Quotations for September, 2000
Friday, September 1, 2000
Commemoration of Giles of Provence, Hermit, c.710
The purpose of religion, at any rate, the Christian religion, is not to get you into heaven but to get heaven into you.
... Frederick Ward Kates (1910-1987), A Moment Between Two Eternities, New York: Harper & Row, 1965, p. 159
(see the book; see also Rom. 15:13; more at Gospel, Heaven, Regeneration, Religion)
Saturday, September 2, 2000
Commemoration of Martyrs of Papua New Guinea, 1942
[The apostles] were moved, not so much by an intellectual apprehension, as by a spiritual illumination. They met men, and the need of those men whom they met cried aloud to them. Their own desire for the revelation of the glory of Jesus in the salvation of men went out towards those whom they met, and was immediately answered by the recognition of the need of those whom they met for Jesus Christ.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Pentecost and the World, London: Oxford University Press, 1917, included in The Ministry of the Spirit, David M. Paton, ed., London: World Dominion Press, 1960, p. 46
(see the book; see also Acts 4:9-12; more at Mission)
Sunday, September 3, 2000
Feast of Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, Teacher, 604
The task is not, in essence, the securing of uniformity, or cooperation, or Church reunion, or any of the external forms, through which nevertheless the unity may be manifested. Within the wide bounds of the Christian Church there is abundant scope for the multiplicity of races, languages, and social conditions; room also for separate organizations with different traditions of faith and order, and much diversity of operation.But there is no room for strife or hostility, for pride or self-assertion, for exclusiveness or unkind judgments, nor for that kind of independence which leads men to ignore their fellowship with the great company of believers, the communion of saints. These things are contrary to the revealed will of God, and should be made at once to cease. As these disappear, the outward manifestation of unity will come in such ways as the Spirit of God shall guide.
... G. T. Manley, Christian Unity, London: Inter-Varsity Fellowship, 1945, p. 86-87
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 1:14,15; more at Church)
Monday, September 4, 2000
Commemoration of Birinus, Bishop of Dorchester (Oxon), Apostle of Wessex, 650
If all you have found [in Christianity] is advantage, whether it is fun or profit or security, then you haven’t started following Him yet. His way is the way of the Cross. The world can be very hard on those it hates. If it is not hard on you, perhaps it sees nothing in you to hate. But then it doesn’t see Jesus in you, for it hates Jesus with an undying hatred. While your way is still all fun, all easy, all jolly, it is only your way: when you turn from it to follow His way, it will cost. It may cost you everything you have. That is what it cost Him.
... Robert MacColl Adams (1913-1985), “Of Rice and Men”
(see the book; see also John 15:18-21; more at Religion)
Tuesday, September 5, 2000
Like many of the leaders and teachers [in the church], perhaps I failed to prepare people for the way of suffering. I had not suffered much myself and did not help people to be ready for it.But the fact is: when you follow Jesus, what happened to Him happens to you.
... Todd H. Wetzel (b. 1946), Steadfast Faith, Dallas, Texas: Latimer Press, 1997, p. 76
(see the book; see also John 15:22-25; 1 Pet. 4:13,14; more at Church, Failure, Jesus, Leader, Suffer, Teach, Way, Weakness)
Wednesday, September 6, 2000
Commemoration of Allen Gardiner, founder of the South American Missionary Society, 1851
Commemoration of Albert Schweitzer, Teacher, Physician, Missionary, 1965
The renewal of our natures is a work of great importance. It is not to be done in a day. We have not only a new house to build up, but an old one to pull down.
... George Whitefield (1714-1770), in a letter, 1735, in The Works of the Reverend George Whitefield, M.A., v. I, London: Edward and Charles Dilly, 1771, p. 8
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 3:9-17; more at Conversion)
Thursday, September 7, 2000
Commemoration of Douglas Downes, Founder of the Society of Saint Francis, 1957
There are three lessons I would write,Three words, as with a burning pen,In tracings of eternal light,Upon the hearts of men. Have Hope. Though clouds environ now,And gladness hides her face in scorn,Put off the shadow from thy brow—No night but hath its morn. Have Faith. Where’er thy bark is driven—The calm’s disport, the tempest’s mirth—Know this: God rules the hosts of heaven,The inhabitants of earth. Have Love. Not love alone for one,But man, as man, thy brother call;And scatter, like a circling sun,Thy charities on all. Thus grave these lessons on thy soul—Faith, Hope, and Love—and thou shalt findStrength when life’s surges rudest roll,Light when thou else wert blind.
... Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805), included in Masterpieces of Religious Verse, James Dalton Morrison, ed., New York: Harper & Bros., 1948, p. 366
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 13:13; more at Attitudes, Everlasting, Faith, Gladness, Hope, Light, Love, Strength)
Friday, September 8, 2000
Commemoration of Søren Kierkegaard, Teacher and Philosopher, 1855
Temptations and occasions put nothing into a man, but only draw out what was in him before.
... John Owen (1616-1683), The Nature, Power, Deceit, and Prevalency of the remainders of Indwelling Sin in Believers , in Works of John Owen, v. VI, New York: R. Carter & Bros., 1851, p. 169
(see the book; see also Matt. 15:17-20; more at Betrayal, Man, Sin, Temptation)
Saturday, September 9, 2000
Make me what Thou wouldst have me. I bargain for nothing. I make no terms. I seek for no previous information whither Thou art taking me. I will be what Thou wilt make me, and all that Thou wilt make me. I say not, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest, for I am weak, but I give myself to Thee, to lead me anywhither.
... John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Parochial Sermons, v. V, London: Francis & John Rivington, 1842, p. 283
(see the book; see also Matt. 26:31,32; more at Leader, Prayers, Self-sacrifice, Weakness)
Sunday, September 10, 2000
Evangelism is not an option for the Christian life.
... Luis Palau (b. 1934), in a private communication from the Luis Palau Association
(see also Acts 5:29-32; more at Evangelization, Life, Mission, Obedience)
Monday, September 11, 2000
Lord, behold our family here assembled. We thank Thee for this place in which we dwell; for the love that unites us; for the peace accorded us this day; for the hope with which we expect the morrow; for the health, the work, the food, and the bright skies, that make our lives delightful; for our friends in all parts of the earth, and our friendly helpers in this foreign isle [Samoa] ... Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind. Spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies. Bless us, if it may be, in all our innocent endeavours. If it may not, give us the strength to encounter that which is to come, that we be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath, and in all changes of fortune, and down to the gates of death, loyal and loving one to another.
... Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), from “Prayers Written for Family Use at Vailima”, in The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, v. IV, London: T. & A. Constable for Longmans Green & Co., 1896, p. 381
(see the book; see also Ps. 9:13; Rom. 12:20; Heb. 13:5-8; more at Prayers)
Tuesday, September 12, 2000
Devotion is the real spiritual sweetness which takes away all bitterness from mortifications, and prevents consolations from disagreeing with the soul; it cures the poor of sadness, and the rich of presumption; it keeps the oppressed from feeling desolate, and the prosperous from insolence; it averts sadness from the lonely, and dissipation from social life; it is as warmth in winter and refreshing dew in summer; it knows how to abound and how to suffer want, how to profit alike by honour and by contempt; it accepts gladness and sadness with an even mind, and fills men’s hearts with a wondrous sweetness.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), Introduction to the Devout Life , London: Rivingtons, 1876, I.ii, p. 6
(see the book; see also Ps. 73:25-26; Rom. 5:5; 14:7-8; 1 John 4:12; 5:3-4; more at Devotion, Gladness, Heart, Loneliness, Man, Poverty, Prayer, Sadness, Social, Spiritual life)
Wednesday, September 13, 2000
Feast of John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, Teacher, 407
We assemble not in the church to pass away the time, but to gain some great benefit for our souls. If therefore we depart without profit, our zeal in frequenting the church will prove our condemnation. That so great a judgment come not upon you, when ye go hence, ponder the things ye have heard, and exercise yourselves in confirming our instruction,—friend with friend,—fathers with their children,—masters with their slaves,—so that when ye return hither, and hear from us the same counsels, ye may not be ashamed, but rejoice and be glad in the conviction, that ye have put into practice the greater part of our exhortation. Not only must we meditate upon these things here,—for this short exhortation sufficeth not to eradicate the evil,—but at home let the husband be reminded of them by the wife, and the wife by the husband, and let an emulation obtain in families to the fulfilment of the divine law.
... St. John Chrysostom (345?-407), quoted in The Life of St. Chrysostom, Johann August W. Neander, London: Seeley & Burnside, 1838, p. 135
(see the book; see also Ps. 19:14; Matt. 10:32,33; 1 Cor. 14:34,35; Eph. 5:22-31; more at Church, Condemnation, Judgment, Law, Zeal)
Thursday, September 14, 2000
Feast of the Holy Cross
Teach me. O God, so to use all the circumstances of my life to-day that they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness rather than the fruits of sin.Let me use disappointment as material for patience:Let me use success as material for thankfulness:Let me use suspense as material for perseverance:Let me use danger as material for courage:Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering:Let me use praise as material for humility:Let me use pleasures as material for temperance:Let me use pains as material for endurance.
... John Baillie (1886-1960) & Donald M. Baillie (1887-1954), A Diary of Private Prayer, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1939, p. 101
(see the book; see also Ps. 25:4,5; more at Prayers)
Friday, September 15, 2000
We are living “between the times”—the time of Christ’s resurrection and the new age of the Spirit, and the time of fulfillment in Christ. Life in the Spirit is a pledge, a “down-payment,” on the final kingdom of shalom. In the meantime, we are to be signs of the kingdom which is, and which is coming.
... David Kirk (1935-2007), Quotations from Chairman Jesus, Springfield, Ill.: Templegate Publishers, 1969, p. 69
(see the book; see also Rev. 22:20; more at Church)
Saturday, September 16, 2000
Feast of Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, Martyr, 258
Commemoration of Ninian, Bishop of Galloway, Apostle to the Picts, c. 430
Commemoration of Edward Bouverie Pusey, Priest, tractarian, 1882
Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks! Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle. But you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself, at the richness of life which has come in you by the grace of God.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Twenty Sermons, New York: E.P. Dutton, 1887, p. 330
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 1:7-9; Isa. 35:10; 40:31; more at Prayer)
Sunday, September 17, 2000
Feast of St. Hildegard, Abbess of Bingen, Visionary, 1179
“He cannot deny Himself,” means at the same time He cannot deny His grace to the sinful, and He cannot deny the moral order in which alone He can live in fellowship with men; and we see the inviolableness of both asserted in the death of Jesus. Nothing else in the world demonstrates how real is God’s love to the sinful, and how real the sin of the world is to God. And the love which comes to us through such an expression, bearing sin in all its reality, yet loving us through and beyond it, is the only love which at once forgives and regenerates the soul.
... James Denney (1856-1917), The Atonement and the Modern Mind, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1903, p. 86
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 2:13; more at Love)
Monday, September 18, 2000
Commemoration of George MacDonald, Spiritual Writer, 1905
The devil never tempts us with more success than when he tempts us with a sight of our own good actions.
... Thomas Wilson (1663-1755), Maxims of Piety and of Christianity, London: Macmillan, 1898, p. 115
(see the book; see also Luke 18:10-14; more at Sin)
Tuesday, September 19, 2000
Commemoration of Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690
The primary truth about our church membership is not that we are members of a particular congregation, but that we have been born into this new race of human beings, the Christian race, which is made up of people out of every nation and tribe and class. Further, each local church is a church only in so far as it is the expression, in a particular place, of this new race that has come into the world through Jesus Christ. It is the mighty acts of God in Christ that are the guarantee of our fellowship in the Church.
... Ambrose Reeves (1899-1980), Bishop of Johannesburg Church and Race in South Africa, David M. Paton, London: SCM Press, 1958, p. 31
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 2:10; more at Church)
Wednesday, September 20, 2000
Feast of John Coleridge Patteson, First Bishop of Melanesia, & his Companions, Martyrs, 1871
Instead of always being one of the chief bastions of the social status quo, the Church is to develop a Christian counter-culture with its own distinctive goals, values, standards, and lifestyle, a realistic alternative to the contemporary technocracy which is marked by bondage, materialism, self-centredness, and greed. Christ’s call to obedience is a call to be different, not conformist.Such a Church—joyful, obedient, loving, and free—will do more than please God: it will attract the world. It is when the Church evidently is the Church, and is living a supernatural life of love by the power of the Holy Spirit, that the world will believe.
... John R. W. Stott (1921-2011), “Obeying Christ in a Changing World”, in The Lord Christ , John Stott, ed., vol. 1 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 29
(see the book; see also John 4:31-34; Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Thes. 2:11,12; 2 Tim. 1:7; more at Belief, Call, Church, Holy Spirit, Life, Love, Obedience, Power, Social, World)
Thursday, September 21, 2000
Feast of Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist
The law of Christ, which it is our duty to fulfill, is the bearing of the cross... Thus the call to follow Christ always means a call to share the work of forgiving men their sins. Forgiveness is the Christlike suffering which it is the Christian’s duty to bear.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), The Cost of Discipleship, Simon and Schuster, 1959, p. 90
(see the book; see also Matt. 18:21-22; Mark 11:25-26; John 20:22-23; Acts 13:38-39; more at Forgiveness)
Friday, September 22, 2000
Although prayer has been defined as communion with God, aspiration after the highest things, Stopford Brooke [Irish clergyman, 1832-1916] is right when he insists that prayer, in its plainest meaning, is a petition addressed to God... When Jesus laid the duty of petition upon his disciples, He went on to assert the reasonableness of a man asking and of God answering... Jesus argues along the line of reason that, if an earthly parent ... does the best in his power for his children, will not the Almighty and All-Wise Love, of which human love is only the shadow, do better still for His great family? And therefore our Master teaches that men ought everywhere to pray without fear and without doubt.
... Horace L. Hastings (1852-1922), The Great Christian Doctrines , Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1915, p. 38
(see the book; see also Matt. 7:7-11; Luke 11:9-13; 18:1-8; 1 Tim. 2:8; more at Prayer)
Saturday, September 23, 2000
O plain, and easy, and simple way of salvation, wanting no subtleties of art or science, no borrowed learning, no refinements of reason, but all done by the simple natural motion of every heart, that truly longs after God. For no sooner is the finite desire of the creature in motion towards God, but the infinite desire of God is united with it, co-operates with it. And in this united desire of God, and the creature, is the salvation and life of the soul brought forth.
... William Law (1686-1761), The Spirit of Prayer , London: E. Justins for Ogles, Duncan, and Cochran, 1816, p. 47
(see the book; see also John 6:37-39; more at Heart, Life, Longing, Salvation, Soul)
Sunday, September 24, 2000
Literalism gets its name from its insistence that what we find in the Bible is not just the Word of God but the very words of God. The distinction is of tremendous importance. The phrase “Word of God” as used in the Bible itself, notably in the opening sentences of the Fourth Gospel, is an English translation of a Greek word, Logos, which was in wide use among philosophers at the time the New Testament was written. It connotes the creative, outgoing, self-revealing activity of God. The Logos was not a particular divine utterance, but God’s overall message to mankind. It was not necessarily communicated verbally in speech or writing. Indeed, the whole point of Christianity is that the supreme communication of the Word took place when it was expressed through a human life and personality in Jesus Christ.
... Louis Cassels (1922-1974), Your Bible, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1967, p. 3
(see the book; see also John 1:1-2; 1 John 1:1-2; Rev. 19:11-13; more at Bible, God, Gospel, Jesus, Philosophy, Revelation)
Monday, September 25, 2000
Feast of Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, Spiritual Writer, 1626
Commemoration of Sergius of Radonezh, Russian Monastic Reformer, Teacher, 1392
It may seem an anachronism to speak of “the relation of the ordained ministry towards the Church” ... when we are only thinking about Paul and his converts. Was there really an ordained ministry as early as that? We need not argue about whether, or how, Paul was ordained, but he certainly considered that he and his fellow workers had a special pastoral relation to their converts... Paul was primarily a missionary, which in itself establishes a link with the Servant of the Lord. As a missionary, he was not working on his own, but was supported by a group of assistants without whose help he could never have carried on his work. We know the names of many of them... But there were many more whose names we do not know, sometimes referred to as “the brethren” (e.g., 1 Cor. 16:11). This missionary group with Paul as its leader is the New Testament equivalent of the ordained ministry of today, and it is significant for us that Paul describes this group as carrying out in some sense the work of servants in the Church.
... Anthony T. Hanson (1916-1991), The Church of the Servant, London: SCM Press, 1962, p. 45-46
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 16:10-11; more at Church)
Tuesday, September 26, 2000
Commemoration of Wilson Carlile, Priest, Founder of the Church Army, 1942
Here is the great truth that, only when we see things in the light of God, do we see things as they are. It is only when we see things in the light of God that we see what things are really important, and what things are not. Things which seem vastly important, things like ambition, and prestige, and money and gain, lose all their value and importance when they are seen in the light of God. Pleasures and habits and social customs which seem permissible enough, are seen for the dangerous things they are when they are seen in the light of God. Things which seem evils, hardship, toil, discipline, unpopularity, even persecution, are seen in their glory when they are seen in the light of God.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), The Revelation of John, v. II, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1961, p. 276
(see the book; see also Isa. 60:19-20; Rev. 22:5; more at Attitudes)
Wednesday, September 27, 2000
Feast of Vincent de Paul, Founder of the Congregation of the Mission (Lazarists), 1660
If you wanted a label for us, would you find a better than a Sadducean Age? We also are not worrying about immortality, hardly believe in it, or at least are not sure; we, too, have limited ourselves to this dust-speck of time, leaving unclaimed the vast inheritance beyond of which Christ told us; we, too, are putting all our zeal and passion and enthusiasm into things of this earth here, quite sure that that is the only road to progress, and that this everlasting chatter about the soul is quite beside the point. And they are all so earnest and so certain, work so hard, are animated often by such lofty motives, are so sure that there is really no manner of need for Christ; that given this, and this, and this, each of them pushing forward his particular panacea—the world will manage very well; that to talk about Christ, and changing people’s hearts, and making us new creatures, is merely to lose precious time and wander from the practical into vague day-dreaming of which nothing comes. And year by year their voices grow a little harder, and they eye Christ more and more askance, feel sourly that He is a bit of a nuisance and a stumbling-block to progress, keeping people quiet who should not be quiet, lulling them with these dim, immaterial, fantastic, spiritual hopes of His which they think have no body, and can not have. Once more the whisper grows, “Were He not far better away?” Meantime we can ignore Him, they say; and they do.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), The Galilean Accent, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926, p. 129
(see the book; see also Isa. 29:13,14; 1 Cor. 2:8; Eph. 4:14; 1 Tim. 6:3-5,20,21; 2 Pet. 2:1-3; more at Authenticity, Immortality, Worldly)
Thursday, September 28, 2000
We instinctively contrast the ministry with the laity, the priesthood with the people, the professional with the amateur. But the New Testament church knew nothing of this. This is perfectly astounding when you recall that every society in the world, including Israel, had had its specialized holy seasons, holy places, and holy people. In Christianity, all three were abolished. The keeping of holy days was a matter of indifference to the early Christians. They had no holy buildings, but met in private houses—the incarnation of God had made the secular sacred. As for holy people, why, all believers were called to be that holy people, that universal priesthood envisioned long ago in the Old Testament but never hitherto realized. The mediation of Jesus has abolished the need for an intermediary caste of priests: all can have access to God in virtue of the sacrifice of Christ; all have the priestly responsibility of interceding for man to God; all have the prophetic task of speaking God’s message to men. There is no priestly body within Christianity. It is a one-class society, though you would never guess as much, so grossly has conformity to pagan and Old-Testament models distorted this unique facet of Christ’s community.
... E. M. B. Green (b. 1930), “Mission and Ministry”, E. M. B. Green, in The People of God, Ian Cundy, ed., vol. 2 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 69-70
(see the book; see also 1 Tim. 5:21; Heb. 10:10-12; 1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 1:6; more at Bible, Body of Christ, Church, Community, Holiness, Intercession, Israel, Minister, People, Prophecy, Social)
Friday, September 29, 2000
Feast of Michael & All Angels
Pray hardest when it is hardest to pray.
... Charles H. Brent (1862-1929), 1899
(see the book; see also Ps. 6:8,9; Rom. 8:26; more at Adversity, Devotion, Discipline, Prayer)
Saturday, September 30, 2000
I ought to consider the business which occurs in the daily order of Providence as the work which God appoints me; and I should apply myself to it in a manner worthy of God, namely, with exactness and with tranquility. I ought not to neglect anything or be passionately vehement about anything, for it is dangerous to do the work of the Lord negligently, on the one hand; or, on the other, to appropriate it to ourselves by self-love and false zeal. In this latter case, our actions arise from a principle of self-will: we are eager and anxious for the success, and that under the pretense of seeking the glory of God.O, God, grant me Thy grace to enable me to be faithful in action and resigned in success! My only business is to do Thy will, and to do it as Thy will, not forgetting Thee in the performance of it.
... François Fénelon (1651-1715), Selections from Fénelon, ed. Mary Wilder Tileston, Boston: Roberts Bros., 1879, p. 184
(see the book; see also Matt. 12:46-50; Rom. 12:10-14; more at Prayers, Providence, Tranquility)
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