

If we do not know how the story of the Gospel begins, then we do not know what that story means. Make no mistake: a false start to the story produces a false grasp of the Gospel.  (Dr. Albert Mohler, re. the Adam and Eve controversary)
Real optimism is aware of problems but recognizes solutions;
Knows about difficulties but believes they can be overcome;
Sees the negatives, but accentuates the positives;
Is exposed to the worst but expects the best;
Has reason to complain, but chooses to smile.
~William Arthur Ward

► “Good conduct arises out of good doctrine.” ~ John Stott
► “The chief occupational hazard of leadership is pride.” ~ John Stott
► “Persecution is simply the clash between two irreconcilable value-systems.” ~ John Stott
►”In expository preaching the biblical text is neither a conventional introduction to a sermon on a largely different theme, nor a convenient peg on which to hang a ragbag of miscellaneous thoughts, but a master which dictates and controls what is said.” ~ John Stott
► “These then are the marks of the ideal Church – love, suffering, holiness, sound doctrine, genuineness, evangelism and humility. They are what Christ desires to find in His churches as He walks among them.” ~ John Stott

Nobody is bored when he is trying to make something that is beautiful, or to discover something that is true.
  ~William Inge
Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it. Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it.
~Mother Teresa

 a Celtic Prayer:

I am giving Thee worship with my whole life,
I am giving Thee assent with my whole power,
I am giving Thee praise with my whole tongue,
I am giving Thee honor with my whole utterance,
I am giving Thee love with my whole devotion,
I am giving Thee kneeling with my whole desire,
I am giving Thee love with my whole heart,
I am giving Thee affection with my whole sense,
I am giving Thee my existence with my whole mind,
I am giving Thee my soul, O God of all gods.

Give the Lord credit for knowing things you don't understand. C. H. Spurgeon

 Evil isn't an ACT of God;  evil is the ABSENCE of God. (no source attributed)

How much richer we wold be if we would refuse the books of the hour and discover again the books of the ages.  (W. Wiersbe)

Chris Tiegreen  "This world is my passage, not my portion.”
"What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity." J. Sidlow Baxter

"Faith is not about everything turning out okay.
Faith is about being okay no matter how things turn out."

God allows everything to happen for a reason. Circumstances will either direct you, 
correct you, or perfect you.
We are not meant to be seen as God's perfect, bright shining examples
but to be seen as the everyday essence of ordinary lives exhibiting the
miracle of HIS grace
~Oswald Chambers

When something is missing in your life, it usually turns out to be Someone.
-Robert Brault
Layman's 10 Commandments.
1]  Prayer is not a "spare wheel" that you pull out when in  trouble, but it is a "steering wheel"  that directs the right path throughout.
2]  Why is a car's WINDSHIELD is so large & the Rear view Mirror is so small? Because our PAST is not as important as our FUTURE. So, Look Ahead and Move on.
3]  Friendship is like a BOOK. It takes a few seconds to burn, but it takes years to write.
4] All things in life are temporary.  If going well, enjoy it, they will not last forever. If going wrong, don't worry, they can't last long either.
5] Old Friends are Gold! New Friends are Diamond! If you get a Diamond, don't forget the Gold! Because to hold a Diamond, you always need a Base of Gold!
6]  Often when we lose hope and think this is the end, GOD smiles from above and says, "Relax, sweetheart, it's just a bend, not the end!

7]  When GOD solves your problems, you have faith in HIS abilities; when GOD doesn't solve your problems HE has faith in your abilities.

8]  A blind person asked St. Anthony: "Can there be anything worse than losing eye sight?" He replied: "Yes, losing your vision!"
9] When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them, and sometimes, when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.
10] WORRYING does not take away tomorrow's TROUBLES, it takes away today's PEACE.

  "This world is my passage, not my portion."  Christ Tiegreen

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. 
Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"Experience is a dim lamp, which only lights the one who bears it." Louis-Ferdinand Celine

"If our personal faith in Christ has no positive outward expression, then our faith has a hole in it" - Richard Stearns, The Hole in Our Gospel
 "If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled." (Spurgeon)
"Our spirit grow by surrender, and waxes strong by sacrifice" - F.B. Meyer
"Begin to know Him now, and finish never" - Oswald Chambers
"Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He wants to be wanted" - A.W. Tozer
A Sunday well-spent brings a week of content.

“Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate.” – Barnett R. Brickner

"As a man prays, so he is." AW Tozer

"Oh to be known at the throne." Armin Gesswein

"On the cross, He died praying. He died as He lived." Armin Gesswein

"In the book of Acts they are praying in every chapter except two, and in those chapters they are in trouble." Armin Gesswein

"We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties." Oswald Chambers

"He who knows how to overcome with God in prayer has heaven and earth at his disposal." C. S. Spurgeon

"When you are pursuing love, running toward Christ, you do not have opportunity to wonder, Am I doing this right? or Did I serve enough this week? When you are running toward Christ, you are freed up to serve, love, and give thanks without guilt, worry, or fear.  As long as you are running you are safe." -Francis Chan
"One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time." ~ John Piper
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.
Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann (1872-1945) Terre Haute, IN his hometown.
 "If people cannot write well, they cannot think well, and if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them." --George Orwell

"Every increased possession loads us with new weariness."
~John Ruskin

What you think of me is none of my business.  

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.  -E.B. White 

Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. ~ Rita Mae Brown
"We need intimate knowledge of the past. Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, to remind us that the basic assumptions have been quite different in different periods and that much which seems certain to the uneducated is merely temporary in fashion. A man who has lived in many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village: the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age."  C.S. Lewis
"Great Rules of Writing" ~ William Safire
Do not put statements in the negative form.
And don't start sentences with a conjunction.
If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a
great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
De-accession euphemisms.
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.
       Pathway to Happiness
"When we start to count flowers,
we cease to count weeds;
When we start to count blessings,
we cease to count needs;
When we start to count laughter,
we cease to count tears;
When we start to count memories,
we cease to count years."
~from the book, "Whispers of Joy"

 A creative mess is better than tidy idleness.
Author Unknown

"You find yourself refreshed in the presence of cheerful people. Why not make an honest effort to confer that pleasure on others? Half the battle is gained if you never allow yourself to say anything gloomy." Lydia M. Child

"Short words are best and the old words when short are best of all."

-- Winston Churchill

"By nature, worship is not some performance we do,
but a presence we experience."
~ A.W. Tozer

"Don't despair. Only the mediocre person is always at his best."
~ W. Somerset Maugham

"Youth is not entirely a time of life; it is a state of mind. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair." Douglas MacArthur
Ralph Lauren has been credited with saying,
"When friends enter a home, they sense its personality and character, the family's style of living - these elements make a house come alive with a sense of identity, a sense of energy, enthusiasm, and warmth, declaring, 'This is who we are; this is how we live.'"

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind.To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.~ Henry David Thoreau

Few people know how to be old. ~ François de la Rochefoucauld

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." ~ Howard Thurman
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
~Leonardo Da Vinci

I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.
Duke Ellington
"God never gives us discernment so that we may criticize, but that we may intercede." ~Oswald Chambers

"Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." ~ G.K. Chesterton

When I say that 'I am a Christian', I am not shouting that 'I am clean living'
I'm whispering 'I was lost, but now I'm found and forgiven.'

When I say 'I am a Christian' I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not claiming to be perfect.
My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner who received God's good grace, somehow!

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. ~Reinhold Neibuhr~

"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." Albert Einstein

"Spend your time in nothing which you know must be repented of; in nothing on which you might not pray for the blessing of God; in nothing which you could not review with a quiet conscience on your dying bed; in nothing which you might not safely and properly be found doing if death should surprise you in the act." ~ Richard Baxter

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. (Melody Beat)tie

"If God be your partner make your plans LARGE." Dwight L. Moody

For money you can have everything, it is said. No, that is not true. You can buy food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; soft beds, but not sleep; knowledge but not intelligence; glitter, but not comfort; fun, but not pleasure; acquaintances, but not friendship; servants, but not faithfulness; grey hair, but not honor; quiet days, but not peace. The shell of all things you can get for money. But not the kernel. That cannot be had for money.
--Arne Garborg, writer (1851-1924)

“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears.” ` Glenn Clark

RETIREMENT is when you stop living at work & start working at living!

Grow in your new courage --Virgil

"Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything." (Thomas Merton)

Enough Already
If you always wish for more, you will never know the peace and satisfaction of having enough. Realizing that you already have enough is one of the most profoundly empowering thoughts you can think.

Fully enjoying the first piece of cake does not prevent you from having a second. Yet obsessing over whether or not you'll get another piece will always prevent you from enjoying what you have.

It's great to be ambitious and to create new value. Yet that is best done from the position of power that comes with having enough.

Being satisfied does not mean you must be complacent. Being satisfied enables you to draw strength from your desires instead of letting them enslave you.

Discipline, integrity, commitment and effectiveness flow naturally from a strong sense of having enough. When you're truly accepting of where you are, your eyes are fully open to the best possibilities.
Understand that you already have enough. And you'll tap into the power of peaceful purpose.
-- R.Marston

The Apostle Paul: "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." (Philippians 4:11)

  • “In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair, the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die." (Dorothy Sayers)
  •  I am GOVERNED by His providence; I am GROWING by His plan; I am GRACED by His prayers; I am GLADDENED by His presence; I am GUIDED by His purpose. (Adrian Rogers on John 6:16-21): 
  • Sherry Harrah, recalling her father's  (Ray Ortlund)’s advice to her in her formative years: “Dad said I don’t care if you choose to be a ditch digger, but don’t be a half-hearted Christian, because they know just enough to be miserable people."
  • "One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy." Elisabeth Elliott
  • "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.'" Erma Bombeck
MEASURE YOUR HEALTH...by your sympathy with morning and spring. If there is no response in you to the awakening of nature,if the prospect of an early morning walk does not banish sleep, if the warble of the first bluebird does not thrill you--know that the morning and the spring of your life are past. Thus may you feel your pulse. (Thoreau)

"God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on the trees and flowers and clouds and stars." (Martin Luther)
"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
From Max Lucado's book "In the Eye of the Storm"

Love God more than you fear hell.
Once a week, let a child take you on a walk.
Make major decisions in a cemetery.
When no one is watching, live as if someone is.
Succeed at home first.
Don't spend tomorrow's money today.
Pray twice as much as you fret.
Listen twice as much as you speak.
Only harbor a grudge when God does.
Never outgrow your love of sunsets.
Treat people like angels; you will meet some and help make some.
"Tis wiser to err on the side of generosity than on the side of scrutiny.
God has forgiven you; you'd be wise to do the same.
When you can't trace God's hand, trust His heart.
Toot your own horn and the notes will be flat.
Don't feel guilty for God's goodness.
The book of life is lived in chapters, so know your page number.
Never let the important be the victim of the trivial.
Live your liturgy.
Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful. (John Maceda, in The Laws of Simplicity)

"Those who know when enough is enough will always have enough."

Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars; to be satisfied with your possessions; to despise nothing in the world except falsehood and meanness, and to fear nothing except cowardice; to be governed by your admirations rather than by your disgusts; to covet nothing that is your neighbor’s except his kindness of heart and gentleness of manners; to think seldom of your enemies, often of your friends…and to spend as much time as you can, with body and with spirit. These are the little guideposts on the footpath to peace. Henry Van Dyke

When you dig others out of their troubles,
you find a place to bury your own.

A man of gladness seldom falls into madness.

He who loses money loses much;he who loses faith loses all.

It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.

Be sure there's a problem in the first place,before working hard to solve one.

Life is like photography:We use the negative to develop.

The inner joy can be sought or caught;
but never be taught or bought.

Every king was once a crying baby;
and every big building was once a blueprint.

Be bold when you lose and be calm when you win.

Concern should drive us into action and not into depression.

    (John Piper)  We should conclude that our sorrows at the death of a believer are joyful sorrows, and our rejoicing at the death of a believer is a sorrowful rejoicing. There is nothing hopeless about the sorrow. And there is nothing flippant about the joy. The joy hurts. And the sorrow is softened with invincible hope.
    This is why one of the most common watchwords of the Christian life is “sorrowful yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10). Sorrow and joy are not merely sequential. They are simultaneous. This is not emotional schizophrenia. This is the complex harmony of the Christian soul.
    Therefore, when a Christian dies, don’t begrudge the tears. And don’t belittle the joy in the lover’s eyes.

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        Writing a Song a Week #3

        Writing a Song a Week #3
        ♪ I wait for the Lord; my soul waits and in his word I hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning ♪ (Psalm 130:5-6)