Thought Provokers for Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017

people in darkness great ligth

If you think you’re too small to have an impact.
try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.

Anita Roddick

* * * * * * * * * *

God is the master of the scenes;
we must not choose which part we shall act;
it concerns us only to be careful that we do it well.

Jeremy Taylor

* * * * * * * * * *

It is very significant that in every recorded instance,
the Apostles were busy at their daily work
when the Master called them:

Peter and Andrew were fishing.
James and John were mending their nets;
Matthew was sitting at the receipt of custom.
God never visits an idle or unserviceable life.

David Smith

* * * * * * * * * *

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 nursing profession

* * * * * * * * * *

The right, practical divinity is this:
believe in Christ,
and do your duty in that state of life
to which God has called you.

Martin Luther

* * * * * * * * * *

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Thought Provokers for the Gospel of Sunday, Jan. 15, 2015

Come And See

Read the Gospel (John 1:29-42) here.

God made Sun and Moon to distinguish seasons, and day and night,
and we cannot have the fruits of the earth but in their seasons:
But God hath made no decree to distinguish the seasons of His mercies….
In Heaven it is always Autumn,
his mercies are ever in their maturity.

John Donne

* * * * * * * * * *

God is the God of the humble, the miserable,
the oppressed, and the desperate,
and of those who are brought even to nothing;
and his nature is to give sight to the blind,
to comfort the broken-hearted,
to justify sinners,
to save the very desperate and damned.

Martin Luther

* * * * * * * * * *

Ultimately, this is what you go before God for:
You’ve had bad luck and good luck
and all you really want in the end is mercy.

Robert Frost

* * * * * * * * * *

The modern soul is not going to find peace
so long as he is locked up inside himself,
mulling around in the scum and sediment of his unconscious mind,
a prey of the unconscious forces
whose nature and existence he glorifies.

Fulton J. Sheen

* * * * * * * * * *

A great many people are trying to make peace,
but that has already been done.
God has not left it for us to do;
all we have to do is to enter into it.

Dwight L. Moody

* * * * * * * * * *

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, Jan. 8, 2016

jesus-baptism-300x225

You may read the Gospel for this Sunday here.

Baptism is a living, saving water
on account of the Word of God which is in it.

Martin Luther

* * * * * * * * * *

Baptism points back to the work of God,
and forward to the life of faith.

J.A. Motyer

* * * * * * * * * *

Baptism is the Church’s primary form of evangelization;
it is how the Church is built up.

Whenever the Church incorporates a new member into its body,
there is a fresh epiphany to the Church
of what Christ has done by dying and rising for it.

Baptism reminds us of what is means to be a priestly people.
The baptismal font ought to be as prominent as the pulpit;
both witness to the same reality,
the Savior who had a baptism that we might have life.

James F. White

* * * * * * * * * *

If a man 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

* * * * * * * * * *

Little things come daily, hourly, within our reach,
and they are not less calculated to set forward our growth in holiness
than are the greater occasions which occur but rarely.
Moreover, fidelity in trifles,
and an earnest seeking to please God in little matters,
are the test of real devotion and love.
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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Thought Provokers for the week starting on Sunday, Jan 1, 2017

joseph-mary-jesus-to-egypt

You may read the Gospel (Matthew 2:13-23) and the other texts for that Sunday here.

An angel is a spiritual creature created by God without a body,
for the service of Christendom and of the Church.

Martin Luther

* * * * * * * * * *

There is a short play by Thornton Wilder called The Angel That Troubles the Waters. An infirm physician approaches the pool at Bethesda, where others had been healed, and waits for the waters to be troubled so that he might be made whole again. The angel who stirs the water appears and says,

“Stand back. Healing is not for you.
Without your wound, where would your power be?
…We ourselves, the very angels of God in heaven,
cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children of earth
as can one human being broken on the wheels of living.
In love’s service, only wounded soldiers will do.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Be sure of this:
there is no creature ever made by God who can set you free or help you;
only God can do it.
Run about as you will,
search high and low the whole world over,
you will never find the help you need anywhere except in God.
If the Lord chooses to use an instrument, man or angel, to achieve this, He can;
but He must do it and no one else.

Seek this help inside yourself, the depths of your soul;
stop running around, stop searching up and down the countryside;
be still, be calm, stay where you are, in Egypt, in darkness,
until the angel comes to call you.
Joseph was asleep when the angel called him.

John Tauler, German mystic

* * * * * * * * * *

God is the master of the scenes;
we must not choose which part we shall act;
it concerns us only to be careful that we do it well.

Jeremy Taylor

* * * * * * * * * *

Each individual has his own kind of living assigned to him by the Lord
as a sort of sentry post
so that he may not heedlessly wander throughout life.

John Calvin

* * * * * * * * * *

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016, Christmas Day

shepherds-joseph-mary-jesus

You may read the text of the Gospel, Luke 2:1-20, (and other texts) here.

The Son of man became man
to enable men to become the sons of God.

C.S. Lewis

* * * * * * * * * *

The place where the Saviour enters in looks rather like the stable of Bethlehem.
It is not beautiful, but quite ugly;
not at all cozy, but really frightening;
not at all decently human, but right beside the animals….

Down there Jesus Christ sets up quarters.
Even better, he has already done so!
Yes, praise be to God for this dark place, for this manger,
for this stable in our lives!
There we need him, and there he can use each one of us….
There he greets us.
What else can we do but return his greeting and bid him welcome?

Karl Barth

* * * * * * * * * *

If Christ is born a thousand times in Bethlehem and not in you,
then you are lost.

Angelus Silesius, 17th Century Christian,
in Cherubic Pilgrim

* * * * * * * * * *

The greatness of God was not cast off,
but the slightness of human nature was put on.

Thomas Aquinas

* * * * * * * * * *

The Incarnation is the most stupendous event
which ever can take place on earth;
and after it and henceforth,
I do not see how we can scruple at any miracle
on the mere ground of it being unlikely to happen.

John Henry Newman

* * * * * * * * * *

The Bible is a missionary book.
Jesus Christ is the Father’s missionary to a lost world.

Harold Lindsell

* * * * * * * * * *

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016

ALI142914

Read the Gospel and other readings for this Sunday here

*******************************************************
For though our Saviour’s Passion is over,
his Compassion is not.

William Penn

* * * * * * * * * *

An American clergyman once asked Mahatma Gandhi what caused him most concern. Gandhi replied, “The hardness of heart of the educated.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Compassion is the basis of all morality.

Arthur Schopenhauer

* * * * * * * * * *

We ought not to treat living creatures
like shoes or household belongings,
which when worn with use we throw away.

Plutarch

* * * * * * * * * *

Kindness has converted more sinners
than zeal, eloquence and learning.

Frederick W. Faber

* * * * * * * * * *

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Thought Provokers for Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016

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

These Thought Provokers may help you meditate the Gospel for this Sunday: Matthew 11:2-11

Blessings we enjoy daily, and for the most of them,
because they be so common, men forget to pay their praises.
But let not us, because it is a sacrifice so pleasing to him who still protects us,
and gives us flowers, and showers, and meat and content.

Izaak Walton

* * * * * * * * * *

When Michelangelo, already well along in years, was reminiscing with an old friend, the latter commented, “Yes, after such a good life it’s hard to look death in the eye.

“Not at all,” Michelangelo answered. “Since life was such a pleasure, death coming from the same great Source cannot displease us.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Helen Keller, who was blind and deaf, said:

“I thank God for my handicaps.
I am blind and deaf.
Through (my handicaps) I have found myself, my work,
and I found God.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Jesus of Nazareth, without money or arms,
conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Mohammed, and Napoleon;
without science and learning,
he shed more light on things human and divine
than all the philosophers and scholars combined;
without the eloquence of the school,
he spoke words of life such as were never spoken before or since,
and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet,
without writing a single line,
he has set more pens in motion
and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions,
works of art, learned volumes and songs of praise
than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times.
Born in a manger and crucified as a malefactor,
he now controls the destinies of the civilized world
and rules a spiritual empire which embraces one third of the inhabitants of the globe.

Philip Schaff, church historian

* * * * * * * * * *

In the best sense of the word, Jesus was a radical….
His religion has so long been identified with conservatism…
that it is almost startling sometimes to remember
that all the conservatives of his own times were against him;
that it was the young, free, restless, sanguine, progressive part of the people
who flocked to him.

Phillips Brooks, 19th century pastor

* * * * * * * * * *

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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

* * * * * * * * * *

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

* * * * * * * * * *

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

Augustine

* * * * * * * * * *

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

Evelyn Underhill

* * * * * * * * * *

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

* * * * * * * * * *

Dig a well before you are thirsty.

Chinese proverb

* * * * * * * * * *

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.

* * * * * * * * * *

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

* * * * * * * * * *

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

* * * * * * * * * *

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

* * * * * * * * * *

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

* * * * * * * * * *

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

* * * * * * * * * *

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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