What is Thy only comfort in life and death?

That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ…

from the Heidelberg Catechism, Day 1

I found those words at the beginning of the catechetical response to be encouraging. Of course, there is more detail to the complete answer in the catechism. Catechisms tend to be wordy! (Not that I object to the rest of the response…)

Q. What is Thy only comfort in life and death?

A. That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, hath fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, he also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.

I recorded a message related to this thought for January 15, 2023, after returning from a family trip to Ireland.

For an historical Quaker catechism, check out Barclay’s Catechism here (Quaker Heritage Press) or here (Google Books) or here (Wikisource).

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Jesus doesn’t change his Father, he reveals Him!

God the Son does not act as an agent of change upon God the Father. God the Son is the perfect revelation of who God the Father is and has always been.

– Brian Zahnd

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Can you find it in Jesus?

I saw a comment by Brian Zahnd the other day on Jesus’ disciples in the Gospel of Luke that bears repeating. So I’m repeating it!

The “Sons of Thunder” wanted to call fire down from heaven on a Samaritan village who refused to welcome Jesus. In their petition they were able to cite Scripture because Elijah had done this. But Jesus rebuked them, saying, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.”

The question isn’t can we find it in the Bible, but can we find it in Jesus. If we weaponize the Bible to hurt other people, we do not have the Spirit of the Lord.

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Raymond Chang on Christianity

Christianity is intended to be a faith that is generous in a world that promotes scarcity, kind in a world that is harsh, generative where there is decay, healing where there is hurt, reconciling where there is division, and merciful and loving where there is hate.

-Raymond Chang

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A man who lies to himself….

“A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies becomes unable to recognize truth, either in himself or in anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself and for others. When he has no respect for anyone, he can no longer love, and in order to divert himself, having no love in him, he yields to his impulses, indulges in the lowest forms of pleasure, and behaves in the end like an animal. And it all comes from lying—lying to others and to yourself.”

Elder Zosima, in The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Book II, Chapter 2
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The Bible is the Language of God’s Heart

When it comes to hearing God, the Bible is the language of his heart. Nothing he says in any other way in any other context will ever override, undermine or contradict what he has said in the Scriptures. That’s why Jesus doesn’t just show up on the road to Emmaus and say, ‘Hi, it’s me!’ Instead, he takes considerable time to deliver a lengthy biblical exposition in which he reinterprets God’s Word radically, in the light of his own life, death and resurrection.

Pete Greig
How To Hear God (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2022), p. 36.
(I heard it on Lectio 365 for April 27)

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The Word of God

‘It is Christ himself, not the Bible, who is the true word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers, will bring us to him’

C.S. Lewis
The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Vol. 3: Narnia, Cambridge & Joy, 1950-1963, edited by Walter Hooper (San Francisco: HarperOne, 2007), p. 246.

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On Adversaries

“Loving, forgiving, and doing good to our adversaries is our duty. Yet we must do this without giving up and without being cowardly. We shall resist whenever our adversaries demand of us obedience contrary to the orders of the Gospel. We shall do so without fear, but also without pride and without hate.”

-from a sermon preached by André Trocmé the sunday after France fell to the German attack in World War II


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Lectio Divina for Resurrection Week

Back in 2020, I made a series of lectio divina readings for Palm Sunday through Good Friday. The title pages have 2020 dates; but there is nothing dated about the readings – except they are keyed to the scriptures that take us through that week leading up to Jesus’ resurrection. In the hope that they may be of use to you in worshipping through the week, I decided to make a convenient menu of links which you can use to refer to them.

Introduction

Palm Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Maundy Thursday

Good Friday

The links above are to Youtube videos that I made on my phone back in 2020 for the LBFC Devotions channel. (I intend to edit them into a podcast series also; but that’s not ready yet.)

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What does it mean to know God?

“To Know God means to look like Him and to live in a way that reflects his character.”

Rikk Watts
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