Stronger Cords

Praying

Grace binds you with
far stronger cords than
the cords of duty or obligation
can bind you.

–E. Stanley Jones

When God Got Nailed

Nailed

Lambs in the Midst of Wolves

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At first sight . . . the Kingdom seems impossible and the world way the reasonable and workable way. Jesus, knowing that men would feel that his way is impossible says: “I send you as lambs in the midst of wolves.” It looks as thought the principles of Jesus have about as much chance of success as lambs have of getting through a pack of wolves. What can humility do in a world where it is considered a weakness?

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What chance of success has a business man if he should take the way of the Sermon on the Mount? Would not his competitors tear him to pieces, as wolves do a lamb, if he attempted it? And a nation that built its collective life upon the principle of love and turning the other cheek—would not other nations make short shrift of it? They would be lambs in the midst of wolves. So it seems. But when John saw the final end of things in Apocalypse the Lamb was on the throne!

-E. Stanley Jones,
Christ at the Round Table

Rivers and swamps

southern-swamp-ester-rogers

The difference between a river and a swamp is that one has banks and the other has none. The swamp is very gracious and kindly, it spreads over everything, hence it is a swamp. Some of us are moral and spiritual swamps. We are so broad and liberal that we taken in everything from the shady to the sacred… We tolerate everything in our lives and hence we must finally tolerate our own spiritual paralysis. Paul said, “This one thing I do;” we would have said, “These forty things I dabble in.” He was a river. We are swamps. There lies the difference.

—E. Stanley Jones,
The Christ of Every Road

You cannot blot Him out

Hagai Sophia

The Mosque of Saint Sophia in Constantinople [now Istanbul] is a transformed Christian church. It was one of the most beautiful churches in the world. All the Christian inscriptions and symbols have been painted out and Moslem inscriptions and symbols put in their places. As we stood under the great dome we could see that the figure of the ascending Christ with out stretched hands in blessing, which had been painted out, was coming back through the wearing off of the covering paint. I turned to a friend and said: “He is coming back. You cannot blot him out. Through the accretions and daubs of the centuries he is coming back again. He shall reign. The future belongs to him.”

–E. Stanley Jones,
Christ at the Round Table

One Essential Task

blank squareanngur2We . . . have one
business in life
and only one business:
to live inside the
love of Christ,
in union with Him.
     –E. Stanley Jones

Not a code or an idea

Jesus in color 15F
If the Word had become printer’s ink, it would have become a code. If the Word had become an idea, it would have been a philosophy. But the Word became flesh and therefore became a gospel—good news.

–E. Stanley Jones
The Way to Power and Poise

Redemptively invaded

earth 22 copy 2The Gospel is not an academic discussion of truth—a set of doctrines about life, but an interpretation of “things” (Lk. 1:1) . . . Some “things” had happened on this earth that had never happened before—our planet has been invaded by God—redemptively invaded. That is the biggest and most decisive “thing” that has ever happened or can happen on this planet. . . .

This is cosmic news—the Good News, that will make every planet, every cell, every thing dance with joy at the wonder of it.

Of all the things that have happened, or could happen this is the thing . . . the Central Cosmic Fact: God appeared on a little planet to take us by the hand and put us back on the Way. This is news—Good News—comparatively speaking, the only Good News that ever reached our planet.

-–E. Stanley Jones

Following a Person or a Belief?

Christ 9C2We must call men, not to loyalty to a belief but loyalty to a Person. We may be loyal to a belief and dead spiritually, but we cannot be loyal to this Person and be other than alive spiritually. He creates belief. He is the great Believer himself, and in the light of his radiant faith we cannot but believe. We do not get Jesus from our beliefs, we get our beliefs from Jesus. And they must of necessity be under constant correction by his mind and spirit.

–E. Stanley Jones
The Christ of the Indian Road

The unsurpassed life

Christ 9JBA principle without a concrete illustration is a person without feet—it gets nowhere. I don’t know whether a principle is true until it is put under life to see whether life will approve of it. A principle is only a hypothesis until it is verified by life. All the principles of the Christian faith have been verified in the life of Jesus—they work and have produced the character of Jesus. And “in any battle of ideas the victory will go to those ideas guaranteed by the facts.” In the Christian faith all its ideas have been guaranteed by the fact of Jesus. So the final victory goes to Him. For you will never get better ideas than Jesus held until you live a better life than Jesus lived. That can’t be done. He is the standard.

–E. Stanley Jones
The Word Become Flesh

The power not to strike back

Sunbaked Mud in DesertBy turning the other cheek you disarm your enemy. He hits you on the cheek and you, by your moral audacity, hit him on the heart by turning the other cheek. His enmity is dissolved. Your enemy is gone. You get rid of your enemy by getting rid of your enmity . . . The world is at the feet of the Man who had power to strike back but who had power not to strike back. That is power—ultimate power.  –E. Stanley Jones

The Great Divide

The most important verse in Scripture is “And the word became
flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory of the only Son from the Father . . .”

christ_rembrandt_1This verse—“The Word became flesh”—is the Great Divide. In all other religions it is Word became word—a philosophy, a moralism, a system, a technique, but for all time and all men everywhere, “the Word became flesh”—the Idea became Fact.

Then I got hold of this difference (between all world religions and Christianity) in all other religions it is the Word become word, but only in Jesus Christ, did the Word become flesh. Then (and only then) Everything fell into its place. I had the Key, and this Key fitted everything in East and West . . . Religions are man’s search for God. The gospel is God’s search for man. Therefore, there are many religions, but only one gospel.

–E. Stanley Jones

Painting: “Head of Christ”
Rembrandt van Rijn

Not following a code

Sermon_On_The_Mount_Copenhagen

It is not said in the Book,
“The Word became printer’s ink,”
but it is said,
“The Word became flesh.”
Had the Word become printer’s ink,
we should have followed a code.
Instead our code is a Character.
We follow a living mind
instead of a fixed letter.

–E. Stanley Jones
(1884 – 1973)

Grace and Truth

Christ 67

Never did word and work so blend in harmony as they did in him. They blended like the words and music of a song. He taught men, and this words had the ring of reality about them. Others quoted authorities; he taught with authority of his own insight. Others came seeking truth; he came proclaiming it. Truth gushed forth from his soul like a fountain from a hillside… and men listened to these words as if they were hearing some long-lost chord, something that belonged to them, that belonged to the very structure and make-up of their being. They felt that this was the soul’s homeland.

–E. Stanley Jones
The Christ of Every Road

The Offer and the Dance

Rejoice-in-the-Lord-alway-and-again-Rejoice copy

The gospel of Jesus is not the Gospel of a Demand but the Gospel of an Offer. Christ offers life to men: “He that drinketh of the waters that I shall give him shall never thirst”…

Of course, at the center of that offer is a demand—for repentance, for self-surrender, for following—but once the offer is accepted, the demand dances its way into a delight and is gone.

–E. Stanley Jones
Christ at the Round Table

Unexpected favor

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Grace is . . . Love
favoring us when
we are not favorable,
loving us when
we were not lovable,
accepting us when
we are not acceptable,
redeeming us when,
by all the rules of the book,
we are not redeemable.

–E. Stanley Jones

Invaded by God

precious_moments_by_maximecourty-d53olde

The Gospel is not an academic discussion of truth—a set of doctrines about life, but an interpretation of “things” (Lk. 1:1) . . . Some “things” had happened on this earth that had never happened before—our planet has been invaded by God—redemptively invaded. That is the biggest and most decisive “thing” that has ever happened or can happen on this planet. . . .

This is cosmic news—the Good News,
that will make every planet, every cell,
every thing dance with joy
at the wonder of it.

Of all the things that have happened, or could happen this is the thing . . . the Central Cosmic Fact: God appeared on a little planet to take us by the hand and put us back on the Way. This is news—Good News—comparatively speaking, the only Good News that every reached our planet.

–E. Stanley Jones

Image: Maxime Courty

Alive with His life

hang gliding 2

When you surrender to Christ, you surrender to the most creative and dynamic Person on this or any other planet.

You begin to be alive with His life,
enlightened with His light,
loving with His love.

You have surrendered to creativity. Therefore His yoke is easy, for you are made by the Creator for creation.

–E. Stanley Jones

Surrendering to Life

Red-Grapes-on-Vine-5-08

Prayer is fundamentally and essentially self-surrender . . . It is self-renunciation in order to find self-realization. Your petty self is renounced in order that your potential self might be realized. Prayer is the wire surrendering to the dynamo, the flower surrender to the sun, the child surrendering to education, the patient surrendering to the surgeon, the part surrender to the whole—prayer is life surrendering to Life.

A branch not surrendered to the vine, but cut off and on its own, it not free; it is dead. A person who doesn’t pray isn’t free; he is futile. He is a blind man who won’t surrender his blindness to the surgeon in order to see. He is free—to remain blind.

–E. Stanley Jones

Everyone surrenders

determined

If you don’t surrender to God,
don’t think you don’t surrender.
Everybody surrenders— 
to something.

–E. Stanley Jones

Incomparable goodness

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“The Word became flesh” . . . His words and his deeds blended like the words and music of a song. He was so truthful that He was truth, so loving that He was love, so good that He was goodness, so morally beautiful that He was beauty, so living that He was life, so godlike that he was God.

–E. Stanley Jones

Satisfied and wanting more

Waterfall cave

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water that I shall give him will never suffer thirst any more. The water that I shall give him will be an inner spring always welling up for eternal life” (John 4:14 NEB).

Everyone who drinks this water, the waters of the world, “will be thirsty again.” The waters of this world – sex, money, pleasure, fame – have the doom of thirst upon them. You get them and then you know that they are not what you really want. “But whoever drinks the water that I shall give him will never suffer thirst any more.”

“Never suffer thirst”  – 
that is literally true.
For the inner being and Christ
are made for each other,
and when you find him you find yourself.
The soul cries “This is it,”
and you never thirst again.

But a strange thing happens: “The water that I shall give him will be an inner spring always welling up for eternal life.” The gift, “the water that I shall give,” will become “an inner spring,” become an inner spontaneity. The gift creates spontaneity. That is a miracle, for gifts usually create dependence and weakness. This creates independence and strength, “an inner spring.” Another strange thing happens: The person who drinks of the water which Jesus gives “will never suffer thirst anymore” – he will be forever satisfied, and yet that water becomes “an inner spring always welling up for eternal life.” That satisfaction becomes not a dissatisfaction, but an unsatisfaction for more; it becomes something “always welling up for eternal life,” always crying for more of this eternal life. A paradox, but a blessed paradox. I had what I wanted and I wanted more.

–E. Stanley Jones
A Song of Ascents

He gives a Song

swiss_train

Life to me has not been a struggle. It has been, and is, a Song. The struggle has been only when I have departed from His Way. Only when I have jumped the rails of his Way and have bumped along the ties of my own self-will, tearing myself and my situation to pieces, have I had a struggle, a struggle to get back on the rails, to get back on the Way to live – his will.

When I am in his will,
life is not a struggle;
it is a Song.

And it is a Song, not a song, a ditty to divert you from reality, but a Song which has behind it the “music of the spheres”; the sum total of reality is behind your Song. You have something to sing about. You sing the song that the “morning stars sang” and when “all the sons of God shouted for joy” – that strain is in it. You have cosmic backing. You sing because you can’t help it. It’s the only method of expression . . .

But my Song will not be primarily about special events, but about the special event, about Jesus Christ. I have something to sing about – and the something is a Someone.

–E. Stanley Jones
A Song of Ascents

The first law of life

6CottageSwan copy

For the first law of life is this; You must lose your life to find it. If you find it by centering on yourself, in no matter how religious a way, you will lose it. It will disintegrate through conflict. You are an off-centered person—“ecc-centric.” The universe doesn’t back that way of life. Hence you always are “up against it.” But when to decide “to belong”—to surrender to Christ and make Him the center—then you are not up against it”; you’re “with it”; the sum total of reality works with you and not against you. You are aligned.

When you belong to Jesus Christ,
“then everything belongs to you”—
everything works with you and for you.

Only evil, which is “live” spelled backwards, works against you.

–E. Stanley Jones
The Way to Power and Poise

This is the way!

Road Shafts of Autumn Sunlight

Sin is “novel,” goodness is natural. The truly Christian person is the truly natural person. He is not living against the grain of the universe, but with it. He is not barking his shins on the system of things. He knows his way about in a universe of this kind—he knows how to live. I know exactly how I feel when I sin—I am orphaned, estranged, and everything within me cries, “This is not the way.” I also know exactly how I feel when I live the Christian way—I am universalized, at home. Everything within me cries, “This is the way!” His way is my way.

–E. Stanley Jones
The Word Became Flesh

God’s idea of God

Christ A21 C

Our idea of God
is not God.
Instead, we ought
to begin with
God’s idea of God,
and God’s idea of God
is Christ.

–E. Stanley Jones

When perfection became human

Christ 42C copy

Jesus rectifies nothing, he recalls no word that he ever spoke, retraces no step that he ever took, undoes no act that he ever did, no prayer for forgiveness was ever on his lips and no tear of penitence upon his cheek, he never once said, “I am sorry.” He taught his disciples the prayer, “Our Father . . . forgive us our trespasses,” but he never prayed that prayer. He said, “If ye then being evil,” but he left himself out of it. His last word was not a prayer for restoration or acceptance, but, “It is finished”… Christ is the Sinless exception to our humanity.

–E. Stanley Jones
Christ at the Round Table

The Gospel is a Person

Stay-or-Leave-by-Ildiko-Neer

If the gospel were primarily
a set of good ideas, then the end
would be intellectual assent and acceptance.
But if the gospel is primarily a Person,
then the end is a surrender to,
and a following of, that Person.

–E. Stanley Jones

A God who stoops

Christ, looking down 2

I search in vain through non-Christian systems for one authentic note of the self-giving, serving God. True, there is service as a royal dispenser of favors and benefits; but this is deeper, for here is service by a Servant.

He did not merely bend over to hand out,
he bent over to get under.

He stooped under the poverty and the toil, the sin and the shame, the troubles and the toil—under the very lives of fallen men, and when there was nothing left to get under, he got under the cross and bore that for them.

–E. Stanley Jones
The Christ of Every Road

Feels like homecoming

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All coming to Jesus Christ has the feeling of a homecoming upon it. All going away from him has the sense of estrangement upon it. The rich young ruler went away from Jesus ‘sorrowful.’ Everybody does. Not only estranged from God, but also estranged from oneself. And the universe! And from Life! You are not at home with life, unless you are at home with Life. And Jesus is Life!

–E. Stanley Jones
The Word Became Flesh

Published in: on 01/14/2013 at 17:04  Leave a Comment  
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