Christ, our Light

Quotations for February, 2015

Sunday, February 1, 2015
Commemoration of Brigid, Abbess of Kildare, c.525

We practice patent-medicine religion: we know that God created the universe and has accomplished our eternal salvation. But we can’t believe that he condescends to watch the soap opera of our daily trials and tribulations; so we purchase our own remedies for that. To ask him to deal with what troubles us each day is like asking a famous surgeon to put iodine on a scratch. But Psalm 121 says that the same faith that works in the big things works in the little things.
... Eugene H. Peterson (1932-2018), A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, InterVarsity Press, 2000, p. 40 (see the book; see also Ps. 121; Deut. 28:6; Ps. 91:9-10; Pr. 2:7-8; 3:23; Isa. 49:10; Matt. 6:13; Rom. 8:28; 2 Tim. 4:18; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; more at Belief, Faith, God, Religion, Salvation, Trial, Trouble, Universe)

Monday, February 2, 2015

We may suffer the sins of our brother; we do not need to judge. This is a mercy for the Christian; for when does sin ever occur in the community that he must not examine and blame himself for his own unfaithfulness in prayer and intercession, his lack of brotherly service, of fraternal reproof and encouragement—indeed, for his own personal sin and spiritual laxity, by which he has done injury to himself, the fellowship, and the brethren? Since every sin of a member burdens and indicts the whole community, the congregation rejoices, in the midst of all the pain and the burden that the brother’s sin inflicts, that it has the privilege of bearing and forgiving.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together [1954], tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 102 (see the book; see also John 15:1-8; Ps. 46:4-5; Rom. 2:15-29; Eph. 2:21-22; Heb. 3:6; 1 Pet. 2:5; more at Bearing, Burden, Church, Community, Congregation, Fellowship, Forgiveness, Intercession, Judgment, Pain, Sin, Suffer)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Feast of Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary to Denmark and Sweden, 865

When the main stream of Christian faith accepted a dualism in life and began to confine itself largely to the “spiritual,” then physical health was relegated to the cults. This was to the credit of the cults and to the discredit of the orthodox. For healing has been in the Christian movement from the beginning; it was in the person of its Founder. Jesus cured disease as an integral part of the coming of the Kingdom; it was the Kingdom active within the body.
... E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973), The Christ of the American Road, Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1944, p. 163 (see the book; see also Luke 9:1-6; Jer. 33:6; Mal. 4:2; Matt. 4:23; 9:20-22; 14:14; Luke 6:17-19; John 7:23; 1 Cor. 12:28; Rev. 22:1-2; more at Beginning, Faith, Health, Jesus, Kingdom, Spiritual life)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Commemoration of Gilbert of Sempringham, Founder of the Gilbertine Order, 1189

How much more wonderful the work of redemption is in comparison with creation. It is more marvelous that God was made man than that He created the angels. That He wailed in a stable, wrapped in swaddling clothes, rather than that He reigns in the heavens He created... The creation of the world was a work of power, but the redemption of the world was a work of mercy.
... Desiderius Erasmus (1466?-1536), The Essential Erasmus, J. P. Dolan, ed., New York: New American Library, 1964, p. 231-232 (see the book; see also Luke 5:23-24; Job 38:4-7; Matt. 9:5; 16:13-17; Mark 2:9; Luke 2:6-7; 21:28; John 5:27; Rom. 3:22-24; 8:23; 1 Cor. 1:30; Heb. 1:14; more at Creation, God, Mercy, Redemption, Work, World)

Thursday, February 5, 2015
Commemoration of Martyrs of Japan, 1597

Over all the world there reigns a night so dark that hope seems quite impossible. This is the prophets’, the Bible’s picture of the world.
And here, against that background, we are given the news, no, not only the “news,” it is actually demonstrated to us in the fact of “Jesus,” that this hope nevertheless is there, miraculously and incomprehensibly there—and that the heart of a Father is beating for us.
Everything that this Jesus says, and what is more, everything he does is the reflection, the reverberation of that heart. Every one of his sayings is a pastoral, brotherly address.
... Helmut Thielicke (1908-1986), Our Heavenly Father, tr. John W. Doberstein, New York: Harper & Row, 1960, p. 22-23 (see the book; see also Matt. 6:6-15; 2 Sam. 22:29; Ps. 112:4; Isa. 9:2; John 1:4-5; 3:19; 12:46; Eph. 2:11-13; 6:12; 1 Pet. 2:9; more at Bible, Darkness, Father, Heart, Hope, Jesus, Minister, Tidings, World)

Friday, February 6, 2015

These things I did not see by the help of man, nor by the letter, though they are written in the letter; but I saw them in the light of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by his immediate Spirit and power, as did the Holy men of God, by whom the Holy Scriptures were written. Yet I had no slight esteem of the Holy Scriptures; they were very precious to me, for I was in that Spirit by which they were given forth; and what the Lord opened in me, I afterwards found was agreeable to them.
... George Fox (1624-1691), Journal, v. I, Philadelphia: B. & T. Kite, 1808, [1648] p. 111 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:16; John 14:16-17; 15:26; 1 Tim. 3:16; 1 John 5:6-7; more at Bible, Christ, God, Jesus, Light, Revelation, Scripture, Sight, Spirit)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The facts are that God is not silent, has never been silent. It is the nature of God to speak. The second Person of the Holy Trinity is called the Word. The Bible is the inevitable outcome of God’s continuous speech. It is the infallible declaration of His mind for us to put into our familiar human words.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God [1948], Christian Publications, 1982, p. 72 (see the book; see also 2 Pet. 1:21; Matt. 3:17; 10:19-20; 17:5; Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11-12; John 1:1-2; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; more at Bible, God, Jesus, Silence, Trinity)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

[The theology of divine love] frees us from the dusty, dirty, smelly little dungeon of a universe that “Enlightenment” thought gave us: a universe in which love and beauty and praise and value are mere subjective fictions invented by the human mind, a universe in which the only things that are objectively real are blind bits of energy randomly bumping into each other. [Continued tomorrow]
... Peter Kreeft (b. 1937), The God Who Loves You, Ignatius Press, 2004, p. 105 (see the book; see also Deut. 10:14; Ex. 19:5-6; 1 Chr. 29:11; Job 38:4-7; Ps. 19:1; 24:1; 1 Cor. 10:26; more at Beauty, Imagination, Love, Philosophy, Praise, Theology, Universe)

Monday, February 9, 2015

[Continued from yesterday]
Our own deepest instincts are to see love as the highest wisdom and ultimate meaning of life. The theology of divine love, which anchors this instinct in the nature of ultimate reality itself, tells us that our deepest values “go all the way up”. It also extends this instinctive wisdom, that sees love as the ultimate meaning of things, into the entire creation. The arms of the Savior on the cross reach up to the Absolute and down to the depths of the human heart and across the whole universe from atoms to archangels. When Jesus threw open his arms on the Cross, he said, in effect: “See? That’s how much I love you.”
... Peter Kreeft (b. 1937), The God Who Loves You, Ignatius Press, 2004, p. 105 (see the book; see also 1 John 4:9-10; Matt. 10:29; Luke 12:6-7,24; John 3:16-17; 12:27; Rom. 3:25-26; Eph. 5:1-2; 1 John 2:2; more at Cross, Heart, Jesus, Life, Love, Meaning, Savior, Theology, Wisdom)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Commemoration of Scholastica, Abbess of Plombariola, c.543

To bear witness to the Kingship of Christ is to pick a fight with the prince of death, who wishes to keep this world in bondage to decay.
... Vishal Mangalwadi (b. 1949), in Nailing India to the Cross, Albinus Minz, M. Kiran & Company, 2000, p. 198 (see the book; see also John 12:31; Rom. 8:20-21; Eph. 2:1-2; 6:12; Col. 2:15; 2 Pet. 1:4; more at Bearing, Bondage, Christ, Death, King, Satan, Witness, World)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

In a world ruled by law, grace stands as a sign of contradiction. We want fairness; the gospel gives us an innocent man nailed to a cross who cries out, “Father, forgive them.” We want respectability; the gospel elevates tax collectors, prodigals, and Samaritans. We want success; the gospel revises the terms, moving the poor and downtrodden to the head of the line and the wealthy and famous to the rear.
... Philip Yancey (b. 1949), Soul Survivor, New York: Doubleday, 2001, p. 139 (see the book; see also Jas.1:9-10; Matt. 9:10-13; 11:19; 19:30; Mark 2:15-17; 9:35; 10:31; Luke 5:30-32; 13:30; 23:34; more at Forgiveness, Gospel, Grace, Law, Poverty, Success, Wealth)

Thursday, February 12, 2015
Commemoration of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (Nicolas Herman), spiritual writer, 1691

However difficult the idea of a power of evil may be theologically or philosophically, it is an idea which experience understands only too well. Those who cannot believe in and accept the good news of Christ are those who have so given themselves over to the evil of the world that they can no longer hear God’s invitation. It is not that God has shut them out or abandoned them; they by their own conduct have shut themselves off from him.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), The Letters to the Corinthians, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 2nd ed., 1956, p. 219 (see the book; see also John 8:44-45; Isa. 30:9-12; John 3:19; 10:25-27; 12:42-43; Rom. 2:7-8; Heb. 3:12-13; more at Call, Christ, Evil, God, Gospel, Theology)

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Church lives neither by her faithfulness to her message nor by her abiding in one fellowship with the apostles; she lives by the living power of the Spirit of God.
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), The Household of God, London, SCM Press, 1953, New York: Friendship Press, 1954, p. 105 (see the book; see also Acts 1:8; Deut. 8:3; Rom. 15:13; 1 Cor. 3:11; 1 Thess. 1:5; 2 Tim. 2:19; more at Church, Faith, Fellowship, God, Power, Spirit)

Saturday, February 14, 2015
Feast of Cyril & Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869 & 885
Commemoration of Valentine, Martyr at Rome, c.269

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up save in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Four Loves, London: Geoffrey Bles, 1960, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1960, p. 121 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 13:4-7; Pr. 10:12; Col. 3:12; 1 Pet. 4:8; more at Giving, Heart, Heaven, Hell, Love, Safety, Selfish)

Sunday, February 15, 2015
Commemoration of Thomas Bray, Priest, Founder of SPCK, 1730

Gentleness and patience, humility and thankfulness, compassion and kindness, love—these are totally irrelevant in the culture that surrounds us. But they are the language of grace, the culture of faith, the characteristics of the kingdom.
We are formed with such virtues when... the Word of Christ dwells in us richly.
... Marva J. Dawn (b. 1948), A Royal “Waste” of Time: The Splendor of Worshiping God and Being Church For The World, Eerdmans Publishing, 1999, p. 14 (see the book; see also Col. 3:12-17; Job 23:12; Ps. 119:11; John 15:7; Gal. 5:22; Eph. 4:2; Jas. 3:17; 1 John 2:14; 2 John 1:1-2; more at Christ, Compassion, Culture, Faith, Gentleness, Grace, Humility, Kindness, Kingdom, Love, Patience)

Monday, February 16, 2015

We never find a presbyter in the singular in the New Testament. He is always a member of a team. In the modern church, the ordained man is almost always on his own in the community, unless he is lucky enough to have a colleague, or to be a member of a team ministry. We expect the ordained man to be almost omnicompetent, and complain at his deficiencies. This is an extremely serious error. It is very bad for the man himself to be made to feel that he is the sole minister: it may lead to despair, arrogance, blindness to the true situation, and inhibiting the gifts of others. It is bad for the parish: they become critical and lazy. When the different limbs in Christ’s body are not allowed their special ministry, they are harmed and their gifts atrophy. The ordained man too is harmed, for he has to attempt to do various ministries for which he has no charisma from God, and the church cannot be adequately cared for.
... Michael Green (1930-2019), “Mission and Ministry”, E. M. B. Green, in The People of God, Ian Cundy, ed., vol. 2 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 75-76 (see the book; see also Acts 14:23; 20:28; Phil. 1:1; Tit. 1:5; 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:17; more at Arrogance, Bible, Blindness, Body of Christ, Church, Despair, Gifts, Minister, Mission, Ordination)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Feast of Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, Martyr, 1977

We are never nearer Christ than when we find ourselves lost in a holy amazement at his unspeakable love.
... John Owen (1616-1683), An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, ch. III-V, in Works of John Owen, v. XXI, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1854, p. 528 (see the book; see also Heb. 5:8-10; John 4:34; 6:38; Heb. 3:6; 10:5-7; Phil. 2:8; Rev. 5:12; more at Attitudes, Christ, Love)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Ash Wednesday

When you see the light, do not forget Him who gave it to you; when you see the sky, the earth, the sea and all that is in them, marvel at these things and glorify their Creator; when you put on clothing, acknowledge whose gift it is and praise Him who in His providence has given you life. In short, if everything you do becomes for you an occasion for glorifying God, you will be praying unceasingly. And in this way your soul will always rejoice.
... Peter the Damascene (12th c.), Philokalia, v. III, St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain, St. Makarios of Corinth & Kallistos Ware, G. E. H. Palmer, and Philip Sherrard, trs., Faber & Faber, 1984, reprint, Macmillan, 1986, p. 173 (see the book; see also Eph. 5:19-20; Ps. 86:12; Luke 18:1; Rom. 12:12; 15:5-6; 2 Cor. 9:15; Phil. 4:6; 1 Thess. 5:17-18; more at Abasement, Glory, God, Light, Praise, Providence, Remembrance, Sight)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

You have never less reason to be pleas’d with yourself, than when you find yourself most angry and offended at the behaviour of others. All sin is certainly to be hated and abhorred, wherever it is; but then we must set ourselves against sin, as we do against sickness and diseases, by showing ourselves tender and compassionate to the sick and diseased.
All other hatred of sin, which does not fill the heart with the softest, tenderest affections towards persons miserable in it, is the servant of sin, at the same time that it seems to be hating it.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life [1728], London: Methuen, 1899, p. 402 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 3:18; Ps. 119:163; Isa. 53:6; Rom. 5:8; 12:9; Jude 1:22-23; more at Compassion, Hatred, Heart, Reason, Sickness, Sin, Tender)

Friday, February 20, 2015
Commemoration of Cecile Isherwood, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, Grahamstown, South Africa, 1906

For it seemed to me certain, and I still think so today, that one can never wrestle enough with God if one does so out of pure regard for the truth. Christ likes us to prefer truth to him because, before being Christ, he is truth. If one turns aside from him to go toward the truth, one will not go far before falling into his arms.
... Simone Weil (1909-1943), Waiting for God, Emma Craufurd, tr., Putnam, 1951, p. 69 (see the book; see also John 17:17; Gen. 32:24-29; Ps. 31:5; 145:18; Pr. 23:23; John 4:23-24; 8:31-32; 14:6,16-17; 16:13; 18:37-38; 1 Cor. 13:6; more at Christ, God, Truth)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Begin to realize more and more that prayer is the most important thing you do; and that you can use your time to no better advantage than to pray whenever you have an opportunity to do so, either alone or with others, while at work, while at rest, or while walking down the street. Anywhere!
... O. Hallesby (1879-1961), Prayer, London: Inter-Varsity Fellowship, 1943, reprint, Augsburg Fortress Books, 1975, 1994, p. 172 (see the book; see also Phil. 4:6; Ps. 25:1; 65:2; 88:1; Dan. 6:10; Matt. 14:23; 26:36; Mark 1:35; Luke 9:18; John 17; Rom. 8:15; Eph. 2:18; 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17; more at Opportunity, Prayer, Rest, Time, Work)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

No matter how great our burdens or how deep our pain, God is able to comfort us. No matter how severe the pressures of daily life, they can’t separate us from the tenderness and compassion of our Heavenly Father.
... Luis Palau (b. 1934), Time to Stop Pretending, with Stephen and Amanda Sorenson, Victor Books, 1985, p. 20 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 1:3-6; Ps. 40:1-3; 116:3-7; 126:5-6; Isa. 25:8; 35:10; 57:18-19; Matt. 5:4; Luke 6:21; John 16:20-22; Rev. 21:4; more at Burden, Comfort, Compassion, Father, God, Pain)

Monday, February 23, 2015
Feast of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr, c.155

Let us therefore without ceasing hold fast by our hope and by the earnest of our righteousness, which is Jesus Christ who took up our sins in His own body upon the tree, who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth, but for our sakes He endured all things, that we might live in Him. Let us therefore become imitators of His endurance; and if we should suffer for His name’s sake, let us glorify Him. For He gave this example to us in His own person, and we believed this.
... Polycarp (69?-155?), Letter to the Philippians A.D. 110-140, 8:1-2 (see the book; see also 1 Chr. 16:11; Job 17:9; Ps. 37:23-24; 138:8; Hos. 12:6; Matt. 10:22; 24:12-13; Mark 13:13; John 13:15; Rom. 2:7; Eph. 5:1-2; Col. 2:6-7; 1 John 2:6; 1 Pet. 2:21-24; more at Crucifixion, Example, Hope, Jesus, Righteousness, Sin, Suffer)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

One of the principal parts of faith is patience.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Weighed and Wanting, Boston: D. Lothrop and Company, 1882, p. 542 (see the book; see also Ps. 37:7-9; 40:1-2; Luke 8:15; 21:17-19; Rom. 2:7; 8:25; 1 Cor. 13:4-5; Heb. 12:1; Jas. 1:3-4; more at Faith, Patience)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

In our praying, we should speak to God about Himself—that is praise; about His gifts—that is thanksgiving; about other people—that is intercession; about our sins—that is confession and penitence; about our needs—that is petition. Prayer has five fingers, like a hand, and each in turn must be pointed to God, that our prayer may be full and complete.
... Frederick Ward Kates (1910-1987), A Moment Between Two Eternities, New York: Harper & Row, 1965, p. 86 (see the book; see also 1 Tim. 2:1,8; 1 Pet. 2:9; Jas. 5:16; Jude 1:24; Rev. 14:7; more at Confession, Gifts, Intercession, Penitence, Praise, Prayer, Sin, Thanksgiving)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

It is much, yea, it is everything, not to turn away the ear, to be willing to hearken, not to drown His Voice... It is a secret, hushed voice, a gentle intercourse of heart to heart, a still small voice, whispering to the inner ear. How should we hear it, if we fill our ears and our hearts with the din of this world, its empty tumult, its excitement, its fretting vanities, or cares, or passions, or anxieties, or show, its rivalries, and its whirl of emptinesses? A loud voice will often not reach an occupied heart. The Voice of the Son of God in the flesh, though it waked Lazarus from the dead, reached not those whose ears and minds were filled with the love of the praise of men.
... Edward B. Pusey (1800-1882), Parochial Sermons, v. II, London: Rivingtons, 1868, p. 247 (see the book; see also John 5:44; 1 Kings 19:12; Ps. 25:14; Eze. 2:7; Matt. 23:5-7; Luke 16:15; John 5:41; 11:43; 12:43; 1 Thess. 2:6; more at Emptiness, Gentleness, God, Heart, Vanity)

Friday, February 27, 2015
Feast of George Herbert, Priest, Poet, 1633

What Adam had, and forfeited for all,
Christ keepeth now, who cannot fail or fall.
... George Herbert (1593-1633), The Poetical Works of George Herbert, New York: D. Appleton, 1857, p. 182 (see the book; see also Col. 3:3; Matt. 11:25; Rom. 5:12-14; 1 Cor. 2:14-15; 15:22,45-49; Col. 2:2-3; 1 John 3:2; more at Christ, Failure, Fall, Victory)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Our wishes and desires—to pass an exam, to marry the person we love, to sell our house at a good price—are involuntary and, therefore, not in themselves prayers. They only become prayers when addressed to a God whom we believe to know better than ourselves whether we should be granted or denied what we ask. A petition does not become a prayer unless it ends with the words, spoken or unspoken, “nevertheless not as I will but as Thou wilt.”
... W. H. Auden (1907-1973), A Certain World, London: Faber and Faber, 1971, p. 307 (see the book; see also Matt. 26:39,42; 6:10; John 6:38; Rom. 12:2; 15:3; Phil. 2:8; Heb. 10:7; 1 Pet. 4:1-2; more at God, Goodness, Knowledge, Prayer, Will of God)


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