Saturday, August 08, 2020

MacDonald: the Bible leading to Christ

Saturday, August 8, 2020
    Feast of Dominic, Priest, Founder of the Order of Preachers, 1221
    The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
    —Hebrews 1:3 (NIV)
    Sad, indeed, would the whole matter be if the Bible had told us everything God meant us to believe. But herein is the Bible greatly wronged. It nowhere lays claim to be regarded as the Word, the Way, the Truth. The Bible leads us to Jesus, the inexhaustible, the ever-unfolding Revelation of God. It is Christ “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” not the Bible, save as leading to Him.
    ... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Higher Faith”, in Unspoken Sermons [First Series], London: A. Strahan, 1867, p. 52-53 (see the book)
    See also Heb. 1:3; Matt. 16:1-4; John 14:5-6; 20:29; Col. 2:1-3
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You are the pure source of all knowledge.
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Friday, August 07, 2020

Stephen the Sabaite: Art thou weary, art thou languid

Friday, August 7, 2020
    Commemoration of John Mason Neale, Priest, Poet, 1866
    He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
    —Isaiah 53:3-5 (KJV)
Art thou weary, art thou languid,
    Art thou sore distrest?
“Come to me”—saith One—“and coming,
        Be at rest!”

Hath He marks to lead me to Him,
    If He be my Guide?
“In His Feet and Hands are Wound-prints,
        And His Side.”

Is there Diadem, as Monarch,
    That His Brow adorns?
“Yea, a Crown, in very surety,
        But of Thorns!”

If I find Him, if I follow,
    What His guerdon [reward] here?
“Many a sorrow, many a labour,
        Many a tear.”

If I still hold closely to Him,
    What hath He at last?
“Sorrow vanquish’d, labour ended,
     & nbsp;  Jordan past!”

If I ask Him to receive me,
    Will He say me nay?
“Not till earth, and not till Heaven
        Pass away!”

Finding, following, keeping, struggling,
    Is He sure to bless?
“Angels, Martyrs, Prophets, Virgins,
        Answer, Yes!”
    ... St. Stephen the Sabaite (725-796) & John Mason Neale (1818-1866), Hymns of the Eastern Church, London: J. T. Hayes, 1870, p. 156-158 (see the book)
    See also Isa. 53:3-5; Matt. 11:28-30; Mark 15:17; John 20:27
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, the whole church praises You for salvation.

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Thursday, August 06, 2020

Eckhart: knowing Him everywhere

Thursday, August 6, 2020
    To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.
    —Deuteronomy 10:14 (NIV)
    A man may go into the field and say his prayer and be aware of God, or he may be in Church and be aware of God; but if he is more aware of Him because he is in a quiet place, that is his own deficiency and not due to God, Who is alike present in all things and places, and is willing to give Himself everywhere so far as lies in Him. He knows God rightly who knows Him everywhere.
    ... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), Meister Eckhart’s Sermons, tr., Claud Field, H. R. Allenson, London, 1909, p. 21 (see the book)
    See also Deut. 10:14; Ps. 139:7-8; Jer. 23:23-24
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You are present in the most tumultuous moments.
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Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Watts: Psalm 126

Wednesday, August 5, 2020
    Feast of Oswald, King of Northumbria, Martyr, 642
    They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
    —Psalm 126:5 (KJV)
Psalm 126

The Lord can clear the darkest skies,
    Can give us day for night;
Make drops of sacred sorrow rise
    To rivers of delight.
    ... Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Psalms of David Imitated [1719], in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, ed. Samuel Melanchthon Worcester, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1834, Ps. 126, p. 254 (see the book)
    See also Ps. 126:3-6; 46:4; Isa. 60:20; Jer. 31:12-13; Rev. 22:1-2
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You alone transform my sorrow.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Lewis: the badness of sadness

Tuesday, August 4, 2020
    Feast of John Vianney, Curè d’Ars, 1859
    Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.
    —Ecclesiastes 11:10 (ESV)
    My own idea, for what it is worth, is that all sadness which is not now either arising from the repentance of a concrete sin and hastening towards concrete amendment or restitution, or else arising from pity and hastening to active assistance, is simply bad.
    ... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Problem of Pain, New York: Macmillan, 1944, p. 55 (see the book)
    See also Eccl. 11:10; Ps. 126:5-6; Isa. 35:10; 2 Cor. 7:10-11
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, guard me from temptations to melancholy.
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Monday, August 03, 2020

Denney: the supreme reality

Monday, August 3, 2020
    Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.
    —Acts 19:8-10 (NIV)
    There is that in the Gospel with which no one is allowed to argue. All we can do is believe ... or to disbelieve; to give it in our life the place of the final reality to which everything else must give way, or to refuse it that place. Many people ... would like to talk the Word of God over. It raises in their minds various questions they would willingly discuss. It has aspects of interest and of difficulty which call for consideration; and so on. Perhaps there are some that confusedly shield themselves against the responsibilities of faith and unbelief by such thoughts. All that such thoughts prove, however, is that those who cherish them have never yet realized that what we are dealing with in the Gospel is God. When God speaks in Christ, He reveals His gracious will without qualification. And without qualification, we have to believe in it, or refuse to believe, and so decide ... the controversy between ourselves and Him. God has not come into the world in Christ ... to be talked about, but to become the supreme reality in the life of men, or to be excluded from that place.
    ... James Denney (1856-1917), The Way Everlasting: Sermons, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1911, 266-267 (see the book)
    See also Acts 19:8-10; Matt. 7:13-14; Acts 17:18; Rom.14:1; 1 Cor. 1:22-23; 1 Pet. 1:6-9; 1 John 3:21-23
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, Your word calls me to follow You.
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Sunday, August 02, 2020

Driver: vulnerable

Sunday, August 2, 2020
    When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
    —Acts 8:14-17 (NIV)
    [Continued from yesterday] The humblest and—in the ecclesiastical sense—lowest Congregational or Methodist chapel is as vulnerable as any to priestcraft, even if it possesses no ordained minister to play the role of the priest, for it can and usually does allow the very absence of a minister to limit unnecessarily the ministry of its members, both in the church and in the community. Such chapels, indeed, quite often openly put forward their lack of a paid, professional minister as an excuse for their introversion. “We can’t possibly do this ... study this ... attend that. We haven’t got a minister.” The corrosive influence is especially visible in these churches’ pattern of worship. Whoever is actually conducting the services, ordained minister or visiting lay preacher, the pattern is irretrievably sacerdotal, the congregation neither speaking by itself nor performing an action from start to finish. Even th e Lord’s Prayer is commonly “led” in a loud voice from the pulpit, presumably in case the congregation forgets the words.
    ... Christopher Driver (1932-1997), A Future for the Free Churches?, London: SCM Press, 1962, p. 100-101 (see the book)
    See also Acts 8:14-17; Matt. 23:8; 2 Cor. 5:18-20; Gal. 1:15-17; Eph. 3:6-8
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, the faith propagates by Your Spirit.
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