"He lies in the manger, but contains the world; He nurses at the breasts, but feeds the angels; He is wrapped and swaddling clothes, but vests us with immortality; He found no place in the inn, but makes for Himself a temple in the hearts of believers. In order that weakness might become strong, strength became weak.”
“The Irony of The Incarnation”
He was created of a mother whom He created. He was carried by hands that He formed. He cried in the manger in wordless infancy, He the Word, without whom all human eloquence is mute.
“Don’t Be Your Own Worst Enemy”
“But if thou seek thyself, thou wilt indeed find thyself, to thine own ruin. For a man does himself more harm if he seek not Jesus, then the whole world and all his enemies could do him.”
When people plan to erect a lofty and large building, they make the foundations all the deeper. But those who lay the foundation are forced to descend into the depths.
“In The Cross”
In the cross is salvation; in the cross is life; in the cross is protection from thine enemies. In the cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness; in the cross is strength of mind; in the cross is joy of spirit. In the cross is the height of virtue; in the cross is the perfection of sanctity. There is no health of the soul nor hope of eternal life but in the cross. Take up, therefore, thy cross and follow Jesus, and thou shalt go into life everlasting.
“He Loves Making Repulsive People Beautiful”
Let everyone's sighs be uttered in longing for Christ. He should be the object of our desire since He, the all beautiful One, loves repulsive people so that He might make them beautiful. Let us run to Him and cry out to Him.
"The Only Well"
"If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God, it will make in the end no difference what you have chosen instead." Those are hard words to take. Will it really make no difference whether it was women or patriotism, cocaine or art, whiskey or a seat in the Cabinet, money or science? Well, surely no difference that matters. We shall have missed the end for which we are formed and rejected the only thing that satisfies. Does it matter to a man dying in a desert by which choice of route he missed the only well?
“Herein is love”
God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. He creates the universe, already foreseeing—our should we say, “seeing”? there are no tenses in God—the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of back and arms as it is time after time, for breath’s sake, hitched up. If I may dare the biological image, God is a “host” who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and “take advantage of” Him. Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.
"Suffering In Fierce Love"
God hates the cancer of sin and pours out his wrath on it. But how does God's chemotherapy work? How did the father kill the sin in the prodigal son's heart? By suffering in love on his son's behalf. By taking the pain of the boy's hatred into himself and burying it forever. By bleeding for him. The revelation of this fierce love killed the sinful son stone dead, and a new son rose from the ashes.
"Amnesty Offered. Become A Happy Subject"
There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’” Christ has come into this mutinous world, which he made for his own glory, and paid for an amnesty with his own blood. Everyone who lays down the weaponry of unbelief will be absolved from all crimes against the Sovereign of the universe. By faith... enemies will become happy subjects of an everlasting kingdom of justice and joy. Advancing this cause with Christ is worth your life.
Abraham Kuyper (quoted by John Piper)
“I believe that the Sun has risen”
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
“The Gift of Himself”
“All Christians know something the Jews did not know about what it “cost to redeem their souls.” Our life as Christians begins by being baptized into a death; our most joyous festivals begin with, and centre upon, the broken body and the shed blood. There is thus a tragic depth in our worship which Judaism lacked. Our joy has to be the sort of joy which can coexist with that; there is for us a spiritual counterpoint where they had simple melody... I find an experience fully God-centered, asking of God no gift more urgently than His presence, the gift of Himself, joyous to the highest degree, and unmistakably real. What I see (so to speak) in the faces of these old poets tells me more about the God whom they and we adore.”
“Our wills are ours to make them Thine”
“...natural Gift-love is always directed to objects which the lover finds in some way intrinsically lovable—objects to which Affection or Eros or a shared point of view attracts him, or failing that, to the grateful and the deserving, or perhaps to those whose helplessness is of a winning and appealing kind. But Divine Gift-love in the man enables him to love what is not naturally lovable; lepers, criminals, enemies, morons, the sulky, the superior and the sneering. Finally, by a high paradox, God enables men to have a Gift-love towards Himself. There is of course a sense in which no one can give to God anything which is not already His; and if it is already His what have you given? But since it is only too obvious that we can withhold ourselves, our wills and hearts, from God, we can, in that sense, also give them. What is His by right and would not exist for a moment if it ceased to be His (as the song is the singer’s), He has nevertheless made ours in such a way that we can freely offer it back to Him. ‘Our wills are ours to make them Thine.’”
"Bright Because The Sun Shines"
…the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life within him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it
"An 'Easy' And 'Light' Crucifixion Of The Flesh?"
The Christian way is different: harder, and easier. Christ says `Give me All. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don't want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked - the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.'
Both harder and easier than what we are all trying to do. You have noticed, I expect, that Christ Himself sometimes describes the Christian way as very hard, sometimes as very easy. He says, 'Take up your Cross'- in other words, it is like going to be beaten to death in a concentration camp. Next minute he says, 'My yoke is easy and my burden light.' He means both. And one can just see why both are true.
Teachers will tell you that the laziest boy in the class is the one who works hardest in the end. They mean this. If you give two boys, say, a proposition in geometry to do, the one who is prepared to take trouble will try to understand it. The lazy boy will try to learn it by heart because, for the moment, that needs less effort. But six months later, when they are preparing for an exam, that lazy boy is doing hours and hours of miserable drudgery over things the other boy understands, and positively enjoys, in a few minutes. Laziness means more work in the long run. Or look at it this way. In a battle, or in mountain climbing, there is often one thing which it takes a lot of pluck to do; but it is also, in the long run, the safest things to do. If you funk it, you will find yourself, hours later, in far worse danger. The cowardly thing is also the most dangerous thing.
"Nothing Romantic About Tragedy"
There is no point in romanticizing other religions that reject the deity and saving work of Christ. They do not know God. And those who follow them tragically waste their lives.
"For me to live is Christ" First, it means: My life is dedicated to producing fruit.
-The more we get what we now call "ourselves" out of the way and let Him take us over, the more truly ourselves we become. There is so much of Him that millions and millions of [Christians] all different, will still be too few to express Him fully. He made them all. He invented-as an author invents characters in a novel-all the different men that you and I were intended to be. In that sense our real selves are all waiting for us in Him. It is no good trying to "be myself" without Him. The more I resist Him and try to live on my own, the more I become dominated by my own heredity and upbringing and surroundings and natural desires. In fact what I so proudly call "Myself" becomes merely the meeting place for trains of events which I never started and which I cannot stop. What I call "My wishes" become merely the desires thrown up by my physical organism or pumped into me by other men's thoughts or even suggested to me by devils... Propaganda will be the real origin of what I regard as my own personal political ideals, I am not, in my natural state, nearly so much of a person as I like to believe: most of what I call "me" can be very easily explained. It is when I turn to Christ, when I give myself up to His Personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own...There are no real personalities anywhere else. Until you have given up yourself to Him you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among the most "natural" men, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints.
"...With Him And Everything Else Thrown In"
But there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away "blindly" so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality: but you must not go to Him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ's and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him.
Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorites wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.
"As Far As The East Is From The West"
He gives us two things we cannot measure—the distance of heaven from earth and the tail-chasing distance of east from west...—to convey the idea of a mercy that is beyond our experience in other human relationships, a love that “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Literally, the sky is the limit when it comes to God’s mercy. No request that is made from a good motive is outrageous. Let me not limit my prayers to what men say is possible.
But if God’s love is so big—and He is so earnest to communicate how big it is—why do I keep thinking I’m just about to get the boot? How can I insult Him so? Do I think so highly of myself as to imagine that I’m the only person on earth that the gospel isn’t going to work for? I’ve finally done it: I’ve finally committed a sin that’s more powerful than Jesus’ blood!
The Christians I admire most—and I know precious few of them—are those whom I can see are so confident of God’s undeserved love that they are not constantly revisiting their sin or crime, but they have moved on with their lives and have peace and joy. Oh, if the matter of their past comes up, they will not deny it, and will be the first to call it evil. But you will not suck them into a morbid dwelling on it... “. . . as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”
How far is east from west? About as far as yes is from no, I suppose, or guilty from innocent. Or as far as future is from past. They can give each other a good chase, but they will never catch each other.
If you were trying to encourage a fearful soul to understand that he is forgiven, if you were dealing with someone given to serial relapses into self-incrimination, what would you say to him? God bends over backwards; He multiplies metaphors till one of them works for you: Your sin is so forgiven that only if the east could become west would you become unforgiven.
Don’t like that one? Then how about this: Your sin is so forgiven that it is like the goat whose head the high priest Aaron laid both his hands on it and confessed over it everything he could think of, transmitting all the vileness of his person and his people onto the animal. And then he took the sin-ridden beast to another man, who led it into the wilderness, never to return (Leviticus 16:20-28).
That one doesn’t do it for you, either? Try this: Your sin is like the curtain between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies (don’t picture your mother’s drapes but more like an iron curtain) that was ripped clean from top to bottom in the hour that Jesus, the archetypal scapegoat, took on our sins (Mark 15:38).
Or if it helps, picture yourself standing before God, covered in human excrement (that’s the actual word in Zechariah 3), with Satan accusing you—and making a very good case. And the Angel of the Lord rebukes Satan instead of you and calls for the filthy garments to be taken away and brand new, pure garments put on you...
"When I Say I'm A Christian"
When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not shouting, "I've been saved!"
I'm whispering, "I get lost! That's why I chose this way"
When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't speak with human pride
I'm confessing that I stumble-needing God to be my guide
When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not trying to be strong
I'm professing that I'm weak and pray for strength to carry on
When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not bragging of success
I'm admitting that I've failed and cannot ever pay the debt
When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't think I know it all
I submit to my confusion asking humbly to be taught
When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not claiming to be perfect
My flaws are far too visible but God believes I'm worth it
When I say, "I am a Christian," I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartache which is why I seek His name
When I say, "I am a Christian," I do not wish to judge
I have no authority--I only know I'm loved
"The Goodness Of God's Severity"
The severity of God’s dealing as He trained His people in the principles of holiness becomes intelligible when we see what is at stake. It was nothing less than the salvation of the world. The chosen people was the precious casket in which was to be placed a priceless jewel: the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of men. Against this people Satan directed his fiercest attacks, and to the preservation of this people in righteousness God directed His fiercest defense.
John W. Wenham
"Net The Sacred Fish"
Systems cannot keep up with that darting illumination. No net less wide than a man’s whole heart, nor less fine of mesh than love, will hold the sacred Fish.
"The True Spring"
The Miracles of Reversal all belong to the New Creation. It is a Miracle of Reversal when the dead are raised. Old Nature knows nothing of this process: it involves playing backward a film that we have always seen played forwards. The one or two instances of it in the Gospels are early flowers; what we call spring flowers, because they are prophetic; although they really bloom while it is still winter. And the miracles of Perfecting or of Glory, the Transfiguration, the Resurrection, and the Ascension, are even more emphatically of the New Creation. These are the true spring, or even the summer, of the world's new year. The Captain, the forerunner is already in May or June, though His followers on earth are still living in the frosts and east winds of Old Nature - for "spring comes slowly up this way."
"The Greatest Friday"
Lest any trial incident to humanity should be lacking, the torments of hope -- of suspense, anxiety -- were at the last moment loosed on Him -- the supposed possibility that, after all, He might, He just conceivably might, be spared the ultimate horror. There was precedent. Isaac had been spared: he too at the last moment, he also against all apparent probability. It was not quite impossible...and doubtless He had seen other men crucified...a sight very unlike most of our religious pictures and images.
But for this last (and erroneous) hope against hope, and the consequent tumult of the soul, the sweat of blood, perhaps He would not have been very Man. To live in a fully predictable world is not to be a man.
At the end, I know, we are told that an angel appeared ``comforting'' Him. But neither "comforting" in sixteenth-century English nor ``ennischuon'' in Greek means ``consoling''. ``Strengthening'' is more the word. May not the strengthening have consisted in the renewed certainty -- cold comfort this -- that the thing must be endured and therefore could be?
No woman ever conceived a child, no mare a foal, without Him. But once, and for a special purpose, He dispensed with that long line which is His instrument: once His life-giving finger touched a woman without passing through the ages of interlocked events. Once the great glove of Nature was taken off His hand. His naked hand touched her. There was of course a unique reason for it. That time He was creating not simply a man but the Man who was to be Himself: was creating Man anew: was beginning, at this divine and human point, the New Creation of all things. The whole soiled and weary universe quivered at this direct injection of essential life--direct, uncontaminated, not drained through all the crowded history of Nature.
C. S. Lewis
"No Pain No Gain"
No pain, no balm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.
"The Sweet Reasonableness Of God's Law"
They were tempted, since the Lord seemed deaf, to try those appalling deities who demanded so much more and might therefore perhaps give more in return. But when a Jew in some happier hour, or a better Jew even in that hour, looked at those worships — when he thought of sacred prostitution, sacred sodomy, and the babies thrown into the fire for Moloch — his own ‘Law’ as he turned back to it must have shown with an extraordinary radiance. Sweeter than honey; or if that metaphor does not suit us who have not such a sweet tooth as all ancient peoples (partly because we have plenty of sugar), let us say like mountain water, like fresh air after a dungeon, like sanity after a nightmare.
First he thinks of the sky; day after the day, the pageantry we see there shows us the splendor of its Creator. Then he thinks of the sun, the bridal joyousness of its rising, the unimaginable speed of its daily voyage from east to west. Finally, of its heat; not of course the mild heats of our climate but the cloudless, blinding, tyrannous rays of hammering the hills, searching every cranny. The key phrase on which the whole poem depends is "there is nothing hid from the heat thereof'. It pierces everywhere with its strong, clean ardor. Then at once, in verse 7 he is talking of something else, which hardly seems to him something else because it is so like the all-piercing, all-detecting sunshine. The Law is 'undefiled', the Law gives light, it is clean and everlasting, it is 'sweet'. No one can improve on this and noting can more fully admit us to the old Jewish feeling about the Law; luminous, severe, disinfectant, exultant, One hardly needs to add that this poet is wholly free from self-righteousness and the last section is concerned with his "secret faults." As he has felt the sun, perhaps in the desert, searching him out in every nook of shade where he attempted to hide from it, so he feels the Law searching out all the hiding-places of his soul.
In so far as this idea of the Law's beauty, sweetness, or preciousness, arose from the contrast of the surrounding Paganisms, we may soon find occasion to cover it. Christians increasingly live on a spiritual island; new and rival ways of life surround it in all directions and their tides come further up the beach every time...
Some give morality a wholly new meaning which we cannot accept, some deny its possibility. Perhaps we shall all learn, sharply enough, to value the clean air and 'sweet reasonableness' of the Christian ethic which...we might have taken for granted.
"Earth Thrown In"
If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth "thrown in": aim at earth and you will get neither.
"That Ultimate Joy"
Can people look at your life and tell that you believe in hell? Can people look at your life and tell that you have been saved from that? Do they see that ultimate joy in you?
"Sharing In The Perfect Surrender And Humiliation"
The perfect surrender and humiliation was undergone by Christ: perfect because he was God, surrender and humiliation because he was man. Now the Christian belief is that if we somehow share the humility and suffering of Christ we shall also share in his conquest of death and find a new life after we have died and in it become perfect, and perfectly happy, creatures. This means something much more than trying to follow his teaching. People often ask: when the next step in evolution - the step to something beyond man will happen. Well, on the Christian view, it has happened already. In Christ a new type of man appeared; and the new kind of life which began in Him is to be put into us. How is this done?
There are three things that spread the Christ-life to us: baptism, belief, and the Lord's Supper...Do not think I am setting up baptism and belief and the Holy Communion as things that I will do instead of my own attempts to copy Christ. Your natural life is derived from your parents; that does not mean it will stay there if you do nothing about it. You can lose it by neglect, or you can drive it away by committing suicide. You have to feed it and look after it; but always remember you are not making it , you are only keeping up a life you got from someone else. In the same way a Christian can lose the Christ-life which has been put in him, and he has to make efforts to keep it. But even the best Christian that ever lived is not acting on his own steam - he is nourishing or protecting a life he could never have acquired by his own efforts. And it has practical consequences. As long as the natural life is in your body, it will do a lot towards repairing the body. Cut it, and up to a point it will heal, as a dead body would not. A live body is not one that never gets hurts, but one that can to some extent repair itself. In the same way a Christian is not a man who never goes wrong, but a man who is enabled to repent and pick himself up and begin over again after each stumble - because the Christ-life is inside him, repairing him all the time, enabling him to repeat (in some degree) the kind of voluntary death which Christ Himself carried out."
"Feed My Sheep. Not Experiment On My Rats"
Novelty may fix our attention not even on the service but on the celebrant. You know what I mean. Try as one may to exclude it, the question "What on earth is he up to now?" will intrude. It lays one's devotion waste. There is really some excuse for the man who said, "I wish they'd remember that the charge to Peter was Feed my sheep; not Try experiments on my rats, or even, Teach my performing dogs new tricks.
"Becoming Clean Mirrors"
Our whole destiny seems to lie in the opposite direction, in being as little as possible ourselves, in acquiring a fragrance that is not our own but borrowed, in becoming clean mirrors filled with the image of a face that is not ours
"100 Reasons Why I’m a Christian"
1.Bowing my knee to Christ is the only natural and logical reaction to everything that each of my senses has taken in all my life.
2.It fulfills the purpose for which I was created.
3.It delights God.
4.It reflects my appreciation for Jesus’ crucifixion.
5.I can face death with confidence, having made peace with God.
6.I can experience an eternity of pleasure so great it cannot be described.
7.I can hear my Creator say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
8.I will, fall all eternity, look upon the face of God.
9.Through being Christ-like I am able to leave this world a better place than it would have been without me.
10.I will not spend eternity where there is no hope.
11.I can live for eternity in a place with the best souls that ever inhabited the earth.
12.Christianity opens up the opportunity to have a marriage that is as beautiful as can possibly be experienced in this world.
13.I can take every concern and problem to the powerful One who rules the Universe. He can change what I cannot.
14.As a Christian I have been given the ultimate guidebook for raising exceptional children.
15.Being a Christian makes me the friend of God, rather than His enemy.
16.When I apply the principles God has given, I can learn to be a diligent and good steward, which usually prevents poverty.
17.My becoming a Christian thwarts the plans Satan had for my demise.
18.Christianity applied prevents alcoholism.
19.I can bless others with the life-improving wise counsel I have obtained from the Lord.
20.It uses my talents in the most meaningful ways they could possibly be used.
21.Christianity involves me in the single most world-improving cause that has ever existed.
22.I can enjoy the creation for what it truly is: the art of my Father.
23.I know Who to thank when something goes unexpectedly well.
24.Christianity prevents child abuse.
25.Christianity comes with a spiritual family that will care for me during times of crisis.
26.Even when my crisis hits in the middle of nowhere—I have family I have never met a phone call away.
27.God’s instructions and principles bring clarity as to what courses of action will solve even the most complex problems.
28.Christianity prevents drug abuse.
29.God promises me that in eternity those who have loved and served Him will no longer experience pain or suffering.
30.It prevents me from wondering my entire life what the meaning of life is.
31.The self-control He teaches me improves absolutely every aspect of my life.
32.Christianity puts everything in perspective. Molehills are not mountains.
33.I am more respected for the goodness He’s given me.
34.Christianity applied prevents AIDS and all other sexually transmitted diseases.
35.Authentic Christianity keeps me from naively following charismatic, self-centered false teachers who do not have my best interest at heart.
36.God promises me that in eternity those who have loved and obeyed Him no longer experience death.
37.I get to spend time in this life with the world’s most authentic and best people.
38.Christianity prevents domestic violence.
39.It feels good to face truth and not go through life trying to avoid reality.
40.I need not go through life insecure in my marriage. My spouse has extra incentive for being faithful. In honoring me, he honors God.
41.I know that even though life is not fair now, God will vindicate and bring justice in the next life.
42.I have a destination for the joy I want to express for all I’ve been given. God accepts my worship.
43.Christianity prevents an eternity in the presence of the Devil and his angels.
44.It honors the work my parents put into me when they sacrificed throughout my childhood to share God with me.
45.Christianity prevents abortion—the holocaust of our generation.
46.When I listen closely to the written words of my Shepherd, I can know who is and who is not telling the truth in matters of religion.
47.Christianity makes my life beautiful.
48.When as a Christian I share information God has given me as to His plan for saving us, someone can change where they will spend eternity.
49.Being a Christian helps me to not waste God’s grace.
50.When correctly applied, through the removal of such things as pride, greed, and selfishness, it is the best avenue to world peace.
51.Christianity applied usually prevents incarceration.
52.Being a Christian gives me the most meaningful reasons for taking good care of the earth’s resources. This is my Father’s world.
53.It prevents an eternity of decay “where the worm never dies.”
54.Christianity prevents gangs by offering young people a productive, tight, and meaningful group to belong to.
55.Living life God’s way prevents citizens from becoming a financial liability.
56.Living life God’s lowers, or more accurately, removes the crime rate.
57.God provides comfort through all my afflictions.
58.Christianity applied would solve virtually all the problems in the public school system.
59.Christianity raises the value of women and prevents them from being used, suppressed, or exploited.
60.Christianity often prevents children from living life without both a father and a mother.
61.The principles of moderation taught in God’s word keep the pleasures of this life at their peak of enjoyment.
62.Christian employees are often valued for the work ethic learned from Scripture, and thus are more likely to climb the corporate ladder.
63.I don’t have to feel compelled to dress like I’m a prostitute in order to get attention. God instead is my confidence.
64.Christianity teaches me to express myself in creative, intelligent, interesting ways, without depending on profanity to make an impression.
65.Holidays with generations of Christian family members takes the drama out.
66.Christianity prevents the atheism that taught people in WW2 that they were only animals and should be therefore selectively bred.
67.Christianity gives me a beautiful reason to have children: to share God with them and honor Him together throughout eternity.
68.Christianity gives me a motivational reason to take good care of my body: It belongs to God.
69.Christianity applied often prevents homelessness.
70.God has taught me how to forgive so I do not have to seek vengeance or live a life filled with bitterness or grudges.
71.Christianity teaches us from a young age to be diligent, and this attitude often contributes to academic success.
72.Christianity prevents sexual addictions.
73.It teaches we must earn an honest living, and thereby prevents gambling family money away.
74.Christianity discourages smoking and therefore prevents the consequences of being addicted to nicotine.
75.Christianity prevents racism, and instead helps us enjoy the differences God Himself has created.
76.Christianity gives extra incentive to get out and vote, write editorials, and in other ways improve the moral climate of this world.
77.Christians are often patriotic and honor their country and those who have sacrificed to protect our freedom. We are taught to be grateful.
78.It avoids an eternity of more intense pain than I can ever experience in this life.
79.Christianity applied keeps taxpayers out of trouble with the IRS.
80.Christianity applied prevents cruelty to animals.
81.God promises those who love and serve Him, that in eternity there will be no more crying.
82.Christianity keeps my mind more pure, fresh, and innocent, and thus more pleasant.
83.As a Christian, God gives me the strength to break destructive, long-term habits.
84.He teaches me to be generous. When I give of myself, or of what I have, it gives me a sense of fulfillment. I gain even when I give.
85.God promises me that He will reward me for even the simplest act of service offered to others, as if I had done it for He Himself.
86.God gives me the power to overcome my weaknesses.
87.Christianity gives a depth to my friendships, which would not have been experienced without our spiritual ties from our oneness of purpose.
88.Christianity teaches me to view time as precious and to manage it wisely.
89.Christianity prepares me for the day I will stand before my God in judgment.
90.I am able to overcome through the strength God supplies even genetic predispositions.
91.By serving God I have a merciful and kind taskmaster, compared to the cruelties of serving Satan.
92.I no longer need to feel guilty for my sin. God promises me He has removed it as far as the East is from the West.
93.Christianity brings more love into my life from every direction.
94.Christianity has taught me to be honest and has as a result caused me to be considered trustworthy by others.
95.It prevents involvement with the darkness of the occult.
96.It keeps me from being shallow or materialistic, and instead schools me in contentment.
97.Christianity has taught me not only how to better get along with all kinds of people, but how to prevent and resolve conflict.
98.Christianity exchanges my weariness for “seasons of refreshing” only He can provide.
99.God gives me a calm heart in a world of turmoil.
100.As a Christian, God promises to give me the strength at the end of my life to “finish strong”.
"The Touch of The Master's Hand"
Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin,
but held it up with a smile; "What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?" "A dollar, a dollar"; then two!" "Only
two? Two dollars, and who'll make it three? Three dollars, once; three
dollars twice; going for three.." But no, from the room, far back, a
gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow; Then, wiping the dust
from the old violin, and tightening the loose strings, he played a melody
pure and sweet as caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low,
said; "What am I bid for the old violin?" And he held it up with the bow.
A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two? Two thousand! And who'll make
it three? Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice, and going and
gone," said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, "We do not
quite understand what changed its worth." Swift came the reply: "The touch
of a master's hand."
And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin, A
"mess of pottage," a glass of wine; a game - and he travels on. "He is
going" once, and "going twice, He's going and almost gone." But the Master
comes, and the foolish crowd never can quite understand the worth of a soul
and the change that's wrought by the touch of the Master's hand.
Myra 'Brooks' Welch
"A Secret Society: Those In The World But Not Of The World"
The thing has happened: the new step has been taken and is being taken. Already the new men are dotted here and there all over the earth. Some... are still hardly recognizable: but others can be recognized. Every now and then one meets them. Their voices and faces are different from ours; stronger, quieter, happier, more radiant. They begin where most of us leave off. They are, I say, recognizable; but you must know what to look for. They will not be very like the idea of 'religious people' which you have formed from your general reading. They do not draw attention to themselves. You tend to think that you are being kind to them when they are really being kind to you. They love you more than other men do, but they need you less. (We must get over wanting to be needed: in some goodish people, especially women, that is the hardest of all temptations to resist.) They will usually seem to have a lot of time: you will wonder where it comes from. When you have recognized one of them, you will recognize the next one much more easily. And I strongly suspect (but how should I know?) that they recognize one another immediately and infallibly, across every barrier of colour, sex, class, age... In that way, to become holy is rather like joining a secret society. To put it at the very lowest, it must be great fun.
A man becomes a saint not by conviction that he is better than sinners but by the realization that he is one of them, and that all together need the mercy of God!
"The Tiny Hook"
Even in the most wretched being there is a tiny hook on which a thread of salvation could be fastened.
Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
"Necessary But Not Enough"
Good Works will never save you, but you can never be saved without them.
"Work Out Your Salvation"
No man has the right to abandon the care of his salvation to another.
"People of a Particular Sort"
Prudence means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it...Temperance ...to all pleasures...going the right length and no further...Justice...is...'fairness'; it includes honesty, give and take, truthfulness, keeping promises...And Fortitude includes both kinds of courage - the kind that faces danger as well as the kind that 'sticks it' under pain...But the truth is that right actions done for the wrong reason do not help to build the internal quality or character called a 'virtue'...We might think that God wanted simply obedience to a set of rules: whereas He really wants people of a particular sort.
"As Doves Fly"
"...may the Lord Jesus Christ be exalted in the midst of his Church which is His fullness -"the fullness of Him that filleth all in all." May multitudes be converted; may they come flocking to Christ with holy eagerness to find in Him a refuge as the doves fly to their dovecotes."
Charles H. Spurgeon
...mystical in its root and practical in its fruits, a communion with God, a calm and deep enthusiasm, a love which radiates, a force which acts, a happiness which overflows.
"Your Principle Part"
A man's religion is the chief fact with regard to him.
"Surpass Yourself Toward Him"
...the grand premise of religion is that man is able to surpass himself, that man who is part of this world may enter into a relationship with Him who is greater than the world.
Abraham Joshua Heschel
"Facing God's Expectations"
Religion begins with a consciousness that something is asked of us.
Abraham Joshua Heschel
"Service: The Purpose of Religion"
The purpose of religion is not to satisfy the needs we feel but to create in us the need of serving ends, of which we otherwise remain oblivious.
Abraham Joshua Heschel
"Bliss Flows Out From Us"
I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly at the turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then to have to keep silent because the people with you care for it no more than for a tin can in the ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with (the perfect hearer died a year ago). This is so even when our expressions are inadequate, as of course they usually are. But how if one could really and fully praise even such things to perfection – utterly “get out” in poetry or music of paint the upsurge of appreciation that almost bursts you? Then indeed object would be fully appreciated and our delight would have attained perfect development. The worthier the object, the more intense this delight would be. If it were possible for a created soul fully (I mean, up to the full measure conceivable in a finite being) to “appreciate”, that is to love and delight in, the worthiest object of all, and simultaneously at every moment to give this delight perfect expression, then that soul would be in supreme beautitude. It is along these lines that I find it easiest to understand the Christian doctrine that “heaven” is a state in which angels now, and men hereafter, are perpetually employed in praising God. This does not mean, as it can so dismally suggest, that it is like “being in Church”. For our “services” both in their conduct and in our power to participate, are merely attempts at worship; never fully successful, often 99.9 percent failures, sometimes total failures. We are not riders but pupils in the riding school; for most of us the falls and bruises, the aching muscles and the severity of the exercise, far outweigh those few moments in which we were, to our own astonishment, actually galloping without terror and without disaster. To see what the doctrine means, we must suppose ourselves to be in perfect love with God – drunk with, drowned in, dissolved by, that delight which, far from remaining pent up within ourselves as incommunicable, hence hardly tolerable, bliss, flows out from us incessantly again in effortless and perfect expression, our joy no more separable from the praise in which it liberates and utters itself than the brightness a mirror receives is separable from the brightness it sheds....man’s chief end is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”. But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, god is inviting us to enjoy Him.
Meanwhile, of course, we are merely, as Donne says, tuning our instruments. The tuning up of the orchestra can be itself delightful, but only to those who can in some measure, however little, anticipate the symphony. The Jewish sacrifices, and even our own most sacred rites, as they actually occur in human experience, are, like the tuning, promise, not performance. Hence, like the tuning, they may have in them much duty and little delight or none. But the duty exists for the delight. When we carry out our “religious duties” we are like people digging channels in a waterless land, in order that when at last the water comes, it may find them ready. I mean, for the most part. There are happy moments, even now, when a trickle creeps along the dry beds; and happy souls to whom this happens often.
“As If He Died This Day”
When taking the Lord's supper it ought to seem to be as great, new, and delightful as if Christ that same day, first descended into the virgin's womb, had been made man; or hanging on the cross, was suffering and dying for the salvation of mankind.
"The Bride Becomes The Church"
"...the Bride of God is the whole nation, Israel. This is worked out in one of the most moving and graphic chapters in the whole Old Testament (Ezekiel 16). Finally, this is transferred in the Apocalypse from the old Israel to the new, and the Bride becomes the Church, "the whole blessed company of faithful people". It is this which has, like the unworthy bride of Ezekiel, been rescued, washed, clothed, and married God..."
“A Cross Worth Carrying”
The higher a person is advanced in spirit the heavier crosses shall he often meet with... He is sensible of the great prophet which he reaps by bearing the cross... All the burden of tribulation is converted into an assured hope of comfort from God and the more the flesh is brought down by affliction the more the spirit is strengthened by inward grace.,,If thou fling away one cross, without doubt thou shalt find another and perhaps a heavier. Dost thou think to escape that which no mortal ever could avoid? What saint was there ever in the world without his cross and affliction?
“One Non-Christian’s Honest Review of Christianity”
Christianity achieved the well-nigh impossible. The Christian doctrine elevated the individual soul, placing slave and master and commoner and nobleman alike on the same metaphysical footing, rendering them equal before God and the law. Christianity insisted that even the king was only one among many.
It is in fact nothing short of a miracle (and we should keep this fact firmly before our eyes) that the hierarchical slave-based societies of our ancestors reorganized themselves, under the sway of an ethical/religious revelation, such that the ownership and absolute domination of another person came to be viewed as wrong.
Christianity made explicit the surprising claim that even the lowliest person had rights, genuine rights—and that sovereign and state were morally charged, at a fundamental level, to recognize those rights. Christianity put forward, explicitly, the even more incomprehensible idea that the act of human ownership degraded the slaver (previously viewed as admirable nobility) as much or even more than the slave. We fail to understand how difficult such an idea is to grasp.
The society produced by Christianity was far less barbaric than the pagan—even the Roman—ones it replaced. Christian society at least recognized that feeding slaves to ravenous lions for the entertainment of the populace was wrong, even if many barbaric practices still existed. It objected to infanticide, to prostitution, and to the principle that might means right. It insisted that women were as valuable as men (even though we are still working out how to manifest that insistence politically). It demanded that even a society’s enemies be regarded as human. Finally, it separated church from state, so that all-too-human emperors could no longer claim the veneration due to gods. All of this was asking the impossible: but it happened...Even the fact that such problems had ever existed disappeared from view...
"He lies in the manger, but contains the world; He nurses at the breasts, but feeds the angels; He is wrapped and swaddling clothes, but vests us with immortality; He found no place in the inn, but makes for Himself a temple in the hearts of believers. In order that weakness might become strong, strength became weak.”