The Best Ministry

Francis Paget (20 March 1851 – 2 August 1911) was an English theologian and Bishop. Here’s what he had to say about how to grow our faith through the best ministry open to us.

“God puts within our reach the power of helpfulness, the ministry of pity; He s ever ready to increase His grace in our hearts, that as we live and act among all the sorrows of the world we many learn by slow degrees the skill and mystery of consolation. ‘If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.’ There is no surer way of steadfast peace in this world than the active exercise of pity; no happier temper of mind and work than the lowly watching to see if we can lessen any misery that is about us: nor is there any better way of growth in faith and love.”

For more posts about helping others see:

The Helpfulness Habit

For another quote by Francis Paget see:

Learning to Love

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A Good Habit

I recently read a book about how our habits, spiritual and secular, influence us often unconsciously. In this quote, G. Wilkinson (1833-1907) a Bishop of St. Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Church, explains how to develop a the good habit of sympathy..

“Ask Him to increase your powers of sympathy; to give you more quickness and depth of sympathy, in little things as well as great. Opportunities of doing a kindness may bring sunshine into the whole day of some sick person. Think of the pleasure you might give to someone who is shut in, and has fewer pleasures than you have, by sharing with her some little comfort or enjoyment that you have learnt to look upon as a necessary of life, –the pleasant drive, the new book, flowers from the country, etc. Try to put yourself in another’s place. Ask ‘What should I like myself, if I were hardworked, or sick, or lonely?’ Cultivate the habit of sympathy.”

For more about our habits see:

The Habit of Honesty

Service — A Blessed Habit

The Helpfulness Habit

Walking With Jesus — Another Quote

I’m evidently not done with last month’s theme, because I came across this quote in my daily devotions. Edward Pusey (1800-1882) was one of the major figures of the Oxford Movement, a reform movement in the Church of England.

“If we be faithful and humble, God will increase our faith by enabling us to obey more faithfully, and will strengthen our sight by enabling us to do what we now see. As in our daily walk we become nearer towards heaven, He will open to us more of heaven. And so the veil which sin laid upon our sight being taken away ‘we all, with open face, beholding as in a glass, the glory of the Lord,’ studying His countenance, watching His looks, seeking to have His gracious and compassionate look cast upon us in the midst of our frailties and infirmities, may catch some faint reflections of its brightness and be changed into the image wheron we gaze, which we love, which in our weakness, we would long to copy and transfuse into ourselves; we too may be ‘changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Edward Pusey

For more quotes by Edward Pusey see:

Surrendering Every Day

Clothed With Christ

Victorious Faith

Thy Will Be Done

‘”Thy will be done.’ For instance, when you wish, and by every means endeavor, to be well, and yet remaln ill–then say, ‘Thy will be done.’ When you undertake something, and your undertaking does not succeed, say, ‘Thy will be done.’ When you do good to others, and they repay you with evil, say, ‘Thy will be done.’ Or when you would like to sleep, and are overtaken by sleeplessness, say, ‘Thy will be done.’ In general, do not become irritated when anything is not done in accordance with your will, but learn to submit in everything to the Will of the Heavenly Father.”

FATHER JOHN

This was part of my daily devotional reading for today, and it makes me see how attached I am to my own will, and the way I want things to be or to turn out. It’s hard to accept sickness or failure or discomfort. Often I feel like Job, questioning God about why these things are happening to me. As the quote says, I need to learn trust and acceptance. Maybe you do, too.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Are You In the Lord’s Army?

This quote was part of my devotional reading today:

“Oh, be at least able t say in that day, –Lord I am no hero. I have been careless, cowardly, sometimes all but mutinous. Punishment I have deserved. I deny it not. But a traitor I have never been. A deserter I have never been. I have tried to fight on Thy side in Thy battle against evil. I have tried to do the duty which lay nearest me, and to leave whatever Thou didst commit to my charge a little better than I found it. I have not been good, but I have tried to be good. Take the will for the deed, good Lord. Strike not my unworthy name off the role-call of the noble and victorious army, which is the blessed company of all faithful people. Let me, too, be found written in the Book of Live, even though I stand the lowest and last upon its list. Amen”

C. Kingsley

It reminded me of a song my daughters learned in Sunday School. I posted it once before, but you may enjoy it again!.

Do Unto Others

The great commandment of the Bible is to love. We are to love others as much, maybe even more than we love ourselves. Jesus Himself said:

“… in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12

What does this mean in practice? Well, giving others the benefit of the doubt — do you want to be judged according to your worst day or behavior? It means trying to understand different points of view. Don’t you hate it when an acquaintance refuses to even listen to the reasoning behind your ideas? It means being compassionate and slow to become angry. I mess up plenty of times and need forgiveness, not censure, don’t you?

Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, FRS (13 December 1815 – 18 July 1881), and English Anglcan priest and church historian puts it this way:

“Love one another in spite of your differences, in spite of your faults. Love one another, and make the best of one another, as He loved us, who for the sake of saving what was good in the human soul, forgot, forgave, put out of sight what was bad–who saw and loved what was good even in the publican Zacheus, even in the penitent Magdalen, even in the expiring malefactor, even in the heretical Samaritan, even in the Pharisee Nicodemus, even in the heathen soldier, even in the outcast Canaanite. It is very easy to fix our attention only on the weak points of those around us, to magnify them, to irritate them, to aggravate them; and by so doing, we can make the burden of life unendurable, and can destroy our own and others’ happiness and usefulness wherever we go. But this was not the love wherewith Christ loved us; this is not the new love wherewith we are to love one another.”

When we love in this way, we are blessed, and we become a blessing to others.

 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.  Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing “1 Peter 3:8-10

For more on this topic see:

Little Children, Love One Another

Charity = Love

By Our Love

What’s the Difference?

According to Martin Luther, there’s a big difference between the Word of God and the word of man:.

We must make a great difference between God’s Word and the word of man. A man’s word is a little sound that flies into the air and soon vanishes, but the Word of God is greater than heaven and earth, year, greater than death and hell, for it forms part of the power of God and endures everlastingly.

Martin Luther

Maybe this is why the Bible is the most read book in the world. When writer James Chapman created a list of the most popular books of the last fifty years, based on the number of copies sold, the Bible was the runaway winner. It sold 3.9 billion copies. The next closed contenders were “Quotations from the Works of Mao Tse-Tung” (820 million copies) and “Harry Potter”(400 million copies).

For more about the Bible see:

Is the Bible Your Companion?

Martin Luther on Reading the Bible

Dedicated continued ….

I recently posted about the word, dedicated . When we dedicate our lives to God, they become holy. This does not necessarily mean we must do “big” things. Rather, as Mother Teresa said,

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

In this way, every daily activity becomes a sacred practice when we offer it to God.

These quotes from my daily devotional seemed to sum it up well:

We do not always perceive that even the writing of a note of congratulation, the fabrication of something intended as an offering of affection, our necessary (interaction) with characters which have no congeniality with us, or hours apparently trifled away in the domestic circle, may be made by us the performance of a most sacred and blessed work–even the carrying out, after our feeble measure, of the design of God for the increase of happiness.” From Anna or Passages From Home Life

“Definite work is not always that which is cut and squared for us, but that which comes as a claim upon the conscience, whether it’s nursing in a hospital, or hemming a handkerchief.” Elizabeth M. Sewell

Jesus, the Word of God

It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, which is the true word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers will bring us to him. ” C. S. Lewis

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.” Hebrews 1:1-2

The Word Did It All –Martin Luther

What is Luther? The teaching is not mine. Nor was I crucified for anyone … How did I, poor stinking bag of maggots that I am, come to the point where people call the children of Christ by my evil name? … I simply taught, preached, wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philip and Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything.

Martin Luther

For more quotes by Martin Luther see:

Martin Luther on God’s Word

Martin Luther on Doing Good

Martin Luther on How to Respond to a Pandemic