Quotations for May, 2007
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Feast of Philip & James, Apostles
Here is opened to us the true reason of the whole process of our Saviour’s incarnation, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension into Heaven. It was because fallen man was to go through all these stages as necessary parts of his return to God; and therefore, if man was to go out of his fallen state, there must be a son of this fallen man, who, as a head and fountain of the whole race, could do all this, could go back through all these gates, and so make it possible for all the individuals of human nature, as being born of Him, to inherit His conquering nature, and follow Him through all these passages to eternal life. And thus we see, in the strongest and clearest light, both why and how the holy Jesus is become our great Redeemer.
... William Law (1686-1761), An Appeal to All that Doubt , in Works of Rev. William Law, v. VI, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 144
(see the book; see also Matt. 7:13-14; more at Ascension, Death & Resurrection, Eternal life, Incarnation, Jesus, Passion of Christ, Redemption)
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Feast of St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, Teacher, 373
To be right with God has often meant to be in trouble with men.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)
(see the book; see also John 15:18-21; more at God, Man, Righteousness, Trouble, Weakness)
Thursday, May 3, 2007
I read the words and ponder them, but most of all I look at Jesus and try to understand His life, when I want to know the fullest truth regarding God. And when thus I look at Him, what do I learn? First of all, the true divinity of Christ Himself. I cannot doubt what is His own conception of His own personality. Through everything He does, through everything He says, there shines the quiet, intense radiance of conscious Godhood. Again, I say, it is not a word or two which He utters, though He does say things which make known His self-consciousness, but it is a certain sense of originalness, of being, as it were, behind the processes of things, and one with the real source of things,—this is what has impressed mankind in Jesus, and been the real power of their often puzzled but never abandoned faith in His Divinity. He has appeared to men, in some way, as He appears to us today, to be not merely the channel but the fountain of Love and Wisdom and Power, of Pity and Inspiration and Hope... The wonderful thing about this sense of Divinity as it appears in Jesus is its naturalness, the absence of surprise or of any feeling of violence. [Continued tomorrow]
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Life and letters of Phillips Brooks, v. III, Alexander V. G. Allen, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1901, p. 104-105
(see the book; see also Mark 1:21-22; more at Jesus)
Friday, May 4, 2007
Feast of English Saints & Martyrs of the Reformation
[Continued from yesterday]We might have said beforehand, if we had been told that God was coming into a man’s life, ... “That must be something very terrible and awful. That certainly must rend and tear the life to which God comes. At least, it will separate it and make it unnatural and strange. God fills a bush with His glory and it burns. God enters into the great mountain, and it rocks with earthquake. When he comes to occupy a man, He must distract the humanity which He occupies into some inhuman shape.” Instead of that, this new life into which God comes, seems to be the most quietly, naturally human life that was ever seen upon the earth. It glides into its place like sunlight. It seems to make it evident that God and man are essentially so near together, that the meeting of their natures in the life of a God-man is not strange. So always does Christ deal with His own nature, accepting His Divinity as you and I accept our humanity, and letting it shine out through the envelope with which it has most subtly and mysteriously mingled, as the soul is mingled with and shines out through the body.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Life and letters of Phillips Brooks, v. III, Alexander V. G. Allen, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1901, p. 105
(see the book; see also Mark 2:24-28; more at Jesus)
Saturday, May 5, 2007
It was only in the light of Easter that the disciples understood Jesus’ work and intention; they now realized that the Messiah had to undergo rejection and suffering, that he was to conquer not Rome but death and evil. We have no reason to mistrust the New Testament assurance. The Easter message and the historical Jesus are joined by a bridge resting on many piers. Jesus proclaimed the good news of the presence of God who, like a forgiving father, seeks his lost children and grants even sinners the company of the Redeemer; the disciples preached the Gospel of Christ, who appeared as Saviour and died on the cross for sinners. In the Holy Spirit Jesus drove out unclean spirits and conquered Satan; from Easter onwards he was extolled as the Lord of all spirits, who gives the Holy Spirit to believers and in him is everpresent with them.
... Otto Betz (1917-2005), What Do We Know About Jesus?, translation of Was wissen wir von Jesus?, 1965, London, S.C.M. Press, 1968, p. 114
(see the book; see also Acts 2:22-24; more at Easter)
Sunday, May 6, 2007
Jesus Christ suffered and died to sanctify death and suffering; ... he has been all that was great, and all that was abject, in order to sanctify in himself all things except sin, and to be the model of every condition.
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), in a letter Pensées (Thoughts) , P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, p. 338
(see the book; see also Isa. 53:6-11; more at Christ, Death, Jesus, Perfection, Sanctification, Sin, Suffer)
Monday, May 7, 2007
Jesus is honey in the mouth, music in the ear, a song of gladness in the heart.
... Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), On the love of God, Newman Press, 1951, p. 110
(see the book; see also Phil. 2:5-11; more at Jesus)
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Feast of Juliana of Norwich, Mystic, Teacher, c.1417
And what might this noble Lord do of more worship and joy to me than to show me (that am so simple) this marvelous homeliness [i.e., naturalness and simplicity]? ... Thus it fareth with our Lord Jesus and with us. For truly it is the most joy that may be that He that is highest and mightiest, noblest and worthiest, is lowest and meekest, homeliest and most courteous: and truly this marvelous joy shall be shewn us all when we see Him.
... Juliana of Norwich (1342?-1417), Revelations of Divine Love, Grace Harriet Warrack, ed., Methuen, 1901, ch. VII
(see the book; see also Matt. 20:25-28; more at Jesus)
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Jesus ventured to trust God far beyond the degree that any other man had trusted God. Abraham, Moses, and David were valiant believers, but compared to Jesus they were timid souls. Consider the human disappointments Jesus endured: rejected in his home town, harassed and persecuted by the religious leaders of his nation, misunderstood by his own family, betrayed with a kiss and abandoned by all his followers. Yet through it all Jesus never complained or rebelled against God; he trusted God even on the cross. Psalm 34 sets forth Jesus’ pioneering discovery of God’s faithfulness and delivering power. Thus Jesus was “delivered from all his fears” (v 4), “saved ... out of all his troubles” (v 6), “delivered out of all his afflictions” (v 19).Certainly Jesus is our primary teacher and example in trusting God. If David could teach his followers to trust in God, how much more Jesus. As we see the steadfast faith of our Lord through weariness, disappointment, rejection, and even death on a cross, we cannot but be encouraged to believe that God can deliver us through our small trials. That is why we should run the race set before us looking unto Jesus.
... John R. Cogdell, “The humanity of Jesus Christ, as revealed in certain Psalms”, section II
(see the book; see also Ps. 34; more at Betrayal, Cross, Death, Deliverance, Disappointment, Faith, Jesus, Persecution, Steadfast, Trust)
Thursday, May 10, 2007
When Christ was in the world, He was despised by men; in the hour of need He was forsaken by acquaintances and left by friends to the depths of scorn. He was willing to suffer and to be despised; do you dare to complain of anything? He had enemies and defamers; do you want everyone to be your friend, your benefactor? How can your patience be rewarded if no adversity tests it? How can you be a friend of Christ if you are not willing to suffer any hardship? Suffer with Christ and for Christ if you wish to reign with Him.Had you but once entered into perfect communion with Jesus or tasted a little of His ardent love, you would care nothing at all for your own comfort or discomfort but would rejoice in the reproach you suffer; for love of Him makes a man despise himself.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, II.i..5, p. 85
(see the book; see also Mark 13:13; Acts 9:15-16; Rom. 15:3; more at Christ, Jesus, Love, Scorn, Suffer)
Friday, May 11, 2007
Jesus’ good news, then, was that the Kingdom of God had come, and that he, Jesus, was its herald and expounder to men. More than that, in some special and mysterious way, he was the kingdom.
... Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990), Jesus: the Man who Lives, London: Collins, 1975, p. 61
(see the book; see also John 3:2-3; more at Jesus)
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Commemoration of Aiden Wilson Tozer, Spiritual Writer, 1963
God is not a deceiver, that he should offer to support us, and then, when we lean upon Him, should slip away from us.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
(see also Ps. 46:1-3; more at Dependence, God, Offering, Weakness)
Sunday, May 13, 2007
When Jesus takes possession of our lives it is not only that the past is forgotten and forgiven; if that were all, we might well proceed to make the same mess of life all over again; but into life there enters this new power which enables us to be what by ourselves we could never be, and to do what by ourselves we could never do. Water and the Spirit stand for the cleansing and the strengthening power of Christ, which wipes out the past and which gives us victory in the future.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), The Gospel of John, v. 1, Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 1965, p. 119
(see the book; see also John 3:5; more at Conversion)
Monday, May 14, 2007
Feast of Matthias the Apostle
If the ordinary canons of history, used in every other case, hold good in this case, Jesus is undoubtedly an historical person. If he is not an historical person, the only alternative is that there is no such thing as history at all—it is delirium, nothing else; and a rational being would be better employed in the collection of snuff-boxes. And if history is impossible, so is all other knowledge.
... T. R. Glover (1869-1943), The Christian Tradition and its Verification, New York: Macmillan, 1913, p. 198
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 1:8-10; more at Apologetics)
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Commemoration of Charles Williams, Spiritual Writer, 1945
[Every] contrition for sin is apt to encourage a not quite charitable wish that other people should exhibit a similar contrition.
... Charles Williams (1886-1945), The Descent of the Dove: a history of the Holy Spirit in the church, Meridian Books, 1956, p. 86-87
(see the book; see also Matt. 23:2-12; Rom. 2:3; more at Repentance)
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Commemoration of Caroline Chisholm, Social Reformer, 1877
In saying God is there, we are saying God exists, and not just talking about the word god, or the idea god. We are speaking of the proper relationship to the living God who exists. In order to understand the problems of our generation, we should be very alive to this distinction.Semantics (linguistic analysis) makes up the heart of modern philosophical study in the Anglo-Saxon world. Though the Christian cannot accept this study as a total philosophy, there is no reason why he should not be glad for the concept that words need to be defined before they can be used in communication. As Christians, we must understand that there is no word so meaningless as the word god until it is defined. No word has been used to reach absolutely opposite concepts as much as the word god. Consequently, let us not be confused. There is much “spirituality” about us today that would relate itself to the word god or to the idea god; but this is not what we are talking about. Biblical truth and spirituality is not a relationship to the word god, or to the idea god. It is a relationship to the One who is there. This is an entirely different concept.
... Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984), The God Who is There , in The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy, Good News Publishers, 1990, p. 158
(see the book; see also Ps. 32:8; more at Apologetics)
Thursday, May 17, 2007
God has called the laity to be his basic ministers. He has called some to be “player-coaches” ... to equip the laity for the ministry they are to fulfill. This equipping ministry is of unique importance. One is appointed to this ministry by the Holy Spirit; therefore it must be undertaken with utmost seriousness.This is a radical departure from the traditional understanding of the roles of the laity and the clergy. The laity had the idea that they were already committed to a “full-time” vocation in the secular world, [and] thus they did not have time—at least, much time—to do God’s work. Therefore they contributed money to “free” the clergy to have the time needed to fulfill God’s ministry. This view is rank heresy. If we follow this pattern, we may continue to do God’s work until the Lord comes again and never fulfill God’s purpose as it ought to be done.
... Findley B. Edge (1916-2002), The Greening of the Church, Waco, Tex.: Word Books, 1971, p. 43
(see the book; see also Acts 8:20,21; more at Church)
Friday, May 18, 2007
There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual walk with God. Those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it; yet I do not advise you to do it from that motive.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, p. 31
(see the book; see also Gal. 5:16-18; more at Prayer)
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Feast of Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, 988
Can the love of Christ move a Christian to fruitful, effective, full-time, unpaid service to those who belong to Him? I have no hesitation in answering, Yes, it can, and it must. St. Paul wrote, “The very spring of our actions is the love of Christ. We look at it this way: if one died for all men, then in a sense, they all died; and his purpose in dying for them is that their lives should now be no longer lived for themselves but for Him who died and rose again for them.” There is the motive. Can anyone doubt that St. Paul’s ministry was fruitful—in wisdom, in Christ-like character, in testimony to the power of the Spirit of Christ—or effective—in conversions, in churches planted, in men raised up to carry on the work? Yet St. Paul spent long hours working with his hands to support himself. He served Christ, therefore, as an “amateur.” Dare we say he was not really a “full time” worker? Or was he not really “unpaid”?
... Robert MacColl Adams (1913-1985), “Amateur Ministry”
(see the book; more at Attitudes)
Sunday, May 20, 2007
The idol-maker may know, more or less clearly, that he is only giving shape to the half-formed concept of God in his head; that his images are solid metaphors—what we call symbols. The skeptical Greek philosopher may remind us that, after all, the image of Athena is only a symbol, only a means of fixing one’s rambling thoughts upon the spirit that is Athena. Yet the idolater will persist in losing sight of the forest for the trees, and the god for the image. The gold and ivory statue of Athena becomes holy in itself, an answerer of prayer, a mysterious source of power, a material object somehow different from other objects. The crucifix, the plaster image, the saint’s relic or miraculous medal or cheaply and illegibly printed Bible may become themselves things considered holy and magical, able to stop a bullet. Worse yet, the god confined in an image is a shrunken and powerless god. Because you have limited your concept of God to a man shape on a carved crucifix, you may be in danger of inferring that you are free to outrage the man shapes walking and breathing around you. Because you worship the god in a specially baked wafer and a specially designed chalice, you may forget to worship the God of all bread and all wine.
... Joy Davidman (1915-1960), Smoke on the Mountain, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1955, reprint, Westminster John Knox Press, 1985, p. 32-33
(see the book; see also Col. 3:5; more at Legalism)
Monday, May 21, 2007
Feast of Commemoration of Helena, Protector of the Faith, 330
The heart’s slavish and dogged devotion to its idol is what fathers of the Church have called “the bondage of the will.” This bondage becomes most painfully apparent in our lives when we earnestly feel the need of changing but cannot; when we are attracted to another value that for one reason or another conflicts with the desires of our true god—that value nearest and dearest to us. But our true god lies so deeply inside us that often we are not even consciously aware of its presence or of what it actually is.
... Robert L. Short (1932-2009), The Parables of Peanuts , New York: HarperCollins, 2002, p. 90
(see the book; see also Gal. 4:8-11; more at Sin)
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
This autonomy of man, this attempt of the Ego to understand itself out of itself, is the lie concerning man which we call sin. The truth about man is that his ground is not in himself but in God—that his essence is not in self sufficient reason but in the Word, in the challenge of God, in responsibility, not in self-sufficiency. The true being of man is realized when he bases himself upon God’s Word. Faith is then not an impossibility or a salto mortale [mortal leap], but that which is truly natural; and the real salto mortale (a mortal leap indeed!) is just the assertion of autonomy, self-sufficiency, God-likeness. [It is] through this usurped independence [that] man separates himself from God, and at the same time isolates himself from his fellows. Individualism is the necessary consequence of rational autonomy, just as love is the necessary consequence of faith.
... Emil Brunner (1889-1966), The Word and the World, London: Student Christian Movement Press, 1931, p. 68-69
(see the book; see also 1 John 5:19; more at Authenticity)
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Commemoration of Petroc, Abbot of Padstow, 6th century
However the gospel may be defended, it cannot be defended by concessions which deprive it of its essence or which detract from our Saviour’s title to be called The Word of God.
... F. F. Bruce (1910-1990/1), The Apostolic Defense of the Gospel, London: Inter-Varsity Press, 1959, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959, p. 103
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 4:13,14; more at Apologetics)
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Feast of John and Charles Wesley, Priests, Poets, Teachers, 1791 & 1788
JESUS, the infinite I AM,With God essentially the same,With him enthroned above all height,As God of God, and Light of Light,Thou art by thy great Father known,From all eternity his Son. Thou only dost the Father know,And wilt to all Thy followers show,Who cannot doubt Thy gracious willHis glorious Godhead to reveal;Reveal Him now, if Thou art He,And live, eternal Life, in me.
... Charles Wesley (1707-1788), The Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley, v. X, John Wesley, London: Wesleyan-Methodist Conference Office, 1871, p. 252-253
(see the book; see also Matt. 11:27; John 8:58; more at Eternity, Everlasting, Father, God, Infinite, Jesus, Life, Light, Revelation, Son)
Friday, May 25, 2007
Feast of the Venerable Bede, Priest, Monk of Jarrow, Historian, 735
Commemoration of Aldhelm, Abbot of Mamsbury, Bishop of Sherborne, 709
As we shared together our feelings about the study groups, we realized that we were not meeting together each week for an intellectual exercise. Something very real and significant was taking place. We were coming to know that the Christian faith is not primarily an ethic. It is not the struggle to do good or be good, but an encounter with Christ, of which morality and ethical living are by-products.
... Harold R. Fray, Jr., “The Spirit Making New”, in Spiritual Renewal through Personal Groups, John L. Casteel, ed., NY: Association Press, 1957, p. 72
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 5:2,3; more at Religion)
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Feast of Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, 605
Commemoration of Arthur John Gossip, spiritual writer, 1954
Wherever there are three persons, even though they are laymen, there is the church. Every man lives by his own faith, and God does not distinguish between classes... Since, in cases of necessity, you have the right to act as a priest, then you must also accept priestly discipline... It is God’s will that all of us should be in the right spiritual state, at any time or place, to administer His sacraments.
... Tertullian (Quintus S. Florens Tertullianus) (160?-230?), The Writings of Quintus Sept. Flor. Tertullianus, v. III, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1870, p. 11-12
(see the book; see also Matt. 18:19,20; more at Church)
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Commemoration of John Calvin, renewer of the Church, 1564
However these deeds of men are judged in themselves, still the Lord accomplished his work through them alike when he broke the bloody scepters of arrogant kings and when he overturned intolerable governments. Let the princes hear and be afraid. But we must, in the meantime, be very careful not to despise or violate that authority of magistrates, full of venerable majesty, which God has established by the weightiest decrees, even though it may reside with the most unworthy men, who defile it as much as they can with their own wickedness. For, if the correction of unbridled despotism is the Lord’s to avenge, let us not at once think that it is entrusted to us, to whom no command has been given except to obey and suffer.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. II, tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, IV.xx.31, p. 661-662
(see the book; see also Ps. 2:7-12; Rom. 13:1-7; Tit. 3:1; more at Providence)
Monday, May 28, 2007
Commemoration of Lanfranc, Prior of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1089
Only he who flings himself upward when the pull comes to drag him down, can hope to break the force of temptation. Temptation may be an invitation to hell, but much more is it an opportunity to reach heaven. At the moment of temptation, sin and righteousness are both very near the Christian; but, of the two, the latter is the nearer.
... Charles H. Brent (1862-1929), With God in the World , London: Longmans Green, 1914, p. 49-50
(see the book; see also Heb. 12:3,4; more at Sin)
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
One encounter with Jesus Christ is enough to change you, instantly, forever.
... Luis Palau (b. 1934), in a private communication from the Luis Palau Association
(see also Matt. 9:9; Gal. 4:4-9; more at Christ, Conversion, Eternity, Jesus)
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Feast of Josephine Butler, Social Reformer, 1906
Commemoration of Joan of Arc, Visionary, 1431
Commemoration of Apolo Kivebulaya, Priest, Evangelist, 1933
How often do we look upon God as our last and feeblest resource! We go to Him because we have nowhere else to go. And then we learn that the storms of life have driven us, not upon the rocks, but into the desired haven.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood, v. I , London: Strahan & Co., 1873, p. 353
(see the book; see also Ps. 107:21-30; Matt. 8:24-27; Mark 4:36-41; Rom. 8:28; more at Affliction, God, Guidance, Life, Weakness)
Thursday, May 31, 2007
The primitive Christians were accustomed to speak, in a language which was older than Christianity, of being “in the Spirit”—as though Spirit were an ethereal atmosphere surrounding the soul, and breathed in as the body breathes in the air. Paul, too, used this expression, but he placed alongside it a parallel form of words, “in Christ” or “in Christ Jesus.” Where we find these words used we are being reminded of the intimate union with Christ which makes the Christian life an eternal life lived in the midst of time. The deeper shade of meaning would often be conveyed to our minds if we translated the phrase “in communion with Christ.”But, Paul’s Christ mysticism is saved from the introverted individualism of many forms of mysticism by his insistence that communion with Christ is also communion with all who are Christ’s.
... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 129-130, 142-143
(see the book; see also Gal. 3:26-27; more at Holy Spirit)
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