Quotations for May, 2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Feast of Philip & James, Apostles
Our calling is not primarily to be holy women, but to work for God and for others with Him. Our holiness is an effect, not a cause; so long as our eyes are on our own personal whiteness as an end in itself, the thing breaks down. God can do nothing while my interest is in my own personal character—He will take care of this if I obey His call. In learning to love God and people as He commanded us to do, obviously your sanctification cannot but come, but not as an end in itself.
... Florence Allshorn (1887-1950), The Notebooks of Florence Allshorn, London: SCM Press, 1957, p. 27-28
(see the book; see also Acts 26:14-18; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; Heb. 9:14; Rev. 7:14; more at Call, God, Holiness, Knowing God, Love, Obedience, Sanctification, Service, Woman, Work)
Monday, May 2, 2011
Feast of St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, Teacher, 373
You know what happens when a portrait that has been painted on a panel becomes obliterated through external stains. The artist does not throw away the panel, but the subject of the portrait has to come and sit for it again, and then the likeness is re-drawn on the same material. Even so was it with the All-holy son of God. He, the Image of the Father, came and dwelt in our midst, in order that he might renew mankind made after Himself, and seek out His lost sheep, even as He says in the Gospel: “I came to seek and to save that which was lost.” This also explains His saying to the Jews: “Except a man be born anew...” He was not referring to a man’s natural birth from his mother, as they thought, but to the re-birth and re-creation of the soul in the Image of God.
... St. Athanasius (293?-373), The Incarnation of the Word of God [4th century], St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1996, XIV, p. 41-42
(see the book; see also Luke 5:31-32; 19:10; John 1:14; 3:3; Rom. 5:6; Gal. 6:15; Tit. 3:5; Heb. 7:25; 1 Pet. 1:23; more at Father, God, Gospel, Man, Renewal, Son)
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
He may well be loved, but not thought. By love may He be gotten and held; but by thought never. And therefore, though it be good sometimes to think of the kindness and the worthiness of God especially, and although it be a light and a part of contemplation: nevertheless yet in this work it shall be cast down and covered with a cloud of forgetting. And thou shalt step above it stalwartly, but deftly, with a devout and a pleasing stirring of love, and try to pierce that darkness above thee. And smite upon that thick cloud of unknowing with a sharp dart of longing love; and do not give up, whatever befalleth.
... The Cloud of Unknowing 14th century, ed. Evelyn Underhill, ch. 6
(see the book; see also Isa. 55:8-9; Matt. 5:6; 11:25; Rom. 11:33; 1 John 4:13; more at Contemplation, Forget, God, Goodness, Kindness, Knowing God, Longing, Love, Thought)
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Feast of English Saints & Martyrs of the Reformation
God is not disillusioned with us. He never had any illusions to begin with.
... Luis Palau (b. 1934), in a private communication from the Luis Palau Association
(see also Ps. 44:20-21; 90:8; John 1:5; 3:19; 1 John 3:18-20; more at Beginning, God, Illusions, Knowledge)
Thursday, May 5, 2011
400th anniversary of the Authorized (King James) Version of the Bible
We desire that the Scripture may speake like it selfe, as in the language of Canaan, that it may bee understood even of the very vulgar.Many other things we might give thee warning of (gentle Reader) if we had not exceeded the measure of a Preface alreadie. It remaineth, that we commend thee to God, and to the Spirit of his grace, which is able to build further then we can aske or thinke. He removeth the scales from our eyes, the vaile from our hearts, opening our wits that we may understand his word, enlarging our hearts, yea correcting our affections, that we may love it above gold and silver, yea that we may love it to the end.
... Miles Smith (1554-1624), in the preface to The Authorised Version of the English Bible , Cambridge: The University Press, 1909, p. 29
(see the book; see also Luke 24:44-45; Acts 26:17-18; 2 Cor. 4:6; Eph. 5:13-14; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; more at God, Gold, Heart, Holy Spirit, Love, Scripture, Understanding)
Friday, May 6, 2011
If the spiritual life be healthy, under the full power of the Holy Spirit, praying without ceasing will be natural.
... Andrew Murray (1828-1917), The Ministry of Intercession: a plea for more prayer, New York: Revell, 1898, p. 192
(see the book; see also Luke 18:1; 21:36; Rom. 12:12; Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:17; more at Health, Holy Spirit, Power, Prayer, Spiritual life)
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Christian life properly began with Baptism, for Baptism was the convert’s confession before men, the soldier’s oath (sacramentum) which enlisted him in the service of Christ. Till that decisive step was taken, he could not be more than a friendly heathen.
... Henry M. Gwatkin (1844-1916), Early Church History to A.D. 312, v. I, London: Macmillan, 1912, p. 248
(see the book; see also Mark 1:8; 16:16; Acts 2:38-41; 8:36-38; 10:47-48; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; more at Baptism, Christ, Conversion, Heathen, Life, Service)
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Feast of Juliana of Norwich, Mystic, Teacher, c.1417
Commemoration of Dallas Willard, Teacher, Spiritual Writer, 2013
For our soul is so specially loved of Him that is highest, that it overpasseth the knowing of all creatures: that is to say, there is no creature that is made that may [fully] know how much and how sweetly and how tenderly our Maker loveth us.
... Juliana of Norwich (1342?-1417), Revelations of Divine Love, Grace Harriet Warrack, ed., Methuen, 1901, I.vi, p. 14
(see the book; see also Rom. 5:8-9; Eph. 2:4-5; 1 John 3:1; 4:7-10,15-16,19; more at God, Knowledge, Love, Soul)
Monday, May 9, 2011
The church is to judge whether a man is a Christian on the basis of his doctrine, the propositional content of his faith, and then his credible profession of faith. When a man comes before a local church that is doing its job, he will be quizzed on the content of what he believes. If, for example, a church is conducting a heresy trial (the New Testament indicates there are to be heresy trials in the church of Christ), the question of heresy will turn on the content of the man’s doctrine. The church has a right to judge, in fact it is commanded to judge, a man on the content of what he believes and teaches.
... Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984), The Mark of the Christian, Inter-Varsity Press, 1976, p. 16
(see the book; see also Matt. 7:15; Rom. 16:17-18; Gal. 1:6-7; 3:1; 1 Tim. 4:16; 2 Tim. 4:3; Tit. 3:10-11; 2 John 1:9-11; more at Belief, Bible, Christ, Church, Faith, Heresy, Judgment, Man, Teach, Trial)
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
While extremely sensitive as to the slightest approach to slander, you must also guard against an extreme into which some people fall who, in their desire to speak evil of no one, actually uphold and speak well of vice. If you have to do with one who is unquestionably a slanderer, do not excuse him by calling him frank and free-spoken; do not call one who is notoriously vain, liberal and elegant; do not call dangerous levities mere simplicity; do not screen disobedience under the name of zeal; or arrogance of frankness; or evil intimacy of friendship. No, my friends, we must never, in our wish to shun slander, foster or flatter vice in others: but we must call evil evil, and sin sin, and so doing we shall serve God’s glory.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), Introduction to the Devout Life , London: Rivingtons, 1876, III.xxix, p. 246
(see the book; see also Ps. 97:10; Prov. 11:9; Amos 5:15; Jas. 1:19,26; Jude 1:4-5,14-16; more at Arrogance, Attitudes, Enlighten, Evil, Sin)
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Lift up your heart to Him, sometimes even at your meals, and when you are in company; the least little remembrance will always be acceptable to Him. You need not cry very loud; he is nearer to us than we are aware of.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, Seventh Letter, p. 34
(see the book; see also Ps. 145:18; 25:1-2; Matt. 26:26; Luke 24:30; more at Awareness, Heart, Knowing God, Remembrance, Thanksgiving)
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Commemoration of Aiden Wilson Tozer, Spiritual Writer, 1963
The presence of God is the central fact of Christianity. At the heart of the Christian message is God Himself waiting for His redeemed children to push in to conscious awareness of His presence. That type of Christianity which happens now to be the vogue knows this Presence only in theory. It fails to stress the Christian’s privilege of present realization. According to its teachings we are in the presence of God positionally, and nothing is said about the need to experience that Presence actually. We are satisfied to rest in our judicial possessions and, for the most part, we bother ourselves very little about the absence of personal experience.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 35
(see the book; see also Ex. 3:4-6; 1 Sam. 3:10; Matt. 28:20; Acts 2:1-4; 17:27-28; Eph. 1:22-23; more at Awareness, Experience, Need, Presence of God, Redemption, Satisfaction)
Friday, May 13, 2011
May the Spirit of God help you to give of yourself as recklessly for the cause of Christ throughout the whole world as God “recklessly” gave His Son, Jesus Christ.
... Robert Pierce (1914-1978), founder and president, World Vision, in a private communication from World Vision
(see also Isa. 53:10; John 3:16,17; Rom. 8:32; 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 5:21; more at Attitudes, Christ, Giving, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Son, World)
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Feast of Matthias the Apostle
The witness has never failed. Repeatedly, the light has shone forth in the darkness, held aloft by hands that perished in the destruction of the institution that failed. Christians tend to defend the institution of their own creation with tenacity. It is institutional Christianity that repeatedly shackled the Church. The Church again and again has to lose itself in order to find itself. It falls to rise; it fails in order to fight better. Many of the missionary institutions of the Church are expendable. They should always be treated as expendable.
... Leonard M. Outerbridge, The Lost Churches of China, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1952, p. 10-11
(see the book; see also Dan. 6:10; John 1:4-5; Acts 5:29; more at Church, Darkness, Failure, Fight, Light, Mission, Missionary, Witness)
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Commemoration of Charles Williams, Spiritual Writer, 1945
What is Christ’s joy in us, but that He deigns to rejoice on our account? And what is our joy, which He says shall be full, but to have fellowship with Him? He had perfect joy on our account, when He rejoiced in foreknowing and predestinating us; but that joy was not in us, because we did not then exist; it began to be in us, when He called us. And this joy we rightly call our own, this joy wherewith we shall be blessed, which is begun in the faith of them who are born again, and shall be fulfilled in the reward of them who rise again.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), from Tractate 83 on the Gospel of John as quoted in A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, vol. III, John Peter Lange & tr. Philip Schaff, New York: C. Scribner & Co., 1871, p. 485
(see the book; see also John 17:24; 15:11; Heb. 12:1-2; more at Blessing, Call, Christ, Faith, Fellowship, Jesus, Joy, Resurrection)
Monday, May 16, 2011
Commemoration of Caroline Chisholm, Social Reformer, 1877
It is thought that unconditional grace is unsafe. Man will feel free to go on sinning. On the contrary, unconditional forgiveness is the only rope that is long enough to reach to the bottom of the pit into which we have fallen.
... Edward Judson (1844-1914), “Life under pressure: a Lenten sermon”, in The Outlook, v. XCVII, Lyman Abbott, ed., Outlook Co., 1911, p. 749
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:7-8; Rom. 3:22-24; 6:1-2,14; Eph. 1:4-8; more at Antinomianism, Forgiveness, Grace, Man, Sin)
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
The only ultimate disaster that can befall us, I have come to realize, is to feel ourselves to be at home here on earth.
... Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990), Jesus Rediscovered, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1969, p. 31
(see the book; see also Luke 2:29; John 14:2-3; 1 Cor. 15:46-48; 2 Cor. 4:7; 5:1-10; Phil. 1:21-24; 2 Pet. 1:3-5,13-14; more at Attitudes, Earth, Home, In the World, Judgment)
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
The Lord makes excellent uses even of your infirmities and failings to do you good, and makes them turn to your unexpected advantage: for, by these defects he hides pride from your eyes; he [goads] from self-dependence; he makes you to admire the riches of free grace: he makes you to long more ardently for heaven, and entertain the sweeter thoughts of death: and doth not the Lord then make blessed fruits to spring up to you from such a bitter root? O the blessed chemistry of heaven, to extract such mercies out of such miseries!
... John Flavel (1628-1691), Serm. XXX from The Method of Grace, in The Whole Works of the Reverend Mr. John Flavel, v. II, London: J. Mathews, 1799, p. 420
(see the book; see also Isa. 43:1-3; Deut. 8:11-14; 1 Cor. 15:9-10; 2 Cor. 12:7-9; Gal. 4:13-14; more at Bitterness, Blessing, Death, God, Goodness, Grace, Heaven, Longing, Mercy, Weakness)
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Feast of Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, 988
It is not enough to hold that God did great things for our fathers: not enough to pride ourselves on the inheritance of victories of faith: not enough to build the sepulchres of those who were martyred by men unwilling as we may be to hear new voices of a living God. Our duty is to see whether God is with us; whether we expect great things from Him; whether we do not practically place Him far off, forgetting that if He is, He is about us, speaking to us words which have not been heard before, guiding us to paths on which earlier generations have not been able to enter. There is, most terrible thought, a practical atheism, orthodox in language and reverent in bearing, which can enter a Christian Church and charm the conscience to rest with shadowy traditions, an atheism which grows insensibly within us if we separate what cannot be separated with impunity, the secular from the divine, the past and the future from the present, earth from heaven, the things of Caesar from the things of God.
... Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901), The Historic Faith, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1883, p. 40-41
(see the book; see also Isa. 31:1; Jer. 2:17; John 8:36-44; Mark 12:14-17; Rom. 1:19-20; 8:16-17; more at Atheism, Conscience, Inheritance, Martyr, Religion, Reverence, Tradition)
Friday, May 20, 2011
Sometimes thou shalt be forsaken of God, sometimes thou shalt be troubled by thy neighbors; and what is more, oftentimes thou shalt be wearisome even to thyself. Neither canst thou be delivered or eased by any remedy or comfort; but so long as it pleaseth God, thou oughtest to bear it. For God will have thee learn to suffer tribulation without comfort, and that thou subject thyself wholly to Him, and by tribulation become more humble. No man hath so cordial a feeling of the Passion of Christ, as he that hath suffered the like himself.The Cross therefore is always ready, and everywhere waits for thee. Thou canst not escape it, whithersoever thou runnest; for wheresoever thou goest, thou carriest thyself with thee, and shalt ever find thyself. Both above and below, without and within, which way so ever thou dost turn thee, everywhere thou shalt find the Cross; and everywhere of necessity thou must hold fast patience, if thou wilt have inward peace, and enjoy an everlasting crown.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, II.xii, p. 107
(see the book; see also Ps. 22:1; Luke 9:23; 2 Tim. 3:10-13; more at Comfort, Deliverance, Humility, Neighbor, Passion of Christ, Patience, Peace, Suffer, Trouble, Weakness)
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Feast of Commemoration of Helena, Protector of the Faith, 330
In these psalms [34, 5, 22, & 69] we see Jesus to be a person of intense loneliness and deep suffering. We see him as a person of fervent prayer to God—for himself, for his followers, for his enemies. We find the scope of Jesus’ concerns to encompass the entire world and ages. We get a glimpse of his pain over the treatment he received from his fellow Jews, particularly from his betrayer and from the leaders of his nation in their determined opposition to him. In short, we see Jesus to be a person “who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning”.
... John R. Cogdell, “The humanity of Jesus Christ, as revealed in certain Psalms”, section VI
(see the book; see also Ps. 22:1; 34:8-9,19-20; Luke 22:44; Heb. 4:15; more at Jesus, Loneliness, Pain, People, Prayer, Suffer, Temptation)
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Is the leadership of the world-wide church in the hands of men and women who know how to lead others one by one to Jesus Christ? We are so concerned with planning and administration that there is a danger lest we allow these things to serve as an excuse for not doing the one thing on which all else depends.
... Stephen Neill (1900-1984), “The Church in a Revolutionary World”, in International Review of Mission, v. XXXVI, p. 451
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:23; Acts 8:4; 1 Thess. 2:2; more at Church, Conversion, Danger, Evangelization, Gospel, Leader)
Monday, May 23, 2011
Commemoration of Petroc, Abbot of Padstow, 6th century
No one can approach God without withdrawing from the world. By withdrawal I do not mean change of physical dwelling place, but withdrawal from worldly affairs. The virtue of withdrawal from the world consists in not occupying your mind with the world.
... St. Isaac of Syria (d. c. 700), quoted in Early Fathers from the Philokalia, Saint Makarios (Metropolitan of Corinth), comp. & E. Kadloubovsky, Gerald Eustace Howell Palmer, trs., Faber and Faber, 1959, p. 183
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:25-34; Mark 8:35-37; Luke 17:33; John 15:19; Rom. 12:2; Phil. 3:18-19; Tit. 2:11-14; Jas. 4:4; 1 Pet. 2:11; more at Attitudes, God, Mind, Virtue, World, Worldly)
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Feast of John and Charles Wesley, Priests, Poets, Teachers, 1791 & 1788
I have thought—I am a creature of a day, passing through life, as an arrow through the air. I am a spirit come from God, and returning to God: just hovering over the great gulf; till a few moments hence, I am no more seen! I drop into an unchangeable eternity! I want to know one thing, the way to heaven: how to land safe on that happy shore. God Himself has condescended to teach the way; for this very end He came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book! O give me that book! At any price, give me the Book of God! I have it: here is knowledge enough for me.
... John Wesley (1703-1791), preface to The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, v. V, New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826, p. 5
(see the book; see also Ps. 1:6; Isa. 35:8-10; Matt. 7:13-14; Luke 24:27; John 14:6; Eph. 6:17; 2 Tim. 2:15; more at Bible, Book, God, Heaven, Knowledge, Teach, Way)
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Feast of the Venerable Bede, Priest, Monk of Jarrow, Historian, 735
Commemoration of Aldhelm, Abbot of Mamsbury, Bishop of Sherborne, 709
After all, we were told, our salvation had already been accomplished by the grace of God... It was unkind to speak to men like this, for such a cheap offer could only leave them bewildered and tempt them from the way to which they had been called by Christ. Having laid hold on cheap grace, they were barred forever from the knowledge of costly grace. Deceived and weakened, men felt that they were strong now that they were in possession of this cheap grace—whereas they had in fact lost the power to live the life of discipleship and obedience. The word of cheap grace has been the ruin of more Christians than any commandment of works.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), The Cost of Discipleship, Simon and Schuster, 1959, p. 55
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:16; Eph. 2:10; 2 Thess. 3:13; 2 John 1:6; more at Disciple, Grace, Life, Obedience, Salvation, Temptation)
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Feast of Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, 605
Commemoration of Arthur John Gossip, Spiritual Writer, 1954
We can do nothing, we say sometimes, we can only pray. That, we feel, is a terribly precarious second best. So long as we can fuss and work and rush about, so long as we can lend a hand, we have some hope, but if we have to fall back upon God, ah, then things must be critical indeed!
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), The Galilean Accent, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926, p. 75
(see the book; see also John 14:13-14; 16:23-24; Eph. 2:17-18; Heb. 4:16; more at Attitudes, Fall, God, Hope, Prayer, Work)
Friday, May 27, 2011
Commemoration of John Calvin, renewer of the Church, 1564
God, in order to remove any obstacle to his love towards us, appointed the method of reconciliation in Christ. There is great force in this word propitiation; for in a manner which cannot be expressed, God, at the very time when he loved us, was hostile to us until reconciled in Christ... The nature of this mystery is to be learned from the first chapter to the Ephesians, where Paul, teaching that we were chosen in Christ, at the same time adds, that we obtained grace in him. How did God begin to embrace with his favour those whom he had loved before the foundation of the world, unless in displaying his love when he was reconciled by the blood of Christ?
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I , tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, II.xvii.2, p. 477-478
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 5:19-21; Eph. 1:6; 2:16; Col. 1:19-20; 1 John 2:2; 4:10; more at Blood, Christ, God, Grace, Hostility, Love, Reconciliation)
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Commemoration of Lanfranc, Prior of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1089
Faith, if it be a living faith, will be a working faith.
... John Owen (1616-1683), An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, ch. VI-VII, in Works of John Owen, v. XXII, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1855, p. 163
(see the book; see also 1 Thess. 1:3; Jas. 2:14-17; 2 Pet. 1:5-9; more at Faith, Life, Work)
Sunday, May 29, 2011
To me, to whom God hath revealed his Son, in a Gospel, by a Church, there can be no way of salvation, but by applying that Son of God, by that Gospel, in that Church. Nor is there any other foundation for any, nor other name by which any can be saved, but the name of Jesus. But how this foundation is presented, and how this name of Jesus is notified unto them, amongst whom there is no Gospel preached, no Church established, I am not curious in inquiring. I know that God can be as merciful as those tender Fathers present him to be; and I would be as charitable as they are. And therefore, humbly embracing that manifestation of his Son, which he hath afforded me, I leave God, to his unsearchable waies of working upon others, without further inquisition.
... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. I, London: John W. Parker, 1839, Sermon XXIV, p. 489
(see the book; see also Acts 4:10-12; 13:48; 15:11; Rom. 10:12-13; more at Charity, Church, Gospel, Jesus, Mercy, Revelation, Salvation, Tender, Way, Work)
Monday, May 30, 2011
Feast of Josephine Butler, Social Reformer, 1906
Commemoration of Joan of Arc, Visionary, 1431
Commemoration of Apolo Kivebulaya, Priest, Evangelist, 1933
Men expect that religion should cost them no pains, that happiness should drop into their laps, without any design and endeavour on their part, and that, after they have done what they please while they live, God should snatch them up to heaven when they die. But though “the commandments of God be not grievous,” yet it is fit to let men know, that they are not thus easy.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. I, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon VI, p. 482-483
(see the book; see also 1 John 5:1-4; Luke 14:26-30; more at Commandment, Death, God, Happiness, Heaven, Pain, Religion, Weakness)
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Thy will be done means more than thy will be borne. No matter what sorrow invades our life, we are still to do God’s will. We shall see afterwards that the sorrow rightly accepted fitted us to do some new duty, or to do our old duty more effectively. “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth,” is the right cry in the hour of bewildering grief.
... Maltbie D. Babcock (1858-1901), Thoughts for Every-day Living, New York: C. Scribner’s sons, 1901, p. 122
(see the book; see also 1 Sam. 3:10; Matt. 6:9-10; Luke 22:42-44; 2 Cor. 7:10-11; more at Duty, God, Grief, Life, Sorrow, Will of God)
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