Stones

Self consciousness is the curse of the city

Self-consciousness is the curse of the city and all that sophistication implies. It is the glimpse of oneself in a storefront window, the unbidden awareness of reactions on the faces of other people–the novelist’s world, not the poet’s. I’ve lived there. I remember what the city has to offer: human companionship, major-league baseball, and a clatter of quickening stimulus like a rush from strong drugs that leaves you drained. I remember how you bide your time in the city, and think, if you stop to think, ‘next year… I’ll start living; next year… I’ll start my life.…

- (1974) Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. pg. 82

Hopefulness is adversarial

Unlike cynicism, hopefulness is hard-earned, makes demands upon us, and can often feel like the most indefensible and lonely place on Earth. Hopefulness is not a neutral position either. It is adversarial. It is the warrior emotion that can lay waste to cynicism. Issue #190

- (2022) The Red Hand Files - Issue #190.

Confrontation with suffering does not lead to compassion

Confrontation with human suffering does not lead to compassion. It leads to anger, numbness, irritation, and rejection, because we don’t know how to deal with it all. It is too much. It is a heavy burden–more than we can carry… A burden becomes a heavy burden when it doesn’t feel connected to anything else. It is a burden that we have to carry by ourselves and is not shared. It is not part of anything larger.…

- (2019) Following Jesus: Finding Our Way Home in an Age of Anxiety. pg. 78-80

To become myself i must cease to be what i thought i wanted to be

In order to become myself I must cease to be what I always thought I wanted to be, and in order to find myself I must go out of myself, and in order to live I have to die. The reason for this is that I am born in selfishness and therefore my natural efforts to make myself more real and more myself, make me less real and less myself, because htey revolve around a lie.…

- (1961) New Seeds of Contemplation. pg. 49

Four reactions to a shattered bowl

I was playing bridge one evening with a musician, a chemistry teacher, and a painter when, during a particularly tense hand, a large porcelain bowl that we kept on the piano suddenly shattered. After we had all calmed ourselves down, we found four completely individual reactions. Looking at all the tiny scattered pieces, I thought that I had never realized before how final a metaphor a broken bowl could be. The chemistry teacher pointed out that someone had emptied an ashtray into the bowl with a cigarette still burning, and of course the heat had shattered the bowl.…

- (2016) Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings. pg. unknown

Per pacem ad lucem

I do not ask, O Lord, that life may be A pleasant road; I do not ask that thou would'st take from me Aught of this load; I do not ask that flowers should always spring Beneath my feet; I know too well the poison and the sting Of things too sweet; For one thing only, Lord, dear Lord, I plead Lead me aright– Though strength should falter, and though heart should bleed–…

- (2006) A Sacrifice of Praise. pg. 534

Any attempt to bring out ideas into reality must fall short

We fail to see, or refuse to accept, that any attempt to bring our ideas into concrete reality must inevitably fall short of our dreams, no matter how brilliantly we succeed in carrying things off–because reality, unlike fantasy, is a realm in which we don’t have limitless control, and can’t possibly hope to meet our perfectionist standards.

- (2021) Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. pg. 79

Embrace your limits to sap distraction

When you focus on something you deem important, you’re forced to face your limits, an experience that feels especially uncomfortable precisely because the task at hand is one you value so much… Killing time on the internet often doesn’t feel especially fun, these days. But it doesn’t need to feel fun. In order to dull the pain of finitude, it just needs to make you feel unconstrained… The overarching point is that what we think of as “distractions” aren’t the ultimate cause of our being distracted.…

- (2021) Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. pg. 105;107;108

Everything worth doing depends on cooperating with others

Our culture’s ideal is that you alone should control your schedule, doing whatever you prefer, whenever you want–because it’s scary to confront the truth that almost everything worth doing, from marriage and parenting to business or politics, depends on cooperating with others, and therefore on exposing yourself to the emotional uncertainties of relationships.

- (2021) Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. pg. 31

It is the effort that counts

Contrary to the cliché, it isn’t really the thought that counts, but the effort–which is to say, the inconvenience. When you render the process more convenient, you drain it of its meaning.

- (2021) Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. pg. 52

My actual life will inevitably prove disappointing by comparision with the fantasy

It’s easy for me to fantasize about, say, a life spent achieving stellar professional success, while also excelling as a parent and partner, while also dedicating myself to training for marathons or lengthy meditation retreats or volunteering in my community–because so long as I’m only fantasizing, I get to imagine all of them unfolding simultaneously and flawlessly. As soon as I start trying to live any of those lives, though, I’ll be forced to make trade-offs–to put less time than I’d like into one of those domains, so as to make space for another–and to accept that nothing I do will go perfectly anyway, with the result that my actual life will inevitably prove disappointing by comparison with the fantasy.…

- (2021) Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. pg. 83

Neglect the right things

The real measure of any time management technique is whether or not it helps you neglect the right things.

- (2021) Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. pg. 72

Second tier priorities are the most seductive

[Warren Buffett] tells the [pilot] to make a list of the top twenty-five things he wants out of life and then to arrange them in order, from the most important to the least. The top five, Buffett says, should be those around which he organizes his time. But contrary to what the pilot might have been expecting to hear, the remaining twenty, Buffett allegedly explains, aren’t the second-tier priorities to which he should turn when he gets the chance.…

- (2021) Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. pg. 77

Unix philosophy

A number of maxims have gained currency among the builders and users of the UNIX system to explain and promote its characteristic style: Make each program do one thing well. To do a new job, build afresh rather than complicate old programs by adding new “features.” Expect the output of every program to become the input to another, as yet unknown, program. Don’t clutter output with extraneous information. Avoid stringently columnar or binary input formats.…

- (1978) UNIX Time-Sharing System: Foreword. pg. 4

The basic structure of a good story

A character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it is the basic structure of a good story.

- (2009) A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. pg. 48

Without an inciting incident they wont enter a story

Robert McKee says humans naturally seek comfort and stability. Without an inciting incident that disrupts their comfort, they won’t enter into a story. They have to get fired from their job or be forced to sign up for a marathon. A ring has to be purchased. A home has to be sold. The character has to jump into the story, into the discomfort and fear, otherwise the story will never happen.…

- (2009) A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. pg. 104-105

Humans wish to escape loneliness

What was becoming clear to me was the extent to which humans, in their wish to escape loneliness, made maneuvers that were very complex and hard to fathom, and I saw it was possible that the consequences of Morgan’s Falls had at no stage been within my control. Klara the AF ponders how accepting an invitation from Josie’s mother to visit a beautiful place put coldness between her and Josie, the sick girl she sought to befriend.…

- (2021) Klara and the Sun. pg. 152

The suns special help did not come

It occurred to me this was the ideal time for the Sun to send his special help, and whenever his pattern in the bedroom altered suddenly, or when he burst our in the sky following an overcast spell, I’d watch with particular keenness. But though he continued unfailingly to send his normal nourishment, his special help didn’t come. Klara the AF wonders that the Sun, her source of life, has not brought healing to her sick friend Josie when her health begins to fail.…

- (2021) Klara and the Sun. pg. 177

What was special about her was in those who loved her

Mr Capaldi believed there was nothing special inside Josie that coudn’t be continued. He told the Mother he’d searched and searched and found nothing like that. But I believe now he was searching in the wrong place. There was something very special, but it wasn’t inside Josie. It was inside those who loved her. That’s why I think now Mr Capaldi was wrong and I wouldn’t have succeeded. So I’m glad I decided as I did.…

- (2021) Klara and the Sun. pg. 402

For the most part rabbis hailed from the ranks of ordinary folk

In the centuries prior to Jesus’s time, certain men distinguished themselves by their earnest desire to study and teach the Torah. In Jesus’s day, a person would honor one of these learned men by addressing him as “my master,” which in Hebrew is rabbi. Some decades after Jesus’s time, this became a formal title, and these teachers became known as “the rabbis.” For the most part these teachers did not hail from wealthy or priestly classes, but from the ranks of ordinary folk.…

- (2018) Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus. pg. 31

It is a deeply intimate way of knowing god to co create

Sometimes I think about Mary, the mother of Jesus. I think about the mystery of her co-creating Jesus with God. I believe in the immaculate conception, but that does not mean Jesus was an alien. He was not carried in Mary’s womb as foreign object. Mary was not an incubator hatching an egg. Jesus was flesh of her flesh, bone of her bone. Jesus’ DNA was part Mary’s DNA. His cells carried her mitochondria.…

- (2022) https://yourbrainbyjess.com/apostolic-birthing/.

The way of trust is a movement into ambiguity

The way of trust is a movement into obscurity, into the undefined, into ambiguity, not into some predetermined, clearly delineated plan for the future. The next step discloses itself only out of a discernment of God acting in the desert of the present moment.

- (2000) Ruthless Trust. pg. 12

Prayer

Master, they say that when I seem To be in speech with you, Since you make no replies, it's all a dream ––One talker aping two. They are half right, but not as they Imagine; rather, I Seek in myself the things I meant to say, And lo! the wells are dry. Then, seeing me empty, you forsake The Listener's role, and through My dead lips breathe and into utterance wake…

- (2006) A Sacrifice of Praise. pg. 736

Oblique prayer

Not the profound dark night of the soul and not the austere desert to scorch the heart at noon, grip the mind in teeth of ice at evening. but gray, a place without clear outlines, the air heavy and thick the soft ground clogging my feet if I walk, sucking them downwards if I stand, Have you been here? is it a part of human-ness to enter no man's land?…

- (2006) A Sacrifice of Praise. pg. 768

What christ said

I said, "Let me walk in the fields." He said, "No; walk in the town." I said, "There are no flowers there." He said, "No flowers, but a crown." ---- I said, "But the skies are black, There is nothing but noise and din." And he wept as he sent me back; "There is more," he said, "there is sin." ---- I said, "But the air is thick,…

- (2006) A Sacrifice of Praise. pg. 525

Any law that degrades human personality is unjust

How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.…

- (1963) Letter from Birmingham Jail.

We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality

I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea.…

- (1963) Letter from Birmingham Jail.

The monastery is a school in which we learn from god how to be happy

The monastery is a school—a school in which we learn from God how to be happy. Our happiness consists in sharing the happiness of God, the perfection of His unlimited freedom, the perfection of His love. What has to be healed in us is our true nature, made in the likeness of God. What we have to learn is love. The healing and the learning are the same thing, for at the very core of our essence we are constituted in God’s likeness by our freedom, and the exercise of that freedom is nothing else but the exercise of disinterested love—the love of God for His own sake, because He is God.…

- (1999) The Seven Storey Mountain. pg. 408

Acts was written to trace the expansion of the kingdom

Acts wasn’t written to demonstrate how to plant a church. Rather, the book of Acts was written to trace the expansion of the Kingdom: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NIV, Acts 1:8)

- (2021) Church Plantology. pg. 29

Christ never commanded his disciples to plant churches

Christ never commanded his disciples to plant churches, because it’s not what He wanted them to focus on. Focusing on the church to be planted leads to church starting, whereas focusing on the Great Commission itself leads to church planting.

- (2021) Church Plantology. pg. 12

Jesus modeled taking the gospel to the people

Paul’s methodology was to proclaim Christ in the synagogue, home, workshop, city square, hall, and even when publicly on trial. Jesus had primarily preached, too, but about himself. Jesus modeled taking the gospel to the people, rather than expecting them to come to him. Schabel points out that Jesus says that gospel proclamation must take place in palaces (Luke 7:25), marketplaces (Luke 7:32; 11:43), roads and streets (Luke 10:10; 13:26; 14:21), law courts and prisons (Luke 12:57-59; 18:2), and city gates (Luke 13:24).…

- (2021) Church Plantology. pg. 64

Pauls genius was church planting networks

If Paul had merely planted solitary churches, his speed alone would be enough to impress us at an average of one plant every three or four months. But Paul’s true stroke of genius on his serial missionary journeys was his creation of multiple church planting networks that geographically spanned a continent in just over a decade.

- (2021) Church Plantology. pg. 34

Planters sent by god are nearly impossible to stop

Planters who are sent by God are nearly impossible to stop. The only way to slow the apostle Paul was to lock him up, and the only way to stop him was to separate his head from his shoulders. Eventually, as an apostolic planter, you will wrestle with every kind of argument and excuse throughout the process of your calling; but, in the end, that call to sent-ness will defy logic, haunt you in bed at night, and keep you awake when the rest of the house is sleeping.…

- (2021) Church Plantology. pg. 82

Planters who embark with wisdom are afraid and unsure

A failure to learn from the expertise of a builder like Paul will most likely result in building an unhealthy church to the detriment of all, including the planter. Arrogant planters (and there are many) start out with a refusal to learn from anyone, convinced that they have much to teach. They learn in the end, but they learn the hard way. In contrast, most successful planters who embark on their first voyage with wisdom are afraid, unsure, and doubt they are up to the task.…

- (2021) Church Plantology. pg. 49

The way to practice dependence on the spirit was to need him

The instructions of Matthew 10 indicate that the key objective of this trip was to foster the missionaries' dependence upon the Holy Spirit. As Steve Addison says in What Jesus Started, “This was not a classroom approach to learning.” The only way they could practice dependence upon the Holy Spirit was to place themselves in situations where they’d need him.

- (2021) Church Plantology. pg. 62

Wise planters learn everything they can about leadership

Once a planter recruits a team, it takes constant communication to maintain the bond of working together. In the same way that a modern soldier must clean his gun, so the planter must regularly look after the team. Many planters have not been taught basic leadership principles and know little about managing teams. Therefore, wise planters learn everything they can about interpersonal communication, team leadership, conflict resolution, and Christlike leadership.

- (2021) Church Plantology. pg. 40

I had a lifecycle in a place

If I were to go back, I would tell that young man that he was apostolic; before it was cool. Because, I didn’t understand I had a lifecycle in a place. It still to this day doesn’t matter. You put me in a position, you give me a job, you pay me a bunch of money, you give me an executive card, and I’ve been there in different roles. I don’t stay.…

- (2021) Shifting Culture Podcast Episode 31. pg. 42:18

Every one of us is shadowed by a false self

Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self. This is the man that I want myself to be but who cannot exist, because God does not know anything about him.

- (1961) New Seeds of Contemplation. pg. 36

God makes the works of his wisdom more beautiful through contrast

if Adam had never fallen, the whole human race would have been a series of magnificently different and splendid images of God, each one of all the millions of men showing forth His glories and perfections in an astonishing new way, and each one shining with his own particular sanctity, a sanctity destined for him from all eternity as the most complete and unimaginable supernatural perfection of his human personality. If, since the fall, this plan will never be realized in millions of souls, and millions will frustrate that glorious destiny of theirs, and hide their personality in an eternal corruption of disfigurement, nevertheless, in re-forming His image in souls distorted and half destroyed by evil and disorder, God makes the works of His wisdom and love all the more strikingly beautiful by reason of the contrast with the surroundings in which He does not disdain to operate.…

- (1999) The Seven Storey Mountain. pg. 387

Humans are words meant to respond

[Humans] are words that are meant to respond to Him, to answer to Him, to echo Him, and even in some way to contain Him and signify Him.

- (1999) The Seven Storey Mountain. pg. 3

If i am true to the thought of him i shall find him everywhere in myself

[If] I am true to the concept that God utters in me, if I am true to the thought of Him I was meant to embody, I shall be full of His actuality and find Him everywhere in myself, and find myself nowhere. I shall be lost in Him: that is, I shall find myself. I shall be ‘saved’.

- (1961) New Seeds of Contemplation. pg. 39

The intellect is only theoretically independent of desire

I think that if there is one truth that people need to learn, in the world, especially today, it is this: the intellect is only theoretically independent of desire and appetite in ordinary, actual practice. It is constantly being blinded and perverted by the ends and aims of passion, and the evidence it presents to us with such a show of impartiality and objectivity is fraught with interest and propaganda.

- (1999) The Seven Storey Mountain. pg. 224

The more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer

Indeed, the truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt.

- (1999) The Seven Storey Mountain. pg. 91

The rebellion of the saints is the love of god

[The rebellion of the saints is] the rebellion of the lover of the living God, the rebellion of one whose desire of God was so intense and irresistible that it condemned, with all its might, all the hypocrisy and petty sensuality and skepticism and materialism which cold and trivial minds set up as unpassable barriers between God and the souls of men.

- (1999) The Seven Storey Mountain. pg. 96

There is only one vocation

This means, in practice, that there is only one vocation. Whether you teach or live in the cloister or nurse the sick, whether you are in religion or out of it, married or single, no matter who you are or what you are, you are called to the summit of perfection: you are called to a deep interior life perhaps even to mystical prayer, and to pass the fruits of your contemplation on to others.…

- (1999) The Seven Storey Mountain. pg. 458

Discipleship done biblically is always in community

I think a lot of these things rest in the issue of discipleship… Discipleship done biblically is always in community. It’s never just one-on-one. I think that’s a big mistake that Western individualists make. I’m sure that Jesus did one-on-one with his people, but you never get a view of it anywhere in the scriptures. It’s always in groups. (in answer this question from Josh Johnson, “Can we as people caught in the walls of the church, can we reorient ourselves into a place where we can have true, authentic community that’s not just a Sunday gathering?…

- (2021) Shifting Culture Podcast Episode 6. pg. 9:48

How happy i was to know the word

Every time I rounded a corner, I’d encounter a sublime new gorge or escarpment. In the haze, the horizons of distant peaks braided together. The nature writer Robert MacFarlane observes, in his book “Landmarks,” that a Scottish painter once described this phenomenon to him as landskein. “Skein” can mean either a coil of yarn or a flock of birds in a V formation. Landskein, a neologism, uses both ,knitting the V’s of mountaintops together.…

- (2021) New Yorker 29-Nov-21. pg. 33

The father kept his promise

Just because the gift turns out to be a motorcar doesn’t mean we should try to argue that the original promise of a horse was only meant figuratively. A horse was meant, a horse was what the child understood, and a horse was expected. But the changed circumstances and the progress of history enabled the promises to be fulfilled in a different and far superior way, without emptying the promise either of its purpose (to give a means of transport) or of its basis in a relationship of fatherly love.…

- (2019) Knowing God Through The Old Testament. pg. 69

These are the words he read

I find myself aware that in reading the Hebrew Scriptures I am handling something that gives me a closer common link with Jesus than any archaeological artifact could do. For these are the words he read. These were the stories he knew. These were the songs he sang.

- (2019) Knowing God Through The Old Testament.Preface

All art is cosmos

All art is cosmos, cosmos found within chaos.

- (1980) Walking On Water. pg. 17

Anything jesus did in his lifetime is available to us too

We were not meant to be any more restricted than Jesus was during his sojourn with us here on this earth. If we take seriously that during the time of his Incarnation he was truly man, truly human as we are, than anything he did in his lifetime is available for us, too.

- (1980) Walking On Water. pg. 86

Before i can listen to god in prayer i must fumble through the prayers of words

Before I can listen to God in prayer, I must fumble through the prayers of words, of willful demands, the prayers of childish “Gimmes”, of “Help mes,” of “I want…” Until I tell God what I want, I have no way of knowing whether or not I truly want it. Unless I ask God for something, I do not know whether or not it is something for which I ought to ask, and I cannot add, “But if this is not your will for me, then your will is what I want, not mine.…

- (1980) Walking On Water. pg. 24

Being time is never wasted time

Being time is never wasted time. When we are being, not only are we collaborating with chronological time, but we are touching on kairos, and are freed from the normal restrictions of time. In moments of mystical illumination we may experience, in a few chronological seconds, years of transfigured love.

- (1980) Walking On Water. pg. 97

Caiaphas asked no whys

Caiaphas asked no Whys. He was frozen into the rigidity of the religious establishment of Jesus' day, and because of this frozenness, he feared Jesus as a blasphemer.

- (1980) Walking On Water. pg. 133

Few serious artists are able to live lives which are without interruption

Many people in walks of life which do not involve creation, are completely unaware of the necessity for discipline. It is not only that few serious artists who live lives of debauchery produce a large body of work, but that few serious artists are able to live lives which are without interruption. We do not shed all obligations when the children leave home. I am working on this section of this manuscript while teaching an intensive four and a half hour credit course, and neither may be skimped.…

- (1980) Walking On Water. pg. 169-170

I didnt understand it but i knew what it was about

A yound woman said to me, during the question-and-answer period after a lecture, “I read A Wrinkle in Time when I was eight or nine. I didn’t understand it, but I knew what it was about.”

- (1980) Walking On Water. pg. 23

In art we are helped to remember

In art, either as creators or participators, we are helped to remember some of the glorious things we have forgotten, and some of the terrible things we are asked to endure, we who are children of God by adoption and grace.

- (1980) Walking On Water. pg. 19

Lack of trust is a wound as grievous as whatever caused it

Creative scientists and saints expect revelation and do not fear it. Neither do children. But as we grow up and we are hurt, we learn not to trust, and that lack of trust is a wound as grievous as whatever caused it.

- (1980) Walking On Water. pg. 76

The greatest moments of prayer come in the midst of fumbling

To work on a book is for me very much the same thing as to pray. Both involve discipline. If the artist works only when he feels like it, he’s not apt to build up much of a body of work. Inspiration far more often comes during the work than before it, because the largest part of the job of the artist is to listen to the work, and to go where it tells him to go.…

- (1980) Walking On Water. pg. 149

We are afraid of this kind of prayer

To serve a work of art is almost identical with adoring the Master of the Universe in contemplative prayer. In contemplative prayer the saint (who knows himself to be a sinner, for none of us is whole, healed and holy twenty-four hours a day) turns inwards in what is called “the prayer of the heart,” not to find self, but to lose self in order to be found. We are afraid of this kind of prayer, we of the twentieth century Judeo-Christian tradition.…

- (1980) Walking On Water. pg. 194

We have to be braver than we think we can be

We have to be braver than we think we can be, because God is constantly calling us to be more than we are, to see through plastic sham to living, breathing reality, and to break down our defenses of self-protection in order to be free to receive and give love.

- (1980) Walking On Water. pg. 61

When the artist is truly the servant of the work the work is better than the artist

When the artist is truly the servant of the work, the work is better than the artist. Shakespeare knew how to listen to his work, and so he often wrote better than he could write; Bach composed more deeply, more truly than he knew; Rembrant’s brush put more of the human spirit on canvas than Rembrandt could comprehend. When the work takes over, then the artist is enabled to get out of the way, not to interfere.…

- (1980) Walking On Water. pg. 24

Abram sojourns in egypt

(ESV, Genesis 12:10-13:1)

Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance(1), and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live.…

Apostles forbidden to teach in jesus name

(ESV, Acts 4:5-22)

On the next day their (1) rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by him this man is standing before you well.…

God creates the heavens and the earth

(ESV, Genesis 1:1-2:4)

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void(1), and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.…

Jesus heals a crippled man near the sheep gate

(ESV, John 5:1-47)

After this(1) there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate(2) a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids–blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years(3). When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?…

Melchizedek blesses abram

(ESV, Genesis 14:17-24)

After [Abram’s] return(1) from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High). And he blessed him and said, Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High,…

Rahab preserves israelite spies

(ESV, Joshua 2:1-24)

And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there. And it was told to the king of Jericho, “Behold, men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.” Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who entereed your house, for they have come to search out all the land.…

Humanity disregards God's wisdom for a lie

(ESV, Genesis 3:1-24)

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.…