Category Archives: quotes on monthly theme

Martin Luther on Christmas

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Luther’s writings contain a multitude of references to Advent and Christmas. The following excerpt comes from a sermon on the Nativity that he preached in 1530:

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If Christ had arrived with trumpets and lain in a cradle of gold, his birth would have been a splendid affair. But it would not be a comfort to me. He was rather to lie in the lap of a poor maiden and be thought of little significance in the eyes of the world. Now I can come to him. Now he reveals himself to the miserable in order not to give any impression that he arrives with great power, splendor, wisdom, and aristocratic manners. But upon his return on that Day, when he will oppose the high and the mighty, it will be different. Now he comes to the poor, who need a Savior, but then he will come as a Judge against those who are persecuting him now.

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More Manna

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“Each of them gathered as much as they could eat.  And Moses said to them, “let no one leave any of it over till the morning.’  But they did not listen to Moses.  Some left part of it till the morning, and it bread worms and stank.  And Moses was angry with them.”  Exodus 16:19-20

Julian Green was an American author, who wrote a number of novels, and is also known for his Diaries which chronicle his personal and religious life.  This quote from a 1941 diary entry gives his thoughts on how the verses above relate to how we should read Scripture:

“The story of the manna gathered and set aside by the Hebrews is deeply significant.  It so happened that the manna rotted when it was kept.  And perhaps this means that all spiritual reading which is not consumed–by prayer and by works–ends by causing a sort of rotting inside us.  You die with a head full of fine sayings and a perfectly empty heart.”

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We’re fond of saying, “you are what you eat,” as a way of reminding ourselves that eating healthy foods will lead to a strong, vigorous body, while a diet of junk causes obesity, diabetes, heart disease and a myriad of health problems.  In the case of the Bible, we should become what we eat.  When we nourish ourselves with God’s word, it should make us into a “new man” (or woman).  We should allow that good food, to manifest itself in a good life.

What have you been eating lately?  Has it had any effect on your life?

A Quote from Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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So long as we eat our bread together, we shall have sufficient even for the least. Not until one person desires to keep his own bread for himself does hunger ensue.

from Life Together 

 

Martin Luther on Growing Our Gifts

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“This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.”
Martin Luther

Back to the Beginning

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“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Back at the beginning of the month, I wrote about how Beth Ann called stewardship “taking care of Gods’ stuff” and that everything is really Gods’ stuff.  As we’ve explored the topic we’ve talked about all sorts of things — our gifts, our pain, our reading, our singing, our words,  the roles we play in the family and in life.  I’ve come to see that God not only made  us,  he also made everything we experience in this life.  He planned it all so that we would have the talents, tools and opportunity to do specific tasks for Him.

When something wImage result for quote about serving gode don’t understand or don’t like comes our way, instead of whining or becoming bitter, we should be thinking, “how can I use this for God?”  Instead of worrying about “how am I going to get through this situation”  we should be saying, “what does God want me to learn?”  Instead of turning our back on an uncongenial person, we should be considering, “how can I help this child of God He has sent to me?”

I don’t know about you, but for me this is a hard teaching.  I’d like to think the Christian life is about fulfilling my purpose,  but guess what?  That’s all wrong. It’s about fulfilling God’s purposes–I’m just the tool.  I’m not the first person to realize this (not a surprise).  I’m going to close with a quote from John Henry Newman, which sums it all up perfectly:

John Henry Newman

“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.

He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work.

I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place,
while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.

Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.”

John Henry Newman

 

 

 

 

Stewardship of Our Life

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Image result for martin luther quotes on vocationI blogged recently about being a Pastor’s wife.  The truth is I, and all of you, have many roles.  We are mothers and wives, employees and daughters, friends and neighbors, church members and siblings.  In each of these roles we have a responsibility to be God’s hands and feet in the world.  On a Via de Cristo weekend, we call the team members who are serving  others chas, which stands for Christ’s hands in Action.  When you think of your whole life that way, it puts a different perspective on the smallest and most mundane actions.

Martin Luther, changed the whole understanding of vocation.  In his time, those who had a “vocation” were the priests, nuns and monks.  These people were the ones who were giving their lives to God.  Luther said everyone could do this;  those in religious orders were no different or better than the ordinary person who was striving to dedicate their daily life to God.  Milking cows was as holy and important a role as leading the Mass.

This doesn’t mean we can go about our lives without any thought of God;  instead it means that we should be thinking of God and trying to do His will ALL THE TIME.  Imagine how the world would change if every one of us did this?  It would put an end to a lot of cursing, gossip, insults and other kinds of careless talk.  It would lead to productive employees, concerned parents, helpful neighbors and caring friends.  I suspect that the harder I try to do this, the more contented and peaceful I’ll become.

The work I have in this world is the work God has given me.  The roles I fulfill are the ones He chose for me.  Each of them will teach me something and bring me closer to Him if I just remember who I am:  a steward of the King.

C. S. Lewis on Stewardship

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  The only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. Our charities should pinch and hamper us. If we live at the same level of affluence as other people who have our level of income, we are probably giving away too little.

C. S. Lewis (1898–1963)

What is your reaction to this quote?  I find it challenging.  I fear few of us could meet C. S. Lewis’s standard–I know I don’t.

Bonhoeffer on Learning to Listen

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listenLearning to listen is an important part of all relationships; every Christian should listen to others and to God.

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Photo Credit: B Rosen via Compfight cc (https://www.flickr.com/photos/82763263@N00/4255321476/)

The following quote is from the German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his essay, Life Together.

“The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. It is God’s love for us that He not only gives us His Word but also lends us His ear.

So it is His work that we do for our brother when we learn to listen to him. Christians, especially ministers, so often think they must always contribute something when they are in the company of others, that this is the one service they have to render. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking.

Many people are looking for an ear that…

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