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Friends nearby...

As I sit here at my desk this morning I find that I am surrounded by "friends"--books.  Some are standing erect, nicely shelved on the small shelf nearby, but most of the books that surround me are stacked in a somewhat haphazard manner.  There are tall stacks and short stacks, made up of small books and thick books.  (My wife says it is a bit messy, but thankfully she puts up with me.)

The books, on and around my desk, represent only a small portion of the books that I own.  Most of my books "stand at the ready" on the bookshelves in the other room.  I am thankful for all of my books, but for now the books that are on and around my desk are the ones that I consider "friends."

They are friends because they, the authors, their words, (and the Holy Spirit) are speaking into my heart and life.  On the books that surround me I read the names: Oswald Chambers, Eugene Peterson, N.T. Wright, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, David Roper and William Willimon, and in the center of it all I see my open Bible.

This morning I am thankful for the words of Eugene Peterson.  His comments on Matthew 5:20 are a blessing, encouragement and challenge to me today.

"For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."  Matthew 5:20

"Religion that is a matter of careful, moral calculation is all wrong.  The gospel requires a leap of faith.  Christ does not counsel a safe, manageable morality that anyone can learn in ten easy lessons, but a reckless adventurous life of commitment."  -Eugene Peterson

Good words from a good friend.

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