Saturday, January 02, 2021

Basil: God in the flesh

Saturday, January 2, 2021
    Feast of Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops, Teachers, 379 & 389
    Commemoration of Seraphim, Monk of Sarov, Mystic, Staretz, 1833
Meditation:
    The ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
    —Isaiah 51:11 (NIV)
Quotation:
    If, then, the sojourn of the Lord in flesh has never taken place, the Redeemer paid not the fine to death on our behalf, nor through Himself destroyed death’s reign. For if what was reigned over by death was not that which was assumed by the Lord, death would not have ceased working his own ends, nor would the sufferings of the God-bearing flesh have been made our gain; He would not have killed sin in the flesh: we who had died in Adam should not have been made alive in Christ; the fallen to pieces would not have been framed again; the shattered would not have been set up again; that which by the serpent’s trick had been estranged from God would never have been made once more His own. All these boons are undone by those that assert that it was with a heavenly body that the Lord came among us.
    ... St. Basil the Great (330?-379), in Letter CCLXI, to the Sozopolitans (see the book)
    See also Isa. 51:11; Rom. 5:17; 1 Cor. 15:22; Gal. 3:13; Phil.2:7
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You have truly lived among us, that we might live with You.
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Friday, January 01, 2021

Pierce: what God blesses

Friday, January 1, 2021
    Feast of the Naming & Circumcision of Jesus
Meditation:
    Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the LORD delivers him in times of trouble.
    —Psalm 41:1 (NIV)
Quotation:
    I don’t ask God to bless what I do. I pray He will help me to do what He blesses.
    ... Robert Pierce (1914-1978), founder and president, World Vision, in a private communication from World Vision
    See also Ps. 41:1; Matt. 10:40; 25:34-40
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, lead me into Your will this year.
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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Wycliffe: in the family

Thursday, December 31, 2020
    Commemoration of John Wycliffe, Reformer, 1384
Meditation:
    Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.
    —Galatians 3:7 (NIV)
Quotation:
    For what man it be that Christ converts and saves him in heaven, he is Israel’s son, for he supplants the fiend as Jacob did Esau, and he is made a man that sees God by faith. And Christ is called thus both Jacob and Israel, and other holy fathers that prefigured Christ, and thus men are made by grace to be of the house of Jacob.
    ... John Wycliffe (1320?-1384), Sermon XLI, in Select English Works of John Wyclif, v. 1, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1869, p. 114 (see the book)
    See also Gal. 3:7; Matt. 15:21-28; Rom. 4:12,16-21; 9:7-8; Gal. 3:16,29
Quiet time reflection:
    Thank You, Lord, for making me part of Your family.
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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

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Reed: effective worship

Wednesday, December 30, 2020
Meditation:
    It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
    —Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
Quotation:
    To worship effectively is to enable men to become free.
    ... Bruce Reed
    See also Gal. 5:1; John 4:23; 8:31-32; Jas. 1:25
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, with You, we are indeed free.
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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Green: Christ in your zip code

Tuesday, December 29, 2020
    Feast of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1170
Meditation:
    Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
    —Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Mass evangelism undoubtedly has its place; parochial missions can make their contribution; a specially gifted evangelist can proclaim his message; the specialist Christian can make his contribution in factory, in politics and in teaching; all these are genuine contributions to the evangelistic activity of the Christian Church: but in the last analysis it is the worshipping community, that part of the Body of Christ that worships, lives and proclaims the Gospel in all its activities in any given neighborhood, which is the real evangelising agent used by the Spirit of God. It is here amidst the people, that the Church must worship and live her life. If she is faithful both to her God and to her Gospel, she will be used to hold forth the Word of light to the conversion of those that see and hear. But if its light is hid, then wherewith shall the neighborhood be lighted? And if the salt has lost its savour, wherewith shall the district be salted?
    ... Bryan S. W. Green (1901-1993), The Practice of Evangelism, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1951, p. 71 (see the book)
    See also Phil. 2:14-16; Matt. 9:37-38; John 10:16; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:20; Eph. 2:19-22
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, make Your light shine forth into our communities.
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Monday, December 28, 2020

Luther: the origins of scriptural authority

Monday, December 28, 2020
    Feast of the Holy Innocents
Meditation:
    But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
    —Galatians 1:8-9 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Christ is the Master; the Scriptures are only the servant. The true way to test all the Books is to see whether they work the will of Christ or not. No Book which does not preach Christ can be apostolic, though Peter or Paul were its author. And no Book which does preach Christ can fail to be apostolic, although Judas, Ananias, Pilate, or Herod were its author.
    ... Martin Luther (1483-1546), quoted in The Religions of Authority and the Religion of the Spirit, Auguste Sabatier, London: Williams & Norgate, 1904, p. 158 (see the book)
    See also Gal. 1:8-9; John 1:1-5; 1 Cor. 2:2; 15:3; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:14-17
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You are the origin of all truth and authority.
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Sunday, December 27, 2020

Phillips: finding unity in communion

Sunday, December 27, 2020
    Feast of John, Apostle & Evangelist
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:
    It is a singularly unpleasant thought that a book about Holy Communion is more likely to produce disagreement and controversy than one written on almost any other Christian subject. It seems a truly terrible thing that this Sacred Appointment, which was surely meant to unite, in actual practice divides Christians more sharply than any other part of their worship. Christians of various denominations may, and frequently do, work together on social projects, they may study the Scripture together, and they may ... pray together. But the moment attendance at the Lord’s Table is suggested, up go the denominational barriers.
    ... I would make a strong plea that we do not exclude from the Lord’s Table in our Church those who are undoubtedly sincere Christians. I cannot believe that to communicate together with our Lord should be regarded as the consummation, the final pinnacle, of the whole vast work of Reunion. Suppose it is the means and not the end. We might feel far more sharply the sin of our divisions and of our exclusiveness if we came humbly together to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord, and in that reception we might find such a quickening of our common devotion to Him that the divisions between us might be found not nearly so insuperable as we supposed.
    ... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Appointment with God, New York, Macmillan, 1954, p. 59,61 (see the book)
    See also 1 Cor. 10:16-17; Matt. 26:17-30; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 13:26; 22:19,20; John 13:1-4; Acts 2:42,46,47; 20:7; 1 Cor. 10:21-22; 11:20-34
Quiet time reflection:
    Show us, Lord, how to unite at Your table.
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