Saturday, January 30, 2021

Newbigin: obstacles to unity

Saturday, January 30, 2021
    Commemoration of Lesslie Newbigin, Bishop, Missionary, Teacher, 1998
Meditation:
    Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
    —Colossians 3:12-13 (NIV)
Quotation:
    We feel that other churches must accept, as the pre-conditions of fellowship, such changes as will bring them into conformity with ourselves in matters which we regard as essential, and that a failure to insist on this will involve compromise in regard to what is essential to the Church’s being. But for precisely the same reason, we cannot admit a demand from others for any changes in ourselves which would seem to imply a denial that we already possess the esse of the Church.
    ... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), The Household of God, London, SCM Press, 1953, New York: Friendship Press, 1954, p. 150-151 (see the book)
    See also Col. 3:12-13; Rom. 12:5,15; Eph. 4:15-17; Gal. 6:1-2
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, release Your Spirit to unite Your people.
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Friday, January 29, 2021

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Neill: peace

Friday, January 29, 2021
Meditation:
    What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
    —Romans 7:24-25 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Peace is that state of things which exists when God’s will is being done. But sin has entered into the world, and God’s will is not being done. And where God’s will is not being done, there strife is found. Man is born to be a child of God, but he has become the enemy of God. Man is at war with himself. He knows what is good and what is bad. Yet often when he longs to do what is right, he finds that instead he does the evil which he hates.
    ... Stephen Neill (1900-1984), The Christian Character, London: Lutterworth Press, 1955, p. 37 (see the book)
    See also Rom. 7:21-25; Ps. 72:12-13; 91:14-15; Micah 7:19; Zech. 9:11; 1 Thess. 4:14; Titus 2:14;
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, only You can turn me from sin.
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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Aquinas: beyond naturalism

Thursday, January 28, 2021
    Feast of Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Teacher of the Faith, 1274
Meditation:
    He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
    —Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Some there are who presume so far on their wits that they think themselves capable of measuring the whole nature of things by their intellect, in that they esteem all things true which they see, and false which they see not. Accordingly, in order that man’s mind might be freed from this presumption, and seek the truth humbly, it was necessary that certain things far surpassing his intellect should be proposed to man by God.
    ... Thomas Aquinas (1225?-1274), Summa Contra Gentiles [1264], Burns, Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1923, I.v, p. 10 (see the book)
    See also Eccl. 3:11; Dan. 4:35; Ps. 40:5; 92:5; 97:2; Isa. 55:8-9; Matt. 7:7-8; Rom. 11:33-34
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You have revealed the invisible to Your people.
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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Shedd: empty people

Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Meditation:
    Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
    —John 6:26-27 (NIV)
Quotation:
    The problem is not that the churches are filled with empty pews, but that the pews are filled with empty people.
    ... Charlie Shedd (1915-2004), quoted in The Greening of the Church, Findley B. Edge, Waco, Tex.: Word Books, 1971, p. 9 (see the book)
    See also John 6:26-27; Isa. 9:2; Amos 8:11-13; Luke 1:53; John 1:5; 3:19; Eph. 4:18
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, Your food alone truly satisfies.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Owen: the clouds of unbelief

Tuesday, January 26, 2021
    Feast of Timothy and Titus, Companions of Paul
    Commemoration of Dorothy Kerin, Founder of the Burrswood Healing Community, 1963
Meditation:
    Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”
    —Romans 4:19-22 (NIV)
Quotation:
    It is not the distance of the earth from the sun, nor the sun’s withdrawing itself, that makes a dark and gloomy day; but the interposition of clouds and vaporous exhalations. Neither is thy soul beyond the reach of the promise, nor does God withdraw Himself; but the vapours of thy carnal, unbelieving heart do cloud thee.
    ... John Owen (1616-1683), Works of John Owen, v. VIII, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, Serm. IV, p. 237-238 (see the book)
    See also Rom. 4:19-22; Matt. 13:58; 14:25-31; John 20:27; Acts 28:23-28
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, strengthen the weakness of my faith.
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Monday, January 25, 2021

Hromadka: Christocentricity

Monday, January 25, 2021
    Feast of the Conversion of Paul
Meditation:
    ... the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.
    —2 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
Quotation:
    The theology of the last two decades [before 1956] has passed... through the cleansing fire of a world-wide catastrophe. It was brought to its proper theme, to Jesus Christ. Man is obliged to go, with everything he does or does not possess, where the life and cross of Christ and His resurrection bring him to the most real of realities: to the reality of humanity in its exaltation and poverty, hope and judgment. From here, from the time and place where Jesus the Nazarene lived, died, was victorious, where all expectations of the Prophets and of Israel... were fulfilled, it is necessary to look at man, his destination, his fall, his rebirth to a new life, his place in human society, his freedom and rights, the question whether and what kind of claims he may make on his happiness and security. This Christocentric view... gives a better understanding of what should be the relation of man to man, of the individual to society, of society to the individua l, and to the securing of human freedoms by law.
    ... J. L. Hromadka (1889-1969), The Church and Theology in Today’s Troubled Times, Prague: Ecumenical Council of Churches in Czechoslovakia, 1956, p. 85-86 (see the book)
    See also 2 Pet. 2:9; Lam. 3:32-39; Amos 5:23-24; Luke 14:8-11; 22:25-27; 1 Cor. 9:7-13
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, lead Your people to establish Your justice on earth.
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Sunday, January 24, 2021

de Sales: the sweetness of devotion

Sunday, January 24, 2021
    Feast of François de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, Teacher, 1622
Meditation:
Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
    —Psalm 73:25-26 (NIV)
Quotation:
    Devotion is the real spiritual sweetness which takes away all bitterness from mortifications, and prevents consolations from disagreeing with the soul; it cures the poor of sadness, and the rich of presumption; it keeps the oppressed from feeling desolate, and the prosperous from insolence; it averts sadness from the lonely, and dissipation from social life; it is as warmth in winter and refreshing dew in summer; it knows how to abound and how to suffer want, how to profit alike by honour and by contempt; it accepts gladness and sadness with an even mind, and fills men’s hearts with a wondrous sweetness.
    ... François de Sales (1567-1622), Introduction to the Devout Life [1609], London: Rivingtons, 1876, I.ii, p. 6 (see the book)
    See also Ps. 73:25-26; Rom. 5:5; 14:7-8; 1 John 4:12; 5:3-4
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, remove all distractions, that I may love You fully.
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