Monday, June 18, 2018

Green: qualification vs. training

Monday, June 18, 2018
Meditation:
    Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect... He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
    —1 Timothy 3:1-4,6-7 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Because the role of the Christian leader is to preach, teach, act as a shepherd, [and] be an example in personal and family life, the New Testament properly insists that he must not be a new convert nor a young man. He must have proved himself [and] demonstrated his God-given charisma for leadership, before he looks to the Church for recognition of it through ordination. Here once again we stand in marked contrast to the New Testament... The early Christians laid great stress on quality of life. A leader must merit respect, with his sexual, drinking [and] financial habits beyond reproach, a man of experience, a family man, someone who has led others to the faith and built Christians up in it. We go, on the whole, for untried men whose degree matters more than their lives, and who may never have led anyone to belief in Christ, or may even regard the whole idea as distasteful.
    ... Michael Green (b. 1930), “Mission and Ministry”, E. M. B. Green, in The People of God, Ian Cundy, ed., vol. 2 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 72-73 (see the book)
    See also 1 Tim. 3:1-4,6-7; Amos 2:11; 7:14-15; Tit. 1:6-9; 1 Pet. 5:5
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, we trust You to raise up the leadership for Your church.
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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Wilson: humility

Sunday, June 17, 2018
    Commemoration of Samuel & Henrietta Barnett, Social Reformers, 1913 & 1936
Meditation:
    [Jesus:] “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.”
    —Matthew 23:8-10 (NIV)
Quotation:
    The more God raises and exalts good men, the more they abase and humble themselves. They remember with sorrow what they are of themselves, and what they are capable of becoming.
    ... Thomas Wilson (1663-1755), Maxims of Piety and of Christianity, London: Macmillan, 1898, p. 70 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 23:8-10; 2 Chr. 7:13-14; Isa. 35:10; Prov. 16:18-19; Mic. 6:8; Matt. 11:29; 18:3-4; John 13:12-15; 2 Cor. 7:10-11; Eph. 4:1-3; Jas. 4:6-7; 1 Pet. 5:5
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, banish all pride from me.
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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Guinness: the third way

Saturday, June 16, 2018
    Feast of Richard of Chichester, Bishop, 1253
    Commemoration of Joseph Butler, Bishop of Durham, Moral Philosopher, 1752
Meditation:
    But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.
    —2 Corinthians 2:14-17 (NIV)
Quotation:
    The Christian should be a conscience in his group. His presence must never be used to provide a Christian justification for evil. To stand as a co-belligerent and not an ally will be to rally the middle ground for a genuine Third Way without mediocre compromise.
    The Third Way will not be easy. It will be lonely. Sometimes the Christian must have the courage to stand with the establishment, speaking boldly to the radicals and pointing out the destructive and counter-productive nature of their violence. At other times, he will stand as a co-belligerent with the radicals in their outrage and just demands for redress. The Christian is a co-belligerent with either or both when either or both are right, but... fearless in his opposition to either or both when they are wrong.
    ... Os Guinness (b. 1941), The Dust of Death, Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973, p. 186 (see the book)
    See also 2 Cor. 2:14-17; Rom. 16:17; 1 Cor. 1:10-13; 11:17-18; 1 Tim. 3:9; 1 Pet. 3:15-16
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You are convicting hearts of Your truth.
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Friday, June 15, 2018

Underhill: the price of devotion

Friday, June 15, 2018
    Feast of Evelyn Underhill, Mystical Writer, 1941
Meditation:
    [Jesus:] “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”
    —John 15:15-16 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Anyone can lead a “prayer-life”—that is, the sort of reasonable devotional life to which each is called by God. This only involves making a suitable rule and making up your mind to keep it however boring this may be.
    ... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Letters of Evelyn Underhill, Charles Williams, ed., London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1991, p. 189 (see the book)
    See also John 15:15-16; Matt. 26:40; Luke 18:1; 21:36; Rom. 12:12; Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:17
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, cure my weakness in prayer.
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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Baxter: the incomprehensible God

Thursday, June 14, 2018
    Commemoration of Richard Baxter, Priest, Hymnographer, Teacher, 1691
Meditation:
    Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge or showed him the path of understanding?
    —Isaiah 40:14 (NIV)
Quotation:
    You may know God, but not comprehend him.
    ... Richard Baxter (1615-1691), Of the Knowledge of God, the first treatise of The Divine Life: in three treatises [1664], in The Practical Works of Richard Baxter, v. III, G. Virtue, 1838, ch. 4, p. 770 (see the book)
    See also Job 37:5; Isa. 40:14-15,17; Jer. 31:33-34; Hos. 6:3; John 8:19; 17:3; 2 Cor. 4:6; 1 John 4:6
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You are beyond all understanding.
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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Chesterton: the honest appraisal

Wednesday, June 13, 2018
    Commemoration of Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Apologist and Writer, 1936
Meditation:
    But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?
    —Hebrews 12:22-25 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Very few people in the world would care to listen to the real defence of their own characters. The real defence, the defence which belongs to the Day of Judgment, would make such damaging admissions, would clear away so many artificial virtues, would tell such tragedies of weakness and failure, that a man would sooner be misunderstood and censured by the world than exposed to that awful and merciless eulogy.
    ... Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), Robert Browning, Macmillan, 1908, p. 188 (see the book)
    See also Heb. 12:22-25; Eccl. 12:14; Matt. 11:21-24; 12:34-36; 16:27; Luke 10:13-14; John 12:48; Heb. 2:1-3; 10:28-29; 1 Pet. 4:5; Jude 1:14-15; Rev. 20:12
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, we rest solely upon Your mercy.
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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Fuller: offenses

Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Meditation:
    My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
    —1 John 2:1-2 (NIV)
Quotation:
    It is the best savour in a Christian soul when his sins are loathsome and offensive unto him—a happy token that there hath not been of late in him any insensible supply of heinous offenses, because his stale sins are still his new and daily sorrow.
    ... Thomas Fuller (1608-1661), Good Thoughts in Bad Times [1645], Chicago: United Society of Christian Endeavor, Boston, 1898, Mixt Contemplations, VII. (see the book)
    See also 1 John 2:1-2; 1 Cor. 15:9; Eph. 4:26; Tit. 2:11; 1 Pet. 4:1-3
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, I long to come to You and sin no more.
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