Quotations for September, 2004
Wednesday, September 1, 2004
Commemoration of Giles of Provence, Hermit, c.710
[Christ] looks today, as He has ever looked, not for crowds drifting aimlessly in His track, but for individual men and women whose undying allegiance will spring from their having recognized that He really wants only those who are prepared to follow the path of self-renunciation which He trod before them.
... H. A. Evan Hopkins (1907-1994), Henceforth: the Meaning of Christian Discipleship , Chicago, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 1964, p. 22
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:40-42; 10:37-39; Mark 8:34-35; Luke 9:23-24; 14:26-27; 21:4; John 12:25; Acts 20:24; 1 Cor. 10:32-33; Gal. 2:20; 5:24; Phil. 3:7-8; 1 Pet. 2:11; Heb. 13:12-13; Rev. 12:11; more at Christ, Gospel, Renunciation, Self)
Thursday, September 2, 2004
Commemoration of Martyrs of Papua New Guinea, 1942
Whence comes this idea that if what we are doing is fun, it can’t be God’s will? The God who made giraffes, a baby’s fingernails, a puppy’s tail, a crooknecked squash, the bobwhite’s call, and a young girl’s giggle, has a sense of humor. Make no mistake about that.
... Catherine Marshall (1914-1983), “Joy,” in Christian Herald, v. 82, 1959, p. 33
(see the book; see also Gen. 21:5-7; Deut. 30:9-10; Jer. 32:41; Ps. 126:2; Luke 2:10-14; 6:21; 15:10; John 10:10; 1 Thess. 5:16; more at Creation, God, Humor)
Friday, September 3, 2004
Feast of Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, Teacher, 604
We can have no power from Christ unless we live in a persuasion that we have none of our own.
... John Owen (1616-1683), V.4 in A Discourse Concerning Holy Spirit, bk. I-V , in Works of John Owen, v. III, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 619
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 12:9-10; Acts 5:41; Rom. 5:3-5; 8:35-39; 2 Cor. 4:8-10,17; 13:4; Phil. 2:17; 1 Pet. 4:13-14; more at Christ, Life, Power, Weakness)
Saturday, September 4, 2004
Commemoration of Birinus, Bishop of Dorchester (Oxon), Apostle of Wessex, 650
If our faith is not relevant to our daily life in the world and in the parish, then it is no use; and if we cannot be Christians in our work, in the neighborhood, in our political decisions, then we had better stop being Christians. A piety reserved for Sundays is no message for this age.
... Douglas Rhymes (1914-1996), “The Place of the Laity in the Parish”, in Layman’s Church, ed. John A. T. Robinson, London: Lutterworth Press, 1963, p. 29
(see the book; see also 1 John 5:4-5; Matt. 13:54-58; John 16:33; 1 Cor. 15:57; 1 John 2:16-17; 4:4; more at Church, Faith, Life, Neighbor, Work, World)
Sunday, September 5, 2004
It seems to be very hard, and if that would do any good, might be a just matter of complaint, that we are fallen into so profane and skeptical an age, which takes a pleasure and a pride in unraveling almost all the received principles both of religion and reason, so that we are put many times to prove those things, which can hardly be made plainer than they are of themselves.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. I, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon I, p. 332
(see the book; see also Job 28:28; Ps. 19:1-6; Isa. 40:26; Jer. 10:10-13; John 1:9; Rom. 1:18-19; Col. 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:3-4; Jas. 3:13; 1 John 4:6; more at Apologetics, Complaint, Pride, Profane, Proof, Reason, Skeptic)
Monday, September 6, 2004
Commemoration of Allen Gardiner, founder of the South American Missionary Society, 1851
Commemoration of Albert Schweitzer, Teacher, Physician, Missionary, 1965
Who is it that has helped you most? Has it not been those who believed in you? Perhaps there may be few such left. The light of expectation may have died out of the most friendly and hopeful eyes; and you yourself may have lost heart. Ah! but there is still One whose faith in you has never wavered. And how wonderful it is that that one should be Jesus Christ!...It was a wonderful dream God dreamed, Christ says, when He created you; it was a stately being that was in His mind when you were fashioned; and I can make you all He meant that you should be.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), The Galilean Accent, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926, p. 95
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:48; John 2:25; more at Belief, Christ, Creation, Faith, Jesus, Light, Providence)
Tuesday, September 7, 2004
Commemoration of Douglas Downes, Founder of the Society of Saint Francis, 1957
Above all, desire to please Christ; dread his disapproval above everything else.
... Rowland Croucher (b. 1937), Sunrise, Sunset, San Francisco: Harper, 1997
(see the book; see also Pr. 10:24; Luke 16:13; John 16:24; 2 Cor. 5:10-11; Heb. 10:26-27; 1 John 5:14-15; more at Christ, Fear, Obedience, Pleasure)
Wednesday, September 8, 2004
Commemoration of Søren Kierkegaard, Teacher and Philosopher, 1855
He may affect us directly by His Spirit, with the force of a thunderbolt, or He may choose to woo us gently by stirring up our consciences.But, in addition, God affects us by determining that in the universe certain causes shall bring about certain effects. Cause-and-effect is, therefore, the operation of God through normal channels rather than through special channels. We have our normal way of acting when we drive a car. We can more or less put it in “automatic pilot” while we carry on a conversation, but when an emergency arises, we take conscious personal control. I have a hunch that God has something for which this automatic pilot will serve as an illustration. That is, His routine way of operating is cause-and-effect, and He is in control of it, so that when cause-and-effect affects us, then God is affecting us. That is what the Apostle Paul means in Galatians when he says, “Do not kid yourself—God is not blind. What you do, you will get paid for.” The causes which we have set in operation by our own personal choices will inevitably bring about certain results. But God is involved because God makes cause-and-effect to work. [Continued tomorrow]
... Kenneth L. Pike (1912-2001), With Heart and Mind, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962, p. 62
(see the book; see also Gal. 6:7-9; Job 13:7-9; 34:11; Ps. 62:12; Matt. 16:27; 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Cor. 9:6; 1 John 3:7; more at Choices, Conscience, God, Holy Spirit, Presence of God, Providence)
Thursday, September 9, 2004
[Continued from yesterday]But since cause-and-effect is under the personal control of God, He can introduce into the situation other causes than the ones which we ourselves can control. When in faith we come to God for cleansing from the mess we have made of things, and when we ask for power to reverse causes we have set in motion, God sends in other causes by His Holy Spirit. It may be by direct intervention, or by a combination of circumstances which He controls. We can, therefore, be delivered from the wrath to come, because God will add other causes than those that we have initiated.
... Kenneth L. Pike (1912-2001), With Heart and Mind, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962, p. 62
(see the book; see also Gal. 6:8-9; Ps. 92:5; Rom. 6:13; 8:13-14; 11:33; 1 Cor. 15:28,58; more at Deliverance, Faith, God, Holy Spirit, Presence of God)
Friday, September 10, 2004
Not pleading with the Father, but expressing the Father’s good pleasure is the key-note of true intercession. Forgiveness is God’s idea, God’s desire; and it is He who appoints both the Judge and the Counsel for the Defense. It was He who inaugurated the priestly work, that men might receive His cleansing and turn to the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. God has provided for himself a Lamb. It is He who sends His Son to be our Elder Brother, and to incorporate us as adopted sons into the circle of His Fatherly love. So then it is the voice of His beloved Son which is most clearly heard by the Father in heaven. In that voice of intercession, all the voices of intercession are contained and heard. The Son is talking to the Father about us, and what He says is not “Please” but “Yes,” for in Him is the “Yea” and “Amen.”
... David Head, Shout for Joy, New York: MacMillan Co., 1962, p. 147
(see the book; see also John 17:9; Isa. 53:12; Matt. 28:18; Mark 1:10-11; John 5:26-27; 2 Cor. 1:20; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 9:15; 1 Pet. 2:5; 1 John 5:16; more at Cleanse, Father, Forgiveness, Intercession, Lamb, Love, Priest, Son)
Saturday, September 11, 2004
He had no qualms; “for,” said he, “when I fail in my duty, I readily acknowledge it, saying, ‘I am used to do so; I shall never do otherwise if I am left to myself’. If I fail not, then I give God thanks, acknowledging that the strength comes from Him.”
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, Second Conversation, p. 13
(see the book; see also Ps. 46:1-3; 18:1-2; 1 Cor. 1:25; 2 Cor. 11:30; 12:9; Phil. 4:13; 1 Tim. 1:12; more at Duty, Failure, God, Strength, Weakness)
Sunday, September 12, 2004
What I am concerned with here is not to write a new life of Jesus, but to set down my witness to the continued shocks which his words and deeds gave me as I approached the Gospels uninsulated by the familiar cover of beautiful language. The figure who emerged is quite unlike the Jesus of conventional piety, and even more unlike that imagined hero whom members of various causes claim as their champion. What we are so often confronted with today is a “processed” Jesus. Every element that we feel is not consonant with our “image” of him is removed, and the result is more insipid and unsatisfying than the worst of processed food.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Ring of Truth, London: Hodder & Stoughton; New York: The Macmillan Company, 1967, p. 91-92
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:34-38; Luke 12:49-53; John 7:40-49; Acts 13:45-50; 14:1-4; more at Authenticity, Jesus, Life, Witness)
Monday, September 13, 2004
Feast of John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, Teacher, 407
You must not lose confidence in God because you lost confidence in your pastor... If our confidence in God had to depend upon our confidence in any human person, we would be on shifting sand.
... Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984), Letters of Francis A. Schaeffer: Spiritual Reality in the Personal Christian, Good News Publishers, 1986, p. 142
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 3:4-6; Ps. 146:3; Matt. 7:24-27; Luke 6:47-49; Acts 14:11-15; Rom. 8:14; more at Church, Confidence, Dependence, God, Minister)
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Feast of the Holy Cross
If I am afraid to speak the truth, lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, “You do not understand,” or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my own good name before the other’s highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love.If I am content to heal a hurt slightly, saying Peace, peace, where there is no peace; if I forget the poignant words, “Let love be without dissimulation” [Rom. 12:9] and blunt the edge of truth, speaking not right things but smooth things, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), If , London: SPCK, 1961, p. 24-25
(see the book; see also Eph. 4:14-16; Ps. 55:21; Rom. 12:9-18; 1 Tim. 1:5; Jas. 2:15-16; 1 Pet. 1:22; more at Affection, Calvary, Goodness, Kindness, Love, Peace, Truth, Weakness)
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
There are, I should say, four elements in a redemptive community. It is personal, with things happening between people as well as to and in them individually; it is compassionate, always eager to help, observant but nonjudgmental toward others, breathing out hope and concern; it is creative, with imagination about each one in the group and its work as a whole, watching for authentic new vision coming from any of them; and it is expectant, always seeking to offer to God open and believing hearts and minds through which He can work out His will, either in the sometimes startling miracles He gives or in steady purpose through long stretches where there is no special “opening.” It may fairly be said that unless one enmeshes himself in this “redemptive fellowship” of the church, he lessens his chances of steady growth and effectiveness, in his Christian life and experience.
... Samuel M. Shoemaker (1893-1963), The Experiment of Faith, New York: Harper, 1957, p. 34
(see the book; see also Rom. 14:19; Ps. 32:2; Rom. 12:15; 1 Cor. 10:24; Eph. 4:11-16; Phil. 2:3-4; 1 Tim. 4:6-7; 2 Tim. 4:3; Heb. 13:9; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 John 2:19; 3:18; 4:1; more at Authenticity, Church, Compassion, Fellowship, Growth, Heart, Imagination, Mind, Miracle, Renewal, Vision)
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Feast of Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, Martyr, 258
Commemoration of Ninian, Bishop of Galloway, Apostle to the Picts, c. 430
Commemoration of Edward Bouverie Pusey, Priest, tractarian, 1882
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)
Friday, September 17, 2004
Feast of St. Hildegard, Abbess of Bingen, Visionary, 1179
What we need, and what is given us, is not how to educate ourselves for this life; we have abundant natural gifts for human society, and for the advantages which it secures: but our great want is how to demean ourselves... towards our Maker, and how to gain reliable information on this urgent necessity.
... John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), On the Inspiration of Scripture, G. Chapman, 1967, p. 108
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 5:5; Ps. 147:6; Isa. 57:15; 66:2; Rom. 12:3; 15:17, 18; 1 Cor. 3:5-7; 2 Cor. 3:5; Phil. 4:11-13; more at Education, Humility, Knowing God, Need, Worship)
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Commemoration of George MacDonald, Spiritual Writer, 1905
In judging others a man laboureth in vain; he often erreth, and easily falleth into sin; but in judging and examining himself he always laboureth to good purpose.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.xiv.1, p. 49
(see the book; see also Matt. 7:1-5; Ps. 4:4; 26:2; 119:59; 139:23-24; Lam. 3:40; Hag. 1:7; 1 Cor. 11:28,31; 2 Cor. 13:5; Gal. 6:3-5; 1 John 3:19-22; more at Judgment, Man, Repentance, Self-examination, Sin)
Sunday, September 19, 2004
Commemoration of Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690
If I lay waste and wither up with doubtThe blessed fields of heaven where once my faithPossessed itself serenely safe from death;If I deny things past finding out;Or if I orphan my own soul from OneThat seemed a Father, and make void the placeWithin me where He dwelt in power and grace,What do I gain by what I have undone?
... William Dean Howells (1837-1920), Harper’s Magazine, v. 82, 1891, p. 385, included in Masterpieces of Religious Verse, James Dalton Morrison, ed., New York: Harper & Bros., 1948, p. 387
(see the book; see also Matt. 7:7-8; 11:2,3; 16:26; 1 Pet. 1:6-7; more at Attitudes, Doubt, Faith, Father, Grace, Power, Safety)
Monday, September 20, 2004
Feast of John Coleridge Patteson, First Bishop of Melanesia, & his Companions, Martyrs, 1871
The world would use us just as it did the martyrs, if we loved God as they did.
... Thomas Wilson (1663-1755), Maxims of Piety and of Christianity, London: Macmillan, 1898, p. 90
(see the book; see also Acts 7:55-60; Ps. 2:1-3; John 12:25; Rom. 8:36; more at God, Love, Martyr, World)
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Feast of Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist
True progress is not found in breaking away from the old ways, but in abiding in the teaching of Christ and His Spirit in the Church. There is an apparent contradiction here, for how can we abide, and yet advance? It is a paradox, like much else in scripture; but Christian experience proves it true. Those make the best progress in religion who hold fast by the faith once for all delivered to the saints, and not those who drift away from their moorings, rudderless upon a sea of doubt.
... Henry Barclay Swete (1835-1917), The Life of the World to Come, London: Society for the Promoting of Christian Knowleldge, 1918, p. 106
(see the book; see also Jude 1:3; John 15:4-7; 1 Cor. 15:3-5; Gal. 2:5; 1 Tim. 1:15; 4:16; 2 Tim. 2:2; Tit. 1:9; 2:1; 2 Pet. 3:2; more at Christ, Church, Doubt, Faith, Holy Spirit, Progress, Scripture, Teach)
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
In arriving at a decision in a question of doubt, the apostles in the Acts were guided solely by their sense of the Spirit behind the action, not by any speculations as to consequences which might ensue.And so they found the truth. Gradually the results of the action manifested themselves, and, seeing them, they perceived what they had really done, and learnt the meaning of the truth revealed in the action. But if, from fear of the consequences, they had checked or forbidden the action, they would have lost this revelation. They would have missed the way to truth.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Pentecost and the World, London: Oxford University Press, 1917, included in The Ministry of the Spirit, David M. Paton, ed., London: World Dominion Press, 1960, p. 50
(see the book; see also Acts 15:28; John 16:13; Acts 2:17,18; 8:29; 13:2-4; more at Action, Doubt, Fear, Holy Spirit, Revelation, Sight, Spirit, Truth)
Thursday, September 23, 2004
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
... Jim Elliot (1927-1956), Shadow of the Almighty: the life & testament of Jim Elliot, Elisabeth Elliot, Harper, 1958, p. 108
(see the book; see also Phil. 1:21; Matt. 10:39; Luke 18:29-30; John 3:16; Rom. 8:35-39; 2 Cor. 5:1; Col. 3:4; Rev. 14:13; more at Fool, Mission)
Friday, September 24, 2004
The evil of riches, then, for institutions, for nations, for individuals, is that those who possess or seek to possess almost invariably overvalue possessions and so cease to live creatively. They stop loving God with all the heart and all the soul and all the strength and all the mind. They stop loving their neighbors, too. When you find a person of means who is not either a self-centered bore or a low creature, you may know that God has worked a miracle.
... Bernard Iddings Bell (1886-1958), God is Not Dead, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1945, p. 89
(see the book; see also Luke 12:27-34; Lev. 19:18,34; Deut. 6:5; Matt. 19:23-24; Mark 10:24-25; 12:30-31; Luke 12:15; 16:13; 18:24-25; 1 Tim. 6:9-10; Jas. 1:9-11; more at Evil, God, Love, Miracle, Neighbor, Possession, Sin)
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Feast of Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, Spiritual Writer, 1626
Commemoration of Sergius of Radonezh, Russian Monastic Reformer, Teacher, 1392
Why all this strife and zeal about opinions? Death and life go on their own way, carry on their own work, and stay for no opinions... What a delusion it is therefore to grow gray-headed in balancing ancient and modern opinions; to waste the precious uncertain fire of life in critical zeal and verbal animosities; when nothing but the kindling of our working will into a faith, that overcometh the world, into a steadfast hope, and ever-burning love, and desire of the divine life, can hinder us from falling into eternal death.
... William Law (1686-1761), The Way to Divine Knowledge , in Works of Rev. William Law, v. VII, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 219
(see the book; see also Tit. 3:3-9; more at Authenticity, Death, Faith, Hope, Life, Love, Strife, Work, Zeal)
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Commemoration of Wilson Carlile, Priest, Founder of the Church Army, 1942
Few have defined what free will is, although it repeatedly occurs in the writings of all. Origen seems to have put forward a definition generally agreed upon among ecclesiastical writers when he said that it is a faculty of the reason to distinguish between good and evil, a faculty of the will to choose one or the other. Augustine does not disagree with this when he teaches that it is a faculty of the reason and the will to choose good with the assistance of grace; evil, when grace is absent.
... 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.ii.4, p. 236-237
(see the book; see also Rom. 7:14-25; 8:5-8; Gal. 6:8; Jas. 1:13-17; more at Choices, Evil, Free will, Goodness, Grace, Reason)
Monday, September 27, 2004
Feast of Vincent de Paul, Founder of the Congregation of the Mission (Lazarists), 1660
Words are merely carriers of the secret, supernatural communications, the light and call of God. That is why spiritual books bear such different meanings for different types and qualities of soul, why each time we read them they give us something fresh, as we can bear it.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Light of Christ, New York: Longmans, Green, 1949, p. 56
(see the book; see also Luke 4:22; Matt. 7:28-29; Luke 21:15; 1 Cor. 14:9; Heb. 4:12-13; more at Attitudes, Bible, Call, Light, Spiritual life)
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 19
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:19-21; more at God, Happiness, Knowing God, Sight, Treasure)
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Feast of Michael & All Angels
None but the Lord himself can afford us any help from the awful workings of unbelief, doubtings, carnal fears, murmurings. Thank God one day we will be done forever with “unbelief.”
... A. W. Pink (1886-1952), in a letter, 1935
(see also John 7:5; Mark 9:23,24; 1 Cor. 1:22-24; more at Doubt, Faith, Fear, God, Unbelief)
Thursday, September 30, 2004
God sometimes marvellously raiseth the souls of his saints with some close and near approaches unto them,—gives them a sense of His eternal love, a taste of the embraces of His Son and the inhabitation of the Spirit, without the least intervening disturbance; then this is their assurance. But this life is not a season to be always taking wages in; our work is not yet done; we are not always to abide in this mount; we must down again into the battle,—fight again, cry again, complain again. Shall the soul be thought now to have lost its assurance? Not at all. It had before assurance with joy, triumph, and exultation; it hath it now, or may have, with wrestling, cries, tears, and supplications. And a man’s assurance may be as good, as true, when he lies on the earth with a sense of sin, as when he is carried up to the third heaven with a sense of love and foretaste of glory.
... John Owen (1616-1683), An Exposition upon Psalm CXXX , in Works of John Owen, v. VI, New York: R. Carter & Bros., 1851, p. 551
(see the book; see also 1 Thess. 1:2-4; Ps. 130:4; more at Assurance, Attitudes, Battle, Everlasting, Heaven, Joy, Life, Love, Saint)
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