Today's Devotions

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Showcase: Assorted Treats

  • River of Love +

    There's a river of love that runs through all timeBut there's a river of grief that floods through our livesIt Read More
  • I Am Nothing +

    I stutter when I tryTo speak the language of lifeI want to shout out loudBut I just cry insideSometimes it Read More
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On November 9, 2009, the New York Times reported a large, man-made area in the Pacific Ocean, north of Hawaii, containing “(l)ight bulbs, bottle caps, toothbrushes, Popsicle sticks and tiny pieces of plastic, each the size of a grain of rice.” This “area of widely dispersed trash . . . doubles in size every decade and is now believed to be roughly twice the size of Texas.”Accompanying the article is a photo of a spotted gray trigger fish living inside a caulking tube within the floating continent of refuse. Adopting the tube as its personal space, the fish snapped at any creature, fish or human, approaching it.

fish_in_caulk_tubeIf I am not careful, my spiritual life can be encapsulated in a similarly unnatural and poisonous milieu. Unlike the spotted fish, external forces are not the greatest danger to my life in Christ, but the practices and attitudes establishing me, rather than my creator, as the focal point of worship. Once ensconced in this self-centered terrain, I can be as dogmatic about retaining my poison-filled existence as the fish. I allow the familiarity of my spiritual lifestyle to trump its reality.

I am either forming my life in Christ or my life in the world. The mini-continent of pollution did not burst into existence overnight; it was formed through decades of daily contributions. Living the Christ-filled life requires a similar effort. In three different letters Paul refers to keeping our faith as a race that requires perseverance. To enable God’s spirit to increase in my life means to decrease the focus on myself. To love God with all my heart, soul and mind requires me to not allow anything else to have pre-eminence. I need his words to feed my soul and nourish this life I live in him, and I need his presence in prayer throughout my day to maintain his perspective on my life.

Unfortunately, there is another part to this story. The author notes that when a human or larger fish eats the fish that has eaten the plastic, the toxins within the smaller fish can be transferred to whatever consumes it. Sadly, this is true for my life, too. As Paul describes, I am a part of a body of believers whose lives in Christ influence each other. From the words  of my interactions to the prayers I lift up for others, I can choose to share with my community of believers Christ’s truth and love, or I can encumber them with more detritus. Which will it be-- giving His grace, love and healing, or the poisons of tightly-held spiritual toxins?

Read the NY Times article: Afloat in the Ocean, Expanding Islands of Trash

Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. 1 Corinthians 9:24

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30

Reflections to Consider

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Publications

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Music

  • River of Love

    There's a river of love that runs through all timeBut there's a river of grief that floods through our livesIt Read More
  • I Am Nothing

    I stutter when I tryTo speak the language of lifeI want to shout out loudBut I just cry insideSometimes it Read More
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Audio & Video

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Favorites

  • Transforming this World: The Hope of Glory by NT Wright +

    Wright confronts the perspective that this world doesn’t matter, and that we live only to be in heaven. He shows Read More
  • What is Good in a World that Defies Hope: a talk by NT Wright +

    This is the second part of three talks by NT Wright at Harvard University in November, 2008 on the topic Read More
  • The Stream, the Lake and the River: NT Wright +

      Acts 2.1-21; John 7.37-39; a sermon at the Eucharist on the Feast of Pentecost, 11 May 2008, by the Read More
  • Jesus in the Perfect Storm by NT Wright +

    Zechariah 9.9-17; Luke 19.28-48; A sermon for Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011, In the University Chapel of St Salvator, St Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • Christ is a Great Savior: a review of the movie Amazing Grace +

    Amazing Grace is a historical drama about William Wilberforce who was elected to British Parliament at the age of 21 Read More
  • Wilberforce, Hollywood's Amazing Grace, Charlotte Allen +

    William Wilberforce's relentless campaign eventually led the British Parliament to ban the slave trade, in 1807, and to pass a Read More
  • Making Beauty out of Ugly Things: Grace by U2 +

    Grace, she takes the blame She covers the shame Removes the stain It could be her name Grace, she carries Read More
  • The True Nature of Grace and Love: a movie review of the Soloist +

    The 2009 movie The Soloist is based on a book by the same name, written by Los Angeles Times columnist Read More
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