Fruit is always the miraculous, the created; it is never the result of willing, but always a growth. The fruit of the Spirit is a gift of God, and only He can produce it. They who bear it know as little about it as the tree knows of its fruit. They know only the power of Him on whom their life depends
The nearer Christ comes to a heart, the more it becomes conscious of its guilt; it will then either ask for his mercy and find peace, or else it will turn against Him because it is not yet ready to give up its sinfulness. Thus He will separate the good from the bad, the wheat from the chaff. Man's reaction to this Divine Presence will be the test: either it will call out all the opposition of egotistic natures, or else galvanize them into a regeneration and a resurrection.
The humble, simple souls, who are little enough to see the bigness of God in the littleness of a Babe, are therefore the only ones who will ever understand the reason of His visitation. He came to this poor earth of ours to carry on an exchange; to say to us, as only the Good God could say: ‘you give me your humanity, and I will give you my Divinity; you give me your time, and I will give you My eternity; you give me your broken heart, and I will give you Love; you give me your nothingness, and I will give you My all.
Jesus and institutional religion are on a collision course, and those who go with Jesus will find more adventure, freedom, and religion-bursting grace than they can stand, all the things that make traveling worth the effort. But they will also find clash and conflict. The path of Jesus is not well tolerated by the establishment.
Instead of practicing philoxenos, which means loving the stranger, we find many times that the church is xenophobic. We forget that Jesus, whom we claim to follow, was the ultimate lover of otherness in people. Even differences in religion didn't freak Jesus out when it came to loving people.
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.
Scripture is wrought with a clear message of Jesus’ utter disregard for appearance and social rank. In Judean society, it was a major taboo for a man to even speak to a woman who was not his own wife or daughter; yet Jesus interacted regularly with foreign women, He taught women, ignored ritual impurity laws, and readily accepted women into His inner circle of followers.
You’ve heard the saying “time heals all wounds.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Time won’t heal all wounds. Jesus will. By His wounds, we are healed. That’s what this book is all about. There is a real answer to the why question, and it’s much better than anything you could ever make up.
When I was a senior in high school, I was playing in this local band in our town, and I really wanted to be a musician for a living, and it didn’t look like that was going to happen with my band. So, I enrolled in college and stuff. My senior year had ended, and I was going through the anxiety of like, ‘I guess I’m an adult now kind of’ and I was really yearning for a direction. And, I remember like sitting in my back one day, and I was praying alone, and I remember God said, just give up. Just let go of this worry and this need for direction and I will give you direction.
Many people seek fellowship because they are afraid to be alone...let him who cannot be alone beware of community. He will do harm to himself and to the community. Alone you stood before God when he called you; alone you had to answer that call; alone you had to struggle and pray; and alone you will die and give an account to God. You cannot escape yourself, for God has singled you out.
We read about the name Jesus was given at his birth; Immanuel, meaning “God with us”. This God wasn’t content with dwelling in fiction, this God wasn’t content living with the seraphim and this God wasn’t content with bulls and goats anymore. This God wanted to dwell with you, with all of your mess, with all of your failures with all the dirtiness that is you; he wanted to sit with you. Here’s the amazing thing, God doesn’t care if you’re a catholic, a Lutheran, Post modern or Emergent; he wants to sit with you.
When we pray, instead of trying to produce love in our souls toward God, we should be basking in God's love for us. How foolish to stay indoors in the cold, dark little room off the self, trying to turn on the light and turn up the heat, when we can just go outside into God's glorious Sonlight and receive his rays! How silly to fuss with artificial tanning salons and lotions and lights when the Son is out!