4 Quotes On Selfless Sacrifice From “The Seven Laws Of Love”

The Seven Laws Of LoveIn The Seven Laws Of Love, Dave Willis gives us some highly practical, biblically-based counsel for investing in all of our relationships. Normally when I share quotes from books, I share all of them at once, but for this book I felt like it would be good to share these quotes a bit more slowly, to give you time to read them and apply them.

The seven laws Dave identifies are:

  1. Love requires commitment (read the quotes here)
  2. Love selflessly sacrifices
  3. Love speaks truth
  4. Love conquers fear
  5. Love offers grace
  6. Love brings healing
  7. Love lives forever

From law #2, here are some quotes on selfless sacrifice—

“That’s the beautiful irony of love. The only way we can truly keep it is to give it away.”

“First Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing was a twenty-two-year-old officer in the Union Army during the Civil War when he made the ultimate sacrifice. The young West Point graduate was in charge of six cannons and more than one hundred men during the Battle of Gettysburg. His small force found itself trapped in the middle of the battlefield during the Confederate Army’s infamous assault known as Pickett’s Charge. The full force of the rebels was closing in on Cushing and his men. The young officer had already been shot twice and was critically wounded. He had every right to retreat to safety, but he recognized the magnitude of the moment. Instead, he ordered the cannons moved to the front lines, and he limped forward to lead a counterattack. His courage and tenacity inspired the men around him, and they fought back valiantly before Cushing was shot again. The final shot proved to be fatal. The sacrifice of one young man turned the tide of a battle, which turned the tide of war, which ultimately held a nation together.”

“We don’t make our sacrifices for recognition; we make our sacrifices for love. When love moves you to sacrifice, you can rest assured that lives will be changed and eternity will be impacted.”

“Many people believe they have put their faith in Jesus, but they also believe they have to earn what He did for them on the Cross. Here’s the good news: when Jesus was hanging on that Cross, dying to save you, He did not use His dying words to say, ‘Earn this.’ Do you know what He said instead? He said, ‘It is finished!’ Did you catch that? It is finished. That means done, complete, sealed, finished! That’s God’s gift of grace. Jesus has done all the work already. You couldn’t possibly earn it even if you tried with everything you had, and God never expected you to.”

Check out my review of The Seven Laws Of Love by clicking here.

Watch for more quotes from the other laws of love explained in this book throughout the next few days.

O Holy Night & O Holy Day

O Holy NightIn 1847 an unnamed parish priest sent an unusual request to Placide Cappeau, the commissioner of wines in a small French town: “You are well known for your poems. Would you consider writing a poem for our Christmas mass?” Cappeau was both intrigued and honored, and he soon penned an essay called Cantique de Noel.

Cappeau felt that his poem was more worthy of a song, than just merely a poem, so he turned to his friend Adolphe Adams. Adams was a classically trained musician, but he was also a Jew. Adams said to Cappeau, “You’re asking me to write a melody for a poem that celebrates a Man I do not view as the Son of God, and a poem that celebrates a day I do not celebrate?” But because his friend Cappeau had requested it, he gave it his best effort. Three weeks later, Cantique de Noel was first heard at the Christmas Eve midnight mass.

Cantique de Noel quickly became popular throughout France. But when it was discovered that the lyricist Cappeau had left the church to become a socialist and that the musical composer Adams was a Jew, the Catholic Church banned the song from being sung in any of its churches. Still, the song grew in popularity.

During the build-up to the American Civil War, an abolitionist named John Dwight was especially moved by a line in Cantique de Noel: “Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother, and in His name all oppression shall cease.” Dwight published his version of Cantique de Noel in his abolitionist magazine with the new title O Holy Night. The song quickly caught on in America.

The opening words of O Holy Night speak to our hearts today, as much as they did to those present at the First Advent—long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. To pine for something means to long painfully for something just out of our reach. It’s what the psalmist in ancient Israel captured too when he wrote, My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God (Psalm 84:2). There is a longing in all of us to know the Lord!

That’s why Christ’s First Advent is such a blessed, joyous event! In the second stanza we sing—In all our trials born to be our Friend; He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger. Indeed the writer of Hebrews tells us why Jesus was born as a human (Hebrews 2:14-18), and why we can approach Him confidently (4:15-16).

Christ’s Incarnation allows us to put our faith in Him. When we do, we experience the Atonement. I like to remember this word by saying it at-onement. In other words, the Heavenly Father now sees me at-onement with His Son—when He looks at me, He sees Jesus. That’s why God forgets our forgiven sins (Hebrews 8:12)!

Then the third stanza of O Holy Night begins to tell us how we live out the at-onement every day by loving one another, enjoying His peace, living free and helping others get free too, singing joyfully to God day after night after day after night!

The First Advent was a holy night because Christ’s Atonement it makes us holy. So now all our nights are O holy nights, and all our days are O holy days, and all our work is O holy work, and all our relationships are O holy relationships!

Christ’s First Advent changes EVERYTHING for those who put their faith in Him. Is that you? Are you living in Christ’s at-onement? If not, you can be today by simply asking Him to come into your life.

You can check out some of the other Christmas carols we have looked at here. And check out the video of this message too—

If you have missed any of the messages in our series The Carols Of Christmas, you can find the full list by clicking here.

6 Quotes From “Lincoln’s Battle With God”

Lincoln's Battle With GodStephen Mansfield has given us a unique view of the life of Abraham Lincoln, through his struggle with coming to grips with who God was to him. It’s truly an amazing read! You can read my full book review of Lincoln’s Battle With God by clicking here. Below are a few quotes I highlighted in this book.

“A schoolteacher who knew him during these years recalled, ‘Abraham Lincoln was the most studious, diligent strait forward young man in the pursuit of a knowledge of literature than any among the five thousand I have taught in the school.’” —Stephen Mansfield 

“Through all, I groped my way until I found a stronger and higher grasp of thought, one that reached beyond this life with a clearness and satisfaction I had never known before. The Scriptures unfolded before me with a deeper and more logical appeal, through these new experiences, than anything else I could find to turn to, or ever before had found in them.” —Abraham Lincoln

“The fundamental truths reported in the four gospels as from the lips of Jesus Christ, and that I first heard from the lips of my mother, are settled and fixed moral precepts with me. I have concluded to dismiss from my mind the debatable wrangles that once perplexed me with distractions that stirred up, but never absolutely settled anything. I have tossed them aside with the doubtful differences which divide denominations—sweeping them all out of my mind among the nonessentials. I have ceased to follow such discussions or be interested in them. I cannot without mental reservations assent to long and complicated creeds and catechisms. If the church would ask simply for assent to the Savior’s statements of the substance of the law: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself,’ that church would I gladly unite with.” —Abraham Lincoln

“The fact is, I don’t like to hear cut and dried sermons. No, when I hear a man preach, I like to see him act as if he were fighting bees!” —Abraham Lincoln

“On Thursday of last week two ladies from Tennessee came before the President asking the release of their husbands held as prisoners of war at Johnson’s Island. … At each of the interviews one of the ladies urged that her husband was a religious man. On Saturday the President ordered the release of the prisoners, and then said to this lady, ‘You say your husband is a religious man; tell him when you meet him, that I say I am not much of a judge of religion, but that, in my opinion, the religion that sets men to rebel and fight against their government, because, as they think, that government does not sufficiently help some men to eat their bread on the sweat of other men’s faces, is not the sort of religion upon which people can get to heaven!’”  —From a newspaper article entitled “The President’s Last, Shortest and Best Speech”

“If I were not sustained by the prayers of God’s people, I could not endure this constant pressure. … It has pleased Almighty God to place me in my present position and looking up to Him for wisdom and divine guidance I must work my destiny as best I can.” —Abraham Lincoln

4 Quotes By And About Abraham Lincoln In “Humility”

HumilityI thoroughly enjoyed Dr. David Bobb’s book Humility (you can read my full book review by clicking here). The book was partially a challenge for us to cultivate this virtue in our individual lives and in the fabric of our nation. So Dr. Bobb uses several biographies of notable Americans to illustrate the power of humility. These are some quotes by and about Abraham Lincoln.

“Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.” —Abraham Lincoln

“Nowhere in the world is presented a government of so much liberty and equality. To the humblest and poorest amongst us are extended the highest privileges and positions. The present moment finds me at the White House, yet there is as good a chance for your children as there was for my father’s.” —Abraham Lincoln

“[Abraham] Lincoln’s navigation of these almost impossible waters was not without mistakes. What distinguished him from many others, however, were his ability to shift his course without ever losing sight of his destination and his willingness to admit when he steered awry.” —David Bobb

“With our limited understanding we may not be able to comprehend it, yet we cannot but believe, that He who made the world still governs it.” —Abraham Lincoln

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln

Abraham LincolnToday is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. What an amazing man he was! Long before he became president of the United States, he had prepared himself to be a first-rate man at whatever he was going to do. How blessed we as a nation are to have a man worthy to be called “the savior of the Union” come into office at the time he did!

In honor of President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, here are a few quotes and anecdotes from my files.

When he was a boy in Indiana, Lincoln borrowed a book about George Washington from a neighbor, Josiah Crawford. After rainwater ruined it, he went straight to Crawford, owned up to what had happened, and spent three days in Crawford’s cornfield working to pay for the book.

“I’ll prepare myself and be ready for opportunities as they come.” —Abraham Lincoln

When Lincoln was a young storekeeper in New Salem, Illinois, he accidentally shortchanged a customer by six and a quarter cents. As soon as he discovered the error, he closed the shop and walked six miles to pay the money back. Lincoln’s store was not a success. He and his partner, William Berry, went into debt trying to make a go of it. The store “winked out” anyway, as Lincoln put it, and left him owing a great deal of money, especially after Berry died. He could have done what so many others in similar situations did—simply head west for new frontiers and leave the debt behind. But he resolved to stay. For a young man of his means, it was a large burden. He called it, with grim humor, his “national debt.” It took him several years, but he paid it all back. 

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” —Abraham Lincoln

“That the Almighty does make use of human agencies and directly intervenes in human affairs is one of the plainest statements in the Bible. I have had so many evidences of His direction, so many instances when I have been controlled by some other power than my own will, that I cannot doubt that this power comes from above.” —Abraham Lincoln 

“The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” —Abraham Lincoln

Horace Greeley, writing in the New York Tribune, wrote: “Never before did one so constantly and visibly grow under the disciplines of incessant cares, anxieties, and trials. The Lincoln of 1862 was plainly a larger, broader, and better man than he had been in ’61, while ’63 and ’64 worked his continued and unabated growth in mental and moral stature.” 

“It is more pleasing to God to see His people study Him and His will directly than to spend the first and chief of their efforts attaining comfort for themselves.” —Abraham Lincoln

“I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” —Abraham Lincoln 

“Surely God would not have created such a being as man to exist only for a day! No, no, man was made for immortality.” —Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln once turned down a job applicant citing, “I don’t like his face.” One of his Cabinet members let the President know that he didn’t think this was an adequate reason for turning down an applicant. To which Lincoln replied, “Every man over forty is responsible for his face.” 

“If often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong.” —Abraham Lincoln

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” —Abraham Lincoln

“Die when I may, I would like it to be said of me, that I always pulled up a weed and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.” —Abraham Lincoln

9 Quotes from “Grant: Savior Of The Union”

Grant: Savior Of The Union was a very eye-opening biography to read (you can read my full review by clicking here). Here are nine passages that especially caught my attention:

“This I don’t want you to read to others for I very much dislike speaking of myself.” —Grant, in a letter to his father about the accomplishments of his soldiers 

“The first day out the regiment made it five miles. However, the next morning at six o’clock when Grant resumed the March, his men were unprepared to move. He allowed them time to rise and eat breakfast this time, but the following morning when the men were again not ready to march, Grant left without them. It must have been a sight to see half-dressed soldiers running after their commander. The remainder of the trip to Quincy was conducted in relatively good order. Grant boasted to his father that ‘my men behaved admirably and the lesson has been a good one for them. They can now go into camp and after a day’s March and with as much promptness as veteran troops; they can strike their tents and be on the march with equal celerity.”  —Mitchell Yockelson

At one battle some officers advised retreat. Grant replied, “Retreat? No. I propose to attack at daylight and whip them.”

When some in Washington, D.C., wanted to replace Grant with someone more experienced, President Abraham Lincoln said, “I can’t spare this man; he fights.”

A friend observed that at a banquet where toasts and speeches were made to honor Grant, “his face never changed its unmoved expression. It never lit up with excitement. …His silence was a native endowment, nothing studied, nothing acquired. … His greatest enjoyment was manifestly with [his wife and children]. Their presence and happiness made his face beam as nothing else would.” 

When Grant was given the rank of Lt. General—a rank no one had held since George Washington—Grant’s acceptance speech was very gracious:

“I accept the commission with gratitude for the high honor conferred. With the aid of the noble armies that have fought on so many fields for our common country, it will be my earnest endeavor not to disappoint your expectations. I feel the full weight of the responsibilities now devolving on me and know that if they are net it will be due to those armies. And above all to the favor of that Providence which leads both Nations and men.”

After Robert E. Lee signed the surrender agreement for the armies of the South, word spread to the Union forces, and celebration erupted. “Grant ordered the cheering to stop. He did not want the Union army to gloat and in any way insult the defeated Confederates. ‘The war is over,’ Grant told a staff member. ‘The Rebels are our countrymen again.’”

“It will be a thousand years before Grant’s character is fully appreciated. Grant is the greatest soldier of our time if not all time… he fixes in his mind what is the true objective and abandons all minor ones. He dismisses all possibility of defeat. He believes in himself and in victory. If his plans go wrong he is never disconcerted but promptly devises a new one and is sure to win in the end. Grant more nearly impersonated the American character of 1861-65 than any other living man. Therefore he will stand as the typical hero of the great Civil War in America.” —William T. Sherman

“Of all the American generals of the nineteenth century, it seems to me that Ulysses S. Grant better understood the role of the military in democracy than any other.” —John S.D. Eisenhower, historian and son of Dwight D. Eisenhower

Grant: Savior Of The Union (book review)

I love to read the biographies of history-making people, so I have thoroughly enjoyed “The Generals” series that Thomas Nelson has produced. Almost every child in a US school has learned about the Civil War, and the two generals which stand at the forefront: Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant. But in Grant: Savior Of The Union, Mitchell Yockelson presents a picture of U.S. Grant that most have not seen.

If you recall what you learned about the Civil War in school, what sort of image comes to mind about General Grant? My textbooks presented a man who was a hard-charging, iron-willed general, who didn’t care how many soldiers he lost to win his battles. With this image in my mind, I could just imagine how distant he must have been as a husband, and how strict he probably was with his children.

Yockelson’s amazing biography of Grant shows nothing of the kind. Instead, we see Grant as a master tactician who thoroughly researched troop strengths and geography prior to the battle, to maximize his chances of success. He was a man who lived among his troops in the same housing they had, and who led from the front lines instead of from a safe distance away. He was a man who wanted his wife and children to be with him whenever it was possible, and was described by others as one of the most loving fathers they had ever seen.

And he was a man who loved the men under his care. After one notable victory, the northern newspapers praised Grant and his success. But Grant wrote home to his wife Julia: “These terrible battles are very good things to read about for a person who lost no friends, but I am decidedly in favor of having as little of them as possible.”

Our country owes a deep debt of gratitude to Ulysses Grant for his unshakable courage, deep compassion for his country and its citizens, and for his skills as a military leader. As Frederick Douglass said, “May we not justly say, will it not be the unquestioned sentiment of history that the liberty Mr. Lincoln declared with his pen General Grant made effectual with his sword—by his skill in leading the Union armies to final victory.”

A wonderful read for military history buffs and students of leadership. (By the way, I also reviewed the Thomas Nelson biography of Robert E. Lee here.)

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

I have also shared some quotes from this biography here.

Lest We Forget

Days set aside for giving thanks to God have been observed throughout the history of our great nation. But in 1863 in the midst of Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln designated an annual Thanksgiving Day. Lest we not forget, our first and greatest thanks should be to God from Whom all blessings flow. A portion of President Lincoln’s proclamation reads:

“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

You can read the full text of President Lincoln’s proclamation here, or for those of you who would rather listen to the proclamation, enjoy the video version.

Make today “a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father.”

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