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 Quotes of the week - 2017

 April

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The Place of Humiliation

If You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. —Mark 9:22

After every time of exaltation, we are brought down with a sudden rush into things as they really are, where it is neither beautiful, poetic, nor thrilling. The height of the mountaintop is measured by the dismal drudgery of the valley, but it is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. We see His glory on the mountain, but we never live for His glory there. It is in the place of humiliation that we find our true worth to God— that is where our faithfulness is revealed. Most of us can do things if we are always at some heroic level of intensity, simply because of the natural selfishness of our own hearts. But God wants us to be at the drab everyday level, where we live in the valley according to our personal relationship with Him. Peter thought it would be a wonderful thing for them to remain on the mountain, but Jesus Christ took the disciples down from the mountain and into the valley, where the true meaning of the vision was explained (see Mark 9:5-6, Mark 9:14-23).

“If you can do anything….” It takes the valley of humiliation to remove the skepticism from us. Look back at your own experience and you will find that until you learned who Jesus really was, you were a skillful skeptic about His power. When you were on the mountaintop you could believe anything, but what about when you were faced with the facts of the valley? You may be able to give a testimony regarding your sanctification, but what about the thing that is a humiliation to you right now? The last time you were on the mountain with God, you saw that all the power in heaven and on earth belonged to Jesus— will you be skeptical now, simply because you are in the valley of humiliation?

- Oswald Chambers, 1874-1917, My Utmost for His Highest (October 2)


March

Quiet Time with God

A quiet hour spent alone with God at the beginning of the day, is the best beginning for the toils and cares of the day. A brief season of prayer, looking to God for wisdom and grace and strength, and seeking the assistance of the Holy Spirit--helps us to carry our religion into all of the events of the day. It brings joy and peace within the heart.

And as we place all our concerns in the care and keeping of the Lord, faithfully striving to do His will--we have a joyful trust that however dark or discouraging events may appear--our Father's hand is guiding everything, and will give the wisest direction to all our toils.

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. - Psalm 5:3


What is Holiness?

Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing in God's judgment, hating what He hates, loving what He loves, and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word (the Bible). He who most entirely agrees with God, he is the most holy man.

- J. C. Ryle, 1816-1900, Holiness


Some professors of religion are like the catbird!

There are very many things that may choke out love in the home. One of these is the lack of kindness. If you have grown less kind in your feelings, in your actions, and in your words--then love cannot thrive. Kindness is one of the best fertilizers for love.

There are so many people who have two sets of tones in which to speak--and two sets of manners in which they act. They have their company manners--and their family manners. When they have company--then the voice is soft and pleasant, and the manners are agreeable and kindly. They treat their friends with the greatest consideration; but as soon as their friends are gone, the pleasant voice changes into crossness or harshness and fault-finding--and the pleasantness of manner disappears! In how many homes is this true!

The greater consideration, the greater kindness--is due the home folks. Otherwise, love cannot flourish. If you wish to have love for your home folks--then you must show them the consideration that is due them.

Some professors of religion are like the catbird! When it is away from its nest--then it is one of the sweetest of the northern warblers; but when it is close to its nest--then you will hear only a harsh, discordant note. It has no sweetness in its voice while at its nest.

In the same way, some people reserve all their kindness, tenderness, and sweetness--for those outside the family circle. Is it any wonder that love dies in such a home?

"Love must be without hypocrisy." Romans 12:9

- Charles Naylor, How to Fertilize Love, 1920


The true recipe for a miserable existence

The first law of true religion is submission to God's will. Where it does not exist, there is no piety--and just as truly there is no tranquility of soul. 

What a hideous sight to see a human creature in full rebellion against God's providence . . .
  repining at His allotments;
  fighting against His dispensations;
  and cursing His judgments! 

The true recipe for miserable existence is this: Quarrel with Providence! 

When God means to make us happy, He teaches us submission--a resignation of everything into His hands, and an acknowledgment that whatever He does is wisest and best. 

O how sweetly even afflictions fall, when there is such a temper to receive them! "Shall we accept good from God--and not trouble?" Job 2:10. Such a disposition tends to tranquility of soul; and even amidst chastisement, there is internal quiet.

"The Lord gave--and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21

"He is the Lord--let Him do what is good in His eyes." 1 Samuel 3:18 

"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

"We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

- James W. Alexander, Consolation 1852


He lived poor and died poor

"Jesus replied—Foxes have holes and birds of the  air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place  to lay His head." Matthew 8:20

Jesus does not say, Kings have palaces—but I have none. Nor does He say that rich men have houses and lands and mansions to entertain their followers—but I have none; but, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but I have no place to lay My head."


Your outward condition is not worse than Christ's was, when He was in the world. Christ's condition was low, yes, very low and humble in this world. He was born in a stable, lived on the charity of others, and did not have enough money to pay His taxes. The great Architect of the world had no place to lay His head—but emptied Himself of all, and became poor to make us rich, not in goods—but in grace; not in worldly wealth—but in the treasures of the eternal world. He lived poor and died poor. 

Are you houseless, are you penniless, are you poor, and low, and base in this world? So was Christ! Remember "the servant is not greater than his Lord!" 

It is unfitting to see the Head all begored with blood and crowned with thorns—and the members to be decked with roses and jewels, and to smell of rich spices, and perfumes!

Are you in a worse condition than Christ was, in this world? Oh no, no! Why then do you murmur and complain? Why do you say there is no sorrow like your sorrow, nor any suffering compared to your suffering? O sirs! it is honor enough for the disciples of Christ to fare as Christ fared in this world. Why should the servant be in a better condition than His Lord? Did you but seriously and frequently meditate and ponder upon the poverty and low estate of Christ while He was in this world, your hearts would be more calm and quiet under all their crosses and losses!

Thomas Brooks, London's Lamentations, 1670

 


February

I Never Knew You

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.              - Mt. 7:23

I never knew you. That is, I never approved, loved, or regarded you as my friends. This proves that, with all their pretensions, they had never been true followers of Christ. Jesus will not then say to false prophets and false professors of religion, that he had once known them, and then rejected them; that they had been once Christians and then had fallen away; that they had been pardoned, and then had apostatized; but that he had never known them.

— THEY HAD NEVER BEEN TRUE CHRISTIANS.

Whatever might have been their pretended joys, their raptures, their hopes, their self-confidence, their visions, their zeal, they had never been regarded by the Savior as his true friends. I know not a moredecided proof that Christians do not fall away from grace than this text. It settles the question; and proves that whatever else such men had, they never had any true religion.
 

- Albert Barnes, 1872-1951, Barnes Notes


Serving Christ at Home

Many people think that work for Christ must be something outside, something great or public. They imagine that to minister to Christ, they must teach a Sunday-school class or join a missionary society, or go out to visit sick people, or go into hospitals or prisons on missions of mercy. These are all beautiful and important ministries, and Christ wants some of you to do just these things too; but the very first place you are to serve him is in your own home. Let the blessed light of your life, first be shed abroad in that most sacred of all spots. Brightening that little place, you will be the more ready to be a blessing outside. Those who are the best Christians at home—are the best everywhere else.

– J. R. Miller (1840-1912), In Green Pastures


January

No Secular and Sacred

A spiritually vigorous saint never believes that his circumstances simply happen at random, nor does he ever think of his life as being divided into the secular and the sacred. He sees every situation in which he finds himself as the means of obtaining a greater knowledge of Jesus Christ, and he has an attitude of unrestrained abandon and total surrender about him.

- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (from July 11th reading)

 


Providence

In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will. - Ephesians 1:11

It is most important for us to learn that the smallest trifles are as much arranged by the God of Providence--as the most momentous events!

He who counts the stars--has also numbered the hairs of our heads!

Our lives and deaths are predestined--but so, also, are our sitting down and our rising up.

I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam, does not move an atom more or less than God wishes.

I believe that every particle of spray that dashes against the steamboat has its ordained orbit, as well as the sun in the heavens.

I believe that the chaff from the hand of the winnower--is as much steered by God, as the stars in their course.

The creeping of an aphid over the rosebush--is as much fixed as the march of the devastating pestilence.

The fall of a leaf from a poplar tree--is as fully ordained as the tumbling of an avalanche!

- Charles Spurgeon, 1834-1892


The First Lesson of a Christian

Likewise, ye younger, be subject unto the elder. Yea, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another: for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. - 1 Peter 5:5-6

"For those who would learn God's ways, humility is the first thing, humility is the second thing, and humility is the third thing."

- Augustine, 354-430


True Religion

"This is true religion:
to approve what God approves,
to hate what God hates, and
to delight in what God delights."

- Charles Hodge, 1797- 1878


 



"I am the light of the world" John 8:12