Monday, September 25, 2017

Hanson: the earliest ministry

Monday, September 25, 2017
    Feast of Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, Spiritual Writer, 1626
    Commemoration of Sergius of Radonezh, Russian Monastic Reformer, Teacher, 1392
Meditation:
    If Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am. No one, then, should refuse to accept him. Send him on his way in peace so that he may return to me. I am expecting him along with the brothers.
    —1 Corinthians 16:10-11 (NIV)
Quotation:
    It may seem an anachronism to speak of “the relation of the ordained ministry towards the Church” ... when we are only thinking about Paul and his converts. Was there really an ordained ministry as early as that? We need not argue about whether, or how, Paul was ordained, but he certainly considered that he and his fellow workers had a special pastoral relation to their converts... Paul was primarily a missionary, which in itself establishes a link with the Servant of the Lord. As a missionary, he was not working on his own, but was supported by a group of assistants without whose help he could never have carried on his work. We know the names of many of them... But there were many more whose names we do not know, sometimes referred to as “the brethren” (e.g., 1 Cor. 16:11). This missionary group with Paul as its leader is the New Testament equivalent of the ordained ministry of today, and it is significant for us that Paul describes this group as carrying out in some sense the work of servants in the Church.
    ... Anthony T. Hanson (1916-1991), The Church of the Servant, London: SCM Press, 1962, p. 45-46 (see the book)
    See also 1 Cor. 16:10-11; Acts 15:36; 16:4-5; 2 Cor. 8:23; 3 John 1:5-6
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You alone ordain ministry.
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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Dodd: meeting the Father

Sunday, September 24, 2017
Meditation:
    For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
    —Romans 5:6-8 (KJV)
Quotation:
    [Continued from yesterday]
    What knowledge of Jesus Christ and His teaching lay behind the flash of enlightenment it is now impossible for us to say: but it is clear that the God whom Paul met was the “Father” of Jesus’ own Gospel parables, the Shepherd who goes after the one sheep until He finds it. It was the God, in fact, whom the whole of the life of Jesus set forth, to the astonishment of those among whom He moved. Loving still, He brought God to men in the same unmistakable way. The divine love that through Jesus had found Zacchaeus the publican had now through the risen Jesus found Paul the Pharisee. Henceforward the central facts of life for Paul were that while he was yet a sinner God had found and forgiven him, and that this was the work of Jesus Christ in whose love the love of God had become plain.
    ... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 75 (see the book)
    See also Rom. 5:6-8; Luke 15:4-6; 19:2-9; Rom. 8:35-39; 2 Cor. 5:14-15,18-19; Col. 1:13-15; Eph. 1:4-7; 2:4-10; 3:18-19; 5:1-2
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You came for me, a sinner.
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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Dodd: Paul's change of heart

Saturday, September 23, 2017
Meditation:
    I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
    —Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
Quotation:
    The God of Pharisaism was like the God of the Deists, He stood aloof from the world He had made, and let law take its course. He did not here and now deal with sinful men. Paul lets us see how new and wonderful was the experience when God “flashed on his heart” in personal dealing with him. He had not suspected that God was like that. His theological studies had told him that God was loving and merciful; but he had thought this love and mercy were expressed once and for all in the arrangements He had made for Israel’s blessedness... It was a new thing to be assured by an inward experience admitting of no further question that God loved him, and that the eternal mercy was a Father’s free forgiveness of His erring child. This was the experience that Christ had brought him: he had seen the splendour of God’s own love in the face of “the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” [Continued tomorrow]
    ... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 74-75 (see the book)
    See also Gal. 2:19-20; Rom. 5:6-8; 8:1-2,35-39; II Cor. 4:6; 5:14-15, 18-19; Eph. 1:4-7; 2:4-10; 3:18-19; 5:1-2; Col. 1:13-15
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You are with me.
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Friday, September 22, 2017

Hastings: everyone ought to pray

Friday, September 22, 2017
Meditation:
    Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
   & nbsp;—Luke 18:1-8 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Although prayer has been defined as communion with God, aspiration after the highest things, Stopford Brooke [Irish clergyman, 1832-1916] is right when he insists that prayer, in its plainest meaning, is a petition addressed to God... When Jesus laid the duty of petition upon his disciples, He went on to assert the reasonableness of a man asking and of God answering... Jesus argues along the line of reason that, if an earthly parent ... does the best in his power for his children, will not the Almighty and All-Wise Love, of which human love is only the shadow, do better still for His great family? And therefore our Master teaches that men ought everywhere to pray without fear and without doubt.
    ... James Hastings (1852-1922), The Christian Doctrine of Prayer, Edinbugh: T. & T. Clark, 1915, p. 38 (see the book)
    See also Luke 18:1-8; Matt. 7:7-11; Luke 11:9-13; Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:17; 1 Tim. 2:8; Jude 1:20
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, may You find faith here, within Your people.
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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Brierly: the Kingdom

Thursday, September 21, 2017
    Feast of Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist
Meditation:
    Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
    —John 18:36 (KJV)
Quotation:
    [Jesus’] life and utterance were the proclamation of this new order of things, of this new force by which man was to be ruled. When, unarmed and defenseless, He said to the Roman power, “My Kingdom is not of this world,” He spoke the word of inauguration. Over the kingdom of the elemental forces, over the kingdom of the animal, over the kingdom of the intellect, He beheld rising, with Himself as prophet and embodiment, that kingdom of the spiritual whose forces should be those of purity and sacrifice, love and trust, obedience and service. It is the last of the kingdoms because it is the highest; it will be the most enduring for there is nothing that can take its place.
    ... J. Brierley (1843-1914), The Life of the Soul, London: James Clarke & Company, 1912, p. 16 (see the book)
    See also John 18:36; Isa. 9:6-7; Dan. 2:44; 7:13-14; Zech. 9:9; Luke 1:30-33; Rom. 14:17
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, Your never-ending kingdom is in Your people.
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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

de Sales: bearing our crosses

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
    Feast of John Coleridge Patteson, First Bishop of Melanesia, & his Companions, Martyrs, 1871
Meditation:
    [Jesus:] “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”
    —Matthew 5:11 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Do not desire crosses, unless you have borne those already laid upon you well—it is an abuse to long after martyrdom while unable to bear an insult patiently.
    ... François de Sales (1567-1622), Introduction to the Devout Life [1609], London: Rivingtons, 1876, III.xxxvii, p. 269 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 5:11; 10:38; 16:24; 27:39; Mark 8:34; 10:21; Luke 9:23-24; 14:27; 1 Pet. 2:23
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, remind me not to shirk today’s duty for tomorrow’s grand plan.
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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Brooks: laboring in prayer

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
    Commemoration of Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690
Meditation:
    ... and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
    —Isaiah 35:10 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks! Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle. But you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself, at the richness of life which has come in you by the grace of God.
    ... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Twenty Sermons, New York: E.P. Dutton, 1887, p. 330 (see the book)
    See also Isa. 35:10; Isa. 40:31; Acts 20:24; Rom. 8:15; 2 Tim. 1:7-9
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, each day with You is richer than the one before.
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