Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Wilson: forgive

Wednesday, November 30, 2022
    Feast of Andrew the Apostle
Meditation:
    Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
    —Romans 12:14 (NIV)
Quotation:
    [On his experiences during internment by the Japanese during WWII] When I muttered “Forgive them,” I wondered how far I was being dramatic, and if I really meant it; because I looked at their faces as they stood round, taking it in turn to flog me, and their faces were hard and cruel, and some of them were evidently enjoying their cruelty. But, by the Grace of God, I saw those men not as they were, but as they had been. Once they were little children playing with their brothers and sisters—happy in their parents’ love, in those far-off days before they had been conditioned by their false nationalist ideals, and it is hard to hate little children. So I saw them not as they were, but as they were capable of becoming, redeemed by the power of Christ, and I knew that I should say “Forgive.”
    ... Leonard Wilson (1897-1970), from a broadcast address, 1946, in A Treasury of the Kingdom: an anthology, Emmeline Alethea Blackburn, ed., Oxford University Press, 1954 (see the book)
    See also Rom.12:14; Matt. 5:7; 6:14-15; 18:21-22; Mark 11:25; Luke 6:27-28; 23:34; Phlmn. 1:18; 1 Pet. 3:9
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, grant me a heart to forgive my enemies.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Baxter: an unsanctified preacher

Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Meditation:
    Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
    —James 3:1 (NIV)
Quotation:
    It is a fearful case to be an unsanctified professor, but much more to be an unsanctified preacher. Doth it not make you tremble when you open the Bible, lest you should read there the sentence of your own condemnation? When you pen your sermons, little do you think that you are drawing up indictments against your own souls! ... Oh what an aggravated misery is this, to perish in the midst of plenty, and to famish with the bread of life in our hands, while we offer it to others, and urge it on them!
    ... Richard Baxter (1615-1691), The Reformed Pastor [1655], in The Practical Works of Richard Baxter, v. IV, G. Virtue, 1838, p. 423 (see the book)
    See also Jas. 3:1; Ps. 32:1-2; Matt. 25:45; John 3:18-19; 6:35,48-51; Rom. 5:1-2; 8:1-2
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, rescue those trapped in error.
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Monday, November 28, 2022

Law: each has its purpose

Monday, November 28, 2022
Meditation:
Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD;
    may your love and your truth always protect me.
For troubles without number surround me;
    my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
    and my heart fails within me.
Be pleased, O LORD, to save me;
    O LORD, come quickly to help me.
    —Psalm 40:11-13 (NIV)
Quotation:
    If religion calleth us to a life of watching and prayer, it is because we live amongst a crowd of enemies, and are always in need of the assistance of God. If we are to confess and bewail our sins, it is because such confessions relieve the mind, and restore it to ease; as burdens and weights taken off the shoulders, relieve the body, and make it easier to itself. If we are to be frequent and fervent in holy petitions, it is to keep us steady in the sight of our true good, and that we may never want the happiness of a lively faith, a joyful hope, and well-grounded trust in God. If we are to pray often, it is that we may be often happy in such secret joys as only prayer can give; in such communications of the Divine Presence, as will fill our minds with all the happiness, that beings not in Heaven are capable of.
    ... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life [1728], London: Methuen, 1899, p. 180 (see the book)
    See also Ps. 40:11-13; 32:5; 51:7; Luke 11:5-8; Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:2; Heb. 5:7; Jas. 5:16; 1 John 1:9; 2 John 1:8; Rev. 3:11; 16:15
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, be my first recourse.
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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Steen: lacks that one thing

Sunday, November 27, 2022
    Advent I
Meditation:
    All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.
    —Acts 4:32-33 (NIV)
Quotation:
    The church had magnificent buildings, superb equipment, trained leadership, excellent teaching materials, organizational ability, and yet lacked that one thing that could take all these tools and make them the channel of God’s will. In spite of its ever-increasing membership, the church lacks the spirit of God’s growing love and understanding that can transform it from an efficient organization into a loving, dynamic fellowship where men and women become vitally alive with faith, love, and hope.
    ... Thomas M. Steen, “Renewal in the Church”, in Spiritual Renewal through Personal Groups, John L. Casteel, ed., NY: Association Press, 1957, p. 30 (see the book)
    See also Acts 4:32-35; Isa. 9:6-7; John 13:34-35; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; Gal. 6:2; Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:24; 1 John 2:10; 2 John 1:5
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, give grace and strengthen Your church.
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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Watts: Had I the tongues of Greeks and Jews

Saturday, November 26, 2022
    Commemoration of Isaac Watts, Hymnwriter, 1748
Meditation:
    If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
    —1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV)
Quotation:
Had I the tongues of Greeks and Jews,
And nobler speech than angels use;
If love be absent, I am found,
Like tinkling brass, an empty sound.

Were I inspir’d to preach, and tell
All that is done in heaven and hell;
Or could my faith the world remove,
Still—I am nothing without love.

Should I distribute all my store,
To feed the hung’ry, clothe the poor;
Or give my body to the flame,
To gain a martyr’s glorious name;—

If love to God, and love to men,
Be absent—all my hopes are vain:
Nor tongues, nor gifts, nor fiery zeal,
The works of love can e’er fulfil.
    ... Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, ed. Samuel Melanchthon Worcester, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1834, n. 134, p. 360 (see the book)
    See also 1 Cor. 13:1-3; Gal. 5:6; 1 Pet. 4:8; 2 Pet. 2:18; 1 John 4:8
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, take away my excuses for failing in love.

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Friday, November 25, 2022

Calvin: the word from God

Friday, November 25, 2022
    Commemoration of Katherine of Alexandria, Martyr, 4th century
Meditation:
Your statutes stand firm;
    holiness adorns your house
    for endless days, O LORD.
    —Psalm 93:5 (NIV)
Quotation:
    As to the question, How shall we be persuaded that it came from God without recurring to a decree of the Church? it is just the same as if it were asked, How shall we learn to distinguish light from darkness, white from black, sweet from bitter? Scripture bears upon the face of it as clear evidence of its truth, as white and black do of their colour, sweet and bitter of their taste.
    ... 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, I.vii.2, p. 76-77 (see the book)
    See also Ps. 93:5; John 1:4-5; Rom. 8:16; Eph. 2:19-20
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, Your Spirit testifies to the truth.
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Thursday, November 24, 2022

Smith: discouragement

Thursday, November 24, 2022
    Thanksgiving (U.S.)
Meditation:
Better the little that the righteous have
    than the wealth of many wicked;
for the power of the wicked will be broken,
    but the LORD upholds the righteous.
    —Psalm 37:16-17 (NIV)
Quotation:
    [The enemy] comes and whispers suggestions of evil to us,—doubts, blasphemies, jealousies, envyings, and pride,—and then turns round and says, “Oh, how wicked you must be to think of such things! It is very plain that you are not trusting the Lord; for if you were, it would have been impossible for these things to have entered your heart.” This reasoning sounds so very plausible that the soul often accepts it as true, and at once comes under condemnation, and is filled with discouragement. Then it is easy for Satan to lead it on into actual sin. One of the most fatal things in the life of faith is discouragement. One of the most helpful is cheerfulness.
    ... Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911), Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, London: F. E. Longley, 1876, p. 136 (see the book)
    See also Ps. 37:16-17; 31:22; Jer. 18:11-12; 1 Cor. 10:13; Eph. 4:26-27; 1 Tim. 6:6-8; Heb. 12:11-13; 1 John 4:4
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, keep me from temptation.
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