John Henry Newman on the Attributes of God

“The attributes of God, though intelligible to us on their surface yet, for the very reason that they are infinite, transcend our comprehension, when they are dwelt upon, when they are followed out, and can only be received by faith.”

John Henry Newman

For more John Henry Newman quotes see:

I Wish You Peace

Take Up Your Cross

Back to the Beginning

I Wish You Peace

It hasn’t been a peaceful year. We’ve been anxious and worried about many things –our health, politics, the state of the world. It’s been said that only God can make a bad man good, and that’s true. I’d liked to add to that statement here at the end of 2021 and say, only God can give a worried man (or woman) peace. I wish all of our readers peace in the New Year.

“‘These things we write unto you, that your joy may be full.’ What is fullness of joy but peace? Peace is the privilege of those who are ‘filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.’ ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.’ It is peace, springing from trust and innocence, and then overflowing in love towards all around him. He who is anxious thinks of himself, is suspicious of danger, speaks hurriedly, and has no time for the interests of others. He who lives in peace is at leisure, wherever his lot is cast.” John Henry Newman

For more about peace see:

Quiet and Peaceable Lives:

Keeping the Peace

Pursue Peace

Take Up Your Cross

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”  Luke 9:23

What does it mean to take up one’s cross daily (hint:  your cross is not your mother-in-law or your annoying boss).  Here’s what John Henry Newman said about it:

“To take up the cross of Christ is no great action done once for all;  it consists in the continual practice of small duties which are distasteful to us.”

Basically, it means to sacrifice your own wants and desires for the good of others.  Most of us will never have to die for others, as Jesus did, but there are plenty of times when we will have to put our selfishness to death for the sake of somebody else.  Some small examples:

  • You’re working on a committee and have definite ideas about how to accomplish the goal.  A fellow member has other ideas — will you listen to the merits of alternate approaches?  Will you allow others to feel excited and fulfilled because they contributed?  Or will you insist on having your own way?
  • Your spouse is offered a new job, doing what they have always dreamed of doing. However, it means a long commute and more hours away from home.  You will have to pick up the slack.  Are you supportive, or angry that you must assume more household duties?
  • Your adult child decides to move to another state.  The opportunities there are greater.  You would selfishly prefer that she continue living near you, as you may need her help as you and your husband age.  Do you encourage her to go, or try to “guilt” her into staying put?
  • Your pastor asks you to undertake a job for which you are uniquely suited.  Unfortunately, it interferes with time you have set aside to get your weekly mani-pedi.  How do you respond?
  • The line at the grocery store is long, and the cashier is slow.  Do you allow your annoyance to show?  Or do you make time to say, “thank you, have a nice day” to the harried clerk?

Well, you get the idea.  The world tells us to look out for number one, but the call of Christ is to put others first.  This is a hard teaching, and we’ll never live up to the example He set for us.  However, as disciples, we need to make the good of others part of every decision we make.  So, how will you take up your cross today?

Back to the Beginning

“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