Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Lewis: the price of mercy

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
    Feast of Bartholomew the Apostle
Meditation:
    [Jesus:] “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
    —Matthew 6:14-15 (KJV)
Quotation:
    To excuse what can really produce good excuses is not Christian charity; it is only fairness. To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life—to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son—how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it means to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says.
    ... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), “On Forgiveness” [1949], in Fern-seed and Elephants, Walter Hooper, Fontana, 1975, p. 43 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 6:12,14-15; 18:21-35; Hos. 6:6; Mark 5:25,26; Luke 6:37; 11:4; 17:3-4
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, expose my hard-heartedness, that I may learn anew the privilege of forgiveness.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Phillips: the irrefutable evidence

Tuesday, August 23, 2016
    Commemoration of Rose of Lima, Contemplative, 1617
Meditation:
    For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
    —2 Peter 1:16 (ESV)
Quotation:
    I have heard professing Christians of our own day speak as though the historicity of the Gospels does not matter—all that matters is the contemporary Spirit of Christ. I contend that the historicity does matter, and I do not see why we, who live nearly two thousand years later, should call into question an Event for which there were many eye-witnesses still living at the time when most of the New Testament was written. It was no “cunningly devised fable” but an historic irruption of God into human history which gave birth to a young church so sturdy that the pagan world could not stifle or destroy it.
    ... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Ring of Truth, London: Hodder & Stoughton; New York: The Macmillan Company, 1967, p. 40-41 (see the book)
    See also 2 Pet. 1:16; 1 Cor. 15:2,14,17; Eph. 4:14; 1 Tim. 4:1,7; 1 Pet. 1:21; 2 Pet. 3:3-4
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, help my unbelief!
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Monday, August 22, 2016

Law: the minimum Christian life

Monday, August 22, 2016
Meditation:
    Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.
    —1 Peter 4:1-2 (ESV)
Quotation:
    If our common life is not a common course of humility, self-denial, renunciation of the world, poverty of spirit, and heavenly affection, we don’t live the lives of Christians.
    ... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life [1728], London: Methuen, 1899, p. 10-11 (see the book)
    See also 1 Pet. 4:1-2; Rom. 15:5-6; 1 Cor. 11:1; 14:1; Gal. 5:22-23; 1 John 2:15
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, my life does not live up to Your word. Forgive me, I pray, and grant me new grace and strength to amend my life.
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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Fox: proper offerings

Sunday, August 21, 2016
Meditation:
    Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
    —Matthew 6:1-4 (ESV)
Quotation:
    Take care that all your offerings be free, and of your own, that has cost you something; so that ye may not offer of that which is another man’s, or that which ye are entrusted withal, and not your own.
    ... George Fox (1624-1691), Journal, v. II, Philadelphia: B. & T. Kite, 1808, p. 323 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 6:1-4; 8:4; 9:30; Mark 1:44; Eph. 4:28; 1 Tim. 6:18; Heb. 13:16; 1 John 3:17-19
Quiet time reflection:
    Father, grant me a generous spirit.
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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Bernard of Clairvaux: love

Saturday, August 20, 2016
    Feast of Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, Teacher, 1153
    Commemoration of William & Catherine Booth, Founders of the Salvation Army, 1912 & 1890
Meditation:
    Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
    —1 John 5:1-3 (ESV)
Quotation:
    Honor and glory are indeed due to God and to Him alone, but He will accept neither of them if they be not preserved in the honey of love. Love is sufficient of itself; it pleases by itself and on its own account. It is itself merit and is itself its own reward. Love seeks no cause beyond itself and no fruit. It is its own fruit, its own enjoyment. I love because I love; I love that I may love. Love is a great thing provided it recurs to its beginning, returns to its origin, and draws always from that fountain which is perpetually in flood. Of all the feelings and affections of the soul, love is the only one by which the creature, though not on equal terms, is able to respond to the Creator and to repay what it has received from Him... For when God loves us He desires nothing but to be loved. He loves for no other reason, indeed, than that He may be loved, knowing that by their love itself those who love Him are blessed.
    ... Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Cantica Canticorum (Sermons of the Song of Songs), in Bernard of Clairvaux: selected works, Gillian Rosemary Evans, tr., Paulist Press, 1987, 83:4, p. 272-273 (see the book)
    See also 1 John 5:1-3; Mark 12:32-34; Rom. 5:5; 8:28; Rev. 4:11
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, quicken love within me, that I may love You above everything.
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Friday, August 19, 2016

Peabody: the decisive factor

Friday, August 19, 2016
Meditation:
    Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
    —Matthew 7:21 (ESV)
Quotation:
    However important it may be to have a creed that is sound or an emotion that is warm, the Christian life, according to the Gospels, is primarily determined by the direction of the will, the fixing of the desire, the habit of obedience, the faculty of decision. Are you determined in your purpose? Have you the will to do the will? Then, even with half a creed and less than half a pious ecstasy, you are at least in the line of the purpose of Jesus Christ, and as you will to do the will, may come some day to know the teaching.
    ... F. G. Peabody, Mornings in the College Chapel, Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1907, p. 201-202 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 7:21; Isa. 30:20-21; Jer. 31:33-34; Matt. 11:26-27; Mark 4:23; John 10:27; 2 Cor. 3:18; Rev. 11:17
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, press me towards obedience, that I may learn Your will.
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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Selden: giving to God

Thursday, August 18, 2016
Meditation:
The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice;
    let the many coastlands be glad!
Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
    righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
    and burns up his adversaries all around.
His lightnings light up the world;
    the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
    before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
    and all the peoples see his glory.
    —Psalm 97:1-6 (ESV)
Quotation:
    All things are God’s already; we can give him no right, by consecrating any that he had not before, only we set it apart to his service: just as a gardener brings his master a basket of apricots, and presents them; his lord thanks him, and perhaps gives him something for his pains, and yet the apricots were as much his lord’s before as now.
    ... John Selden (1584-1654), Table-Talk [1689], Whitefriars: Davidson, 1821, p. 45 (see the book)
    See also Ps. 97:1-6; 93:1; 96:10-11; 99:1; Obad. 1:21; Matt. 6:10; Luke 17:7-10; Rev. 11:17
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You own everything. All my possessions are at Your disposal for the Gospel.
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