Christ, our Light

Quotations for August, 2021

Sunday, August 1, 2021

To him that chose us first,
Before the world began;
To him that bore the curse
To save rebellious man;
To him that form’d
Our hearts anew
Is endless praise
And glory due.
The Father’s love shall run
Through our immortal songs;
We bring to God the Son
Hosannahs on our tongues:
Our lips address
The Spirit’s name
With equal praise,
And zeal the same.
Let every saint above,
And angel round the throne,
For ever bless and love
The sacred Three in One;
Thus heav’n shall raise
His honors high,
When earth and time
Grow old and die.
... Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Hymns and Spiritual Songs [1707], in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, ed. Samuel Melanchthon Worcester, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1834, book III, hymn 39, p. 494-495 (see the book; see also Rom. 5:8; Isa. 53:3-5; Eph. 1:4-6; Heb. 4:3; Rev. 5:12; more at Bearing, Father, Immortality, Love, Predestination, Salvation, Zeal)

Monday, August 2, 2021

We may with complete detachment study and form a judgment upon a religion, but we cannot maintain our detachment if the subject of our inquiry proves to be God Himself. This is, of course, why many otherwise honest intellectual people will construct a neat by-pass around the claim of Jesus to be God. Being people of insight and imagination, they know perfectly well that once to accept such a claim as fact would mean a readjustment of their own purposes and values and affections which they may have no wish to make. To call Jesus the greatest Figure in History or the finest Moral Teacher the world has ever seen commits no one to anything. But once to allow the startled mind to accept as fact that this man is really focused-God may commit anyone to anything! There is every excuse for blundering in the dark, but in the light there is no cover from reality. It is because we strongly sense this, and not merely because we feel that the evidence is ancient and scanty, that we shrink from committing ourselves to such a far-reaching belief as that Jesus Christ was really God.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Your God is Too Small [1953], Simon and Schuster, 2004, p. 83 (see the book; see also Matt. 16:13-19; Ps. 110:1; John 1:1-5; 10:10; Phil. 2:5-11; more at Apologetics, Commitment, God, Historical, Jesus, Knowledge, Morality, Religion)

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Shall light troubles make you forget weighty mercies? Remember the church’s true riches are laid out of the reach of all its enemies: they may make you poor, but not miserable.
... John Flavel (1628-1691), A Saint Indeed [1667], in The Whole Works of the Reverend Mr. John Flavel, v. V, London: J. Mathews, 1799, p. 449 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:18; Prov. 4:23; Matt. 5:11-12; Acts 20:24; 2 Cor. 4:17-18; 1 Pet. 1:6-7; more at Church, Enemy, Forget, Mercy, Treasure, Trouble)

Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Feast of John Vianney, Curè d’Ars, 1859

Jesus Christ came to blind those who saw clearly, and to give sight to the blind; to heal the sick, and leave the healthy to die; to call to repentance, and to justify sinners, and to leave the righteous in their sins; to fill the needy, and leave the rich empty.
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) [1660], P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, n. 771, p. 274 (see the book; see also Acts 28:25-28; Matt. 9:11-12; 13:11-15; Mark 4:11-12; Luke 1:52-53; 4:18-21; more at Blindness, Call, Emptiness, Health, Need, Repentance, Righteousness, Sickness, Sight, Sin, Sinner)

Thursday, August 5, 2021
Feast of Oswald, King of Northumbria, Martyr, 642

So long as there is some thought of personal advantage, some idea of acquiring the praise and commendation of men, some aim at self-aggrandisement, it will be simply impossible to find out God’s purpose concerning us.
... Frederick Brotherton Meyer (1847-1929), The Secret of Guidance, New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1896, p. 10 (see the book; see also Luke 14:11; Obad. 1:3-4; Matt. 6:1-5; 2 Cor. 10:5,17-18; Gal. 6:3-4; Jas. 2:5-9; more at God, Praise, Purpose, Self, Self-righteousness, Thought)

Friday, August 6, 2021

The righteousness which is of God by faith in the source, the prime of that righteousness, is then just the same kind of thing as God’s righteousness, differing only as the created differs from the creating. The righteousness of him who does the will of his father in heaven, is the righteousness of Jesus Christ, is God’s own righteousness. The righteousness which is of God by faith in God, is God’s righteousness. The man who has this righteousness, thinks about things as God thinks about them, loves the things that God loves, cares for nothing that God does not care about... The man with God’s righteousness does not love a thing merely because it is right, but loves the very rightness in it. He not only loves a thought, but he loves the man in his thinking that thought; he loves the thought alive in the man.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “Righteousness”, in Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1889, p. 222-223 (see the book; see also Rom. 1:17; 3:21-28; 10:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 2:5-8; more at Christ, Faith, Father, God, Love, Man, Righteousness, Thought)

Saturday, August 7, 2021
Commemoration of John Mason Neale, Priest, Poet, 1866

O the mystery, passing wonder,
When, reclining at the board,
“Eat,” Thou saidst to Thy Disciples,
“That True Bread with quickening stored:
“Drink in faith the healing Chalice
“From a dying God outpoured.”
Then the glorious upper chamber
A celestial tent was made,
When the bloodless rite was offered,
And the soul’s true service paid,
And the table of the feasters
As an altar stood displayed.
Christ is now our mighty Pascha,
Eaten for our mystic bread:
Take we of His broken Body,
Drink we of the Blood He shed,
As a lamb led out to slaughter,
And for this world offered.
To the Twelve spake Truth eternal,
To the Branches spake the Vine:
“Never more from this day forward
Shall I taste again this wine,
Till I drink it in the kingdom
Of My Father, and with Mine.”
Thou hast stretched those hands for silver
That had held the Immortal Food;
With those lips that late had tasted
Of the Body and the Blood,
Thou hast given the kiss, O Judas;
Thou hast heard the woe bestowed.
Christ to all the world gives banquet
On that most celestial Meat:
Him, albeit with lips all earthly,
Yet with holy hearts we greet:
Him, the sacrificial Pascha,
Priest and Victim all complete.
... St. Andrew of Crete (c. 650-726/740) & John Mason Neale (1818-1866), in Hymns of the Eastern Church, London: J. T. Hayes, 1870, p. 73 (see the book; see also Rev.19:9; Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; John 1:29; 15:1-8; more at Blood, Bread, Christ, Disciple, Holiness, Immortality, Lamb, Wonder)

Sunday, August 8, 2021
Feast of Dominic, Priest, Founder of the Order of Preachers, 1221

If men once “have pleasure in unrighteousness,” it will not be long before they give over “believing the truth,” because God by his just judgment will give them over to themselves, to follow the bias of their own corrupt hearts, which incline them to believe lies. Of all persons in the world, a wicked and unholy Christian is most likely to turn a speculative infidel and atheist; and none so likely to fall into this gross darkness, as those who resist and quench so great a light as that of the gospel is, which they profess to believe.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. IX, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, p. 345-346 (see the book; see also Rom. 1:22-24; John 20:31; 2 Thess. 2:9-12; Heb. 6:4-8; more at Atheism, Corruption, Darkness, Evil, Infidelity, Light)

Monday, August 9, 2021
Feast of Mary Sumner, Founder of the Mothers’ Union, 1921

When God picks out a man and speaks to him, it is to engage him in a work, an action. Nowhere in Scripture do we find indeterminate or purely mystical vocation.
... Jacques Ellul (1912-1994), The Judgment of Jonah, tr. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1971, p. 23 (see the book; see also Gen. 12:1; Amos 7:14-15; Jonah 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:8-9; more at Action, God, Man, Mystic, Scripture, Work)

Tuesday, August 10, 2021
Feast of Lawrence, Deacon at Rome, Martyr, 258

God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Mere Christianity, New York: MacMillan, 1952, reprint, HarperCollins, 2001, p. 50 (see the book; see also Gal. 5:22-23; Ps. 37:35-36; 73:3; Jer. 6:14; Luke 12:16-21; more at Creation, God, Happiness, Knowing God, Peace, Religion, Spirit)

Wednesday, August 11, 2021
Feast of Clare of Assisi, Founder of the Order of Minoresses (Poor Clares), 1253
Commemoration of John Henry Newman, Priest, Teacher, Tractarian, 1890

Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt.
... John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Apologia pro Vita Sua [1864], London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green, 1864, p. 374 (see the book; see also Matt. 14:25-33; Gen. 18:12-14; Matt. 17:20; 28:17; Luke 8:22-25; 12:28; John 11:39-40; 14:8-11; 20:24-28; more at Belief, Bible, Doubt)

Thursday, August 12, 2021

We must never get into the habit of being preoccupied with the future. There is no reason to do so. God is there.
... Mother Teresa of Calcutta (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) (1910-1997), Total Surrender, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Servant Pubns, 1990, p. 56 (see the book; see also Isa. 32:17; Job 19:25; Ps. 3:6; 46:1-3; Matt. 6:25-32; Rom. 8:38-39; 2 Tim. 1:12; Heb. 6:17-20; more at Attitudes, Future, God)

Friday, August 13, 2021
Feast of Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down & Connor, Priest, Teacher, 1667
Commemoration of Florence Nightingale, Social Reformer, 1910
Commemoration of Octavia Hill, Worker for the Poor, 1912

Teach me to watch over all my ways, that I may never be surprised by sudden temptations or a careless spirit, nor ever return to folly and vanity. Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, and keep the door of my lips, that I offend not in my tongue, neither against piety nor charity. Teach me to think of nothing but Thee, and what is in order to Thy glory and service; to speak nothing but Thee and Thy glories; and to do nothing but what becomes Thy servant, whom Thy infinite mercy by the graces of Thy Holy Spirit hath sealed up to the day of redemption.
... Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), Holy Living [1650], in The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D., v. III, London: Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1847, p. 35 (see the book; see also Jas. 1:26; Ps. 34:12-13; 85:8; Phil. 4:8; Jas. 3:5-6; more at Careless, Charity, Folly, Prayers, Self-control, Service, Teach, Temptation, Vanity)

Saturday, August 14, 2021
Commemoration of Maximilian Kolbe, Franciscan Friar, Priest, Martyr, 1941

We must not conceal from ourselves that true Christianity brings with it a daily cross in this life, while it offers us a crown of glory in the life to come. The flesh must be daily crucified. The devil must be daily resisted. The world must be daily overcome. There is a warfare to be waged, and a battle to be fought. All this is the inseparable accompaniment of true religion. Heaven is not to be won without it. Never was there a truer word than the old saying, “No cross, no crown!” If we never found this out by experience, our souls are in a poor condition.
... J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), Expository thoughts on the Gospels, with the text complete, St. Matthew, Ipswitch: William Hunt, 1856, p. 202 (see the book; see also Matt. 10:38; 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; 14:27; Rom. 6:6; 1 Cor. 1:17-18; Gal. 2:20; 5:24; Jas. 1:12; more at Coronation, Cross, Crucifixion, Devil, Experience, Fight, Heaven, Truth, World)

Sunday, August 15, 2021

To pray in the name of Christ means to pray in the awareness that our prayers have no worthiness or efficacy apart from his atoning sacrifice and redemptive mediation. It means to appeal to the blood of Christ as the source of power for the life of prayer. It means to acknowledge our complete helplessness apart from his mediation and intercession. To pray in his name means that we recognize that our prayers cannot penetrate the tribunal of God unless they are presented to the Father by the Son, our one Savior and Redeemer.
... Donald G. Bloesch (1928-2010), The Struggle of Prayer, Harper & Row, 1980, p. 36-37 (see the book; see also John 15:7; 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23-26; Rom. 8:26; more at Atonement, Blood, Christ, Father, Helplessness, Intercession, Prayer, Sacrifice, Savior)

Monday, August 16, 2021

Without Christ I was like a fish out of water, or like a bird in the water. With Christ I am in the ocean of Love, and while in the world, am in heaven.
... Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889-1929), With and Without Christ, Harper & Brothers, 1929, p. 112 (see the book; see also Eph. 2:4-7; Luke 17:20-21; John 4:23; Rom. 14:17-18; Col. 1:27; more at Christ, Heaven, Love, Water)

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The benefits to the leader [of a pilgrimage to Israel] are in all sorts of directions in addition to the ones to all pilgrims: seeing the Scriptures in a fresh light, becoming aware of the Eastern Church, and the need to relate to and pray for the living stones as well as admiring the dead ones.
... David Bronnert, in a letter (see also 1 Pet. 2:4-5; Isa. 8:14; 28:16; 1 Cor. 10:1-4; Eph. 2:19-20; more at Awareness, Church, Light, Pilgrim, Prayer, Scripture, Sight)

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Theologians have felt no hesitation in founding a system of speculative thought on the teachings of Jesus; and yet Jesus was never an inhabitant of the realm of speculative thought.
... Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918), Christianity and the Social Crisis, New York: Macmillan Co., 1907, p. 91 (see the book; see also Matt. 10:37-39; Mark 10:29-31; Luke 12:49-53; more at Jesus, Teach, Theology, Thought)

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Prayer is the contact of a living soul with God. In prayer, God stoops to kiss man, to bless man, and to aid in everything that God can devise or man can need. Prayer fills man’s emptiness with God’s fullness. It fills man’s poverty with God’s riches. It puts away man’s weakness with God’s strength. it banishes man’s littleness with God’s greatness. Prayer is God’s plan to supply man’s great and continual need with God’s great and continual abundance.
... E. M. Bounds (1835-1913), The Reality of Prayer, Racine: Treasres Media, Inc. 2007, p. 7 (see the book; see also Rom. 12:12; Ps. 42:8; John 10:10; 1 Thess. 5:17; Heb. 4:16; more at Blessing, Emptiness, Fullness, God, Greatness, Man, Need, Poverty, Prayer, Strength, Weakness)

Friday, August 20, 2021
Feast of Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, Teacher, 1153
Commemoration of William & Catherine Booth, Founders of the Salvation Army, 1912 & 1890

And now be careful to be found a wise and faithful servant, and communicate the heavenly bread to your fellow servants without envy or idleness. Do not take up the vain excuse of your rawness of inexperience which you may imagine or assume. For sterile modesty is never pleasing, nor that humility laudable which passes the bounds of reason. Attend to your work; drive out bashfulness by a sense of duty, and act as a master... But I am not sufficient for these things, you say. As if your offering were not accepted from what you have, and not from what you have not. Be prepared to answer for the single talent committed to your charge, and take no thought for the rest... For he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. Give all, as assuredly you shall pay to the uttermost farthing; but of a truth out of what you have, not what you have not.
... Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), The Life and Times of St. Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, A.D. 1091-1153, James Cotter Morison, London: Macmillan, 1889, p. 203 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 8:12; Ps. 51:16-17; Matt. 25:14-26; Acts 20:35; more at Duty, Giving, Obedience, Offering, Service, Talent, Vanity, Work)

Saturday, August 21, 2021

We cover our deep ignorance with words, but we are ashamed to wonder, we are afraid to whisper “mystery.”
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Knowledge of the Holy, Harper & Row, 1975, p. 26 (see the book; see also Judg. 13:17-18; Ex. 3:14; Jer. 10:23; 1 Cor. 2:7-10; 13:12; Eph. 3:8-11; Col. 1:25-27; Jas. 1:5-6; more at Arrogance, Ignorance, Trinity, Wonder)

Sunday, August 22, 2021

As the genuine religious impulse becomes dominant, adoration more and more takes charge. “I come to seek God because I need Him,” may be an adequate formula for prayer. “I come to adore His splendour, and fling myself and all that I have at His feet,” is the only possible formula for worship.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), Worship, London: Nisbet & Co., Ltd., 1951, p. 9 (see the book; see also Rev. 14:7; Ezra 9:5; Hos. 6:6; John 4:23-24; more at God, Need, Prayer, Worship)

Monday, August 23, 2021
Commemoration of Rose of Lima, Contemplative, 1617

It was not by dialectic that it pleased God to save His people; “for the kingdom of God consisteth in simplicity of faith, not in wordy contention.”
... St. Ambrose of Milan (Aurelius Ambrosius) (339-397), Exposition of the Christian Faith, tr. H. de Romestin, in A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, second series, v. X, Philip Schaff & Henry Wace, ed., New York: Christian Literature Company, 1896, I.v., par. 42, p. 207 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 4:20; 2:4-5; 2 Cor. 1:12; 11:3; more at Faith, Kingdom, Salvation, Simplicity)

Tuesday, August 24, 2021
Feast of Bartholomew the Apostle

Ah! that we would offer to God more frankly the sacrifice of thanksgiving! So we should do God justice, by confessing all we owe to Him; and so, we must believe, we should please God; for if God be indeed our Father in heaven, as surely as a parent is pleased with the affection and gratitude of his child, so will our Father in heaven be pleased when He sees us love Him, who first loved us.
... Charles Kingsley (1819-1875), from “Sacrifice to Caesar or to God”, in All Saints’ Day, and other sermons, ed. William Harrison, London: Kegan Paul, 1878, p. 385 (see the book; see also Ps. 95:1-2; 50:14; Matt. 22:21; Eph. 5:20; Phil. 4:6; Heb. 13:15; 1 John 4:19; more at Confession, Father, God, Love, Offering, Pleasure, Thanksgiving)

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Humanism is not wrong in its cry for sociological healing, but humanism is not producing it.
... Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984), Pollution and the Death of Man [1970], reprint, Good News Publishers, 1992, p. 74 (see the book; see also Isa. 29:14; 57:15-19; Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:18,20-25; 1 Pet. 2:24; Rev. 21:23-24; 22:2; more at Philosophy, Social, Wrong)

Thursday, August 26, 2021

We dare not stand idle, with Christian forces disunited, and see the lead taken by communities which are not Christian. We may not shrink back with fear, nor sit complacently with folded hands. With such opportunities on every side, the call is imperious to examine ourselves, to set our minds to work, to gird up our loins, and to unite together to overcome the forces of evil and to bring in the Kingdom of Christ.
What, then, is the nature of the unity we seek after, and the manner of our search?
1. It is not a secular unity, and must be prompted by no secular motive. The unity we seek is deeper than anything that the world offers. Communism, Fascism, National Socialism, and even Shintoism have proved their ability to bind men together in a common enterprise with great devotion and self-sacrifice; but these are secular ideals, intermixed with self-interest, the love of mastery, and the use of force. Christian Unity can only be “in Christ.” It is based on the New Birth and New Life in Christ, and upon the oneness of all the members in the Christ who is the Head. Therefore, “the quest for the unity of the Church must in fact be identical with the quest for Jesus Christ as the concrete Head and Lord of the Church.” *
What kind of unity, then, do we ask? It must be God’s kind, that for which Christ prayed, and which, therefore, must be in the line of God’s purpose. Will He not then take the initiative? It is for us to wait upon Him, and to go through the gates which He opens, to cast up the highway, to gather out the stones of stumbling, to lift up the standard, and to prepare the way of the Lord. (Isa. 62:10)
2. The task is not, in essence, the securing of uniformity, or cooperation, or Church reunion, or any of the external forms, through which nevertheless the unity may be manifested. Within the wide bounds of the Christian Church there is abundant scope for the multiplicity of races, languages, and social conditions; room also for separate organizations with different traditions of faith and order, and much diversity of operation.
But there is no room for strife or hostility, for pride or self-assertion, for exclusiveness or unkind judgments, nor for that kind of independence which leads men to ignore their fellowship with the great company of believers, the communion of saints. These things are contrary to the revealed will of God, and should be made at once to cease. As these disappear, the outward manifestation of unity will come in such ways as the Spirit of God shall guide.
3. The task to which we are called is not the sacrifice of any principle in which we firmly believe. It is rather to return to Christ not a figure of the imagination, but the Christ of the Scriptures, and to listen to His voice in obedience, to discover afresh what is the Truth. All unpretentious Bible study, every effort to disseminate a true scriptural theology, and every earnest prayer is part of the task of promoting that unity which is truly Christian.
We must not envisage Christian Unity as consisting of far-off and doubtful schemes, but as something very nigh which affects us all. If we are really to seek for Christian Unity, we must be prepared to pay the cost. For it must be based upon love, and love is always costly. It will never be attained until there is “far more humility, far more thought, far more self-sacrifice, and far more prayer, than there is at present.” **
If we are right in the conclusion that such disunion as has been sinful in the history of the Church has been due to pride, self-assertion, and contempt for God’s Word and commandment, then it follows that the way to the unity which God wills is through humility, love of the brethren, and obedience to the Divine Revelation. When Christians pray to be shown where they have been wrong, proud, complaisant, or censorious, and to be put right; when they meet for common counsel and study of the Word, in the spirit of obedience and prepared to subject their individual opinions to the guidance of the Spirit; where the strong are willing to foster and strengthen the weak; and where all are seeking the common good rather than their own sectional interests; then the pathway to unity will become plain, and God will grant His blessing.
“We need to be more like our blessed Master. What will contribute most to making the world believe that the Father sent the Son?” asks Bishop Moule. He gives the answer, “The manifestation of the presence of the Lord in all who bear His Name, so that they forget themselves in HIM, would do so to a degree now inconceivable. It would tend more than all ecclesiastical schemes to an external and operative cohesion. But it would do so, not by policy, but by grace; not by the universal acceptance of a hierarchical program, but by the life of Jesus manifested in mortal flesh.” ***
This is our great need, to be more like Christ, that His likeness may be seen in our lives; and this is just what is promised to us as we yield ourselves in full surrender to the working of His Spirit. Then, as we draw nearer to Christ, we shall be drawn nearer to His people; and in our search for unity with the members we shall be drawn closer to the Head.
* Karl Barth, The Church and the Churches, p. 18
** Streeter, Restatement and Reunion, p. 56
*** Moule, Ephesian Studies, p. 185
... G. T. Manley (1872?-1961?), Christian Unity, London: Inter-Varsity Fellowship, 1945, p. 86-88 (see the book; see also Isa. 62:10; 2 Chr. 5:13-14; Lam. 3:24; Matt. 9:36-38; John 17:20-21; more at Christ, Church, Communion, Complacency, Devotion, Fear, Quest, Strength, Unity, Will of God)

Friday, August 27, 2021
Feast of Monica, Mother of Augustine of Hippo, 387

We sometimes fear to bring our troubles to God, because they must seem small to Him who sitteth on the circle of the earth. But if they are large enough to vex and endanger our welfare, they are large enough to touch His heart of love. For love does not measure by a merchant’s scales, nor with a surveyor’s chain. It hath a delicacy... unknown in any handling of material substance.
... Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), Summer in the Soul, Edinburgh: A. Strahan & Co., 1859, p. 28 (see the book; see also Matt. 10:29-31; 6:31-32; John 3:16-17; Luke 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; more at Fear, God, Heart, Love, Prayer, Trouble)

Saturday, August 28, 2021
Feast of Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Teacher, 430

Picture God as saying to you, “My son, why is it that day by day you rise, and pray, and genuflect, and even strike the ground with your forehead, nay, sometimes even shed tears, while you say to Me: ‘My Father, give me wealth!’ If I were to give it to you, you would think yourself of some importance, you would fancy that you had gained something very great. Yet because you asked for it, you have it. But take care to make good use of it. Before you had it, you were humble; now that you have begun to be rich you despise the poor. What kind of a good is that which only makes you worse? For worse you are, since you were bad already. And that it would make you worse you knew not; hence you asked it of Me. I gave it to you, and I proved you; you have found—and you have found out!... Ask of Me better things than these, greater things than these. Ask of Me spiritual things. Ask of Me Myself!”
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Sermons, cccxi, 14-15 (see the book; see also Prov. 10:2; Matt. 7:7-8; 16:24; 18:4; 19:21-22; 1 Tim. 6:17; 1 John 3:17; more at Giving, God, Goodness, Humility, Knowing God, Prayer, Wealth)

Sunday, August 29, 2021

The Christian message, “the gospel,” was the announcement first to the Jews and then to pagans that God had crowned all his mighty acts by a supreme act in which sin and death were disarmed and all the nations were invited to become part of the people of the God of Abraham. This was not the introduction of a new religion; it was the announcement that God’s promises to Israel were now fulfilled and all the nations were invited to become the people of the God of Israel. All the nations, in other words, were invited to find the clue to the puzzle of human life not in the eternal truths of the philosophers but in the story told in the Bible.
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), Truth and Authority in Modernity, Gracewing Publishing, 1996, p. 67 (see the book; see also Isa. 11:10; Ps. 22:27; 67:2-4; Hos. 2:23; Matt. 5:17; 12:18-21; 28:19-20; Rom. 1:16; 15:8-12; Col. 1:27; more at Action, Bible, Death, God, Gospel, Nation, Pagan, People, Philosophy, Religion, Sin, Truth)

Monday, August 30, 2021

We love well summer religion, and to be that which sin has made us, even as thin skinned as if we were made of white paper: and would fain be carried to heaven in a close-covered chariot, wishing from our hearts that Christ would give us surety, and his handwrite and his seal, or nothing but a fair summer, until we be landed in at heaven’s gates.
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664), Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Edinburgh: William Whyte & Co., 1848, letter, Feb. 3, 1638, p. 561 (see the book; see also Ps. 66:10-12; 119:71; Isa. 30:20-21; Acts 14:21-22; 1 Cor. 15:36; 2 Tim. 2:5; 1 Pet. 5:10; Heb. 12:5-7; Jas. 5:11; more at Christ, Heart, Heaven, Religion, Sin)

Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Feast of Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 651
Commemoration of Cuthburga, Founding Abbess of Wimborne, c.725
Commemoration of John Bunyan, Spiritual Writer, 1688

Read and read again, and do not despair of help to understand the will and mind of God therein, though you think they are fast locked up from you. Neither trouble your heads though you have not commentaries and expositions; pray and read, and read and pray; for a little from God is better than a great deal from men. Also, what is from men is uncertain, and is often lost and tumbled over and over by men; but what is from God is fixed as a nail in a sure place... There is nothing that so abides with us as what we receive from God; and the reason why Christians at this day are at such a loss as to some things is, that they are contented with what comes from men’s mouths, without searching and kneeling before God to know of Him the truth of things. Things we receive at God’s hands come to us as truths from the minting house, though old in themselves, yet new to us. Old truths are always new to us if they come with the smell of Heaven upon them.
... John Bunyan (1628-1688), Christ a Complete Saviour [1692] The Whole Works of John Bunyan, v. I, London: Blackie, 1862, p. 238 (see the book; see also John 13:3; Ps. 121:1-2; Jer. 31:33-34; Matt. 6:25-34; 1 John 4:4-5; more at Bible, God, Heaven, Knowledge, Man, Meditation, Prayer, Truth, Uncertainty)


Christ, our Light

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