Graham Leslie McCallum

The tree of happiness flowers and fruits most abundantly for the creative man

Spiritual Maxims, Aphorisms and Ponderings

I present my thoughts with humility and trust the reader pauses long enough to consider their value.

 

Far better to be a lowly sinner, wholly dependent on the God of Grace, than an upright man who is depending on his personal righteousness to win him favour.

 

One can only be baptised in the Spirit when you lose all control, so that God can take full control.

 

There is an uncomfortable and self-inflicted charge of hypocrisy levelled on anyone who accuses another of hypocrisy.

 

Charging others of hypocrisy is a boomerang, no sooner delivered than returned.

 

There is a curious correlation – that the further a man moves from God, the more readily he labels the faithful as hypocrites.

 

Without time to spare from daily chores, a man can hardly ascend to spirituality. Chained to his plough, his gaze seldom lifts from the sod and furrow, and therefore rarely rises to the heavens.

 

What clever saying, what insightful aphorism, what pithy maxims is there to write, when all the wisest proverbs and profound observations were said by Jesus? All I can do is rearrange his words in feeble imitation.

 

Hunger gnores at the stomach just as the spirit prods at the flesh.

 

It is a great wonder indeed that our spirits should make their abodes in bodies of such weakness. How great then our mission should be – to discover why such wealth sort such poverty.

 

The Spirit of God seeks to work through the flesh, requiring willing hands, eyes, ears and mouths. Preventing the Spirit from functioning through you, is tantamount to lopping-off the hands of God, putting-out His eyes, stopping-up His ears and shutting-up His mouth.

 

For the flesh is blind and dumb. It does not know its way or destination. However, the Spirit is light and comprehension, she knows the path to walk and the way to life.

 

Without our stubborn minds even knowing of it, our spirits cry out from within us, lauding and worshipping the living God, pleading the Creator for consummation.

 

For the Flesh directs attention inwards to self, while the Spirit directs attention outwards to others.

 

The words and saying of Jesus are a comfort to sinners, but a puzzle to the self-righteous.

 

Constant moralising is a form of guilt-transference.

 

Grace is like water – it always flows to the lowest point. And this is why no one can appreciate its benefaction quite like the lowly sinner.

 

What do I know? But that God is Grace. This shall suffice.

 

God’s face is the image of Grace.

 

A simple child knows more of God than does any Theologian.

 

Those who wander down the path to Wisdom, after many weary miles and many tiresome years, find that their path has led them back to their beginnings, to the simplicity that was their childhoods.

 

There are three universals that stretch across every epoch, every nation, every culture, every faith – that man has fallen, that he must seek propitiation, and failing this, that he requires a Redeemer.

 

All that ever was, and all that ever will be, was conceived in ‘The Beginning’. From this great storehouse we requisition the Arts, we untangle the Sciences, we order Mathematics and petition Wisdom.

 

Human knowledge is a mirror held-up to Creation, and we perceive and conceive in mere reflection.

 

Though one of many millions of souls, effective faith requires a humble believer to appreciate that his life is of personal and treasured interest to his Maker.

 

Good and evil cannot be contained in one, for the one thrusts out the other, for where there is true light there is no darkness. It is therefore an error to think that God encompasses both.

 

It is God’s gift of Freewill that gives us mortals the wherewithal to good or evil. For its freedoms allow obedience or rebellion. From obedience comes love and from rebellion hate.

 

God is love, and for God to precipitate love in us, He first had to bestow freewill upon us. For without freewill we cannot love freely, for love is not born of compliance. So great was God’s will that we love, that He risked our rebellion.

 

The love of God is the womb that birthed freewill. Freewill is the womb that births reciprocal and unconditional love.

 

Having bestowed Free Will on humanity, the only way open to God to intervene with mankind was through His incarnation.

 

There can be no Christiandom – and if there has been, it was of men and not of God. For Jesus made it quite clear that His Kingdom was not of this world.

 

The Spirit of God is a Master Locksmith who breaks the rusty tongue, opens the jammed ear, releases the shuttered eye and unlocks the fettered hand.

 

Spiritual prophecy is prescriptive. One either takes the medication and advice from the Great Physician, or one does not.

 

Prophecy does not indicate a definite destination, merely one of many paths. It is the journey that determines the destination.

 

Faith is God’s gift of curiosity and courage, for it empowers us to trust Him and to search for Him.

 

Many people never find God, simply because it appears as if they do not have the curiosity or courage to venture out on a search to find Him.

 

Mix curiosity with courage and one has faith.

 

What can one possible know about the Love of God until one takes a step of courage in God’s direction, and surprising oneself, finds one in the encouraging arms of God.

 

Faith gives birth to Trust.

 

The only road to God leads through the gateway called Faith.

 

What does God require of you? … a pressing need – complete dependency – a burning desire – as well as a deep yearning for consummation with God.

 

The progression of Self –  self-centred  –  selfish  –  self-love  –   self-sufficient  –   self-deficient.

 

The selfish life is self-sufficient but Godly deficient.

 

Love oneself enough, and you’ll love no one and no one will love you.

 

Faith begins where self ends.

 

Faith is Trust in action

Trust is Courage in action

Courage is Desire in action

Desire is Need in Action.

 

Faith begins with a single spiritual step and ends in a heavenly destination.

 

Faith is curiosity satisfied.

 

Faith stands up and runs, when Intellect fails and falls.

 

Intellect draws strength from the past, while faith draws strength from the future.

 

Faith – the road less travelled.

 

We step out thinking faith is a long journey and discover to our great surprise that it is only a step.

 

Faith is an action, a movement away from yourself, in the direction of God. You take a single step and God moves towards you across an eternity.

 

Faith is the second in time that separates a life from an eternity.

 

Faith is a point in a life where I ends off and God begins.

 

Faith is akin to finding oneself hanging desperately  onto the end of one’s life-rope, and then is desperation deciding to let go.

 

Faith is an action of creativity. It gives birth to wisdom, love, insight and satisfaction.

 

Love is a fruitful womb, it births all good.

 

We should live like the flowers of the meadows. The seeds of flowers germinate quickly when watered, root firmly and then sprout readily to unfurl their leaves to the sun. Then the plants bud and flower exuberantly, bear seed abundantly to finally wither-away. We too should germinate faithfully, root courageously, sprout trustingly, unfurl obediently, flower gloriously, seed generously and die graciously.

 

A great wonder – when we invite the Holy Spirit of God to dwell within us, God becomes incarnated, Spirit has put on our humble flesh.

 

One’s spirituality must never be solely mystical, but rooted in living and life. Conversely, a spirituality of action and deed, devoid of mystery is also empty.

 

Christian Mysticism develops from one’s personal interaction with God, and must therefore be reserved primarily for oneself.

 

The Sermon on the Mount stands like a majestic mountain before me. I can find no way to ignore, circumvent, or abrogate its perfect precepts. It’s lofty peak beyond my mortal reach, yet forever beckoning me on to greater heights. It’s rules are the pinnacle standard, of all time, for all cultures, and for all people.

 

God’s gift of Grace, to a sinner is precious relief, but to the self-righteous – atrocious unfairness.

 

Grace is the Flip-side to Love.

 

Grace knows no measurements, no constraints, no limitations.

 

Isn’t is saddening and disturbing that many people who have been the recipients of God’s gift of grace, find it difficult and sometimes impossible to extend even a small measure of that grace to their fellowmen.

 

There can surely be no theme, no story-line, more thrilling than that God came down and dwelt amongst men.

 

There is only one similarity between selfishness and generosity – that when either is indulged, they generate greater and greater levels of themselves.

 

It is a sad observation that ingratitude often increases as grace increases.

 

One learns Gratitude by being a Giver.

 

Grace is Gratitude amplified.

 

Gratitude withheld from a generous Giver (be it God or man) – is an act of spiteful theft.

 

Fundamentalists drive their views up the pyramid of dogma, right up to its pinnacle where there is no room for grace or love to stand.

 

It is apparent that fundamentalism has cornered many Christians and locked them behind a wall of ignorance and fear.

 

The Kingdom of God is inclusive, not exclusive.

 

Like the plucked strings of a harp – the whole of nature resonates with the presence of God.

 

Religiosity and self-righteousness are the harrowed soils that grow the pernicious weeds of a judgemental and ungracious spirit.

 

Fundamentalism grows out of fear and fear out of faithlessness.

 

The antidote for a Jealous heart is a complimentary tongue.

 

God does not and will not assume the position of Pilot to your ‘ship’. That position is reserved for you alone. Neither does He direct any other person to this role. He does however, provide you with enough bright stars in the firmament for you to steer a course to that distant shore.

 

Many spiritual truths are overlooked simply because they are so obvious.

 

Ritual Purity is Spiritual Impurity.

 

Whatever one does –  do it in the belief that your deeds will become immortal. One must operate in the eternal future tense.

 

True spirituality does not require the abuse and denigration of the flesh. This is an error born of the belief that the flesh must be sacrificed. For if one accepts the final and all encompassing sacrifice of the Saviour, all out attempts at propitiation are void. Furthermore – how can one manifest the spirit if one fails to support and cherish the body who houses the spirit and soul.

 

It is extraordinary that those who detract and ridicule Christianity, appear to be so interested, fascinated and consumed in the very faith that they so vigorously deride.

 

God extends freedom but not privacy to His creatures.

 

Freewill frees us to love freely.

 

Confirmation of one’s faith only follows when one steps into the unconfirmed.

 

The belief in God and a personal Saviour exercises the mind, and stretches the consciousness in ways that atheists and agnostics cannot even begin to comprehend, let alone imagine.

 

Those who seek the Face of God, do not make requests for insight, for wisdom, for power, for answers, or for faith. Instead they hunger and thirst for God Himself.

 

Sheer obedience to God, or a fear of God, can result in good and generous deeds. However, deeds of goodness and generosity that are borne of our free-willed love for God are much the superior.

 

The House called ‘Obedience’ must be built on a foundation called ‘Free will’. It can never be built on a foundation of compliance and fear, for it will surely crumble.

 

The reward for doing good is doing good.

 

God rewards our good deeds by giving us greater capacity to do good.

 

Only the truly hungry and thirsty find God.

 

The target audience of Christ’s parables and sayings are firstly oneself, and then, and only then, your fellowman.

 

Many of the rituals, rules and practices of religions trivialise God.

 

The words of Jesus are a literary dissent. A challenge to the political, a negation of the established order, an affront to the religious, a challenge to the connected.

 

Positive thinking is not a synonym for faith.

 

Better a fool’s faith than a clever man’s doubt.

 

In the earthly realm the accomplished and clever precede the ignorant and simple; however, in God’s realm, the order is reversed. The servant precedes his master, the poor the rich and the humble the poor.

 

One of the first actions of the Holy Spirit is to give us some comprehension of our spiritual poverty.

 

The truly hungry, eat, and do not ask questions of taste, origin or quality. It is they who discover that the Lord is good.

 

A true charismatic leads through humility, simplicity and servant hood. Reject any others as charlatans.

 

In other religions – salvation is ones destination. However, in Christianity – it is one’s departure point.

 

Disquiet in one’s soul is indicative of a spiritual dilemma. Without disquiet no man would ever bother to find God.

 

People love titles of importance. Jesus only offers one – ‘Servant’. Others – are all affectations and vanities.

 

Afflictions anchor our feet safely to our homes and steadies our eyes on Jesus.

 

A spiritual life can be as casual as a penned doodle, or as rich as a painted masterpiece.

 

God only grants earthly requests with spiritual outcomes.

 

Many people would like nothing more than that someone other than themselves take all their life decisions. If they could they would even turn God Himself into their puppet master, and themselves into puppets.

 

We discover our beginnings at our endings.

 

Many people have mistakenly thrown away the Christ by throwing out the Church.

 

Emotionally stingy people are invariably stingy with their possessions too.

 

We learn appreciation and gratitude through deprivation and need.

 

Just as one can be advantaged by a genetic and cultural inheritance from one’s family, it is also true that one can benefit from being the inheritor of a spiritual legacy.

 

Parables, Sayings and Proverbs are born in farmyards, stables, fields and gardens.

 

Those who are empathetic, walk on wounded feet, give with pierced hands and ponder with bleeding brows.

 

Oh! Great mystery. Jesus, You who lived, and died and live forevermore – bring me into union with You – that I too may live in You, and die in You, and live again in You.

 

Spirituality is an earthly exercise using heavenly methods.

 

One is never going to find God – not until the day one finally awakes to the realization that one hates and despises all that one is, has been, and will be.

 

Many see the Divine in the extraordinary, but few see His handiwork in the ordinary.

 

Guilt for one’s sins reduces proportionally to the frequency one commits them.

 

To rise above oneself, one must first lower oneself to one’s knees.

 

God is the Intelligence who wants to make Itself known.

 

Doing nothing when one has a choice between doing good or evil, is as good as doing evil.

 

Good deeds can only have good outcomes.

 

The cross offends both the religious and the secular.

 

An Atheist can be as much a fundamentalist as any Christian fundamentalist.

 

Just because one cannot comprehend or just because one has not experienced the mysteries of God, does not give one the right to deny His existence.

 

There is only one citizenship one can be proud of – one’s Heavenly citizenship. Any others are merely nationalism.

 

If you cannot smell the sweat and see the dust within the text of the Gospel – then the chances are you have not understood its message.

 

One can find no archaism in the sayings of Jesus, no medievalism, no dark ageism, none of the ridiculous, laughable, no exclusionism and nothing arcane.

 

Wealth can imprison the soul and bind the spirit, while poverty can free them.

 

The reason why God demands that we not judge our fellowman is not that we are disallowed an opinion on right and wrong – but that judgement also entails the measuring-out of punishment, and we know retribution is God’s prerogative alone.

 

Retiring from making judgements on one’s fellowman should be a burden lifted from one’s shoulders, and gratefully relinquished too.

 

Wealth and ease strip a man of need, need for God too.

 

You will notice how the great, mighty and famous elevate and honour each other. This in sharp contrast to Jesus who elevates the humble, downtrodden and contrite.

 

It is not possible to love God and not His creation. One honours God by honouring his creatures.

 

Today the clever pursue the mysteries of the creation and not its Creator.

 

Rather not call yourself an ‘Heir’ to the Kingdom of God until you first become a ‘Servant’ to the King.

 

How poor the man who focuses his life upon possessions instead of on people. This invariably leads to a wealth of belongings, yet a paucity of spirit; so impoverishing as to leave him a pauper at death.

 

An excess of money can be most deleterious – for the Farmer no longer needs to sow wheat, the Miller need not mill flour, the Baker need no longer bake, and the Sinner need not eat of the ‘Bread of Life’.

 

The ‘doing church’ can find no satisfaction, for their efforts to please God through deeds leads to frantic and exhausting activity.

 

People who cram their lives to the maximum with activities in a frantic effort before they die, are lacking faith in the afterlife.

 

There is no exclusion in Jesus, and should it rear its ugly head in any church, quickly exclude yourself.

 

Just as light illuminates and gives dimension, colour and detail to all it falls on, so too the Holy Spirit on our lives.

 

Just as an Artist attempts to reflect the works of nature in his drawings and paintings, so too the Spiritual Man and Woman – who seek to reflect the works of God in their lives.

 

Bees produce honey by simply pursuing the sweetest nectar-exuding flowers. So too our own spiritual fruitfulness – we need only focus on the good, the beautiful and the creative.

 

Spirituality is like Art – for it to be truly ‘good’ – it must be first functional.

 

Nothing has been invented or created, nor ever will be, that has not first been conceived by God and executed in nature.

 

The clearest seeing eyes can be set in the ugliest faces, and the brightest minds in the most broken of bodies.

 

Generous creative output facilitates God’s generous input.

One can never be more alive than in the moment of death.

 

God talks clearest to those who talk to Him.

 

What is prayer but a chat with Jesus.

 

All faiths and beliefs have starting blocks for their believers. These starting blocks are agreed upon and assumed, positions whose veracity it is impossible to debate. One of Christianity’s starting blocks is that ‘God is a Loving God’, another is that we can have a personal relationship with Him, and that God has revealed Himself to us through incarnation. So too Atheists – whose starting block is that there is no God.

 

Many people are offended at the belief or notion of God. However – just because they object strenuously to the existence of God, does not mean their negation negates God.

 

An inability to comprehend the Divine is a fatal error in imagination.

 

Many Atheists object to the existence of God because their egocentricity precludes any other from holding centrality in their lives.

 

Sympathy may be learnt, but Empathy not – it is God given.

 

The Church tells us much about giving from our abundance, but sparingly little on the humility and grace required to receive when we find ourselves in need.

 

Many ‘faiths’ have inclusive and exclusory clauses – forbidding the healthy interaction of their members with others of differing faiths – forbidding their company, sharing their food, even forbidding love and marriage. Is it not telling  – that not one of these exclusive faiths forbids the taking of money from those whom they exclude.

 

Space is the vast canvass upon which God sketches-out His designs and upon which he paints His celestial masterpiece.

 

No man, certainly no spiritual leader dare be entrusted with one’s personal spirituality. It is your responsibility, and yours alone, and worked out with mindful intent and critical assessment.

 

To abdicate one’s spiritual wellbeing is a dereliction of one’s God instructed responsibility.

 

Any man that controls another man’s spiritual walk does so at the peril to his soul. For God does not bestow this responsibility upon any man or woman, and to assume it is to take on a mantle that not even God assumes.

 

An eternity of evil may be offset by a moment of good.

 

Evil’s prosperity is seasonal, while good’s is for eternity.

 

When our bodies repair themselves, who pauses to thank God? Is it not He who enables our bodies?

 

What the eye cannot see the spirit may still perceive.

 

The spirit can exist without he body, but not the body without the spirit.

 

Man cannot exceed nature, for he is born of it; however, his spirit is not of nature, but from God, and in this man can transcend both himself and his nature.

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