'Failings, with conflict, in sanctification should not weaken the peace of our justification and assurance of salvation. It matters not so much what ill is in us, as what good; not what corruptions, but how we regard them; not what our particular failings are so much as what the thread and tenor of our lives are, for Christ's dislike of that which is amiss in us turns not to the hatred of our persons but to the victorious subduing of all our infirmities.'
'...Christ's work, both in the church and in the hearts of Christians, often goes backward so that it may go forward better. As seed rots in the ground in the winter time, but after comes up better, and the harder the winter the more flourishing the spring, so we learn to stand by falls, and get strength by weakness discovered - vitutis custos infirmitas (weakness is the keeper of virtue). We take deeper root by shaking. And, as torches flame brighter by moving, then it pleases Christ, out of his freedom, in this manner to maintain his giovernment in us. Let us herein labour to exercise our faith, so that it may answer Christ's way of dealing with us. When we are foiled, let us believe we shall overcome; when we have fallen, let us believe we shall rise again.'
'...the purpose of the resurrection was, as well as sealing to us the assurance of our victory, so also (1) to quicken our souls from death in sin; (2) to free our souls from such snares and sorrows of spiritual death as accompagny the guilt of sin; (3) to raise them up more comfortable, as the sun breaks forth more gloriously out of a thick cloud; (4) to raise us out of particular slips and failings stronger; (5) to raise us out of all troublesome and dark conditions of life; and (6) at length to raise our bodies out of the dust.'
'Christ as a prophet teaches by his Spirit, he likewise as a king subdues the heart by his Spirit to obedience to what is taught. This is that teaching which is promised of God, when not only the brain but the heart itself is taught; when men do not only know what they should do but are taught the very doing of it. They are not only taught that they should love, fear and obey, but they are taught love itself, and fear and obedience themselves. Christ sets up his throne in the very heart and alters its direction, so making his subjects good, together with teaching them to be good. Other princes can make good laws, but they cannot write them in their people's hearts (Jer. 31:33). This is Christ's perogative: he infuses into his subjects his own Spirit.'
'Truth is truth, and error, error, and that which is unlawful is unlawful, whether men think so or not. God has put an eternal difference between light and darkness, good and ill, which no creatures's conceit can alter; and therefore no man's judgment is the measure of things further than it agrees to truth stamped upon things themselves by God.'
'Communicating with words is...perceived as a more intimate activity than "body language." Psychologist Jeffrey Arnett notes the irony in which "two people could be unembarrassed enough to have sex with each other yet too embarrassed to talk about contraception." To imagine staying up late into the night feasting on a wide-ranging conversation now strikes many as something one does after commencing a sexual relationship, not before. Thus one hallmark of a classic hookup scenario is silence. Talking is perceived as potentially ruinous to the moment. When did talking get to be so sacred? When did honest, verbal communication outpace the meeting of penis and vagina in its degree of intimacy?'
Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker, Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate and Think about Marrying, p.75.
'At the breakfast table I say, "I don't understand Susie at all," and shiver with unhappiness or despair. "I've fed her, bathed her, taken her up in the night, plucked thorns and splinters out of her feet, loved her, taught her to swim, skate, walk on beaches, admire the world, but now when I speak to her she weeps and slams the door, hides in the woods on a fine Sunday morning, seems on the one hand merry and on the other to carry some unanswered question. Is this a glimpse of our inability to understand one another? I seem to know more about a stranger on a train than my only daughter."'
'Sometimes, in bitterness of temptation, when the spirit struggles with a sense of God's anger, we are apt to think God an enemy. A troubled soul is like troubled water: we can see nothing in it, and, so far as it is not cleansed, it will cast up mire and dirt. It is full of objections about itself, yet for the most part we may discern something of the hidden life, and these smothered sparks. In a gloomy day there is so much light that we may know it to be day and not night; so there is something in a Christian under a cloud whereby he may be discerned to be a true believer and not a hypocrite. There is no mere darkness in the state of grace, but some beam of light whereby the kingdom of darkness does not wholly prevail.'
'We must not judge of ourselves always according to present feeling, for in temptations, we shall see nothing but the smoke of distrustful thoughts. Fire may be raked up in the ashes, though not seen. Life in the winter is hid in the root.'
'"...books are to remind us of what asses and fools we are. They're Ceasar's praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, "Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal." Most of us can't rush around talking to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven't time, money or that many friends. The things you're looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book.'"
'If you would attain to what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are. For where you are pleased with yourself there you have remained. Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing.'
Augustine of Hippo in Brad House, Community, p.192.
'That age of the church which was most fertile in subtle questions was most barren in religion; for it makes people think religion to be only a matter of cleverness, in tying and untying of knots. The brains of men inclining that way are hotter usually than their hearts.'
'Preachers should take heed likewise that they hide not their meaning in dark speeches, speaking in the clouds. Truth fears nothing so much as concealment, and desires nothing so much as clearly to be laid open to the view of all. When it is most unadorned, it is most lovely and powerful. Our blessed Saviour, as he took our nature upon him, so he took upon him our familiar manner of speech, which was part of his voluntary abasement. Paul was a profound man, yet he became as a nurse to the weaker sort (1 Thess. 2:7).'
'Weak Christians are like glasses which are hurt with the least violent usage, but if gently handled will continue a long time. This honour of gentle use we are to give to the weaker vessels (1 Pet. 1:3), by which we shall both preserve them and likewise make them useful to ourselves and the church.'
'It is not the best way, to assail young beginners with minor matters, but to share them a more excellent way and train them in fundamental points. Then other things will not gain credence with them. It is not amiss to conceal their defects, to excuse some failings, to commend their performances, to encourage their progress, to remove all difficulties out of their way, to help them in every way to bear the yoke of religion with greater ease, to bring them to love God and his service, lest they acquire a distaste for it before they know it.'
'Here see the opposite dispositions in the holy nature of Christ and the impure nature of man. Man for a little smoke will quench the light. Christ, we see, ever cherishes even the least beginnings. How he bore with the many imperfections of his poor disciples!'
'Let this support us when we feel ourselves bruised. Christ's way is first to wound, then to heal. No sound whole soul shall ever enter into heaven. Think when in temptation, Christ was tempted for me; according to my trials will be my graces and comforts. If Christ be so merciful as not to break me, I will not break myself by despair, nor yield myself over to the roaring lion, Satan, to break me into pieces.'
'...we must not pass too harsh a judgment upon ourselves or others when God exercises us with bruising upon bruising. There must be conformity to our head, Christ, who 'was bruised for us' (Isa. 53:5) that we may know how much we are bound unto him. Ungodly spirits, ignorant of God's ways in bringing his children to heaven, censure broken-hearted Christians as miserable persons, whereas God is doing a gracious, good work with them. It is no easy matter to bring a man from nature to grace, and from grace to glory, so unyielding and intractable are our hearts.'
'When you are casting vision, think bite-sized. Articulate the greater vision and then break it down so that it is accessible to everyone. God has made us all parts of one body for the purpose of giving him glory through the exaltation of Jesus. Helping people to see their parts in such a great mission will inspire ownership in the mission. Ownership will in turn inspire innovation and creativity and make the vision God has given your church acheivable.'
'Our apathy toward the mission of God is not beacuse of a lack of knowing what to do. It is our blindeess to his glory and grace that keeps us satisfied with nominal Christianity. If you want to light a fire under your church for mission, don't simply trot out your goals; lift up Jesus. When we see him in his power and are overcome by his love, we are joyfully compelled to respond to his call to make disciples. We are energized to reach the lost and help the weak. We are inspired to worship and to call the lost to his feet.'
'Loving your neighbors is much easier if you never have to deal with them. Living in the light of the gospel is much harder in community where people sin against you. Your neighbors know this and that is why talk is cheap. Experiencing a people who confess their sins against one another, repent, and forgive is foreign to the world. Communities that live in this way, transformed by the gospel, will not only have a good reputation among their neighbors, but also will point them to hope in Jesus. This is a community that has joined the mission of God.'
'The call to heroic sanctity is a call...to live one's life carried along like a feather on the breath of God, to become the hero of one's own story, instead of a background character in the tragic drudgery of history, or a cog in the inspired narrative of technological progress.'
'Almost everyone, at least at some level, thinks that this world is more appealing that the world to come. It is because we do not spend enough time contemplating beauty, because we do not take into our hearts the realization that all of the wonders and marvels, all of the joys and triumphs, of this world are only a tiny spark thrown from the fire of Beauty that burns in the mind of God. The feeling that we have when the Ring is finally destroyed in the Fires of Mouth Doom is only a distant harbinger of the dawn that awaits the soul at the end of the world, when the darkness that sin brings across the horizons of our lives is broken, when the forgotten tatses of childhood rise up again in all of their intensity and then are shown to be nothing, a shadow and a ghost, in comparison with the reality that lies ahead.'
'There is a hope that burns within my heart,
that gives me strength for ev'ry passing day;
a glimpse of glory, though revealed in meagre part,
that drives all doubt away:
I stand in Christ, with sins forgiv'n,
with Christ in me, the hope of heav'n;
my highest calling and my deepest joy:
to make his will my home.
There is a hope that lifts my weary head,
a consolation strong against despair,
that when the world has plunged me in its deepest pit,
I find the Saviour there.
Through present sufferings, future fears,
he whispers, "Courage!" in my ears,
and I am safe in everlasting arms
for he will bear me home.
There is a hope that stands the test of time,
that lifts my eyes beyond the beckoning grave,
to see the matchless beauty of a day divine
when I behold his face.
When sufferings cease and sorrows die,
when every longing’s satisfied,
then joy unspeakable will flood my soul,
for I’ll be truly home.'
'"Casual sex is not about fun, or liberation, or self-esteem, or self-love, or healing the world. It is not casual at all. It is meant to be a very serious panacea for the deeper problem of epidemic loneliness which pervades modern culture. Man, having divorced himself from nature and the family, is left with the problem of an unpleasant solitude. The pornography empires and glory holes have been erected on the foundations of terrible loneliness, which they attempt to assuage with the superficial imitation of intimacy.
This loneliness is the product of the reduction of the family to a contract of mutual convenience, an arrangement that can be dissolved the moment one of the partners failes in his responsibility to meet the other's self-defined needs. It has lost its covenantal power to overcome the original solitude of Adam, the solitude of which God once said, "It is not good that man should be alone."'
'I could never myself believe in God were in not for the the cross. The only God I believe in is the One Nietzsche ridiculed as "God on the cross." In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God was immune to it? I have entered many Buddhist temples in different Asian countries and stood respectfully before the satue of the Buddha, his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing round his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agonies of the world. But each time after a while I have had to turn away. And in imagination I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn-pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged into God-forsaken darkness. That is the God for me!'
'Biblical teaching and personal experience thus combine to teach that suffering is the path to holiness or maturity. There is always an indefinable something about people who have suffered. They have a fragrance that others lack.'