On Lay-Preachers

A faithful man . . . being furnished with the knowledge of God and the requisite Spiritual gifts for the edification of others (graciously bestowed upon him by God), and also having the time and other things necessary for the right performance of this duty granted him by providence, then I certainly would allow him to interpret the Scriptures and to meet with others for their edification, even though he does not intend ever to holy orders — providing only that he makes no interruption of an established ministry. . . . Where Christ has provided the gifts there must be a vocation.

— John Owen, quoted in Barret and Harkin’s OWEN ON THE CHRISTIAN LIFE, pp. 46-47

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A Violent Enterprise

“A ‘successful’ life has become a violent enterprise. We make war on our own bodies, pushing them beyond their limits; war on our children, because we cannot find enough time to be with them when they are hurt and afraid, and need our company; war on our spirit, because we are too preoccupied to listen to the quiet voices that seek to nourish and refresh us; war on our communities, because we are fearfully protecting what we have, and do not feel safe enough to be kind and generous; war on the earth, because we cannot take the time to place our feet on the ground and allow it to feed us, to taste its blessings and give thanks.”

– Wayne Muller, SABBATH, p. 2

The Comfort of Faith in God’s Power

Faith is comforted twice over in relation to God’s power. First, because it knows that he has ample ability to do good. Thus, in order to further the salvation of believers he puts forth his hand to rule and govern all things; heaven and earth are his possession and domain, and every creature depends on his goodwill. Faith is comforted in the second place because it finds ample assurance in his protection, since whatever might do harm is subject to his will, and the devil and his devices are restrained as by a curb. Everything, in short, which might impede our salvation is subject to his control.

– John Calvin

Share the Truth or Lose It

And therefore, Lord, your judgments are terrible, because your truth is not my property nor the property of this man or that man; it belongs to all of us whom you publicly call into communion with it, warning us in most terrible terms that we must not hold it as private to ourselves lest we be deprived of it altogether.

– Augustine, Confessions, Book 12, Chapter 25

Overcoming Fear

Christians overcome their fears by looking not only at the written Word, the Bible, but also at the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ. Through his sovereign and creative power, God is able to give us his saving Word, human and divine, written and writhing on the cross.

– Timothy Keller, The Songs of Jesus (April 30)

Faith is Refusing to Worry

…a large part of faith…consists of just refusing anxious thoughts…refusing to think about worrying things, refusing to think of the future in that wrong sense… [Having] faith means that I shall say: ‘No; I refuse to be worried. I have done my reasonable service; I have done what I believed to be right and legitimate, and beyond that I will not think at all’… When the devil comes with his insinuations, injecting them into you – all the fiery darts of the evil one – say, ‘No; I am not interested. The God whom I am trusting for today, I will trust for tomorrow. I refuse to listen; I will not think your thoughts.’ Faith is refusing to be burdened because we have cast our burden upon the Lord.

— D. M. Lloyd Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, ii, pp. 156-7

That is the Christian

‘But we all’ – everyone of us as Christians – ‘we all with open face (the veil has gone), beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory.’ That is the Christian. He spends his time in looking at Christ, in gazing upon Him. He is so enraptured by the sight of Him that he has forgotten himself. If you were to feel more interest in Christ you would be less interested in yourself.

— D.M. Lloyd Jones, Spiritual Depression, pp. 88-89

Money

Money, in truth, is one of the most unsatisfying of possessions. It takes away some cares, no doubt; but it brings with it quite as many cares as it takes away. There is trouble in the getting of it. There is anxiety in the keeping of it. There are temptations in the use of it. There is guilt in the abuse of it. There is sorrow in the losing of it. There is perplexity in the disposing of it. Two-thirds of all the strifes, quarrels, and lawsuits in the world, arise from one simple cause, — money!

— J. C. Ryle, Practical Religion, p. 327-328