Quotations for January, 1996
Monday, January 8, 1996
Commemoration of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Pete Fleming, martyrs, Ecuador, 1956
The Word of God must always be heard quite specifically and in a new way, varying according to the conditions under which it is preached. Faith is not an acceptance of general, abstract truths, but an answer and a decision at a certain time and in a very certain place.
... J. L. Hromadka (1889-1969), The Church and Theology in Today’s Troubled Times, Prague: Ecumenical Council of Churches in Czechoslovakia, 1956, p. 15
(see the book; see also Rom. 10:17,20; Acts 2:6-11; 13:48; more at Bible, Faith, Preach, Time)
Tuesday, January 9, 1996
There is that in the Gospel with which no one is allowed to argue. All we can do is believe ... or to disbelieve; to give it in our life the place of the final reality to which everything else must give way, or to refuse it that place. Many people ... would like to talk the Word of God over. It raises in their minds various questions they would willingly discuss. It has aspects of interest and of difficulty which call for consideration; and so on. Perhaps there are some that confusedly shield themselves against the responsibilities of faith and unbelief by such thoughts. All that such thoughts prove, however, is that those who cherish them have never yet realized that what we are dealing with in the Gospel is God. When God speaks in Christ, He reveals His gracious will without qualification. And without qualification, we have to believe in it, or refuse to believe, and so decide ... the controversy between ourselves and Him. God has not come into the world in Christ ... to be talked about, but to become the supreme reality in the life of men, or to be excluded from that place.
... James Denney (1856-1917), The Way Everlasting: Sermons, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1911, 266-267
(see the book; see also Matt. 7:13-14; Acts 17:18; 19:8-10; Rom.14:1; 1 Cor. 1:22-23; 1 Pet. 1:6-9; 1 John 3:21-23; more at Argument, Belief, Faith, God, Gospel, Question, Revelation, Unbelief)
Wednesday, January 10, 1996
We have to repent of our blindness, our lukewarmness, and our disobedience, and turn back to the central truth of Christ as Lord and Saviour; an ethical system will not save us here, nor a timid sentimentalism, nor an excited emotional return, nor a dilettante mysticism.We have to find that deep contrition which is the condition of His abiding.Repentance is not a mere feeling of sorrow or contrition for an act of wrongdoing. The regret I feel when I act impatiently or speak crossly is not repentance... Repentance is contrition for what we are in our fundamental beings, that we are wrong in our deepest roots because our internal government is by Self and not by God.And it is an activity of the whole person. Unless I will to be different, the mind will not follow.True repentance brings an urge to be different, because of the sense of the incessant movement of what I am, forming, forming, forming what I shall be in the years to come.
... Florence Allshorn (1887-1950), The Notebooks of Florence Allshorn, London: SCM Press, 1957, p. 104
(see the book; see also Rev. 3:15-16; Ps. 34:18; 51:17; Luke 5:31-32; 2 Cor. 7:10; Phil. 3:20; 2 Tim. 2:25-26; 2 Pet. 1:10-11; more at Blindness, Contrition, Disobedience, God, Repentance, Self)
Thursday, January 11, 1996
Commemoration of Mary Slessor, Missionary in West Africa, 1915
Every virtue is a form of obedience to God. Every evil word or act is a form of rebellion against Him. This may not be clear at first; but, if we think patiently, we shall find that it is true. Why were you angry? You will probably find that it was because you were not willing to accept the world as God has made it; or because you were not willing to leave it to God to deal with the people that He has made.
... Stephen Neill (1900-1984), The Christian Character, London: Lutterworth Press, 1955, p. 17
(see the book; see also Luke 12:47-48; John 9:41; 2 Pet. 1:5-7; 2:17-21; more at Evil, Faith, God, Obedience, Patience, Virtue)
Friday, January 12, 1996
Feast of Aelred of Hexham, Abbot of Rievaulx, 1167
Commemoration of Benedict Biscop, Abbot of Wearmouth, Scholar, 689
We have all been inoculated with Christianity, and are never likely to take it seriously now! You put some of the virus of some dreadful illness into a man’s arm, and there is a little itchiness, some scratchiness, a slight discomfort, disagreeable, no doubt, but not the fever of the real disease, the turning and the tossing, and the ebbing strength. And we have all been inoculated with Christianity, more or less. We are on Christ’s side, we wish him well, we hope that He will win, and we are even prepared to do something for Him, provided, of course, that He is reasonable, and does not make too much of an upset among our cozy comforts and our customary ways. But there is not the passion of zeal, and the burning enthusiasm, and the eagerness of self-sacrifice, of the real faith that changes character and wins the world.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), From the Edge of the Crowd, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1924, p. 17
(see the book; see also Matt. 19:20-22; Deut.30:17-18; Matt. 23:27-28; Acts 4:18-20; Rom. 2:20-24; 2 Tim. 3:2-5; Tit. 1:15-16; more at Christ, Conversion, Faith, Self-sacrifice, Zeal)
Saturday, January 13, 1996
Feast of Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, Teacher, 367
Commemoration of Kentigern (Mungo), Missionary Bishop in Strathclyde & Cumbria, 603
Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you yourself shall be the miracle.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Twenty Sermons, New York: E.P. Dutton, 1887, p. 330
(see the book; see also Luke 18:30; John 4:48-53; 20:29; Rom. 15:18-19; more at Miracle, Prayer, Task, Work)
Sunday, January 14, 1996
Commemoration of Richard Meux Benson, Founder of the Society of St John the Evangelist, 1915
Our critical day is not the very day of our death, but the whole course of our life; I thank him, that prays for me when my bell tolls; but I thank him much more, that catechizes me, or preaches to me, or instructs me how to live.
... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. VI, London: John W. Parker, 1839, Sermon CLVIII, p. 291
(see the book; see also 1 Thess. 2:3-4; Ps. 68:20; John 6:26-27; Rom. 12:5-8; more at Attitudes, Day, Death, Instruction, Judgment, Life, Prayer, Preach)
Monday, January 15, 1996
Who seeks for heaven alone to save his soul,May keep the path, but will not reach the goal;While he who walks in love may wander far,But God will bring him where the Blessed are.
... Henry van Dyke (1852-1933), The Poems of Henry Van Dyke, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1920, p. 275
(see the book; see also 1 Tim. 1:5; Ps. 16:11; Matt. 19:16-20; John 5:39-40,46; more at Goal, God, Heaven, Knowing God, Love, Salvation)
Tuesday, January 16, 1996
The Jews would not willingly tread upon the smallest piece of paper in their way, but took it up; for possibly, they say, the name of God may be on it. Though there was a little superstition in this, yet truly there is nothing but good religion in it, if we apply it to men. Trample not on any; there may be some work of grace there, that thou knowest not of. The name of God may be written upon that soul thou treadest on; it may be a soul that Christ thought so much of, as to give His precious blood for it; therefore despise it not. (formerly ascribed to Coleridge)
... Robert Leighton (1611-1684), A Practical Commentary Upon the First Epistle of St. Peter, London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1849, p. 368
(see the book; see also Acts 5:41; Jer. 14:9; Rom. 14:4; Phil. 2:9-10; 1 Pet. 2:17; Jas. 2:7; more at Attitudes, Blood, Christ, God, Grace, Religion)
Wednesday, January 17, 1996
Feast of Antony of Egypt, Abbot, 356
Commemoration of Charles Gore, Bishop, Teacher, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, 1932
In the pure soul, although it sing or pray,The Christ is born anew from day to day.The life that knoweth Him shall bide apartAnd keep eternal Christmas in the heart.
... Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (1844-1911), included in The Marching Morrows, Women’s Educational and Industrial Union, Boston: Merrymount Press, 1901, p. 178
(see the book; see also Luke 1:31-33,37-38; 2:1-40; John 1:14; 1 John 4:10-14; more at Christ, Christmas, Everlasting, Heart, Purity)
Thursday, January 18, 1996
Commemoration of Amy Carmichael, Founder of the Dohnavur Fellowship, 1951
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)
Friday, January 19, 1996
Commemoration of Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, 1095
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)
Saturday, January 20, 1996
Commemoration of Richard Rolle of Hampole, Writer, Hermit, Mystic, 1349
We may suffer the sins of our brother; we do not need to judge. This is a mercy for the Christian; for when does sin ever occur in the community that he must not examine and blame himself for his own unfaithfulness in prayer and intercession, his lack of brotherly service, of fraternal reproof and encouragement—indeed, for his own personal sin and spiritual laxity, by which he has done injury to himself, the fellowship, and the brethren? Since every sin of a member burdens and indicts the whole community, the congregation rejoices, in the midst of all the pain and the burden that the brother’s sin inflicts, that it has the privilege of bearing and forgiving.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together , tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 102
(see the book; see also John 15:1-8; Ps. 46:4-5; Rom. 2:15-29; Eph. 2:21-22; Heb. 3:6; 1 Pet. 2:5; more at Bearing, Burden, Church, Community, Congregation, Fellowship, Forgiveness, Intercession, Judgment, Pain, Sin, Suffer)
Sunday, January 21, 1996
Feast of Agnes, Child Martyr at Rome, 304
Love is [careful] of little things, of circumstances and measures, and of little accidents; not allowing to itself any infirmity which it strives not to master, aiming at what it cannot yet reach, desiring to be of an angelic purity, and of a perfect innocence and a seraphical fervour, and fears every image of offense; is as much afflicted at an idle word as some at an act of adultery, and will not allow to itself so much anger as will disturb a child, nor endure the impurity of a dream. And this is the curiosity and niceness of divine love: this is the fear of God, and is the daughter and production of love.
... Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), Holy Living , in The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D., v. III, London: Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1847, p. 158
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 13; Mark 14:3-9; Luke 6:31; John 13:14-15; 15:12-13,17; more at Fear, God, Innocence, Love, Perfection, Purity)
Monday, January 22, 1996
You are a man, not God; you are human, not an angel. How can you expect to remain always in a constant state of virtue, when this was not possible even for an angel of heaven, nor for the first man in the Garden?
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, III.lvii., p. 227
(see the book; see also Gen. 3:12-13; Job 40-41; Ps. 119:137; more at Angel, God, Man, Sin, Virtue)
Tuesday, January 23, 1996
Commemoration of Phillips Brooks, Bishop of Massachusetts, spiritual writer, 1893
We feel that other churches must accept, as the pre-conditions of fellowship, such changes as will bring them into conformity with ourselves in matters which we regard as essential, and that a failure to insist on this will involve compromise in regard to what is essential to the Church’s being. But for precisely the same reason, we cannot admit a demand from others for any changes in ourselves which would seem to imply a denial that we already possess the esse of the Church.
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), The Household of God, London, SCM Press, 1953, New York: Friendship Press, 1954, p. 150-151
(see the book; see also Col. 3:12-13; Rom. 12:5,15; Eph. 4:15-17; Gal. 6:1-2; more at Church, Ecumenical, Fellowship, Reason)
Wednesday, January 24, 1996
Feast of François de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, Teacher, 1622
What is worst of all is to advocate Christianity, not because it is true, but because it might prove useful... To justify Christianity because it provides a foundation of morality, instead of showing the necessity of Christian morality from the truth of Christianity, is a very dangerous inversion; and we may reflect that a good deal of the attention of totalitarian states has been devoted with a steadiness of purpose not always found in democracies, to providing their national life with a foundation of morality—the wrong kind, perhaps, but a good deal more of it. It is not enthusiasm, but dogma, that differentiates a Christian from a pagan society.
... T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), The Idea of a Christian Society, London: Faber, 1939, reprint, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1960, p. 46-47
(see the book; see also Acts 8:18-20; Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 15:12-14; John 5:39-40; more at Danger, Dogma, Life, Morality, Nation, Pagan, Purpose, Religion, Social, Truth, Wrong)
Thursday, January 25, 1996
Feast of the Conversion of Paul
God, though present everywhere, has His special residence, as being a pure Spirit, in our minds. “In Him we live, and move, and have our being.” He is somewhere in the recesses of our soul, in the springs of our existence, in that mysterious, dark, cavernous region of our nature where the wishes, feelings, thoughts, emotions take their earliest rise... The mind is a sanctuary, in the center of which the Lord sits enthroned, the lamp of the consciousness burning before Him.
... Edward Meyrick Goulburn (1818-1897), Thoughts on personal religion, Rivingtons, 1871, p. 257-258
(see the book; see also Rom. 8:6-7; Acts 17:24-28; more at God, Knowing God, Mind, Sanctuary, Soul, Spirit, Thought)
Friday, January 26, 1996
Feast of Timothy and Titus, Companions of Paul
Commemoration of Dorothy Kerin, Founder of the Burrswood Healing Community, 1963
The problem is not that the churches are filled with empty pews, but that the pews are filled with empty people.
... Charlie Shedd (b. 1915), quoted in The Greening of the Church, Findley B. Edge, Waco, Tex.: Word Books, 1971, p. 9
(see the book; see also John 6:26-27; Isa. 9:2; Amos 8:11-13; Luke 1:53; John 1:5; 3:19; Eph. 4:18; more at Authenticity, Church, Emptiness, People)
Saturday, January 27, 1996
There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. But what is Repentance? Not the last and noblest and most refined achievement of the righteousness of men in the service of God, but the first elemental act of the righteousness of God in the service of men; the work that God has written in their hearts and which, because it is from God and not from men, occasions joy in heaven; that looking forward to God, and to Him only, which is recognized only by God and by God Himself.
... Karl Barth (1886-1968), The Epistle to the Romans, translated from the 6th edition by Edwyn C. Hoskyns, London: Oxford University Press, H. Milford, 1933, 6th ed., Oxford University Press US, 1968, p. 68
(see the book; see also Luke 15:4-7,10; Matt. 18:12-14; Rom. 2:14-15; more at God, Heart, Heaven, Joy, Repentance, Righteousness, Sinner)
Sunday, January 28, 1996
Feast of Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Teacher of the Faith, 1274
The very Nazis look at you with wonderment and an open contempt! For even they are sure that to live for nothing higher than oneself is to lose life; that life, to be called life, can be found only in serving something bigger than one’s personal interests; something that crowds these out of mind and heart, till one forgets about them and lives wholly, and without exception, for that other, worthier thing... It is long since Aristotle told us that only barbarians have as their ideal the wish to live as they please, and to do what they like. And the New Testament gravely sets us down before the Cross, and bids us gaze, and still gaze, and keep gazing, till the fact has soaked itself into our minds that that, not less than that, is now the standard set us, and that whatever in our lives clashes with that is sin.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), Experience Worketh Hope, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1945, p. 91-92
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:39; John 8:28; Rom. 6:12-14; Col. 2:13-14; more at Bible, Cross, Ideal, Life, Sin)
Monday, January 29, 1996
We may with complete detachment study and form a judgment upon a religion, but we cannot maintain our detachment if the subject of our inquiry proves to be God Himself. This is, of course, why many otherwise honest intellectual people will construct a neat by-pass around the claim of Jesus to be God. Being people of insight and imagination, they know perfectly well that once to accept such a claim as fact would mean a readjustment of their own purposes and values and affections which they may have no wish to make. To call Jesus the greatest Figure in History or the finest Moral Teacher the world has ever seen commits no one to anything. But once to allow the startled mind to accept as fact that this man is really focused-God may commit anyone to anything! There is every excuse for blundering in the dark, but in the light there is no cover from reality. It is because we strongly sense this, and not merely because we feel that the evidence is ancient and scanty, that we shrink from committing ourselves to such a far-reaching belief as that Jesus Christ was really God.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Your God is Too Small , Simon and Schuster, 2004, p. 83
(see the book; see also Matt. 16:13-19; Ps. 110:1; John 1:1-5; 10:10; Phil. 2:5-11; more at Apologetics, Commitment, God, Historical, Jesus, Knowledge, Morality, Religion)
Tuesday, January 30, 1996
Commemoration of Lesslie Newbigin, Bishop, Missionary, Teacher, 1998
Salt, when dissolved in water, may disappear, but it does not cease to exist. We can be sure of its presence by tasting the water. Likewise, the indwelling Christ, though unseen, will be made evident to others from the love which he imparts to us.
... Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889-1929), Reality and Religion: meditations on God, man, and nature, London: Macmillan, 1924, p. 24-25
(see the book; see also Luke 14:34; Lev. 2:13; Num. 18:19; 2 Chr. 13:5; Matt. 5:13; Mark 9:50; Col. 4:6; more at Christ, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Love, Water)
Wednesday, January 31, 1996
Commemoration of John Bosco, Priest, Founder of the Salesian Teaching Order, 1888
“The Bible,” we are told sometimes, “gives us such a beautiful picture of what we should be.” Nonsense! It gives us no picture at all. It reveals to us a fact; it tells us what we really are; it says, This is the form in which God created you, to which He has restored you; this is the work which the Eternal Son, the God of Truth and Love, is continually carrying on within you.
... Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872), The Prayer-Book and the Lord’s Prayer, London: Macmillan, 1880, p. 221
(see the book; see also Acts 3:26; Rom. 3:23; Tit. 3:4-5; more at Bible, God, Love, Renewal, Sanctification, Son, Truth)
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