Tuesday, February 11, 2020

17. That Way and No Other

That Way and No Other: Following God Through Storm and Drought. Amy Carmichael. 2020. 144 pages. [Source: Review copy] [biography, autobiography, christian nonfiction]

The book opens with two different biographical sketches of missionary Amy Carmichael (1867-1951). One sketch is by Carolyn Kurtz; the second sketch is by Katelyn Beaty. The remaining chapters of this one are written by Amy Carmichael herself--taken from previously published works. (I believe she did most of her writing in the 1930s).

The chapters address different topics. Some chapters include a great deal of stories about her life, her children, her work; other chapters stay focused on one topic/aspect/subject of the Christian life. Both can prove beneficial to readers.

This was my first time reading Carmichael. I found myself agreeing with some of what she wrote; I also found myself disagreeing here and there, in bits and pieces, with a few things. Like always, use discernment and judge all things by the Word of God.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"Our Lord did not say, “Go ye into all the world if you feel an ardent flame of love to all the people in it.” He just said, “Go ye,” and as we obey, he gives us all we need to lead them to him. And of course as we most of all need love, he gives it to us. I think often we accept the cross in theory, but when it comes to practice, we either do not recognize it for what it is, or we recognize it and try to avoid it. This we can always do, for the cross is something that can be taken up or left, just as we choose."

"Life is a journey; it is a climb; it is also and always a war. The soldier of the Lord of Hosts is always a soldier. He dare not drivel down to any other kind of life. We can’t be entangled in the affairs of this life if we are to be real soldiers. By its affairs I mean its chatter and its ways of thinking and deciding questions, its whole aspect and trend. God forgive us our love of ease. God forgive us that so often we turn our faces from a life that is even remotely like his. Forgive us that we all but worship comfort, the delight of the presence of loved ones, possessions, treasure on earth."

"All the great staining temptations–to selfishness, ambition, and other strong sins that violently affront the soul–appear first in the region of the mind, and can be fought and conquered there. We have been given the power to close the door of the mind. We can lose this power through disuse or increase it by use, by the daily discipline of the inner man in things which seem small, and by reliance upon the word of the spirit of truth."

"It is the eternal in books that makes them our friends and teachers–the paragraphs, the verses, that grip memory and ring down the years like bells, or call like bugles, or sound like trumpets; words of vision that open to us undying things and fix our eyes on them. We are not here, they tell us, for trivial purposes. . . . We are not here to be overcome, but to rise unvanquished after every knock-out blow, and laugh the laugh of faith, not fear."

"More and more as we go on, and learn our utter inability to move a single pebble by ourselves, and the mighty power of God to upturn mountains with a touch, we realize how infinitely important it is to know how to pray. There is the restful prayer of committal to which the immediate answer is peace. We could not live without this sort of prayer; we should be crushed and overborne, and give up brokenhearted if it were not for that peace. But the Apostle speaks of another prayer that is wrestle, conflict, “agony.” And if these little children are to be delivered and protected . . . then some of us must be strong to meet the powers that will combat every inch of the field with us, and some of us must learn deeper things than we know yet about the solemn secret of prevailing prayer."

"Our loving Lord is not just present, but nearer than thought can imagine, so near that a whisper can reach him. You know the story of the man who had a quick temper and had not time to go away and pray for help. His habit was to send up a little telegraph prayer, “Thy sweetness, Lord!” and sweetness came. Do you need courage? “Thy courage, Lord!” Patience? “Thy patience, Lord!” Love? “Thy love, Lord!” A quiet mind? “Thy quietness, Lord!” Shall we all practice this swift and simple way of prayer more and more? If we do, our Very Present Help will not disappoint us. For thou, Lord, hast never failed them that seek thee (Ps. 9:10). Prayer in the name of his beloved Son cannot lose its way in the void. It must find the ear of God."

"For prayer is not emotion, it is a traffic between earth and heaven, “a commerce of love.” Our ships set sail for heavenly shores; they do not return empty; it is impossible that they should; but we are not told what tide will bring them back. We think in terms of time; God thinks in terms of eternity. We see the near end of the thread on which are strung our moments, minutes, hours, days, like pearls on a string; the other end is out of view, and yet the thread is one, indivisible. We call the near end time, and the far end eternity, as though somewhere the thread broke (at death perhaps). But it is not so. We are living in eternity now."

"If monotony tries me, and I cannot stand drudgery; if stupid people fret me and little ruffles set me on edge; if I make much of the trifles of life, then I know nothing of Calvary love. If I am inconsiderate about the comfort of others, or their feelings, or even of their little weaknesses; if I am careless about their little hurts and miss opportunities to smooth their way; if I make the sweet running of household wheels more difficult to accomplish, then I know nothing of Calvary love. If interruptions annoy me and private cares make me impatient; if I shadow the souls about me because I myself am shadowed, then I know nothing of Calvary love. If souls can suffer alongside, and I hardly know it, because the spirit of discernment is not in me, then I know nothing of Calvary love." 

"Often our flash of haste means little. To read a book in an hour (if the book has taken half a lifetime to write) means nothing at all. To pray in a hurry of spirit means nothing. To live in a hurry means to do much but effect little. We build more quickly in wood, hay, and stubble than in gold, silver, and precious stones; but the one abides, the other does not."

"Thank God, courage is as infectious as discouragement. Have you not often felt the cheer and strength that seem to flow from one whose mind is stayed on God? I have."

"It matters a good deal that your book-food should be strong meat. We are what we think about."

"Can you find a promise that if we follow the Lord Jesus Christ, life is going to be fairly easy? I do not think we shall find even one. But we shall find ever so many promises assuring us that however things are, we may count on strength to make us brave and peace to keep our hearts at rest. I want you to welcome the little difficult things, the tiny pricks and ruffles that are sure to come almost every day. For they give you a chance to say “No” to yourself, and by doing so you will become strong not only to do but also to endure."

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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