Christ, our Light

Quotations for October, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009
Commemoration of Remigius, Bishop of Rheims, Apostle of the Franks, 533
Commemoration of Thérèse of Lisieux, Carmelite Nun, Spiritual Writer, 1897

To live of love, it is to know no fear;
No memory of past faults can I recall;
No imprint of my sins remaineth here;
The fire of Love divine effaces all.
O sacred flames! O furnace of delight!
I sing my safe sweet happiness to prove.
In these mild fires I dwell by day, by night.
I live of love!
... Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897), Poems of St. Teresa, Carmelite of Lisieux, Boston, Angel Guardian Press, 1907, “To Live of Love”, n. 6 (see the book; see also Luke 3:16; Ps. 103:12; Dan. 3:22-25; 1 John 4:18; more at Fire, Happiness, Knowledge, Love, Sin)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Verily, we know not what an evil it is to indulge ourselves, and to make an idol of our will... Once I would make much ado, if I saw not the world carved and set in order to my liking; now I am silent, when I see God... is fattening and feeding the children of perdition. I pray God, I may never find my will again.
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664), Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Edinburgh: William Whyte & Co., 1848, letter, Feb. 20, 1637, p. 192 (see the book; see also John 4:32-34; Ps. 34:8; Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 5:8-10,17; 1 Pet. 2:2-3; more at Evil, God, Idol, Prayer, Self, Silence, Weakness)

Saturday, October 3, 2009
Commemoration of William Morris, Artist, Writer, 1896
Commemoration of George Kennedy Bell, Bishop of Chichester, Ecumenist, Peacemaker, 1958

There is an idea abroad among moral people that they should make their neighbors good. One person I have to make good: myself. But my duty to my neighbor is much more nearly expressed by saying that I have to make him happy—if I may.
... Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, v. XII, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1922, p. 396 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 10:24; Matt. 7:12; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27-37; Rom. 13:8-9; 1 Cor. 10:33; Phil. 2:3-4; Jas. 2:8; more at Duty, Goodness, Happiness, Love, Morality, Neighbor, Obedience, People)

Sunday, October 4, 2009
Feast of Francis of Assisi, Friar, Deacon, Founder of the Friars Minor, 1226

Every one must study his own nature. Some of you can sustain life with less food than others can, and therefore I desire that he who needs more nourishment shall not be obliged to equal others, but that every one shall give his body what it needs for being an efficient servant of the soul. For as we are obliged to be on our guard against superfluous food which injures body and soul alike, thus we must be on the watch against immoderate fasting, and this the more, because the Lord wants conversion and not victims.
... St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), in Saint Francis of Assisi: a biography, Johannes Jørgensen, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1912, p. 103 (see the book; see also Acts 27:33-34; Ps. 63:4-5; Matt. 4:1-2,11; Luke 4:1-2; John 4:31-34; 1 Cor. 8:8; Col. 2:21-23; more at Conversion, Historical, Life, Soul)

Monday, October 5, 2009

If temptation were really what natural man and moral man understand by it, namely, testing of their own strength—whether their vital or their moral or even their Christian strength—in resistance, on the enemy, then it is true that Christ’s prayer would be incomprehensible. For that life is won only from death and the good only from the evil is a piece of thoroughly worldly knowledge which is not strange to the Christian. But all this has nothing to do with the temptation of which Christ speaks. It simply does not touch the reality which is meant here. The temptation of which the whole Bible speaks does not have to do with the testing of my strength, for it is of the very essence of temptation in the Bible that all my strength—to my horror, and without my being able to do anything about it—is turned against me; really all my powers, including my good and pious powers (the strength of my faith), fall into the hands of the enemy power and are now led into the field against me. Before there can be any testing of my powers, I have been robbed of them.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Temptation, London: SCM Press, 1955, p. 9 (see the book; see also Matt. 6:13; Ps. 38:10; Pr. 30:8; Matt. 26:41; 1 Cor. 10:13; 1 Pet. 1:6-7; 5:8; 2 Pet. 2:9; more at Enemy, Power, Strength, Temptation, Weakness)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Feast of William Tyndale, Translator of the Scriptures, Martyr, 1536

[William Tyndale] was a master of a simple and forceful literary style. This, combined with exactness and breadth of scholarship, led him so to translate the Greek New Testament into English as largely to determine the character, form, and style of the Authorized Version. There have been some painstaking calculations to determine just how large a part Tyndale may have had in the production of the version of 1611. A comparison of Tyndale’s version of I John and that of the Authorized Version shows that nine-tenths of the latter is retained from the martyred translator’s work. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians retains five-sixths of Tyndale’s translation. These proportions are maintained throughout the entire New Testament. Such an influence as that upon the English Bible cannot be attributed to any other man in all the past.
More than that, Tyndale set a standard for the English language that moulded in part the character and style of that tongue during the great Elizabethan era and all subsequent time. He gave the language fixity, volubleness, grace, beauty, simplicity, and directness. His influence as a man of letters was permanent on the style and literary taste of the English people, and of all who admire the superiority and epochal character of the literature of the sixteenth century.
... Ira Maurice Price (1856-1939), The Ancestry of Our English Bible, Philadelphia: The Sunday School Times Company, 1907, p. 245-246 (see the book; see also 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Sam. 23:2; Matt. 5:18; 21:42; Mark 12:24; Luke 16:17; 24:44-46; John 5:39-40; 10:35; 19:36-37; Rom. 3:1-2; 15:4; Heb. 4:12; 2 Pet. 1:21; more at Beauty, Bible, Grace, Historical, Influence, Permanence, Simplicity)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The first Epistle [to the Thessalonians] was written about a year after St. Paul’s first preaching in the city, where, according to Prof. [William] Ramsay’s calculation, he had laboured for only five months. Thus his stay had not been long enough for him to do more than teach the fundamental truths which seemed to him of the first importance: all the circumstances of his visit were still fresh in his memory and he was recalling to the minds of his readers what he had taught them by word of mouth. Now in that Epistle we get an extraordinarily clear and coherent scheme of simple mission-preaching not only implied but definitely expressed. [Continued tomorrow]
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or ours?, London: World Dominion Press, 1927, reprinted, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962, p. 68 (see the book; see also Acts 17:1-9; more at Mission, Missionary, Preach, Simplicity, Teach, Truth)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

[Continued from yesterday]
Briefly, that teaching contains the following elements: (1) There is one living and true God (I Thess. 1:9); (2) Idolatry is sinful and must be forsaken (I Thess. 1:9); (3) The wrath of God is ready to be revealed against the heathen for their impurity (I Thess. 4:6), and against the Jews for their rejection of Christ and their opposition to the Gospel (I Thess. 2:15,16); (4) The judgment will come suddenly and unexpectedly (I Thess. 5:2,3); (5) Jesus, the Son of God (I Thess. 1:10), given over to death (I Thess. 5:10), and raised from the dead (I Thess. 4:14), is the Savior from the wrath of God (I Thess. 1:10); (6) The Kingdom of Jesus is now set up and all men are invited to enter it (I Thess. 2:12); (7) Those who believe and turn to God are now expecting the coming of the Saviour who will return from Heaven to receive them (I Thess. 1:10; 4:15-17); (8) Meanwhile, their life must be pure (I Thess. 4:1-8), useful (I Thess. 4:11-12), and watchful (I Thess. 5:4-8); (9) To that end, God has given them His Holy Spirit (I Thess. 4:8; 5:19). [Continued tomorrow]
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or ours?, London: World Dominion Press, 1927, reprinted, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962, p. 68 (see the book; see also I Thess. 1:9-10; 2:12,15,16; 4:1-8,11-12,14-17; 5:2-8,19; more at Death, God, Heathen, Holy Spirit, Idol, Judgment, Mission, Purity, Resurrection, Savior, Teach)

Friday, October 9, 2009
Commemoration of Denys, Bishop of Paris, & his Companions, Martyrs, 258
Commemoration of Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, Philosopher, Scientist, 1253

[Continued from yesterday]
This Gospel accords perfectly with the account which St. Paul gives of his preaching in his last address to the Ephesian elders, and it contains all the elements which are to be found in all the sermons and in all the notices of St. Paul’s preaching in the Acts, except only the answers to the objections against the Gospel, and the proofs of its truth which would be manifestly out of place in writing to Christians.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or ours?, London: World Dominion Press, 1927, reprinted, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962, p. 69 (see the book; see also Acts 20:21; more at Gospel, Mission, Preach, Proof, Sermon)

Saturday, October 10, 2009
Feast of Paulinus, Bishop of York, Missionary, 644

The common custom is (and I fear it is too common), when the physician has given over his patient, then, and not till then to send for the minister, not so much to inquire into the man’s condition, and to give him suitable advice, as to minister comfort, and to speak peace to him at a venture.
But let me tell you, that herein you put an extremely difficult task upon us, in expecting that we should pour wine and oil into the wound before it be searched, and speak smooth and comfortable things to a man that is but just brought to a sense of the long course of a lewd and wicked life impenitently continued in. Alas! what comfort can we give to men in such a case? We are loath to drive them to despair, and yet we must not destroy them by presumption; pity and good-nature do strongly tempt us to make the best of their case, and to give them all the little hopes which with any kind of reason we can, and God knows it is but very little that we can give to such persons upon good ground; for it all depends upon the degree and sincerity of their repentance, which God only knows, and we can but guess at.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. VII, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon CLXI, p. 316-317 (see the book; see also Job 33:27-28; Mic. 6:8; Heb. 12:16,17; Jas. 4:8-10; Rev. 2:5; more at Comfort, Hope, Minister, Physician, Repentance)

Sunday, October 11, 2009
Commemoration of Ethelburga, Abbess of Barking, 675

Most Christians would agree with C. S. Lewis when he says [of the doctrine of the Final Judgment], “There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power.” * But we cannot do so, for two reasons: first, because it enjoys the full support of Christ’s own teaching, and second, because it makes a good deal of sense. If the gospel is extended to us for our acceptance, it must be possible also to reject and refuse it. The alternative would be for God to compel an affirmative response.
It would be nice to be able to say that all will be saved, but the question arises, Does everyone want to be saved? What would love for God be like if it were coerced? There is a hell because God respects our freedom and takes our decisions seriously, more seriously, perhaps, than we would sometimes wish. God wants to see hell completely empty; but if it is not, He cannot be blamed. The door is locked only on the inside. It is not Christians but the unrepentant who “want” it [to be locked].
* C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p. 106
... Clark H. Pinnock (1937-2010), Reason Enough, Exeter: Paternoster, 1980, p. 116-117 (see the book; see also John 5:26-30; Job 34:11; Ps. 62:12; Jer. 17:10; Matt. 16:27; Rom. 2:6-10; 2 Cor. 5:10; Gal. 6:8; 2 Pet. 3:9; Rev. 20:12; more at Christ, Hell, Judgment, Repentance, Salvation, Teach)

Monday, October 12, 2009
Commemoration of Wilfrid, Abbot of Ripon, Bishop of York, Missionary, 709
Commemoration of Elizabeth Fry, Prison Reformer, 1845

Life provides all kinds of astonishingly effective anodynes and narcotics, all of which are nothing but misused gifts of God. But now in hell, that is, beyond a fixed boundary set by God, all the securities and safeguards disappear into thin air. What here is only a tiny flame of secret self-reproach that flickers up occasionally and is quickly smothered, there becomes a scorching fire. What here is no more than a slight ticking sound in our conscience suddenly becomes the trumpet tone of judgment which can no longer be ignored. Lazarus is permitted to see what he believed, but the rich man is compelled to see what he did not believe.
... Helmut Thielicke (1908-1986), The Waiting Father: the parables of Jesus, New York: Harper & Row, 1975, p. 48 (see the book; see also Luke 16:19-31; Acts 28:23; 1 Cor. 4:4; 2 Cor. 4:3; 1 Tim. 1:18-19; Rev. 4:9-11; 20:10; more at Belief, Conscience, God, Hell, Judgment, Providence)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Feast of Edward the Confessor, 1066

The very activities for which we were created are, while we live on earth, variously impeded: by evil in ourselves or in others. Not to practice them is to abandon our humanity. To practice them spontaneously and delightfully is not yet possible. This situation creates the category of duty, the whole specifically moral realm.
It exists to be transcended. Here is the paradox of Christianity. As practical imperatives for here and now, the two great commandments have to be translated “Behave as if you loved God and man.” For no man can love because he is told to. Yet obedience on this practical level is not really obedience at all. And if a man really loved God and man, once again this would hardly be obedience; for if he did, he would be unable to help it. Thus the command really says to us, “Ye must be born again.” Till then, we have duty, morality, the Law. A schoolmaster, as St. Paul says, is to bring us to Christ. We must expect no more of it than of a schoolmaster; we must allow it no less.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1964, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 147-148 (see the book; see also John 3:3; Rom. 10:4; Gal. 2:19; 3:24-25; 4:1-5; Heb. 10:1; more at Commandment, Duty, Evil, God, Love, Man, Morality, Obedience)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

[C. S. Lewis] was leery of too many prayers that leave all the work to God and other people.
... Kathryn Lindskoog (1934-2003), C. S. Lewis, Mere Christian, Glendale, Cal.: G/L Publications, 1973, reprint, Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1981, p. 125 (see the book; see also Heb. 11:24-25; Matt. 6:1-8; 5:44; Luke 6:27-28; 2 Cor. 9:8; Jas. 5:16; more at God, Obedience, Prayers, Sloth, Work)

Thursday, October 15, 2009
Feast of Teresa of Avila, Mystic, Teacher, 1582

We shall never learn to know ourselves except by endeavoring to know God, for, beholding His greatness, we realize our own littleness; His purity shows us our foulness; and by meditating upon His humility we find how very far we are from being humble.
... Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), The Interior Castle [1577], tr., E. Allison Peers, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1961, p. 47 (see the book; see also Ps. 147:5-6; 29:2-4; Isa. 53:7; Matt. 11:29; Jas. 4:10; more at God, Greatness, Humility, Knowing God, Knowledge, Man, Meditation, Purity)

Friday, October 16, 2009
Commemoration of the Oxford Martyrs, Hugh Latimer, Nicolas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer, bishops and martyrs, 1555

I observe that Christ and His forerunner John in their parabolic discourses were wont to allude to things present. The old prophets, when they would describe things emphatically, did not only draw parables from things which offered themselves, as from the rent of a garment, ... from the vessels of a potter, ... but also, when such objects were wanting, they supplied them by their own actions, as by rending a garment, ... by shooting, ... etc. By such types the prophets loved to speak. And Christ, being endued with a nobler prophet spirit than the rest, excelled also in this kind of speaking, yet so as not to speak by His own actions, [which would have been] less grave and decent, but to turn into parables such things as offered themselves. On occasion of the harvest approaching, He admonishes His disciples once and again of the spiritual harvest. Seeing the lilies of the field, He admonishes His disciples about clothing. In allusion to the present season of fruits, He admonishes His disciples about knowing men by their fruits. In the time of the Passover, when trees put forth their leaves, He bids His disciples, “learn a parable from the fig-tree.”
... Isaac Newton (1642-1727), Commentary on Daniel, Darby and Browne, 1733, p. 60, fn. (see the book; see also Luke 10:1-2; 1 Sam. 15:27-29; 2 Kings 13:14-19; Jer. 18:3-6; Matt. 6:28; 7:16; 9:37; 24:32; John 4:35; more at Bible, Christ, Disciple, Harvest, Knowledge, Prophet)

Saturday, October 17, 2009
Feast of Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, Martyr, c.107

There is abroad today a widespread suspicion that a robust faith in the absolute sovereignty of God is bound to undermine any adequate sense of human responsibility. Such a faith is thought to be dangerous to spiritual health because it breeds a habit of complacent inertia. In particular, it is thought to paralyse evangelism by robbing one both of the motive to evangelize and of the message to evangelize with. The supposition seems to be that you cannot evangelize effectively unless you are prepared to pretend while you are doing it, that the doctrine of divine sovereignty is not true. I shall try to make it evident that this is nonsense. I shall try to show further that, so far from inhibiting evangelism, faith in the sovereignty of God’s government and grace is the only thing that can sustain it, for it is the only thing that can give us the resilience that we need if we are to evangelize boldly and persistently, and not be daunted by temporary setbacks. So far from being weakened by this faith, therefore, evangelism will inevitably be weak and lack staying power without it.
... James I. Packer (1926-2020), Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God [1961], Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Fellowship, 1991, p. 10 (see the book; see also Matt. 11:25; John 10:27-29; Acts 17:24-26; Eph. 4:4-6; more at Evangelization, Faith, God, Grace, Mission, Omnipotence, Power, Responsibility, Weakness)

Sunday, October 18, 2009
Feast of Luke the Evangelist

Now if all these things were to come to pass, the determined expectation of which caused the Jews to reject Christ,—if he should actually appear, with miraculous splendor, as the restorer of the Jewish nation, and city, and Temple, reigning over the whole world as a great earthly sovereign, and reserving peculiar privileges for his own nation,—if, I say, all these expectations should be fulfilled, to which the Jews have so long and so obstinately clung, surely this would not be so much a conversion of the Jews to Christianity as a conversion of Christians to Judaism; it would not be bringing the Jews to the Gospel by overcoming their national prejudices, but rather carrying back the Gospel to meet the Jewish prejudices; it would be destroying the spiritual character of our religion, and establishing those erroneous views which have hitherto caused the Jews to reject it.
We may conclude, then, that all the promises and predictions in Scripture relative to the future glories of the Jews and of Jerusalem, are to be understood of the Christian church, of which the Jewish church was a figure; and all that is said of feasting and splendor, and wealth, and worldly greatness and enjoyment, is to be interpreted spiritually of the inward comfort and peace of mind, and “joy of the Holy Ghost,” which is promised to sincere Christians in this life, and of the unspeakable happiness prepared for them after death.
... Richard Whately (1787-1863), A View of the Scripture Revelations Concerning a Future State [1829], Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston, 1857, p. 158 (see the book; see also 1 Thess. 1:6; John 6:15; 18:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 3:20; more at Conversion, Gospel, Happiness, Holy Spirit, Jerusalem, Peace, Temple)

Monday, October 19, 2009
Feast of Henry Martyn, Translator of the Scriptures, Missionary in India & Persia, 1812

The life of the early Church lay in constant intercommunication between all its parts; its health and growth were dependent on the free circulation of the life-blood of common thought and feeling. Hence it was first firmly seated on the great lines of communication across the empire, leading from its origin in Jerusalem to its imperial center in Rome. It had already struck root in Rome within little more than twenty years after the Crucifixion, and it had become really strong in the great city about thirty years after the Apostles began to look round and out from Jerusalem. This marvelous development was possible only because the seed of the new thought floated free on the main currents of communication, which were ever sweeping back and forward between the heart of the empire and its outlying members. Paul, who mainly directed the great movement, threw himself boldly and confidently into the life of the time; he took the empire as it was, accepted its political conformation and arrangement, and sought only to touch the spiritual and moral life of the people.
... Sir William M. Ramsay (1851-1939), Was Christ Born at Bethlehem? [1898], London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1898, p. 31-32 (see the book; see also Tit. 3:1-2; Rom. 13:1-7; Mic. 5:2; Matt. 2:6; 22:16-21; 1 Tim. 2:2; 1 Pet. 2:13-17; more at Church, Jerusalem, Morality, Origin, Spiritual life)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The sure way to success for any commercial venture is to suggest that those people who buy things from it, or gamble on its terms, are members of a “club,” a “circle.” Study the advertisements in any popular magazine: people are “invited to apply for membership;” “members will receive a catalogue;” they are even offered “rules,” which they gladly accept because the need for authority lies heavily upon them; they then receive a card admitting them to the circle, with the “President’s signature” printed on it. In the need for belonging, the acknowledgement of dependence, may lie the greatest opportunity of the Christian evangelist. It is not unlike the conditions under which the early Church worked. In the later Roman Empire, crumbling under its own size, its communications and resources stretched to the utmost, the mystery-religions came into their own. Rites of initiation, the sharing of secret knowledge, offered to people of all classes an escape from the perplexities of life, a retreat into a closed circle of the elect where they might feel that their transformed personalities had some significance. Who can know how many weary souls there were who strayed into the Church through rumours of a secret rite of purification, of a shared meal that conferred wisdom, and who remained to comprehend the fullness of the Godhead, a belonging greater than they had ever imagined.
... Raymond Chapman (1924-2013), The Ruined Tower, London: G. Bles, 1961, p. 110-111 (see the book; see also 1 John 5:5; John 14:27; 15:18-19; 16:33; 1 Cor. 10:16; 2 Pet. 1:4; more at Apologetics, Authenticity, Baptism, Communion, Evangelization, Knowing God)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

As to the Emperor and the charge of high treason against us, Caesar’s safety lies not in hands soldered on. We invoke the true God for the Emperor. Even if he persecute us, we are bidden pray for them that persecute us, as you can read in our books which are not hidden, which you often get hold of. We pray for him because the Empire stands between us and the end of the world. We count the Caesars to be God’s vice-regents and swear by their safety (not by their genius, as required). As for loyalty, Caesar really is more ours than yours; for it was our God who set him up. It is for his own good, that we refuse to call the Emperor God; Father of his Country is a better title. No Christian has ever made a plot against a Caesar; the famous conspirators and assassins were heathen, one and all. Piety, religion, faith are our best offering of loyalty.
... Tertullian (Quintus S. Florens Tertullianus) (160?-230?), Apology [ca. 193], quoted in The Influence of Christ in the Ancient World, T. R. Glover, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1929, p. 34 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 2:13-17; Rom. 13:1-7; Tit. 3:1-2; more at Faith, God, Heathen, Historical, Loyalty, Persecution, Truth)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Christians love one another. They never fail to help widows; they save orphans from those who would hurt them. If a man has something, he gives freely to the man who has nothing. If they see a stranger, Christians take him home and are happy, as though he were a real brother. They don’t consider themselves brothers in the usual sense, but brothers instead through the Spirit, in God. ... And if they hear that one of them is in jail, or persecuted for professing the name of their redeemer, they all give him what he needs—if it is possible, they bail him out.
If one of them is poor and there isn’t enough food to go around, they fast several days to give him the food he needs... This is really a new kind of person. There is something divine in them.
... Marcianus Aristides (2nd century), a lawyer, before HadrianThe Apology of Aristides on Behalf of the Christians, ed. J. Rendel Harris, Joseph Armitage Robinson, Cambridge: The University Press, 1891, p. 49-50 (see the book; see also John 13:34-35; Isa. 43:19; Acts 4:32-34; Gal. 5:13; 1 Thess. 4:10; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 John 3:10; 4:20-21; more at Giving, Happiness, Historical, Home, Kindness, Love, Redemption, Spirit, Stranger)

Friday, October 23, 2009

The early Christians... enjoyed the inestimable advantage of believing that the millennium was near, which precluded them from seeking to establish a beneficent regime in this world. In the time at their disposal, it was just not worth while. Perhaps the best hope of reviving the Christian religion would be to convince the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and other dignitaries likewise that the world will shortly be coming to an end. A difficult undertaking, I fear, notwithstanding much evidence pointing that way.
... Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990), The Green Stick, London: Collins, 1972, p. 43 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 7:29-31; Ps. 39:6; 73:25; Isa. 40:6-8; 1 Pet. 4:7; 1 John 2:17; more at Apologetics, Belief, Hope, Religion, Time)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

If your every human plan and calculation has miscarried, if, one by one, human props have been knocked out, and doors have shut in your face, take heart. God is trying to get a message through to you, and the message is: “Stop depending on inadequate human resources. Let me handle the matter.”
... Catherine Marshall (1914-1983), Apostolic Ministry: Sermons and Addresses, John Scott Lidgett, London: Charles H. Kelly, 1909, p. 26 (see the book; see also John 15:5; 2 Cor. 12:9-10; 2 Tim. 1:12; more at Dependence, Encouragement, Faith, God)

Sunday, October 25, 2009
Commemoration of Crispin & Crispinian, Martyrs at Rome, c.285

Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going on of late—and how little revival has resulted? ...
I believe the problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work...
To pray for revival while ignoring or actually flouting the plain precept laid down in Scripture is to waste a lot of words and get nothing for our trouble...
Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), Of God and Men, Harrisburg, Penn.: Christian Publications, Inc., 1960, p. 50-53 (see the book; see also 1 Sam. 15:22; Ps. 80:18; 85:6; Isa. 57:15; Acts 6:7; 12:24; more at Belief, Obedience, Prayer, Renewal, Scripture)

Monday, October 26, 2009
Feast of Alfred the Great, King of the West Saxons, Scholar, 899
Commemoration of Cedd, Founding Abbot of Lastingham, Bishop of the East Saxons, 664

All outward power that we exercise in the things about us is but a shadow in comparison of that inward power that resides in our will, imagination, and desires; these communicate with eternity and kindle a life which always reaches either Heaven or hell... Here lies the ground of the great efficacy of prayer, which when it is the prayer of the heart, the prayer of faith, has a kindling and creating power, and forms and transforms the soul into everything that its desires reach after: it has the key to the Kingdom of Heaven and unlocks all its treasures; it opens, extends, and moves that in us which has its being and motion in and with the divine nature. and so it brings us into real union and communion with God.
... William Law (1686-1761), An Appeal to All that Doubt [1740], in Works of Rev. William Law, v. VI, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 134-135 (see the book; see also John 15:7; Jude 20; more at Communion, Faith, God, Power, Prayer, Soul)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We know that the wind blows; why should we not know that God answers prayer?
I reply, What if God does not care to have you know it at second hand? What if there would be no good in that? There is some testimony on record, and perhaps there might be much were it not that, having to do with things so immediately personal, and generally so delicate, answers to prayer would naturally not often be talked about; but no testimony concerning the thing can well be conclusive; for, like a reported miracle, there is always some way to daff it; and besides, the conviction to be got that way is of little value: it avails nothing to know the thing by the best of evidence... “But if God is so good as you represent Him, and if He knows all that we need, and better far than we do ourselves, why should it be necessary to ask Him for anything?”
I answer, What if He knows prayer to be the thing we need first and most? What if the main object in God’s idea of prayer be the supplying of our great, our endless need—the need of Himself? [Continued tomorrow]
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Word of Jesus on Prayer”, in Unspoken Sermons, Second Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1886, p. 66-67,72 (see the book; see also Matt. 6:8; Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4; 12:29-30; John 3:8; Heb. 13:5-6; more at God, Goodness, Knowledge, Need, Prayer)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Feast of Simon & Jude, Apostles

[Continued from yesterday]
Hunger may drive the runaway child home, and he may or may not be fed at home; but he needs his mother more than his dinner. Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other need; prayer is the beginning of that communion, and some need is the motive of that prayer... So begins a communion, a talking with God, a coming-to-one with Him, which is the sole end of prayer, yea, of existence itself in its infinite phases. We must ask that we may receive; but that we should receive what we ask in respect of our lower needs, is not God’s end in making us pray, for He could give us everything without that: to bring His child to His knee, God withholds that man may ask.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Word of Jesus on Prayer”, in Unspoken Sermons, Second Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1886, p. 72-73 (see the book; see also 1 John 5:14-15; Ps. 73:28; Mark 11:24-25; John 4:32-34; more at Communion, Giving, God, Need, Prayer)

Thursday, October 29, 2009
Commemoration of James Hannington, Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa, Martyr in Uganda, 1885

Madness frequently discovers itself merely by unnecessary deviation from the usual modes of the world. My poor friend [Christopher] Smart showed the disturbance of his mind, by falling upon his knees, and saying his prayers in the street, or in any other unusual place. Now although, rationally speaking, it is greater madness not to pray at all, than to pray as Smart did, I am afraid there are so many who do not pray, that their understanding is not called in question... I did not think he ought to be shut up. His infirmities were not noxious to society. He insisted on people praying with him; and I’d as lief pray with Kit Smart as any.
... Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., v. I [1791], James Boswell, New York: Derby & Jackson, 1858, p. 317-318 (see the book; see also Ps. 55:17; more at Call, People, Prayer, Reason, Social, Understanding)

Friday, October 30, 2009
Commemoration of Martin Luther, Teacher, Reformer, 1546

I have so much to do (today) that I should spend the first three hours in prayer.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), attributed (see the book; see also Ps. 88:13; 5:3; 55:16-17;Matt. 14:22-23; Luke 9:28-31; more at Communion, Prayer, Providence, Today)

Saturday, October 31, 2009
Reformation Day

We Christians too often substitute prayer for playing the game. Prayer is good; but when used as a substitute for obedience, it is nothing but a blatant hypocrisy, a despicable Pharisaism... To your knees, man! and to your Bible! Decide at once! Don’t hedge! Time flies! Cease your insults to God, quit consulting flesh and blood. Stop your lame, lying, and cowardly excuses. Enlist!
... C. T. Studd (1860-1931) (see the book; see also Luke 6:43-49; Matt. 4:19; 12:34-37; Rom. 2:1; more at Action, Bible, God, Hypocrisy, Obedience, Pharisaism, Prayer, Work)


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