Saturday, August 10, 2019

MacDonald: complete dependence upon God

Saturday, August 10, 2019
    Feast of Lawrence, Deacon at Rome, Martyr, 258
    Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.”
    —John 5:19,20 (NIV)
    You may fancy the Lord had His own power to fall back upon. But that would have been to Him just the one dreadful thing. That His Father should forget him!—no power in Himself could make up for that. He feared nothing for Himself; and never once employed His divine power to save Himself from His human fate. Let God do that for Him if He saw fit. He did not come into the world to take care of Himself... His life was of no value to Him but as His Father cared for it. God would mind all that was necessary for Him, and He would mind the work His Father had given Him to do. And, my friends, this is just the one secret of a blessed life, the one thing every man comes into this world to learn.
    ... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood, v. I [1867], London: Strahan & Co., 1873, p. 207-208 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 27:46; John 5:19-20,30; 8:28; 9:4; 12:49; 14:10,20
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, teach me Your will that I may carry it out every day of my life.
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Friday, August 09, 2019

Meynell: His planet

Friday, August 9, 2019
    Feast of Mary Sumner, Founder of the Mothers’ Union, 1921
    How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
    —Isaiah 52:7 (NIV)

    With this ambiguous earth
His dealings have been told us. These abide:
The signal to a maid, the human birth,
The lesson, and the young Man crucified.

    But not a star of all
The innumerable host of stars has heard
How he administered this terrestrial ball.
Our race has kept their Lord’s entrusted Word.

    Of his earth-visiting feet
None knows the secret, cherished, perilous,
The terrible, shamefast, frightened, whispered, sweet,
Heart-shattering secret of his way with us.

    No planet knows that this
Our wayside planet, carrying land and wave,
Love and life multiplied, and pain and bliss,
Bears, as its chief treasure, one forsaken grave.

    Nor, in our little day,
May his devices with the heavens be guessed,
His pilgrimage to thread the Milky Way
Or his bestowal there be manifest.

    But in the eternities,
Doubtless we shall compare together, hear
A million alien Gospels, in what guise
He trod the Pleiades, the Lyre, the Bear.

    O, be prepared, my soul!
To read the inconceivable, to scan
The million forms of God those stars unroll
When, in our turn, we show to them a Man.
    ... Alice Meynell (1847-1922), Collected Poems of Alice Meynell, London: Burns & Oates, 1913, p. 58 (see the book)
    See also Isa. 52:7; Job 26:14; Ps. 40:5; 92:5; 139:1-6; Eph. 1:7-8; 2:6-7; Col. 1:27; 2:2-3
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, wherever I may go, You reign supreme.

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Thursday, August 08, 2019

Studd: prime qualifications

Thursday, August 8, 2019
    Feast of Dominic, Priest, Founder of the Order of Preachers, 1221
    Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
    —Romans 12:1-3 (NIV)
    A lost reputation is the best degree for Christ’s service.
    ... C. T. Studd (1860-1931), C. T. Studd—Cricketer and Pioneer [1933], Norman P. Grubb, World-Wide Revival Prayer Movement, 1947, p. 164 (see the book)
    See also Rom. 12:1-3; Ps. 69:7-9; Matt. 9:10-12; Luke 16:15; John 2:25; Rom. 15:3; 2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:3,5-7; Heb. 2:17-18; 1 Pet. 3:4; 5:5
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, I abandon my good name and ambition for Your sake.
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Wednesday, August 07, 2019

John of Damascus: The day of resurrection!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019
    Commemoration of John Mason Neale, Priest, Poet, 1866
    While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’”
    —Luke 24:4-7 (NIV)
’Tis the day of resurrection!
    Earth! tell it out abroad!
The Passover of gladness!
    The Passover of God!
From death to life eternal,—
    From this world to the sky,
Our Christ has brought us over,
    With hymns of victory.

Our hearts be pure from evil,
    That we may see aright
The Lord in rays eternal
    Of Resurrection-Light:
And, listening to His accents,
    May hear, so calm and plain,
His own—All hail!—and, hearing,
    May raise the victor strain!

Now let the heavens be joyful!
    Let earth her song begin!
Let the round world keep triumph,
    And all that is therein:
Invisible and visible,
    Their notes let all things blend,—
For Christ the Lord has risen,—
    Our joy that hath no end.
    ... John of Damascus (c.676-749) & John Mason Neale (1818-1866), in Hymns of the Eastern Church, London: J. T. Hayes, 1870, p. 95 (see the book)
    See also Luke 24:1-12; Ps. 18:46; 22:30-31; 46:10; 118:23-24; Isa. 25:1; Luke 24:36-49; 1 Cor. 15:20-21
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, we raise our hymn to Your triumph over death.

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Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Buechner: the existence of God

Tuesday, August 6, 2019
    —God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
    —1 Timothy 6:15b-16 (NIV)
    It is as impossible for us to demonstrate the existence of God as it would be for even Sherlock Holmes to demonstrate the existence of Arthur Conan Doyle.
    ... Frederick Buechner (b. 1926), Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC, Harper & Row, 1973, revised, HarperCollins, 1993, p. 31 (see the book)
    See also Judges 13:17-18; John 1:18; 6:46; 8:19; Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 6:15-16; 1 John 2:12-17; 4:12
Quiet time reflection:
    Father, we know You through Your Son.
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Monday, August 05, 2019

Lathbury: Break Thou the bread of life

Monday, August 5, 2019
    Feast of Oswald, King of Northumbria, Martyr, 642
    Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
    “Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this bread.”
    Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
    —John 6:32-35 (NIV)
Break Thou the bread of life,
    Dear Lord, to me,
As Thou didst break the loaves
    Beside the sea;
Within thy sacred page
    I seek Thee, Lord;
My spirit pants for Thee,
    O living Word!

Bless Thou the truth, dear Lord,
    To me—to me—
As Thou didst bless the bread
    By Galilee;
Then shall all bondage cease,
    All fetters fall;
And I shall find my peace,
    My All-in-All.
    ... Mary A. Lathbury (1841-1913), The Poems of Mary Artemisia Lathbury, Chautauqua Laureate, Minneapolis, Nunc Licet Press, 1915, p. 39 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 14:19; 15:36; 16:8-11; 26:26-27; Mark 8:6; 14:22-23; Luke 22:19; 24:30; John 6:11,32-35,48
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You have freed and fed me.

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Sunday, August 04, 2019

Kingsley: The Great Physician

Sunday, August 4, 2019
    Feast of John Vianney, Curè d’Ars, 1859
    When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
    —Matthew 14:14 (NIV)
From Thee all skill and science flow,
    All pity, care and love,
All calm and courage, faith and hope;
    O pour them from above.

And part them, Lord, to each and all,
    As each and all shall need,
To rise like incense, each to Thee,
    In noble thought and deed.

And hasten, Lord, that perfect day,
    When pain and death shall cease;
And Thy just rule shall fill the earth
    With health and light and peace.
    ... Charles Kingsley (1819-1875), Poems, London: Macmillan, 1907, p. 332 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 9:11-12; 14:14; Mark 6:34; Rev. 21:3-4
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, Your people await the day when You set all things right.

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