Christian Spirituality

Often any old excuse will do for another article. In this case, the recent discovery of a long lost Bible is my excuse. When I was recently back in America helping to clean out my family home, I discovered an old Bible of mine. It was not my first Bible.

I became a Christian in 1971, and I forget my very first Bible, but I recall rather early on having a Scofield Reference Bible and a Thompson Chain Reference Bible. The Bible in question, a leather-bound New American Standard Bible, I picked up on July 8, 1976, according to my handwritten note on the inside front pages.

Also filling the blank front inner pages are all sorts of quotes I had picked up over the years. Each time I found a neat Christian quote I penned it into my Bible. There are quite a few powerful spiritual quotes there, and they are a reflection of the habit I had from early on in my Christian life of trying to read inspiring books, stories, biographies and autobiographies of great men and women of God.

As I have said before, when you read such spiritual dynamite, you are spoiled for life. It is hard to settle for second best spiritually speaking when you learn about the great faith and great exploits of some of these bygone saints. The bar gets set too high and it is hard to settle for anything less.

When I saw this Bible back in America I told myself I must bring this back with me and write an article based on those quotes. So that is what the rest of this article will be: simply some of these quotes which I had written down all those years ago.

Most of them are fairly well known I would suspect – or should be well known. I present them here simply in the order I have them in my Bible. If these quotes inspire you and encourage you in the faith, that will be terrific. And if they encourage you to read these authors and their books, so much the better.

Here then are some gems in Christian spirituality:

“It is on the Nothing in man that God establishes His greatest works. He destroys that he might build; for when He is about to rear His sacred temple in us, He first totally razes that vain and pompous edifice which human art and power have erected, and from its horrible ruins, a new structure is formed, by His power only.” (Madame Guyon, Autobiography)

“Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off the relish of spiritual things – whatever increases the authority of your body over your mind – that thing, to you, is sin.” (Susanna Wesley to her son John)

“Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.” (William Carey)

“The only ultimate disaster that can befall us, I have come to realize, is to feel ourselves to be home on earth. As long as we are aliens, we cannot forget our true homeland, which is the other kingdom you proclaimed.” (Malcolm Muggeridge, Jesus Rediscovered)

“When he landed, in 1848, there were no Christians here;
When he left, in 1872, there were no heathen.” (Dr John Geddie, tombstone, Aneityum)

“In other kingdoms they rule, whose privilege it is to be ministered unto; in the divine kingdom, they rule who account it a privilege to minister.” (A.B. Bruce, Training of the Twelve)

“Only the disciplined person will rise to his highest powers. The leader is able to lead others because he has conquered himself.” (J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership)

“I have one passion, it is He, He alone.” (Count Zinzendorf)

“Spiritual power is the outpouring of spiritual life, and like all life, from that of the moss and lichen on the wall to that of the archangel before the throne, is from God. Therefore those who aspire to leadership must pay the price, and seek it from God.” (Samuel Brengle, The Soul-Winner’s Secret)

“True greatness, true leadership, is achieved not by reducing men to one’s service but in giving oneself in selfless service to them. And this is never done without cost.” (J. Oswald Chambers)

“They were not leaders because of brilliancy of thought, because they were exhaustless in resources, because of their magnificent culture or native endowment, but because, by the power of prayer, they could command the power of God.” (E.M. Bounds)

“I urge upon you communion with Christ, a growing communion. There are curtains to be drawn aside in Christ that we never saw, and new foldings of love in him. I despair that I shall ever win to the far end of that love, there are so many plies in it. Therefore dig deep, and sweat and labor and take pains for him, and set by as much time in the day for him as you can. He will be won by your labor.” (Samuel Rutherford)

“Oh God, Thou hast made us for Thyself; and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.” (Augustine)

“The world will never starve for want of wonders but only for want of wonder.” (G. K. Chesterton)

“He who seeks the Father more than anything he can give, is likely to have what he asks, for he is not likely to ask amiss.” (George MacDonald, sermon)

“Look your last on all things lovely, every hour.” (Milton, going blind)

“My soul, ask what thou wilt, Thou canst not be too bold;
Since His blood for thee he spent, What else can He withhold?” (Unknown)

“Nothing on earth do I desire, but Thy pure love within my breast.” (Charles Wesley)

“I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all, but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.” (Martin Luther)

“Perfection consists not in what we give to God but in what we receive from Him,” (Augustine)

“He died upon a cross of wood, yet made the hill on which it stood.” (F.W. Pitt, Maker of the Universe)

[1015 words]

6 Replies to “Christian Spirituality”

  1. I copied the whole quote of A.B. Bruce and came up with a slightly different version in his book (google books)

    “In other states, they rule whose privilege it is to be ministered unto; in the divine commonwealth, they rule who account it a privilege to minister.”

    Annette Nestor

  2. Thanks Annette

    Yes in most of these quotes there is some variation I have found. I would have to go back to the original sources on each to see which the exact correct version is. But these are all fairly close I trust.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  3. BTW, thanks for all those quotes. I especially found the one from Madame Guyon to be particularly inspiring! Beautiful!

    Annette Nestor

  4. The Dr John Geddie tombstone inscription hit me right between the eyes. Wow! What a powerful testimony to the power of the gospel, faithfully preached.
    John Angelico

  5. Regards and what wonderful quotes Bill, brings back a lot of memories. I was saved back in 1971 also and still have my first two bibles that eventually fell apart. I then purchased a good quality New American standard with quotes and comments scribbled all over which I retired about ten years ago.
    Along with John what a fantastic quote from the tombstone of Dr John Geddie. I love tombstone epitaphs. Yet be he dead he still speaks. There are some good ones to be found in a long abandoned bush cemetery I discovered on what was a large sheep station out of Mathora NSW. To read the epitaphs tells the history and faith of the pioneers including the deaths of a number of children from some sort of epidemic.
    Madam Guyon is quite thought provoking, another who speaks from the grave.
    I wonder if like me you have a few personal comments in the margins that would need some revision as ones view matures.
    Rob Withall

  6. Bill you say ” when you read such spiritual dynamite you are spoiled for life”. How true. Recently the opposite occurred. Came across a Christian book that I gave my teenage brother some fifty years ago [we are both still spiritually young!!].

    At the time I would have considered it relevant and impacting, but on a re read today it is not a book that I would recommend. Clearly most books and quotes contain relevance to our spiritual need and growth at that time. No doubt led by Holy Spirit of Christ Jesus.

    However, the book that is to be read is found in Proverbs 3.3 “Let not Mercy and Truth forsake you. Bind them around your neck – Write them on the tablet of your heart”.

    Ray Robinson

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