Christianity 201

August 16, 2022

Elisabeth Elliot Quotations

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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Be patient. Is God not fast enough? Are His answers too tough? A quick sympathy from a friend may suggest that you simply drop out, be good to yourself, get away from it all. Someone else will be sure to say, “You need counsel.” Are you sure? One hour at the foot of the Cross may obviate the necessity of professional counseling (no such thing existed until the twentieth century – what did folks do before then?). – Elisabeth Elliot

It’s been awhile since we presented something in our quotations series and with the news that a previously unpublished manuscript by the late Elisabeth Elliot had been discovered (publishing in September by Dayspring) it seemed to be a good prompting to hear some of what she had to say in her various writings. For those who don’t know, she was the wife of Jim Elliot who was one of five men martyred in South America by the Auca tribe, which is one of the most significant missionary stories in Evangelical Christianity.

Take your time to read these slowly. I’ve tried to group similar themes together. There’s not a particular scripture emphasis today, but we’ll be back to that format tomorrow.  Also, again be reminded each paragraph below is a distinct quotation which had its own context.


God is God. Because he is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what he is up to.

To be a follower of the Crucified means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss.

All our problems are theological ones, William Temple said. All of them have to do with our relationship to God and his to us, and this is precisely why it makes sense to come to God with them.

The principles of gain through loss, of joy through sorrow, of getting by giving, of fulfillment by laying down, of life out of death is what the Bible teaches, and the people who have believed it enough to live it out in simple, humble, day-by-day practice are people who have found the gain, the joy, the getting, the fulfillment, the life.

Faith need never ask, ‘But what good did this do me?’ Faith already knows that everything that happens fits into a pattern for good to those who love God. An inconvenience is always, whether we see it or not, a blessed inconvenience. We may rest in the promise that God is fitting together a good many more things than are any of our business. We need never see what good it did, or how a given trouble accomplishes anything. It is peace to leave it all with Him, asking only that He do with me anything He wants, anywhere, anytime, that God may be glorified.

The Word of God I think of as a straight edge, which shows up our own crookedness. We can’t really tell how crooked our thinking is until we line it up with the straight edge of Scripture.

The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived – not always looked forward to as though the “real” living were around the next corner. It is today for which we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow.

The disciplined Christian will be very careful what sort of counsel he seeks from others. Counsel that contradicts the written Word is ungodly counsel. Blessed is the man that walks not in that.

I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.

“Is discipline the same as punishment?” a young woman asked me. She was troubled by the idea of God wanting to “get even.” I gave her 1 Corinthians 11:32 (NEB) “When…we do fall under the Lord’s judgment, He is disciplining us, to save us from being condemned with the rest of the world.” God’s “punishment” of His children is never retribution, but rather correction. We know that we are indeed His beloved sons, sharing in the discipline that all sons share – for a high purpose, namely that we may some day share in His holiness, “attain life.”

Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.

Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them.

In space, astronauts experience the misery of having no reference point, no force that draws them to the center. Where there is no “moral gravity” – that is, no force that draws us to the center – there is spiritual weightlessness. We float on feelings that will carry us where we were never meant to go; we bubble with emotional experiences that we often take for spiritual ones; and we are puffed up with pride. Instead of seriousness, there is foolishness. Instead of gravity, flippancy. Sentimentality takes the place of theology. Our reference point will never serve to keep our feet on solid rock. Our reference point, until we answer God’s call, is merely ourselves. We cannot possibly tell which end is up.

It is always possible to be thankful for what is given rather than to complain about what is not given. One or the other becomes a habit of life.

God has promised to supply all our needs. What we don’t have now, we don’t need now.

Do you often feel like parched ground, unable to produce anything worthwhile? I do. When I am in need of refreshment, it isn’t easy to think of the needs of others. But I have found that if, instead of praying for my own comfort and satisfaction, I ask the Lord to enable me to give to others, an amazing thing often happens – I find my own needs wonderfully met. Refreshment comes in ways I would never have thought of, both for others, and then, incidentally, for myself.

For one who has made thanksgiving the habit of his life, the morning prayer will be, ‘Lord, what will you give me today to offer back to you?’

George MacDonald said, ‘If you knew what God knows about death you would clap your listless hands’, but instead I find old people in North America just buying this whole youth obsession. I think growing older is a wonderful privilege. I want to learn to glorify God in every stage of my life.

Heaven is not here, it’s there. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.

 

 


Sources: Quotefancy, Viral Believer, A-Z Quotes (prayer), A-Z Quotes (uncategorized), Grace Quotes, Quote Ambition; see also Good Reads, and Inspiring Quotes. Image: Quotesgram.

July 21, 2022

E. M. Bounds Quotations

“I think Christians fail so often to get answers to their prayers because they do not wait long enough on God. They just drop down and say a few words, and then jump up and forget it and expect God to answer them. Such praying always reminds me of the small boy ringing his neighbor’s door-bell, and then running away as fast as he can go.” – E.M. Bounds

Unlike other entries in our quotations series, this one had a different beginning. Stu Mack blogs at Stuart Writing and wrote a reflection titled What an Old Bloke Taught Me about Prayer. He describes going into a Christian bookstore and asking for recommendations. The clerk mentioned four different authors.

…I was drawn to Bounds because her face lit up when she talked about him. She claimed that Bounds knew more about prayer than any other person living or dead, besides Jesus himself. I left the store with “The Necessity of Prayer” by E M Bounds.

The next day I sat on my shoreline rock, the waves frothing and the sun shining on my back, and I opened the book. Reading that day, I thought I’d slipped from time into eternity: time flew past with the turn of every page, but I did not notice. As I read Bounds’ words I became convinced that he was a man who not only wrote a lot about prayer, but who also was a devoted man of prayer.

Bounds entered ministry when he was in his twenties. He was a lawyer before that and he had a keen mind for information. His passion for truth led him into a deep relationship with the Bible. He was convinced that scripture held all the answers we need, a conviction which shows in his writings about prayer.

Bounds based his writings upon years of Bible meditation and reflection and prayer. One of the reasons I liked Bounds from the first meeting (reading his book) was that he loved the Bible and wrote about the Bible. Jesus is at the heart of his writings! I learned from Bounds that if I wanted to know Jesus more, I had to come by the path of prayer, and that if I wanted to learn to pray more fruitfully, I needed to be walking closer to Jesus.

There was one point that Bounds made that transformed my own prayer life. Before Bounds I struggled with prayer (actually, at times I still do). I came to a chapter called “Prayer and Desire”, and in it he wrote, “If you have no, or little, desire to pray, then pray for the desire to pray.”

I really liked that and I began to do it. I saw my desire for praying grow fast. I previously felt I had to pray, but now I was finding that I WANTED to pray; I WANTED to get to know God in the way that Bounds seemed to know God…

Stu recommends reading the biography of Bounds on Wikipedia which he describes as “pretty accurate.” Bounds lived from 1835 to 1913.

Now on to our quotations…

On Prayer

“The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.”

“That man cannot possibly be called a Christian, who does not pray.”

“God’s revelation does not need the light of human genius, the polish and strength of human culture, the brilliancy of human thought, the force of human brains to adorn or enforce it; but it does demand the simplicity, the docility, humility, and faith of a child’s heart.”

“Prayer is the helpless and needy child crying to the compassion of the Father’s heart and the bounty and power of a Father’s hand.”

“He who is too busy to pray will be too busy to live a holy life. Satan had rather we let the grass grow on the path to our prayer chamber than anything else.”

“Paul, Luther, Wesley —what would these chosen ones of God be without the distinguishing and controlling element of prayer? They were leaders for God because mighty in prayer. They were not leaders because of brilliancy in thought, because exhaustless in resources, because of their magnificent culture or native endowment, but leaders because by the power of prayer they could command the power of God.”

“Prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world.”

“Prayer honors God, acknowledges His being, exalts His power, adores His providence, secures His aid.”

“I would rather have prayer without words then words without prayer.”

“The prayers of God’s saints are the capital stock in heaven by which Christ carries on His great work upon earth.”

“There is neither encouragement nor room in Bible religion for feeble desires, listless efforts, lazy attitudes; all must be strenuous, urgent, ardent. Inflamed desires, impassioned, unwearied insistence delight heaven. God would have His children incorrigibly in earnest and persistently bold in their efforts. Heaven is too busy to listen to half-hearted prayers or to respond to pop-calls. Our whole being must be in our praying.”

“A consecrated life is both a prayer life and a thanksgiving life.”

On leadership:

“We are constantly on a stretch, if not on a strain, to devise new methods, new plans, new organizations to advance the Church and secure enlargement and efficiency for the gospel. This trend of the day has a tendency to lose sight of the man or sink the man in the plan or organization. God’s plan is to make much of the man, far more of him than of anything else. Men are God’s method. The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men.”

“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 [prayer] closet, but it cannot live without the closet.”

“What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use, men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men, men of prayer.”


Sources: AZ Quotes, Good Reads, Anchored in Christ, Prayer Coach, Grace Quotes, Viral Believer, E.M.Bounds Online

Image: E.M.Bounds Online

May 13, 2022

William Booth Quotations

I am convinced that more than anyone else, Christians in this modern era should get to know all they can about Salvation Army founder William Booth. There are so many good biographies out there that I hesitate to recommend a particular one. For that reason, we’re revisiting one of our quotations series for the first time today.


“We are a salvation people – this is our specialty – getting saved and keeping saved, and then getting somebody else saved, and then getting saved ourselves more and more until full salvation on earth makes the heaven within, which is finally perfected by the full salvation without, on the other side of the river.”


“While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while children go hungry, as they do now I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight, I’ll fight to the very end!”


“Look! Don’t be deceived by appearances — men and things are not what they seem. All who are not on the rock are in the sea!”


“But what is the use of preaching the Gospel to men whose whole attention is concentrated upon a mad, desperate struggle to keep themselves alive?”


‘Not called!’ did you say? ‘Not heard the call,’ I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters, and servants and masters not to come there. And then look Christ in the face, whose mercy you have professed to obey, and tell him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish his mercy to the world.”


“I must assert in the most unqualified way that it is primarily and mainly for the sake of saving the soul that I seek the salvation of the body.”


“A man’s labor is not only his capital but his life. When it passes it returns never more. To utilize it, to prevent its wasteful squandering, to enable the poor man to bank it up for use hereafter, this surely is one of the most urgent tasks before civilization.”


“Secular music, do you say, belongs to the devil? Does it? Well, if it did I would plunder him for it, for he has no right to a single note of the whole seven. Every note, and every strain, and every harmony is divine, and belongs to us.”


“In answer to your inquiry, I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.”


“We are not sent to minister to a congregation and be content if we keep things going. We are sent to make war…and to stop short of nothing but the subjugation of the world to the sway of the Lord Jesus.”


“I want to see a new translation of the Bible into the hearts and conduct of living men and women.”


“No sort of defense is needed for preaching outdoors, but it would take a very strong argument to prove that a man who has never preached beyond the walls of his meetinghouse has done his duty. A defense is required for services within buildings rather than for worship outside of them.”


“Faith and works should travel side-by-side, step answering to step, like the legs of men walking. First faith, and then works; and then faith again, and then works again — until they can scarcely distinguish which is the one and which is the other.”


“You must pray with all your might. That does not mean saying your prayers, or sitting gazing about in church or chapel with eyes wide open while someone else says them for you. It means fervent, effectual, untiring wrestling with God…This kind of prayer be sure the devil and the world and your own indolent, unbelieving nature will oppose. They will pour water on this flame.”


General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, once told his students, “If I had my choice, I wouldn’t send you to school, I’d send you to Hell for five minutes, and you’d come back real soul winners.”


Sources: SA UK SiteThink Exist, Christian Quotes, Great Quotes, Quoteland, Our Church, Sermon Central


O Boundless Salvation!

O boundless salvation! deep ocean of love,
O fulness of mercy, Christ brought from above.
The whole world redeeming, so rich and so free,
Now flowing for all men, come, roll over me!

My sins they are many, their stains are so deep.
And bitter the tears of remorse that I weep;
But useless is weeping; thou great crimson sea,
Thy waters can cleanse me, come, roll over me!

My tempers are fitful, my passions are strong,
They bind my poor soul and they force me to wrong;
Beneath thy blest billows deliverance I see,
O come, mighty ocean, and roll over me!

Now tossed with temptation, then haunted with fears,
My life has been joyless and useless for years;
I feel something better most surely would be
If once thy pure waters would roll over me.

O ocean of mercy, oft longing I’ve stood
On the brink of thy wonderful, life-giving flood!
Once more I have reached this soul-cleansing sea,
I will not go back till it rolls over me.

The tide is now flowing, I’m touching the wave,
I hear the loud call of the mighty to save;
My faith’s growing bolder, delivered I’ll be;
I plunge ‘neath the waters, they roll over me.

And now, hallelujah! the rest of my days
Shall gladly be spent in promoting his praise
Who opened his bosom to pour out this sea
Of boundless salvation for you and for me.
    
William Booth (1829-1912)

November 26, 2021

David Jeremiah Quotations (2)

Nine years ago, we did a shorter version of quotations from David which was probably one of the first articles we did in the quotations series. (There were really only about six quotes.) So I decided to revisit this today.

David Jeremiah is a prolific Christian author, founder of Turning Point Radio and Television Ministries and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church, on the southern edge of California bordering Mexico.

Note: As with all the quotations series, you’re encouraged to slow and read each one, and pause and think about it before rushing through to the next quote.


Head knowledge without heart knowledge is worse than useless; but when head and heart join forces, it changes our lives forever.

Integrity is keeping a commitment even after circumstances have changed.

Refresh your commitment today to test everything by the Word of God. The surest defense against spiritual deception is knowledge of spiritual truth.

Prayer is the way you defeat the devil, reach the lost, restore a backslider, strengthen the saints, send missionaries out, cure the sick, accomplish the impossible, and know the will of God.

God appeared to His people in the Old Testament and dwelt with His people in the New – and now abides in us by His Spirit.

You have inside you the capacity to invest your mental, emotional, and spiritual gifts in a way that glorifies God, impacts the world, and satisfies your own soul. I believe that-and I want you to believe it, too.

God created the heavens and the earth to reveal His glory. Don’t allow creation to eclipse and steal the worship God desires and deserves.

It’s not that your most important work is meaningless; it’s that your most trivial movements are also significant.

Don’t let obstacles along the road to eternity shake your confidence in God’s promise. The Holy Spirit is God’s seal that you will arrive.

Believers talk about trusting in the Lord with their whole heart and refusing to lean on their own understanding, but no one really knows what that means until circumstances cast them headfirst into a dark and painful place. If we give ourselves fully to God in those moments, we will obtain keepsakes of Him to treasure now and forever.

When you’re facing all the issues of life and you don’t know what to do, accept the fact that you are human. We all are. We don’t have the capacity to understand Almighty God. But you know what? We know Jesus Christ. He’s the wisdom of God. And He put His Holy Spirit in us. So having access to the Holy Spirit and Jesus, we can face the challenges of today with the wisdom of God.

The only way the corporate Body of Christ will fulfill the mission Christ has given it is for individual Christians to have a vision for fulfilling that mission personally.

When we share Christ, the Truth behind our transformation, we are offering people an opportunity to be transformed.

Your heavenly home was bought for a price, and that payment results in a title deed that can never be lost through foreclosure.

Many Christians have the mistaken notion that eternal life begins when they die. But that is not biblically accurate. Eternal life begins when we are born again into the Kingdom of God.


Sources: Quotes Christian, What Christians Want to Know, Inspiring Quotes, AZ Quotes, Good Reads, Quote Fancy.

There are more on our previous quotations page for David Jeremiah from May 2012.

See also David Jeremiah’s website for daily devotionals.  Here’s a sample from earlier this week:

They’re With Me

Today’s Scripture: Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37

Recommended Reading:

For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  1 John 5:4-5 (NLT)

Maybe it happens more in the movies than in our own lives, but it does happen. Someone important approaches the entrance to a restricted area where he is recognized and waved through. But the people with him are not recognized and are denied entrance. When the “celebrity” sees the problem, he turns and says, “It’s okay; they’re with me.” Suddenly the whole group is waved through. Knowing the right person has its advantages.

When Paul writes about hardships not being able to separate us from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8:35-39), he says we can overcome them because “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us”—meaning Christ. He may have been thinking of Jesus’ words: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV). It’s as if you and I are with Jesus when we suddenly encounter some trouble. Trouble waves Jesus past, but then He says to trouble—gesturing at us—“It’s okay; they’re with Me.”

Jesus has overcome the troubles of this world. If you are in Him, you have overcome them as well.

The Christian faith is not a way to explain, endure or enjoy this world, so much as to overcome it.  – Vance Havner

 

 

May 17, 2021

C. T. Studd Quotations

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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Just like wealthy people can hire musicians to play at a house party, it was not unusual in the 19th Century to hire “parlour preachers” to come to your house and present a sermon or two; and Edward Studd the father of Charles Thomas Studd, was such a person of means. That preacher’s visit combined with an English tour by evangelist D. L. Moody led to the older Studd’s conversion, while the home visit resulted in Charles (C. T.) and two of his brothers making their own profession of faith.

The preacher “…caught C. T. on his way to play cricket. ‘Are you a Christian?’ he asked. C. T’s answer not being convincing enough, the guest pressed the point and C. T. tells what happens as he acknowledges God’s gift of eternal life received through faith in Christ. Charles remembered this saying, “I knew then what it was to be ‘born again,’ and the Bible which had been so dry to me before, became everything.”

His rich family made an education at Cambridge a possibility, but C. T. questioned the trajectory on which his life was heading. He asked, “What is all the fame and flattery worth … when a man comes to face eternity?”

He decided to be a missionary, and served in China, India and Africa. At the time, world missions was expressed in militaristic terms — think ‘Onward, Christian Soldiers’ — and one biographer says, “C. T. was essentially a cavalry leader, and in that capacity he led several splendid charges.”

He’s best known for his work in China, working with China Inland Mission and at one point serving alongside renowned missionary to China, Hudson Taylor.  In 1913 he formed the World Evangelization Crusade (now WEC International) which continues to this day.

But he’s also known for his love of cricket representing England in a match with Australia. The most popular biography of his life, written by Norman Grubb is called C. T. Studd: God’s Cricketeer (CLC Publications).

Sources: Soul Supply, Wholesome Words, Wikipedia
Graphic Image: Soul Supply


It turns out that in a very early blog post here at C201 — one which pre-dates our quotations series — we ran a set of quotes from Studd, but didn’t list our sources. I’ve repeated those here with a couple of additions.

Studd is best known however for this adage:

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
only what’s done for Christ will last.

Click here for the complete text.

He’s also credited with this phrase which forms the basis of the Steve Camp song I’ve added at the bottom of today’s devotional:

Some wish to live within the sound of church or chapel bell,
I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.

Here are the rest of the quotations:


I am getting desperately afraid of going to heaven for I have had the vision of the shame I shall suffer as I get my first glimpse of the Lord Jesus; His majesty, power and marvelous love for me, who treated Him so meanly and shabbily on earth, and acted as though I did Him a favour in serving Him! No wonder God shall have to wipe away the tears off all faces, for we shall be broken-hearted when we see the depth of His love and the shallowness of ours.


I can easily see why the folks at home want to eliminate Hell from their theology, preaching and thought. Hell is indeed awful unless its preaching is joined to a life laid down by the preacher. How can a man believe in Hell unless he throws away his life to rescue others from its torment? If there is no Hell, the Bible is a lie. If we are willing to go to Hell on earth for others, we cannot preach it.


The “romance” of a missionary is often made up of monotony and drudgery; there often is no glamor in it; it doesn’t stir a man’s spirit or blood. So don’t come out to be a missionary as an experiment; it is useless and dangerous. Only come if you feel you would rather die than not come. Don’t come if you want to make a great name or want to live long. Come if you feel there is no greater honor, after living for Christ, than to die for Him.


How little chance the Holy Ghost has nowadays. The churches and missionary societies have so bound him in red tape that they practically ask Him to sit in a corner while they do the work themselves.


God’s real people have always been called fanatics.


When we are in hand-to-hand conflict with the world, the flesh, and the devil himself, neat little Biblical confectionery is like shooting lions with a pea-shooter; God needs a man who will let go and deliver blows right and left as hard as he can hit, in the power of the Holy Ghost. Nothing but forked-lightning Christians will count.


The light that shines farthest shines brightest nearest home.


Christ’s call is to save the lost, not the stiff-necked; He came not to call scoffers but sinners to repentance; not to build and furnish comfortable chapels, churches, and cathedrals at home in which to rock Christian professors to sleep by means of clever essays, stereotyped prayers, and artistic musical performances, but to capture men from the devil’s clutches and the very jaws of Hell. This can be accomplished only by a red-hot, unconventional, unfettered devotion, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to the Lord Jesus Christ.


If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.


A lost reputation is the best degree for Christ’s service.



“But be sure to fear the LORD and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24

“If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.” Jeremiah 20:9

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

“But Peter and John answered them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19-20

 – scripture selection from AWBE Interational

March 29, 2021

This, The Power of the Cross

God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, “I love you.” ~ Billy Graham


All God’s plans have the mark of the cross on them, and all His plans have death to self in them. –E. M Bounds


The Blood deals with what we have done, whereas the Cross deals with what we are. The Blood disposes of our sins, while the Cross strikes at the root of our capacity for sin. ~ Watchman Nee


Today Jesus Christ is being dispatched as the Figurehead of a Religion, a mere example. He is that, but he is infinitely more; He is salvation itself, He is the Gospel of God. –Oswald Chambers


The Gospel is good news of mercy to the undeserving. The symbol of the religion of Jesus is the cross, not the scales. ~ John Stott


…It’s like sitting in church and hearing a great sermon and then deciding that someone else that we know has to hear it; the idea that this time of year is a great opportunity for the benefit of somebody else. But this time of year comes around in the Christian calendar not so much for anyone else but for me. This is my time to sit and contemplate that it was my sin that led Christ to the cross to die in my place. This is why Jesus came; because we needed a savior. ~ Early Christianity 201 post


For more quotations, check out this 2020 collection here at C201: For Me He Died


As we approach Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, I wanted to include this worship song by Stuart Townend which can be part of your Holy Week service or used as a communion song throughout the year. If you can’t play the video in your region, take some time to read the lyrics.

Col 1:19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.

This, the power of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath-
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Every bitter thought,
Every evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.

Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
“Finished!” the victory cry.

Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

This, the power of the cross:
Son of God-slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Two other songs also fit well with this theme and have been posted here previously:

Quotes: Tentmaker, Christian Quotes

November 7, 2020

Malcolm Muggeridge Quotations

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:32 pm
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“In the end, coming to faith remains for all a sense of homecoming, of picking up the threads of a lost life, of responding to a bell that had long been ringing, of taking a place at a table that had long been vacant.” – Malcom Muggeridge

One week today, November 14th, will mark 30 years since the passing of Malcolm Muggeridge (b1903), a great English thinker and author of at least two dozen books, whose conversion to Christianity marked a real turning point. His Wikipedia writeup notes:

An agnostic for most of his life, Muggeridge became a Protestant Christian, publishing Jesus Rediscovered in 1969, a collection of essays, articles and sermons on faith. It became a best seller. Jesus: The Man Who Lives followed in 1976, a more substantial work describing the gospel in his own words. In A Third Testament, he profiles six spiritual thinkers, whom he called “God’s Spies”, who influenced his life: Augustine of Hippo, William Blake, Blaise Pascal, Leo Tolstoy, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Søren Kierkegaard. In this period he also produced several BBC religious documentaries, including In the Footsteps of St. Paul.

The article also noted that he “helped to bring Mother Teresa to popular attention in the West.”

Here then, in no particular order are some of his words… read these slowly and thoughtfully.


I can say that I never knew what joy was like until I gave up pursuing happiness, or cared to live until I chose to die. For these two discoveries I am beholden to Jesus.


Christianity . . . sees the necessity for man to have spiritual values and it shows him how to get at those through physical sacraments.


All happenings, great and small, are parables whereby God speaks. The art of life is to get the message. To see all that is offered us at the windows of the soul, and to reach out and receive what is offered, this is the art of living.


Earthly authority displays itself in giving orders, in magnificent apparel, in hordes of servitors, in sycophantic addresses; the authority of Jesus disposes of is, by contrast, spiritual, and expresses itself in serving, not being served, in seeking to be the least instead of the greatest, the last instead of the first, in finding wisdom in the innocence of children and truth in the foolishness of men rather than in those who pass for being sagacious and experienced in the world’s ways. When we want to adulate men, we say they are godlike; but when God became Man, it was in the lineaments of the least of men.


The trouble with kingdoms of heaven on earth is that they’re liable to come to pass, and then their fraudulence is apparent for all to see. We need a kingdom of heaven in Heaven, if only because it can’t be realized.


One of the peculiar sins of the twentieth century which we’ve developed to a very high level is the sin of credulity. It has been said that when human beings stop believing in God they believe in nothing. The truth is much worse: they believe in anything.


As out of Jesus’ affliction came a new sense of God’s love and a new basis for love between men, so out of our affliction we may grasp the splendor of God’s love and how to love one another. Thus the consummation of the two commandments was on Golgotha; and the Cross is, at once, their image and their fulfillment.


Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message.


People think of faith as being something that you don’t really believe, a device in helping you believe simply it. Of course that is quite wrong. As Pascal says, faith is a gift of God. It is different from the proof of it. It is the kind of faith God himself places in the heart, of which the proof is often the instrument…


Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed especially desolating and painful, with particular satisfaction. Indeed, I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have learned in my seventy five years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my existence, has been through affliction and not through happiness, whether pursued or attained… This, of course, is what the Cross signifies. And it is the Cross, more than anything else, that has called me inexorably to Christ.


God, stay with me, let no word cross my lips that is not your word, no thoughts enter my mind that are not your thoughts, no deed ever be done or entertained by me that is not your deed.


Sources: GoodReads, Inspring Quotes, Brainy Quote, Grace Quotes, A-Z Quotes

July 18, 2020

J. I. Packer Quotations

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:31 pm
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Yesterday the Christian world learned of the passing of the man Wikipedia describes as an “English-born Canadian theologian;” J. I. Packer. His books — numbering over 50 — have been staples in Christian bookstores for decades. But his name may appear elsewhere in your library, as John Stackhouse noted a few years ago, “Perhaps no one in history has written more endorsements and prefaces to the books of others than Packer did.” He was 93.

One tribute noted, “In Knowing God, he quoted Jeremiah 6:16, with its image of the ‘ancient paths…where the good way is,’ claiming that his book was a call to follow those old paths.

ESV.Jer.16v6a Thus says the Lord:
“Stand by the roads, and look,
    and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
    and find rest for your souls.

Read these slowly and allow each to percolate inside you!


“In the New Testament, grace means God’s love in action toward people who merited the opposite of love. Grace means God moving heaven and earth to save sinners who could not lift a finger to save themselves. Grace means God sending his only Son to the cross to descend into hell so that we guilty ones might be reconciled to God and received into heaven.”


“A God whom we could understand exhaustively, and whose revelation of Himself confronted us with no mysteries whatsoever, would be a God in man’s image, and therefore an imaginary God, not the God of the Bible at all.”


“Our aim in studying the Godhead must be to know God himself better. Our concern must be to enlarge our acquaintance, not simply with the doctrine of God’s attributes, but with the living God whose attributes they are.”


“I am graven on the palms of His hands. I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him, because He first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, One who loves me; and there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted for me, and no moment, therefore, when His care falters.”


“To know that nothing happens in God’s world apart from God’s will may frighten the godless, but it stabilizes the saints.”


“Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.”


“Doctrinal preaching certainly bores the hypocrites; but it is only doctrinal preaching that will save Christ’s sheep.”


“Your faith will not fail while God sustains it; you are not strong enough to fall away while God is resolved to hold you.”


“The healthy Christian is not necessarily the extrovert, ebullient Christian, but the Christian who has a sense of God’s presence stamped deep on his soul, who trembles at God’s word, who lets it dwell in him richly by constant meditation upon it, and who tests and reforms his life daily in response to it.”


“Not until we have become humble and teachable, standing in awe of God’s holiness and sovereignty…acknowledging our own littleness, distrusting our own thoughts and willing to have our minds turned upside down can divine wisdom become ours.”


“Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life’s problems fall into place of their own accord.”


“‘Wait on the Lord’ is a constant refrain in the Psalms, and it is a necessary word, for God often keeps us waiting. He is not in such a hurry as we are, and it is not his way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us more than one step at a time. When in doubt, do nothing, but continue to wait on God. When action is needed, light will come.”


“Martin Luther described the doctrine of justification by faith as the article of faith that decides whether the church is standing or falling. By this he meant that when this doctrine is understood, believed, and preached, as it was in New-Testament times, the church stands in the grace of God and is alive; but where it is neglected, overlaid, or denied, … the church falls from grace and its life drains away, leaving it in a state of darkness and death.”


“Historical exegesis is only the preliminary part of interpretation. Application is its essence. Exegesis without application should not be called interpretation at all.”


“All true theology has an evangelistic thrust, and all true evangelism is theology in action.”


“God uses chronic pain and weakness, along with other afflictions, as his chisel for sculpting our lives. Felt weakness deepens dependence on Christ for strength each day. The weaker we feel, the harder we lean. And the harder we lean, the stronger we grow spiritually, even while our bodies waste away. To live with your ‘thorn’ uncomplainingly—that is, sweet, patient, and free in heart to love and help others, even though every day you feel weak—is true sanctification. It is true healing for the spirit. It is a supreme victory of grace.”


Sources: GoodReads, Gospel Coalition, AZ Quotes, Inspiriting Quotes, Logos Talk, Heartlight, Quote Tab.

June 8, 2020

John Mark Comer: Quotations

“Too much time spent in the past leads to depression; too much time spent in the future leads to anxiety. Live in the moment.”

John Mark Comer is the teaching pastor of Bridgetown Church in Portland, Oregon. He’s too young to have many pages devoted to his quotations, but in his four major published works, he focuses much on the concept of establishing spiritual rhythms or practices to lead a balanced Christian life. Most of the quotes which follow are from GoodReads.com and were posted by readers and voted to be their favorite quotations from each book listed below.

GC = Garden City
L = Loveology
GHAN = God Has a Name
REH = Ruthless Elimination of Hurry
CA2018 = Catalyst Atlanta 2018

Previously here at C201:

“That’s why Sabbath is an expression of faith. Faith that there is a Creator and he’s good. We are his creation. This is his world. We live under his roof, drink his water, eat his food, breathe his oxygen. So on the Sabbath, we don’t just take a day off from work; we take a day off from toil. We give him all our fear and anxiety and stress and worry. We let go. We stop ruling and subduing, and we just be. We “remember” our place in the universe. So that we never forget . . . There is a God, and I’m not him.”  GC


“It’s [menuha or Sabbath] not just a nap on the couch. It’s a restfulness that’s also a celebration. It’s often translated “happiness.” And to the Jews, menuha is something you create. It’s not just that you stop working and sit on the couch for a day every week. It’s about cultivating an environment, an atmosphere to enjoy your life, your world, and your God. It’s more a mode of being than a twenty-four-hour time slot.” GC


“But the Bible claims something radically out of step with its time. It claims there is one true Creator God who made everything. And the world was born, not out of conflict or war or jealous infighting, but out of the overflow of his creativity and love.”  GHAN


“Often what we believe about God says more about us than it does about God. Our theology is like a mirror to the soul. It shows us what’s deep inside.”  GHAN


“Ultimately, nothing in this life, apart from God, can satisfy our desires. Tragically, we continue to chase after our desires ad infinitum. The result? A chronic state of restlessness or, worse, angst, anger, anxiety, disillusionment, depression—all of which lead to a life of hurry, a life of busyness, overload, shopping, materialism, careerism, a life of more…which in turn makes us even more restless. And the cycle spirals out of control.”  REH


“It’s not failure if you fail at doing something you’re not supposed to do. It’s success. Because with each success, and with each so-called failure, you’re getting a clearer sense of your calling.” GC


“Sacrifice your ambition, your drive, your work-a-holism, influence, status, pat on the back. Let all of that die or your soul will die instead and the souls of those around you.” CA2018


“Our job is to make the invisible God visible — to mirror and mimic what he is like to the world. We can glorify God by doing our work in such a way that we make the invisible God visible by what we do and how we do it.”  GC


“If your strategy in life is to live out Jesus vision of the sermon on the Mount, but you don’t change your routine to match that of Jesus, you don’t stand a chance.” CA2018


“When God describes himself, he doesn’t start with how powerful he is or how he knows everything there is to know or how he’s been around since before time and space and there’s no one else like him in the universe. That’s all true, but apparently, to God, it’s not the most important thing. When God describes himself, he starts with his name. Then he talks about what we call character. He’s compassionate and gracious; he’s slow to anger; he’s abounding in love and faithfulness, and on down the list.”  GHAN


“To restate: love, joy, and peace are at the heart of all Jesus is trying to grow in the soil of your life. And all three are incompatible with hurry.” REH


“Will we buy the lie? Go our own way, thinking we know better than God? Flip a coin and hope for the best? Or will we listen, not to the voice of the serpent, but to the Creator. Will we believe that God’s way is the best way? He is the Creator, and he’s good.” L


“Because what you give your attention to is the person you become. Put another way: the mind is the portal to the soul, and what you fill your mind with will shape the trajectory of your character. In the end, your life is no more than the sum of what you gave your attention to. That bodes well for those apprentices of Jesus who give the bulk of their attention to him and to all that is good, beautiful, and true in his world. But not for those who give their attention to the 24-7 news cycle of outrage and anxiety and emotion-charged drama or the nonstop feed of celebrity gossip, titillation, and cultural drivel. (As if we “give” it in the first place; much of it is stolen by a clever algorithm out to monetize our precious attention.) But again: we become what we give our attention to, for better or worse.”  REH


“We’re image bearers, created to rule, to partner with God in pushing and pulling the creation project forward, to work it, to draw out the earth’s potential and unleash it for human flourishing — to cooperate with God in building a civilization where his people can thrive in his presence. And in this cosmic agenda, each of us has a vocation, a calling from God, a way that God wired us, somebody to be and something to do — because the two merge in perfect symmetry.” GC


Penguin Random House did not grant us status to review the latest book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, at Thinking Out Loud or do an excerpt feature on it here. The other books are available from Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing.

May 20, 2020

Ravi Zacharias Quotations

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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Ravi Zacharias was one of the leading voices in the field of Christian apologetics, and an author of many significant books in this genre. RZIM, his organization was based in Atlanta, Georgia; and his daily radio program was been heard throughout Canada and the United States. After his passing we re-ran this series of quotations which first appeared here in 2011, but sadly, in the weeks that followed there were some shadows cast on what we believed had been up to that point an exemplary life in ministry. For the time being, we’re leaving this here, with the observation that the very last quotation might have been prophetic.


“We experience emptiness not when we are wearied by our trials, but when we are wearied by our happiness.”


“A man rejects God neither because of intellectual demands nor because of the scarcity of evidence. A man rejects God because of a moral resistance that refuses to admit his need for God.”


“One of the most staggering truths of the Scriptures is to understand that we do not earn our way to heaven. …works have a place–but as a demonstration of having received God’s forgiveness, not as a badge of merit of having earned it.”


“I do not believe that one can earnestly seek and find the priceless treasure of God’s call without a devout prayer life. That is where God speaks. The purpose of prayer and of God’s call in your life is not to make you number one in the world’s eyes, but to make him number one in your life. We must be willing to be outshone while shining for God. We hear very little about being smaller in our own self-estimate.”


“Philosophically, you can believe anything, so long as you do not claim it to be true.
Morally you can practice anything, so long as you do not claim that it is a ‘better’ way.
Religiously, you can hold to anything, so long as you do not bring Jesus Christ in to it.”


“There is no greater discovery than seeing God as the author of your destiny.”


“These days its not just that the line between right and wrong has been made unclear, today Christians are being asked by our culture today to erase the lines and move the fences, and if that were not bad enough, we are being asked to join in the celebration cry by those who have thrown off the restraints religion had imposed upon them. It is not just that they ask we accept, but they now demand of us to celebrate it too.”


“I think the reason we sometimes have the false sense that God is so far away is because that is where we have put him. We have kept him at a distance, and then when we are in need and call on him in prayer, we wonder where he is. He is exactly where we left him.”


“You cannot really have the world and hold on to it. It is all too temporary and the more you try to hold on to it, the more it actually holds you. By contrast, the more you hold on to the true and the good, the more you are free to really live.”


“Where the eye is focused, there the imagination finds its raw material. The right focus must be won at immense cost and discipline. Train the eye to see the good, and the imagination will follow suit.”


“It is theoretically and practically impossible to build any community apart from love and justice. If only one of these two is focused upon, an inevitable extremism and perversion follow.”


“It is a mindless philosophy that assumes that one’s private beliefs have nothing to do with public office. Does it make sense to entrust those who are immoral in private with the power to determine the nation’s moral issues and, indeed, its destiny? …. The duplicitous soul of a leader can only make a nation more sophisticated in evil.”


“Anyone who claims that all religions are the same betrays not only an ignorance of all religions but also a caricatured view of even the best-known ones. Every religion at its core is exclusive.”


“God is the shaper of your heart. God does not display his work in abstract terms. He prefers the concrete, and this means that at the end of your life one of three things will happen to your heart: it will grow hard, it will be broken, or it will be tender. Nobody escapes.”


“The tragedy is that just when we need to remember the most because we have climbed some pinnacle of blessing and success–that’s when the tendency is to turn our back upon God.


Sources:

Good Quotes, Quotation Collection, Christian Quotes, Liberty Tree, Christian Apologetics Forum, Just My Thoughts, Simply Quotastic


Read some devotional excerpts from Ravi Zacharias at this link.

 

April 22, 2020

The Forgiveness/Bitterness Dichotomy

Simon the Pharisee throws a party: The painting, Feast in the House of Simon the Pharisee by Rubens, c. 1618. (via Wikipedia) Notice the woman at Jesus’ feet. See scripture below.

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” – Jesus, The Lord’s Prayer (in the Sermon on the Mount)

“Detach the fetters of faults that bind us,
like we let go the guilt of others.” – Lord’s Prayer as translated from Aramaic (full text in C201 1.27.19)

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” – Also Sermon on the Mount

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Apostle Paul, writing to the Ephesians (4:32, NIV)

At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?”
Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven. – Dialog found in Matthew’s Gospel (18:21-22, The Message)

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. – Jesus teaching, as recorded by Mark (11:25)

“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” – Luke’s account of Jesus responding to Simon’s objections to Jesus reaching out to a disreputable woman at a party Simon was hosting. (Full account in 7:36-50)

So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him...
When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.
– Paul, in a second letter to the Corinthians on reshaping their approach toward a man in the church who was the object of church discipline. (2: 8,10,11 NLT)


Keep a fair-sized cemetery in your back yard, in which to bury the faults of your friends. (Henry Ward Beecher)

Many suppose forgiveness has been granted by making a pronouncement to that effect. Proclaiming forgiveness is easy; forgiving is difficult and a challenge to a person’s soul. The practice of forgiving requires a poor memory. – Russell Young (C201 9.5.17)

Maybe we’re afraid that by demonstrating grace and mercy we will seem weak on sin. Need that be so? Jesus spoke to the heart, not to the behavior. As demonstrated in the John 8 story, He told [the woman caught in adultery] to sin no more, but by His act of mercy, He also demonstrated love! – Rick Apperson (C201 1.18.15)

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship… – Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship


A year ago we introduced you to the writing of Matt Tullos and today we’re back at his site again.

Forgiveness is More about You Than Them

All was well in the Amish community in Lancaster Pennsylvania until a deranged man mercilessly shot 10 Amish girls and then turned the gun on himself in 2006. How did they respond to this shocking loss? Amazingly, the Amish community didn’t blame. Instead, they reached out with grace and compassion toward the killer’s family. They understood the importance of forgiveness, not for the killer’s sake. He was dead. But for themselves. Why? Because living in unforgiveness is debilitating.

Most of us will not have to endure that depth of offense. Most bitter people didn’t become a bitter person through the act of a single dagger. Most bitter people are dying from a thousand paper-cuts. The girl that rejected him… The backroom deal in the company that cost him a promotion… The humiliation experienced years ago from a father’s rage… Whether we can reconcile the relationship or not, we must forgive.

We get stuck. We fantasize about vindication. We look at relationships surrounding the offense with malice. We cling to bitterness as our beverage of choice. We talk about it to people who have no business hearing of it. We dream about going back, doing things differently, saying something more damaging, or avoiding the offense. For many, this becomes a lifestyle that poisons every relationship they enter. It’s insidious.

Jesus is clear on this. In order to be forgiven, you must forgive. That’s easy to say but hard to do. And yet this is a primary hallmark of Christian manhood. It’s a heart issue. Who knows? Forgiveness might just save your life.

“He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.” – George Herbert


 

April 10, 2020

For Me He Died: A Good Friday Collection

 

Wounded for me, wounded for me,
There on the cross He was wounded for me;
Gone my transgressions, and now I am free,
All because Jesus was wounded for me.

Dying for me, dying for me,
There on the cross He was dying for me;
Now in His death my redemption I see,
All because Jesus was dying for me.

– early 20th Century hymn; vs 1, William Ovens, vs. 2, Gladys Toberts


…It’s like sitting in church and hearing a great sermon and then deciding that someone else that we know has to hear it; the idea that this time of year is a great opportunity for the benefit of somebody else. But this time of year comes around in the Christian calendar not so much for anyone else but for me. This is my time to sit and contemplate that it was my sin that led Christ to the cross to die in my place. This is why Jesus came; because we needed a savior.

-Early Christianity 201 post


Christ died. He left a will in which He gave His soul to His Father, His body to Joseph of Arimathea, His clothes to the soldiers, and His mother to John. But to His disciples, who had left all to follow Him, He left not silver or gold, but something far better – His PEACE!

– Matthew Henry


For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

-Colossians 1:19


The Blood deals with what we have done, whereas the Cross deals with what we are. The Blood disposes of our sins, while the Cross strikes at the root of our capacity for sin.

~ Watchman Nee


It must have been agonizing for Jesus – the Word of God made flesh – to acknowledge that in what was about to happen – the powers of darkness, which He could have no doubt thrown back with a single word – had been given free reign.

– Grant Gunnink; quoted at Daily Encouragement (C201 link)


For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

– I Cor. 1:18


My hope is in the Lord
Who gave Himself for me,
And paid the price of all my sin
at Calvary.

For me He died,
For me He lives;
And everlasting life and light
He freely gives.

Hymn, My Hope is in the Lord, © 1945 Norman J. Clayton Publishing © Renewed 1973


May I never put anything above the cross of our Lord Jesus the Anointed. Through Him, the world has been crucified to me and I to this world.

– Galatians 6:14


The Jews thought that in being crucified, Jesus failed at being the Messiah, the Greeks thought that in being crucified, Jesus failed at being God, people today think that in being crucified Jesus failed at doing anything relevant – but if God can be spoken of as failing at anything when Jesus was crucified – God failed to treat us as our sins deserve.

-Clarke Dixon (C201 link)


Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

-Ephesians 5:1,2


It was our sin and guilt that bruised and wounded Him.
It was our sin that brought Him down.
When we like sheep had gone astray our Shepherd came,
And on His shoulders He bore our shame.

Meek as a lamb, that’s led out to the slaughterhouse,
Dumb as a sheep, before it’s shearer;
His life ran down upon the ground like pouring rain,
That we might be born-again!

Our God Reigns, verses 3 and 4


But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

-Hebrews 2:9


The problem of sin is that it is a contagion and a captivity, which involves our complicity.

As a stain, sin is like a contagion that must be cleansed— as a virus must be eradicated from the body.

As blame, sin involves our complicity and thus blame must be borne.

As a power which leads to the penalty of death, sin is a captivity from which we must be freed.

In His death on the cross, Jesus purifies us from the stain of guilt, removes from us and bears in Himself the blame, and frees us from the power of Sin and Death.

Good Friday, indeed.

-Glenn Packiam (C201 link)


And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God

-Hebrews 10:11-12


Into the cross of Jesus
Deeper and deeper I go,
Following through the garden,
Facing the dreaded foe;
Drinking the cup of sorrow,
Sobbing with broken heart,
“O Savior, help! Dear Savior, help!
Grace for my weakness impart.”

-Oswald J. Smith, Deeper and Deeper (C201 link)


It is true that I deserved death for sin just as do all of humankind. I had been caught in Satan’s deceits and those practices that were offensive to my creator and sovereign. Had justice been served neither I nor anyone else would have survived. Satan would have won. There would not have been a single person suitable for God’s presence.

– Russell Young (C201 link)


■ Here is the embedded link to the Good Friday (and Communion Service) playlist we’ve been promoting all week. This will play continuously as long as you leave this page open, or you can click through to YouTube and watch it (some of the songs are lyric videos) there. Unlike the hymns quoted above, these are all modern worship cross-centered songs.

 

February 23, 2020

Quotations: Andrew Murray

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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Although we’ve featured excerpts of his writing several times here, Andrew Murray has never been part of our quotations series.

Andrew Murray was a native and pastor to many South African churches. He was raised by Dutch Reformed missionaries and was educated in Scotland with his brother. He and his brother went on to study Theology in the Netherlands. He lived to be nearly 89 years old. He was best known for his leadership in the South African Revival of 1860. He was an eloquent speaker and left many quotes before he went on to be with the Lord in 1917.

As always with these, don’t rush through them. Read one, pause, think about it, and then move on to the next.


Just as a servant knows that he must first obey his master in all things, so the surrender to an implicit and unquestionable obedience must become the essential characteristic of our lives.


Let it be your business every day, in the secrecy of the inner chamber, to meet the holy God. You will be repaid for the trouble it may cost you. The reward will be sure and rich.


One verse chosen to meet our needs, read ten times and then laid up in the heart, is better than ten verses read once. Only so much of the word as I actually receive and inwardly appropriate for myself, is food for my soul.


It is out of the grave of the flesh and the will of self that the Spirit of holiness breaks out in resurrection power.


There is no pride so dangerous, none so subtle and insidious, as the pride of holiness.


A congregation without a prayer meeting is essentially defective in its organization, and so must be limited in its efficiency.


Beware in your prayer, above everything, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what he can do.


Time spent in prayer will yield more than that given to work. Prayer alone gives work its worth and its success. Prayer opens the way for God Himself to do His work in us and through us. Let our chief work as God’s messengers be intercession; in it we secure the presence and power of God to go with us.


We must begin to believe that God, in the mystery of prayer, has entrusted us with a force that can move the Heavenly world, and can bring its power down to earth.


A dead Christ I must do everything for; a living Christ does everything for me.


Answered prayer is the interchange of love between the Father and His child.


Do not confound work and fruit. There may be a good deal of work for Christ that is not the fruit of the heavenly Vine.


In linking holy and without blemish (or without blame) so closely, the Holy Spirit would have led us to seek for the embodiment of holiness as a spiritual power in the blamelessness of practice and of daily life.


Humility is simply acknowledging the truth of [our] position as creature and yielding to God His place.


However strong the branch becomes, however far away it reaches round the home, out of sight of the vine, all its beauty and all its fruitfulness ever depend upon that one point of contact where it grows out of the vine. So be it with us too.


Sources: GoodReads, Logos.com, PrayerQuotes, GraceQuotes, HeartStoneJourney, LiveAtTheWell, AZQuotes, FlowingFaith, WhatChristiansWantToKnow (biography, above); see also QuoteFancy and HippoQuotes for Andrew Murray quotations you can use on social media.

December 17, 2019

Quotations: Jesus

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:35 pm
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Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
 – John 21:25 NIV

Six months ago I tried a variation on our quotations series, and decided I’d try our various sources and see what they came up with if I typed “Paul the Apostle,” “Apostle Paul,” or “Paul of Tarsus.” You can read that collection at this link.

Today, I decided to take it one step further and I typed “Quotations Jesus Christ.” Of course, the answers would all be from the Bible which means today’s devotional is going to be a scripture medley.

It wasn’t always clear which translation was being used, and some sites omitted the verse references, so I decided to leave out all the references. The verses are easily located.

Again, don’t rush through these. Go  s-l-o-w-l-y  through these and bask in the words of Jesus.


For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?


I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.


I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.


My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.


Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.


Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.


But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.


The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.


Man will not live by bread alone, but on every word which flows from the mouth of God.


To hang on to your life is to lose it. To let go of your life is to save it.


It is not what goes into a man from outside that can make him unclean. It’s what comes out of him that makes him unclean.


Don’t use oaths, whether ‘by heaven’ or ‘by earth’ or by anything else. When you say yes or no let it be plain ‘Yes’ or ‘No’


Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.


When someone hits you on the cheek offer the other as well. When someone takes your coat let him have your shirt too.


Love your enemies. And pray for those who persecute.


If one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the missing one till he has found it? How delighted he is then! He lifts it onto his shoulders, and home he goes to call his friends and neighbors together. “Celebrate with me!” he cries. “I have found my lost sheep.”

Forgive and you will be forgiven.


With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.


Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.


Let anyone who has ears to hear, listen.


Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.


Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.


But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.


If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.


Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

 



Primary Sources:

BrainyQuote | Bible Study Tools | Wikiquote | BeliefNet | DailyVerses.net | Quotes and Thoughts

June 19, 2019

Quotations: Paul the Apostle

Today we’re back with our quotations series, but for a change, I thought I’d try our various sources and see what they came up with if I typed “Paul the Apostle,” “Apostle Paul,” or “Paul of Tarsus.” (I’ve always wanted to see what the general, non-faith websites might come up with, many were quotations about the Apostle Paul.)

It was interesting that some of the sites made no attempt to cite the reference for the quote, and none of the sites indicated which translation of the Bible they were using. When you’re doing this, you start to get a few repeats, but the Guideposts site (see below) had a refreshing collection of ten key verses that the others had overlooked.

Also these were copied and pasted somewhat randomly. Slow down and take from these what God would have you be reminded of today, since the verses are quite familiar.

Remember also that if you want to know which are the most sought after verses for each of Paul’s epistles and letters, you should go to TopVerses.com and use the book-by-book links. (I didn’t use TopVerses for this collection; it might produce different results.)

I guess everything is in green today, because everything is a scripture verse. At least I don’t have to supply a biographic link this time, as I think you know who I’m referring to!


Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.


For when I am powerless, it is then that I am strong.


I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.


I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.


Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.


There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.


Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.


But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us


I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.
Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own [will], is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.


And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.


Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another.


Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.


Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.


Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.


Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.


I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.


For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.


God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.


In whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the good news of the glory of the Messiah, who is the image of God.”



Sources:

Inspiring Quotes, AZ Quotes, BeliefNet, Quotes and Thoughts, Guideposts

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