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Posts Tagged ‘Quotations’

Tonight I am teaching my care group about Jesus’ statement in John 14, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.”

You could come and hear me speak, or you could just read this:

“Follow thou me. I am the way the truth and the life. Without the way there is no going, without the truth there is no going, without the life there is no living. I am the way which thou must follow, the truth which thou must believe, the life for which thou must hope. I am the inviolable way, the infallible truth, the never-ending life. I am the straightest way, the sovereign truth, true life, life blessed, life uncreated. If thou remain in my way thou shalt know the truth, and the truth shall make thee free, and thou shalt lay hold of eternal life.” (Thomas a Kempis in “The Imitation of Christ” as quoted by F.F. Bruce’s commentary “The Gospel & Epistles of John”)

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The quotification of John Owen

Some time ago picked up a copy of John Owen’s “The Mortification of Sin.” I literally bought it because I had a gift certificate to our church bookstore, wanted one particular book, had only a few dollars left, and Owen’s book was the cheapest one available at the time. I figured, “Hey, I always hear what a great theologian this guy was, and what a classic book this is. Why not?” I didn’t get to it for some time but picked it up due to a challenge from a friend, Travis Carden. I read the first four chapter and put it down because I am a chicken. It is a TOUGH read and it refused to let me move quickly at any point.

I’ve found few books that intimidated me in this way; his style of writing is challenging and yet the material is so compelling that you know you have to go back over and over sections because the effort proves worthwhile every time. It’s a book that I read 5 pages at a time.

After putting it down, I ended up hearing Kris Lundgaard at a church conference and ended reading his modern adaptation of Owen’s work, “The Enemy Within.” In time, Lundgaard’s book has driven me back to Owen. Because of the difficulty of the book and its grip on me that demands that I understand it completely, I knew I had to cover the first four chapters again. Upon further review, I was reminded of so many priceless quotes that I had to share them with you. I quoted “Mortification” once already. I just have to add more, and more will follow as I work my way through the book.

On the definition of ‘mortification’:

“To kill a man, or any other living thing, is to take away the principle of all his strength, vigour and power, so that he cannot act, or exert, or put forth any proper actings of his own.”

On the need to be thorough in the task of mortification:

“He that is appointed to kill an enemy, if he leave striking before the other ceases living, doth but half his work.”

On the insidious tendency of indwelling sin to cloak itself in silence:

“When sin lets us alone, we may let sin alone: but as sin is never less quiet than when it seems to be most quiet, and its waters are for the most part deep when they are still, so ought our contrivances against it to be vigorous at all times, in all conditions, even where there is least suspicion.”

On the need to constantly wage war against the flesh:

“He that stands still, and suffers his enemies to double blows upon him without resistance, will undoubtedly be conquered in the issue.”

Suffer me one more, on the effects of the neglect of mortification:

” Where sin, through the neglect of mortification gets a considerable victory, it breaks the bones of the soul; and makes a man weak, sick and ready to die, so that he cannot look up. And when poor creatures will take blow after blow, wound after wound, foil after foil, and never rouse themselves to a vigorous opposition, can the expect anything but to be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, and that their souls should bleed to death?”

That’s two chapter’s worth! I’ll try not to just type the whole book out. As you can see, Owen is one of the greatest Christian minds that the world has know. If nothing else, buy this book and settle yourself to harvest its fruit.

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Turning ourselves inside-out

No takers on the latest installment of Pseudo-Scriptural trivia! What a lot of chickens you are. While you are all cowering and refusing to venture your respective guesses, I’ve got a great thought-provoking quote from Blaise Pascal. This quote is taken from the book “Mind of Fire”, which is a collection of diary style writings of Pascal’s, intended to take us through a rational appraisal of the basic tenets of Christian truth. He invites us to view man as a noble creature trapped in a dilemma rooted in the nobility of his created purpose and complicated by his inability to salvage himself. Regarding the futility of a purely subjective (internal) or objective (external) pursuit of fulfillment, Pascal says:

” The Stoics say: ‘Go back into yourselves; for it is there that you will find peace.’ This is just not true. The others [Epicureans] say: ‘Go out of yourselves; look for happiness in some distraction.’ And that also is not true. We are a prey to sickness. Happiness is neither outside nor inside us. It is in God, both outside us and inside us.”

In a few words Pascal underlines one of the lessons of Ecclesiastes; that meaning and satisfaction is beyond a man, despite his power and intellect. This is a plague that afflicts every man, whether he senses it or not. Its only resolution is aggressively pursuing union with Christ. In Christ we are restored to the nobility and happiness we were meant to have. Our only hope of this is that we are joined to Him by God’s free gift of faith. By faith we are credited with Christ’s perfect obedience, our sin is punished in His body, and we are joined to his resurrection unto newness of life, the new birth.

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I am finding A.W. Tozer to be very quotable. He has a very pastoral feel to him. That is appropriate because he was a a pastor, I guess. I just finished another one of his books so I thought I’d share some of it with you all:

“Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ is currently so common as to excite little notice…Self can live unrebuked at the very altar. It can watch the bleeding Victim die and not be in the least bit affected by what it sees. It can fight for the faith of the reformers and preach eloquently the creed of salvation by grace, and gain strength by its efforts. To tell the truth, it seems actually to feed upon orthodoxy and is more at home in a Bible conference than in the tavern. our very state of longing after God may afford it an excellent condition under which to thrive and grow.” (The Pursuit of God)

Here’s another:

“The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. rather, he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted god’s estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is, in the sight of God, more important than angels.” (The Pursuit of God)

What I really appreciate about Tozer is his concern for the actual experience of Christianity. Many of us book-readin’, doctrine-learnin’ types tend to neglect the role of Christian affections. We are often even afraid or resistant to the emotional side of our faith, but that is not Biblical. true, our Christian affections MUST be governed by what we know FIRST to be TRUE, but the Spirit filled response to Scripture is joy, and Dr. Tozer seems to have a firm handle on this.

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Are you a member of a cult?

This may ring a bell:

“It appears that most people go to church for consolation. In fact, we have now fallen uopn times when religion is mostly for consolation. We are now in the grip of the cult of peace- peace of mind, peace of heart, peace of soul, and we want to relax and have the great God Almighty pat our heads and comfort us. This has become our religion.” (A.W. Tozer in “Who Put Jesus on the Cross”)

I must confess to have dabbled from time to time with the practices of this bunch. Have you?

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One for the Christian blogosphere.

From Don Whitney’s “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life”:

“An old adage says that thoughts disentangle themselves when passed through the lips and across the fingertips [Amen! {“Amen!” mine}]. While reading makes a full man, and dialogue makes a ready man, according to Francis Bacon, writing makes and exact man [italics his {obnoxious interjections mine}].”

I read this book in six days. That isn’t because I’m a quick reader. I’m average to a little above, but strategic, goal oriented. This book was that enjoyable to me.

This quote summarizes the reason that my good friend Erik over at Irish Calvinist urged me to begin blogging. He has been thoroughly correct. I believe all my fellow Christian bloggers can agree.

You’re an exact bunch, the lot of you. <([{italics mine, this time}])>

Bracket that.

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Currently I, and some of the students in the high school ministry, are going through “God’s Passion for His Glory” by John Piper. Piper wrote this book in order to introduce readers to Jonathan Edwards, a pastor and theologian considered by many to be one of the most brilliant minds in American history. While I’ve read Ian Murray’s biography of Edwards, I haven’t read any of his books yet. “The End for Which God Create the World” (published in Pipers book) will be the first, and no doubt “Freedom of the Will” looks to be next, and shortly at that. While I’ve not read Edwards just yet (starting tomorrow) I do know of his influence on many of those close to me. Tony Reinke of Shepherd’s Scrapbook fame, Erik Raymond at Irish Calvinist, senior pastor Pat Abendroth and pastor Chris Petersen at my church, Omaha Bible Church are just a few. I directly suspect others as well. Read the following and tell me who you suspect as well:

“By a sparingness in diet, and eating as much as may be what is light and easy of digestion, I shall doubtless be able to think more clearly, and shall gain more time: 1. By Lengthening out my life; 2. Shall need less time for digestion, after meals; 3. Shall be able to study more closely, without injury to my health; 4. Shall need less time for sleep; 5. Shall more seldom be troubled with the head-ache.” (quoted in Sereno Dwight’s “Memoirs of Johnathan Edwards”)

Edwards had an incredible, bulldog-like fervor for pursuing the knowledge of God. He ruthlessly, systematically studied, always with pen in hand. he balanced a great intellect with warmth and passion. He was bordering on being a little nuts about it, too, by the likes of the previous quotation.

Dude really liked to study, huh?

I definitely know a few people who take a few pages from his book. Apparently, Tony ACTUALLY does the book thing . I’m looking forward to swiping a few pages, myself.

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