For fellow participants, what I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see is for people to share quotes from what they're reading. I'd love for you to share quotes occasionally with your readers and let me know about it. If you don't have a blog, you could always leave quotes in the comments here.
A fierce battle has been raging in this world since the very beginning. Cain wanted to choose God on his own terms. He wanted God to value his work and his offering instead of his brother’s. The world has followed Cain’s example from that day until now. The world always wants to turn this verse in John around and say, “I don’t want to be chosen by God; I want to choose him first.” But God cannot and will not tolerate this. He turns their words back around and says, “You cannot and should not choose me. I must choose you. It won’t happen the way you imagine, but the way I want it to. I want to be your Lord and Master. I don’t want to be mastered by you.” ~ Martin Luther, Faith Alone, September 1
We naturally think, “I’m frightened by the sight of God, so I can’t look to heaven for help. I know that I’m a sinner and that God hates sin. How can I pray?” With these thoughts, an intense battle begins inside us. Because we know we are sinners, we may think we have to postpone praying until we feel worthy. Or we look for other people to assure us that we have done enough good works to have confidence in our own worthiness. Only then do we pray, “God, have mercy on me.” But we were born in sin. If we had to wait until we felt pure and free from all sin before we prayed, we would never pray. When surrounded by our own sinfulness—even while drowning in our sins—we should cry out to God, just as David did in this psalm [Psalm 51]. Then we won’t have to postpone our prayer. What purpose do the words “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love” serve if the only people who pray them are pure and don’t need any mercy? No matter how sinful we feel, we must encourage ourselves to cry out to God, “Have mercy! I have learned from my own experience that praying is often the most difficult thing to do. I don’t hold myself up as a master of prayer. In fact, I admit that I have often said these words coldly: “God, have mercy on me.” I prayed that way because I was worried about my own unworthiness. Yet ultimately the Holy Spirit convinced me, “No matter how you feel, you must pray!” God wants us to pray, and he wants to hear our prayers—not because we are worthy, but because he is merciful. ~ Martin Luther, Faith Alone, September 2
The whole history of the church has been a history of onward marches, and then of quick retreats a history which I believe is, on the whole, a history of advance and growth, but which read chapter by chapter, is a mixture of success and repulse, conquest and discouragement. ~ Charles Spurgeon, "Light at Evening Time"
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible