Murphy Geer Toerner
- Murphy's Devotions
- Austin TX and Baton Rouge, LA, United States
- I enjoy helping people. I am an encourager and I can see the good in others. I want people to understand what it means to be an authentic Christian and not just a religious "nut." I believe if Christians lived and loved others as Jesus lived and loved others, we would experience more of heaven on earth than hell on earth. These thoughts and writings are intended to encourage you to be who God originally designed you to be. They are also intended to challenge you and make you think. Also, I want you to know that I'm praying for you every day. Blessings, Murphy Blessings to you, Murphy
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
"Christ-following involves daring to float on the dark river of unseeing that leads to the Kingdom of Light." It requires the courage to set out on a path that is not only narrow, but also far from straight. That is why it is a journey of faith.
"The essence of Christian spirituality is to follow Christ on a pilgrimage that will often leave us feeling we are lost in the desert or heading in the wrong direction away from everything known and safe."
"The distant land is the new creature into whom Christ wishes to fashion us -- the whole and holy person who finds his/her uniqueness, identity, and calling in Christ. The distant land is God and the true self we are fully found in God."
"... there is a divine pattern at work which allows the widest variety for each Christian's idiosyncrasies, but seeks through the Holy Spirit to bring us toward union with God through spiritual encounters and experiences common to us all."
Our "union with God necessitates":
Desire for holiness
Relationship is the Essence of Reality
A Desire for Holiness -- a deep desire to overcome sin and experience biblical holiness. Isaiah -- "The blinding glimpse of God's burning holiness educes the obligation and desire for holiness to become part of his own soul. He is compounded of but one desire, that the burning holiness of God would sear the sin out of his innermost being. Symbolically it is done. A live coal touches his lips, and his sin is purged."
John Stott -- "One of the God-appointed functions of the Holy Spirit is to make us know, feel, mourn, loathe, and forsake out sins."
To get a sense of "holiness" -- "gaze steadily at Jesus Christ and consult one's heart and mind at the reaction one feels. He is pure, adorable, holy. Gaze at Jesus! Adoring contemplation of the Savior. Look at Jesus ... looking in loe and longing on Jesus. Holiness is a by-product of this. They grew in holiness as they grew in the steadiness and fixity of their gazing."
"Throughout church history all the saints are of one mind on this issue -- because God is holy, we must be holy too."
Accept Suffering -- Dennis Covington - "Mystery is not the absence of meaning, but the presence of more meaning than we can comprehend."
"Both biblical teaching and personal experience combine to show us that God uses suffering to bring us to holiness and maturity. (mental, emotional, and physical suffering) ... Character, love, and pompassion develop through suffering."
Hebrews 2:10 (NIV) - "being made 'perfect through suffering.' "
"Suffering is not a very popular doctrine amongst modern-day believers. But have you noticed? There is always an indefinable something about people who have suffered. They have a fragrance around them that reminds one of the meekness and gentleness of Christ."
John Stott -- "I sometimes wonder if the real test of our hunger for holiness is our willingness to experience any degree of suffering if only thereby God will make us holy."
Relationship is the Essence of Reality -- God places great importance on interpersonal relationships. Relationships are frought with difficulties; ... minor jealousies; ... pettiness; ... belitttling ...
One can read biographies ... "that talk about ... difficulties with relationships and how they sought to overcome them. And many of them tell how even though they may have inherited a difficult and passionate temperament, they allowed grace to work in their lives until they soared above such things as pettiness, temper, and lack of consideration toward others."
What is the divine purpose behind relationships? ... to enable us to understand the essence of reality.
Quote -- The Everlasting God -- "... we learn from the Trinity that relationship is the essence of reality and therefore the essence of our existence, and we also learn that the way this relationship should be expressed is by 'concern for others.' Within the Trinity itself is a concern by the persons of the Trinity for one another."
"I used to believe that truth is the essence of reality (then, I made a paradigm shift) ... I came to see ... that the energy which pulses at the heart of the Trinity is other-centered. Each member of the Trinity is more concerned about the others than He is about Himself. Part of the movement toward God, i am convinced, is learning to relate to others in the way the Trinity related to one another -- in true other-centeredness."
Often we regard people "as the cause of many of our problems until I read ... 'Relationships do not so much cause problems as reveal problems.'" (My reaction to people was the real problem.)
"To be thoroughly honest, the greatest challenge of my life has been to consider others as more important than myself."
"Dr. E. Stanley Jones defines Christianity as 'the science of relating well to others in the spirit of Jesus Christ.' He added, ' ... we are as mature as our relationships.' " (Unless we learn to relate to others in other-centeredness, our union with God will be blocked.)
Eternal Perspective -- All great saints see life in the light of eternity. The great and the godly seem always to be able to keep heaven in view. ( ... the silly little honors ... or the material things that many love and crave are seen as unimportant.)
"With a mind set on the glory of God and a heart aflame with supernatural love, ... (they know ... they know that earth is not their home.)"
"Heaven is our home; it is where we belong. It is a theme that must be kept in constant focus ... 'we are to be God-intoxicated men who always have heaven in view.' "
"The happiest people on earth ... are those who keep their eyes focused on heaven. The Psalmist wrote, 'In thy presence is fullness of joy. In thy right hand are pleasures forevermore' (Psalm 16:11, NASB).
Joy is found in the realization of heaven.
Joy is also found in the anticipation of heaven.
by David G. Benner Conversations Magazine, Vol. 2:2, Fall-2004
(Murphy Toerner -- this article was just one of many wonderful, challenging articles found in a relatively new periodical "Conversations". The senior editor is Larry Crabb. If you are interested in knowing more about this new magazine, please contact me at 753-7773 and I will be glad to give you the information.)
The purpose of spiritual practices is NOT to earn more grace or love or mercy or forgiveness or power or more eternal life. The truth is, once we become believers in Jesus Christ, we have gained a heavenly inheritance which is complete and can not be added to by human means. To think that we can add anything or earn anything in addition to what Jesus Christ gained for us through His death, burial, and resurrection is unthinkable.
However, to believe that there is no way for us to enhance our connection to and experience of God, the Father; of Jesus Christ, the Son; and of the indwelling Holy Spirit in our day to day relationships with them … our daily walk as practicing Christians, is inconceivable. Throughout the history of the faith, the spiritual fathers and spiritual mothers of our faith discovered that spiritual practices (disciplines) were not only invaluable to “spiritual formation” but essential. Often these spiritual forefathers and foremothers suffered greatly because the intimacy that they gained via spiritual practices produced a visibly unique level of intimacy with God. This level of intimacy was uncommon and consequently many of the saints who practiced spiritual exercises were often jailed, burned, tortured, and caste out of the church as heretics. Anytime a Christian attained some sort of special connection with God, they were suspected of heresy.
Spiritual formation, also known as Christian maturity, is the ultimate goal for every Christian. Freely accepting the gift of salvation from God through Jesus Christ is just the initial part of our journey toward Him and maturity in Him (and we accept this free gift via God’s grace.) The major part of the journey is concerned with our connection with God. It must be deep and personal. It must be consistent…day in and day out so God will be glorified in our lives. (To me, glorified means that His life is increasingly and consistently expressed through each of us who belong to Him and His forever family.)
There are many spiritual practices. A few are:
· bible study
· meditation on scripture
· solitude and silence
· scripture memory
· praise and singing
The only way to approach God is with reverence and humility and meekness of heart. The bible is clear that “fear” of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. A.W. Tozier, in Knowledge of the Holy, says that the way a culture views God is strategic. The spiritual practices are aimed at posturing us before the Holy Spirit so that He can work within us. His goal is to renew our minds, change our hearts and inner thoughts and attitudes, increase the presence and quality of His fruit (the Fruit of the Spirit) in our lives and make us more like Jesus (conform us to the image of Christ.) [Think how much sin we get into on a daily basis or how much sin we casually tolerate because we have a “low view” of God or we lack a deep respect for who He is and what He is capable of.]
Blessings to you.
Monday, August 10, 2009
I grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana. We were the first house on our block, but as time passed, other families came to reside there. As the number of kids grew in size, we played together and hung out together. We built Christmas tree forts, played softball and football, and we also played "hide & seek."
I loved this game. Some of my favorite places to hide were: the acres of woods behind our houses. If we were playing inside "hide & seek," I'd hide in the hall bathroom (in the dirty clothes hamper ... when it was empty of course or under the long built-in vanity). I also hid in my bedroom (behind the door or inside the huge closet).
Both of my sons loved playing hide & seek. When my husband walked down the hallway toward their bedroom, I'd throw a sheet over the boys and pretend I did not know where they were when my husband walked into the room. Of course, Mike would play along and say, "Dorable, have you seen the boys?" At which time, the boys would giggle and scream with glee.
Most people think that the goal of "hide & seek" is to hide so well that you will never be found; but this isn't the case. The real goal of the game is to hide well enough to make the game fun, but not so well that you are never found. The fun really comes in the near misses. It's when you are just about to be found and you dart from your hiding place and make it back to base before the person playing "IT" can catch you.
How do I know this? Because if it takes, what we consider too long to be found, we'll actually start to give our position away. We'll say, "I'm in hhheeeerrrrreeeee!" or "You're getting warmer (or colder)."
No one likes playing a game and never being found. We'll give up and quit the game if it takes an inordinate amount of time for "IT" to find us.
As silly as it sounds, some of us still play "hide & seek" as adults. Instead of hiding from "IT," we hide from God and the people around us. We'll even hide from ourselves. I think we hide from God because we are fearful that He is angry with us, disappointed in us, or that He is going to require something from us that would be painful to fulfill. We hide from others because we are ashamed and feel inferior. We wear "masks" so they can't see who we really are because what if they were to see us and not like us ... so we hide. We hide from ourselves because we don't accept parts of who we are.
You know, we started the whole hiding from God thing in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve sinned, they realized they were naked and in their shame, hid from God. Interestingly, we still do the same.
It is sad that we hide from the very Person who loves us so much. God is the only Person who knows us and loves us perfectly. He is the only Person who accepts us and understands us completely. He is the only Person who utterly values us and cherishes us.
Don't let Satan confuse you. God is the safest Person on Earth (and in the Heavens). Don't hide from God. Don't run from God. He is not the bad guy. He is not going to force you to go to some remote place to share the Gospel. If God wants you to do something, He will give you or create within you the desire to do what He is calling you to do. God doesn't use "force." He uses love and kindness; gentleness and compassion.
You don't have to hide from God. You don't have to be afraid of Him. He is the good Shepherd. He is the Perfect Father. He is our loving Bridegroom. He is our divine Power Source.
Don't hide. But if you do, stop and ask why you feel you need to hide. God will show you your misbeliefs.