Sunday, April 21, 2019

Sadgrove & Wright: the point to the story

Sunday, April 21, 2019
    Easter
    Feast of Anselm, Abbot of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1109
Meditation:
    [Peter:] “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.”
    —Acts 3:13-15 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Modern attempts to get away from the sheer historical facts of the Resurrection are, at best, based on a total misunderstanding. The whole Bible proclaims the need for, and the achievement of, a salvation that will remake creation (not one that will ignore it or escape from it), and it is just such a salvation, at once supernatural and historical, that was won on Easter Day. If the Resurrection narratives are [merely] a subtle way of convincing us that God still loves us, or that there is a life (albeit, a non-material one) beyond death, they must be reckoned among the oddest and most ill-conceived stories ever written.
    ... Michael Sadgrove (b. 1950) & N. T. Wright (b. 1948), “Jesus Christ the Only Saviour”, in The Lord Christ [1980], John Stott, ed., vol. 1 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 73 (see the book)
    See also Acts 3:13-15; Matt. 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-11; Luke 24:1-11; John 20:11-18
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, I am healed through Your Resurrection.
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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Thomas a Kempis: love to the limit

Saturday, April 20, 2019
    Holy Saturday
Meditation:
    [Jesus:] “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
    —Luke 14:27 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Jesus hath many lovers of His heavenly Kingdom, but few bearers of His Cross. He hath many desirous of consolation, but few of tribulation... Many love Jesus so long as no adversities befall them.
    ... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, II.xi, p. 103 (see the book)
    See also Luke 14:27; Matt. 16:24-26; Mark 8:34-37; Luke 9:23; 2 Tim. 3:12
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You must bear me as I bear my cross.
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Friday, April 19, 2019

Muggeridge: the Cross and the commandments

Friday, April 19, 2019
    Good Friday
    Commemoration of Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1012
Meditation:
    [Jesus:] “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
    —Matthew 22:40 (NIV)
Quotation:
    As out of Jesus’ affliction came a new sense of God’s love and a new basis for love between men, so out of our affliction we may grasp the splendour of God’s love and how to love one another. Thus the consummation of the two commandments was on Golgotha; and the Cross is, at once, their image and their fulfillment.
    ... Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990), Jesus: the Man who Lives, London: Collins, 1975, p. 133 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 22:36-40; Rom. 5:8; 1 Cor. 15:3; Heb. 9:15; 1 Pet. 3:18
Quiet time reflection:
    All desires are fulfilled in You, Lord.
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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Watts: Communion with Christ and with saints

Thursday, April 18, 2019
    Maundy Thursday
Meditation:
    Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
    —1 Corinthians 10:16-17 (NIV)
Quotation:
Jesus invites His saints
    To meet around His board;
Here pardon’d rebels sit and hold
    Communion with their Lord.

For food He give His flesh,
    He bids us drink His blood;
Amazing favor! matchless grace—
    Of our descending God!

This holy bread and wine
    Maintain our fainting breath,
By union with our living Lord
    And interest in His death.

Let all our pow’rs be join’d
    His glorious name to raise;
Pleasure and love fill ev’ry mind,
    And ev’ry voice be praise.
    ... Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Hymns and Spiritual Songs [1707], in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, ed. Samuel Melanchthon Worcester, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1834, book III, hymn 2, p. 475 (see the book)
    See also 1 Cor. 10:16-17; Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-20; Acts 2:46; 1 Cor. 11:23-26
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You have pardoned my rebellion against You.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Phillips: where our treasure is

Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Meditation:
    [Jesus:] “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
    —Matthew 24:30-31 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Now, if our hopes, whatever we protest, really lie in this world instead of in the eternal order, we shall find it difficult to accept the New Testament teaching of the Second Coming. In our eyes the job is not yet done, and such an action would be, though we would not put it so, an interference. But suppose our hope rests in the purpose of God, then we safely leave the timing of the earthly experiment to Him. Meanwhile we do what we were told to do—to be alert and to work and to pray for the spread of His Kingdom.
    ... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), New Testament Christianity, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1956, chapt. v, p. 70 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 24:30-31,36,42-44; Dan. 7:13-14; Matt. 16:27-28; 25:13; 26:64; Mark 13:26,33-37; Luke 12:40; 21:27,36; 2 Thess. 1:6-7
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, keep me focused on Your purposes.
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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

If it be all for naught

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Meditation:
    If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
    —1 Corinthians 15:13,14 (NIV)
Quotation:
If it be all for naught, for nothingness
At last, why does God make the world so fair?
Why spill this golden splendor out across
The western hills, and light the silver lamp
Of eve? Why give me eyes to see, and soul
To love so strong and deep? Then, with a pang
This brightness stabs me through, and wakes within
Rebellious voice to cry against all death?
Why set this hunger for eternity
To gnaw my heartstrings through, if death ends all?
If death ends all, then evil must be good,
Wrong must be right, and beauty ugliness.
God is a Judas who betrays His Son,
And with a kiss, damns all the world to hell,—
If Christ rose not again.
    ... Anonymous, Unknown soldier, killed in World War I, included in Masterpieces of Religious Verse, James Dalton Morrison, ed., New York: Harper & Bros., 1948, p. 205 (see the book)
    See also 1 Cor. 15:13-17; John 11:25-26; Acts 17:31; Rom. 4:24-25; 8:11; 10:9; 1 Thess. 4:14; 1 Pet. 1:3-5
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You vindicate Your creation.
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Monday, April 15, 2019

Cholmondeley: thirty pieces

Monday, April 15, 2019
Meditation:
    Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
    —Matthew 26:14-16 (NIV)
Quotation:
Still as of old
Men by themselves are priced—
For thirty pieces Judas sold
Himself, not Christ.
    ... Hester H. Cholmondeley (19th century), included in Masterpieces of Religious Verse, James Dalton Morrison, ed., New York: Harper & Bros., 1948, p. 302 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 26:14-16; Ps. 54:3-4; Matt. 27:3-5; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:3-6; 1 Tim. 6:9-10
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, extinguish that spirit within me that will sell You out for peer approval.
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