Ancient Paths
Death and the Christian

Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)

“I am certain of this, that no one has died who was not going to die at some time, and the end of life reduces the longest life to the same condition as the shortest…. Death is not to be regarded as a disaster, when it follows on a good life, for the only thing that makes death an evil is what comes after death. Those who must inevitably die ought not to worry overmuch about what accident will cause their death, but about their destination after dying. Christians know that the death of a poor religious man, licked by the tongues of dogs, is far better than the death of a godless rich man, dressed in purple and linen. Why then should those who have lived well be dismayed by the terrors of death in any form?”[i]

The Lord’s Welcome

George Herbert, “Love Bade Me Welcome”

Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slackFrom my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lack’d anything.

“A guest,” I answer’d, “worthy to be here.”
Love said, “You shall be he.”
“I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on Thee.”
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
“Who made the eyes but I?”

“Truth, Lord: but I have marr’d them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.”
“And know you not,” says Love, “Who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.”

“You must sit down,” says Love, “and taste my meat.”
So I did sit and eat.

Monday: Read Matthew 19:13-15

Jesus welcomed children! So fierce was His protectiveness of them that He threatened the direst of consequences for those who hindered this welcome (Matt 18:6). Now, it’s with the faith of a child that all must come to Him—or not at all. Have you ever sensed this kind of “fierce” love from Him? If not, why do you think this is so? What might you need to do to have a child’s faith in Him?

Lies and Consequences

LiesStormie Omartian (n.d.),
The Power of a Praying Parent

In our house, our children know that while it might be possible to cut a deal on the punishment for certain infractions, if lying is part of the offense the punishment will be swift, immediate, unpleasant, and nonnegotiable. We consider telling a lie to be the worst offense because it is foundational for all other evil acts. Every sin or crime begins with someone believing or speaking a lie. Even if the lie is as simple as “I can get what I want if I lie,” it paves the way for evil.

The Bible in the Home

Matthew Henry (1662-1714)image-why-bother_to_read_the_Bible

“It is better to be without bread in your houses than without Bibles, for the words of God’s mouth are and should be to you more than your necessary food. But what will it avail you to have Bibles in your houses, if you do not use them? To have the great things of God’s law and gospel written to you, if you count them as a strange thing? You look daily into your shop-books, and perhaps converse much with the news-books, and shall your Bibles be thrown by as an almanac out of date?... Let me therefore, with all earnestness press it upon you to make the solemn reading of the Scripture a part of your daily worship in your families.”[1]

Monday: Read 2 Timothy 3:14-17
Paul wrote to Timothy, who “from childhood [had] been acquainted with the sacred writings.” What does Paul teach about the origin of Scripture? What about the purposes of Scripture? How had Timothy benefitted from nurture in God’s Word? What would you expect to be the impact upon your family of faithful reading and study of the Bible as a central activity in your home?

Deserts and Deprivation

Abba Doulos, in Selected Sayings of the Desert Fathers

"If the enemy induces us to give up our inner peace, we must not listen to him, for nothing is equal to this peace and the privation of food."

Seeking the Kingdom


John Calvin, Institutes III.xx.42
“God sets up his Kingdom by humbling the whole world, but in different ways. For he tames the wantonness of some, breaks the untamable pride of others. We must daily desire that God gather churches unto himself from all parts of the earth; that he spread and increase them in number; that he adorn them with gifts; that he establish a lawful order among them; on the other hand, that he cast down all enemies of pure teaching and religion; that he scatter their counsels and crush their efforts. From this it appears that zeal for daily progress is not enjoined upon us in vain, for it never goes so well with human affairs that the filthiness of vices is shaken and washed away, and full integrity flowers and grows. But its fullness is delayed to final coming of Christ when, as Paul teaches, ‘God will be all in all.’”

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