Quotations for May, 2017
Monday, May 1, 2017
Feast of Philip & James, Apostles
Almighty God, who created humanity after your image and gave them living souls that they may seek you and rule your creation, teach us so to investigate the works of your hand that we may subdue the earth to our use, and strengthen our intelligence for your service. And grant that we may so receive your Word as to believe in him whom you sent to give us the science of salvation and the forgiveness of our sins. All this we ask in the name of the same Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
... James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)
(see the book; see also Prov. 8:10-11; Luke 24:45-47; Eph. 5:13-14; Phil. 3:8; more at Creation, Earth, Forgiveness, God, Prayers, Salvation, Service)
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Feast of St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, Teacher, 373
“They shall return unto me with their whole heart.” “Ye shall search for me with all your heart.” He makes a direct call to us for single-mindedness: a single-minded longing for Him—no lesser aim will do; no desire to be good, no striving to measure up to some standard we have set for ourselves, to correct some failure we have been shown in our way of life. These may be temporarily necessary but they will turn to dust and ashes—they will end in a grim dryness—unless at the back of them all is what He asks of us—a never-ending search for a real knowledge of Him, for a sense of His reality, a confidence in His companionship, a joy and delight in the very person of God Himself. It is for this that we must learn to long and long, till our prayers for it become not just a form of words, but a stretching out of our whole being to Him.
... Florence Allshorn (1887-1950), The Notebooks of Florence Allshorn, London: SCM Press, 1957, p. 31
(see the book; see also Jer. 24:7; Deut. 30:6; Jer. 29:13; 31:33-34; Eze. 11:19-20; Hos. 6:6; Matt. 6:33; Jas. 1:5-8; 4:8; more at Call, Heart, Longing, Prayer, Search)
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
The [Christian] “doctrines” are translations into our concepts and ideas of that which God has already expressed in language more adequate, namely the actual incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Letters of C. S. Lewis, ed. W. H. Lewis, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003, letter, 1931, p. 189
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:3-8; Rom. 4:25; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Tim.3:15-16; 4:16; Tit. 1:9; 2:1; 1 Pet. 3:18; 1 John 2:2; more at Crucifixion, Dogma, Incarnation, Resurrection)
Thursday, May 4, 2017
Feast of English Saints & Martyrs of the Reformation
It is a great mistake, and of very pernicious consequence to the souls of men, to imagine that the gospel is all promises on God’s part, and that our part is only to believe them, and to rely upon God for the performance of them, and to be very confident that He will make them good, though we do nothing else but only believe that He will do so. That the Christian religion is only a declaration of God’s good-will to us, without any expectation of duty from us: this is an error which one could hardly think could ever enter into any who have the liberty to read the Bible, and do attend to what they read and find there.The three great promises of the gospel are all very expressly contained in our Saviour’s first sermon upon the Mount. There we find the promise of blessedness often repeated; but never absolutely made, but upon certain conditions, plainly required on our parts; as repentance, humility, righteousness, mercy, peaceableness, meekness, patience. Forgiveness of sins is likewise promised; but only to those who make a penitent acknowledgement of them, and ask forgiveness for them, and are ready to grant that forgiveness to others, which they beg of God for themselves. The gift of God’s Holy Spirit is likewise promised, but it is upon condition of our earnest and importunate prayer to God. The gospel is everywhere full of precepts enjoining duty and obedience upon our part, as well as of promises on God’s part, assuring blessings to us; nay, full of terrible threatenings also if we disobey the precepts of the gospel.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. V, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon XCVII, p. 205-206
(see the book; see also Mark 11:25-26; Matt. 6:14-15; Luke 6:37; Eph. 4:32; Tit. 2:11-14; 2 Pet. 1:4; more at Bible, Duty, Error, Forgiveness, Good will, Gospel, Humility, Meekness, Mercy, Obedience, Patience, Promise, Repentance, Righteousness)
Friday, May 5, 2017
If the Christian penitent dares to ask that his many departures from the Christian norm, his impatience, gloom, self-occupation, unloving prejudices, reckless tongue, feverish desires, with all the damage they have caused to Christ’s Body, ... be set aside, because—in spite of all—he longs for God and Eternal Life; then he too must set aside and forgive all that the impatience, selfishness, bitter and foolish speech, [and] sudden yieldings to base impulse in others have caused him to endure. Hardness is the one impossible thing. Harshness to others in those who ask and need the mercy of God sets up a conflict at the very heart of personality and shuts the door upon grace.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), Abba, New York: Longmans, Green, 1940, p. 64-65
(see the book; see also Heb. 3:7-13; 2 Chr. 30:8; Pr. 29:1; Matt. 13:15; Rom. 2:5-6; Eph. 4:32; more at Body of Christ, Folly, Forgiveness, Gloom, Grace, Mercy, Penitence, Selfish)
Saturday, May 6, 2017
The Gospel used to be presented as an appeal to believe in the Saviour who “did it all for me long ago,” and then retired to a remote heaven where He receives the homage of believers till He comes again to inaugurate the Millennium. The mind of our generation, having little comprehension or taste for such a message, is usually content to try to discover “the Jesus of history,” conceived as a human example and teacher of a distant past. Meanwhile, there exists always alongside all forms of religious belief the great tradition of mystical experience. The mystic knows that, whatever be the truth about an historic act or person, there is a Spirit dwelling in man. In our time even natural science abates its arrogant denials and admits the possibility of such immanence... The weak point of mysticism, as seen at least by a matter-of-fact person, is that it is apt to be so nebulous ethically. What the Immanent is, those who claim most traffic with It can often least tell us. Is It a power making for righteousness, or is It a higher synthesis of good and evil? Or is It not a moral—that is to say, not a personal—Being at all?... The raising of these questions is not intended to throw any doubt upon the validity of mystical experience as such; but we have a right to ask what content is given in the experience. Paul was a mystic, but all his mystical experience had a personal object. It was Jesus Christ, a real, living person—historic, yet not of the past alone; divine, yet not alien from humanity.
... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 128-129
(see the book; see also Rom. 13:14; Gal. 3:26-27; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 2:8; 3:9-12; more at Belief, Christ, Example, Experience, Gospel, Heaven, Historical, Jesus, Mystic, Savior, Teach)
Sunday, May 7, 2017
“It is finished.” It is hard for us to know the intonation with which these words of the dying Christ were spoken. If they came as the sufferer’s sigh of relief, they must also have been the worker’s glad cry of achievement. Everything had been done that could be. Man had been offered a sight of God as He really was. For those of us who believe that in seeing Jesus we see God, the Cross is not a coarse framework of blood-stained wood, but the most precious emblem of man’s dearest hopes. ... It is the great pledge which we sorely need, that love is stronger than hate, grace than sin, life than death.
... H. R. L. Sheppard (1880-1937), Two Days Before, New York: Macmillan Co., 1924, p. 65
(see the book; see also John 19:30; Isa. 53:10-12; John 4:34; 17:4; Rom. 10:4; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 10:5-10; more at Christ, Death, Good Friday, Grace, Hatred, Life, Love, Sight, Sin, Strength)
Monday, May 8, 2017
Feast of Juliana of Norwich, Mystic, Teacher, c.1417
Commemoration of Dallas Willard, Teacher, Spiritual Writer, 2013
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; Isa. 53:2-3,7; Rom. 15:3; Phil. 2:5-10; Heb. 2:9-18; 12:2; more at Jesus, Joy, Sight, Simplicity, Worship)
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Evil is the soul’s choice of the not-God. The corollary is that damnation, or hell, is the permanent choice of the not-God. God does not (in the monstrous old-fashioned phrase) “send” anybody to hell; hell is that state of the soul in which its choice becomes obdurate and fixed; the punishment (so to call it) of that soul is to remain eternally in that State which it has chosen.
... Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957), The Poetry of Search and the Poetry of Statement, London: Golanz, 1963, p. 230
(see the book; see also Gen. 6:5-8; Deut. 30:19; Ps. 1:6; 37:20; Pr. 16:4; more at Evil, Hell, Punishment, Sin, Soul)
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
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; Isa. 53:3-5; Matt. 9:11-12; 18:14,20; 28:19-20; Luke 19:10; John 15:26-27; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; more at Cross, Death, Easter, Evil, Historical, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Preach, Presence of God)
Thursday, May 11, 2017
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; John 13:15; 1 Cor. 11:1; 1 Tim. 1:15-16; 1 Pet. 2:21; ; more at Christ, Death, Jesus, Perfection, Sanctification, Sin, Suffer)
Friday, May 12, 2017
Commemoration of Aiden Wilson Tozer, Spiritual Writer, 1963
To be right with God has often meant to be in trouble with men.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), Man: The Dwelling Place of God, Harrisburg, Penn.: Christian Publications, Inc., 1966, p. 66
(see the book; see also John 15:18-21; Matt. 5:11; 10:22; 24:9; Mark 13:13; Luke 6:22; John 3:20; Jas. 4:4; 1 John 3:13; more at God, Man, Righteousness, Trouble, Weakness)
Saturday, May 13, 2017
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; Isa. 9:6; John 1:14; Gal. 4:5-6; Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 12:2; 1 John 4:2; Rev. 5:12; more at God, Inspiration, Jesus, Knowledge, Love, Power, Truth, Wisdom)
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Feast of Matthias the Apostle
[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; 10:45; John 5:27; 13:31; Acts 7:56; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 2:9-10,14-18; more at Christ, God, Incarnation, Jesus, Life, Light, Man, Nature)
Monday, May 15, 2017
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; 6:1-8; 7:1; Rom. 2:3; more at Charity, Contrition, Encouragement, Repentance, Sin)
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Commemoration of Caroline Chisholm, Social Reformer, 1877
If ever I reach heaven I expect to find three wonders there: first, to meet some I had not thought to see there; second, to miss some I had expected to see there; and third—the greatest wonder of all—to find myself there.
... John Newton (1725-1807), The Amazing Works of John Newton, Bridge Logos Foundation, 2009
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:9-10; Eph. 2:8-9; 3:7-8; 1 Tim. 1:15-16; more at Heaven, Humor, Sight, Wonder)
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
A man can not be “friends with” God on any other terms than complete obedience to Him, and that includes being “friends with” his fellow man. Christ stated emphatically that it was quite impossible, in the nature of things, for a man to be at peace with God and at variance with his neighbor. This disquieting fact is often hushed up, but it is undeniable that Christ said it, and the truth of it is enshrined in the petition for forgiveness in the “Lord’s Prayer.”
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Your God is Too Small , Simon and Schuster, 2004, p. 90
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:23-24; 6:12,14-15; Rom. 12:18; 14:19; Eph. 4:3; more at Christ, Forgiveness, Friend, God, Man, Neighbor, Obedience, Peace, Truth)
Thursday, May 18, 2017
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 Acts 9:15-16; Isa. 53:3; Mark 13:13; John 4:34; 6:38; 12:27-28; Rom. 15:3; Phil. 2:8; more at Christ, Jesus, Love, Scorn, Suffer)
Friday, May 19, 2017
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; see also 2 Cor. 5:14-15; 1 Cor. 4:12; 9:6-18; 2 Cor. 12:14-16; 1 Thess. 2:6-9; 4:11; 2 Thess. 3:8-9; more at Action, Attitudes, Christ, Church, Love, Purpose, Service, Work)
Saturday, May 20, 2017
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. 46:1-3,7,10; Pr. 14:26; 18:10; Ps. 62:7-8; 91:1-10; 142:5; Heb. 6:18; more at Dependence, God, Offering, Weakness)
Sunday, May 21, 2017
Feast of Commemoration of Helena, Protector of the Faith, 330
If the heart is devoted to the mirage of the world, to the creature instead of the Creator, the disciple is lost... However urgently Jesus may call us, His call fails to find access to our hearts. Our hearts are closed, for they have already been given to another.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), The Cost of Discipleship, Simon and Schuster, 1959, p. 174
(see the book; see also Eph. 4:17-19; Ps. 115:4-8; Matt. 11:25; Acts 17:30; Rom. 1:21-23,28; 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 4:4; Gal. 4:8; Heb. 12:1-2; more at Call, Devotion, Heart, Jesus, Sin, World)
Monday, May 22, 2017
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. 1:8-10,12; Ps. 119:46; Isa. 51:7; Rom. 1:16; 10:9-11; 1 Pet. 4:14; more at Apologetics, Historical, Jesus, Knowledge, Reason)
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Commemoration of Petroc, Abbot of Padstow, 6th century
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; Isa. 42:1-3; 45:23-25; Matt. 28:18; Heb. 1:6; Rev. 4:9-11; more at Gladness, Heart, Jesus, Song)
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Feast of John and Charles Wesley, Priests, Poets, Teachers, 1791 & 1788
I was more convinced than ever that the preaching like an Apostle, without joining together those that are awakened, and training them up in the ways of God, is only begetting children for the murderer. How much preaching has there been for these twenty years all over Pembrokeshire! But no regular societies, no discipline, no order or connection; and the consequence is, that nine in ten of the once-awakened are now faster asleep than ever.
... John Wesley (1703-1791), entry for Aug 25, 1763, Journal of the Rev. John Wesley, v. III, London: J. Kershaw, 1827, p. 139
(see the book; see also Luke 13:24-27; Matt. 13:18-23; 28:17; Mark 4:14-20; more at Awakening, Church, Discipline, God, Preach, Way)
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Feast of the Venerable Bede, Priest, Monk of Jarrow, Historian, 735
Commemoration of Aldhelm, Abbot of Mamsbury, Bishop of Sherborne, 709
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; 6:2-4; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 13:20-21; more at Call, Church, Fulfillment, God, Heresy, Holy Spirit, Minister, Money, Purpose, Time, Work)
Friday, May 26, 2017
Feast of Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, 605
Commemoration of Arthur John Gossip, Spiritual Writer, 1954
We come to Jesus Christ: and He does for us what He promised; and the thing works out. To our amazement, it works out. And then we settle down. We have had our own first-hand and irrefutable experience. But, instead of opening the windows to the glory of the sunshine so evidently there, instead of being incited to a hugeness of faith by what Christ has already done for us, we can’t believe that there can be anything more, or that even He can work for us anything better. That first foretaste satisfies us. And so we camp for life out on the confines of the Kingdom, and never press on, to inherit what is there, and meant for us.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), Experience Worketh Hope, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1945, p. 119
(see the book; see also Luke 17:12-19; Ps. 106:12-13; Mark 4:16-17; John 8:7-10; Rom. 1:21; more at Attitudes, Belief, Christ, Experience, Faith, Glory, Jesus, Promise, Providence, Satisfaction)
Saturday, May 27, 2017
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 Rom. 13:1-7; Ps. 2:7-12; Tit. 3:1; more at Arrogance, Commandment, Evil, God, Judgment, King, Man, Obedience, Providence, Suffer)
Sunday, May 28, 2017
Commemoration of Lanfranc, Prior of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1089
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; Ps. 115:4-8; Acts 17:29-30; Rom. 1:22-25; 1 Cor. 10:14; Rev. 9:20; more at Bible, Communion, Forget, God, Holiness, Idol, Legalism, Prayer, Saint, Worship)
Monday, May 29, 2017
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; Isa. 44:9-11; Rom. 7:14,25; 1 Cor. 10:19-20; more at Awareness, Bondage, God, Idol, Sin, Truth)
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Feast of Josephine Butler, Social Reformer, 1906
Commemoration of Joan of Arc, Visionary, 1431
Commemoration of Apolo Kivebulaya, Priest, Evangelist, 1933
The one use of the Bible is to make us look at Jesus, that through Him we might know His Father and our Father, His God and our God. Till we thus know Him, let us hold the Bible dear as the moon of our darkness, by which we travel toward the east; not dear as the sun whence her light cometh, and towards which we haste, that, walking in the sun himself, we may no more need the mirror that reflected his absent brightness.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Higher Faith”, in Unspoken Sermons [First Series], London: A. Strahan, 1867, p. 55
(see the book; see also John 6:46; Mark 2:27-28; more at Bible, Father, Jesus, Knowing God, Light)
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
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), 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, God, Gospel, Savior)
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