Quotations for January, 2005
Saturday, January 1, 2005
Feast of the Naming & Circumcision of Jesus
The moment we make up our minds that we are going on with this determination to exalt God overall, we step out of the world’s parade... We shall acquire a new viewpoint; a new and different psychology will be formed within us; a new power will begin to surprise us by its upsurgings and its outgoings.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 96
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:24; 23:25; 1 Cor. 2:4-5,13; 2 Cor. 5:16-17; Tit. 2:11-12; Jas. 3:13-18; 1 Pet. 4:4; more at Conversion, God, Power, World)
Sunday, January 2, 2005
Feast of Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops, Teachers, 379 & 389
Commemoration of Seraphim, Monk of Sarov, Mystic, Staretz, 1833
We must always be on our guard lest, under the pretext of keeping one commandment, we be found breaking another.
... St. Basil the Great (330?-379), The Ascetic Works of Saint Basil, tr. W. K. L. Clarke, London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1925, p. 170
(see the book; see also Jas. 2:10; more at Authenticity, Commandment, Lawless, Legalism)
Monday, January 3, 2005
Commemoration of Gladys Aylward, Missionary in China, 1970
For us in the Pacific, in Asia, in India, and in Africa, Christian unity is not an optional extra. It is an urgent necessity, for our divisions are a real stumbling-block to the proclamation of the Gospel...Mission is at the heart of the divine reality. It is the will of God and the Kingdom of God which are to be made known. Wherever we are, our purpose is not to propagate the Church as an end in itself, but to proclaim Christ as Lord of all life and as Saviour of all men.
... John C. Vockler (1924-2014), “Sermon at the Mass Meeting of Missionary Witness,” included in Anglican Congress 1963: Report of Proceedings, Eugene Rathbone Fairweather, ed., Editorial Committee, Anglican Congress, 1963, p. 148-149
(see the book; see also Ps. 96:1-4; John 17:22-23; Rom. 15:5-6; Eph. 4:3; more at Christ, Gospel, Mission, Preach, Purpose, Savior, Unity, Will of God)
Tuesday, January 4, 2005
Now this is the ground and original of the Spirit of Love in the creature, it is and must be a will to all goodness; and you have not the Spirit of Love in you till you have this will to all goodness at all times and on all occasions. You may indeed do many works of love and delight in them, especially at such times as they are not inconvenient to your state or temper or occurrences in life. But the Spirit of Love is not in you till it is the spirit of your life, till you live freely, willingly, and universally according to it.
... William Law (1686-1761), The Spirit of Love [1752-4], in Works of Rev. William Law, v. VIII, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 4
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 1:7; more at Freedom, Goodness, Life, Love, Spirit, Work)
Wednesday, January 5, 2005
Do we think that when the day hath been idly spent and squandered away by us, we shall be fit to work when the night and darkness comes? When our understanding is weak, and our memory frail, and our will crooked, and by long custom of sinning obstinately bent the wrong way, what can we then do in religion? What reasonable or acceptable service can we then perform to God? When our candle is just sinking into the socket, how shall our light “so shine before men that they may see our good works?”... I will not pronounce anything concerning the impossibility of a death-bed repentance, but I am sure that it is very difficult, and, I believe, very rare.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. II, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon XIV, p. 113, 557
(see the book; see also Ps. 119:60; Matt. 5:16; Mark 9:24; Luke 23:39-43; Col. 1:10-12; more at Belief, Day, God, Good works, Memory, Repentance, Service, Sin, Sloth, Understanding, Weakness)
Thursday, January 6, 2005
A scientist said, making a plea for exchange scholarships between nations, “The very best way to send an idea is to wrap it up in a person.” That was what happened at Christmas. The idea of divine love was wrapped up in a Person.
... Halford E. Luccock (1885-1960), “Whoops! It’s Christmas”, in Halford Luccock Treasury, New York: Abingdon, 1963, p. 380
(see the book; see also 1 John 4:9-10; Luke 4:18; John 5:22-23; 6:29; 8:29-42; more at Christmas, Incarnation, Love, People)
Friday, January 7, 2005
We rest on Thee, our shield and our defender!Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise;When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.
... Edith Gilling Cherry (1872-1897)
(see the book; see also Ps. 33:20; 115:9-12; 144:1-2; 2 Chr. 14:11; Isa. 40:28-31; Matt. 11:28-30; more at Battle, Church, Eternity, Praise, Rest, Victor)
Saturday, January 8, 2005
Commemoration of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Pete Fleming, martyrs, Ecuador, 1956
Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on Earth! I care not if I never raise my voice again for Him, if only I may love Him, please Him. Mayhap in mercy He shall give me a host of children that I may lead them through the vast star fields to explore His delicacies whose finger ends set them to burning. But if not, if only I may see Him, touch His garments, smile into His eyes—ah then, not stars nor children shall matter, only Himself.
... Jim Elliot (1927-1956), The Journals of Jim Elliot, ed. Elisabeth Elliot, Revell, 1990, p. 309
(see the book; see also Ps. 19:1; Dan. 7:13-14; Matt. 9:20-22; Luke 2:29-32; more at Child, Fullness, Knowing God, Mercy, Pleasure, Sight)
Sunday, January 9, 2005
The traditional worship setting is both the inspiration for faith and fellowship, and the barrier to it. Due only to Word and Sacrament—God’s ideas—is there any faith to be shared or truth to articulate. However, the very setting in which this is received instills the fear of expressing it informally.
... Paul G. Johnson (b. 1931), Buried Alive, Richmond: John Knox Press, 1968, p. 43
(see the book; see also Acts 2:42; Matt. 18:20; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1; 1 Cor. 11:17-22; 14:29-32; Heb. 10:22-25; Jude 1:17-20; more at Faith, Fellowship, God, Inspiration, Sacrament, Truth, Worship)
Monday, January 10, 2005
The ‘outsider’ who knows nothing of the mixture of tradition, conviction, honest difference, and hidden resentment, that lies behind the divisions of the Christian Church sees clearly the advantage of a united Christian front and cannot see why the Churches cannot ‘get together’. The problem is doubtless complicated, for there are many honest differences held with equal sincerity, but it is only made insoluble because the different denominations are (possibly unconsciously) imagining God to be Roman or Anglican or Baptist or Methodist or Presbyterian or what have you. If they could see beyond their little inadequate god, and glimpse the reality of God, they might even laugh a little and perhaps weep a little. The result would be a unity that actually does transcend differences, instead of ignoring them with public politeness and private contempt.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Your God is Too Small , Simon and Schuster, 2004, p. 40
(see the book; see also Neh. 4:4; Matt. 12:25; Rom. 15:5; 1 Cor. 1:10-13; more at Church, Contempt, Conviction, God, Laughter, Sight, Sincerity, Tradition, Unity, Weep)
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Commemoration of Mary Slessor, Missionary in West Africa, 1915
All love, in general, hath an assimilating efficacy; it casts the mind into the mould of the thing beloved... Every approach unto God by ardent love and delight is transfiguring.
... John Owen (1616-1683), V.1 in A Discourse Concerning Holy Spirit, bk. I-V , in Works of John Owen, v. III, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 585
(see the book; see also Ps. 30:4; 40:8; Zech. 9:17; more at God, Happiness, Love, Mind)
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Feast of Aelred of Hexham, Abbot of Rievaulx, 1167
Commemoration of Benedict Biscop, Abbot of Wearmouth, Scholar, 689
Although tares, or impure vessels, are found in the Church, yet this is not a reason why we should withdraw from it. It only behoves us to labour that we may be ... vessels of gold or of silver. But to break in pieces the vessels of earth belongs to the Lord alone, to whom a rod of iron is also given. Nor let any one arrogate to himself what is exclusively the province of the Son of God, by pretending to fan the floor, clear away the chaff, and separate all the tares by the judgment of man. This is proud obstinacy and sacrilegious presumption, originating in a corrupt frenzy.
... St. Cyprian (Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus) (?-258), Lib. 3, Ep. 5, to Maximus, quoted in The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. II, John Calvin & tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, IV.i.19, p. 240
(see the book; see also Matt. 13:24-30; Ps. 2:9; Rom. 9:22-25; 2 Cor. 4:7; 2 Tim. 2:20-21; 1 Pet. 1:7; Rev. 2:27; 3:18; more at Church, Corruption, God, Gold, Judgment, Man, Pride, Son, Work)
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Feast of Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, Teacher, 367
Commemoration of Kentigern (Mungo), Missionary Bishop in Strathclyde & Cumbria, 603
What think ye, is the Word of God to be fulfilled? Do you believe the Word of God? Do you believe what is fulfilled in the Word of God because it is fulfilled? or do you believe because God has said so? If you believe the past fulfillment because it is past, then you do not believe God. If you believe God, you must believe the future as well as the past.
... Adolph Saphir (1831-1891), Christ and Israel, London: Morgan and Scott, 1911, p. 129
(see the book; see also John 14:1-4; Ps. 27:1-3; 37:33; 1 Cor. 1:9; Tit. 1:2; more at Belief, Faith, Fulfillment, Future, God, Past, Prophecy)
Friday, January 14, 2005
Commemoration of Richard Meux Benson, Founder of the Society of St John the Evangelist, 1915
No one who is fit to live need fear to die. Poor, timorous, faithless souls that we are! How we shall smile at our vain alarms, when the worst has happened! To us here, death is the most terrible word we know. But when we have tasted its reality, it will mean to us birth, deliverance, a new creation of ourselves. It will be what health is to the sick man. It will be what home is to the exile. It will be what the loved one given back is to the bereaved. As we draw near to it, a great solemn gladness should fill our hearts. It is God’s great morning lighting up the sky.
... George Spring Merriam (1843-1914), A Living Faith , Boston: Lockwood, Brooks, and Company, 1876, p. 282
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:54-57; Rom. 2:7; 8:11; 14:8; Acts 20:24; 21:13; Phil. 2:17; 1 Thess. 5:10; more at Death, Deliverance, Faith, Fear, God, Home, Morning, Vanity)
Saturday, January 15, 2005
God appears, and God is LightTo those poor souls who dwell in night,But does a human form displayTo those who dwell in realms of day.
... William Blake (1757-1827), Poems of William Blake, ed. William Butler Yeats, London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1893, p. 472
(see the book; see also John 1:4-5; Isa. 9:2; 50:10; 60:1-3,19; Luke 2:30-32; John 8:12; 12:46; Eph. 5:8-14; 1 Pet. 2:9; 1 John 1:5-7; Rev. 22:5; more at Day, God, Jesus, Light, Night, Soul)
Sunday, January 16, 2005
Do little things as though they were great, because of the majesty of Jesus Christ who does them in us, and who lives our life: and do the greatest things as though they were little and easy, because of His omnipotence.
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) , P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, #553, p. 182
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:40-42; 18:5; 25:31-46;Mark 9:41; 12:42-43; Luke 9:48; John 14:12; Acts 5:15; 16:15; 19:11-12; Rom. 15:18-19; 2 Cor. 8:12; 2 Tim. 1:16-18; Heb. 6:10; 3 John 1:5-8; more at Christ, Compassion, Greatness, Jesus, Life, Obedience, Omnipotence)
Monday, January 17, 2005
Feast of Antony of Egypt, Abbot, 356
Commemoration of Charles Gore, Bishop, Teacher, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, 1932
Do we habitually remember how it offends our Lord to see divisions in the Christian Church, nations nominally Christian armed to the teeth against one another, class against class and individual against individual in fierce and relentless competition, jealousies among clergy and church-workers, communicants who forget that the sacrament of union with Christ is the sacrament of union with their fellow men?Christians are to be the makers of Christ’s peace. Something we can all do [is] to reconcile individuals, families, classes, churches, nations. The question is, Are we, as churchmen and citizens, by work and by prayer, in our private conduct and our public action, doing our utmost with deliberate, calculated, unsparing effort? If so, our benediction is of the highest: it is to be, and to be acknowledged as being, sons of God.
... Charles Gore (1853-1932), The Sermon on the Mount , London: John Murray, 1905, p. 43
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:9,23-26; Rom. 8:14; 15:5-7; 1 Cor. 1:13; more at Church, Conduct, Peace, Prayer, Reconciliation, Remembrance, Sacrament, Son, Work)
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Feast of the Confession of Saint Peter the Apostle
Commemoration of Amy Carmichael, Founder of the Dohnavur Fellowship, 1951
God’s care is more evident in some instances of [His providence] than in others to the dim and often bewildered vision of humanity. Upon such instances men seize and call them providences. It is well that they can; but it would be gloriously better if they could believe that the whole matter is one grand providence.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood, v. I , London: Strahan & Co., 1873, p. 17
(see the book; more at Providence)
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Commemoration of Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, 1095
The injection of the Word into our lives provides individual or corporate direction in all we do and say.
... Ted W. Engstrom (1916-2006), former president, World Vision US, in a private communication from World Vision
(see also Isa. 59:21; Luke 11:28; John 1:14; Rom. 10:17; Heb. 4:12; Rev. 19:13; more at Direction, Instruction, Obedience, Scripture)
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Commemoration of Richard Rolle of Hampole, Writer, Hermit, Mystic, 1349
I have often, on my knees, been shocked to find what sort of thoughts I have, for a moment, been addressing to God; what infantile placations I was really offering, what claims I have really made, even what absurd adjustments or compromises I was, half-consciously, proposing. There is a Pagan, savage heart in me somewhere. For unfortunately the folly and idiot-cunning of Paganism seem to have far more power of surviving than its innocent or even beautiful elements. It is easy, once you have power, to silence the pipes, still the dances, disfigure the statues, and forget the stories; but not easy to kill the savage, the greedy, frightened creature now cringing, now blustering in one’s soul.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Reflections on the Psalms, Edinburgh: James Thin, 1958; G. Bles, 1958, p. 97-98
(see the book; see also Isa. 6:5-8; Judg. 10:15; Ps. 40:12; 69:5; more at God, Greed, Heart, Offering, Pagan, Power, Prayer, Soul, Thought)
Friday, January 21, 2005
Feast of Agnes, Child Martyr at Rome, 304
It is not in the gifts He received but in the virtues He practiced that Christ is our model. That which is asked of you, so that you may resemble Him, is to make the same use as He did of the gifts of God, according to the measure in which you have received them.
... Jean Nicolas Grou (1731-1803), quoted in The Light of Christ, Evelyn Underhill, New York: Longmans, Green, 1949, p. 101
(see the book; see also John 6:32-35; Matt. 11:29; John 13:15; Rom. 15:5-6; Eph. 5:1-2; Phil. 3:10-11; 1 Pet. 2:21; 1 John 2:6; 3:2; more at Christ, Gifts, God, Jesus, Virtue)
Saturday, January 22, 2005
The Christian Church does not want and does not need members because of a job it has to do. The Christian Church has a secret at her heart and she wants to share it. Whenever one, by repentance and forgiveness, enters this community of grace, he discovers life’s end, and he too will be constrained to let this life flow out in appropriate channels. Thrilling and costly projects will come into existence, but not as ends in themselves, and the group will not become a means to [such ends]. The group will never forget that one of its primary functions is to upbuild the members in love.
... William T. Ham, “Candles of the Lord”, in Spiritual Renewal through Personal Groups, John L. Casteel, ed., NY: Association Press, 1957, p. 182
(see the book; see also Rom. 15:1-2; Acts 20:32; 1 Cor. 8:1-2; 2 Cor. 5:1; Phil. 2:4; Col. 1:24; 1 Thess. 5:11; 1 Pet. 2:4-5; more at Church, Community, Discovery, Forgiveness, Grace, Life, Love, Need, Repentance)
Sunday, January 23, 2005
Commemoration of Phillips Brooks, Bishop of Massachusetts, spiritual writer, 1893
If man is man and God is God, to live without prayer is not merely an awful thing: it is an infinitely foolish thing.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Addresses, Philadelphia: Henry Altemus, 1895, p. 138
(see the book; see also Luke 12:16-21; Ps. 14:1; Prov. 14:16; 1 Thess. 5:17; more at Folly, God, Man, Prayer)
Monday, January 24, 2005
Feast of François de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, Teacher, 1622
Complain as little as possible of your wrongs, for, as a general rule you may be sure that complaining is sin: [because] self-love always magnifies our injuries.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), Introduction to the Devout Life , London: Rivingtons, 1876, III.iii, p. 139
(see the book; see also Phil. 2:14-16; Rom. 4:2; Gal. 6:2; Phil. 2:4; 2 Tim. 3:2-4; Philemon 1:18; Jas. 5:9; 1 Pet. 2:12,20; 1 John 3:17; more at Affliction, Complaint, Selfish, Sin)
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Feast of the Conversion of Paul
The God of Pharisaism was like the God of the Deists, He stood aloof from the world He had made, and let law take its course. He did not here and now deal with sinful men. Paul lets us see how new and wonderful was the experience when God “flashed on his heart” in personal dealing with him. He had not suspected that God was like that. His theological studies had told him that God was loving and merciful; but he had thought this love and mercy were expressed once and for all in the arrangements He had made for Israel’s blessedness... It was a new thing to be assured by an inward experience admitting of no further question that God loved him, and that the eternal mercy was a Father’s free forgiveness of His erring child. This was the experience that Christ had brought him: he had seen the splendour of God’s own love in the face of “the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” [Continued tomorrow]
... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 74-75
(see the book; see also Gal. 2:19-20; Rom. 5:6-8; 8:1-2,35-39; II Cor. 4:6; 5:14-15, 18-19; Eph. 1:4-7; 2:4-10; 3:18-19; 5:1-2; Col. 1:13-15; more at Conversion, Experience, Forgiveness, God, Heart, Israel, Law, Love, Mercy, Pharisaism, Theology)
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Feast of Timothy and Titus, Companions of Paul
Commemoration of Dorothy Kerin, Founder of the Burrswood Healing Community, 1963
[Continued from yesterday]What knowledge of Jesus Christ and His teaching lay behind the flash of enlightenment it is now impossible for us to say: but it is clear that the God whom Paul met was the “Father” of Jesus’ own Gospel parables, the Shepherd who goes after the one sheep until He finds it. It was the God, in fact, whom the whole of the life of Jesus set forth, to the astonishment of those among whom He moved. Loving still, He brought God to men in the same unmistakable way. The divine love that through Jesus had found Zacchaeus the publican had now through the risen Jesus found Paul the Pharisee. Henceforward the central facts of life for Paul were that while he was yet a sinner God had found and forgiven him, and that this was the work of Jesus Christ in whose love the love of God had become plain.
... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 75
(see the book; see also Rom. 5:6-8; Luke 15:4-6; 19:2-9; Rom. 8:35-39; 2 Cor. 5:14-15,18-19; Col. 1:13-15; Eph. 1:4-7; 2:4-10; 3:18-19; 5:1-2; more at Conversion, Forgiveness, Gospel, Jesus, Knowledge, Love, Pharisaism, Sinner)
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.
... Billy Sunday (1862-1935), “Billy” Sunday, the man and his message, William T. Ellis, Philadelphia: John C. Winston Co., 1917, p. 155
(see the book; see also Isa. 1:13,14; more at Church)
Friday, January 28, 2005
Feast of Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Teacher of the Faith, 1274
It is clear that he does not pray, who, far from uplifting himself to God, requires that God shall lower Himself to him, and who resorts to prayer not to stir the man in us to will what God wills, but only to persuade God to will what the man in us wills.
... Thomas Aquinas (1225?-1274)
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 4:1-2; Ps. 40:8; Matt. 6:10; 7:21; John 4:34; Rom. 8:26; 12:2; Eph. 6:18; more at God, Man, Prayer, Will of God)
Saturday, January 29, 2005
To stand on one leg and prove God’s existence is a very different thing from going on one’s knees and thanking Him.
... Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Journals, ed. Alexander Dru, Oxford University Press, 1959, p. 91
(see the book; see also Eph. 5:19-20; Ps. 35:18; Acts 18:28; 19:8; Rom. 1:18-20; 1 Cor. 1:17-23; 2:6-10; Phil. 4:6; Col. 3:17; 1 Thess. 5:18; 2 Thess. 1:3; 1 Tim. 6:20-21; 2 Pet. 1:16; more at Existence, God, Prayer, Proof, Thanksgiving)
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Commemoration of Lesslie Newbigin, Bishop, Missionary, Teacher, 1998
Whatever task God is calling us to, if it is yours, it is mine, and if it is mine, it is yours. We must do it together—or be cast aside together, as God in his absolute freedom goes on by other means to use His Church in hastening His Kingdom.
... Howard Hewlett Clark (1903-1983), Foreword to Anglican Congress 1963: Report of Proceedings, Eugene Rathbone Fairweather, ed., Editorial Committee, Anglican Congress, 1963, p. xiii
(see the book; see also Gal. 6:2; Matt. 23:11; Mark 10:43-44; Rom. 12:4-5; 15:1; 1 Pet. 2:24; more at Call, Church, God, Kingdom, Task)
Monday, January 31, 2005
Commemoration of John Bosco, Priest, Founder of the Salesian Teaching Order, 1888
The axioms of reason are non-demonstrable assumptions. Why should faith not be granted the same privilege? “... The denial of [the truths of] faith is, no less a faith than faith itself..., for it rests on an assumption of a personal kind, which is apart from all scientific necessity.” As the truth of reason carries its own evidence, so also with faith. To the mind to whom the axioms of reason are not self-evident, they cannot be proven. So also in the case of faith... For the mind that knows no faith [the evidence of faith] is ridiculous. But for the man whose eyes have been [enlightened by the Spirit], faith has its proper evidence, though it is a different kind of evidence from that of reason... The only sufficient ground of faith is the authority of God Himself as he addresses me in His Word.
... Paul K. Jewett (1919-1991), Emil Brunner’s Concept of Revelation, London: J. Clarke, 1954, p. 112
(see the book; see also Ps. 12:6; Deut. 6:6-7; 29:29; 30:11-14; Ps. 18:30; 85:8; 102:18; 119:105; Matt. 22:43; 1 Cor. 2:12-13; 15:3-5; Heb. 4:12; 2 Pet. 1:16,21; more at Apologetics, Faith, God, Holy Spirit, Proof, Reason, Truth)
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