Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wright: alive in Zion

March 21, 2009

    For the LORD has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling: "This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it—"
    -- Psalm 132:13,14 (NIV)

    We [must not] underestimate the enormity of the claim [made by the Jews]. Again and again in the Pentateuch, the psalms, the prophets, and the subsequent writings which derive from them, the claim is made that the creator of the entire universe has chosen to live uniquely on a small ridge called Mount Zion, near the eastern edge of the Judean hill-country. The sheer absurdity of this claim, from the standpoint of any other worldview (not least that of Enlightenment philosophy), is staggering. The fact that Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Egypt again, Syria and now Rome had made explicit mockery of the idea did not shake this conviction, but only intensified it. This was what Jewish monotheism looked like on the ground.
    ... N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, London: SPCK, 1992, p. 247. (see the book)

Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, Your gospel scandalizes the nations.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Barclay: worship in work

March 20, 2009
    Feast of Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 687

    Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."
    -- Revelation 4:8 (NIV)

    The humblest and the most unseen activity in the world can be the true worship of God. Work and worship literally become one. Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him for ever; and man carries out that function when he does what God sent him into the world to do. Work well done rises like a hymn of praise to God. This means that the doctor on his rounds, the scientist in his laboratory, the teacher in his classroom, the musician at his music, the artist at his canvas, the shop assistant at his counter, the typist at her typewriter, the housewife in her kitchen—all who are doing the work of the world, as it should be done, are joining in a great act of worship.
    ... William Barclay (1907-1978), The Revelation of John, Philadelphia, Westminster Press, 1960, vol. 1, pp. 201-202. (see the book)

Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, may I worship you in every act.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

St. Alcuin: O Lord our God

March 19, 2009
    Feast of Joseph of Nazareth

    Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: "'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?
    -- Matthew 21:42 (NIV)

    O Lord our God,
        Who has called us to serve You,
    In the midst of the world's affairs,
        When we stumble, hold us;
    When we fall, lift us up;
        When we are hard pressed with evil, deliver us;
    When we turn from what is good, turn us back;
        And bring us at last to Your glory.
    ... St. Alcuin (c. 735-804)

Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You are delivering us from evil.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Denney: evidence of atonement

March 18, 2009

    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
    -- 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

    The demand that the Atonement shall be exhibited in vital relation to a new life in which sin is overcome... is entirely legitimate, and it touches a weak point in the traditional Protestant doctrine. Dr. (Thomas) Chalmers tells us that he was brought up—such was the effect of the current orthodoxy upon him—in a certain distrust of good works. Some were certainly wanted, but not as being themselves salvation, only, as he puts it, as tokens of justification. It was a distinct stage in his religious progress when he realized that true justification sanctifies, and that the soul can and ought to abandon itself spontaneously and joyfully to do the good that it delights in. The modern mind assumes what Dr. Chalmers painfully discovered. An atonement that does not regenerate, it truly holds, is not an atonement in which men can be asked to believe
    ... James Denney (1856-1917), The Atonement and the Modern Mind, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1903, pp. 62-63 (see the book)

Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, Your atonement has created Your people.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pinnock: necessity

March 17, 2009
    Feast of Patrick, Bishop of Armagh, Missionary, Patron of Ireland, c.460

    Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
    -- Psalm 139:7,8 (KJV)

    For the Scriptures then, the existence of God is both a historical truth (God acted into history), and an existential truth (God reveals himself to every soul). His existence is both objectively and subjectively evident. It is necessary logically because our assumption of order, design, and rationality rests upon it. It is necessary morally because there is no explanation for the shape of morality apart from it. It is necessary emotionally because the human experience requires an immediate and ultimate environment. It is necessary personally because the exhaustion of all material possibilities still cannot give satisfaction to the heart. The deepest proof for God's existence, apart from history, is just life itself. God has created man in his image, and men cannot elude the implications of this fact. Everywhere their identity pursues them. Ultimately, there is no escape.
    ... Clark H. Pinnock (b.1937), Set Forth Your Case, Chicago, Moody Press, 1971, p. 111. (see the book)

Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, I have not pursued You, but You pursued me.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Dodd: law

March 16, 2009

    (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)
    -- Romans 2:14,15 (NIV)

    We have observed that in at least two cases the sayings of our Lord imply an appeal behind the Law of Moses to the order of creation. While, therefore, the Law of Moses is from one aspect the first stage of revelation, leading up to the Law of Christ, in another aspect it is a temporary expedient on the way from the Law of Nature to the Law of Christ, serving certain limited purposes, which fulfilled, it may be set aside, leaving mankind in Christ confronted by the original law of his creation.
    ... C. H. Dodd (1884-1973), New Testament Studies, Manchester University Press [1953], p. 141 (see the book)

Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You have written Your law on my heart.

    See the Christian Quotation of the Day and the Quotations Bible Study

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Law: our own perfection?

March 15, 2009

    Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.
    -- Romans 10:3 (NIV)

    We are looking for our own virtue, our own piety, our own goodness, and so live on and on in our own poverty and weakness; today pleased and comforted with the seeming strength and firmness of our own pious tempers, and fancying ourselves to be somewhat; tomorrow, fallen into our own mire, we are dejected, but not humbled; we grieve, but it is only the grief of pride, at the seeing our perfection not to be such as we vainly imagined. And thus it will be, till the whole turn of our minds be so changed, that we as fully see and know our inability to have any goodness of our own, as to have a life of our own.
    ... William Law (1686-1761), The Spirit of Prayer [1750], 2.3-41 (see the book)

Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You alone are the creator and sustainer of all goodness.

    See the Christian Quotation of the Day and the Quotations Bible Study