Monday, May 27, 2024

Davidman: the political use of religion

Tuesday, May 28, 2024
    Commemoration of Lanfranc, Prior of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1089
Meditation:
    So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”
    —Acts 10:34-35 (ESV)
Quotation:
    There have always been two kinds of Christianity—man’s and Christ’s. Does anyone today remember how the emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion? It is said that he had a vision—saw a cross in the sky with the inscription, “In this sign shalt thou conquer.” He accepted the new faith promptly, because he thought it would defeat his enemies for him. That is man’s Christianity, a means to earthly triumph. And in our present crisis [1955] we are appealing to it to defeat the Russians for us. We hear of the life-and-death struggle between Christianity and Communism, the necessity of saving the world once for all, the religious duty of “keeping God alive as a social force”—as if our Lord could not survive a Soviet victory!
    It is a poor sort of faith that imagines Christ defeated by anything men can do.
    ... Joy Davidman (1915-1960), Smoke on the Mountain, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1955, reprint, Westminster John Knox Press, 1985, p. 135 (see the book)
    See also Acts 10:34-35; Gen. 18;14; Ps. 2:6-9; 110:1-3; Isa. 9:6-7; Jer. 32:17; Dan. 7:14; Matt. 11:27; 28:18; Luke 1:32-33; John 13:3; 1 Cor. 15:27; Eph. 1:20-22; Phil. 2:9-11
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You call people from every tribe and nation to praise Your Name.
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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Calvin: predestination

Monday, May 27, 2024
    Commemoration of John Calvin, renewer of the Church, 1564
Meditation:
    So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
    —Romans 11:5-6 (NIV)
Quotation:
    When they inquire into predestination, they are penetrating the sacred precincts of divine wisdom. If anyone with carefree assurance breaks into this place, he will not succeed in satisfying his curiosity and he will enter a labyrinth from which he can find no exit. For it is not right for man unrestrainedly to search out things that the Lord has willed to be hidden in Himself; nor is it right for him to investigate from eternity that sublime wisdom, which God would have us revere but not understand, in order that through this also He should fill us with wonder. He has set forth by His Word the secrets of His will that He has decided to reveal to us. These He decided to reveal in so far as He foresaw that they would concern and benefit us.
    ... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I [1559], tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, III.xxi.1, p. 142 (see the book)
    See also Rom. 11:2-6; Ex. 33:19; Matt. 6:8; 22:14; Acts 2:23; Rom. 8:29-30; 9:15-18; 1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 1:4-5; 1 Pet. 2:9-10
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, with Your mysteries, Your church is content.
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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Gossip: no time for Christ

Sunday, May 26, 2024
    Trinity Sunday
    Feast of Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, 605
    Commemoration of Arthur John Gossip, Spiritual Writer, 1954
Meditation:
    [Jesus:] “The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.”
    Luke 8:14 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Even those of us who are inside it will agree that, in the main, the Church, and all for which it stands, occupy a palpably smaller place in the life of the average member than it did in former days. We explain it on the ground that life has become fuller, and that, of necessity, our attention nowadays has to percolate over a wide area instead of rushing foam-flecked down a narrower channel—which is to say, in other words, that Christ is getting lost to us in the crush and throng of things, does not loom up as arresting, as unique, as all-important, as He did to our forefathers. Yet that, when you come to think of it, is no bad definition of unspirituality.
    ... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), The Galilean Accent, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926, p. 61-62 (see the book)
    See also Luke 8:14; Matt. 6:24-25; 13:22; Mark 4:18-19; 8:27-29; Luke 16:13; 18:24-25; 21:34; Rom. 7:18; 1 Tim. 6:9-10; 1 John 2:15-17; Jas. 3:13-15; Jude 1:12
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, reform my priorities, so that I place Christ first.
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Friday, May 24, 2024

Lewis: knowledge of good and evil

Saturday, May 25, 2024
    Feast of the Venerable Bede, Priest, Monk of Jarrow, Historian, 735
    Commemoration of Aldhelm, Abbot of Mamsbury, Bishop of Sherborne, 709
Meditation:
    For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
    —Philippians 3:18-19 (NIV)
Quotation:
    When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right. This is common sense, really... Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either.
    ... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Mere Christianity, New York: MacMillan, 1952, reprint, HarperCollins, 2001, p. 93 (see the book)
    See also Phil. 3:18-19; Gen. 3:22; Matt. 15:18-20; Mark 7:21-23; Rom. 14:23; 1 Thess. 5:22; Tit. 1:15-16; 2 Tim. 3:1-5
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, make me to know my sin.
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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Wesley: stewards

Friday, May 24, 2024
    Feast of John and Charles Wesley, Priests, Poets, Teachers, 1791 & 1788
Meditation:
    Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
    —Luke 14:12-14 (NIV)
Quotation:
    We are not at liberty to use what he has lodged in our hands as we please, but as he pleases, who alone is the possessor of heaven and earth, and the Lord of every creature. We have no right to dispose of any thing we have but according to his will, seeing we are not proprietors of any of these things.
    ... John Wesley (1703-1791), The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, v. I, New York: J. Emory and B. Waugh, 1831, p. 449 (see the book)
    See also Luke 14:12-14; Deut. 15:7-14; Ps. 37:21; 112:5; Pr. 19:17; Matt. 5:42; 22:16-21; 25:35-40; Luke 6:30; 8:1-3; Rom. 13:7; 2 Cor. 9:6-7; 1 Tim. 6:17-19; 1 Pet. 4:10
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, all things You have given me are Yours.
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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

St. Isaac: the purpose of illness

Thursday, May 23, 2024
    Commemoration of Petroc, Abbot of Padstow, 6th century
Meditation:
    For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
    —2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV)
Quotation:
    When you are ill say: “Blessed are those who have found the purpose set by God in these things which He inflicts for our profit.” God brings illness for the health of the soul.
    ... St. Isaac of Syria (d. c. 700), fifth discourse, On Ascetical Life, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1989, p. 88 (see the book)
    See also 2 Cor. 4:17; Ps. 119:67,71; Matt. 5:4; John 9:2-3; Rom. 5:3-5; 8:18; Jas. 5:15; 1 Pet. 1:6; 5:10
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, increase my faith in Your mercy.
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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Price: lifting Christ up

Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Meditation:
    [Jesus:] “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
    —John 6:44 (NIV)
Quotation:
    I want to emphasize for the sake of clarity, and for Jesus’ sake, that there is no one set way of leading a man, woman or child to Christ. Our part is merely to “lift Him up” and let Him do His own work.
    ... Eugenia Price (1916-1996), Discoveries: Made from Living My New Life, Zondervan, 1979, p. 118 (see the book)
    See also John 6:44; Ps. 19:7; Matt. 28:19-20; John 15:26; Acts 2:47; 11:20-21; 13:48; 20:27; 21:19; Rom. 15:18-19; 1 Cor. 12:11; Col. 1:25-28; 2 Tim. 2:24-26
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, Your people lift up Your Name before the world.
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