Thought Provokers for Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016

john-the-baptist-voice-in-the-wilderness

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance,
baptism without church discipline,
communion without confession,
absolution without personal confession.
Cheap grace is grace without discipleship,
grace without the cross,
grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field;
for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has.
It is the pearl of great price to buy
(for) which the merchant will sell all his goods.
It is the kingly rule of Christ,
for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble,
it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciples leaves his nets and follows him.

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow,
and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

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When I feel my sin and am shaken because of it,
it is not at all because of feeling inferior to others.
It is because one of God’s masterpieces has become stained with sin.

Paul Tournier, Swiss physician

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We are ensnared by the wisdom of the serpent;
we are set free by the foolishness of God.

Augustine

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No Christian escapes a taste of the wilderness
on the way to the Promised Land.

Evelyn Underhill

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God is too good, it is said, not to forgive.
That is exactly what he does: everything,
he forgives everything the moment the heart repents.
If the devil repented he would immediately be forgiven.
But sin without repentance cannot be pardoned.

Jacques Maritain

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016

women-two-grinding

This Thought Provokers may help you meditate the Gospel for this Sunday,
Matthew 24:36-44

There is nothing so likely to produce peace
as to be well prepared to meet an enemy.

George Washington

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Dig a well before you are thirsty.

Chinese proverb

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Several years ago, United Press International told the story of a Midwestern hospital that had been built thirty-five years earlier. During an inspection, they learned that the fire-fighting equipment had never been connected. Never! The hoses had never been connected to the water line. They had everything necessary to fight fire–except water.

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What is important is not that we should always fear (or hope for) the end
but that we should always remember, always take it into account.

An analogy may help.
A man of seventy need not be always feeling (much less talking about)
his approaching death:
but a wise man of seventy should always take it into account.
He would be foolish to embark on schemes
which presuppose twenty more years of life:
He would be criminally foolish not to make–
indeed, not to have made long since–his will.

Now, what death is to each man,
the second coming is to the whole human race.

William Barclay

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There are no secrets to success.
It is the result of preparation, hard work,
and learning from failure.

General Colin L. Powell

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016

remember-me-in-your-kingdom

If a person says with Pascal, “Lord, I give You everything,”
and in a tone that really commits him,
his friends can expect or fear anything from him
save that he will turn his life into a farce.

Francois Mauriac, God and Mammon

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If I could give you information of my life,
it would be to show how a woman of very ordinary ability
has been led by God in strange and unaccustomed paths
to do in His service what He has done in her.
And if I could tell you all, you would see how God has done all,
and I nothing.
I have worked hard, very hard — that is all,
and I have never refused God anything.

Florence Nightingale,
founder of the Red Cross and the nursing profession

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Let our aim be to please our dear Lord perfectly in little things,
and to attain a spirit of childlike simplicity and dependence.

Jean Nicolas Grou

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Really to pray
is to stand to attention in the presence of the King
and to be prepared to take orders from Him.

Donald Coggan

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I go out to preach with two propositions in mind.
First, every person ought to give his life to Christ.
Second, whether or not anyone else gives him his life,
I will give him mine.

Jonathan Edwards

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016

persecution-of-christians

These Thought Provokers may help you meditating the Gospel for this Sunday!

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The more you mow us down, the more quickly we grow;
the blood of Christians is seed.

Tertullian

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Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man.
We shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England,
as I trust shall never be put out.

Hugh Latimer, at the stake

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The martyrs were bound, imprisoned, scourged, racked, burnt, rent, butchered–
and they multiplied.

Augustine

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It used to be that people would die for their faith,
but these days religion is not that important, at least not for Western people.
We are not fanatics.
If our government started executing Christians,
even most fundamentalists would be content to pursue their faith quietly, very quietly. There’s no point to getting yourself killed, is there?

John Alexander, The Other Side

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Thought Provokers for this Sunday

god-of-abraham-isaac-and-jacob

The grave is but a covered bridge
leading from light to light,
through a brief darkness.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
A Covered Bridge at Lucerne

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What reason have atheists for saying that we cannot rise again?
Which is the more difficult, to be born, or to rise again?
That what has never been, should be,
of that what has been, should be again?
Is it more difficult to come into being than to return to it?

Blaise Pascal, Pensées

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There is a monastic order called “The Community of the Resurrection.”
That would be a good name for the whole church.

Robert McAfee Brown

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The Gospels do not explain the resurrection;
the resurrection explains the Gospels.
Belief in the resurrection is not an appendage to the Christian faith;
it is the Christian faith.

J.S. Whale

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Let us not then darken the joy of Christ’s victory
by remaining in captivity and darkness,
but let us declare His power,
by living as free people who have been called by Him
out of darkness into his admirable light.

Thomas Merton

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016

zaccheus1

The fact of Jesus’ coming
is the final and unanswerable proof that God cares.

William Barclay

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And I saw that there was an Ocean of Darkness and Death;
but an infinite Ocean of Light and Love flowed over the Ocean of Darkness;
and in that I saw the infinite love of God.

George Fox

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Jesus cannot forget us;
we have been graven on the palms of his hands.

Lois Picillo

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It is so important for every soul among you who is seeking God
to realize that God was first in the field,
and was seeking you, before you began to search for him..
There is no worse crime than to take to oneself the credit
for even a little of the grace one has received.
You could not have sought the word.if he had not sought you.

Bernard of Clairvaux

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God meets us on a family, rather than on a forensic basis.
His dealings with us are not legal but parental.
We are not under the law, but under grace.
This means simply that what reigns at the center of the spiritual universe
is not overbearing power,
nor yet calculating justice,
but rather outgoing love.

John Baillie, The Place of Jesus Christ in Modern Christianity

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Thought Provokers

pharisee-and-tax-collector

Let all multiplicity be absent from your prayer.
A single word was enough for the publican and the prodigal son
to receive God’s pardon….
Do not try to find exactly the right words for your prayer:
how many times does the simple and monotonous stuttering of children
draw the attention of their father!
Do not launch into long discourses,
for if you do, your mind will be dissipated
trying to find just the right words.
The publican’s short sentence moved God to mercy.
A single word full of faith saved the thief.

John Climacus

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I am certain that there will be three surprises in heaven.
First of all, I will see some people there whom I never expected to see.
Second, there will be a number whom I expect to be there who will not be there.
And, even relying on His mercy,
the biggest surprise of all may be that I will be there.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

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Jesus went about offering his love to every Tom, Dick, and Harry:
prostitutes, call girls, racketeers, blind beggars,
and God knows what all!
The spontaneity of it, the uncalculating spirit, the generosity of it–
this is what gives it its magic and wonder,
and draws us to him.

Edmund A. Steimle

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He that thinks he lives without sin
does not avoid sin but rather excludes pardon..
And therefore I dare assert that it is good
that the proud should fall into some broad and disgraceful sin.

Augustine

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A Christian is not he that has no sin, or feels no sin,
but he to whom God imputes no sin because of his faith in Christ.

Martin Luther

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016

judge-and-widow

Prayer is the most important thing in my life.
If I should neglect prayer for a single day,
I should lose a great deal of the fire of faith.

Martin Luther

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Satan trembles when he sees
The weakest saint upon his knees.

William Cowper

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He prays well, who loves well
Both man and bird and beast.
He prays best, who loves best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God that loved us,
He made and loved all.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Ancient Mariner

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We should spend as much time in thanking God for His benefits
as we do in asking Him for them.

Vincent de Paul

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Many a fellow is praying for rain
with his tub the wrong side up.

Sam Jones

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016

10-lepers-31
The author, John Cheever, described himself as a churchgoer, because “prayer seems to contain certain levels of gratitude and aspiration that I know no other way of expressing.”

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Thou that hast given so much to me
Give one thing more–a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if thy blessings had spare days;
But such a heart, whose pulse may be Thy praise.

George Herbert

* * * * * * * * * *

Our openness to receiving blessings also enables us to become a blessing. The late W. L. Stidger used to tell about a favorite teacher. One Thanksgiving, long after he had grown up, Stidger decided to write her a Thanksgiving letter, letting her know how much she had meant to him. He wrote the letter and dropped it in the mail. He didn’t hear anything for quite a long time. Apparently the letter had been forwarded several times before reaching the teacher. In her reply, she said:

“My Dear Willie: I am an old lady in my eighties. I am ill and I cannot leave my room. Your letter came like a ray of bright sun, illuminating my dark day and my even darker life. You will be interested to know that, after fifty years of teaching, yours was the first letter of thanks I ever received from a former student. You lifted the clouds for me.”

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Legend has it that a man once found the barn where Satan kept the seed to be sown in human hearts. He saw that the seed of discouragement was the most numerous of Satan’s seeds, and learned that those seeds would grow almost anywhere. Then he spoke with Satan and learned that there was one place where he could never get them to thrive. “And where is that?” asked the man. Satan replied sadly, “In the heart of a grateful man.”

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016

mustard-seed-faith-matthew-1720

Prayer is not asking.
Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God,
at his disposition,
and listening to his voice in the depths of our hearts.

Mother Teresa

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The little girl prayed, “God, find Dad a new job, and help mother with her arthritis, and get Charlie some good graces for a change.”

And then she paused and said in her most grown-up voice, “And I am getting sick and tired of praying all the time without getting any results.”

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Do not pray for an easy life.
Pray to be a stronger person.
Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers.
Pray for powers equal to your tasks.

Phillips Brooks
Author of “O Little Town of Bethlehem”

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God is not a cosmic bell-boy
for whom we can press a button to get things done.

Harry Emerson Fosdick

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As the floor is swept every day,
so is the soul cleansed every day by confession.

Hugh Connolly

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