Wisdom from the Desert …

The Elder was asked by the Novice, “How can a man remain faithful to the end?”

The Elder drew two lines in the sand some distance apart and answered …

“There is nothing outside these two points. There is no twenty years ahead of you. There is only ever the present moment with God and this present day. So each day if it comes you begin as if were your first day on earth and live it as if it were your last day on earth.”

The Wonder of Grace

This is the secret of peace, after committing a fault. What is past is past. And if we accept the consequences, while bracing our will, we can be sure that God will know how to draw glory even from our faults. Not to be downcast after committing a fault is one of the marks of true sanctity, for the saint knows how to find God in everything, in spite of human appearances. Once your will is sincerely “good,” then don’t worry…

In all that we do, and at every moment, God has ordained an exact balance between what we have to do and the necessary strength to do it; and this we call grace. Our part is to bring ourselves into line with grace.

God uses all the horrors of this world for an infinitely perfect end, and always with an infinite calm. It is part of his plan that we should feel the blows and experience the wounds of life: but more than anything else he wants us to dominate them by virtues of faith, hope and charity, and so live on his level. It is these latter which will raise us up to him, and then we shall share in his calm, and in the highest part of our being.

from Dom Augustin Guillerand, O. Cart, a French Carthusian

A Thought About Contentment

“There cannot be anything great in us in the sight of God except our passive endurance.

Therefore let us think of it no more, let us leave the care of our sanctification to God who well knows how to effect it. It all depends on the watchful care, and particular operation of divine Providence, and is accomplished in a great measure without our knowledge, and even in a way that is unexpected, and disagreeable to us.

Let us fulfill peacefully the little duties of our active fidelity, without aspiring to those that are greater, because God does not give Himself to us by reason of our own efforts. We shall become saints of God, of His grace, and of His special providence.

He knows what rank to give us, let us leave it to Him, and without forming to ourselves false ideas, and empty systems of sanctity, let us content ourselves with loving Him unceasingly, and in pursuing with simplicity the path He has marked out for us, where all is so mean and paltry in our eyes, and in the estimation of the world.”

Jean Pierre de Caussade, S.J.

The Ebb & Flow of Life in the Spirit

It is one of the paradoxes of God’s nature: He is constant, and yet He works seasonally. Our humanity has trouble dealing with such a concept. Everything the eternal God does is seasonal. In the natural, He created four seasons to guide the earth through times of sowing, reaping, working, and rest; the same holds true in the spiritual realm. But for some reason, most churches strive desperately to find a perfect balance. They want to be consistent and balance teaching and worship, the Word and the Spirit.

God, however, rejects that notion of balance. His Spirit ebbs and flows in our lives. There are times when we flow in the Word of God, and times when we flow in the Spirit. Our job is to see what God is doing and respond to Him in it. If He is revealing mysteries through Scripture, than we need to focus strongly on the Bible. If He is unveiling things through the gifts and work of the Holy Spirit, then we need to run with that.

We cannot live in a continuous flow of the Spirit. It’s unnatural. For every flow, there must be ebb. For every high tide, there is a low tide. When we are ebbing in the Spirit, God brings us to the constancy of His Word. That Word then underpins our next season in the Spirit—God uses the ebb to teach us about our next breakthrough. What we do in the low tide of the Spirit is absolutely vital to the next flow God wants to bring us into. He sees both the ebb and the flow as a way for Him to lead us.

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If You Don’t Laugh, You’ll Cry …

As Published on LiveNews.com.au today … US President George W Bush may be leaving the White House, but he has bequeathed to the nation and the world volumes of unforgettable quotes.

Herewith are some of the more memorable "Bush-isms:"


"They misunderestimated me."
– Bentonville, Arkansas, November 6, 2000

"There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on … shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again."
– Nashville, Tennessee, September 17, 2002

"I want to thank my friend, Senator Bill Frist, for joining us today … He married a Texas girl, I want you to know. Karyn is with us. A West Texas girl, just like me."
– Nashville, Tennessee, May 27, 2004

"I’ll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office."
– to Israeli journalists in Washington in an interview published May 12, 2008.


"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace."
– Washington, June 18, 2002

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
– Washington, August 5, 2004

"You know, when I campaigned here in 2000, I said, I want to be a war president. No president wants to be a war president, but I am one."
– Des Moines, Iowa, October 26, 2006


"For a century and a half now, America and Japan have formed one of the great and enduring alliances of modern times."
– Tokyo, February 18, 2002

"I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep on the soil of a friend."
– on the prospect of visiting Denmark, Washington, June 29, 2005

"Thank you, Your Holiness. Awesome speech."
– Washington April 16, 2008 to Pope Benedict XVI.

"I remember meeting a mother of a child who was abducted by the North Koreans right here in the Oval Office."
– Washington, June 26, 2008


… but wait!  There’s more …

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The Lost Gift of Discernment

Note from Kerry:  J. Lee Grady is the editor of Charisma magazine. You can visit his blog at www.fireinmybones.com. It’s well worth your time.

The Holy Spirit has provided a way for us to sort truth from error. But in this season of spiritual compromise, discernment is not popular. 

When I began making regular ministry trips to Nigeria a few years ago I learned that a peculiar Nigerian minister named T.B. Joshua was causing quite a stir in that country. Often referred to as “the Man of God” or “the Man in the Synagogue” by his followers, this African preacher founded a massive religious compound in Lagos called The Synagogue, Church of All Nations. He began attracting big crowds because of his healing powers.
I was initially excited to hear about a new healing ministry on the international scene, but when I talked to pastors in Lagos I learned that no mainstream Christian church or denomination in Nigeria embraced Joshua as authentic. In fact, Pentecostal leaders had denounced him publicly because of his occult background and because he mixed Christian terminology with pagan healing methods.
I finally sat down with Joshua in 2003 to confront him about his story (including his claim that his mother carried him in the womb for 15 months because he was “special”). After being in his offices, talking with his zombielike followers, interviewing ex-members of his cult and watching videos of his bizarre methods (which include a form of magic writing), my own gut feelings confirmed what I had already been told by countless pastors in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and other cities: This man was not operating by the Holy Spirit’s power.

“God gave us spiritual gifts in a package, and discernment is part of the set. It is not optional.”

What was even more shocking was seeing planeloads of Christians from South Africa, Europe and North America arrive in Nigeria to attend this man’s meetings. The excited pilgrims came to receive a touch from God. They wanted a spiritual impartation. Some left claiming they had been healed.

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In the Light of My Last Post …

… this was too good to stay quiet about. It was published on the News Corporation website today. I encourage you to read the article and then visit the link to the original, because some of the readers’ comments at the bottom of the page are very telling …


How fast you reply to an email could reveal whether you are stressed, driven or relaxed. The familiar "ding" of an email landing in a colleague’s inbox has become as common a sound in offices today as the ring of the telephone.

But, according to researchers, the speed at which workers respond to a new message provides a fascinating insight into their character.

In a recent survey, experts discovered that email users fall into three categories: relaxed, driven and stressed.

Dr Karen Renaud, a lecturer at the University of Glasgow, who carried out the research, said that while some people were happy to respond to emails in their own time, others felt compelled into reacting as soon as they arrived and became stressed if they had too many to deal with or were delayed in responding.

Women, in particular, felt more pressure to respond quickly to a new email than men, she said.

"The relaxed group don’t let email exert any pressure on their lives," she said.

"They treat it exactly the way that one would treat the mail: ‘I’ll fetch it, I’ll deal with it in my own time.’

"The second group felt driven to keep on top of email, but also felt that they could cope with it. The third group, however, reacted negatively to the pressure of email."

Researchers found 34 per cent of workers, who fell into the "stressed" category, felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of emails they received each day and obliged to respond quickly to meet the expectation of the sender.

A further 28 per cent were "driven" email users because they saw them as a source of pressure, while around 38 per cent were "relaxed" because they felt comfortable not replying until up to a week later.

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This is Remarkable!

From Kerry:  Having had a Grandfather, an Uncle and very close friend all die of cancer, I thought this story was well worth highlighting. Not only because of its potential for humankind, but also because Aussie scientists have been at the forefront of yet another major medical breakthrough. Thanks to the News Corporation website for the material.

AUSTRALIAN scientists are hoping to cure leukaemia, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis after their breakthrough discovery of how to stop killer blood cells growing.

The team has unlocked the secrets behind the protein which controls the way the blood cancer cells spread when it is damaged – and have found a way to stop its deadly process.

Work is now starting to design a drug to prevent the damaged proteins operating, effectively stopping the cancer as well as asthma and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

After spending a decade uncovering the structure of the receptor protein, which sits on the surface of white blood cells, lead researcher Professor Michael Parker, of Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Institute, said scientists could now build a drug to attach itself to the protein and stop it sending messages into the cells telling them to multiply unchecked.

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The Margins of a Spiritual Wilderness

Along the margins of the mountain ranges of North America, where unmanageable fortifications and regal satellites of rock surrender to low plains, lies a series of lesser ridges. They are known as the ‘outer range’, and winding through these barren lowlands is what the Native Indians call ‘The Trail’ – the pilgrimage to go beyond the here and now, and on toward the colonies of heaven. To many indigenous cultures ‘the trail’ is widely regarded as the most precious gift we have, and during the autumn of 1994 I remember sitting in the bar of a small town due south of the Adirondack Mountains with an old Indian. That night he told me the story of the ‘coal holders’.

As the seasons changed, when winter would eventually arrive, the tribe would have to move camp. Each tribe would designate coal carriers, and as the fire burned low, when the time came to move on, someone would have to carry the last hot coal to start the next fire at the new campsite. The old man explained that the community needed this fire to cook with, to sleep near, but most importantly this fire was the place of communication. It was the sacred place of storytelling, of dance and song. In short it was the heart of community. For many a weary pilgrim today it may feel like the fire has gone out completely. For those spiritual refugees who have connected to something they know to be true but no longer know where to go to explore and develop that connection our current spiritual climate may seem very cold.

We stand at the dawn of a dysfunctional transitional time in which Westerners seem able to express their doubts but not yet their sustaining beliefs; their lack of belief in the way things are but not yet their commitment to change. Our world is beginning to groan and toil for something beyond the inadequate patterns it has experienced and knows. Humanity is tired and longing for a life liberated by a spirituality that offers hope and gives rise to a world of justice and peace. Our common task, it seems, is to discover a new way of being human. It is this new way of being which intrigues me. I find it unfortunate that ‘church’ has become a by-word for the hypocritical and the insipid. Is it possible that a place can be found where spiritual refugees are able to be heard, can believe and belong without conforming in some way to an institution which makes us feel fraudulent, masking who we really are?

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