Tag Archives: Quotes

One Good Son

Elyse Fitzpatrick and her daughter, Jessica Thompson, write in their book, Give Them Grace:

“Raising good kids is utterly impossible unless they are drawn by the Holy Spirit to put their faith in the goodness of another. You cannot raise good kids, because you are not a good parent. There is only one good Parent, and he had one good Son. Together, this Father and Son accomplished everything that needed to be done to rescue us and our children from certain destruction. When we put our faith in him, he bestows the benediction upon us: “These are My beloved children, with whom I am well pleased” (see Matt. 3:17).

Give this grace to your children: tell them who they really are, tell them what they need to do, and then tell them to taste and see that the Lord is good. Give this grace to yourself, too.” (p. 50)

And later, they summarize this formula as a helpful way to process what they’re saying: “Good parenting in, good children out.” (p. 52)

The point is… no one is good, not one, and we all need to be rescued from our sinful-selves in a sin-filled world and we need protection from sin-soaked Satan. Jesus Christ is the only one, the one good Son, who rescues us, redeems us, stands for us, and reigns over all. He is our Lord and Savior. Parenting steeped in this gospel is good parenting and tastes like the grace and love of Jesus. Put that in their sippy cup.


Shedding the Old Man

“So I scratched away for the third time and got off a third skin, just like the two others, and stepped out of it. But as soon as I looked at myself in the water I knew it had been no good.

Then the lion said–but I don’t know if it spoke–‘You will have to let me undress you.’ I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff pulled off. You know–if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.”

“Well, he peeled the the beastly stuff right off–just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt–and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me–I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on–and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again.”

-from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis

 


More on Valor

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In his speech, entitled “Citizenship in a Republic”, delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France, on April 23, 1910, Theodore Roosevelt charges:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. Shame on the man of cultivated taste who permits refinement to develop into fastidiousness that unfits him for doing the rough work of a workaday world. Among the free peoples who govern themselves there is but a small field of usefulness open for the men of cloistered life who shrink from contact with their fellows. Still less room is there for those who deride of slight what is done by those who actually bear the brunt of the day; nor yet for those others who always profess that they would like to take action, if only the conditions of life were not exactly what they actually are. The man who does nothing cuts the same sordid figure in the pages of history, whether he be a cynic, or fop, or voluptuary. There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder. Well for these men if they succeed; well also, though not so well, if they fail, given only that they have nobly ventured, and have put forth all their heart and strength. It is war-worn Hotspur, spent with hard fighting, he of the many errors and valiant end, over whose memory we love to linger, not over the memory of the young lord who “but for the vile guns would have been a valiant soldier.”

What is your worthy cause?
For what are you passionate?

Be in the arena! Stand, and make your presence known. If only you realize you’ve been given the ability to stand and find your voice after much pain and struggle, then you will make your mark and find your groove. In high school baseball, whenever I would begin to work my way out of a slump, coach would call out, “Good gosh, looks like Josh Baylor showed up today.” Lots of practice, hard work, mental control, and an eye for opportunity are nothing if you don’t show up. Reminds me of Jesus’ miracle moments. Rise, pick up your mat and walk. Go wash in the pool. Cast your nets on the other side. Go, your son will live. God gives to us our ability to act and to believe. We simply show up and prove his generosity and power and goodness. So, get up, step forward, and go in the power only he can provide. Jesus actually stood in the arena for us so that we might show up and display the glory of God, his grand love and unimaginable grace for undeserving people such as us. We may endure because he endured for us. We are valiant because Jesus is valiant. Sealed, won and done.

Show up!


Valor

From The Silmarillion, Tolkien writes:

Last of all Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed; and it is sung that the axe smoked in the black blood of the troll-guard of Gothmog until it withered, and each time that he slew Húrin cried: ‘Aurë entuluva! Day shall come again!’ Seventy times he uttered that cry; but they took him at last alive, by the command of Morgoth, for the Orcs grappled him with their hands, which clung to him still though he hewed off their arms; and ever their numbers were renewed, until at last he fell buried beneath them. Then Gothmog bound him and dragged him to Angband with mockery.

And more is said of Hurin’s courage and steadfastness in the face of pure evil. Never did he relent, but he became even more resilient for the sake of what is noble and good, even under excruciating torment and unto death.

Are you inspired?

For what cause, would you endure this much pain and suffering?

How would you continue to fight though defeat seems imminent?


“Water everywhere without a drop to drink.”

Neil Postman’s insight on the telegraph is just as relevant, if not more than, to today’s social media environment:

“As Thoreau implied, telegraphy made relevance irrelevant. The abundant flow of information had very little or nothing to do with those to whom it was addressed; that is, with any social or intellectual context in which their lives were embedded. Coleridge’s famous line about water everywhere without a drop to drink may serve as a metaphor of a decontextualized information environment: In a sea of information, there was very little of it to use. A man in Maine and a man in Texas could converse, but not about anything either of them knew or cared very much about. The telegraph may have made the country into “one neighborhood,” but it was a peculiar one, populated by strangers who knew nothing but the most superficial facts about each other.”

He gives us a test: “How often does it occur that information provided you on morning radio or television, or in the morning newspaper, causes you to alter your plans for the day, or to take some action you would not otherwise have taken, or provides insight into some problem you are required to solve?” (you might include your own use of social media in this question)

His point today: Our use of social media immeasurably transforms the who, what, when, where, why and how that we inform. The way we communicate effects the relevance of our communication.

Let’s make sure to communicate useful information for the good of others and the glory of God. Let’s be all about Jesus when we communicate.


The Meek Man

A. W. Tozer explains the effect on the one who will learn and find rest from Jesus,

The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather, he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is, in the sight of God, more important than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring. He rests perfectly content to allow God to place His own values. He will be patient to wait for the day when everything will get its own price tag and real worth will come into its own. Then the righteous shall shine forth in the Kingdom of their Father. He is willing to wait for that day. (The Pursuit of God, pp. 104-5)


“God must do everything for us.”

 

 

A. W. Tozer, “a 20th century prophet” and faithful Chicagoan pastor, considers the act of denying self, taking up the cross and following Jesus:

… In human experience that veil [our sin that separates us from God] is made of living spiritual tissue; it is composed of the sentient, quivering stuff of which our whole beings consist, and to touch it is to touch us where we feel pain. To tear it away is to injure us, to hurt us and make us bleed. To say otherwise is to make the cross no cross and death no death at all. It is never fun to die. To rip through the dear and tender stuff of which life is made can never be anything but deeply painful. Yet that is what the cross did to Jesus and it is what the cross would do to every man to set him free.

Let us beware of tinkering with our inner life, hoping ourselves to rend the veil. God must do everything for us. Our part is to yield and trust. We must confess, forsake, repudiate the self-life, and then reckon it crucified. But we must be careful to distinguish lazy “acceptance” from the real work of God. We must insist upon the work being done. We dare not rest content with a neat doctrine of self-crucifixion. That is to imitate Saul and spare the best of the sheep and the oxen.

Insist that the work be done in very truth and it will be done. The cross is rough and it is deadly, but it is effective. It does not keep its victim hanging there forever. There comes a moment when its work is finished and the suffering victim dies. After that is resurrection glory and power, and the pain is forgotten for joy that the veil is taken away and we have entered in actual spiritual experience the presence of the living God.

 


On dissension

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“Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels — men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, we may never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower

“The freedom to share one’s insights and judgments verbally or in writing is, just like the freedom to think, a holy and inalienable right of humanity that, as a universal human right, is above all the rights of princes.” -Carl Friedrich Bahrdt

“Every reform, however necessary, will by weak minds be carried to an excess, that itself will need reforming.” -Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“I like the noise of democracy.” -James Buchanan

“He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.” -Edmund Burke

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” -Jesus Christ

Dissent can be either noble or ignoble. Hitler, Luther, Ghandi, Cain, Moses & Israel, American Patriots, Radical Islam, King, children, and so on. What difference it makes depends on the motivation, be it love or hatred of fellow man, overcommitment to some ideal or reality, process or rule, power or greed, and ultimately for or against the glory of God. It matters just from whom one is dissenting and for the sake of exactly whom and what.

All men are dissidents. Today, one will rebel against God or rebel against the world. I pray it is the latter.


American Predilection: it’s like “life in a hostel”

“To understand the American student, it is important to have experienced life in a hostel.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer’s impression of American life:

Living together day by day produces a strong spirit of comradeship, of a mutual readiness to help. The thousandfold “hullo” which sounds through the corridors of the hostel in the course of the day and which is not omitted even when someone is rushing past is not as meaningless as one might suppose. . . . No one remains alone in the dormitory. The unreservedness of life together makes one person open to another; in the conflict between determination for truth with all of its consequences and the will for community, the latter prevails. This is characteristic of all American thought, particularly as I have observed it in theology and the church; they do not see the radical claim of truth on the shaping of their lives. Community is therefore founded less on truth than on the spirit of “fairness.” One says nothing against another member of the dormitory as long as he is a “good fellow.”

Must absolute truth be pitted against true community? It would seem so for most Americans, but Bonhoeffer lived, exemplified, and died revealing quite the opposite.

[Source: quotations taken from Eric Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy; pp. 103-104.]


“Shake the world again.”

To eat, to breathe
to beget
Is this all there is
Chance configuration of atom against atom
I cannot believe it.
Come, Christian Triune God who lives,
Here am I
Shake the world again.
-Francis Schaeffer