Christ, our Light

Quotations for June, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Feast of Justin, Martyr at Rome, c.165
Commemoration of Angela de Merici, Founder of the Institute of St. Ursula, 1540

In a modern-day brand of Christianity devoted to good works, faith in the forgiveness of sin deteriorates, and the Golden Rule becomes a means of salvation rather than the fruit of salvation. An empty stomach is no way to a man’s heart, and racial justice is long overdue, but a cup of water can never replace the healing power of the Cross. In a country where famine and poverty have reduced the day’s ration to a bowl of rice and the domicile to one room, food and shelter are obviously important, but so is faith in God’s mercy. Faith is indispensable. Neither individual holiness nor social concern can be legislated... The fact is that the more seriously one takes the demands of God, the more conscious of his own need for mercy he becomes. But, fortunately, as Kierkegaard put it, “The opposite of sin is not ‘virtue’ but faith.”*
* from Kierkegaard, Sickness unto Death
... Paul G. Johnson 1931-2013, Buried Alive, Richmond: John Knox Press, 1968, p. 143 (see the book; see also Matt. 8:16-17; Rom. 6:3-8; 14:13; Gal. 3:21-22; Tit. 1:15; Heb. 11:6; more at Cross, Faith, Forgiveness, Good works, Mercy, Salvation, Sin, Virtue)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I should as soon attempt to raise flowers if there were no atmosphere, or produce fruits if there were neither light nor heat, as to regenerate men if I did not believe there was a Holy Ghost.
... Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), The Sermons of Henry Ward Beecher in Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, eighth series, New York: J. B. Ford, 1873, p. 390 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 2:13-14; Isa. 11:2-5; Matt. 19:26; Luke 11:13; 12:11-12; more at Belief, Flower, Holy Spirit, Light, Man, Regeneration)

Thursday, June 3, 2010
Feast of Edward King, Bishop of Lincoln, Teacher, 1910
Commemoration of Martyrs of Uganda, 1886 & 1978

When the time comes to enter the darkness in which we are naked and helpless and alone; in which we see the insufficiency of our greatest strength and the hollowness of our strongest virtues; in which we have nothing of our own to rely on, and nothing in our nature to support us, and nothing in the world to guide us or give us fight—then we find out whether or not we live by faith.
... Thomas Merton (1915-1968), Seeds of Contemplation, London: Hollis & Carter, 1949, New Directions. 1949, p. 172 (see the book; see also Gal. 2:15-16; Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17; 5:1; Gal. 3:11; more at Darkness, Faith, Guidance, Helplessness, Weakness)

Friday, June 4, 2010

None of these good works [e.g., HIV/AIDS outreach, relief of hunger, poverty, or eliminating malaria or tuberculosis]—nay, great works—deal with the most profound social problem facing humankind.
That social problem is alienation from God.
... Christianity Today Magazine, Carol Stream, IL, “The Greatest Social Need”, editorial for January 19, 2009 (see the book; see also Rom. 1:18-23; Ps. 14:1; Job 12:7-25; John 10:16; 15:5; 1 Cor. 10:19-20; Eph. 2:12-13; Col. 1:21; 1 Thess. 4:3-6; more at Agnosticism, Atheism, God, Good works, Poverty, Social)

Saturday, June 5, 2010
Feast of Boniface (Wynfrith) of Crediton, Archbishop of Mainz, Apostle of Germany, Martyr, 754

If something I am asked to do for another feels burdensome; if, yielding to an inward unwillingness, I avoid doing it, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), If [1938], London: SPCK, 1961, p. 50 (see the book; see also Deut. 15:10; Lev. 19:18; Matt. 5:42; 2 Cor. 9:7; Philem. 1:14; Heb. 6:10; more at Burden, Calvary, Knowledge, Love)

Sunday, June 6, 2010
Commemoration of Ini Kopuria, Founder of the Melanesian Brotherhood, 1945

Christ did not die for society, but for humanity.
... Kathryn Lindskoog (1934-2003), C. S. Lewis, Mere Christian, Glendale, Cal.: G/L Publications, 1973, reprint, Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1981, p. 75 (see the book; see also Ps. 2:8-12; 22:27; Isa. 11:1-5,10; John 3:16-17; Rom. 8:22; more at Christ, Death, Man, Social)

Monday, June 7, 2010

No erudition, no purity of diction, no width of mental outlook, no flowers of eloquence, no grace of person can atone for lack of fire. Prayer ascends by fire. Flame gives prayer access as well as wings, acceptance as well as energy. There is no incense without fire; no prayer without flame.
... E. M. Bounds (1835-1913), The Necessity of Prayer [1907], Lulu, 2007, p. 19-20 (see the book; see also Ps. 141:2; Matt. 3:11; Acts 2:3; 1 Thess. 5:19; Rev. 5:8; 8:3-4; more at Fire, Flame, Grace, Prayer, Purity)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Feast of Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath & Wells, Hymnographer, 1711
Commemoration of Roland Allen, Mission Strategist, 1947

We are so utterly ordinary, so commonplace, while we profess to know a Power the Twentieth Century does not reckon with. But we are “harmless,” and therefore unharmed. We are spiritual pacifists, non-militants, conscientious objectors in this battle-to-the-death with principalities and powers in high places. Meekness must be had for contact with men, but brass, outspoken boldness is required to take part in the comradeship of the Cross. We are “sideliners”—coaching and criticizing the real wrestlers while content to sit by and leave the enemies of God unchallenged. The world cannot hate us, we are too much like its own. Oh that God would make us dangerous!
... Jim Elliot (1927-1956), Shadow of the Almighty: the life & testament of Jim Elliot, Elisabeth Elliot, Harper, 1958, p. 79 (see the book; see also Pr. 28:1; John 7:7; 12:25; 15:18-19; Acts 4:29-31; 9:28; Rom. 8:31; Heb. 13:6; Jas. 4:4; Rev. 3:14-16; more at Challenge, Commonplace, Contentment, Cross, Danger, Enemy, Fight, God, Hatred, Knowledge, Meekness, Power)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Feast of Columba, Abbot of Iona, Missionary, 597
Commemoration of Ephrem of Syria, Deacon, Hymnographer, Teacher, 373

Prayer is not a means of laying hold of God; that prayer precisely is not made possible by a system, but, rather, by a free decision of grace on the part of the one who wills indeed to listen; that prayer precisely is not addressed to one who dwells at a distance, but is addressed to one who comes very close (even into our hearts!); that prayer precisely is a miracle and not a technical procedure.
... Jacques Ellul (1912-1994), Prayer and Modern Man, New York: The Seabury Press, 1973, p. 9 (see the book; see also 1 Thess. 5:17-19; Eccl. 5:2; Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 18:13; Heb. 10:22-23; more at God, Grace, Listening, Miracle, Prayer, Presence of God)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

This Prayer is especially to be used in temptation to private sin.
O almighty God, infinite and eternal, Thou fillest all things with Thy presence; Thou art every where by thy essence and by Thy power; in heaven by glory, in holy places by Thy grace and favour, in the hearts of Thy servants by Thy Spirit, in the consciences of all men by Thy testimony and observation of us. Teach me to walk always as in Thy presence, to fear Thy majesty, to reverence Thy wisdom and omniscience; that I may never dare to commit any indecency in the eye of my Lord and my Judge; but that I may with so much care and reverence demean myself that my Judge may not be my accuser, but my advocate; that I, expressing the belief of Thy presence here by careful walking, may feel the effects of it in the participation of eternal glory, through Jesus Christ. Amen.
... 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. 43 (see the book; see also Ps. 139:1-16; 128:1; Deut. 10:12; Hos. 6:6; 14:9; John 15:26-27; Rom. 9:23-24; more at Conscience, Eternal life, Grace, Judgment, Prayers, Sin, Teach, Temptation)

Friday, June 11, 2010
Feast of Barnabas the Apostle

Some day you will read in the papers that D. L. Moody, of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now. I shall have gone up higher, that is all; out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal, a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint, a body like unto His own glorious body. I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever.
... Dwight Lyman Moody (1837-1899), quoted in The Shorter Life of D. L. Moody, v. 1, Paul Dwight Moody & Arthur Percy Fit, Chicago: The Bible Institute Colportage Association, 1900, p. 9 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 4:18; John 3:5-6; 5:21; 6:39-40; 11:25-26; Rom. 8:11; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 John 2:16-17; Rev. 21:4; more at Death, Eternal life, Immortality, Life, Sin, Spirit)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Elijah stood in the direct line of this tradition [of prophets]. The prophet of Yahweh was still an inspired seer, whose oracles followed the ecstatic model and were seldom remembered long; the time had not come for marvelous poetic sermons, composed in advance, delivered orally and written down later by enthralled listeners or recited from generation to generation until collected into anthologies by later scholars. Pious Israelites were not far wrong in distinguishing between true prophets and false prophets of Yahweh by the impact of their words on the privileged classes; if the latter were pleased the prophet was false; if they were displeased the prophet was true.
... William Foxwell Albright (1891-1971), The Biblical Period from Abraham to Ezra, Harper & Row, 1963, p. 65 (see the book; see also Isa. 30:10-11; 1 Kings 22:8; Jer. 23:30-32; Matt. 23:37; Acts 7:51-52; more at God, Inspiration, Prophet, Sermon, Tradition, Truth)

Sunday, June 13, 2010
Commemoration of Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Apologist and Writer, 1936

“The Future and Christianity” are no casual combination of words like the “future of motoring”, or the “future of Europe”. Christianity is the founder and trustee of the future.
... Eugen R. Huessey (1888-1973), Christian Future, or the Modern Mind Outrun, New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 1966, p. 61 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:35-58; Ps. 96:10; Isa. 2:4; Matt. 16:27-28; 26:64; John 14:3,18; 1 Cor. 11:26; more at Future, Kingdom, Predestination, Resurrection, Social)

Monday, June 14, 2010
Commemoration of Richard Baxter, Priest, Hymnographer, Teacher, 1691

God takes men’s hearty desires and will, instead of the deed, where they have not power to fulfill them; but He never took the bare deed instead of the will.
... Richard Baxter (1615-1691), Directions and Persuasions to a Sound Conversion, in The Practical Works of Richard Baxter, v. VIII, London: J. Duncan, 1830, p. 174 (see the book; see also Matt. 15:8-14; Mal. 2:7-8; Matt. 21:28-32; John 4:23-24; Eph. 4:17-19; more at Deed, Intention, Power, Redemption)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Feast of Evelyn Underhill, Mystical Writer, 1941

Christianity is not an argument, and Christianity is not given us in the form of logic but in the form of beauty and love.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Light of Christ, New York: Longmans, Green, 1949, p. 30 (see the book; see also Joel 2:28-29; Matt. 4:23; 13:44; Gal. 3:8; more at Argument, Beauty, Christ, Logic, Love)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Feast of Richard of Chichester, Bishop, 1253
Commemoration of Joseph Butler, Bishop of Durham, Moral Philosopher, 1752

Whatever be our conception of the universe we must, it is obvious, start somehow; we must begin with something; and the something with which we begin, from the very fact that we do begin with it, must itself be without explanation, since, if something else were invoked to explain it, then the “something else” must needs be logically prior to that which it is invoked to explain. Thus the “something” being explained by a logically prior “something else” could not have been ultimate.
... C. E. M. Joad (1891-1953), God and Evil, New York: Harper, 1943, p. 87 (see the book; see also Gen. 1:1-2; John 1:1-5; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:2; more at Apologetics, Beginning, Creation, Logic, Reason, Universe)

Thursday, June 17, 2010
Commemoration of Samuel & Henrietta Barnett, Social Reformers, 1913 & 1936

Evangelism and social concern are like the two wings of a bird. Without an intimate association of the two, the church cannot hope to grow over the long term.
... Thomas Houston, former president, World Vision International, in a private communication from World Vision (see also Matt. 9:5; 10:42; Mark 9:41; 12:42-43; Acts 3:6; 8:4; 2 Cor. 8:12; more at Church, Evangelization, Growth, Social)

Friday, June 18, 2010

The great heresies in the early Church arose not from the rapid expansion result of these unknown [and untrained] teachers; but in those churches which were longest established, and where the Christians were not so busily engaged in converting the heathen around them. The Church of that day was apparently quite fearless of any dangers that the influx of large numbers of what we should call illiterate converts might lower the standard of church doctrine. She held the tradition handed down by the apostles, and expected the new converts to grow up into it, to maintain it and to propagate it. And so in fact they did. The danger to doctrine lay not in these illiterate converts on the outskirts; but at home, in places like Ephesus and Alexandria, amongst the more highly educated and philosophically minded Christians. It was against them that she had to maintain the doctrine.
... 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. 64 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 11:3-4; Acts 15:28-29; 17:22-32; 1 Cor. 11:18-19; Gal. 1:6-8; 3:1-5; Eph. 4:14-15; 1 Tim. 1:8-11; 4:16; 2 Tim. 2:2-5; Tit. 1:7-9; Jude 1:3; more at Church, Conversion, Danger, Heresy, Home, Tradition)

Saturday, June 19, 2010
Commemoration of Sundar Singh of India, Sadhu, Evangelist, Teacher, 1929

The [early] Church maintained her doctrine by thinking it so clear that any one could understand it: we maintain our doctrine by treating it as so complicated that only theologians can understand it. Consequently, the Church then was quite prepared that any man who believed in Christ should teach others what he knew of Him: we are only prepared to allow men whom we have specially trained to teach it.
... 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. 65 (see the book; see also 1 John 3:10; Ps. 19:7; Acts 4:13; Rom. 1:18-19; 1 Cor. 3:18; 2 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 3:8-9; 2 Pet. 3:15-18; more at Belief, Church, Knowing God, Man, Theology, Thought)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Holy Spirit is ... born from Love and is of Love, all its treasures are of love, and if we are to believe our Gospels it is received by love and love only. I am aware that to talk of love vaguely like this is not much help. I know how difficult it is to die to pride and self-concern, to the cowardice of a spiritual apathy that dare not face itself for what it fears to know. I know how difficult it is to remember, and to act as though we knew, that only forgiveness has a Resurrection, resentment has not—all those things that are the great and tormenting enemies to Love and its gracious freedoms.
... Florence Allshorn (1887-1950), The Notebooks of Florence Allshorn, London: SCM Press, 1957, p. 64 (see the book; see also John 6:63; Rom. 5:5; Eph. 2:17-18; Gal. 5:22; 6:8; 2 Pet. 1:21; Rev. 22:17; more at Forgiveness, Freedom, Holy Spirit, Love, Pride, Resurrection, Self, Treasure)

Monday, June 21, 2010

What does it mean to be a Christocratic brotherhood? Not a place where religion of a certain brand brings people together at stated times for stated activities, but a brotherhood where everybody finds his or her place, as in 1 Cor. 12, and where the creative fact is the living Christ, the [Redeemer] and Reconciler, who wants to reach the world to minister to it through His redeemed. For the world wants to see redemption. It is not interested in being talked to about it.
... Hendrik Kraemer (1888-1965), A Theology of the Laity, London: Lutterworth Press, 1958, p. 179-180 (see the book; see also Gal. 1:3-5; 1 Cor. 12; Gal. 4:4-5; Tit. 2:14; Heb. 9:15; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; more at Brotherhood, Christ, Minister, Redemption, Religion, Sight, World)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Feast of Alban, first Martyr of Britain, c.209

Apostolic preaching is not marked by its beautiful diction, or literary polish, or cleverness of expression. It has laid aside “excellency of speech or of wisdom”; it has no confidence in “persuasive words of wisdom” but operates in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.
... Arthur Wallis (1922-1988), In the Day of Thy Power: the Scriptural principles of revival, Fort Washington, Pa.: Christian Literature Crusade, 1956, p. 85 (see the book; see also Matt. 10:19-20; Mark 13:11; Luke 21:14-15; 1 Cor. 2:1-4; more at Beauty, Confidence, Holy Spirit, Power, Preach, Spirit, Wisdom)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Feast of Etheldreda, Abbess of Ely, c.678

The guidance of the Spirit is generally by gentle suggestions or drawings, and not in violent pushes; and it requires great childlikeness of heart to be faithful to it. The secret of being made willing lies in a definite giving up of our will. As soon as we put our will on to God’s side, He immediately takes possession of it and begins to work in us to will and to do of His good pleasure.
... Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911), Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, M. E. Dieter, ed., Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan 1994, p. 134 (see the book; see also Ps. 25:8-9; 23:1-3; Isa. 40:11; John 10:3-4; 16:13; more at Gentleness, Guidance, Holy Spirit, Submission, Will of God)

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Feast of the Birth of John the Baptist

The Holy Spirit [is] the source of spiritual unity! He is the Fount of all true joy! ... We as missionaries need the fullness of this joy. Without it our work will be a burden to us, and we shall toil on with the hearts of slaves; and the hearts of slaves are never strong.
... Griffith John (1831-1912), “The Holy Spirit in Connection with our Work”, in Records of the General Conference of the Protestant Missionaries of China, Shanghai: Presbyterian Mission Press, 1878, p. 36,38 (see the book; see also Luke 11:13; John 7:37-39; Acts 13:52; Rom. 15:13; 1 Cor. 12:7-12; Phil. 2:1-2; more at Fullness, Heart, Holy Spirit, Joy, Missionary, Slave, Unity)

Friday, June 25, 2010

There are times when we cannot pray in words, or pray as we ought; but our inarticulate longings for a better life are the Spirit’s intercessions on our behalf, audible to God who searches all hearts, and intelligible and acceptable to Him since they are the voice of His Spirit, and it is according to His will that the Spirit should intercede for the members of His Son.
... Henry Barclay Swete (1835-1917), The Holy Spirit in the New Testament, London: Macmillan, 1909, p. 221 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:26-27; Neh. 9:19-20; Rom. 8:15,34; 15:13; more at God, Heart, Holy Spirit, Intercession, Prayer, Search, Son, Spirit)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Since the days before Pentecost, has the whole church ever put aside every other work and waited upon Him for ten days, that [the Spirit’s] power might be manifested? ... We give too much attention to method and machinery and resources, and too little to the source of power.
... J. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), “The Source of Power for Christian Missions”, in The Missionary Review of the World, v. LIII, Missionary Review Publishing Co., Inc., 1930, p. 516 (see the book; see also Acts 2:15-17; 1:4-5; 4:31; 1 Thess. 1:4-5; more at Church, Holy Spirit, Patience, Pentecost, Power)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A priest, especially in the New Testament, was not made, he was born,... created, not ordained. He was born, not indeed of the flesh, but through a birth of the Spirit... It is not enough for anyone who follows Christ to be anointed to become a priest. To say that outward ceremonies make a priest... is to [say that we can] make no one a priest until he denies that he was a priest before. Thus, in the very act of making him a priest, they in fact remove him from his priesthood.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), “Concerning the Ministry” [1523] in Church and Ministry II, as v. XL of Works of Martin Luther, v. XL, Concordia Pub. House, 1986, p. 19-20 (see the book; see also John 3:5-8; Tit. 3:4-7; 1 Pet. 2:9-10; Rev. 1:5-6; more at Anoint, Bible, Christ, Ordination, Priest)

Monday, June 28, 2010
Feast of Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, Teacher, Martyr, c.200

To be always relevant, you have to say things which are eternal.
... Simone Weil (1909-1943), Simone Weil: Utopian Pessimist, David McLellan, Macmillan, 1989, p. 2 (see the book; see also Matt. 24:34-35; Ps. 19:7; 30:12; Pr. 30:5; Isa. 40:8; 55:11; 1 Pet. 1:24-25; more at Church, Eternal life, Everlasting, Preach)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Feast of Peter & Paul, Apostles

One of the greatest favors bestowed on the soul transiently in this life is to enable it to see so distinctly and to feel so profoundly that it cannot comprehend God at all. These souls are herein somewhat like the saints in heaven, where they who know Him most perfectly perceive most clearly that He is infinitely incomprehensible; for those who have the less clear vision do not perceive so clearly as do these others how greatly He transcends their vision.
... St. John of the Cross (1542-1591), The Spiritual Canticle, VII.9 (see the book; see also Isa. 55:8-9; Matt. 10:24; John 8:23; Eph. 1:20-21; Phil. 2:9-11; more at God, Greatness, Knowing God, Saint, Sight, Vision)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

If a man fights his way through his doubts to the conviction that Jesus Christ is Lord, he has attained to a certainty that the man who unthinkingly accepts things can never reach.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), The Gospel of John, v. 2, Westminster John Knox Press, 2001, p. 322 (see the book; see also Mark 16:9-13; Matt. 8:23-26; 11:2-3; 28:17; Mark 9:22-24; John 20:24-29; more at Certainty, Christ, Conviction, Doubt, Fight)


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