Christ, our Light

Quotations for January, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011
Feast of the Naming & Circumcision of Jesus

I don’t ask God to bless what I do. I pray He will help me to do what He blesses.
... Robert Pierce (1914-1978), founder and president, World Vision, in a private communication from World Vision (see also Ps. 41:1; Matt. 10:40; 25:34-40; more at Attitudes, Blessing, God, Prayer)

Sunday, January 2, 2011
Feast of Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops, Teachers, 379 & 389
Commemoration of Seraphim, Monk of Sarov, Mystic, Staretz, 1833

If, then, the sojourn of the Lord in flesh has never taken place, the Redeemer paid not the fine to death on our behalf, nor through Himself destroyed death’s reign. For if what was reigned over by death was not that which was assumed by the Lord, death would not have ceased working his own ends, nor would the sufferings of the God-bearing flesh have been made our gain; He would not have killed sin in the flesh: we who had died in Adam should not have been made alive in Christ; the fallen to pieces would not have been framed again; the shattered would not have been set up again; that which by the serpent’s trick had been estranged from God would never have been made once more His own. All these boons are undone by those that assert that it was with a heavenly body that the Lord came among us.
... St. Basil the Great (330?-379), in Letter CCLXI, to the Sozopolitans (see the book; see also Isa. 51:11; Rom. 5:17; 1 Cor. 15:22; Gal. 3:13; Phil.2:7; more at Christ, Death, Error, God, Heresy, Redemption, Sin, Work)

Monday, January 3, 2011
Commemoration of Gladys Aylward, Missionary in China, 1970

It is precisely when every earthly hope has been explored and found wanting, when every possibility of help from earthly sources has been sought and is not forthcoming, when every recourse this world offers, moral as well as material, has been drawn on and explored with no effect, when in the shivering cold every stick of wood has been thrown on the fire and in the gathering darkness every glimmer of light has finally flickered out—it’s then that Christ’s hand reaches out, sure and firm. Then Christ’s words bring their inexpressible comfort, then his light shines brightest, abolishing the darkness for ever.
... Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990), The End of Christendom, W. B. Eerdmans, 1980, p. 56 (see the book; see also Matt. 5:3-4; Isa. 53:3-5; Matt. 14:28-31; Luke 24:18-21; more at Christ, Comfort, Darkness, Hope, Light)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The work of God in converting souls, opening blind eyes, unstopping deaf ears, raising dead souls to life, and rescuing the miserable captivated souls out of the hands of Satan, was begun soon after the fall of man, has been carried on in the world ever since to this day, and will be to the end of the world. God has always, ever since the first erecting of the church of the redeemed after the fall, had such a church in the world. Though oftentimes it has been reduced to a very narrow compass, and to low circumstances; yet it has never wholly failed.
... Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), The Works of President Edwards, v. II, Worcester: Isaiah Thomas, Jun., 1808, p. 535 (see the book; see also 1 Kings 19:18; Isa. 61:1-3; Joel 2:32; Matt. 11:4-6; Luke 4:18-21; John 3:16; more at Beginning, Church, Conversion, Fall, God, Redemption, Soul)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christ is the Master; the Scriptures are only the servant. The true way to test all the Books is to see whether they work the will of Christ or not. No Book which does not preach Christ can be apostolic, though Peter or Paul were its author. And no Book which does preach Christ can fail to be apostolic, although Judas, Ananias, Pilate, or Herod were its author.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), quoted in The Religions of Authority and the Religion of the Spirit, Auguste Sabatier, London: Williams & Norgate, 1904, p. 158 (see the book; see also Gal. 1:8-9; John 1:1-5; 1 Cor. 2:2; 15:3; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:14-17; more at Bible, Book, Christ, Master, Preach)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Grace is the incomprehensible fact that God is well pleased with a man, and that a man can rejoice in God. Only when grace is recognized to be incomprehensible is it grace. Grace exists, therefore, only where the Resurrection is reflected. Grace is the gift of Christ, who exposes the gulf which separates God and man, and, by exposing it, bridges it.
... Karl Barth (1886-1968), The Epistle to the Romans, translated from the 6th edition by Edwyn C. Hoskyns, London: Oxford University Press, H. Milford, 1933, 6th ed., Oxford University Press US, 1968, p. 31 (see the book; see also Rom. 5:1-2; Matt. 3:17; John 1:17; Rom. 1:1-4; 3:22-24; Eph. 2:8-9; Jas. 1:17-18; more at Christ, Easter, God, Grace, Resurrection)

Friday, January 7, 2011

On the one hand, in matters of the spirit, nothing fails like success. On the other hand, in matters of the spirit, nothing succeeds like failure.
... Os Guinness (b. 1941), Dining with the Devil, Grand Rapids, Mich. Hourglass Books, 1993, p. 89 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 12:10; Matt. 19:23-24; Luke 22:59-62; Jas. 5:1; more at Failure, Spirit, Success, Weakness)

Saturday, January 8, 2011
Commemoration of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Pete Fleming, martyrs, Ecuador, 1956

God deliver me from the dread asbestos of “other things.” Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be aflame.
... Jim Elliot (1927-1956), The Journals of Jim Elliot, ed. Elisabeth Elliot, Revell, 1990, p. 72 (see the book; see also Matt. 3:11; Isa. 6:6-7; Rom. 1:16-17; Acts 2:1-4; 1 Thess. 5:19; more at Deliverance, God, Holy Spirit)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Religious education without conversion is like a course in marriage relations without marriage.
... E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973), Conversion, New York: Abingdon Press, 1959, p. 186 (see the book; see also John 5:39-40; Isa. 8:20; Luke 16:15; Rom. 3:1-4; 2 Tim. 3:14-17; 2 Pet. 1:19-21; more at Conversion, Education, Knowledge, Marriage)

Monday, January 10, 2011

The law is for the self-righteous, to humble their pride: the gospel is for the lost, to remove their despair.
... Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), All of Grace, New York: R. Carter, 1886, p. 14 (see the book; see also Luke 15:7; Lam. 3:18-22; Mark 2:16-17; John 9:39-41; 2 Cor. 4:8-9; 1 Tim. 1:15; Heb. 12:12-13; more at Despair, Gospel, Humility, Law, Legalism)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Commemoration of Mary Slessor, Missionary in West Africa, 1915

The world’s opposition is strong and subtle. And behind these things stands the devil, bent on ‘taking men alive’ and keeping them prisoner. For the devil hates the gospel and uses all his strength and cunning to obstruct its progress, now by perverting it in the mouths of those who preach it, now by frightening them into silence through persecution or ridicule, now by persuading them to advance beyond it into some fancy novelty, now by making them so busy with defending the gospel that they have no time to proclaim it.
... John R. W. Stott (1921-2011), Guard the Gospel; the Message of 2 Timothy, Downers Grove, Ill., Inter Varsity Press, 1973, p. 126 (see the book; see also 2 Tim. 2:11-14; Matt. 10:33; John 14:19; 1 Thess. 5:10; 1 John 2:22-23; Jude 1:4; more at Church, Devil, Gospel, Persecution, Preach, Prisoner, Silence, Strength, World)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Feast of Aelred of Hexham, Abbot of Rievaulx, 1167
Commemoration of Benedict Biscop, Abbot of Wearmouth, Scholar, 689

The question is not: How many people take you seriously? How much are you going to accomplish? Can you show some results? but: Are you in love with Jesus?
... Henri J. M. Nouwen (1932-1996), In the name of Jesus [1989], New York: Crossroad, 1993, p. 24 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 4:10-13; Acts 4:18-20; 9:15-16; Col. 1:24; 1 Pet. 4:13-14; more at Achievement, Jesus, Knowing God, Love, Question)

Thursday, January 13, 2011
Feast of Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, Teacher, 367
Commemoration of Kentigern (Mungo), Missionary Bishop in Strathclyde & Cumbria, 603

The very centre of a saving faith is the belief not merely in God, but in God as a Father; not merely in Christ, but in Christ as the Son of God; in Him, not as a creature, but as God the Creator, born of God. My prime object is by the clear assertions of prophets and evangelists to refute the insanity and ignorance of men who use the unity of God (in itself a pious and profitable confession) as a cloak for their denial either that in Christ God was born, or [also] that He is very God.
... St. Hilary (ca. 300-367?), On the Trinity, in A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, second series, v. IX, Philip Schaff & Henry Wace, ed., New York: Christian Literature Company, 1902, p. 45 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 8:5-6; John 1:3; Rom. 1:4; Col. 1:16-17; 1 John 4:2; 5:20; more at Christ, Faith, Father, God, Prophet, Salvation, Son, Unity)

Friday, January 14, 2011
Commemoration of Richard Meux Benson, Founder of the Society of St John the Evangelist, 1915

Every man hath greater assurance that God is good and just, than he can have of any subtle speculations about predestination and the decrees of God.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. VI, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon CXXX, p. 311 (see the book; see also Matt. 7:11; Gen. 18:23; Matt. 5:48; Luke 24:38; Gal. 1:8; 1 John 4:8; more at Assurance, God, Goodness, Knowing God, Man, Predestination)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Of this at least I am certain, that no one has ever died who was not destined to die some time. Now the end of life puts the longest life on a par with the shortest... And of what consequence is it what kind of death puts an end to life, since he who has died once is not forced to go through the same ordeal a second time? ... They, then, who are destined to die, need not be careful to inquire what death they are to die, but into what place death will usher them.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), The City of God, v. I [426], Marcus Dods, ed., as vol. 1 of The Works of Aurelius Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Edinbugh: T & T Clark, 1871, I.11, p. 18 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:51-57; 2 Sam. 14:14; Ps. 89:48; Luke 16:19-31; Heb. 9:27-28; more at Certainty, Death, Death & Resurrection, Judgment, Life, Time)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The introverted church is one which puts its own survival before its mission, its own identity above its task, its internal concerns before its apostolate, its rituals before its ministry... Undue emphasis on the static structure of the Church has led to the disappearance of a significant lay ministry in denominational Protestantism.
... Gibson Winter (1916-2002), The Suburban Captivity of the Churches, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1961, p. 103 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 5:18-20; Matt. 24:12-13; Phil. 3:12-14; 1 Thess. 4:9-10; Heb. 6:10-11; Rev. 2:4-5; more at Church, Minister, Mission, Task)

Monday, January 17, 2011
Feast of Antony of Egypt, Abbot, 356
Commemoration of Charles Gore, Bishop, Teacher, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, 1932

Now what ought to have been the attitude of thoughtful Christians towards ecclesiastical authority, resulting from our Lord’s whole attitude towards it? I think that the Catholic Church ought to have maintained and used ecclesiastical and sacerdotal authority, but that its maintenance and its use ought to have been accompanied with a continual fear. Because they had before them this fact, that however divinely authoritative, however securely resting on a basis of legitimate and genuine inspiration, yet the ecclesiastical authority of the Old Covenant, by no process of sudden revolution, but simply by a process of gradual development, was capable of becoming something so utterly alien in spirit from what it was intended to be, that when the Christ came, to prepare for whom and to welcome whom was the one reason for which it existed, it did in fact reject Him utterly.
... Charles Gore (1853-1932) (see also 1 Cor. 11:27; Matt. 13:54-58; 23:13-39; Luke 4:28-30; 24:19-20; Acts 7:51-53; more at Attitudes, Christ, Church, Inspiration, Intention, Spirit)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Feast of the Confession of Saint Peter the Apostle
Commemoration of Amy Carmichael, Founder of the Dohnavur Fellowship, 1951

Be triumphant, be triumphant,
Let the spiritual watchers see
That thy God doth strengthen thee,
That in him is victory.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), Rose from Brier [1933], London: SPCK, 1950, p. 143 (see the book; see also Eph. 3:10-11; Ps. 27:7-8; 55:18; 1 Cor. 15:57; 2 Cor. 2:14-15; Phil. 4:13; more at God, Strength, Victory)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Commemoration of Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, 1095

Setting aside the scandal caused by His Messianic claims and His reputation as a political firebrand, only two accusations of personal depravity seem to have been brought against Jesus of Nazareth. First, that He was a Sabbath-breaker. Secondly, that He was “a gluttonous man and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners”—or (to draw aside the veil of Elizabethan English that makes it all sound so much more respectable) that He ate too heartily, drank too freely, and kept very disreputable company, including grafters of the lowest type and ladies who were no better than they should be. For nineteen and a half centuries, the Christian Churches have laboured, not without success, to remove this unfortunate impression made by their Lord and Master. They have hustled the Magdalens from the Communion-table, founded Total Abstinence Societies in the name of Him who made the water wine, and added improvements of their own, such as various bans and anathemas upon dancing and theatre-going. They have transferred the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday, and, feeling that the original commandment “Thou shalt not work” was rather half-hearted, have added to it a new commandment, “Thou shalt not play.”
... Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957), Unpopular Opinions, London: Gollancz, 1946, New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1947, p. 3 (see the book; see also Luke 7:33-35; Matt. 11:16-19; 26:6-12; John 2:7-11; more at Church, Commandment, Jesus, Sabbath, Sinner, Social, Unfortunate)

Thursday, January 20, 2011
Commemoration of Richard Rolle of Hampole, Writer, Hermit, Mystic, 1349

That thou mayest win to the sweetness of God’s love, I set here three degrees of love, in the which thou shouldst be aye waxing. The first is called insuperable, the second inseparable, the third singular. Thy love is insuperable when nothing may overcome it, that is, neither weal, nor woe, nor anguish, just of flesh nor the liking of this world... Thy love is inseparable when all thy thoughts and thy wills are gathered together and fastened wholly in Jesus Christ, so that thou mayest no time forget Him, but aye thou thinkest on Him... Thy love is singular when all thy delight is in Jesus Christ and in no other thing finds joy and comfort.
... Richard Rolle (1290?-1349), The Commandments, in English Spirituality in the Age of Wyclif, David Lyle Jeffrey, tr., Regent College Publishing, 1988, p. 156 (see the book; see also John 15:9-12; 14:21; 15:17-19; 16:33; more at Affliction, Anguish, Comfort, Forget, Jesus, Joy, Knowing God, Love, Victory, World)

Friday, January 21, 2011
Feast of Agnes, Child Martyr at Rome, 304

Let all our employment be to know GOD; the more one knows Him, the more one desires to know Him. And as knowledge is commonly the measure of love, the deeper and more extensive our knowledge shall be, the greater will be our love; and if our love of GOD were great, we should love Him equally in pains and pleasures.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, Fifteenth Letter, p. 44 (see the book; see also Phil. 1:9-11; Rom. 11:33-34; Hos. 4:6; 1 Cor. 13:9-12; 2 Cor. 2:14; Phil. 3:8; 2 Pet. 1:5-7; more at Knowing God, Love, Pain, Pleasure)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

It is a Gospel to men who are without God, sinful, bewildered, anxious, discouraged, self-sufficient and proud, yet destroying themselves and others, caught in a desperate plight from which they cannot extricate themselves. The Bible characterizes men in such a state as “lost,” and as being “without hope in the world”...
And let no one suppose that such a term as “lost” is merely a bit of conventional theological jargon. It stands for a terrible reality, a reality which modern man in his modern predicament knows only too well from his own bitter experience. It gives rise to the voices of despair which haunt our radios, our newspapers, our fiction and poetry, our stage and screen, our doctors’ offices, our hospital wards, our grisly nightmare of atomic war, and the conversation of common people who no sooner meet than they begin to bemoan the fate that has overtaken the world.
... Lewis J. Sherrill (1892-1957), Lift Up Your Eyes, Richmond: John Knox Press, 1949, p. 7 (see the book; see also Isa. 8:21-22; Jer. 18:12; Rom. 15:21; Eph. 2:12; more at Bible, Bitterness, Despair, Discouragement, Experience, Fate, Gospel, Hope, War, World)

Sunday, January 23, 2011
Commemoration of Phillips Brooks, Bishop of Massachusetts, spiritual writer, 1893

Never let the seeming worthlessness of sympathy make you keep back that sympathy of which, when men are suffering around you, your heart is full. Go and give it without asking yourself whether it is worth the while to give it. It is too sacred a thing for you to tell what it is worth. God, from whom it comes, sends it through you to His needy child.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Sermons, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1878, p. 108 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 8:9; Isa. 40:11; Matt. 9:36; Jas. 1:27; 1 Pet. 3:8; more at Giving, God, Heart, Need, Suffer, Sympathy)

Monday, January 24, 2011
Feast of François de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, Teacher, 1622

Devotion is the real spiritual sweetness which takes away all bitterness from mortifications, and prevents consolations from disagreeing with the soul; it cures the poor of sadness, and the rich of presumption; it keeps the oppressed from feeling desolate, and the prosperous from insolence; it averts sadness from the lonely, and dissipation from social life; it is as warmth in winter and refreshing dew in summer; it knows how to abound and how to suffer want, how to profit alike by honour and by contempt; it accepts gladness and sadness with an even mind, and fills men’s hearts with a wondrous sweetness.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), Introduction to the Devout Life [1609], London: Rivingtons, 1876, I.ii, p. 6 (see the book; see also Ps. 73:25-26; Rom. 5:5; 14:7-8; 1 John 4:12; 5:3-4; more at Devotion, Gladness, Heart, Loneliness, Man, Poverty, Prayer, Sadness, Social, Spiritual life)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Feast of the Conversion of Paul

The theology of the last two decades [before 1956] has passed... through the cleansing fire of a world-wide catastrophe. It was brought to its proper theme, to Jesus Christ. Man is obliged to go, with everything he does or does not possess, where the life and cross of Christ and His resurrection bring him to the most real of realities: to the reality of humanity in its exaltation and poverty, hope and judgment. From here, from the time and place where Jesus the Nazarene lived, died, was victorious, where all expectations of the Prophets and of Israel... were fulfilled, it is necessary to look at man, his destination, his fall, his rebirth to a new life, his place in human society, his freedom and rights, the question whether and what kind of claims he may make on his happiness and security. This Christocentric view... gives a better understanding of what should be the relation of man to man, of the individual to society, of society to the individual, and to the securing of human freedoms by law.
... J. L. Hromadka (1889-1969), The Church and Theology in Today’s Troubled Times, Prague: Ecumenical Council of Churches in Czechoslovakia, 1956, p. 85-86 (see the book; see also 2 Pet. 2:9; Lam. 3:32-39; Amos 5:23-24; Luke 14:8-11; 22:25-27; 1 Cor. 9:7-13; more at Cross, Freedom, Jesus, Law, Resurrection, Social, Theology, Understanding)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Feast of Timothy and Titus, Companions of Paul
Commemoration of Dorothy Kerin, Founder of the Burrswood Healing Community, 1963

It is not the distance of the earth from the sun, nor the sun’s withdrawing itself, that makes a dark and gloomy day; but the interposition of clouds and vaporous exhalations. Neither is thy soul beyond the reach of the promise, nor does God withdraw Himself; but the vapours of thy carnal, unbelieving heart do cloud thee.
... John Owen (1616-1683), Works of John Owen, v. VIII, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, Serm. IV, p. 237-238 (see the book; see also Rom. 4:19-22; Matt. 13:58; 14:25-31; John 20:27; Acts 28:23-28; more at Darkness, Faith, God, Heart, Promise, Soul, Unbelief)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The problem is not that the churches are filled with empty pews, but that the pews are filled with empty people.
... Charlie Shedd (1915-2004), quoted in The Greening of the Church, Findley B. Edge, Waco, Tex.: Word Books, 1971, p. 9 (see the book; see also John 6:26-27; Isa. 9:2; Amos 8:11-13; Luke 1:53; John 1:5; 3:19; Eph. 4:18; more at Authenticity, Church, Emptiness, People)

Friday, January 28, 2011
Feast of Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Teacher of the Faith, 1274

Some there are who presume so far on their wits that they think themselves capable of measuring the whole nature of things by their intellect, in that they esteem all things true which they see, and false which they see not. Accordingly, in order that man’s mind might be freed from this presumption, and seek the truth humbly, it was necessary that certain things far surpassing his intellect should be proposed to man by God.
... Thomas Aquinas (1225?-1274), Summa Contra Gentiles [1264], Burns, Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1923, I.v, p. 10 (see the book; see also Eccl. 3:11; Dan. 4:35; Ps. 40:5; 92:5; 97:2; Isa. 55:8-9; Matt. 7:7-8; Rom. 11:33-34; more at Apologetics, Certainty, God, Nature, Sight, Thought, Truth)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Men have, for the most part, done with lamenting their lost faith. Sentimental tears over the happy, simple Christendom of their fathers are a thing of the past. They are proclaiming now their contempt for Christ’s character, and their disgust at the very name of love.
Scorn and hatred, difference and division, must be more than ever our lot, if we would be the followers of Christ in these days. Conventional religion and polite unbelief are gone forever.
... John Neville Figgis (1866-1919), The Gospel and Human Needs, London: Longman’s, Green & Co., 1911, p. 152 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 2:6-8; John 15:18-19; 1 Cor. 1:23; 2 Pet. 3:3-4; 1 John 2:15-17; more at Christ, Contempt, Faith, Hatred, Love, Religion, Scorn, Tear, Unbelief)

Sunday, January 30, 2011
Commemoration of Lesslie Newbigin, Bishop, Missionary, Teacher, 1998

We feel that other churches must accept, as the pre-conditions of fellowship, such changes as will bring them into conformity with ourselves in matters which we regard as essential, and that a failure to insist on this will involve compromise in regard to what is essential to the Church’s being. But for precisely the same reason, we cannot admit a demand from others for any changes in ourselves which would seem to imply a denial that we already possess the esse of the Church.
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), The Household of God, London, SCM Press, 1953, New York: Friendship Press, 1954, p. 150-151 (see the book; see also Col. 3:12-13; Rom. 12:5,15; Eph. 4:15-17; Gal. 6:1-2; more at Church, Ecumenical, Fellowship, Reason)

Monday, January 31, 2011
Commemoration of John Bosco, Priest, Founder of the Salesian Teaching Order, 1888

God loves matter. In his original creative acts God affirmed matter again and again, declaring it good at every point along the way. We, therefore, should take the material world quite seriously; it is the “icon” of God, the epiphany of his glory. We must not dismiss material things as inconsequential—or worse yet, as genuinely evil. The stuff of the material world—what Pierre Teilhard de Chardin called “holy matter”—has been created by God and again he declared it good, very good (Gen. 1:25,31). The material world is intended to enhance human life.
... Richard J. Foster (b. 1942), Streams of Living Water, Harper San Francisco, 1998, p. 260 (see the book; see also Neh. 9:6; Gen. 1:25,28,31; 2:19-20; Job 26:7; John 9:2-3; 2 Cor. 9:8-10; 2 Pet. 1:3; more at Epiphany, Evil, Glory, God, Goodness, Life, Love, Material things, World)


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