Christ, our Light

Quotations for February, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Commemoration of Brigid, Abbess of Kildare, c.525

The childish idea that prayer is a handle by which we can take hold of God and obtain whatever we desire, leads to easy disillusionment with both what we had thought to be God and what we had thought to be prayer.
... Robert L. Short (1932-2009), The Parables of Peanuts [1968], New York: HarperCollins, 2002, p. 305 (see the book; see also Heb. 11:6; John 9:31; Rom. 8:26; 10:12-13; 1 Cor. 14:20; Jas. 1:5-7; 1 John 5:14-15; more at Attitudes, Authenticity, Belief, God, Prayer, Thought)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lord, when the sense of Thy sweet grace
Sends up my soul to seek Thy face,
Thy blessed eyes breed such desire,
I die in love’s delicious fire.
O Love! I am thy sacrifice,
Be still triumphant, blessed eyes;
Still shine on me, fair suns! that I
Still may behold though still I die.
Though still I die, I live again,
Still longing so to be still slain;
So gainful is such loss of breath,
I die even in desire of death.
Still live in me this loving strife
Of living death and dying life:
For while Thou sweetly slayest me,
Dead to myself, I live in Thee.
... Richard Crashaw (1613-1649), The Complete Works of Richard Crashaw, London: J. R. Smith, 1858, p. 204 (see the book; see also Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:6-8; 8:3-4; 12:1-2; Gal. 5:24; Col. 2:11-14; more at Blessing, Death, Grace, Life, Love, Sacrifice, Strife)

Thursday, February 3, 2011
Feast of Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary to Denmark and Sweden, 865

The world’s theology is easy to define. It is the view that human beings are basically good, that no one is really lost, that belief in Jesus Christ is not necessary for salvation. Such capitulation is common in some church circles. When I was speaking at [certain conferences], a section of my paper had to do with human lostness. I discussed it as a motivation for mission: we take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others because they are lost without it. In every consultation, that point in my paper aroused anger on the part of those listening. Some were infuriated. Nearly all were dissatisfied. Each time, as I moved into that section of the paper, people began to shift, cough, move. When I finished, it was the part of the paper they brought up for objection.
... James Montgomery Boice (1938-2000), Foundation of the Christian Faith, InterVarsity Press, 1986, p. 674 (see the book; see also Acts 4:12; Matt. 18:11-14; John 3:16-18; Rom. 1:22-23; 5:8; 1 John 4:9-10; more at Belief, Goodness, Gospel, Jesus, Mission, Salvation, Theology)

Friday, February 4, 2011
Commemoration of Gilbert of Sempringham, Founder of the Gilbertine Order, 1189

We have all been inoculated with Christianity, and are never likely to take it seriously now! You put some of the virus of some dreadful illness into a man’s arm, and there is a little itchiness, some scratchiness, a slight discomfort, disagreeable, no doubt, but not the fever of the real disease, the turning and the tossing, and the ebbing strength. And we have all been inoculated with Christianity, more or less. We are on Christ’s side, we wish him well, we hope that He will win, and we are even prepared to do something for Him, provided, of course, that He is reasonable, and does not make too much of an upset among our cozy comforts and our customary ways. But there is not the passion of zeal, and the burning enthusiasm, and the eagerness of self-sacrifice, of the real faith that changes character and wins the world.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), From the Edge of the Crowd, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1924, p. 17 (see the book; see also Matt. 19:20-22; Deut.30:17-18; Matt. 23:27-28; Acts 4:18-20; Rom. 2:20-24; 2 Tim. 3:2-5; Tit. 1:15-16; more at Christ, Conversion, Faith, Self-sacrifice, Zeal)

Saturday, February 5, 2011
Commemoration of Martyrs of Japan, 1597

What is worst of all is to advocate Christianity, not because it is true, but because it might prove useful... To justify Christianity because it provides a foundation of morality, instead of showing the necessity of Christian morality from the truth of Christianity, is a very dangerous inversion; and we may reflect that a good deal of the attention of totalitarian states has been devoted with a steadiness of purpose not always found in democracies, to providing their national life with a foundation of morality—the wrong kind, perhaps, but a good deal more of it. It is not enthusiasm, but dogma, that differentiates a Christian from a pagan society.
... T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), The Idea of a Christian Society, London: Faber, 1939, reprint, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1960, p. 46-47 (see the book; see also Acts 8:18-20; Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 15:12-14; John 5:39-40; more at Danger, Dogma, Life, Morality, Nation, Pagan, Purpose, Religion, Social, Truth, Wrong)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Thou wayfaring Jesus, a pilgrim and stranger,
Exiled from heaven by love at Thy birth:
Exiled again from Thy rest in the manger,
A fugitive child ’mid the perils of earth—
Cheer with Thy fellowship all who are weary,
Wandering far from the land that they love;
Guide every heart that is homeless and dreary,
Safe to its home in Thy presence above.
... Henry van Dyke (1852-1933), The Poems of Henry Van Dyke, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1920, p. 230 (see the book; see also Jer. 14:8; Ps. 4:3; 119:19; Matt. 8:28; Luke 8:1-3; 2 Cor. 8:9; Heb. 11:13-14; more at Cheer, Exile, Fellowship, Guidance, Heart, Heaven, Home, Jesus, Love, Pilgrim, Safety, Stranger, Weary)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Many things seem to be good and yet are not, because they be not done with a good mind and intention; and therefore our Saviour saith in the Gospel, “If thy eye has naught, all thy body shall be dark.” For when the intention is wicked, all the work that follows is naught, although it seemed to be never so good.
... St. Gregory the Great (540?-604), The Dialogues of Saint Gregory, P. L. Warner, 1911; Arx Publishing, LLC, 2010, p. 40 (see the book; see also Matt. 6:22-23; 5:21-22,27-28; Gal. 5:22; more at Darkness, Evil, Goodness, Gospel, Intention, Sin)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Be able to be alone. Lose not the advantage of solitude, ... but delight to be alone and single with Omnipresency.
... Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), Christian Morals [op. post. 1716], London: Henry Washbourne, 1845, p. 45 (see the book; see also Jer. 23:23-24; 1 Kings 8:27; Ps. 139:2,7-13; Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 1:45; Luke 5:16; John 14:16-18; 16:32; 1 Cor. 3:16; Col. 2:9-10; Rev. 21:3; more at Being alone, Presence of God, Solitude)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

On God’s part, a gift, not a debt, as wages is to the servant or soldier, but charisma, a gracious gift. Though we should serve God a thousand years, we cannot merit to be one half-day in heaven. There it is a gift to those who do most exactly persevere in holiness; the best have no other claim, but the mercy of the donor.
... Thomas Manton (1620-1677), The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, v. 11, London: James Nisbet & Co., 1873, serm. xxiv, p. 378 (see the book; see also Rom. 3:22-24; Matt. 7:11; Rom. 4:4-5; 6:23; 11:28-29; Tit. 3:5-7; Jas. 1:17; more at Gifts, Grace, Heaven, Holiness, Mercy, Service)

Thursday, February 10, 2011
Commemoration of Scholastica, Abbess of Plombariola, c.543

The love of Jesus is at once avid and generous. All that He has, all that He is, He gives; all that we are, all that we have, He takes.
... Jan van Ruysbroeck (1293-1381), quoted in The Path of Eternal Wisdom: A Mystical Commentary on the Way of the Cross [1911], Evelyn Underhill, London: John M. Watkins, 1911, p. 47 (see the book; see also Matt. 9:35-36; Isa. 40:11; Eze. 11:19; John 6:27; 10:11; 13:34; 14:23; Rom. 6:13; 8:32; 12:1; 2 Cor. 8:5; Gal. 2:20; 2 Pet. 1:3; 1 John 3:16; more at Dedication, Generosity, Giving, Jesus, Love)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Peace is that state of things which exists when God’s will is being done. But sin has entered into the world, and God’s will is not being done. And where God’s will is not being done, there strife is found. Man is born to be a child of God, but he has become the enemy of God. Man is at war with himself. He knows what is good and what is bad. Yet often when he longs to do what is right, he finds that instead he does the evil which he hates.
... Stephen Neill (1900-1984), The Christian Character, London: Lutterworth Press, 1955, p. 37 (see the book; see also Rom. 7:21-25; Ps. 72:12-13; 91:14-15; Micah 7:19; Zech. 9:11; 1 Thess. 4:14; Titus 2:14; ; more at Child, Enemy, Evil, God, Peace, Sin, Will of God)

Saturday, February 12, 2011
Commemoration of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (Nicolas Herman), spiritual writer, 1691

The truth to which they gave utterance [that “He has done all things well!”], is full of deep and unspeakable comfort; and ought to be daily remembered by all true Christians.
Let us remember it, as we look back over the past days of our lives, from the hour of our conversion. “Our Lord has done all things well!” In the first bringing us out of darkness into His marvelous light,—in humbling us and teaching us our weakness, guilt, and folly,—in stripping us of our idols, and choosing all our portions,—in placing us where we are, and giving us what we have—how well everything has been done! How great the mercy—that we have not had our own way! [continued tomorrow]
... J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), Expository thoughts on the Gospels, with the text complete, St. Mark, Ipswitch: William Hunt, 1857, p. 151 (see the book; see also Mark 7:37; Isa. 60:1-2; Rom. 8:28; Eph. 5:8-10; 1 Pet. 2:9; more at Conversion, Humility, Idol, Light, Mercy, Remembrance, Truth)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

[Continued from yesterday] Let us remember it as we look forward to the days yet to come. We know not what they may be: bright or dark, many or few. But we do know that we are in the hands of Him who does all things well! He will not err in any of His dealings with us. He will take away and give,—He will afflict and bereave,—He will move and He will settle, with perfect wisdom, at the right time, in the right way. The great Shepherd of the sheep makes no mistakes! He leads every lamb of His flock by the right way, to the city of habitation.
We shall never see the full beauty of these words, until the resurrection morning. We shall then look back over our lives, and know the meaning of everything that happened from first to last. We shall remember all the way by which we were led, and confess that all was “well done!” The why and the wherefore, the causes and the reasons of everything which now perplexes, will be as clear and plain as the sun at noon-day. We shall wonder at our own past blindness, and marvel that we could ever have doubted our Lord’s love!
... J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), Expository thoughts on the Gospels, with the text complete, St. Mark, Ipswitch: William Hunt, 1857, p. 152 (see the book; see also Job 1:21; Ps. 23:1; 107:7; John 10:11; 1 Cor. 13:12-13; more at Affliction, Bereavement, Blindness, Darkness, Knowledge, Leader, Meaning, Perfection)

Monday, February 14, 2011
Feast of Cyril & Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869 & 885
Commemoration of Valentine, Martyr at Rome, c.269

There was no point of controversy between Jesus and the Jews; Jesus brought no new doctrine unto them. Jesus said, What the masters in Israel teach, what the Pharisees and the Scribes teach, is perfectly correct. There was no dogma which was the cause of controversy between Jesus and the nation; there was no new custom that Jesus introduced: He went into the Temple every day, He observed the ordinances and festivals of Israel. What was the subject of dispute and controversy between Jesus and the Jews? It was no doctrine, it was no innovation, it was Jesus Himself whom they rejected. There was an antipathy in them to the person of Jesus: it was the Lord Himself whom they hated, because they hated the Father...
But Jesus knew... that it was because He was one with God, because He was the express image of His being, because He was the perfect manifestation of the character of God, that they hated Him; and therefore Jesus was pained, not because they hated Him, but because they hated in Him the Father.
... Adolph Saphir (1831-1891), Christ and Israel, London: Morgan and Scott, 1911, p. 122-123 (see the book; see also John 1:11-12; Luke 8:20-21; John 8:42-45; 15:23-25; 1 John 2:23; 2 John 1:9; more at Custom, Dispute, Dogma, Father, God, Hatred, Israel, Jesus, Teach, Temple)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Commemoration of Thomas Bray, Priest, Founder of SPCK, 1730

How unfair! Shouldn’t the thief have been asked to repent, to make amends, to at least declare he was sorry? No lectures, no sermons, no teaching or demands for repentance, Jesus just ushers the man into the kingdom of God. Shouldn’t we be more careful with the requirements for receiving grace? Apparently not.
... Mike Yaconelli (1942-2003), Messy Spirituality [2002], Zondervan, 2007, p. 166 (see the book; see also Luke 23:42-43; Ex. 33:19; Matt. 9:2; Rom. 9:15-18; more at God, Grace, Jesus, Kingdom, Man, Repentance, Sermon, Teach)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

There are, no doubt, passages in the New Testament which may seem at first sight to promise an invariable granting of our prayers. But that cannot be what they really mean. For in the very heart of the story we meet a glaring instance to the contrary. In Gethsemane the holiest of all petitioners prayed three times that a certain cup might pass from Him. It did not. After that the idea that prayer is recommended to us as a sort of infallible gimmick may be dismissed.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), “The Efficacy of Prayer” in The World’s Last Night [1960], Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 5 (see the book; see also Matt. 21:22; 7:7-8; 26:39-44; Mark 11:24; John 14:13-14; more at Bible, Cup, Holiness, Prayer, Prayers)

Thursday, February 17, 2011
Feast of Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, Martyr, 1977

If a man is in a rapture, like St. Paul, and becomes aware of some sick person wanting of him just a sup of broth, it seems to me far better of thy charity to forgo thy rapture and serve the needy in a loftier love.
... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), Works of Meister Eckhart, London: J. M. Watkins, 1924, p. 14 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 13:1; Matt. 5:23-24; 1 Cor. 14:18-19; 2 Cor. 12:2-4; more at Awareness, Charity, Love, Need, Service, Sickness)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Though the light and comfort of the outward world, keeps even the worst men from any constant strong sensibility of that wrathful, fiery, dark, and self-tormenting nature, that is the very essence of every fallen, unregenerate soul; yet every man in the world has, more or less, frequent and strong intimations given him, that so it is with him, in the inmost ground of his soul.
How many inventions are some people forced to have recourse to, [in order] to keep off a certain inward uneasiness, which they are afraid of, and know not whence it comes? Alas, it is because there is a fallen spirit, a dark, aching fire within them, which has never had its proper relief, and is trying to discover itself, and calling out for help, at every cessation of worldly joy.
... William Law (1686-1761), Christian Regeneration [1739], in Works of Rev. William Law, v. V, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 140 (see the book; see also Isa. 5:11-12; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Tim. 5:6; more at Darkness, Fire, Joy, Nature, Sin, Soul, Spirit, Worldly)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Christian church with all its faults is the greatest serving institution on earth. It has many critics, but no rivals in the work of human redemption... No other institution has done anything like it—none whatever. The fact that the church has been able to survive the dead weight of a large proportion of its membership unconverted is a proof of its essential soundness and vitality. A minority of converted people keep its soul alive.
... E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973), Conversion, New York: Abingdon Press, 1959, p. 225 (see the book; see also Matt. 13:36-43; 5:42; 13:24-30; Luke 6:30; Rom. 12:13; Gal. 2:10; 6:10; 1 Tim. 5:16; Jas. 1:27; 2:15-16; 1 John 3:17; more at Church, Conversion, Criticism, Earth, Proof, Redemption, Service, Soul)

Sunday, February 20, 2011
Commemoration of Cecile Isherwood, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, Grahamstown, South Africa, 1906

The Christian clearly understands that Jesus does not reveal all that is signified by the word “God,” but only as much as could be revealed through a perfect human personality living in absolute obedience to God’s will. The knowledge of God that men have by virtue of Jesus’ revelation is quite enough for men to live by in this life, and to live gloriously and thankfully by, Christians maintain—the knowledge that God the Creator, the Almighty and Eternal, the Lord of history, is man’s Heavenly Father, and that love might well be, and indeed is, the ultimate meaning of human existence.
... Frederick Ward Kates (1910-1987), A Moment Between Two Eternities, New York: Harper & Row, 1965, p. 3 (see the book; see also Mark 9:2-8; Matt. 17:1-9; Luke 9:28-35; John 1:1-2,14; 10:30; 14:21; Phil. 2:5-7; Heb. 4:15; Rev. 19:11-13; more at Existence, Father, God, Jesus, Knowing God, Love, Meaning, Obedience, Revelation)

Monday, February 21, 2011

It is remarkable how skilfully men will contrive to avoid all real interests, and express almost wholly those which are not real to them. A man prays for the glory of God, for the advance of His kingdom, for the evangelisation of the world; but, in that very time, he will not allude to the very things in which his own life may stand, nor to the wants which every day are working their impress upon his character. The cares, the petty annoyances, the impatience of temper, pride, self-indulgence, selfishness, conscious and unconscious; or, on the other hand, the gladnesses of daily life, the blessings of home, the felicities of friendship, the joys and success of life—in short, all the things which one would talk of to a venerable mother, in an hour of confidence, are excluded from prayer among the brotherhood.
... Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), Summer in the Soul, Edinburgh: A. Strahan & Co., 1859, p. 41 (see the book; see also Matt. 6:5-8; Rom. 8:26; 1 Cor. 14:15; Eph. 6:18; Jude 1:20; more at Brotherhood, Glory of God, Kingdom, Prayer, Pride, Self-examination, Selfish, Sin)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The deepest need of humanity is for salvation from sin. This is the quandary to which the gospel speaks. The church that forgets the gospel of salvation is finally not the church but its echo. The church that becomes focused upon maintaining itself instead of the gospel becomes a dead branch of the living vine. The church is imperiled when it becomes intoxicated with the spirit of its particular age, committed more to serve the gods of that age than the God of all ages.
... Thomas C. Oden (1931-2016), Classic Christianity: A Systematic Theology, HarperCollins, 2009, p. 233 (see the book; see also Jas. 5:19-20; Matt. 1:21; John 15:5-6; Acts 3:19; Gal. 1:3-4; Col. 1:18-22; more at Church, Commitment, Gospel, Salvation, Service, Sin)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Feast of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr, c.155

He that is furnished with love, stands at a distance from all sin.
... Polycarp (69?-155?), Letter to the Philippians A.D. 110-140, 3:3 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 13:6; Prov. 16:6; 1 John 5:18; Jas. 5:19-20; more at Love, Sin)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Do you so love the truth and the right that you welcome, or at least submit willingly to the idea of an exposure of what in you is yet unknown to yourself—an exposure that may redound to the glory of the truth by making you ashamed and humble?... Are you willing to be made glad that you were wrong when you thought others were wrong?... We may trust God with our past as heartily as with our future. It will not hurt us so long as we do not try to hide things, so long as we are ready to bow our heads in hearty shame where it is fit that we should be ashamed. For to be ashamed is a holy and blessed thing. Shame is a thing to shame only those who want to appear, not those who want to be. Shame is to shame those who want to pass their examination, not those who would get into the heart of things... To be humbly ashamed is to be plunged in the cleansing bath of truth.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Final Unmasking”, in Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1889, p. 235-236, 238 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 3:8-9; Eccl. 12:14; Matt. 10:26; Mark 4:22; Luke 8:17; 12:2; Rom. 1:16; 2:16; 2 Cor. 5:10; more at Attitudes, Blessing, Future, God, Holiness, Humility, Longing, Love, Past, Shame, Trust, Truth, Wrong)

Friday, February 25, 2011

There is, however, very much to be said for my opinion; in the first place this—that no violence ought to be done to the words of God, neither by man, nor by angel, but that, as far as possible, they ought to be kept to their simplest meaning, and not to be taken, unless the circumstances manifestly compel us to do so, out of their grammatical and proper signification, that we may not give our adversaries any opportunity of evading the teaching of the whole Scriptures.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), The Babylonian Captivity of the Church [1520], 2.25 (see the book; see also Acts 20:27; Mark 13:31; Phil. 2:14-16; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Rev. 22:18-19; more at Meaning, Opportunity, Scripture, Simplicity, Teach)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Accustom yourself gradually to carry Prayer into all your daily occupation. Speak, act, work in peace, as if you were in prayer, as indeed you ought to be.
... François Fénelon (1651-1715), Selections from Fénelon, ed. Mary Wilder Tileston, Boston: Roberts Bros., 1879, p. 54 (see the book; see also Ps. 88:1; 5:3; 55:17; Mark 11:24-25; Luke 6:12; 1 Thess. 5:17; more at Action, Peace, Prayer, Work)

Sunday, February 27, 2011
Feast of George Herbert, Priest, Poet, 1633

He who cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.
... Edward Herbert of Cherbury (1583-1648), The Autobiography of Edward, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, London: Walter Scott, 1888, p. 40 (see the book; see also Mark 11:25-26; Matt. 6:12,14-15; Luke 11:4; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13; 1 Pet. 3:9; more at Forgiveness, Salvation)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Religion is the possibility of the removal of every ground of confidence except confidence in God alone.
... 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. 88 (see the book; see also Prov. 3:25-26; Ps. 31:11-14; 46:1-3; Prov. 3:5-6; Rom. 3:19; Heb. 4:16; more at Confidence, God, Religion)


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