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“Most conversation between God and humans is to help us understand things.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2012-04-24) from his book, Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God (p. 39). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Such a tremendous privilege and such a tremendous opportunity.  I get to have a relationship with God which in turn means I get to communicate with him and he communicates with me. 
Now in this matter of communication with people understanding is a very important thing to me.  It is not imperative to me to have people agree with me as much as it is to have them understand.  Do you understand what I mean?  Now in this context you can’t answer me back.  This is not a conversation and most prayers are all one sided.  That is not God’s fault but our understanding of prayer is the problem.  Prayer is not to be one sided but to be a conversation.  But this matter of God talking back to us can be a problem.
I like something that Dallas said, “‘Why is it,’ comedian Lily Tomlin…

“A mere benefactor, however powerful, kind and thoughtful, is not the same thing as a friend.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2012-04-24) from his book, Hearing God: Developing aConversational Relationship with God(p. 26). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Right before this thought Dallas says, “Sometimes today it seems that our personal relationship with God is treated as no more than a mere arrangement or understanding that Jesus and his Father have about us. Our personal relationship then only means that each believer has his or her own unique account in heaven, which allows them to draw on the merits of Christ to pay their sin bills. Or possibly it means that God’s general providence for his creation is adequate to provide for each person.”
But then he says, “But who does not think there should be much more to a personal relationship than that? A mere benefactor, however powerful, kind and thoughtful, is not the same thing as a friend. Jesus says, ‘I have called you friends’ (John 15:15) and ‘Look, I am with you every …

“The full account of the movements of love in our lives.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: PuttingOn the Character of Christ (p. 132). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Here is how Dallas sees these movements, “We are loved by God who is love, and in turn we love him, and others through him, who in turn love us through him. Thus is love made perfect or complete.  And ‘perfect love casts out fear’ (1 John 4: 18).”
But we don’t start at the right place and of course don’t finish at the right place.  Now we are loved by God no matter whether we believe it or not.  He shows that love to us in so many ways.  He has given us life, and beauty and the opportunity to love and be loved but because we haven’t in turn loved him then we in turn don’t really love others who in turn really love us through him.  So our love is not made perfect of complete so we live in fear.
Such as awesome opportunity we have because he love us.  Just accept that love and in turn…

“We love something or someone when we promote its good for its own sake.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ (p. 130). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
But if you really loved me you would do such and such.  That is used over and over to get someone to do what someone wants them to do for them.   But that’s not love.  Love strives to do good for the one you love for their own sake but not for yours.  We get this all wrong.
I can’t believe they won’t do that for me.  If they really loved me they would.  But that is not love.
Dallas says, “Love is not the same thing as desire, for I may desire something without even wishing it well, much less willing its good. I might desire a chocolate ice cream cone, for example. But I do not wish it well; I wish to eat it. This is the difference between lust (mere desire) and love, as between a man and a woman. Desire and love are, of course, compatible when desire is ruled by love; but most peop…

“Feelings are, with a few exceptions, good servants. But they are disastrous masters.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: PuttingOn the Character of Christ (p. 122). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
And so many in this day have let our feeling be our masters.  What do I feel like eating?  What do I feel like doing?  I feel like they slighted me.  I don’t feel like going to church today.  I don’t feel like doing what is right.  I just don’t feel like it.  Our feelings too many times have become our masters and that can be disastrous.
This is so important to realize.  Dallas says, “In a situation such as today, by contrast, where people constantly have— or think they have— to decide what to do, they will almost invariably be governed by feelings. Often they cannot distinguish between their feelings and their will, and in their confusion they also quite commonly take feelings to be reasons. And they will in general lack any significant degree of self-control. This will turn their…

“You cannot choose conditions and reject the consequences.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: PuttingOn the Character of Christ (p. 111). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
This is such an important principle for us to come to really understand.
Dallas says, “Our present American culture boasts of complete freedom in what one sees, says, and hears. Many professing Christians are paralyzed or even destroyed by adopting this ‘freedom’ as a lifestyle. For they allow images into their mind that eventually overwhelm them. If we allow everything access to our mind, we are simply asking to be kept in a state of mental turmoil or bondage. For nothing enters the mind without having an effect for good or evil. You may say, ‘I want to be open to think of anything, imagine anything, have all feelings, see everything. What do you think freedom of thought is all about? This is America!’ Well, then you must take the consequences.”
It is imperative to take control as…

“Without correct information, our ability to think has nothing to work on.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: PuttingOn the Character of Christ (p. 103). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

There are many different reasons why I believe God has given me the opportunity and challenge to write this particular blog.  One of them is to expose you to information from difference sources to help you learn and grow in your life.  As the writer of Proverbs says in chapter 11 verse 14 (Msg), “Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.”
Of course the Bible is the place we start, but then there are other writers who give us so much to learn from.  I want to expose you to them.
As Dallas says, “Lack of information results in everything from unpleasant burdens to stark tragedies, across the entire range of human life. Not knowing about resources at a public library or on the Internet may mean that a scholar or writer or …

“Images increase the danger of inadequate ideas.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: PuttingOn the Character of Christ (p. 100). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Does that make sense to you?  Here is what Dallas says, “The image one has of oneself, for example, can override everything else and cause one to act in ways contrary to all reality and good sense.Those who have been rejected or abused as children or have lived with addicted or ‘cold’ parents, have distorted images of themselves and of ‘reality.’”
He then goes on and says, “Individuals who suffer from a poor image of themselves are caught up in self-rejection and have no defenses against group pressures. They do not see themselves as the objects of God’s love, and they have no place to make a stand.”
He then quotes, Henri Nouwen who noted, “Success, popularity and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of a muc…

“Our ability to plan for the future must constantly run ahead of reality.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: PuttingOn the Character of Christ (p. 96). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I had put down on my Facebook this morning this thought, “Here it is, another new day, new week, new adventure with new challenges and new posts to write. I've never lived this week but I face it with confidence and enthusiasm. I can face it because God is out ahead preparing the way.”  But there are so many realists out there who face their week with fear and discouragement instead of confidence and excitement.  And both of those ideas start as thoughts within our mind.
Dallas says, “A will that runs ahead depends, of course, upon our abilities to think; and what we think, imagine, believe, or guess sets boundaries to what we can will or choose, and therefore to what we can create.”
Now what boundaries have you set for your week?  So many negative thinkers will set major boundar…

“Our thoughts are one of the most basic sources of our life.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: PuttingOn the Character of Christ (p. 96). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Dallas continues, “They determine the orientation of everything we do and evoke the feelings that frame our world and motivate our actions. Interestingly, you can’t evoke thoughts by feeling a certain way, but you can evoke and to some degree control feelings by directing your thoughts. Our power over our thoughts is of great and indispensable assistance in directing and controlling our feelings, which themselves are not directly under the guidance of our will. We cannot just choose our feelings.”
I have been looking for something all morning.  I still haven’t found it but my feelings about what will happen if I can’t find it have been out of control and they have messed up to some extent my day.  I even have had a problem with setting down and focusing on finding a thought to write…

“Genuine remorse tells us something very deep about the individual.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: PuttingOn the Character of Christ (p. 60). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Dallas goes on to say, “The person who can harm others and feel no remorse is, indeed, a different kind of person from the one who is sorry. There is little hope for genuine change in one who is without remorse, without the anguish of regret.” 
I had an incident this morning that really brought this thought to my mind, I know it was God.  I had felt I was wronged and I treated someone unjustly who in no way deserved it.  When I had left and started thinking about it I felt remorse and went back to try to find them and ask them for their forgiveness.  I couldn’t find them but for sure I asked God to forgive me.  What was my right took precedent over another person’s feelings and that is not God’s way for us to live.  And I was sorry for what I had done.
So many of us live in the worl…

“Hell is not an “oops!” or a slip.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: PuttingOn the Character of Christ (p. 59). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Dallas then says, “One does not miss heaven by a hair, but by constant effort to avoid and escape God. ‘Outer darkness’ is for one who, everything said, wants it, whose entire orientation has slowly and firmly set itself against God and therefore against how the universe actually is. It is for those who are disastrously in error about their own life and their place before God and man.  The ruined soul must be willing to hear of and recognize its own ruin before it can find how to enter a different path, the path of eternal life that naturally leads into spiritual formation in Christlikeness.”
You see, where you ultimately end is dependent upon your choice.  It all depends upon our want.  What do we really want?  Do we want what God wants or what we want?  We do not miss heaven by a …

“One begins to get smart when he or she fears being crosswise of God.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: PuttingOn the Character of Christ (p. 50). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I understand the importance of education.  I really do and I understand that even as a 67 year old I need to constantly feed my mind and to keep stretching it.  But it is so important to see the need to be in tune with what our Creator wants and requires from us and that it is not smart to minimize or disregard that importance. 
As Dallas says, “Although not the end or outcome of wisdom, to be sure, it is the indispensable beginning, I believe, and the principle part. One begins to get smart when he or she fears being crosswise of God: fear of not doing what he wants and not being as he requires. Fear is the anticipation of harm. The intelligent person recognizes that his or her well-being lies in being in harmony with God and what God is doing in the ‘kingdom.’ God is not mean, bu…

“A great part of the disaster of contemporary life lies in the fact that it is organized around feelings.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ (p. 35). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Today is Friday the 13th.It is another Friday that just happens to land on February 13.It is just another day but not to some people.Because of what they have heard bad things happen on this day and they have started this day with deep fear.I know something bad is going to happen to me because it is Friday the 13th.
Here is another thought.I am right now writing this at the Starbucks in Downtown Disney just outside of Disneyland, Happiest Place in the World.People are walking into Disneyland knowing that it is going to make a difference.They are going to be happy.They know they are.They just feel it.But what happens when they walk out after spending all that money and the unhappy life they have is still there and they are poorer.But so much of our life today is “organized around fe…

“God has hidden the majesty of the human soul from us to prevent our being ruined by vanity.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: PuttingOn the Character of Christ (p. 46). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Now we should have a clue to the reality of our majesty from knowing that God sent his only Son to earth to buy us back by his death but that also shows the potential of our vanity.  We killed him because he wanted to be the god of our life and we did too and still do.  What would happen if we really realized our potential?
Dallas quotes C. S. Lewis who says, “To remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. . . . There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a g…

“What our life amounts to, at least for those who reach full age, is largely, if not entirely, a matter of what we become within.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ (p. 16). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
I’m even getting a greater awareness of that even with my being a retired Pastor.I jokingly say to people, “I used to be paid to be good, now I’m good for nothing.”But the reality is I am good because of what God is doing inside of me.And in another sense, and I will be less than good and even bad because of what I am doing inside of me.The key is, who is in control inside of me and who is God in my life, Him or me.
Dallas continues, “Within are our thoughts, feelings, intentions— and their deeper sources, whatever those may be. The life we live out in our moments, hours, days, and years wells up from a hidden depth. What is in our ‘heart’ matters more than anything else for who we become and what becomes of us. ‘You’re here in my arms,’ the old song says, ‘but where is your heart?…

“The revolution of Jesus is in the first place and continuously a revolution of the human heart or spirit.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ (p. 15). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Jesus’ disciples of his time here on earth had trouble in understanding this.They keep looking for him to lead a revolution that would defeat their physical enemies but that wasn’t his purpose then and it isn’t now.But it is understandable that we too have problems with what type of revolution he wants to lead even today.
As Dallas says, “It did not and does not proceed by means of the formation of social institutions and laws, the outer forms of our existence, intending that these would then impose a good order of life upon people who come under their power. Rather, his is a revolution of character, which proceeds by changing people from the inside through ongoing personal relationship to God in Christ and to one another. It is one that changes their ideas, beliefs, feelings, and …

“In today’s world, famine, war, and epidemic are almost totally the outcome of human choices…”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ (p. 13). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
God has given us the freedom of choice.I am free to choose what I eat, how much I exercise but I am not free from the consequences of those choices.Our choices have consequences whether for good of for bad. And our choices come from how our heart has been cultivated.
Dallas says, “Individual disasters, too, very largely follow upon human choices, our own or those of others. And whether or not they do in a particular case, the situations in which we find ourselves are never as important as our responses to them, which come from our ‘spiritual’ side. A carefully cultivated heart will, assisted by the grace of God, foresee, forestall, or transform most of the painful situations before which others stand like helpless children saying ‘Why?’”
So our response also has a choice, do I wonde…

“Merely trying to act lovingly will lead to despair and to the defeat of love.”

A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ (p. 24). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Wow, that doesn’t seem to make sense does it?But Dallas says, “It is love itself —not loving behavior, or even the wish or intent to love— that has the power to ‘always protect, always trust, always hope, put up with anything, and never quit’” (1 Corinthians 13: 7-8, PAR).
He goes on to say, “But taking love itself— God’s kind of love— into the depths of our being through spiritual formation will, by contrast, enable us to act lovingly to an extent that will be surprising even to ourselves, at first. And this love will then become a constant source of joy and refreshment to ourselves and others. Indeed it will be, according to the promise, ‘a well of water springing up to eternal life’ (John 4: 14) — not an additional burden to carry through life, as ‘acting lovingly’ surely would…