History

I’m continuing with great quotes this week — there are so many right now in my life!  God is so faithful to keep them coming, and I’d like to pass them on to you, as they’ve been a huge encouragement to me.

History is of no use if we don’t remember it. The rich heritage of God’s mighty works gives neither insight nor inspiration if we are ignorant of it.”  –Eugene Peterson

As Christians, we see the acts of God in history as an essential part of our faith.  We make a mistake if we think that Christianity is based solely on the catechisms and the teachings of Jesus (the Beatitudes, etc.).  Christianity is rooted in history.  We believe that our life is critically affected by things that happened in the past.  Old Testament history shows God at work for his people.  The promises God made to his people were fulfilled in historical events.  That’s why it was important for Jewish parents to keep reminding their children of them through stories and through historical psalms like Psalm 77, 78, 81 and 83.  These examples of God’s acting on behalf of his people give new generations, including our own, hope that God will continue to act for us.  In this way, we see history truly as his story.  —One Year Book of Psalms, 6/24

When Israel out of Egypt came

They left the proud oppressors Land

Supported by the great I AM,

Safe in the hollow of His hand

–Charles Wesley

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Growing Pains

I’ve been sharing quotes using the word “pain,” my Word of the Year for 2015. Here are a couple more from my notebook:

Superstition and idolatry form a tough crust over the topsoil of our hearts, making us unreceptive to the merciful words of salvation that God speaks to us.  Plowing is a metaphor for the repentance that prepares our hearts to receive those words.  Without the pain of the plow, the seeds God wants to sow in our lives might never take root.  In that sense, the process of plowing is every bit as necessary as the process of planting.  And every bit as merciful, although it never seems so at the time.  — Eugene H. Peterson, Conversations, pg. 1151

Growth calls into action new parts of our minds, our emotions, our bodies.  What we experience at these times often feels like pain.  We aren’t used to stretching ourselves in these ways.  But the pain shouldn’t surprise us–our muscles ache whenever we take up new activities, and they’re stretched in ways they aren’t used to.  Athletes get some muscles when they begin their training.  Similarly, as we’re in training in the Christian life, it stretches us beyond ourselves, and that hurts.  But this kind of pain is very different from the kind that’s inflicted by torture.  Growing pains are the kinds we don’t regret, because they lead to a fuller life, not a diminished one.  –Eugene H. Peterson, Conversations, pg. 1808

Weeping

Here are more quotes with the use of my Word of the Year for 2015 — “Pain.”  Jesus knew pain well.

Weeping for Jesus, then was not from depression or personal pain or feeling sorry for himself; it was entirely associated with the needs of others.  Weeping was a form of intercession, a sympathetic entering in to the pain of others.  But weeping will be followed by joy.  — Eugene H. Peterson, Conversations, pg. 1592

God’s way of being among us is to get down on our level, to enter the humiliation and the death, to share the persecution and the pain, to get into our skin and go through these things with us.  — Eugene H. Peterson, Conversations, pg. 1773

Wherever There is Pain

It’s time to review my Word of the Year again for 2015 — the word is “Pain.”  It has been an interesting word for me to follow.  Here are more of the quotes I wrote down this year:

Thou Son of the Most High, Prince of Peace, be born again into our world.  Wherever there is war in this world, wherever there is pain, wherever there is loneliness, wherever there is no hope, come, thou long-expected one, with healing in thy wings.  –Frederick Buechner, Listening to Your Life, pg. 341

It’s clear in Psalm 126 that the one who wrote the psalm and those who sang it were no strangers to the dark side of things.  They carried the painful memory of exile in their bones and the scars of oppression in their backs…A common strategy for achieving joy is a change of scenery.  Eliminate the things that hurt.  Get rid of the pain by numbing the nerve endings…Get rid of disappointment by depersonalizing your relationships.  Then try to lighten the boredom of such a life by buying joy in the form of vacations and entertainment.  There isn’t a hint of that in Psalm 126.  Those who went off with heavy hearts came home laughing, with armloads of blessing.  There’s plenty of suffering in life for everyone.  The joy comes because God knows how to wipe away the tears and create the smile of new life.  This joy isn’t dependent on our good luck in escaping hardship.  It isn’t dependent on our good health and our avoidance of pain.  Christian joy is actually in the midst of pain, suffering, loneliness, and misfortune.  –Eugene H. Peterson, Conversations, pg. 910-911