Christ, our Light

Quotations for October, 1998

Thursday, October 1, 1998
Commemoration of Remigius, Bishop of Rheims, Apostle of the Franks, 533
Commemoration of Thérèse of Lisieux, Carmelite Nun, Spiritual Writer, 1897

In order to form a habit of conversing with God continually, and referring all we do to Him, we must first apply to Him with some diligence; but that after a little care we should find His love inwardly excite us to it without any difficulty.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, Second Conversation, p. 10 (see the book; see also Isa. 55:6; Ps. 4:3; 32:6; 119:150-151; Matt. 28:20; Acts 17:27-28; 2 Cor. 6:2; Eph. 1:22-23; more at Diligence, God, Love, Prayer)

Friday, October 2, 1998

Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Confessions [397], Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1886, I.xii, p. 15 (see the book; see also Rom. 1:24; Matt. 6:31-33; Luke 12:29-31; John 15:19; Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:17; Col. 3:2; 1 John 2:15; more at Affection, Punishment, Sin, Worldly)

Saturday, October 3, 1998
Commemoration of William Morris, Artist, Writer, 1896
Commemoration of George Kennedy Bell, Bishop of Chichester, Ecumenist, Peacemaker, 1958

We allow no faith to be justifying, ... which is not itself, and in its own nature, a spiritually vital principle of obedience and good works.
... John Owen (1616-1683), The Doctrine of Justification by Faith, in Works of John Owen, v. V, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, p. 73 (see the book; see also John 15:10; 14:15,21; 15:9-12; Phil. 1:9-11; 2 Tim. 3:16; more at Faith, Good works, Obedience)

Sunday, October 4, 1998
Feast of Francis of Assisi, Friar, Deacon, Founder of the Friars Minor, 1226

The great wonder is the living fountain of love and joy which Christ poured into and through this ‘poor little man’. [Francis] always knew where the real miracle lay. It was not in things that happened to his body, though they were wonderful enough. It was not to be found in the fact that birds and beasts, even the wolf of Gubbio, felt the spell of his spirit. It was the radiance of light and love breaking across the darkness and hate of his world and his time. He loved lepers. He loved robbers and changed their lives. He loved beggars in their rags. He loved rich men, too, and members of the Church, who needed him as much as the robbers did. He brought Christianity out of forms and creeds and services into the open air, into action and into the movements of life. He changed the entire line of march of religion in the Western World. Brother Masseo, half jesting, asked him once why the whole world was running after him, not very comely, not very wise, not of noble birth. “Why after thee?” “God chose me,” Francis answered, “because He could find no one more worthless, and He wished by me to confound the nobility and grandeur, the strength and beauty and learning of the world.” But the real answer is that here at last in this wonderful man was an organ of that Spirit which was in Christ, and a marvellous transmitter of it to the world. The divine agape went out into men’s lives through him. Here was a childlike lover of men, ready, if need be, to be crucified for love, but also ready in humble everyday tasks to reveal this love.
... Rufus M. Jones (1863-1948), The Luminous Trail, New York: Macmillan, 1947, p. 77-78 (see the book; see also Jas. 1:9-10; Isa. 29:14,19; Zeph. 3:12; Matt. 11:25; 1 Cor. 1:21-23,27; 2:14; 2 Cor. 10:4-5; more at Crucifixion, Historical, Humility, Joy, Love, Miracle, Wisdom)

Monday, October 5, 1998

God, as we know Him, is a gift to us from Christ.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), From the Edge of the Crowd, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1924, p. 9 (see the book; see also John 14:9-11; Luke 24:44; John 5:39-40; Acts 26:22-23; Rom. 1:16-17; 1 Pet. 1:10-11; Rev. 1:5-6; more at Christ, Gifts, God, Jesus, Knowing God)

Tuesday, October 6, 1998
Feast of William Tyndale, Translator of the Scriptures, Martyr, 1536

Every man is a missionary, now and forever, for good or for evil, whether he intends or designs it or not. He may be a blot radiating his dark influence outward to the very circumference of society, or he may be a blessing spreading benediction over the length and breadth of the world. But a blank he cannot be: there are no moral blanks; there are no neutral characters.
... John Cumming (1807-1881), [Often ascribed to Thomas Chalmers] Voices of the Dead, Boston: John P. Jewett & Co., 1854, p. 8-9 (see the book; see also Mark 9:39-40; Pr. 4:18; Isa. 60:1-3; Matt. 5:16; Rom. 13:11-14; Phil. 2:14-15; more at Influence, Intention, Mission, Missionary, Morality)

Wednesday, October 7, 1998

So long as a man confines his ideas of Christ to a rather misty hero figure of long ago who died a tragic death, and so long as his ideas of Christianity are bounded by what he calls the Sermon on the Mount (which he has almost certainly not read in its entirety since he became grown-up), then the living truth never has a chance to touch him. This is plainly what has happened to many otherwise intelligent people. Over the years I have had hundreds of conversations with people, many of them of higher intellectual calibre than my own, who quite obviously had no idea of what Christianity is really about. I was in no case trying to catch them out: I was simply and gently trying to find out what they knew about the New Testament. My conclusion was that they knew virtually nothing. This I find pathetic and somewhat horrifying. It means that the most important Event in human history is politely and quietly bypassed. For it is not as though the evidence had been examined and found unconvincing: it had simply never been examined.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Ring of Truth, London: Hodder & Stoughton; New York: The Macmillan Company, 1967, p. 16 (see the book; see also Matt. 12:6-7; Ps. 119:46; Hos. 6:6; Matt. 10:18-20; Luke 21:14-15; Acts 17:30; Col. 4:6; 2 Tim. 2:25-26; 1 Pet. 3:15-16; ; more at Apologetics, Bible, Historical, Knowledge, Life, People, Sermon)

Thursday, October 8, 1998

If Christianity is what Jesus taught and lived and died for, then nothing can be truly the Gospel which lays less stress than he did upon every human being’s need of forgiveness by God, and upon our human need to be perpetually forgiving each other... Sooner or later, the modern adult man, like all other men everywhere, must come to know his need to be forgiven, and that by God.
... Roger Lloyd (1901-1966), The Ferment in the Church, London: SCM Press, 1964, p. 120-121 (see the book; see also Rom. 4:5-8; Ps. 32:1-2; 51:8-9; 85:2; Jer. 33:8; Mic. 7:18-20; Matt. 6:12,14-15; 9:2; 18:21-22; Luke 7:47-50; 2 Cor. 5:18-19; Col. 3:13; more at Forgiveness, God, Gospel, Jesus, Need, Teach)

Friday, October 9, 1998
Commemoration of Denys, Bishop of Paris, & his Companions, Martyrs, 258
Commemoration of Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, Philosopher, Scientist, 1253

It is of the greatest importance for the soul to go to prayer with confidence, and such a pure and disinterested love as seeks nothing from the Father but the ability to please Him and to do His will; for a child who only proportions his diligence to his hope of reward renders himself unworthy of all reward. Go, then, to prayer, not that ye may enjoy spiritual delights, but that ye may be full or empty, just as it pleaseth God. This will preserve you in an evenness of spirit, either in desertion or in consolation, and will prevent your being surprised at dryness, or the apparent repulses of Him who is altogether Love.
Constant prayer is to keep the heart always right towards God.
... François Fénelon (1651-1715), Mme. Guyon (1648-1717), William Backhouse (1779/80-1844) & James Jansen (1784-1821), A Guide to True Peace [1813], Pendle Hill by Harper & Brothers, 1946, p. 33 (see the book; see also 2 Tim. 1:3; more at Prayer)

Saturday, October 10, 1998
Feast of Paulinus, Bishop of York, Missionary, 644

To judge aright we must judge as Christ judged. He judged no man, yet if He judged, His judgments were just... He proclaimed none worthless, none hopeless. Yet men were continually being judged by their relations to Him. The result was infallible, because men judged themselves. Those who loved the light came to Him, those who rejected Him showed that they desired to walk in darkness.
... John Oman (1860-1939), Vision and Authority, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1928, p. 171 (see the book; see also John 3:19-21; Isa. 9:2; John 1:4-5; more at Christ, Darkness, Judgment, Light, Love, Man, Providence)

Sunday, October 11, 1998
Commemoration of Ethelburga, Abbess of Barking, 675

The valley of the shadow of death holds no darkness for the child of God. There must be light, else there could be no shadow. Jesus is the light. He has overcome death.
... Dwight Lyman Moody (1837-1899) (see also Ps. 23:4; Isa. 25:8; Hos. 13:14; Matt. 4:15-16; Luke 20:36; John 1:9-14; 8:12; 16:33; 1 Cor. 15:26,55; 2 Tim. 1:10; Rev. 21:4; more at Child, Darkness, Death, God, Jesus, Light)

Monday, October 12, 1998
Commemoration of Wilfrid, Abbot of Ripon, Bishop of York, Missionary, 709
Commemoration of Elizabeth Fry, Prison Reformer, 1845

Trials ... are medicines, which our gracious and wise Physician prescribes, because we need them; and he proportions the frequency and weight of them to what the case requires... Let us trust his skill and thank him for his prescription.
... John Newton (1725-1807), in a letter, 1787, The Aged Pilgrim’s Triumph over Sin and the Grave, p. 43-44 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 11:32; Heb. 12:5-7; Eze. 20:37; John 16:20; Heb. 12:5-8; Jas. 1:2-3; more at Grace, Physician, Trial, Trust, Weakness)

Tuesday, October 13, 1998
Feast of Edward the Confessor, 1066

If every call to Christ and His righteousness is a call to suffering, the converse is equally true—every call to suffering is a call to Christ, a promotion, an invitation to come up higher.
... Charles H. Brent (1862-1929), The Consolations of the Cross, London: Longmans, Green, 1904, p. 55 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 5:10; Ps. 30:5; Acts 20:23; Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:17; 1 Pet. 1:6-7; more at Affliction, Call, Christ, Righteousness, Suffer, Weakness)

Wednesday, October 14, 1998

“Books,” said St. Augustine after his conversion, “could not teach me charity.” We still keep on thinking they can. We do not realize ... the utter distinctness of God and the things of God. Psychology of religion can not teach us prayer, and ethics cannot teach us love. Only Christ can do that, and He teaches by the direct method, in and among the circumstances of life. He does not mind about our being comfortable. He wants us to be strong, able to tackle life and be Christians, be apostles in life, so we must be trained by the ups and downs, the rough and tumble of life. Team games are compulsory in the school of Divine Love; there is no getting into a corner with a nice, spiritual book.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Light of Christ, New York: Longmans, Green, 1949, p. 53 (see the book; see also Matt. 12:9-15; Eccl. 12:12; Matt. 7:22-23; 21:28-32; Luke 13:14-17; 14:3-6; 2 Cor. 8:1-5; 2 Tim. 2:19; more at Charity, Life, Obedience, Religion, Teach)

Thursday, October 15, 1998
Feast of Teresa of Avila, Mystic, Teacher, 1582

It was no exceptional thing for Jesus to withdraw Himself “into the wilderness to pray.”
He was never for one moment of any day out of touch with God... He was speaking and listening to the Father all day long; and yet He, who was in such constant touch with God, felt the need, as well as the joy, of more prolonged and more quiet communion with Him... Most of the reasons that drive us to pray for strength and forgiveness could never have driven Him; and yet He needed prayer.
... G. H. Knight (1835-1917), In the Secret of His Presence, Rock Island, Ill.: Augustana Book Concern, 1934, p. 42-43 (see the book; see also Luke 5:16; Matt. 6:6; 14:23; Mark 1:35-36; 6:46; Luke 6:12; John 6:15; 10:28; more at Communion, Father, God, Jesus, Listening, Prayer, Strength)

Friday, October 16, 1998
Commemoration of the Oxford Martyrs, Hugh Latimer, Nicolas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer, bishops and martyrs, 1555

We are separated from one another by an unbridgeable gulf of otherness and strangeness which resists all our attempts to overcome it by means of natural association or emotional or spiritual union. There is no way from one person to another. However loving and sympathetic we try to be, however sound our psychology, however frank and open our behaviour, we cannot penetrate the incognito of the other man, for there are no direct relationships, not even between soul and soul. Christ stands between us, and we can only get into touch with our neighbours through Him.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), The Cost of Discipleship, Simon and Schuster, 1959, p. 98 (see the book; see also Gal. 3:28; John 17:20-21; Eph. 2:13-22; 4:15-16; more at Christ, Love, Neighbor, People, Social, Soul)

Saturday, October 17, 1998
Feast of Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, Martyr, c.107

There is a false self-distrust which denies the worth of its own talent. It is not humility—it is petty pride, withholding its simple gifts from the hands of Christ because they are not more pretentious. There are men who would endow colleges, they say, if they were millionaires. They would help in the work of Bible study if they were as gifted as Henry Drummond. They would strive to lead their associates into the Christian life if they had the gifts of Dwight L. Moody. But they are not ready to give what they have and do what they can and be as it has pleased God to make them, in His service—and that is their condemnation.
... Charles Reynolds Brown (1862-1950), “The Unrealized Possibilities in Life”, in Homeletic Review, V. LXIII, Jan. to June, 1912, New York Funk & Wagnalls, 1912, p. 397 (see the book; see also Mark 12:41-44; Luke 11:39-41; 1 Cor. 12:11; more at Gifts, Humility, Obedience, Pride, Self, Service, Talent)

Sunday, October 18, 1998
Feast of Luke the Evangelist

He is my Altar, I His holy place;
I am His guest, and He my living food;
I’m His by penitence, He is mine by grace;
I’m His by purchase, He is mine by blood;
He’s my supporting elm, and I His vine:
Thus I my best beloved’s am; that He is mine.
... Francis Quarles (1592-1644), Quarles’ Emblems, London: James Nisbet and Co., 1861, p. 268 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 6:16; Ps. 32:6; Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 3:16,17; more at Altar, Blood, Grace, Holiness, Jesus, Penitence)

Monday, October 19, 1998
Feast of Henry Martyn, Translator of the Scriptures, Missionary in India & Persia, 1812

Weak and imperfect men shall, notwithstanding their frailties and defects, be received as having pleased God, if they have done their utmost to please Him.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life [1728], London: Methuen, 1899, p. 32 (see the book; see also Mark 10:14-15; Ps. 10:17-18; Matt. 8:8; 15:26-27; Luke 5:8; 7:6-7; more at God, Man, Pleasure, Weakness)

Tuesday, October 20, 1998

It is hard enough, even with the best will in the world, to be just. It is hard, under the pressure of haste, uneasiness, ill-temper, self-complacency, and conceit, even to continue intending justice. Power corrupts; the “insolence of office” will creep in. We see it so clearly in our superiors; is it unlikely that our inferiors see it in us? How many of those who have been over us did not sometimes (perhaps often) need our forgiveness? Be sure that we likewise need the forgiveness of those that are under us.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), “The Psalms”, in Christian Reflections, ed. Walter Hooper, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1967, p. 119-120 (see the book; see also Jas. 2:12-13; Matt. 5:7; 6:14-15; 7:1-2; 18:28-35; Col. 3:17; 2 Pet. 1:4-8; more at Corruption, Forgiveness, Intention, Justice, Need, Power)

Wednesday, October 21, 1998

The love of Christ both wounds and heals, it fascinates and frightens, it kills and makes alive, it draws and repulses, it sobers and enraptures. There can be nothing more terrible or wonderful than to be stricken with love for Christ so deeply that the whole being goes out in a pained adoration of His person, an adoration that disturbs and disconcerts while it purges and satisfies and relaxes the deep inner heart.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), That Incredible Christian, Harrisburg, Penn.: Christian Publications, Inc., 1964, p. 129-130 (see the book; see also Luke 23:34; Acts 9:16; 2 Cor. 5:14-15; Eph. 3:16-19; more at Christ, Heart, Jesus, Life, Love, Satisfaction)

Thursday, October 22, 1998

I read in Shakespeare of the majesty of the moral law, in Victor Hugo of the sacredness of childhood, in Tennyson the ugliness of hypocrisy, in George Eliot the supremacy of duty, in Dickens the divinity of kindness, and in Ruskin the dignity of service. Irving teaches me the lesson of cheerfulness, Hawthorne shows me the hatefulness of sin, Longfellow gives me the soft, tranquil music of hope. Lowell makes us feel that we must give ourselves to our fellow men. Whittier sings to me of divine Fatherhood and human brotherhood. These are Christian lessons: who inspired them? Who put it into the heart of Martin Luther to nail those theses on the church door of Wittenberg? Who stirred and fired the soul of Savonarola? Who thrilled and electrified the soul of John Wesley? Jesus Christ is back of these all.
... Lyman Pierson Powell (1866-1946), quoted in International Journal of Religious Education, v. 21, April, 1945, p. 27 (see also 1 Cor. 2:12-14; John 1:1; Rom. 2:14-15; Col. 1:15-17; more at Attitudes, Brotherhood, Hope, Inspiration, Jesus, Service, Sin)

Friday, October 23, 1998

True prayer is something more than desire. It is no mere subjective instinct—no blind outreach. If it met no response, no answer, it would soon be weeded out of the race... Prayer has stood the test of experience. In fact the very desire to pray is in itself prophetic of a Heavenly Friend. So this native need of the soul rose out of the divine origin of the soul, and it has steadily verified itself as a safe guide to reality.
In the first instance it is not asking for anything, it is not petition; all it seeks is God Himself. When it makes a request, there is always a preface: Let me find Thee, let me know Thee, then I will ask of Thee.
... James Hastings (1852-1922), The Christian Doctrine of Prayer, Edinbugh: T. & T. Clark, 1915, p. 30-31 (see the book; see also Matt. 21:22; 7:7; Mark 11:24; John 14:13-14; 15:7; Heb. 4:15-16; Jas. 1:5-6; 1 John 3:21-22; 5:14-15; more at Experience, Knowing God, Need, Prayer, Prophecy, Soul)

Saturday, October 24, 1998

The task of the people of God is to proclaim the kingdom of God, which is a universal kingdom extending to every aspect of human life. In a secular society, religion cannot remain a department of life. It must be the expression of a faith that extends over the whole of life, or it will be nothing.
... John Lawrence (1873-1968), “The Church’s Mission to the World: On the Cultural Frontier (Theme Address),” included in Anglican Congress 1963: Report of Proceedings, Eugene Rathbone Fairweather, ed., Editorial Committee, Anglican Congress, 1963, p. 90 (see the book; see also 1 Thess. 5:23; Phil. 1:4-6; 2:14-16; Eph. 5:25-27; Col. 1:22; Jude 1:24; more at Church, Faith, God, Kingdom, Life, Preach)

Sunday, October 25, 1998
Commemoration of Crispin & Crispinian, Martyrs at Rome, c.285

In the last analysis, the service the Christian does is not his, but Christ’s. Therefore he must not feel too keenly the burden of responsibility, because at the end of the day all he can say is, “We are unprofitable servants.” This knowledge, far from inhibiting action, actually releases the Christian from that appalling feeling of responsibility that has driven so many high-minded humanists to despair, even to suicide... Work done conscientiously by the Christian is his share in Christ’s service; but it is Christ’s service, and therefore the Christian need neither be proud because it has succeeded or overwhelmed because it has failed. The service of Christ is supremely expressed in the apparent failure of the Cross.
... Anthony T. Hanson (1916-1991), The Church of the Servant, London: SCM Press, 1962, p. 88-89 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 1:22-29; Rom. 14:4-8; Gal. 2:20; 1 Thess. 5:10; 1 Pet. 4:2; more at Christ, Cross, Despair, Failure, Knowledge, Obedience, Responsibility, Service, Share)

Monday, October 26, 1998
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

Sunshine let it be, or frost,
Storm or calm, as Thou shalt choose;
Though Thine every gift were lost,
Thee Thyself we could not lose.
... Mary Elizabeth Coleridge (1861-1907), Poems, London: Elkin Mathews, 1908, p. 172 (see the book; see also Mark 4:40; Matt. 10:39; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; John 6:39; Acts 20;24; Rom. 8:18; Phil. 3:7-9; more at Choices, Gifts, Jesus)

Tuesday, October 27, 1998

The true ground of most men’s prejudice against the Christian doctrine is, because they have no mind to obey it.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. VI, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon CXVIII, p. 47 (see the book; see also 1 John 4:2-3; Matt. 11:6 1 Cor. 2:14; more at Obedience, Prejudice, Sin, Truth)

Wednesday, October 28, 1998
Feast of Simon & Jude, Apostles

True spiritual power of the Christian order is a kind of possessedness. It arises in and flows through a life hid with Christ in God. Its source is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the potency of the Holy Spirit. True spiritual power is the child of two parents: the truth as it is revealed in Jesus and our own experience resulting upon our acceptance of Him and His truth. The objective factor is that whole set of facts and truths, of historic events, and of interpretation of them, which is held by the church and set forth in the Bible. The subjective factor is what happens in the crucible of your life and mine when we accept the set of facts and truths and interpretations, and it begins to work in us.
... Samuel M. Shoemaker (1893-1963), Extraordinary Living for Ordinary Men, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1965, p. 138-139 (see the book; see also Col. 3:3; John 3:16; 4:13-14; 5:24; Rom. 6:8,11; 2 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 7:25; more at Conversion, Experience, Historical, Jesus, Power, Spiritual life, Truth)

Thursday, October 29, 1998
Commemoration of James Hannington, Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa, Martyr in Uganda, 1885

In America, it is hard to distinguish Christianity from its social and cultural setting. It blends into the scenery. Many people assume that we live in a “Christian society.” Obviously, the Christian church has no strong witness against society. In [a communist country], the situation is exactly the opposite. Christians there live under a political regime which makes a point of distinguishing itself from all religion, and which is grounded philosophically on atheism and materialism. The Church lives in a hostile social order. The result is that the weak Christians are weeded out, and the strong Christians are tremendously strengthened by adversity.
... Thomas C. Oden (1931-2016), in Christian Advocate (see also 2 Cor. 4:17-18; more at Adversity, Atheism, Church, Culture, Hostility, Religion, Social, Strength, Weakness, Witness)

Friday, October 30, 1998
Commemoration of Martin Luther, Teacher, Reformer, 1546

Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone but in every leaf in springtime.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), Watchwords for the Warfare of Life, Elizabeth Rundle Charles, ed., New York: M. W. Dodd, 1869, p. 317 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:11; Joel 2:23-24; Zech. 10:1; Acts 2:24,32-33; Rom. 4:23-25; Eph. 1:18-20; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 1:21; more at Easter, Promise, Resurrection)

Saturday, October 31, 1998
Reformation Day

Either sin is with you, lying on your shoulders, or it is lying on Christ, the Lamb of God. Now if it is lying on your back, you are lost; but if it is resting on Christ, you are free, and you will be saved. Now choose what you want.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), What Luther Says: an anthology, v. II, Ewald Martin Plass, ed., Concordia Pub. House, 1959, p. 607 (see the book; see also Matt. 11:28; Ps. 38:4; Isa. 66:2; Mic. 6:6-8; Matt. 23:2-4; John 8:31-32; 16:33; 2 Cor. 12:9-10; Gal. 5:1; more at Christ, God, Lamb, Salvation, Sin)


Christ, our Light

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