Monday, July 24, 2017

Thomas a Kempis: loving the unlovely

Monday, July 24, 2017
    Commemoration of Thomas à Kempis, priest, spiritual writer, 1471
Meditation:
    [Jesus:] “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?”
    —Matthew 5:46-47 (NIV)
Quotation:
    It is no great matter to associate with the good and gentle; for this is a naturally pleasing to all, and everyone willingly enjoyeth peace, and loveth those best that agree with him. But to be able to live peaceably with hard and perverse persons, or with the disorderly, or with such as go contrary to us, is a great grace, and a most commendable thing.
    ... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, II.iii.2, p. 88 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 5:43-48; Luke 6:32-35; Rom. 12:18; 1 Pet. 2:20-23
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, grant me patience and perseverance towards those whom I would rather avoid.
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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Woods: in alien society

Sunday, July 23, 2017
    Commemoration of Bridget of Sweden, Abbess of Vadstena, 1373
Meditation:
“Hear my prayer, O LORD,
    listen to my cry for help;
    be not deaf to my weeping.
For I dwell with you as an alien,
    a stranger, as all my fathers were.”
    —Psalm 39:12 (NIV)
Quotation:
    The Church is an organism that grows best in an alien society.
    ... C. Stacey Woods
    See also Ps. 39:12; Acts 1:8; 8:1,5-8,40; 11:20-21; 15:7-8
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, spread Your church in my neighborhood.
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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Houston: focused on God

Saturday, July 22, 2017
    Feast of Mary Magdalen, Apostle to the Apostles
Meditation:
LORD, I have heard of your fame;
    I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD.
Renew them in our day,
    in our time make them known;
    in wrath remember mercy.
    —Habakkuk 3:2 (NIV)
Quotation:
    When our lives are focused on God, awe and wonder lead us to worship Him, filling our inner being with a fullness we would never have thought possible...
    Awe prepares the way in us for the power of God... to transform us and this transformation of our inner attitudes can only take place when awe leads us in turn to wonder, admiration, reverence, surrender, and obedience toward God.
    ... James Houston (b. 1922), The Transforming Power of Prayer, Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress, 1996, p. 221-222 (see the book)
    See also Hab. 3:2; Isa. 45:23; Ps. 119:120; Eccl. 5:7; Acts 2:43; Eph. 1:18-19; 3:14-19; Heb. 12:28-29
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, prostrate my heart before You.
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Friday, July 21, 2017

Kierkegaard: good gifts

Friday, July 21, 2017
Meditation:
    Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
    —James 1:17 (NIV)
Quotation:
    So let thyself be found also in this hour; thou who art the father of all, let thyself be found with a good gift to everyone who needs it, that the happy may find courage to accept thy good gifts, that the sorrowful may find courage to accept thy perfect gifts. For to men there is a difference of joy and of sorrow, but for thee, O Lord, there is no difference in these things; everything that comes from thee is a good and perfect gift.
    ... Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Journals, ed. Alexander Dru, Oxford University Press, 1959, p. 173 (see the book)
    See also Jas. 1:17; Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, I receive Your grace and Your gifts daily.
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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Gossip: Christlikeness

Thursday, July 20, 2017
    Commemoration of Bartolomè de las Casas, Apostle to the Indies, 1566
Meditation:
    But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
    —Ephesians 4:20-24 (ESV)
Quotation:
    If Christ and His work and His sacrifice do not result in Christlikeness in you and me, then for us it is quite valueless, and has entirely failed; and, insofar as you and I are concerned, Christ was thrown away in vain. How, then, is it with you and me? Be very sure that upon Calvary it was no strange, immoral favouritism that came into operation, whereby because of some beliefs that remain mere dead letters, that produce no change whatever in their characters, some people living the same kind of life as others and following the same selfish ends and interests as they, are given a destiny entirely different. That is the vainest of vain dreams. Rather is this the supreme revelation of a new way of living life; and only those who, blunderingly, it may be, yet honestly, seek to adopt and imitate it can be counted really Christian folk.
    ... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), The Galilean Accent, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926, p. 171 (see the book)
    See also Eph. 4:20-24; John 12:24; 1 Cor. 5:6-8; 2 Cor. 3:6; 5:17
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, grant me a life that imitates Yours.
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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Bonhoeffer: becoming a Christian

Wednesday, July 19, 2017
    Feast of Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, & his sister Macrina, Teachers, c.394 & c.379
Meditation:
    [Jesus:] “Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
    —Matthew 26:46 (ESV)
Quotation:
    When a man really gives up trying to make something out of himself—a saint, or a converted sinner, or a churchman, a righteous or unrighteous man, ... when in the fullness of tasks, questions, success or ill-hap, experiences and perplexities, a man throws himself into the arms of God... then he wakes with Christ in Gethsemane. That is faith, and it is thus that he becomes a man and Christian.
    ... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), The Cost of Discipleship, Simon and Schuster, 1959, p. 24-25 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 26:46; Deut. 33:27; Ps. 18:2; 27:1; 56:4,11; 118:6; Heb. 13:6; Jude 1:24
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, I am merely walking and breathing dust. Make of me what You intend, not what I wish.
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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Ambrose: Jesus, the way

Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Meditation:
    Therefore [Jesus] is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
    —Hebrews 7:25 (NIV)
Quotation:
    [Jesus] is our mouth, through which we speak to the Father; He is our eye, through which we see the Father; He is our right hand through which we offer ourselves to the Father. Unless He intercedes, there is no intercourse with God.
    ... St. Ambrose of Milan (Aurelius Ambrosius) (339-397), from Lib. de Issac et Anima, quoted in The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I [1559], John Calvin & tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, III.xx.21, p. 879 (see the book)
    See also Heb. 7:25; John 10:30; 17:20-24; Rom. 8:26-27; Heb. 2:17,18; 4:15; 9:24
Quiet time reflection:
    Bless You, Lord, for revealing the Father to us.
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