The Character of God
Ruth Beaird, a dear friend of my mother, Carmel Buck, gave her a small book in 1971 when Mom was going through difficult times. This same little book helped me survive the tough years when Robin and I were going through a four-and-one-half-year law suit against the competitor that knocked off our cookie stamps, which was finally settled out of court in 2002.
As I was unpacking this week and moving into our new house at Lake Almanor, I picked up this treasury of wisdom for the first time in ten years and found the following quotations about what it means to love God... for those who are mixed up about the nature of God and why we would want to relate to Him.
Quotations are taken from the daily devotional DAILY STRENGTH FOR DAILY NEEDS, selected by Mary Wilder Tileston with a Foreword by William Lawrence, Late Bishop of Massachusetts, Grosset & Dunlap Publishers, New York, 1884, 1901, 1912, copyright 1928 by Mary Wilder Tileston. The following excerpts were taken from the selections for April 21 and April 22.
To love God is to love His character.
GOD IS PURITY.
And to be pure in thought and look,
to turn away from unhallowed books and conversation,
to abhor the moments in which we have not been pure,
is to love God.
GOD IS LOVE;
and to love men till private attachments have expanded
into a philanthropy which embraces all,–
at last even the evil and enemies with compassion,–
that is to love God.
GOD IS TRUTH.
To be true,
to hate every form of falsehood,
to live a brave, true, real life,–
that is to love God.
GOD IS INFINITE;
and to love the boundless,
reaching on from grace to grace,
adding charity to faith,
and rising upwards ever to see the Ideal still above us,
and to die with it unattained,
aiming insatiably to be perfect even as the Father is perfect,–
that is to love God.
-- F. W. Robertson
What would it be to love absolutely a Being absolutely lovely,–
to be able to give our whole existence,
every thought, every act, every desire to that adored One,–
to know that He accepts it all,
and loves us in return as God alone can love?
This happiness grows forever.
The larger our natures become,
the wider our scope of thought,
the stronger our will,
the more fervent our affections,
the deeper must be the rapture of such God-granted prayer.
Every sacrifice resolved on opens wide the gate;
every sacrifice accomplished is a step towards the paradise within.
Soon it will be no transitory glimpse,
no rapture of a day,
to be followed by clouds and coldness.
Let us but labor, and pray, and wait,
and the intervals of human frailty shall grow shorter and less dark,
the days of our delight in God longer and brighter,
till at last life shall be nought but His love,
our eyes shall never grow dim,
His smile never turn away.
-- F. P. Cobbe
An Account of Jesus
by Josephus / 93 A.D.
Josephus (37 - c. 100) also known as Titus Flavius Josephus, was a first-century
Roman-Jewish historian and hagiographer (biographer of saints or venerated
persons) of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history with special
emphasis on the First Jewish-Roman War, which resulted in the destruction
of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was Christ.
"And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.
"And the tribe of Christians, so named for him, are not extinct at this day."
His Invisible Power
by Tatian / 2nd Century
Tatian the Assyrian (c. 120-180) was an early Christian
writer and theologian of the second century.
"For what reason, men of Greece, do you wish to bring the government, as in a boxing match, into collision with Christians? And, if I am not inclined to comply with these tactics, why am I to be abhorred as a villain? If the sovereign orders the payment of tribute [tax], I am ready to render it. Should my master command me to act as a bondsman and to serve, I acknowledge the serfdom. Man is to be honored as a fellow man; but God alone is to be feared – He Who is not visible to human eyes, nor comes within the capacity of human art and expression. Only when I am commanded to deny Him, will I not obey, but would rather die than show myself false and ungrateful.
"Our God did not begin to be in time: He alone is without beginning, and He Himself is the beginning of all things. God is a Spirit, not inhabiting matter, but the Maker of everything; He is invisible, impalpable, being Himself the Father of both sensible and invisible things. Him we know from His creation, and apprehend His invisible power by His works."
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