Quotations for February, 2014
Saturday, February 1, 2014
Commemoration of Brigid, Abbess of Kildare, c.525
Prayer is the expression of a good desire. The human heart is full of restless desires, and the prayers of men consist for the most part of the unsifted petitions which are urged by their varying passions... To desire what is right, and to desire it consistently, and passionately, is the first condition of true living. The desires can be corrected only by truth, the mind must apprehend God, and then it will say, “There is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.”
... James Hastings (1852-1922), The Christian Doctrine of Prayer, Edinbugh: T. & T. Clark, 1915, p. 25
(see the book; see also Ps. 73:25; 42:1-2; 143:6; Isa. 26:8-9; Acts 20:24; Rom. 8:18,26; Phil. 3:8-9; 2 Pet. 1:3; 1 John 5:20; more at Apprehension, God, Goodness, Heart, Mind, Prayer, Truth)
Sunday, February 2, 2014
THE PRESENTATION OF CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE
Scripture will ultimately suffice for a saving knowledge of God only when its certainty is founded upon the inward persuasion of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, these human testimonies which exist to confirm it will not be vain if, as secondary aids to our feebleness, they follow that chief and highest testimony. But those who wish to prove to unbelievers that Scripture is the Word of God are acting foolishly, for only by faith can this be known.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I , tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, I.viii.13, p. 90-91
(see the book; see also Acts 5:32; Ps. 143:10; Jer. 6:10; Matt. 22:43; Luke 16:31; 24:45; Acts 1:8; Rom. 8:13-16; 1 Cor. 1:18; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5; Gal. 4:6; 5:25; Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30; 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 John 4:13; more at Faith, Holy Spirit, Knowing God, Proof, Salvation, Scripture)
Monday, February 3, 2014
Feast of Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary to Denmark and Sweden, 865
I love, my God, but with no love of mineFor I have none to give;I love Thee, Lord, but all that love is Thine,For by Thy life I live.I am as nothing, and rejoice to beEmptied and lost and swallowed up in Thee.
... Mme. Guyon (1648-1717), included in Masterpieces of Religious Verse, James Dalton Morrison, ed., New York: Harper & Bros., 1948, p. 100
(see the book; see also 1 John 4:8; Acts 20:24; Rom. 7:18; 1 Cor. 2:2; 2 Cor. 12:11; Gal. 6:3; Phil. 2:5-7; 3:8-9; 1 John 4:19; more at Giving, God, Joy, Life, Love)
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Commemoration of Gilbert of Sempringham, Founder of the Gilbertine Order, 1189
It is all too easy to understand the requirements contained in God’s Word (“Give all your goods to the poor.” “If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the left.” “Count it sheer joy when you meet various temptations” etc.)... The most limited poor creature cannot truthfully deny being able to understand the requirements—but it is tough for flesh and blood to will to understand it and to have to act accordingly.
... Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), For Self-examination: and, Judge for Yourselves! And Three Discourses , Oxford University Press, 1941, p. 34
(see the book; see also Matt. 11:30; 5:39; 18:21; Rom. 7:18-19; 8:3; 1 Cor. 9:27; Gal. 5:16-17; Jas. 1:2-3; 1 John 5:3-4; more at Action, Commandment, God, Joy, Temptation)
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Commemoration of Martyrs of Japan, 1597
I have no remedy for those who wish to walk by sight because they find the way of faith too unnerving, or for those who wish to freeze theological development at some arbitrary point in past history. I have no comfort for those who, afraid of missing eternal truth, choose to identify it with some previous theological work and try to impose it unchanged on the present generation or desire to speak out of the past and not to come into contact with the modern situation. I have no answer for those who are frightened to think God may have more light to break forth from his holy Word.
... Clark H. Pinnock (1937-2010), The Grace of God and the Will of Man, Zondervan, 1989, p. 28
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 5:7; Rom. 8:24-25; 1 Cor. 13:12; 2 Cor. 4:18; Gal. 2:20; Heb. 10:38; 11:1; 1 Pet. 1:8-9; 2 Pet. 3:15-16; more at Faith, God, Historical, Light, Past, Sight, Theology, Way)
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Can we reasonably expect happiness from an insatiable appetite which, no matter how it stuffs its belly, is still psychologically like Oliver Twist in the poorhouse, holding up an empty bowl and begging, “I want some more”? Isn’t it possible that our dream of the good society contained, from the beginning, a hidden violation of the Tenth Commandment—“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods”?
... Joy Davidman (1915-1960), Smoke on the Mountain, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1955, reprint, Westminster John Knox Press, 1985, p. 119
(see the book; see also Ex. 20:17; Ps. 119:36; Luke 12:15; Rom. 7:7; Phil. 3:18-19; Col. 3:5; 1 Tim. 6:6-10; Heb. 13:5; more at Commandment, Dream, Emptiness, Happiness, Law, Neighbor, Social)
Friday, February 7, 2014
I am persuaded that love and humility are the highest attainments in the school of Christ and the brightest evidences that he is indeed our master.
... John Newton (1725-1807), in a letter, 1757, The Works of the Rev. John Newton, v. II, New York: Williams and Whiting, 1810, p. 62
(see the book; see also Ps. 69:32-33; 25:9; Isa. 61:1-3; Matt. 5:5; John 13:34-35; 1 John 2:10; 4:20-21; more at Achievement, Christ, Humility, Jesus, Love, Master, School)
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Christianity ... came in startlingly with a sword, and clove one thing from another. It divided the crime from the criminal. The criminal we must forgive unto seventy times seven. The crime we must not forgive at all. It was not enough that slaves who stole wine inspired partly anger and partly kindness. We must be much more angry with theft than before, and yet much kinder to thieves than before. There was room for wrath and love to run wild.
... Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), Orthodoxy, London, New York: John Lane Company, 1909, p. 175
(see the book; see also Matt. 18:21-22; Pr. 28:13; Matt. 5:48; 6:12; Mark 11:25; Luke 3:8-14; 19:2-10; Acts 5:1-5; Rom. 12:21; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Eph. 4:28; Heb. 4:12; more at Forgiveness, Inspiration, Love, Sin, Sinner, Sword)
Sunday, February 9, 2014
It is a safe rule of interpreting Scripture, that in places mentioning the love and grace of God to us, the words are to be taken in their utmost significancy.
... John Owen (1616-1683), from Vindiclae Evangelicae, Works of John Owen, v. XII, R. Carter, 1853, p. 144
(see the book; see also Rom. 5:17; Joel 2:28; John 7:37-39; 10:10; Rom. 5:20-21; 2 Cor. 4:15; 1 Tim. 1:14; Tit. 3:4-7; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; 1 John 4:8; more at God, Grace, Love, Rule, Scripture)
Monday, February 10, 2014
Commemoration of Scholastica, Abbess of Plombariola, c.543
The relation of Jesus to His heavenly Father was not a relation to a vague and impersonal goodness, it was not a relation which merely clothed itself in symbolic, personal form. On the contrary, it was a relation to a real Person, whose existence was just as definite and just as much a subject of theoretic knowledge as the existence of the lilies of the field that God had clothed. The very basis of the religion of Jesus was a triumphant belief in the real existence of a personal God.
... J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937), Christianity and Liberalism, The Macmillan Company, 1923, p. 57
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:28-30; Deut. 32:6; Ps. 89:26; Isa. 63:16; 64:8; Matt. 10:29; Luke 12:27-28; Rom. 8:15; more at Belief, Existence, Father, God, Goodness, Jesus, Knowledge)
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
As Christ is our life, so He is also our light. And surely the light means, among other things, the open mind towards Divine things. We need not be afraid of losing our faith by facing all problems honestly, while our lives are on the right lines. But while our minds are shut we cannot help others in their difficulties. We are more likely to turn them away from Christianity.
... William R. Inge (1860-1954), Personal Religion and the Life of Devotion, London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1924, p. 75
(see the book; see also Isa. 9:2; Ps. 107:10-14; Matt. 4:16; Mark 3:4-5; 16:14; John 8:12; 1 Pet. 2:9; more at Blindness, Christ, Faith, Life, Light, Mind)
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Commemoration of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (Nicolas Herman), spiritual writer, 1691
The wisdom of God is seen in this, that the sins of men shall carry on God’s work; yet that he should have no hand in their sin. The Lord permits sin, but doth not approve it. He hath a hand in the action in which sin is, but not in the sin of the action.
... Thomas Watson (c.1620-1686), A Body of Practical Divinity [before 1741], T. Wardle, 1833, p. 54
(see the book; see also John 13:26-28; Gen. 50:20; Pr. 21:30; Isa. 7:17-20; 10:5-6,12; 53:10; Matt. 26:53-54; Mark 14:21; Acts 2:23; 3:18; 4:27-28; 13:27-29; Rom. 8:28; Jas. 1:13-15; 1 Pet. 2:6-8; more at Action, God, Sin, Wisdom, Work)
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Our Lord was not in the habit of explaining away his hard words. He let them stand in all the glory of the burning fire wherewith they would purge us. Where their simplicity finds corresponding simplicity, they are understood.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Hardness of the Way”, in Unspoken Sermons, Second Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1886, p. 31
(see the book; see also Mark 10:24-25; Matt. 5:20,28,32,44; 6:5,16; 10:34-38; Luke 4:18-21,24-27; John 8:44; more at Fire, Glory, Simplicity)
Friday, February 14, 2014
Feast of Cyril & Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869 & 885
Commemoration of Valentine, Martyr at Rome, c.269
Fire is the chosen symbol of Heaven for moral passion. It is emotion aflame. God is love; God is fire. The two are one. The Holy Spirit baptises in fire. Spirit-filled souls are ablaze for God. They love with a love that glows. They believe with a faith that kindles. They serve with a devotion that consumes. They hate sin with a fierceness that burns. They rejoice with a joy that radiates. Love is perfected in the Fire of God.
... Samuel Chadwick (1860-1932), The Way to Pentecost, Hodder and Stoughton, 1932, p. 43
(see the book; see also Heb. 12:29; Ex. 3:2; 13:21-22; 24:17; Ps. 97:3; Isa. 6:4-7; 66:16; Dan. 7:9-10; Joel 2:28-29; Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5; 2:3-4; 11:15-16; Rom. 5:5; 1 Cor. 3:12-15; 1 Thess. 5:19; 2 Thess. 1:6-7; Heb. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:7; 1 John 4:8,18; Jude 1:22-23; more at Baptism, Faith, Fire, God, Holy Spirit, Joy, Love, Pentecost, Perfection, Sin)
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Commemoration of Thomas Bray, Priest, Founder of SPCK, 1730
In laying off your burdens, therefore, the first one you must get rid of is yourself. You must hand yourself and all your inward experience, your temptations, your temperament, your frames and feelings, all over into the care and keeping of your God, and leave them there. He made you and therefore He understands you and knows how to manage you, and you must trust Him to do it.
... Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911), Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, London: F. E. Longley, 1876, p. 32
(see the book; see also Ps. 68:19; Joel 2:21; Matt. 6:25,27,31-34; 16:24; Luke 9:23; 12:25-26,29; Rom. 12:10; 2 Tim. 2:21; 1 Pet. 2:24; more at Burden, Experience, God, Temptation, Trust)
Sunday, February 16, 2014
The truth of Christ’s supremacy over all the powers in the universe is one which modern man sorely needs to learn. He is oppressed by a sense of impotence in the grasp of merciless forces which he can neither overcome nor escape. These forces may be Frankenstein monsters of man’s own creation, or they may be horrors outside his conscious control; either way, he is intimidated by the vastness of those fateful currents which threaten to sweep him on to destruction, whether he will or no. And to modern man in his frustration and despair, the full-orbed gospel of Christ, as Paul presents it to the Colossians, is the one message of hope. Christ crucified and risen is Lord of all; all the forces in the universe, well-disposed and ill-disposed, are subject to Him. To be united to Christ by faith is to throw off the thraldom of hostile powers, to enjoy perfect freedom, to gain the mastery over the dominion of evil, because Christ’s victory is ours.
... F. F. Bruce (1910-1990), The Apostolic Defense of the Gospel, London: Inter-Varsity Press, 1959, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959, p. 78-79
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:57; Ps. 2:8; Isa. 9:6-7; Matt. 28:18; 1 Cor. 15:25-27; Eph. 1:18-23; Phil. 2:9-11; Col. 1:5-6,16-18,27; 2:9-10; 3:1-3; 1 Pet. 3:21-22; Rev. 5:12-13; more at Christ, Crucifixion, Despair, Evil, Freedom, Gospel, Hope, Universe, Victory)
Monday, February 17, 2014
Feast of Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, Martyr, 1977
God has called us to shine, just as much as Daniel was sent into Babylon to shine. Let no man or woman say that they cannot shine because they have not so much influence as some others may have. What God wants you to do is to use the influence you have. Daniel probably did not have much influence down in Babylon at first, but God soon gave him more because he was faithful and used what he had.
... Dwight Lyman Moody (1837-1899), “To the work! To the work!”: Exhortations to Christians, Chicago: F. H. Revell, 1884, p. 139
(see the book; see also Phil. 2:14-16; Pr. 4:18; Isa. 58:8; 60:1-3; Matt. 5:14-16; Mark 4:21; Luke 8:16; 11:33; Rom. 13:12; Eph. 5:8-10; 1 Pet. 2:9; more at Call, Faith, God, Influence, Light, Obedience)
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Purity of heart and simplicity are of great force with Almighty God, who is in purity most singular, and of nature most simple.
... St. Gregory the Great (540?-604), The Dialogues of Saint Gregory, P. L. Warner, 1911; Arx Publishing, LLC, 2010, p. 131
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:8; Ps. 51:10; Matt. 23:25-28; Rom. 16:18-19; 2 Cor. 7:1; 11:3; Tit. 1:15; Heb. 10:22; Jas. 3:17; 4:8; more at God, Heart, Purity, Simplicity)
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
At the earlier Methodist class meetings, members were expected every week to answer some extremely personal questions such as the following: Have you experienced any particular temptations during the past week? How did you react or respond to those temptations? Is there anything you are trying to keep secret, and if so, why? At this point the modern Christian swallows hard! We are often coated with a thick layer of reserve and modesty which covers “a multitude of sins”; usually our own. Significantly James 5:16-20, the original context of that phrase, is the passage which urges, “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”
... Michael Griffiths (b. 1928), God’s Forgetful Pilgrims, p. 79
(see the book; see also Jas. 5:16-20; Ps. 32:1; Pr. 10:12; 11:30; Matt. 3:5-6; 18:15-17; Acts 19:18; 1 Thess. 5:17; 1 Tim. 4:16; 1 Pet. 4:8; more at Confession, Past, Prayer, Question, Repentance, Sin, Temptation)
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Commemoration of Cecile Isherwood, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, Grahamstown, South Africa, 1906
Every book of the New Testament is written from faith to faith, by believers for the edification of other believers, or for those who are not yet believers that they may be brought to the faith. But this faith is not to be confused with mere acquiescence or intellectual assent; it involves death and life, confrontation and commitment, as almost every book in the New Testament makes plain, to a way that is inseparable from danger and suffering.
... Stephen Neill (1900-1984), Jesus Through Many Eyes, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1976, p. 194-195
(see the book; see also John 20:31; Luke 1:1-4; John 21:24; Rom. 1:17; 1 Cor. 4:14; 5:11; 14:37; 2 Cor. 2:9; 1 Tim. 3:14-15; 2 Pet. 3:15-16; 1 John 2:7-8,26; 2 John 1:5-6; more at Bible, Commitment, Danger, Faith, Suffer, Way)
Friday, February 21, 2014
The world exists, not for what it means but for what it is. The purpose of mushrooms is to be mushrooms, wine is in order to wine: Things are precious before they are contributory. It is a false piety that walks through creation looking only for lessons which can be applied somewhere else. To be sure, God remains the greatest good; but, for all that, the world is still good in itself. Indeed, since He does not need it, its whole reason for being must lie in its own goodness; He has no use for it, only delight.
... Robert Farrar Capon (1925-2013), The Supper of the Lamb, New York: Doubleday, 1969, p. 86
(see the book; see also Gen. 1:31; Deut. 23:4; Job 38:4-7; Ps. 19:1-2; 104:24; Isa. 42:5; John 1:3,10; 1 Cor. 8:5-6; Col. 1:15-17; 1 Tim. 4:4; Heb. 1:1-2; more at Creation, Existence, God, Goodness, Purpose, World)
Saturday, February 22, 2014
For these tempers of worldly pride, and vain glory, are not only evil when they mix with our good works, but they have the same evil nature, and make us odious to God, when they enter into the common business of our employment. If it were allowable to indulge covetous or vain passions in our worldly employments, it would then be allowable to be vain-glorious in our devotions. But as our alms and devotions are not an acceptable service, but when they proceed from a heart truly devoted to God, so our common employment cannot be reckoned a service to Him, but when it is performed with the same temper and piety of heart.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life , London: Methuen, 1899, p. 51-52
(see the book; see also Eph. 6:5-9; Pr. 11:1; 16:11; 20:23; Hos. 12:7-8; Amos 8:4-6; Mic. 6:10-11; Matt. 10:41-42; Rom. 2:6-10; 1 Cor. 3:3; Eph. 4:28; Phil. 2:3; Col. 3:23-24; Heb. 11:26; more at Devotion, Evil, God, Good works, Heart, Pride, Service, Vanity, Worldly)
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Feast of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr, c.155
The observable practice of truth and the observable practice of love go hand in hand with the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ.
... Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984), The Mark of the Christian, Inter-Varsity Press, 1976, p. 23
(see the book; see also John 13:35; Matt. 12:33; John 14:6; Rom. 12:9-10; Gal. 5:13; Eph. 4:1-2,15; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 John 3:18-20; 4:11; 2 John 1:3; more at Gospel, Jesus, Love, Preach, Truth)
Monday, February 24, 2014
The impulse to sin is not sin but to consent to sin, to give way to anger, is indeed sin.
... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), from Counsels on Discernment, Counsel 9, Meister Eckhart: The Essential Writings, HarperCollins, 1957, p. 16
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 4:7; Ps. 4:4; 17:4; 37:8; 73:2-3; 94:17-18; 119:101; Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13; 2 Cor. 12:20; Eph. 4:26,31; 1 Tim. 2:8; Jas. 1:19-20; more at Conscience, Depravity, Sin)
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Whatsoever we have over-loved, idolized, and leaned upon, God hath from time to time broken it, and made us to see the vanity of it; so that we find, the readiest course to be rid of our comforts, is to set our hearts inordinately or immoderately upon them: for our God is a jealous God, and will not part with his glory to another.
... John Flavel (1628-1691), Divine Conduct , in The Whole Works of the Reverend Mr. John Flavel, v. IV, London: J. Mathews, 1799, p. 421
(see the book; see also Ps. 30:6-7; Ex. 20:3-6; 34:14; Deut. 4:24; 6:14-15; 32:21; Ps. 78:58; 118:8-9; 146:3; Jer. 17:5; Mic. 7:5; Nah. 1:2; Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13; 1 Cor. 10:19-22; 2 Cor. 6:16; more at Comfort, Glory, God, Heart, Vanity)
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
I know, were I myself to preach one whole year in one place, I should preach both myself and most of my congregation asleep. Nor can I believe it was ever the will of our Lord that any congregation should have one teacher only. We have found by long and constant experience, that a frequent change of teachers is best.
... John Wesley (1703-1791), letter to Samuel Walker, 3 Sep 1756, The Letters of the Rev. John Wesley, v. III, The Epworth Press, 1931, p. 195
(see the book; see also Rom. 12:6-8; Ps. 34:11; Eph. 4:11-13; 1 Tim. 5:17; 2 Tim. 2:2; more at Congregation, Experience, Preach, Teach, Year)
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Feast of George Herbert, Priest, Poet, 1633
Thou that hast giv’n so much to me,Give one thing more, a gratefull heart.See how thy beggar works on theeBy art.
He makes thy gifts occasion more,And sayes, if he in this be crost,All thou hast giv’n him heretoforeIs lost.
But thou didst reckon, when at firstThy word our hearts and hands did crave,What it would come to at the worstTo save.
Perpetuall knockings at thy doore,Tears sullying thy transparent rooms,Gift upon gift, much would have more,And comes.
This notwithstanding, thou wentst on,And didst allow us all our noise:Nay, thou hast made a sigh and groneThy joyes.
Not that thou hast not still aboveMuch better tunes, than grones can make;But that these countrey-aires thy loveDid take.
Wherefore I crie, and crie again;And in no quiet canst thou be,Till I a thankfull heart obtainOf thee:
Not thankfull, when it pleaseth me;As if thy blessings had spare dayes:But such a heart, whose pulse may beThy praise.
... George Herbert (1593-1633), The Poetical Works of George Herbert, New York: D. Appleton, 1857, p. 157-158
(see the book; see also Rev. 11:16-17; Ps. 35:18; 107:1; 136:1-3; Matt. 6:9; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 15:57; Eph. 5:19-20; Col. 3:17; Heb. 13:15; Rev. 4:9; more at Blessing, Gifts, Gratitude, Heart, Praise)
Friday, February 28, 2014
We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God, who will thwart our plans and frustrate our ways time and again, even daily, by sending people across our path with their demands and requests. We can, then, pass them by, preoccupied with our important daily tasks, just as the priest—perhaps reading the Bible—passed by the man who had fallen among robbers. When we do that, we pass by the visible sign of the Cross raised in our lives to show us that God’s way, and not our own, is what counts.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together , tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 99
(see the book; see also Matt. 8:5; 9:20-22; 20:26-27; 23:11; Mark 5:25-34; 9:35; 10:43-44; Luke 8:43-48; 10:30-36; Acts 9:1-6; more at Cross, Frustration, God, Life, People, Time, Way)
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