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Further Along My Passage

March 2016
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Red Barn (snow barns ). Photo by funhawg



The writer must to some extent inspire himself.  Most of his sentences may at first lie dead in his essay, but when all are arranged, some life and color will be reflected on them from the mature and successful lines; they will appear to pulsate with fresh life, and he will be able to eke out their slumbering sense, and make them worthy of their neighborhood.  Henry D. Thoreau in his journal I to Myself”, February, 1859.





The idyllic snow scene in the photo above could have been many places in our United States, but it could easily be snow on the Blue Ridge mountains from a point where I once lived high upon the Massanutten looking eastward.  It could have also been a winter scene just west of where I now live facing the Appalachians. I offer thanks to God and Providence that I have lived these latter years in the midst of such beauty and tranquility.  I read the news and marvel that my life journey has taken me to so many places where rumors of war and disasters now would make travel to those places fearful or forbidden.  I look backward on the passages of my life with deep gratitude for all the crossroads and crucibles that have given me so rich an opportunity to know the world uniquely mine on a journey under the protection of God’s marvelous grace and goodness. 


I am reading with intense interest Dallas Willard’s book The Divine Conspiracy one reviewer for which places the book in rare company alongside the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, John Wesley, John Calvin and Thomas Aquinas.  A principal theme encompassing wisdom for meaningful life in the here and now as well as hereafter, is that we who are Christians live in two kingdoms at once: a physical kingdom and a spiritual world with Christ our Lord which began when we were reborn in grace and faith in Jesus Christ.  From that moment forward we grow ever more mature in acquiring the spiritual gifts that Jesus taught his disciples.  Willard shows us that life in the spiritual kingdom is our destiny:

As we increasingly integrate our life into the spiritual world of God, our life takes on the substance of the eternal.  We are destined for a time when our life will be entirely sustained from spiritual realities and no longer dependent in any way upon the physical.  Our dying, or “mortal condition, will have been exchanged for an undying one and death absorbed in victory.”    Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, Rediscovering our Hidden Life in God.





Spring morning in the Blue Ridge






“..It is not given to us to write Gospels for the world to read.  But think again!  Is it not?  The fact is, there is not one of us here today who cannot compose a life of Jesus.  You can write an evangel, not in books and documents, but in deeds and character.  You can make men see Jesus.  You can live in such a way that, even when you are not speaking about religion at all, you will be confronting souls with Christ -- His ways, His spirit, His character – and making them feel the power and the beauty of the Son of God.  And it may be that all unknown to you, one soul here or another there will owe its very salvation to that gospel of yours; it may be that someone will rise from among the throngs around the judgment-seat on the last day, and pointing to you will cry; “There is the man to whom, under God, I owe everything!  It was reading the gospel of Christ in that man’s life that redeemed me.”  And Jesus will turn to you with glad and grateful eyes.  Come, ye blessed of My Father – inherit the kingdom!” James S. Stewart in a sermon “A Drama in Four Acts”.




 


“What is most valuable for any human being, without regard to an afterlife, is to be a part of this marvelous reality, God’s kingdom now.  Eternity is now ongoing.  I am now leading a life that will last forever.  Upon my treasure in the heavens I now can draw for present needs.  If, with a view to my needs in this life, I had to choose between good credit with a bank and having good credit with God, I would not hesitate a moment.  By all means, let the bank go.”  Dallas Willard, Ibid.

Out to Supper













, Ibid.




Dallas Willard, Ibid.

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