"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." - Proverbs 25:11
""We are guilty of glamorizing service. The same impulse that makes us into facebraggers and position-jockeys looks for opportunities to serve that are high-profile or highly esteemed. We gravitate towards service that has high visibility, looking for opportunities to serve that elicit compliments. Yet we ignore the simple, boring, everyday opportunities to serve family, friends, and people who can never pay us back. We might fly across the world to feed children in a ghetto but ignore our neighbors who need help carrying in their groceries." see attribution.
"Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that a broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown." see attribution.
"The Christians' choice of a cross as the symbol of their faith is the more surprising when we remember the horror with which crucifixion was regarded in the ancient world. We can understand why Paul's 'message of the cross' was to many of his listeners 'foolishness', even 'madness' (1 Cor. 1:18, 23). How could any sane person worship as a god a dead man who had been justly condemned as a criminal and subjected to the most humiliating form of execution? This combination of death, crime and shame put him beyond the pale of respect, let alone of worship." - John Stott, The Cross of Christ, 23
"We need to get one thing straight before we go any further. Gottfried Wilhem von Leibniz (1646-1716) was the last man who knew everything. This means that no matter how compulsive we may be, no matter what expectations we think our professors or our congregations may have of us, no matter who we think we are, we can no longer hope to know everything. We cannot even know everything about some biblical book or pericope we might want to preach from. One important key to a lifetime of faithful, solid and productive exegesis is to remember that it truly does take a lifetime-and even then, it will not be finished! Go with what you have; build on what you gain. Listen, assimilate, absorb, but take your time... The temptation to feel responsible for buying a book (let alone reading it!) simply because it exists is an invitation to drop into the abyss." - Richard Erickson
"(The doctrine of sin) ... is bad news, and like all bad news is not very welcome, especially if you let yourself take seriously the implication that we actually want the destructive things we do, that they are not just an accident that keeps happening to poor little us, but part of our nature; that we are truly cruel as well as truly tender, truly loving and at the same time truly likely to take a quick nasty little pleasure in wasting or breaking love, scorching it knowingly up as the fuel for some hotter or more exciting feeling. We would, on the whole, very much like this not to be true, and our culture conspires to help us avoid and defer and ignore the sting of it as much as possible."
- Francis Spufford, Unapologetic, p. 29-30
"The funny thing is that to me it's exactly the other way around. In my experience, it's belief that involves the most uncompromising attention to the nature of things of which you are capable. It's belief which demands that you dispense with illusion after illusion, while contemporary common sense requires continual, fluffy pretending."
Francis Spufford, Unapologetic, p. 7
“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.”
- Gandalf, in The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
"The truth is, that instead of spectacular works, God most often works through ordinary people in ordinary circumstances being faithful and serving lovingly in small, ordinary ways over a long time."
- Chris Jones, sermon on Mark 6:1-6
Note: Everything Spurgeon wrote is quotable. For instance:
Again; we will not for one moment allow that a self-righteous man can have a broken heart. Ask him to pray, and he thanks God that he is every way correct. What need has he to weep because of the iniquity of his life? for he firmly believes himself to be well-deserving, and far enough removed from guilt. He has attended his religious duties; he is exceedingly strict in the form of his devotions… read more
“We have also seen hearts broken by bereavement. We have known tender wives who have laid their husbands in the tomb, and who have stood by the grave-side until their very heart did break for solitary anguish. We have seen parents bereaved of their beloved offspring one after another; and when they have been called to hear the solemn words, "Earth to earth…
Man is a double being: he is composed of body and soul, and each of the portions of man may receive injury and hurt. The wounds of the body are extremely painful, and if they amount to a breaking of the frame the torture is singularly exquisite. Yet God has in his mercy provided means whereby wounds may be healed and injuries repaired...
“...the Psalmist has here placed another fact side by side with this wondrous act of God; he declares that the same God who leadeth the stars, who telleth the number of them, and calleth them by their names, healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. …
"Revelation was written by an old man whose life was just about over. He was in exile, utterly desperate and dependent, and yet full of hope in a sovereign God because he knew that whoever sat on the throne in Rome did not finally decide what would happen in the world. He knew that there was a God who sat in heaven who…
"Many a time of an evening, when I sat alone looking at the fire, I thought, after all, there was no fire like the forge fire and the kitchen fire at home."
- Pip thinking to himself, from Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, Ch XXXIV.
Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?
Answer: That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.
- Question 1 of The Heidelberg Catechism
"Hurry is a form of violence practiced on time. But time is sacred." - Eugene Peterson
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