Sunday, December 24, 2017

4th Sunday of Advent - Perfect Love for the Weak - Advent 2017

"Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields keeping watch over their flock by night... and the glory of The Lord shone around them... For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ The Lord... You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger..." Luke 2:8-20

In Hidden Christmas Timothy Keller writes, "Every other religion and moral philosophy tells you to summon up all your strength and live as you ought. Therefore, they appeal to the strong, to the people who can pull it together." He goes on to remind us that "Only Jesus" says, "I have come for the weak... those who admit they are weak. I will save them not by what they do but through what I do." Christmas celebrates God's holy plan for all of us who find ourselves emotionally, physically and spiritually exhausted, those of us who are weary from trying too hard to achieve, wasted from seeking too long to aquire, worn from waiting too often for affirmation. Jesus comes to the stable first, to the poor, to the weak, to those who are overlooked by society.

Christmas means that the King has come into the world. But the Bible tells us that Jesus comes as King twice, not once. The second time he will come in power in order to end all evil, suffering, and death. The first time - the Christmas coming - he came not in strength but in weakness, to a poor family in a stable." Timothy Keller, from Hidden Christmas 

In the Christmas Story, shepherds of simple faith and willing to respond are key figures, but society calls them unworthy and unreliable. The shepherds come with haste and find Mary and Joseph and the Babe lying in a manger. After seeing the baby Jesus, the shepherds go and make widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. Do I see others through God's eyes or accept society's view? Am I willing to recognize Jesus in the least, the simple, the broken? Aren't we ALL unclean, sinners who are unworthy? Yet, God chooses each of us ~ rich or poor, scholar or laborer, old or young, thriving or hopeless, struggling or defeated! God invites each of us to come and meet Christ The Lord ~Perfect Love, Lamb of God, Amazing Grace!  ~dho

Sunday, December 10, 2017

3rd Sunday in Advent - A Christmas Story - Advent 2017

" in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12

Each year, the re-telling of the Christmas story fills the devotions we read, the sermons we hear, the carols we sing. The bright lights and decorated trees bring not only joy, but memories surface of days long passed. In my reading this season of Hidden Christmas by Timothy Keller, he does a great job of reminding us that the Gospel story is no legend or fairy tale. While these stories are not factual, Keller says they satisfy a desire "to experience the supernatural, to escape death, to know love that we can never lose, to not age but live long enough to realize our creative dreams, to communicate with nonhuman beings, to triumph over evil." These fictional stories reveal our longing for the human desires, but only Christ can complete us and fill the void inside us. 

Keller describes the Christmas story like this: "Here is a story about someone from a different world who breaks into ours and has miraculous powers, and can calm the storm and heal people and raise people from the dead. Then his enemies turn on him, and he is put to death, and it seems like all hope is over, but finally he rises from the dead and saves everyone." While to some it fits the genre of fairy tales or super heroes, the Christmas story brings even more. Jesus entered the world and "punched a hole between the ideal and the real, the eternal and the temporal." And yes, "there is an evil sorcerer in this world, and we are under enchantment." Jesus is "the noble prince" who brings "a love from which we will never be parted."

FrederickBuechner, American writer and theologian writes, “…Bethlehem is not the end of our journey but only the beginning…” This year, when I listen to the Christmas story once again, let me pause the world. In this stillness, I want to let God's glory fill me. Lost in the wonder of indescribable love and surrounded by the divine presence of God, I long to find Jesus who comes for me, who offers himself as Perfect Love.I yearn to celebrate the greatest Christmas Gift, Jesus, who renews my journey. Let me find new beginnings and new ways of living for Christ in the coming year! -dho

2nd Sunday of Advent - In the Family ~ Advent 2017

"The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac... Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah." Matthew 1:1-16  

As for Jesus, his ancestoral lineage has been recorded, according to the custom in ancient times, and this provides great historical documentation. The first chapter of Matthew gives us the "genealogy of Jesus the Messiah." Many find reading the detailed list laborous, but it is quiet remarkable, including five women, which is uncharacteristic of "ancient patriarchal societies" says Timothy Keller in Hidden Christmas. Many of those listed are flawed individuals, both Jews and Gentiles, both men and women, labled by various kinds of immoral deeds and deceit and dynfunction.Today, we can read this ancient list of names, even the failures and outsiders, and know them to be included in the family of Jesus. 

Today science provides a way for the everyday, ordinary person with the opportunity to take a personal DNA test that can determine ancestry. Family records with names and places and occupations can be found via In our searches, we find flawed ancestors, perhaps a thief or a murderer, just as we discover soldiers and missionaries, explorers and farmers. Each of us is a mixture of genetics from the decades and centuries passed, each generation influenced by their cultures and societies. Keller says a genealogy is saying, "This is who I am."

In thinking about the ancestors of Jesus, what meaning is there for us? Keller says, "First, it shows us that people who are excluded by culture, excluded by respectable society, and even excluded by the law of God can be brought in to Jesus' family." Looking around the world today, we see situations where power corrupts and hate excludes; we see dysfunction and immorality. We can break the cycle of our past... or present; we can choose to live a different way. Timothy Keller reminds, "It is only what Jesus has done for you that can give you standing before God." When we place our faith in Jesus, irregardless of our sinfulness, we, too, can be included in the family of Jesus. Without fear or shame, we can share the Gospel story by telling our story of grace. "This is who I am... in Christ!" -dho

**During this season of Advent, I am reading Hidden Christmas by Timothy Keller. I will share some of his thoughts along with mine. May your Christmas season be filled with Light! 

Sunday, December 03, 2017

1st Sunday of Advent - A Great Light ~ Advent 2017

“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.”

In Hidden Christmas, Timothy Keller writes: “Christmas contains many spiritual truths, but it will be hard to grasp the others unless we grasp this one first. That is, that the world is a dark place, and we will never find our way or see reality unless Jesus is our Light.” Keller goes on to describe darkness as “both evil and ignorance”. In describing the social and cultural issues at the time Jesus is born, he uses “violence, injustice, abuse of power, homelessness, and bottomless grief”. Today’s headlines in newspapers, television news, social media all reflect the same words. We are living in times no different today than then, except that ‘a great light’ shines on us all.

Isaiah the prophet speaks to the people of darkness and proclaims they “will see a great light.” Hundreds of years after Isaiah, John writes, "The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." [John 1:5 That Light is Jesus, a promise of God’s Presence and Glory to shine on all people, uniting humanity and truth. From centuries long ago until time to come, some will choose The Light, while some will not. Whether kabod in the Hebrew or doxa in the Greek or shekinah in Aramaic or glory in English, God's Holy Light comes to us, comes for us, before and now and again! 

Christians are called people of the Light, and our lives should give voice to the glory of the LORD ~ praising and honoring His goodness and grace. We are to be His light shining in the world's darkness, both a "recipient and a reflector" of Light! Waiting expectantly requires action. Get out of bed...wake up...GOD's bright glory has risen for you. [Isaiah 60:1-2 The Message] Are you waiting expectantly? The Light is coming! ~ dho

**During this season of Advent, I am reading Hidden Christmas by Timothy Keller. I will share some of his thoughts along with mine. May your Christmas season be filled with Light! 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thoughts on Advent

ADVENT begins this Sunday, December 3, 2017!
During ADVENT I will be posting my blog on Sundays!

I am reading Timothy Keller’s book Hidden Christmas during this time. Join me as we look for Christmas! -dho

Thursday, November 16, 2017

In His Presence - Gratitude

I'm still in Your presence, but You've taken my hand. You wisely lead me, and then You bless me. Psalm 73:23-24 (msg)

Holy Father,
Everlasting Light forgive my redundant thoughts. Unfailing Love rescue my reluctant heart. Extravagant Grace fill my repentant soul. Goodness surrounds my every moment, exceeding my vocabulary. You continue to weave an extraordinary tapestry with sacred threads, torn remnants and unspun fibers. All are being woven together by Your Light and Love and Grace. What a masterpiece You are creating - thread by thread, moment by moment, possibility by possibility. Gratitude shouts Hallelujah! A thousand Hallelujahs are not enough. On my knees, LORD, find me on my knees, for You are Great and worthy to be praised! Your presence delights my soul, encourages my spirit, mends my wounds, shows me truth, offers me peace. Lord, be my strength, my shield, my joy! I long to abide in Your presence. Amen.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

For He is Good! - Gratitude

God is the LORD,
And He has given us light;
Bind the sacrifices with cords
to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will praise You;
You are my God, I will exalt You.
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, 
for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

As we enter this season of gratitude, let us reflect upon the abundant blessings that fill the moments of life. The heart experiences immense gratitude from unexpected words that whisper love and inside surprises that shout joy and within unspoken thoughtfulness. In between the obvious and outside the margins, threads of possibility weave scenes of goodness and generosity and grace. While grand gestures and catastrophic calamities stand alone and unforgotten, these small and simple pleasures embrace the soul with wordless glimpses of heaven. As silence surrounds, we must bring these most sacred offerings to the His altar with abundant thanksgiving. Within these holy moments, God draws us deeper into His Presence. Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. ~dho

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You - Gratitude

Loving God,
The night sky is filled with luminaries that
light the darkness. Angels whisper evening
songs to my weary soul. I do not notice.

As sleep gently calls, I forget that I have
breathed the morning air, listened to laughter,
seen the evening sky appear. Another day! 

Something disturbs the rhythm of my sleep, 
summons my soul. In these sleepless moments,
the Holy Spirit is waiting and listens for my
response. I whisper, Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! 


Holy Father, when I fail to see the beauty of
Your day, remind me with a glorious morning
to take my breath away, a soul-laugh that only 
a listening heart can find, and a night sky 
crowded with stars like diamonds that demand
a lingering look. 

My heart bursts with unmeasured thankfulness!  
These are Your ordinary gifts! I simply miss them in my
hectic hours, my scheduled chaos, my saturated time.

Give my heart the desire to breathe,
listen, and see the ordinary with extraordinary 
intention. Grant my soul the desire to breathe,
listen, and see Your Extraordinary Gifts of
Love, Grace, and Joy! Let me seek Your
extravagant gifts in every day! 

Let me shout, Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Refresh my spirit! Refine my faith! 
Restore my love! Renew my strength!  
Rebuild my trust! Reclaim my soul! 

To God be the glory! Amen.  ~dho   

Thursday, October 26, 2017

"God-chosen...Splendid Friends"

"Keep me safe, O God, I've run for dear life to You. I say to GOD, "Be my Lord!" Without You, nothing makes sense. And these God-chosen lives all around - what splendid friends they make!" Psalm 16:1-3 The Message

These last months, I have shared my thoughts and studies about friendship, with God and with others, and His friendship with us. When I happened upon this picture, I wondered how closely we cherish the friendships God gives us. My grandmother made me this "dancing doll". If you look carefully, you can see the elastic straps that attached the dancing doll to my feet. We moved together, no matter how or where, when or why I moved, connected and certain. I love the way The Message  describes the people that God gives to us on earth. I want to share something from Macrina Weiderkehr's book A Tree Full of Angels.

It is difficult to fathom the potential of each person you meet. This depth and potential are like treasures hidden in a field... When your depth meets the depth of another, what a sacrament that can be... The heart cannot live without intimacy. We all need special people in our lives to whom we can show our souls... How do you feed your friendships?

In our relationships, with others and with God, opportunities wait for knowing and being known. Although God knows us completely, He desires us to come to Him. With prayer and mediatation and through reading the Living Word of the Holy Bible, our relationship grows ever deeper with the Lord. The same goes for friendships. Spending time together, sharing thoughts, being there for each other, and praying for one another, the friendships God chooses for us begin to evolve - even when we don't expect friendship. The words "God-chosen" and "splendid" perfectly describe divine friendships in my life, even when I was not looking for such. 

Making God Lord, the One we choose first, gives us a joy that exceeds the boundaries of the heart. The Amplified Bible says Psalm 16:11 this way: In Your presence is fullness of joy. During this series, I pray you have examined your relationship with God and each other. I hope you will spend some time reading David's psalm, listening for God's promises, praising God for being our refuge, our inheritance, our secuirity. "You will make known to me the path of life." I'll conclude with a variation on Macrina's question - How do you feed your God-chosen, splendid friendships?  -dho

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Jesus, Friend of Sinners - Series on Friendship

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.

Opposition to the ministry of Jesus, which the scribes and Pharisees join, intensifies. Jesus responds to obvious hostility from the religious establishment. Selfish and stubborn describe the actions of those rejecting His ministry. Because Jesus has dinner with everyday, ordinary folk, with "tax collectors and sinners", He is accused of being a glutton and a drunkard.** Enduring religious and political ridicule and ultimately physical violence, Jesus, Friend of sinners, continues to seek those in need of spiritual healing. 

Today's times mirror this period in Greco-Roman civilization. Just as Jesus speaks to the growing crowds in the villages, He calls to the masses all over the earth. Both then and now, people are too busy or too tired, critical and calculating, looking for escapes or making up excuses. People are still consumed with fear and desperate for hope. The world stands in stark contrast to God's Kingdom. Jesus, Friend of sinners, continues to seek those in need of spiritual healing.

Jesus says wisdom will reveal her own results. What is this wisdom? Real wisdom, God's wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced! You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work, treating each other with dignity and honor. [James 3:17-18 The Message] If I, a sinner, am a friend of Jesus, then my life will reveal Jesus in my acts and deeds. Jesus, Friend of sinners, break my heart for what breaks Yours.  ~ dho 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Greatest Friendship - Series on Friendship

Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:7-8 NLT

During the Greco-Roman times that Jesus teaches about loving, forgiving and serving others, genuine sacrifice of one's life for another is as rare as the concept of "a good man". This kind of heroic act would not be common, and for the Jewish people, this kind of offering would not be praised. When the Greeks talk about enemies becoming friends after some conflict, these conversations stay within the context of individuals and certainly did not include God. Jesus enters this culture, introduces the idea of reconciliation between a person and God, and offers His own relationship with God, the Father, as an example of divine fellowship. Jesus says, I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love.

Jesus not only describes the blessings of fellowship with God but willing lays down His own life for His friends. As Jesus tells the Disciples, There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends, He knows that in a few hours He will live out these words. But for whom? What friends? For those who beat Him and those who nail Him to the cross, for those who watch and mock, for those who fled in fear and hide, for those barter for His robe, for the liars and hypocrites, for the selfish and greedy, for the lazy and defiant, for the sick - the weak - the poor, for the healthy - the strong - the rich, for the leaders and the followers, the merchants and the farmers, the scholars and the students, for those who steal and murder and commit adultery, for those who hate and those who pretend not to care, for those who smile and pretend not to grieve, for the hopeless and helpless, the homeless, the orphan, the widow, for the elderly, for the children...for those then and those to come, for you...for me? Yes... for all!

Dying for someone upstanding or even good remains a rare, heroic act. Perfect Love lay down His life for the unworthy, the unclean, the sinner, the shunned. No person is worthy of such love, but Jesus chooses us. When Grace meets the enemy, possibilities are endless. This holy relationship can exceed all expectations. Grace invites each of us, I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in My love. This is the greatest Friendship~dho

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Fruit-Full Friendship - Series on Friendship

"You didn't choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you could go and produce fruit and so that your fruit could last. As a result, whatever you ask the Father in my name, He will give you." John 15:16 CEB

For Jesus, friendship with the Father and His disciples implied shared understanding and commitment to a common, higher purpose.(Doyle Theimer) 
Jesus chooses us and then assigns us the task of producing lasting fruit. As the Holy Spirit infuses the soul with righteous living, a new nature with new characteristics evolve.Being ambassadors for Christ, we must accurately represent Him. The depth of our relationship with Christ is expressed in our relationships with others. Jesus invites us into a radial faith and reveals infinite possibilities. 
But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23
Faithfulness to the Father, obedience to Christ, and response to the Spirit produces a fruit-full garden. These fruits of the Spirit become our testimony, our mission, our common purpose with Christ. In sharing these fruits with others, the door to God's intention swings wide to righteous living. Henri Nouwen gives clarity to Jesus choosing us with we are called to give our very lives to one another and that, in so doing, we become a true community of love. Jesus chooses us to be fruit-full friends, and promises us a personal, intimate relationship that exceeds imagination! ~ dho

We are called to give our very lives to one another and that, in so doing, 
we become a true community of love. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Friendship Betrayed - Series on Friendshp

"It is not an enemy who taunts me - I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me - I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you - my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we enjoyed as we walked together in the house of God." Psalm 55:12-14 NLT

David's psalm laments his personal betrayal by a close friend, someone he trusts, someone with whom he shares his faith. The greatest wounds inflicted are not usually from an adversary but from the betrayal of a close companion. Within personal relationships, when disloyalty reaches deep and undermines trust, pain sits with disbelief. Deception is an intimate violation.

Betrayal can threaten to sway political powers for personal gain. For example, the Jewish leaders taunt Pilate, "If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar," suggesting that convicting Jesus of a crime and sentencing Him to death would prove Pilate more popular with Caesar. In the continued betrayal of Jesus and with great hypocrisy, the chief priests even declare that Caesar is their only king! Duplicity creates confusion and conflict.

When injustice is exposed, self-righteousness and guilt meet. Jesus endures the slander of those who deny His truth mocking Him as a friend of tax collectors and sinners. Jesus tells those who choose to believe and follow Him, they,too, will know betrayal from family and friends and even death. Jesus experiences the betrayal by one of His own disciples. Unfaithfulness joins rebellion, and friendship is betrayed with a kiss.

Scripture tells us that having a friendship with the world makes us an enemy of God. The world has no loyalty and will always betray us with false security and corrupt truth. In desperation, we firmly position our hopes while holding buckets of excuses and juggling platters of expectations. Jesus waits for us. Jesus chooses us. Jesus calls us. There is no deception or duplicity in Jesus. Simply come to Jesus as a sinner and become a friend of God~dho

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sacrifice for Friendship ~ Series on Friendship

With Jesus' help, let us continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God by proclaiming the glory of His name. Hebrews 13:15 NLT

Frequently sacrifice is mentioned in the Old Testament, usually relating to offerings at the Temple for atonement and thanksgiving. As Jews around the world soon prepare to celebrate Yom Kippur (September 29-30, 2017), the most holy of the Jewish holy days, they fast and pray while reflecting upon past sins and seeking forgiveness. Celebrating this Day of Atonement reminds them of God's faithful provision and redemption for His chosen people. 

For Christians, we understand this OT teaching to foreshadow Christ, the Messiah, who becomes our sacrifice, our atonement for sin. Through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus - God's Perfect Lamb - God's greatest offering - we can be spiritually reconciled to God; God redeems us through the sacrifice of Christ and invites us into a personal relationship with Christ.

Scripture uses the Greek word thysia which relates to "the offering of a sacrifice" such as in the Jewish Temple, but it extends to "other kinds of Christian offerings, such as a 'sacrifice of praise'".(1) This kind of sacrifice is offered with attitudes of thanksgiving and gratitude, through acts of kindness and service; it is a reflection of the heart's generosity in relationship to God. Sacrifice of praise defines the depth of our friendship with the Lord. 

Just as the animals sacrificed on the Day of Atonement in the OT were to be burned outside the camp, so Jesus had to be crucified outside the gates of Jerusalem. We too are called to step outside, to live above the world's standards. Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. . .So don't lose a minute in building on what you've been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. [2 Peter 1:3-7 The Message] Our daily response to this Holy Friendship should be to proclaim God's Divine Love with sacrifices of praise. ~ dho

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Faithful Friendship - Series on Friendship

"No one has greater love [no one shows stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends." John 15:13 AMP

Among the ancient Greeks, according to Biblical scholar Luke Timothy Johnson, "friendship was among the most discussed, analyzed, and highly esteemed relationships." In many Greco-Roman stories, dying for the sake of friendship speaks to strong moral character, heroic but rare. Jesus tells His circle of friends how much He loves them and with the cross, proves that amazing love. Even in suffering, Jesus remains faithful.

Examples of God's faithfulness can be seen throughout the Bible. In 2 Timothy 2:13 Scripture reminds that even in our unfaithfulness, God is faithful. When Jesus says, "but I have called you friends," He is sharing more than heartfelt emotions. Jesus reveals His relationship with God the Father and shares this deep intimacy with His chosen friends. This intimate friendship between God and a few fishermen in Galilee over 2,000 years ago remains the model for Christians today. A rare, faithful Friend, Jesus demonstrates the greatest love, the strongest affection for every person with His willingness to endure the cross. This holy gift of faithful friendship is designed to be shared with others. ~ dho

Thursday, September 07, 2017

An Unlikely Friendship ~ Series on Friendship

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you double minded. James 4:8 NASB 

In the book entitled Unlikely Friendships by Jennifer Holland, writer for National Geographic magazine, there are nearly 50 stories of animals who become unlikely friends. From an African elephant and a sheep to the owlet and a greyhound, accounts of varied animal species demonstrating unexpected compassion and friendship spill across the pages, not to mention beautiful photography. One story included of a baby hippo and a 130 year old tortoise made the rounds on Facebook a few years ago! They actually have their own book, Owen and Mzee, A True Story of a Remarkable Friendship. In her observations, Barbara King, animal behaviorist, describes Owen's and Mzee's mutual communication as sophisticated, "It's a dynamic dance between two species with no present program on how to deal with each other. And it can't just be instinct, because one was shaping its behavior to the other."

That a Holy God would choose to have a relationship with me, a broken sinner, simply boggles my imagination. This Amazing Grace pours over the dark and ugly parts of my nature making me a new creation in Him. Christ wraps me in a robe of righteousness inviting me to sit at His Table. Jesus says, "As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Remain in My love." Responding, I confess my inability to be good or to love apart from Christ. A spiritual dance begins between ancient holiness and growing faith. My heart desires to be more like Christ; His love teaching me to love completely, His grace influencing me to live abundantly. The Savior and a sinner ~ this is truly an unlikely friendshipone shaping its behavior to the other. dho

My heart desires to be more like Christ; His love teaching me to love completely, His grace influencing me to live abundantly. ~Donna Oswalt

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Perfect Friendship Revealed ~ Series on Friendship

"...I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you." John 15:15b ESV 

In the upper room, the disciples sit in the presence of Jesus, holy and good; at the same time, they experience an extraordinary intimacy. Despite the awkwardness, the disciples allow Jesus to wash their feet, His life-lesson of a servant's heart. Not truly understanding the divine holiness of Jesus, these disciples only glimpse Perfection Unlimited.

From the beginning, humanity, created in God's image, chooses knowledge over faith, evil over good, and experiences the consequences of disobedience and darkness over the blessings of obedience and light. Today people still find themselves standing outside the Garden looking at the guarded gates in desperation. Choosing to do good for it's rewards competes with avoiding evil for fear of punishment. Separated from God, imperfection creates boundaries, yet choice remains.

Gregory of Nyssa, a 4th century Greek philosopher, is one of the first theologians to promote the belief that God is infinite and beyond the comprehension of mankind. His writings, which are deeply rooted in Scripture, suggest we are on a constant and continuous pilgrimage toward God. Gregory explains the "virtuous way of life" we are seeking comes in being "known by God" and being "His friend". God alone is True Perfection, limitless in power and infinite in goodness. To become friends with God should be the "only thing worthy of honor and desire." Unity with God brings spiritual reconciliation which transcends boundaries. Richard Foster, a 21st century theologian, offers, "To our astonishment we find that we are walking with God, His thoughts becoming our thoughts, His desires becoming our desires."

The world around us seems limitless, but it is restricted by many boundaries. In this world, our limitations are evidenced by time, resources, geography, education and social status. We are constrained by imperfections that produce fear, hate, poverty and loneliness. The only boundary-buster is True Perfection - Christ with infinite grace and limitless love. Only in Christ can one experience Perfect Friendship - holy and divine, heart transforming, unity building, eternal friendship. Only through Christ, are fallen, flawed and finite people able to love other imperfect people with grace and healing, both now and infinitely! ~dho

Only in Christ can one experience Perfect Friendship - holy and divine, heart transforming, unity building, eternal friendship. Donna Oswalt

Only through Christ, are fallen, flawed and finite people able to love other imperfect people with grace and healing, both now and infinitely! Donna Oswalt