Thought Provokers for Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017

easter_flowers__image_1_sjpg1764

As a lawyer I have made a prolonged study of the evidences
for the events of the first Easter Day.
To me the evidence is conclusive,
and over and over again in the High Court

I have secured the verdict on evidence not nearly so compelling.
Inference follows on evidence,
and a truthful witness is always artless and disdains effect.

The Gospel evidence for the resurrection is of this class,
and as a lawyer I accept it unreservedly
as the testimony of truthful men
to facts they were able to substantiate.

Sir Edward Clarke in J. R. W. Stott, Basic Christianity

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The great Easter truth is not that we are to live newly after death–
that is not the great thing–
but that we are to, and may, live nobly now
because we are to live forever.

Phillips Brooks

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If Easter says anything to us today, it says this:

You can put truth in a grave,
but it won’t stay there.

You can nail it to a cross,
wrap it in winding sheets
and shut it up in a tomb,
but it will rise!

Clarence W. Hall

* * * * * * * * * *

God’s main purpose with us is not to get us somewhere
but to make something of us on the way..

When your way is rough and lonely,
when you are beaten by failure and chilled with disappointment,
remember that God is seeking to develop your soul by those experiences..

It is not getting somewhere
or finding something on which we have set our hearts that matters.
It is what we become on the way that counts.

John Bishop, A Word in Season

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He brought light out of darkness,
not out of a lesser light;

he can bring your summer out of winter,
though you have no spring;
though in the ways of fortune,
or understanding, or conscience,
you have been benighted until now,
wintered and frozen,
clouded and eclipsed,
damped and benumbed,
smothered and stupefied till now,
now God comes to you,
not as in the dawning of the day,
not as in the bud of the spring,
but as the sun at noon.

John Donne,
Sermon Preached on Christmas Day, 1624

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Thought Provokers for Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017

palm sunday

Jesus did not say that it would be a great thing
if the Kingdom of God existed.
He announced that the Kingdom was at hand.

W.A. Visser ‘t Hooft

* * * * * * * * * *

The capital of Heaven
is the heart in which Jesus Christ
is enthroned as king.

Sadhu Sundar Singh

* * * * * * * * * *

Not to the gates of Jerusalem alone does Jesus ride today,
but to the gates of our hearts.
There he waits knocking, knocking.
His knuckles must be raw by now.
The gentle rap has been so long smothered by contemporary rivals
that some of us can barely hear it.
But he goes on standing there.

Samuel M. Shoemaker

* * * * * * * * * *

Everyone who lined the streets
had a different reason for waving those palms.
Some were political activists;
they’d heard Jesus had supernatural power,
and they wanted him to use it to free Israel from Roman rule.

Others had loved ones who were sick or dying.
They waved branches, hoping for physical healing.

Some were onlookers merely looking for something to do,
while others were genuine followers
who wished Jesus would establish himself as an earthly king.

Jesus was the only one in the parade
who knew why he was going to Jerusalem–to die.
He had a mission, while everyone else had an agenda.

Bill Hybels

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Household Prayer for the week starting on Sunday, April 2, 2017

lazarus Giovanni_di_Paolo_-_The_Resurrection_of_Lazarus_-_Walters_37489Acrop-715x446

Household Prayer: Morning

I rise, O God, awakened by your Word,

to live another day.

Lead me in your path.

Show me the steps to take toward greater faith.

Hold me in your care as I move through this Holy Week

where the shadows deepen even in the daylight.

Hosanna! Save me now, dear God! Amen.

Household Prayer: Evening

I come to the darkness of night, O God,

tired and ready for a sweet respite in your care.

Keep me safe from all harm,

and bring me to the morning light with renewed strength.

In Jesus’ holy name, I pray. Amen.

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Thought Provokers for the Gospel read on Sunday, April 2, 2017

lazarus Giovanni_di_Paolo_-_The_Resurrection_of_Lazarus_-_Walters_37489Acrop-715x446

The Church is not so much a continuously living thing,
as something that has survived a thousand crucifixions
through a thousand Resurrections.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

* * * * * * * * * *

If you have not clung to a broken piece of your old ship
in the dark night of the soul,
your faith may not have the sustaining power
to carry you through to the end of the journey.

The Rev. Rufus M. Jones

* * * * * * * * * *

To be thoroughly religious,
one must, I believe, be sorely disappointed.
One’s faith in God increases as one’s faith in the world decreases.
The happier the man, the farther he is from God.

George Jean Nathan, writer

* * * * * * * * * *

No one is fit to comprehend heavenly things
who hath not resigned himself to suffer adversities for Christ.

Thomas a Kempis

* * * * * * * * * *

Long illnesses are good schools of mercy
for those who tend the sick,
and of loving patience
for those who suffer.

Jean Pierre Camus

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, March 26, 2017

light of the world

These Thought Provokers may help you meditate over the Gospel for this Sunday, that you may read here with the others Bible readings.

 

CHARLOTTE ELLIOTT, an invalid for half a century, publishes a hymnbook. Her most famous hymn is sung around the world, “Just as I Am.”

GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL, health and fortune gone, right side paralyzed, sits down and writes: “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”

PAUL AND SILAS, thrown in prison in Philippi, their very lives hanging in the balance, hold choir practice at midnight (Acts 16:19-25).

Gilbert W. Bowen

* * * * * * * * * *

Certain virtue is like precious odours,
most fragrant when they are incensed or crushed;
for Prosperity doth best discover vice,
but Adversity doth best discover virtue.

Francis Bacon

* * * * * * * * * *

The darker the world and the deeper the virus of hate,
the more glowing must be our Christianity
and the more triumphant the note of our faith.

Rufus Jones

* * * * * * * * * *

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

Evelyn Underhill

* * * * * * * * * *

The pearl of great price
always begins as a pain in the oyster’s stomach.

John E. Large

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Thought Provokers for the Gospel read last Sunday, March 19, 2017

samaritan woman and jesus

If you want to get warm you must stand by the fire;
if you want to be wet you must get into the water.

If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life,
you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them.
They are not a sort of prize which God could, if He chose,
just hand out to anyone.
They are a great fountain of energy and beauty
spurting up at the very center of reality.

Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run
only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay.

But look for Christ and you will find Him,
and with Him everything else thrown in.

C. S. Lewis

* * * * * * * * * *

There is an ocean of cold water without motion.
In this ocean, however, is the Gulf Stream,
hot water flowing from the Equator towards the Pole.

Inquire of all scientists how it is physically imaginable
that a stream of hot water flows between the waters of the ocean,
which, so to speak, form its banks,
the moving within the motionless, the hot within the cold,
no scientist can explain it.

Similarly, there is the God of love within the God of the forces of the universe,
one with Him, and yet so totally different.
We let ourselves be seized and carried away by that vital stream.

Albert Schweitzer

* * * * * * * * * *

Back in the Old West, two men rode a train across the western plains. One man said, “If this place just had a little more water and some better people, it would be a great place to live.”

His friend replied, “A little more water and some better people. That’s all that Hell needs.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Jesus threw a dam across the desert canyon of my life
and brought in living water.
The arid cracks filled up,
the desert blossomed,
and now he controls the outflow.

Carol Rhodes

* * * * * * * * * *

Several years ago an UPI release told the story of a mid-western hospital that had existed for thirty-five years, and to their amazement they found that the fire fighting equipment had never been connected Never! The hoses had never been connected to the main water line. They had everything they needed–except the most important and vital ingredient to fight fire, and that was water.

* * * * * * * * * *

Coming from the Soviet Union I was not prepared for the incredible variety of products available in American grocery stores. On my first shopping trip I saw powdered milk–you just add water and you get milk. I saw powdered orange juice–you just add water and you get orange juice.

Then I saw baby powder–and I thought to myself, what a country.

Jake Shrimp, America On Six Rubles A Day

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, March 5, 2017

temptation stones-to-bread

These Thought Provokers may help you meditate the Gospel for this Sunday: Matthew 4:1-11

The name SATAN means in Hebrew, “the hinderer.”
That is the correct designation for the anti-human
in individuals and in the human race.

Let us not allow this Satanic element in men
to hinder us from realizing man!
…Let us dare, despite all, to trust!

Martin Buber

* * * * * * * * * *

Dag Hammarskjold warned, “The devils enter uninvited when the house stands empty.” Think about that for a moment. What Hammarskjold meant, of course, is that a person with no religious beliefs–no moral compass–is like a vacuum waiting to be filled. G.K. Chesterton warned, “When people stop believing in God they do not believe in nothing. They believe in anything.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Note that, in the temptations,
the devil did not try to persuade Jesus to do something obviously bad.
He didn’t offer Jesus his sister–or a bag of drugs.
He offered Jesus bread, to provide strength for the work that lay ahead.
He offered Jesus an opportunity to save people by the wagonload.
He offered Jesus the world that Jesus had come to save.
Thomas a Kempis says, “The devil is continually tempting thee to seek high things–
to go after honors.”

As we grow in faith,
the tempter aims higher and higher.

Richard Niell Donovan

* * * * * * * * * *

Collapse in the Christian life is seldom a blowout;
it is usually a slow leak.

Paul E. Little

* * * * * * * * * *

Satan, like the fisher,
baits his hook according to the appetite of the fish

Thomas Adams

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017

transfiguration 800px-Goreme_National_Park-kosciol_ciemny

If we cannot find God in your house or in mine,
upon the roadside or the margin of the sea;
in the bursting seed of opening flower;
in the day duty or the night musing,
in the general laugh and the secret grief….
I do not think we should discern him any more on the grass of Eden,
or beneath the moonlight of Gethsemane.

James Martineau

* * * * * * * * * *

We can no more find a method for knowing God than for making God,
because the knowledge of God is God himself dwelling in the soul.
The most we can do is to prepare for his entry, to get out of his way,
to remove the barriers,
for until God acts in us
there is nothing positive that we can do in this direction.

Alan W. Watts

* * * * * * * * * *

We need not cry very loud;
he is nearer to us than we think.

Brother Lawrence

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Christ always lives where there is room for him.
If there is room in your heart for Christ, he lives there;
if there is room in a law office for Christ, he lives there;
if there is room on a locomotive engine, he will be there;
if there is room in a baggage car, he will be there.

Sam Jones

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I felt God’s presence on the moon
more than I have ever felt it here on earth.

Astronaut James Irwin

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017

resist not evildoer

These Thought Provokers may help you meditate the Gospel for this Sunday (Matthew 5:38-48)

If we could read the secret history of our enemies,
we should find in each man’s life
sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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If I am even with my enemy, the debt is paid;
but if I forgive him, I oblige him for ever.

William Penn

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I choose my friends for their good looks,
my acquaintances for their good characters,
and my enemies for their intellects.
A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.

Oscar Wilde

* * * * * * * * * *

The true and noble way to kill a foe,
Is not to kill him. You, with kindness, may
So change him, that he shall cease to be so,
And then he’s slain.

Emile Chartier

* * * * * * * * * *

The Bible tells us to love our neighbors,
and also to love our enemies;
probably because they are generally the same people.

G.K. Chesterton

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017

jesus conflict among brethren

Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be,
since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.

Thomas a Kempis

* * * * * * * * * *

Anger is quieted by a gentle word
just as fire is quenched by water.

Jean Pierre Camus

* * * * * * * * * *

People who fly into a rage
always make a bad landing.

Will Rogers

* * * * * * * * * *

All men know in their very earliest years that beside the good of their animal personality, there is another, a better a good in life, which is not only independent of the gratification of the appetites of the animal personality, but on the contrary, the greater the renunciation of the welfare of the animal personality the greater the good becomes….This feeling…is known to all. This feeling is love.

Count Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

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When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die. It may be a death like that of the first disciples who had to leave home and work to follow Him, or it may be a death like Luther’s, who had to leave the monastery and go out into the world. But it is the same death every time- death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man at His call. That is why the rich young man was so loath to follow Jesus, for the cost of following was the death of his will. In fact every command of Jesus is a call to die, with all our affections and lusts. But we do not want to die, and therefore Jesus Christ and His call are necessarily our death and our life.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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