Christ, our Light

Quotations for February, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010
Commemoration of Brigid, Abbess of Kildare, c.525

After Calvary, God has the right to be trusted; to be believed that He means what He says; and that His love is dependable.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), In the Secret Place of the Most High, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1947, p. 55 (see the book; see also Mark 15:25-37; Ps. 110:4; Rom. 5:8; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 5:1-2; Heb. 4:7; 6:13-18; 1 John 4:19; more at Belief, Calvary, God, Good Friday, Love, Trust)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshippers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified. The body becomes stronger as its members become healthier. The whole church of God gains when the members that compose it begin to seek a better and a higher life.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God [1948], Christian Publications, 1982, p. 51 (see the book; see also 1 John 1:7; Ps. 56:13; Rom. 13:12; Phil. 1:27; Heb. 12:1-2; 1 John 1:3; more at Body of Christ, Church, Ecumenical, Fellowship, Health, Purity, Religion, Social, Unity, Worship)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Feast of Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary to Denmark and Sweden, 865

No one uses instituted ways or forms of worship profitably, but such as find communion with God in them, or are seriously humbled because they do not.
... John Owen (1616-1683), Works of John Owen, v. IX, New York: R. Carter, 1851, Sermons X-XIII, p. 170 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 6:16; Col. 1:27; 2 Pet. 3:10-12; 1 John 3:24; 4:13; 5:11; more at Communion, God, Humility, Worship)

Thursday, February 4, 2010
Commemoration of Gilbert of Sempringham, Founder of the Gilbertine Order, 1189

It is well to have specifically holy places, and things, and days, for, without these focal points or reminders, the belief that all is holy and “big with God” will soon dwindle into a mere sentiment. But if these holy places, things, and days cease to remind us, if they obliterate our awareness that all ground is holy and every bush (could we but perceive it) a Burning Bush, then the hallows begin to do harm. Hence both the necessity, and the perennial danger, of “religion.”
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1964, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 75 (see the book; see also Ex. 3:2-5; Matt. 23:5-39; Rom. 14:1-8; Col. 2:16-17; Rev. 22:11; more at Awareness, Belief, Danger, Day, God, Holiness, Religion)

Friday, February 5, 2010
Commemoration of Martyrs of Japan, 1597

The intelligence which has learned to be a law to itself, criticising, rejecting, appropriating, assimilating, cannot deny its nature and suspend its functions when it opens the New Testament. It cannot make itself the slave of men, not even though the men are Peter and Paul and John; no, not even though it were the Son of Man Himself. It resents dictation, not willfully nor wantonly, but because it must; and it resents it all the more when it claims to be inspired. If, therefore, the Atonement can only be received by those who are prepared from the threshold to acknowledge the inspiration and the consequent authority of Scripture, it can never be received by modern men at all.
... James Denney (1856-1917), The Atonement and the Modern Mind, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1903, p. 6 (see the book; see also Isa. 6:9-10; 65:1; Matt. 13:14-15; Mark 4:11-12; Luke 8:10; John 12:37-40; Rom. 1:21-23; 5:11; Acts 28:23-28; more at Atonement, Attitudes, Authenticity, Bible, Inspiration, Man, Scripture, Slave)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The invasion of the Church by the world is a menace to the extension of Christ’s Kingdom. In all ages conformity to the world by Christians has resulted in lack of spiritual life and a consequent lack of spiritual vision and enterprise. A secularized or self-centered Church can never evangelize the world.
... John R. Mott (1865-1955), The Evangelization of the World in this Generation, New York: Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, 1905, p. 44 (see the book; see also Rom. 12:1-2; Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 15:16; 1 Thess. 5:3; 1 John 2:15-17; Rev. 3:14-18; more at Christ, Church, Evangelization, Kingdom, Spiritual life, Vision, World)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

In the “dynamic” religion that we are being promised for tomorrow, no ascetic discipline or special humbleness will any longer be required. It will be a hot-water bottle kind of piety with none of that gritty old morality it in. It will be a brand of faith that has been synthetized, vitaminized, homogenized, and capsulized, and it will be as ready-made for effortless consumption as that magically bleached, cottony, crustless, already sliced white bread which is the symbol of the modern American’s massive superiority over the pagan bushwhacker.
... Curtis Cate (1924-2006), “God and Success”, in The Atlantic Monthly, January/June 1957, p. 76 (see the book; see also Deut. 32:31-33; Matt. 7:15; 15:2-20; 2 John 1:7-10; more at Discipline, Faith, Humility, Kindness, Morality, Pagan, Promise, Religion)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Rich men now-a-days will have their monuments in churches... But if I were a priest or a bishop, I would put it into the heads of those thick-skulled courtiers or merchants, that if they would atone for their sins to Almighty God, they should privately bestow their liberality upon the relief of the poor.
... Desiderius Erasmus (1466?-1536), The Colloquies of Erasmus, v. I, tr. N. Bailey & ed. E. Johnson, London: Reeves & Turner, 1878, p. 190 (see the book; see also Matt. 6:19-20; 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 11:40-41; 12:33-34; 18:22; Acts 4:32-37; 2 Cor. 8:13-15; more at Atonement, Charity, Historical, Man, Poverty, Priest)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

See in the meantime that your faith bringeth forth obedience, and God in due time will cause it to bring forth peace.
... John Owen (1616-1683), An Exposition upon Psalm CXXX [1668], in Works of John Owen, v. VI, New York: R. Carter & Bros., 1851, p. 563 (see the book; see also Ps. 130:3-4; 25:11; 86:5; 103:2-5; Isa. 1:18; Jer. 31:34; John 14:27; Rom. 5:1-2; 2 Cor. 1:12; 10:5; more at Faith, Obedience, Peace)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Commemoration of Scholastica, Abbess of Plombariola, c.543

I have a profound belief in the power of the Sacraments. I believe that in a Divine way the use of them teaches the teachable their inward meaning... and therefore I think that we need be in no hurry to attempt to teach new converts all that we think we know about them.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church and the Causes Which Hinder It, London: World Dominion Press, 1949, reprint, Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 1997, p. 204 (see the book; see also Eph. 4:11-13; Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25; Rom. 6:3-4; Eph. 1:7-10; Col. 2:11-12; 1 Pet. 3:21; more at Belief, Church, Conversion, Knowledge, Sacrament, Teach)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lest it should be possible that any unchildlike soul might, in arrogance and ignorance, think to stand upon his rights against God, and demand of Him this or that after the will of the flesh, I will lay before such a possible one some of the things to which he has a right... He has a claim to be compelled to repent; to be hedged in on every side; to have one after another of the strong, sharp-toothed sheep-dogs of the Great Shepherd sent after him, to thwart him in any desire, foil him in any plan, frustrate him of any hope, until he come to see at length that nothing will ease his pain, nothing make life a thing worth having, but the presence of the living God within him.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Voice of Job”, in Unspoken Sermons, Second Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1886, p. 193-194 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 2:21-25; Job 19:6; Ps. 23; John 10:11-15; Heb. 13:20-21; more at Affliction, Arrogance, God, Hope, Ignorance, Knowing God, Life, Pain, Repentance)

Friday, February 12, 2010
Commemoration of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (Nicolas Herman), spiritual writer, 1691

Remember: he who despises and mocks a mental gift in another, calling it pride, and selfishness, and sin, mocks Jesus, the giver of every mental gift, which always appear to the ignorance-loving hypocrite as sins. But that which is a sin in the sight of cruel men, is not so in the sight of our kind God. Let every Christian, as much as in him lies, engage himself openly and publicly before all the world in some mental pursuit for the building up of [the Kingdom].
... William Blake (1757-1827), Poems of William Blake, ed. William Butler Yeats, London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1893, p. 203 (see the book; see also Jas. 1:17; Pr. 2:6; Matt. 6:33; 7:11; Luke 11:13; Rom. 6:23; 12:6-8; 1 Tim. 4:13-14; more at Builder, Gifts, God, Jesus, Kindness, Pride, Scorn, Selfish, Sin)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

When we turn from the microcosm of man to see the same qualities writ large in the character of the state, we find that democratic government has flourished only where Protestant Christianity has been strong. (The democracies of Greece were not truly democratic, for they were founded on slave labour.) This may be an historical accident, but it looks rather as though democracy imperatively requires conditions which only Christianity can supply: a conviction that every person is of infinite worth, that man is not his own master, that duties are more important than rights, and that spiritual well-being is of more account than material comfort and security.
... G. B. Caird (1917-1984), The Truth of the Gospel, London: Oxford University Press, 1950, p. 51-52 (see the book; see also Zech. 8:16-17; Amos 5:24; Matt. 5:9; Rom. 12:18; Phil. 2:3; Heb. 12:14; Jas. 3:16-18; more at Comfort, Conviction, Duty, Historical, Security, Social, Spiritual life)

Sunday, February 14, 2010
Feast of Cyril & Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869 & 885
Commemoration of Valentine, Martyr at Rome, c.269

What is “spirit?” (for Christ is spirit, his religion that of the spirit). Spirit is: to live as though dead (dead to the world).
This way of life is so entirely foreign to man that to him it is quite literally worse than death.
Very carefully introduced for an hour or so in the distance of the imagination, natural man can bear it, it even pleases him; but if it is brought nearer him, so near that it becomes, in all seriousness, something required of him, the natural instinct of self-protection rises up so powerfully in him that a regular uproar follows, as with drink... And in that condition, in which he is beside himself, he demands the death of the man of spirit, or rushes upon him to put him to death.
... Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Journals, ed. Alexander Dru, Oxford University Press, 1959, p. 548 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:10; Ps. 31:11-12; Rom. 7:8-11; Eph. 2:1-5; more at Death, Man, Nature, Religion, Self, Spirit, World)

Monday, February 15, 2010
Commemoration of Thomas Bray, Priest, Founder of SPCK, 1730

Guide me, O Lord, in all the changes and varieties of the world, that in all things that shall happen I may have an evenness and tranquillity of spirit; that my soul may be wholly resigned to thy divinest will and pleasure, never murmuring at thy gentle chastisements and fatherly correction, never waxing proud and insolent though I feel a torrent of comforts and prosperous successes.
... Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), Holy Living [1650], in The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D., v. III, London: Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1847, p. 34 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 5:5; John 10:3-4; 16:13; Rom. 12:3,16; 1 Tim. 6:17; more at Affliction, Prayers, Pride, Resignation, Spirit, Success, Tranquility, Will of God, World)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fear not because your prayer is stammering, your words feeble, and your language poor. Jesus can understand you. Just as a mother understands the first lispings of her infant, so does the blessed Saviour understand sinners. He can read a sigh, and see a meaning in a groan.
... J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), A Call to Prayer, published in the 1850’s as a pamphlet, American Tract Society, 1867, sec. VII (see the book; see also Isa. 32:1-4; Rom. 8:26; 15:1; 2 Cor. 12:5-10; Heb. 4:15; 5:2; Jas. 4:3; more at Fear, Jesus, Meaning, Prayer, Savior, Sinner, Understanding)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Ash Wednesday
Feast of Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, Martyr, 1977

Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?
... Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983), Clippings from My Notebook: writings of and sayings collected, Nashville: T. Nelson, 1982, p. 64 (see the book; see also Josh. 5:9; Matt. 6:5-8; Jas. 5:16-18; more at Commitment, Guidance, Prayer)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Those who call these cults “religions,” and “compare” them with the certitude and challenge of the Church have much less appreciation than we have of what made heathenism human, or of why classic literature is still something that hangs in the air like a song. It is no very human tenderness for the hungry to prove that hunger is the same as food. It is no very genial understanding of youth to argue that hope destroys the need for happiness.
And it is utterly unreal to argue that these images in the mind, admired entirely in the abstract, were even in the same world with a living man and a living polity that were worshipped because they were concrete... They are only different because one is real and the other is not. I do not mean merely that I myself believe that one is true and the other is not. I mean that one was never meant to be true in the same sense as the other.
... Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), The Everlasting Man, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1925, Wilder Publications, 2008, p. 68 (see the book; see also 2 Pet. 1:16; Acts 17:30; 1 John 5:19; Rev. 7:16-17; more at Challenge, Church, Happiness, Hope, Need, Religion, Truth, Worship)

Friday, February 19, 2010

It is difficult to document such a thing as the general attitude of a profession. But the hostility of most psychologists to Christianity is very real. For years, I was part of that sentiment; today it still surrounds me. It is a curious hostility, for most psychologists are not aware of it. Their lack of awareness is due mostly to sheer ignorance of what Christianity is—for that matter, of what any religion is. The universities are so secularized that most academics can no longer articulate why they are opposed to Christianity. They merely assume that, for all rational people, the question of being a Christian was settled—negatively—at some time in the past.
... Paul C. Vitz (b. 1935), Psychology as Religion, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977, p. 12 (see the book; see also Eccl. 6:11-12; 8:17; 1 Cor. 2:7-10; 3:19; Jas. 1:5-6; more at Attitudes, Hostility, Ignorance, People, Reason, Religion, Today)

Saturday, February 20, 2010
Commemoration of Cecile Isherwood, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, Grahamstown, South Africa, 1906

Not by conforming to this world can humanity be saved. Lying down in the gutter with the derelict is no way to reform him. Acquiescence is not an effective way of remedying evils. Sharing the gains of exploitation and enjoying the privileges arising out of injustice will never lead to the transformation of society. Untiring opposition to false standards and ceaseless activity against wrongdoing are demanded by love. Mankind can never be lifted to the highest levels if its teachers dwell in the lowlands. To be in the world and yet not of it is the difficult requirement of love.
... Kirby Page (1890-1957), Jesus or Christianity, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 1931, p. 32 (see the book; see also Luke 6:39-40; Isa. 40:11; John 10:3-4; 15:19; Rom. 12:1-2; more at Evil, Love, Man, Social, Teach, Way, World)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lord, I have shut the door, speak now the word
Which in the din and throng could not be heard;
Hushed now my inner heart, whisper Thy will,
While I have come apart, while all is still.
In this blest quietness clamorings cease;
Here in Thy presence dwells infinite peace;
Yonder, the strife and cry, yonder, the sin:
Lord, I have shut the door, Thou art within!
Lord, I have shut the door, strengthen my heart;
Yonder awaits the task—I share a part.
Only through grace bestowed may I be true;
Here, while alone with Thee, my strength renew.
... William M. Runyan (1870-1957), [1923]The Complete Book of Hymns, William J. Petersen, ed., Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2006, p. 574 (see the book; see also Matt. 6:5-8; 2 Kings 4:32-33; Matt. 14:23; 26:36-39; more at Door, Grace, Heart, Peace, Prayers, Renewal, Sin, Strength, Strife, Will of God)

Monday, February 22, 2010

It is true that [people] are praying for a worldwide revival. But it would be more timely, and more scriptural, for prayer to be made to the Lord of the harvest, that He would raise up and thrust forth laborers who would fearlessly and faithfully preach those truths which are calculated to bring about a revival.
... A. W. Pink (1886-1952), Eternal Punishment, Swengel, Pa. : Bible Truth Depot, 1951, Introduction (see the book; see also John 4:35-38; Matt. 9:35-38; Mark 16:15; Luke 10:1-3; more at Church, Fearless, Harvest, Prayer, Preach, Scripture, Truth)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Feast of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr, c.155

Though holy doctors have uncovered many mysteries and wonders, and devout souls have understood them in this earthly condition of ours, yet the greater part still remains to be unfolded by them, and even to be understood by them. We must then dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures: however deep we dig, we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides. [Continued tomorrow]
... St. John of the Cross (1542-1591), from the commentary, The Spiritual Canticle, XXXVII.4 (see the book; see also Rom. 9:22-23; Ps. 40:5; Eccl. 3:11; Dan. 4:35; Rom. 11:33; 1 Cor. 10:3-4; Eph. 3:16-19; Col. 1:27; more at Christ, Discovery, Jesus, Treasure, Wonder)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

[Continued from yesterday]
For this reason the apostle Paul said of Christ, “In him are hidden all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God.” The soul cannot enter into these treasures, nor attain them, unless it first crosses into and enters the thicket of suffering, enduring interior and exterior labors, and unless it first receives from God very many blessings in the intellect and in the senses, and has undergone long spiritual training.
The gate that gives entry into these riches of his wisdom is the cross; because it is a narrow gate, while many seek the joys that can be gained through it, it is given to few to desire to pass through it.
... St. John of the Cross (1542-1591), from the commentary, The Spiritual Canticle, XXXVII.4, XXXVI.13 (see the book; see also Matt. 7:13-14; Ps. 36:6; 139:6; Luke 13:24; Eph. 3:8-12; Col. 2:2-3; more at Christ, Cross, Jesus, Joy, Knowing God, Suffer, Treasure, Wisdom)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

In one language of East Africa, missionaries have been saying for more than fifty years, “The Lord be with thy spirit,” but they never realized until recently that, because of subtle grammatical distinctions, this important benediction actually implied, “Yes, the Lord be with your spirit, for we don’t want him.” When this fact was discovered, the missionaries protested to their native brethren and demanded [to know] why they would permit missionaries to go on making such a mistake for so many years. The only reply from the natives was that the missionaries were in the habit of saying a good many strange things, and since the missionaries all agreed in making the mistake, it must have been true, regardless of the strange implications. But this is scarcely [more] incongruous than the manner in which we have taken the Mizpah declaration, “The Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other” [Gen. 31:49], and have twisted it from its original context in which two jealous, cheating men called upon God for protection one from the other, and have appropriated it as a request for mutual blessings and benefits.
... Eugene A. Nida (1914-2011), God’s Word in Man’s Language, New York: Harper, 1952, p. 18 (see the book; see also Gen. 31:49; more at Bible, Blessing, God, Goodness, Knowledge, Missionary, Truth)

Friday, February 26, 2010

[God] wants to bring the man to a state of mind in which he could design the best cathedral in the world, and know it to be the best, and rejoice in the fact, without being any more (or less) or otherwise glad at having done it than he would be if it had been done by another. [He] wants him, in the end, to be so free from any bias in his own favour that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbour’s talents—or in a sunrise, an elephant, or a waterfall. He wants each man, in the long run, to be able to recognise all creatures (even himself) as glorious and excellent things... When they have really learned to love their neighbours as themselves, they will be allowed to love themselves as their neighbours.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Screwtape Letters, Macmillan, 1944, p. 73 (see the book; see also Phil. 2:3; 2 Cor. 10:5,18; Jas. 4:4-6; 1 John 2:16; more at Gladness, Glory, Gratitude, Knowledge, Love, Man, Talent)

Saturday, February 27, 2010
Feast of George Herbert, Priest, Poet, 1633

A pastor is the deputy of Christ for the reducing of man to the obedience of God. This definition is evident, and contains the direct steps of pastoral duty and authority. For, first, man fell from God by disobedience. Secondly, Christ is the glorious instrument of God for the revoking of man. Thirdly, Christ being not to continue on earth, but, after He had fulfilled the work of reconciliation, to be received up into heaven, He constituted deputies in His place; and these are priests. And therefore St. Paul, in the beginning of his epistles, professeth this; and in the [letter] to the Colossians [1:24] he plainly avoucheth, that he “fills up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in his flesh, for His body’s sake, which is the church.” Wherein is contained the complete definition of a minister.
... George Herbert (1593-1633), The Priest to the Temple [1632], London: H. Washbourne, 1842, p. 1-2 (see the book; see also Col. 1:24; Rom. 8:35-39; 15:8; 2 Cor. 4:16-18; more at Affliction, Christ, Church, Minister, Obedience, Priest, Reconciliation)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Well may this body poorer, feebler grow!
It is undressing for its last sweet bed;
But why should the soul, which death shall never know,
Authority, and power, and memory shed?
It is that love with absolute faith would wed;
God takes the inmost garments off his child,
To have him in his arms, naked and undefiled.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Diary of an Old Soul, London: by the author, 1880, p. 163 (see the book; see also Zech. 3:3-4; 2 Cor. 5:1-4; Heb. 2:14-15; 9:27-28; more at Child, Death, Faith, God, Knowledge, Providence, Soul)


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