Christ, our Light

Quotations for March, 2015

Sunday, March 1, 2015
Feast of David, Bishop of Menevia, Patron of Wales, c.601

Have we ever seen holier men than the martyred John Bradford, or Hooker, or Usher, or Baxter, or Rutherford, or M’Cheyne? Yet no one can read the writings and letters of these men without seeing that they felt themselves “debtors to mercy and grace” every day, and the very last thing they ever laid claim to was perfection!
... J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), Holiness [1877, 1879], Sovereign Grace Publishers, reprint, 2001, intro., p. v (see the book; see also Rom. 11:32; Ps. 14:1-3; Eccl. 7:20; Matt. 5:48; Rom. 3:9-10,22-23; 2 Cor. 7:1; 13:11; Heb. 6:1; 1 John 1:10; more at Debt, Grace, Holiness, Mercy, Perfection)

Monday, March 2, 2015
Feast of Chad, Abbot of Lastingham, Bishop of Lichfield, Missionary, 672

God planted three principal faculties in the soul of man; which are the understanding, the will, and the memory; that in these three the manifestation of his glory might more fully and distinctly be set forth. These faculties, as an out-flowing from its original source and root, the Holy Trinity produces and preserves, sanctifies and illuminates, most beautifully decks and adorns with its divine graces, works and gifts.
... John Arndt (1555-1621), True Christianity, tr. A. W. Boehm, Boston: Lincoln & Edmands, 1809, p. 35 (see the book; see also Gen. 1:26-30; Ps. 16:3; Pr. 8:30-31; John 13:1; Eph. 4:22-24; more at Gifts, Grace, Man, Memory, Sanctification, Trinity, Understanding, Work)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

“Christianity is keeping the golden rule. Therefore, for me to become a Christian, I must try harder.” Hardly good news to someone who has tried and tried and failed and failed. To eliminate this caricature of the gospel, plant this though. Just the other day, my neighbor said to me, “I’m not a very religious person.” I replied, “I’m not either. I was delighted to discover that Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship with a person, Jesus Christ.” That to most non-Christians is a revolutionary thought. If you did nothing more than eliminate that caricature, you have made great progress in your evangelistic enterprise.
... Joseph C. Aldrich (1941-2009), Lifestyle Evangelism, Multnomah Press, 1981, p. 215 (see the book; see also Acts 15:10-11; Matt. 7:12; Luke 6:31; Acts 8:4,25,40; 14:6-7; 27:8; 1 Cor. 1:17; more at Evangelization, Failure, Goodness, Gospel, Jesus, Neighbor, Religion, Rule)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Commemoration of Felix, Bishop, Apostle to the East Angles, 647

“To become a Christian, I must give up everything that I enjoy.” This is a partial truth. His observations may have led him to conclude that Christians never have any fun. The caricature could be stated this way. “Christians are negative people. I don’t want to be so negative, therefore, I don’t want to be a Christian.” Unfortunately, some Christians act in ways that reinforce the caricature... You can be the key to eliminating this distortion.
... Joseph C. Aldrich (1941-2009), Lifestyle Evangelism, Multnomah Press, 1981, p. 215 (see the book; see also 1 Thess. 5:16; Matt. 5:3-12; 25:21; Luke 2:10; 24:52-53; John 17:13; Acts 8:8; 13:52; Rom. 5:2,11; 14:17; 15:13; Phil. 4:4; 1 Pet. 1:8; more at Happiness, Joy, Self-sacrifice, Truth, Unfortunate)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

“To become a Christian, I must go to church and get involved in lots of meetings.” This is the old “churchianity” caricature. Unfortunately, some of our churches perpetuate this idea by pushing a program which encourages a neurotic Christian activism. I shared with my neighbor that I wasn’t interested in lots of meetings, but that I did enjoy regular times of significant teaching and worship.
... Joseph C. Aldrich (1941-2009), Lifestyle Evangelism, Multnomah Press, 1981, p. 216 (see the book; see also Ps. 1:1-2; Eccl. 3:12-13; 12:12; Phil. 4:8; 1 Thess. 5:21; Heb. 10:25; more at Action, Authenticity, Church, Neighbor, Teach, Worship)

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Word of God was written to give us not merely a speculative apprehension, but an experimental sense and feeling, of holy things, comfortable or terrifying as our spiritual state requires. Too many, alas, have no conception of this efficacy in Scripture: and no wonder, for they have never seriously endeavoured to have any. But let them try in earnest, and they will infallibly succeed, if they use proper means. We read of some, what will be true of all in the same condition, that the word did not profit them, not being mixed with faith. God indeed can operate according to His own pleasure: but humanly speaking, persons will not be influenced by what they disbelieve; and not much by what they believe but faintly. Nay, should they labour to make the strongest impressions on their own souls, without applying to Him, whose gift saving faith is, their efforts would be vain. But let any one jointly strive and pray for a deep conviction, that the Bible is the appointed instrument of his religious proficiency: then let him read it, not as performing a task, he knows not why, from which he had rather be excused,... to amend his inward state towards God: that... by patience in well doing, and comfort in virtuous suffering, which we learn of His holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life.
... George D’Oyly (1778-1846) & Richard Mant (1776-1848), Holy Bible According to the Authorized Version, Introduction to, London: SPCK, 1839, p. xviii-xix (see the book; see also 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Sam. 23:2; Matt. 22:43; Mark 12:36; John 10:35; Rom. 3:2; 15:4; Heb. 4:12; 2 Pet. 1:21; more at Belief, Bible, Conviction, Endeavor, Faith, Gifts, God, Prayer, Salvation, Scripture, Truth)

Saturday, March 7, 2015
Feast of Perpetua, Felicity & their Companions, Martyrs at Carthage, 203

I wonder many times that ever a child of God should have a sad heart, considering what their Lord is preparing for them.
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664), Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Edinburgh: William Whyte & Co., 1848, letter, 1643, p. 74 (see the book; see also Isa. 35:10; Matt. 5:4; 2 Cor. 7:10-11; Jas. 1:2; Rev. 21:4; more at God, Heart, Sadness)

Sunday, March 8, 2015
Commemoration of Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy, Priest, Poet, 1929

No body worries about Christ so long as He can be kept shut up in Churches. He is quite safe there, but there is always trouble if you try to let Him out.
... G. A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929), The Word and the Work, Longmans, Green, 1934, p. 66 (see the book; see also Luke 12:49-51; Matt. 10:34-36; Luke 22:36-38; John 18:9; more at Christ, Church, Safety, Trouble)

Monday, March 9, 2015

If some Christians who have been complaining of their ministers... had said and acted less before men and had applied themselves with all their might to cry to God for their ministers—had, as it were, risen and stormed heaven with their humble, fervent, and incessant prayers for them—they would have been much more in the way of success.
... Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), The Works of Jonathan Edwards, A.M., v. I, London: William Ball., 1839, p. 427 (see the book; see also Col. 4:3-4; Rom. 15:31; 1 Cor. 3:1-5; Eph. 6:18-19; 1 Thess. 5:25; 2 Thess. 3:1-2; Heb. 13:18; more at Church, Complaint, God, Heaven, Humility, Minister, Prayer)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

We find God continually at work turning evil into good. Not, as a rule, by irrelevant miracles and theatrically effective judgments—Christ was seldom very encouraging to those who demanded signs, or lightnings from Heaven, and God is too subtle and too economical a craftsman to make very much use of those methods. But He takes our sins and errors and turns them into victories, as He made the crime of the crucifixion to be the salvation of the world.
... Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957), Creed Or Chaos?: and Other Essays in Popular Theology, Methuen, 1957, p. 11 (see the book; see also Gal. 3:13-14; Matt. 11:2-5; 12:39-40; 16:4; Mark 8:11-12; Luke 11:29-30; John 2:18-19; 1 Cor. 1:22-23; more at Christ, Crime, Crucifixion, Evil, God, Goodness, Heaven, Miracle, Salvation, Work)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Paradoxical as it may seem, I think that it is quite possible that the shortness of his stay may have conduced in no small measure to St. Paul’s success. There is something in the presence of a great teacher that sometimes tends to prevent smaller men from realizing themselves. They more readily feel their responsibility, they more easily and successfully exert their powers when they see that, unless they come forward, nothing will be done. By leaving them quickly, St. Paul gave the local leaders opportunity to take their proper place, and forced the church to realize that it could not depend on him, but must depend on its own resources.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or ours?, London: World Dominion Press, 1927, reprinted, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962, p. 125 (see the book; see also Acts 14:20-26; Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:7; 14:12; Eph. 4:11-12; more at Church, Dependence, Leader, Opportunity, Responsibility, Success, Teach)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

If thine heart were right, then should every creature be a mirror of life and a book of holy doctrine. There is no creature so small and vile but that it showeth us the goodness of God.
If thou wert good and pure within, then wouldst thou look upon all things without hurt and understand them aright. A pure heart seeth the very depths of heaven and hell. Such as each one is inwardly, so judgeth he outwardly.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, II.iv.1-2, p. 89 (see the book; see also Jas. 1:17; Gen. 1:31; Ps. 34:8; 19:1-2; 104:24; 145:9; Lam. 3:25; Nah. 1:7; Matt. 7:11; 19:17; Mark 10:18; Acts 11:8-9; 1 Tim. 4:4; more at God, Goodness, Heart, Heaven, Hell, Holiness, Life, Purity)

Friday, March 13, 2015

God, out of the pattern of His own heart, has planted the Cross along the road of holy obedience.
... Thomas R. Kelly (1893-1941), A Testament of Devotion, London: Quaker Home Service, 1941, reprint Harper, Collins, 1996, p. 71 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 4:12-13; Matt. 16:24; Acts 5:41; Rom. 5:3-4; Gal. 2:20; 1 Thess. 1:6; 2 Tim. 1:8-9; Heb. 2:10; 10:32; Jas. 5:10; more at Cross, God, Holiness, Obedience)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

We have to begin to see what Christianity really is, that “our God is a living fire; though He slay me yet will I trust Him.” We have to think in terms of the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount and have this readiness to suffer. “We have not yet resisted unto blood.” We have not yet loved our neighbor with the kind of love that is a precept to the extent of laying down our life for him. And our life very often means our money, money that we have sweated for; it means our bread, our daily living, our rent, our clothes. We haven’t shown ourselves ready to lay down our life. This is a new precept, it is a new way, it is the new people we are supposed to become.
... Dorothy Day (1897-1980), Meditations—Dorothy Day, Paulist Press, 1970, p. 88 (see the book; see also Heb. 12:4; Deut. 4:24; Job 13:15; Matt. 5:3-11; Heb. 12:29; more at Blood, Bread, Fire, God, Life, Love, Money, Neighbor, People, Suffer, Trust)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The initial move toward Christlikeness cannot be toward self-esteem, because of the confusion about what self-esteem means, and because, realistically, I’m not okay and you’re not okay. We’re all in serious trouble.
... Dallas Willard (1935-2013), The Renovation of the Heart, Colorado Springs, Colo.: Navpress, 2002, p. 49 (see the book; see also Eph. 4:17-18; John 3:18-19; Rom. 3:10-12; Gal. 3:10; Eph. 2:1-5; 1 John 3:14; more at Christlikeness, Confusion, Self, Sin)

Monday, March 16, 2015

As we have a natural aversion to God, we shall never aim at that which is right, without a previous renunciation of ourselves. Therefore we are so frequently commanded to put off the old man, to renounce the world and the flesh, to forsake our lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of our mind. Besides, the very word mortification reminds us how difficult it is to forget our former nature; for it implies that we cannot be formed to the fear of God, and learn the rudiments of piety, without being violently slain and annihilated by the sword of the Spirit. As though God had pronounced that, in order to our being numbered among his children, there is a necessity for the destruction of our common nature.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I [1559], tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, III.iii.8, p. 541 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:13-14; 8:7; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 6:17; Col. 3:5; Heb. 4:12; more at Child, God, Nature, Renewal, Renunciation, Self-sacrifice, Spirit, Sword, World)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Feast of Patrick, Bishop of Armagh, Missionary, Patron of Ireland, c.460

The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls Father.
... Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), Spurgeon’s Sermons Volume 1: 1855, CCEL, Sermon 1 (see the book; see also Mal. 3:6; Num. 23:19; Josh. 1:8; Ps. 1:2; 63:6; 77:11-12; 102:25-26; 139:17; 143:5; Phil. 4:8; 1 Tim. 4:13-15; Heb. 13:8; Jas. 1:17; more at Existence, Father, God, Nature, Philosophy, Science, Work)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Prayer and a holy life are one. They mutually act and react. Neither can survive alone... We are in danger of substituting churchly work and a ceaseless round of showy activities for prayer and holy living. A holy life does not live in the closet, but it cannot live without the closet. If, by any chance, a prayer chamber should be established without a holy life, it would be a chamber without the presence of God in it.
... E. M. Bounds (1835-1913), Purpose in Prayer, New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1920, p. 49 (see the book; see also 2 Kings 4:32-33; Ps. 17:1; Pr. 15:29; Matt. 6:6; 14:23; Acts 10:9; Eph. 3:14-15; Jas. 5:16; 1 Pet. 3:12; 1 John 1:7; more at Holiness, Life, Prayer, Presence of God)

Thursday, March 19, 2015
Feast of Joseph of Nazareth

Father, let me be weak that I might loose my clutch on everything temporal. My life, my reputation, my possessions, Lord, let me loose the tension of the grasping hand... Rather, open my hand to receive the nail of Calvary, as Christ’s was opened—that I, releasing all, might be released, unleashed from all that binds me now.
... Jim Elliot (1927-1956), Shadow of the Almighty: the life & testament of Jim Elliot, Elisabeth Elliot, Harper, 1958, p. 59 (see the book; see also Matt. 6:19-21,24; 19:21; Luke 12:22-23; 16:13; Rom. 6:16; 2 Cor. 12:10; 13:4; Eph. 6:10; Phil. 4:11-13; 1 Tim. 6:4-6; Heb. 10:34; 1 Pet. 5:2-3; more at Calvary, Christ, Possession, Prayers, Weakness)

Friday, March 20, 2015
Feast of Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 687

God having forgiven sin, he will call it no more into remembrance. The Lord will make an act of indemnity, he will not upbraid us with former unkindnesses, nor sue us with a cancelled bond. ‘He will cast our sins into the depth of the sea.’ Sin shall not be cast in as a cork which riseth up again, but as lead which sinks to the bottom. How should we all labour for this covenant-blessing?
... Thomas Watson (c.1620-1686), Discourses on Important and Interesting Subjects, Blackie, Fullarton, 1829, p. 385 (see the book; see also Mic. 7:18-19; Ps. 103:12; Jer. 31:34; Eze. 11:19-20; 36:25-27; Rom. 6:17-18; 8:1-2; more at Blessing, Forgiveness, God, Labor, Remembrance, Sea, Sin)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Exclusiveness and temperamental dislike are responsible for a great many sins against brotherly love, and must be fought down by every true follower of our Lord. When men are left to themselves, they gravitate into mutually exclusive groups composed of congenial classes or of congenial types. But Christianity steps in and breaks up these little sets, in order to blend them into one varied and splendid whole.
... Charles H. Brent (1862-1929), With God in the World [1899], London: Longmans Green, 1914, p. 71 (see the book; see also Gal. 3:28; 1 Cor. 7:21-22; 12:13; Eph. 6:5-9; Jas. 2:2-5; Rev. 7:9; more at Body of Christ, Love, Neglect, Neighbor, Sin)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Whenever you meet someone who has really suffered—someone who has gone through experiences with the Lord that have brought limitation, and who, instead of trying to break free in order to be ‘used’, has been willing to be imprisoned by Him and has thus learned to find satisfaction in the Lord and nowhere else—then immediately you become aware of something. Immediately your spiritual senses detect a sweet savour of Christ.
... Watchman Nee (1903-1972), The Normal Christian Life, Tyndale House Publishers, 1977, p. 281 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 2:15; Matt. 6:33; 1 Cor. 1:18; Eph. 5:1-2; Phil. 3:8; 4:11-13; 1 Tim. 6:6-9; Heb. 10:34; 13:3; Jas. 1:2-4; more at Christ, God, Satisfaction, Suffer)

Monday, March 23, 2015

The truth is that, to ask God to act at all and to ask Him to perform a miracle, are one and the same thing.
... John Hewitt Jellett (1817-1888), The Efficacy of Prayer, London: Macmillan, 1878, p. 41 (see the book; see also Mark 2:8-11; Matt. 9:4-6; 10:29; Luke 5:22-24; John 7:21-24; 10:24-26,32; 1 Cor. 1:22-23; 12:28; more at Action, God, Miracle, Prayer)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Feast of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, Martyr, 1980
Commemoration of Paul Couturier, Priest, Ecumenist, 1953

There is but one thing needful—to possess God. All our senses, all our powers of mind and soul, all our external resources, are so many ways of approaching the Divinity, so many modes of tasting and of adoring God. We must learn to detach ourselves from all that is capable of being lost, to bind ourselves absolutely only to what is absolute and eternal, and to enjoy the rest as a loan, a usufruct... To adore, to understand, to receive, to feel, to give, to act: there is my law, my duty, my happiness, my heaven.
... Henri-Frédéric Amiel (1821-1881), The Journal Intime of Henri-Frédéric Amiel, tr. Mrs. Humphry Ward, New York: Macmillan, 1885, p. 1 (see the book; see also Ps. 34:8; Eccl. 5:11-16; Isa. 40:6-8; 55:2; Hab. 2:13; Matt. 6:19-21; 16:26; Mark 8:36-37; John 4:13-14; 6:27; 2 Cor. 4:18; Col. 3:2; more at Duty, Everlasting, God, Happiness, Heaven, Mind, Soul)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Feast of the Annunciation of our Lord to the Virgin Mary

Let my heart be broken with the things that break God’s heart.
... Robert Pierce (1914-1978) (see also Isa. 53:3; Matt. 9:36; 14:14; 20:34; Mark 1:41; 6:34; Col. 3:12; Heb. 4:15; 5:2; more at Compassion, God, Heart)

Thursday, March 26, 2015
Feast of Harriet Monsell of Clewer, Religious, 1883

The mark of a saint is not perfection but consecration. A saint is not a man without faults, but a man who has given himself without reserve to God. In the language of the New Testament every baptized Christian—dead and buried and raised in Christ—is a saint. We are dwelling among saints: we are saints. That is the will of God for us. If it is unaccomplished, the failure comes through our faithlessness.
... Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901), Social Aspects of Christianity, Macmillan, 1887, p. 156-157 (see the book; see also Philemon 1:4-5; John 17:15-19; Rom. 15:15-16; more at Baptism, Christ, Consecration, Death, Perfection, Saint, Will of God)

Friday, March 27, 2015

There are two kinds of people one can call reasonable; those who serve God with all their heart because they know Him, and those who seek Him with all their heart because they do not know Him.
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) [1660], P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, #194, p. 75 (see the book; see also Amos 5:14; Zeph. 2:3; Matt. 5:6; 6:33; 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10; more at Heart, Knowing God, People, Reason, Search, Service)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Cultivate the habit of falling asleep with the Lord’s Prayer on your lips every evening when you go to bed and again every morning when you get up. And if occasion, place, and time permit, pray before you do anything else.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), Luther’s Works, v. 24, Sermons on the Gospel of John 14-16, Jaroslav Pelikan, ed., Concordia Publishing House, 1974, p. 387 (see the book; see also John 16:23-24; Ps. 5:3; 88:13; 119:147; Isa. 26:9; Matt. 6:6,9-12; Mark 1:35; more at Evening, God, Morning, Prayer)

Sunday, March 29, 2015
Palm Sunday
Commemoration of Jack Winslow, Missionary, Evangelist, 1974

We believe love is a moral absolute because it reflects the nature of God. Genuine religion thus differs from philosophy or ethics, however noble and necessary they are. True religion is not man’s search for the good life, important as that might be; neither is it our effort to find God, inevitable as that may be; true religion is our response to Him who seeks us. It is not an argument for God, but a response to God’s love.
... Elton Trueblood (1900-1994), The Life We Prize, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1951, p. 211 (see the book; see also Luke 7:47; John 3:16; 15:16; 2 Cor. 5:14-15; Tit. 3:4-7; 1 John 4:10,19; more at Belief, God, Love, Morality, Philosophy, Religion, Search, Truth)

Monday, March 30, 2015

All religion that man himself makes has the opposite direction from that of the gospel. It is an ascent toward the eternal, perfect God. Up, up—that is its call. God is high above, we are down below; and now we shall soar by means of our moral, spiritual, and religious endeavors out of the earthly, human depths into the divine heights... God is too high and the evil in us too deep that man could reach the goal this way. The soul of man is crippled or stiffened and cramped in such an ascent to the highest height. The end is more or less unconfessed or unavowed despair, or a self-righteousness that leaves room neither for love of God nor for genuine love of men. When we men wish to be honest, we have to say, “We cannot reach the goal.” [Continued tomorrow]
... Emil Brunner (1889-1966), I Believe in the Living God: sermons on the Apostles’ Creed, Westminster Press, 1960, p. 79-80 (see the book; see also Isa. 53:1; John 10:9; 14:4-6; Acts 4:12; Rom. 3:10-12; 5:1-2; 8:1-2; Eph. 2:1-2; 1 Pet. 1:21; more at Despair, Everlasting, Evil, God, Gospel, Man, Perfection, Religion, Self-righteousness)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Commemoration of John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631

[Continued from yesterday]
God has in his mercy shown us a completely different way. “Men cannot come up to me, so I will go down to them.” And now God descends to us men... This act of becoming man begins at Christmas and ends on Good Friday...
God really goes to the end. He reaches the goal. To be sure, this end is exactly the opposite of what we fix as a goal. We wish to climb up to heaven; God, however, descends—down to where? To death on the cross...
This is why Jesus Christ had to descend into hell. He had to go the way to its very end. The rightful end of man is hell, that is, banishment away from God—Godforsakenness. There only has God completely come to us, there where he has taken upon himself everything, even the cursed end of our way... Jesus Christ has gone into hell in order to get us out of there. For along with everything he does, that is his goal, that he may get us out, bind us to God, reconcile us with God, and fill us with God’s Spirit. He had to despair of God for us so that we do not have to despair of God... He has taken all that upon himself so that we may become free of it.
... Emil Brunner (1889-1966), I Believe in the Living God: sermons on the Apostles’ Creed, Westminster Press, 1960, p. 80-83 (see the book; see also Isa. 53:2; Ps. 22:1; Isa. 49:14; 53:3-6; 1 Pet. 3:18-20; more at Christmas, Cross, Death, Despair, God, Good Friday, Hell, Holy Spirit, Incarnation, Jesus, Reconciliation, Revelation)


Christ, our Light

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