Christ, our Light

Quotations for October, 2019

Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Commemoration of Remigius, Bishop of Rheims, Apostle of the Franks, 533
Commemoration of Thérèse of Lisieux, Carmelite Nun, Spiritual Writer, 1897

To live of love, it is to know no fear;
No memory of past faults can I recall;
No imprint of my sins remaineth here;
The fire of Love divine effaces all.
O sacred flames! O furnace of delight!
I sing my safe sweet happiness to prove.
In these mild fires I dwell by day, by night.
I live of love!
... Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897), Poems of St. Teresa, Carmelite of Lisieux, Boston, Angel Guardian Press, 1907, “To Live of Love”, n. 6 (see the book; see also Luke 3:16; Ps. 103:12; Dan. 3:22-25; 1 John 4:18; more at Fire, Happiness, Knowledge, Love, Sin)

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Verily, we know not what an evil it is to indulge ourselves, and to make an idol of our will... Once I would make much ado, if I saw not the world carved and set in order to my liking; now I am silent, when I see God... is fattening and feeding the children of perdition. I pray God, I may never find my will again.
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664), Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Edinburgh: William Whyte & Co., 1848, letter, Feb. 20, 1637, p. 192 (see the book; see also John 4:32-34; Ps. 34:8; Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 5:8-10,17; 1 Pet. 2:2-3; more at Evil, God, Idol, Prayer, Self, Silence, Weakness)

Thursday, October 3, 2019
Commemoration of William Morris, Artist, Writer, 1896
Commemoration of George Kennedy Bell, Bishop of Chichester, Ecumenist, Peacemaker, 1958

There is an idea abroad among moral people that they should make their neighbors good. One person I have to make good: myself. But my duty to my neighbor is much more nearly expressed by saying that I have to make him happy—if I may.
... Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, v. XII, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1922, p. 396 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 10:24; Matt. 7:12; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27-37; Rom. 13:8-9; 1 Cor. 10:33; Phil. 2:3-4; Jas. 2:8; more at Duty, Goodness, Happiness, Love, Morality, Neighbor, Obedience, People)

Friday, October 4, 2019
Feast of Francis of Assisi, Friar, Deacon, Founder of the Friars Minor, 1226

Every one must study his own nature. Some of you can sustain life with less food than others can, and therefore I desire that he who needs more nourishment shall not be obliged to equal others, but that every one shall give his body what it needs for being an efficient servant of the soul. For as we are obliged to be on our guard against superfluous food which injures body and soul alike, thus we must be on the watch against immoderate fasting, and this the more, because the Lord wants conversion and not victims.
... St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), in Saint Francis of Assisi: a biography, Johannes Jørgensen, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1912, p. 103 (see the book; see also Acts 27:33-34; Ps. 63:4-5; Matt. 4:1-2,11; Luke 4:1-2; John 4:31-34; 1 Cor. 8:8; Col. 2:21-23; more at Conversion, Historical, Life, Soul)

Saturday, October 5, 2019

If temptation were really what natural man and moral man understand by it, namely, testing of their own strength—whether their vital or their moral or even their Christian strength—in resistance, on the enemy, then it is true that Christ’s prayer would be incomprehensible. For that life is won only from death and the good only from the evil is a piece of thoroughly worldly knowledge which is not strange to the Christian. But all this has nothing to do with the temptation of which Christ speaks. It simply does not touch the reality which is meant here. The temptation of which the whole Bible speaks does not have to do with the testing of my strength, for it is of the very essence of temptation in the Bible that all my strength—to my horror, and without my being able to do anything about it—is turned against me; really all my powers, including my good and pious powers (the strength of my faith), fall into the hands of the enemy power and are now led into the field against me. Before there can be any testing of my powers, I have been robbed of them.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Temptation, London: SCM Press, 1955, p. 9 (see the book; see also Matt. 6:13; Ps. 38:10; Pr. 30:8; Matt. 26:41; 1 Cor. 10:13; 1 Pet. 1:6-7; 5:8; 2 Pet. 2:9; more at Enemy, Power, Strength, Temptation, Weakness)

Sunday, October 6, 2019
Feast of William Tyndale, Translator of the Scriptures, Martyr, 1536

[William Tyndale] was a master of a simple and forceful literary style. This, combined with exactness and breadth of scholarship, led him so to translate the Greek New Testament into English as largely to determine the character, form, and style of the Authorized Version. There have been some painstaking calculations to determine just how large a part Tyndale may have had in the production of the version of 1611. A comparison of Tyndale’s version of I John and that of the Authorized Version shows that nine-tenths of the latter is retained from the martyred translator’s work. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians retains five-sixths of Tyndale’s translation. These proportions are maintained throughout the entire New Testament. Such an influence as that upon the English Bible cannot be attributed to any other man in all the past.
More than that, Tyndale set a standard for the English language that moulded in part the character and style of that tongue during the great Elizabethan era and all subsequent time. He gave the language fixity, volubleness, grace, beauty, simplicity, and directness. His influence as a man of letters was permanent on the style and literary taste of the English people, and of all who admire the superiority and epochal character of the literature of the sixteenth century.
... Ira Maurice Price (1856-1939), The Ancestry of Our English Bible, Philadelphia: The Sunday School Times Company, 1907, p. 245-246 (see the book; see also 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Sam. 23:2; Matt. 5:18; 21:42; Mark 12:24; Luke 16:17; 24:44-46; John 5:39-40; 10:35; 19:36-37; Rom. 3:1-2; 15:4; Heb. 4:12; 2 Pet. 1:21; more at Beauty, Bible, Grace, Historical, Influence, Permanence, Simplicity)

Monday, October 7, 2019

The first Epistle [to the Thessalonians] was written about a year after St. Paul’s first preaching in the city, where, according to Prof. [William] Ramsay’s calculation, he had laboured for only five months. Thus his stay had not been long enough for him to do more than teach the fundamental truths which seemed to him of the first importance: all the circumstances of his visit were still fresh in his memory and he was recalling to the minds of his readers what he had taught them by word of mouth. Now in that Epistle we get an extraordinarily clear and coherent scheme of simple mission-preaching not only implied but definitely expressed. [Continued tomorrow]
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or ours?, London: World Dominion Press, 1927, reprinted, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962, p. 68 (see the book; see also Acts 17:1-9; more at Mission, Missionary, Preach, Simplicity, Teach, Truth)

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

[Continued from yesterday]
Briefly, that teaching contains the following elements: (1) There is one living and true God (I Thess. 1:9); (2) Idolatry is sinful and must be forsaken (I Thess. 1:9); (3) The wrath of God is ready to be revealed against the heathen for their impurity (I Thess. 4:6), and against the Jews for their rejection of Christ and their opposition to the Gospel (I Thess. 2:15,16); (4) The judgment will come suddenly and unexpectedly (I Thess. 5:2,3); (5) Jesus, the Son of God (I Thess. 1:10), given over to death (I Thess. 5:10), and raised from the dead (I Thess. 4:14), is the Savior from the wrath of God (I Thess. 1:10); (6) The Kingdom of Jesus is now set up and all men are invited to enter it (I Thess. 2:12); (7) Those who believe and turn to God are now expecting the coming of the Saviour who will return from Heaven to receive them (I Thess. 1:10; 4:15-17); (8) Meanwhile, their life must be pure (I Thess. 4:1-8), useful (I Thess. 4:11-12), and watchful (I Thess. 5:4-8); (9) To that end, God has given them His Holy Spirit (I Thess. 4:8; 5:19). [Continued tomorrow]
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or ours?, London: World Dominion Press, 1927, reprinted, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962, p. 68 (see the book; see also I Thess. 1:9-10; 2:12,15,16; 4:1-8,11-12,14-17; 5:2-8,19; more at Death, God, Heathen, Holy Spirit, Idol, Judgment, Mission, Purity, Resurrection, Savior, Teach)

Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Commemoration of Denys, Bishop of Paris, & his Companions, Martyrs, 258
Commemoration of Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, Philosopher, Scientist, 1253

[Continued from yesterday]
This Gospel accords perfectly with the account which St. Paul gives of his preaching in his last address to the Ephesian elders, and it contains all the elements which are to be found in all the sermons and in all the notices of St. Paul’s preaching in the Acts, except only the answers to the objections against the Gospel, and the proofs of its truth which would be manifestly out of place in writing to Christians.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or ours?, London: World Dominion Press, 1927, reprinted, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962, p. 69 (see the book; see also Acts 20:21; more at Gospel, Mission, Preach, Proof, Sermon)

Thursday, October 10, 2019
Feast of Paulinus, Bishop of York, Missionary, 644

The common custom is (and I fear it is too common), when the physician has given over his patient, then, and not till then to send for the minister, not so much to inquire into the man’s condition, and to give him suitable advice, as to minister comfort, and to speak peace to him at a venture.
But let me tell you, that herein you put an extremely difficult task upon us, in expecting that we should pour wine and oil into the wound before it be searched, and speak smooth and comfortable things to a man that is but just brought to a sense of the long course of a lewd and wicked life impenitently continued in. Alas! what comfort can we give to men in such a case? We are loath to drive them to despair, and yet we must not destroy them by presumption; pity and good-nature do strongly tempt us to make the best of their case, and to give them all the little hopes which with any kind of reason we can, and God knows it is but very little that we can give to such persons upon good ground; for it all depends upon the degree and sincerity of their repentance, which God only knows, and we can but guess at.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. VII, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon CLXI, p. 316-317 (see the book; see also Job 33:27-28; Mic. 6:8; Heb. 12:16,17; Jas. 4:8-10; Rev. 2:5; more at Comfort, Hope, Minister, Physician, Repentance)

Friday, October 11, 2019
Commemoration of Ethelburga, Abbess of Barking, 675

Most Christians would agree with C. S. Lewis when he says [of the doctrine of the Final Judgment], “There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power.” * But we cannot do so, for two reasons: first, because it enjoys the full support of Christ’s own teaching, and second, because it makes a good deal of sense. If the gospel is extended to us for our acceptance, it must be possible also to reject and refuse it. The alternative would be for God to compel an affirmative response.
It would be nice to be able to say that all will be saved, but the question arises, Does everyone want to be saved? What would love for God be like if it were coerced? There is a hell because God respects our freedom and takes our decisions seriously, more seriously, perhaps, than we would sometimes wish. God wants to see hell completely empty; but if it is not, He cannot be blamed. The door is locked only on the inside. It is not Christians but the unrepentant who “want” it [to be locked].
* C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p. 106
... Clark H. Pinnock (1937-2010), Reason Enough, Exeter: Paternoster, 1980, p. 116-117 (see the book; see also John 5:26-30; Job 34:11; Ps. 62:12; Jer. 17:10; Matt. 16:27; Rom. 2:6-10; 2 Cor. 5:10; Gal. 6:8; 2 Pet. 3:9; Rev. 20:12; more at Christ, Hell, Judgment, Repentance, Salvation, Teach)

Saturday, October 12, 2019
Commemoration of Wilfrid, Abbot of Ripon, Bishop of York, Missionary, 709
Commemoration of Elizabeth Fry, Prison Reformer, 1845

Genuine outrage is not just a permissible reaction to the hard-pressed Christian; God himself feels it. And so should the Christian in the presence of pain, cruelty, violence, and injustice. God, who is the Father of Jesus Christ, is neither impersonal nor beyond good and evil. By the absolute immutability of His character, He is implacably opposed to evil and outraged by it.
... Os Guinness (b. 1941), The Dust of Death, Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973, p. 386 (see the book; see also Nah. 1:6; Josh. 24:19; Ps. 119:142; Heb. 10:30-31; more at Evil, Father, God, Indifference, Sin)

Sunday, October 13, 2019
Feast of Edward the Confessor, 1066

The very activities for which we were created are, while we live on earth, variously impeded: by evil in ourselves or in others. Not to practice them is to abandon our humanity. To practice them spontaneously and delightfully is not yet possible. This situation creates the category of duty, the whole specifically moral realm.
It exists to be transcended. Here is the paradox of Christianity. As practical imperatives for here and now, the two great commandments have to be translated “Behave as if you loved God and man.” For no man can love because he is told to. Yet obedience on this practical level is not really obedience at all. And if a man really loved God and man, once again this would hardly be obedience; for if he did, he would be unable to help it. Thus the command really says to us, “Ye must be born again.” Till then, we have duty, morality, the Law. A schoolmaster, as St. Paul says, is to bring us to Christ. We must expect no more of it than of a schoolmaster; we must allow it no less.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1964, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 147-148 (see the book; see also John 3:3; Rom. 10:4; Gal. 2:19; 3:24-25; 4:1-5; Heb. 10:1; more at Commandment, Duty, Evil, God, Love, Man, Morality, Obedience)

Monday, October 14, 2019

At the resurrection the substance of our bodies, however disintegrated, will be united. We must not fear that the omnipotence of God cannot recall all the particles that have been consumed by fire or by beast, or dissolved into dust and ashes, or decomposed into water, or evaporated into air.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), The City of God, v. II, Marcus Dods, ed., as vol. 2 of The Works of Aurelius Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Edinbugh: T & T Clark, 1871, XII.xx, p. 515 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 4:14; Isa. 26:19; John 11:25-26; Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 6:14; 2 Cor. 5:1-4; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Thess. 4:14-16; more at Fear, God, Omnipotence, Providence, Resurrection)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Feast of Teresa of Avila, Mystic, Teacher, 1582

We shall never learn to know ourselves except by endeavoring to know God, for, beholding His greatness, we realize our own littleness; His purity shows us our foulness; and by meditating upon His humility we find how very far we are from being humble.
... Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), The Interior Castle [1577], tr., E. Allison Peers, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1961, p. 47 (see the book; see also Ps. 147:5-6; 29:2-4; Isa. 53:7; Matt. 11:29; Jas. 4:10; more at God, Greatness, Humility, Knowing God, Knowledge, Man, Meditation, Purity)

Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Commemoration of the Oxford Martyrs, Hugh Latimer, Nicolas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer, bishops and martyrs, 1555

It may fortune thou wilt say, “I am content to do the best for my neighbor that I can, saving myself harmless.” I promise thee, Christ will not hear their excuse; for He himself suffered harm for our sakes, and for our salvation was put to extreme death. I wis, if it had pleased Him, He might have saved us and never felt pain; but in suffering pains and death He did give us example, and teach us how we should do one for another, as He did for us all; for, as He saith himself, “He that will be Mine, let him deny himself, and follow Me, in bearing My cross and suffering My pains.” Wherefore we must needs suffer pain with Christ to do our neighbor good, as well with the body and all his members, as with heart and mind.
... Hugh Latimer (1485?-1555), in The World’s Orators, Guy Carleton Lee, New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1900, p. 160-161 (see the book; see also Luke 9:59-62; Matt. 16:24; Heb. 10:9-10; 1 Pet. 2:21; more at Christ, Cross, Death, Neighbor, Pain, Suffer, Weakness)

Thursday, October 17, 2019
Feast of Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, Martyr, c.107

There is abroad today a widespread suspicion that a robust faith in the absolute sovereignty of God is bound to undermine any adequate sense of human responsibility. Such a faith is thought to be dangerous to spiritual health because it breeds a habit of complacent inertia. In particular, it is thought to paralyse evangelism by robbing one both of the motive to evangelize and of the message to evangelize with. The supposition seems to be that you cannot evangelize effectively unless you are prepared to pretend while you are doing it, that the doctrine of divine sovereignty is not true. I shall try to make it evident that this is nonsense. I shall try to show further that, so far from inhibiting evangelism, faith in the sovereignty of God’s government and grace is the only thing that can sustain it, for it is the only thing that can give us the resilience that we need if we are to evangelize boldly and persistently, and not be daunted by temporary setbacks. So far from being weakened by this faith, therefore, evangelism will inevitably be weak and lack staying power without it.
... James I. Packer (1926-2020), Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God [1961], Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Fellowship, 1991, p. 10 (see the book; see also Matt. 11:25; John 10:27-29; Acts 17:24-26; Eph. 4:4-6; more at Evangelization, Faith, God, Grace, Mission, Omnipotence, Power, Responsibility, Weakness)

Friday, October 18, 2019
Feast of Luke the Evangelist

Now if all these things were to come to pass, the determined expectation of which caused the Jews to reject Christ,—if he should actually appear, with miraculous splendor, as the restorer of the Jewish nation, and city, and Temple, reigning over the whole world as a great earthly sovereign, and reserving peculiar privileges for his own nation,—if, I say, all these expectations should be fulfilled, to which the Jews have so long and so obstinately clung, surely this would not be so much a conversion of the Jews to Christianity as a conversion of Christians to Judaism; it would not be bringing the Jews to the Gospel by overcoming their national prejudices, but rather carrying back the Gospel to meet the Jewish prejudices; it would be destroying the spiritual character of our religion, and establishing those erroneous views which have hitherto caused the Jews to reject it.
We may conclude, then, that all the promises and predictions in Scripture relative to the future glories of the Jews and of Jerusalem, are to be understood of the Christian church, of which the Jewish church was a figure; and all that is said of feasting and splendor, and wealth, and worldly greatness and enjoyment, is to be interpreted spiritually of the inward comfort and peace of mind, and “joy of the Holy Ghost,” which is promised to sincere Christians in this life, and of the unspeakable happiness prepared for them after death.
... Richard Whately (1787-1863), A View of the Scripture Revelations Concerning a Future State [1829], Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston, 1857, p. 158 (see the book; see also 1 Thess. 1:6; John 6:15; 18:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 3:20; more at Conversion, Gospel, Happiness, Holy Spirit, Jerusalem, Peace, Temple)

Saturday, October 19, 2019
Feast of Henry Martyn, Translator of the Scriptures, Missionary in India & Persia, 1812

In prayer we express deep penitence and contrition for our shortcomings, using sorrowful and self-accusing words. And this often in all sincerity. But, at other times, we are not really much disturbed about it; or, at least, not nearly so much as our heaped-up language would imply. What we imagine that we are achieving through this unreality I do not know. We shall not fool the All-wise; nor induce Him to believe that we are anything other, or better, than we actually are! Were it not saner to tell Him the truth, exactly as it is—not that we are overwhelmed with sorrow for our sinfulness, if it is not so; but rather this, that, to all our other sinfulness, we have added this last and crowning sinfulness, that we are not much worried about it, or, at least, not nearly as much as we ought to be. Be pleased, in pity, to grant us such measure of sorrow for our failures as will lead us to a true repentance; and, through that, to a new way of life.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), In the Secret Place of the Most High, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1947, p. 27-28 (see the book; see also Hag. 1:5-6; Mark 2:17; Luke 10:13; 13:1-5; Rom. 2:1-5; Eph. 5:13-14; more at Contrition, Failure, Imagination, Penitence, Prayer, Repentance, Sorrow, Way)

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The sure way to success for any commercial venture is to suggest that those people who buy things from it, or gamble on its terms, are members of a “club,” a “circle.” Study the advertisements in any popular magazine: people are “invited to apply for membership;” “members will receive a catalogue;” they are even offered “rules,” which they gladly accept because the need for authority lies heavily upon them; they then receive a card admitting them to the circle, with the “President’s signature” printed on it. In the need for belonging, the acknowledgement of dependence, may lie the greatest opportunity of the Christian evangelist. It is not unlike the conditions under which the early Church worked. In the later Roman Empire, crumbling under its own size, its communications and resources stretched to the utmost, the mystery-religions came into their own. Rites of initiation, the sharing of secret knowledge, offered to people of all classes an escape from the perplexities of life, a retreat into a closed circle of the elect where they might feel that their transformed personalities had some significance. Who can know how many weary souls there were who strayed into the Church through rumours of a secret rite of purification, of a shared meal that conferred wisdom, and who remained to comprehend the fullness of the Godhead, a belonging greater than they had ever imagined.
... Raymond Chapman (1924-2013), The Ruined Tower, London: G. Bles, 1961, p. 110-111 (see the book; see also 1 John 5:5; John 14:27; 15:18-19; 16:33; 1 Cor. 10:16; 2 Pet. 1:4; more at Apologetics, Authenticity, Baptism, Communion, Evangelization, Knowing God)

Monday, October 21, 2019

As to the Emperor and the charge of high treason against us, Caesar’s safety lies not in hands soldered on. We invoke the true God for the Emperor. Even if he persecute us, we are bidden pray for them that persecute us, as you can read in our books which are not hidden, which you often get hold of. We pray for him because the Empire stands between us and the end of the world. We count the Caesars to be God’s vice-regents and swear by their safety (not by their genius, as required). As for loyalty, Caesar really is more ours than yours; for it was our God who set him up. It is for his own good, that we refuse to call the Emperor God; Father of his Country is a better title. No Christian has ever made a plot against a Caesar; the famous conspirators and assassins were heathen, one and all. Piety, religion, faith are our best offering of loyalty.
... Tertullian (Quintus S. Florens Tertullianus) (160?-230?), Apology [ca. 193], quoted in The Influence of Christ in the Ancient World, T. R. Glover, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1929, p. 34 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 2:13-17; Rom. 13:1-7; Tit. 3:1-2; more at Faith, God, Heathen, Historical, Loyalty, Persecution, Truth)

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Christians love one another. They never fail to help widows; they save orphans from those who would hurt them. If a man has something, he gives freely to the man who has nothing. If they see a stranger, Christians take him home and are happy, as though he were a real brother. They don’t consider themselves brothers in the usual sense, but brothers instead through the Spirit, in God. ... And if they hear that one of them is in jail, or persecuted for professing the name of their redeemer, they all give him what he needs—if it is possible, they bail him out.
If one of them is poor and there isn’t enough food to go around, they fast several days to give him the food he needs... This is really a new kind of person. There is something divine in them.
... Marcianus Aristides (2nd century), a lawyer, before HadrianThe Apology of Aristides on Behalf of the Christians, ed. J. Rendel Harris, Joseph Armitage Robinson, Cambridge: The University Press, 1891, p. 49-50 (see the book; see also John 13:34-35; Isa. 43:19; Acts 4:32-34; Gal. 5:13; 1 Thess. 4:10; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 John 3:10; 4:20-21; more at Giving, Happiness, Historical, Home, Kindness, Love, Redemption, Spirit, Stranger)

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The early Christians... enjoyed the inestimable advantage of believing that the millennium was near, which precluded them from seeking to establish a beneficent regime in this world. In the time at their disposal, it was just not worth while. Perhaps the best hope of reviving the Christian religion would be to convince the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and other dignitaries likewise that the world will shortly be coming to an end. A difficult undertaking, I fear, notwithstanding much evidence pointing that way.
... Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990), The Green Stick, London: Collins, 1972, p. 43 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 7:29-31; Ps. 39:6; 73:25; Isa. 40:6-8; 1 Pet. 4:7; 1 John 2:17; more at Apologetics, Belief, Hope, Religion, Time)

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Wherever God’s Word may be preached, His precepts remain a letter and dead words so long as they are not received by men with a pure heart; only where they pierce to the soul do they become, so to speak, changed into Spirit. (paraphrase of Calvin’s Institutes, I.ix.3)
... John Calvin (1509-1564), quoted in The Letter to the Romans, Emil Brunner, Philadelphia: Westminister Press, 1959, p. 23 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 3:6-8; John 6:63; Rom. 2:28-29; 7:6,9-11; 8:2,9,16; more at God, Heart, Holy Spirit, Preach, Purity)

Friday, October 25, 2019
Commemoration of Crispin & Crispinian, Martyrs at Rome, c.285

Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going on of late—and how little revival has resulted? ...
I believe the problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work...
To pray for revival while ignoring or actually flouting the plain precept laid down in Scripture is to waste a lot of words and get nothing for our trouble...
Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), Of God and Men, Harrisburg, Penn.: Christian Publications, Inc., 1960, p. 50-53 (see the book; see also 1 Sam. 15:22; Ps. 80:18; 85:6; Isa. 57:15; Acts 6:7; 12:24; more at Belief, Obedience, Prayer, Renewal, Scripture)

Saturday, October 26, 2019
Feast of Alfred the Great, King of the West Saxons, Scholar, 899
Commemoration of Cedd, Founding Abbot of Lastingham, Bishop of the East Saxons, 664

I have quitted all forms of devotion and set prayers but those to which my state obliges me. And I make it my business only to persevere in His holy presence, wherein I keep myself by a simple attention, and a general fond regard to God, which I may call an actual presence of God; or, to speak better, an habitual, silent, and secret conversation of the soul with God, which often causes in me joys and raptures inwardly, and sometimes also outwardly, so great that I am forced to use means to moderate them, and prevent their appearance to others.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, Second Letter, p. 25 (see the book; see also 1 Thess. 5:17; Rom. 8:26; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13-14; 1 John 4:13; more at Devotion, Holiness, Joy, Prayer, Presence of God, Silence, Simplicity)

Sunday, October 27, 2019

I would very earnestly ask you to check your conception of Christ, the image of Him which as a Christian you hold in your mind, with the actual revealed Person who can be seen and studied in action in the pages of the Gospels. It may be of some value to hold in our minds a bundle of assorted ideals to influence and control our conduct. But surely we need to be very careful before we give that “bundle” the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), When God was Man, London: Lutterworth Press:, 1954, p. 8 (see the book; see also Eph. 1:13-14; John 15:26; 20:29; 2 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 11:1; 1 John 1:1-3; more at Christ, Conduct, God, Ideal, Jesus, Revelation, Son)

Monday, October 28, 2019
Feast of Simon & Jude, Apostles

We know that the wind blows; why should we not know that God answers prayer?
I reply, What if God does not care to have you know it at second hand? What if there would be no good in that? There is some testimony on record, and perhaps there might be much were it not that, having to do with things so immediately personal, and generally so delicate, answers to prayer would naturally not often be talked about; but no testimony concerning the thing can well be conclusive; for, like a reported miracle, there is always some way to daff it; and besides, the conviction to be got that way is of little value: it avails nothing to know the thing by the best of evidence... “But if God is so good as you represent Him, and if He knows all that we need, and better far than we do ourselves, why should it be necessary to ask Him for anything?”
I answer, What if He knows prayer to be the thing we need first and most? What if the main object in God’s idea of prayer be the supplying of our great, our endless need—the need of Himself? [Continued tomorrow]
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Word of Jesus on Prayer”, in Unspoken Sermons, Second Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1886, p. 66-67,72 (see the book; see also Matt. 6:8; Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4; 12:29-30; John 3:8; Heb. 13:5-6; more at God, Goodness, Knowledge, Need, Prayer)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Commemoration of James Hannington, Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa, Martyr in Uganda, 1885

[Continued from yesterday]
Hunger may drive the runaway child home, and he may or may not be fed at home; but he needs his mother more than his dinner. Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other need; prayer is the beginning of that communion, and some need is the motive of that prayer... So begins a communion, a talking with God, a coming-to-one with Him, which is the sole end of prayer, yea, of existence itself in its infinite phases. We must ask that we may receive; but that we should receive what we ask in respect of our lower needs, is not God’s end in making us pray, for He could give us everything without that: to bring His child to His knee, God withholds that man may ask.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Word of Jesus on Prayer”, in Unspoken Sermons, Second Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1886, p. 72-73 (see the book; see also 1 John 5:14-15; Ps. 73:28; Mark 11:24-25; John 4:32-34; more at Communion, Giving, God, Need, Prayer)

Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Commemoration of Martin Luther, Teacher, Reformer, 1546

I have so much to do (today) that I should spend the first three hours in prayer.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), attributed (see the book; see also Ps. 88:13; 5:3; 55:16-17;Matt. 14:22-23; Luke 9:28-31; more at Communion, Prayer, Providence, Today)

Thursday, October 31, 2019
Reformation Day

We Christians too often substitute prayer for playing the game. Prayer is good; but when used as a substitute for obedience, it is nothing but a blatant hypocrisy, a despicable Pharisaism... To your knees, man! and to your Bible! Decide at once! Don’t hedge! Time flies! Cease your insults to God, quit consulting flesh and blood. Stop your lame, lying, and cowardly excuses. Enlist!
... C. T. Studd (1860-1931) (see the book; see also Luke 6:43-49; Matt. 4:19; 12:34-37; Rom. 2:1; more at Action, Bible, God, Hypocrisy, Obedience, Pharisaism, Prayer, Work)


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Last updated: 10/25/19

























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