Gordon MacDonald did a phenomenal job synthesizing biblical principles as he teaches us how to pay attention to our private, inner world. One of the things I enjoyed was the number of other authors and teachers he quotes throughout Ordering Your Private World. Here are a few of those quotes he shared…
“The battle is lost or won in the secret places of the will before God, never first in the external world. … Nothing has any power over the man who has fought out the battle before God and won there. … I must get the things settled between myself and God in the secret places of my soul where no stranger intermeddles, and then I can go forth with the certainty that the battle is won.” —Oswald Chambers
“I took pleasure where it pleased me, and passed on. I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and that therefore what one has done in the secret chamber, one has some day to cry aloud from the house-top. I ceased to be lord over myself. I was no longer the captain of my soul, and did not know it. I allowed pleasure to dominate me. I ended in horrible disgrace.” —Oscar Wilde
“Think of no other greatness but that of the soul, no other riches but those of the heart.” —John Quincy Adams, in a letter to his daughter
“A public man, though he is necessarily available at many times, must learn to hide. If he is always available, he is not worth enough when he is available.” —Elton Trueblood
“Remember a long life of steady, consistent, holy labor will produce twice as much fruit as one shortened and destroyed by spasmodic and extravagant exertions; be careful and sparing of your strength when and where exertion is unnecessary.” —Catherine Booth, in a letter to her husband William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army
“There can be intemperance in work just as in drink. What feels like zeal may be only fidgets or even the flattering of one’s self-importance.” —C.S. Lewis
“The man of action has the present, but the thinker controls the future.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes
“No other pleasure suits every occasion, every age or every place. But the study of letters is the food of youth, the delight of old age, a delight at home and no burden abroad; it stays with us at night, and goes with us on our travels, near and far.” —Cicero
“We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grow in silence; see the stars, the moon and sun, how they move in silence…. The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life. We need silence to be able to touch souls. The essential thing is not what we say, but what God says to us and through us. All our words will be useless unless they come from within—words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.” —Mother Teresa
“St. Augustine says, ‘God gives where He finds empty hands.’ A man whose hands are full of parcels can’t receive a gift. Perhaps these parcels are not always sins or earthly cares, but sometimes our own fussy attempts to worship Him in our way. Incidentally, what most often interrupts my own prayers is not great distractions but tiny ones—things one will have to do or avoid in the course of the next hour.” —C.S. Lewis
“Let inward prayer be your last act before you fall asleep and the first act when you awake.” —Thomas Kelly
“I know that there are certain mental and emotional and moral and spiritual attitudes that are anti-health: anger, resentments, fear, worry, desire to dominate, self-preoccupation, guilts, sexual impurity, jealousy, a lack of creative activity, inferiorities, a lack of love. These are the twelve apostles of ill health. So in prayer I’ve learned to surrender these things to Jesus Christ as they appear.” —E. Stanley Jones
“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” —George Washington
“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” —Abraham Lincoln
“The foundations of national morality must be laid in private families. In vain are schools, academies, and universities, instituted, if loose principles and licentious habits are impressed upon children in their earliest years. The mothers are the earliest and most important instructors of youth.” —John Adams
“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.” —Abraham Lincoln
“The devil never reckons a man to be lost so long as he has a good mother alive. O woman, great is thy power!” ―Charles Spurgeon
“I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians in England.” ―John Wesley
“Your motherhood is in God’s sight holier and more blessed than you realize.” —Andrew Murray
“God could not be everywhere, and therefore He made mothers.” —Jewish Proverb
“An ounce of mother is worth a ton of priest.” —Spanish Proverb
“To be a mother is the greatest vocation in the world. No being has a position of such great power and influence. She holds in her hands the destiny of nations, for to her is necessarily committed the making of the nation’s citizens.” —Hannah Whitall Smith
“Youth fades, love droops, the leaves of friendship fall; a mother’s secret hope outlives them all.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes
A.W. Tozer had a great ear for poetry that would help Christians better glimpse the heart of God. In his collection called The Christian Book Of Mystical Verse he shares dozens of these poems. Check out my review of this collection by clicking here, and then enjoy these short passages I have highlighted.
If you enjoy poetry, I post a new poem every Saturday. Enter your email address in the box to the right, and click “Sign me up!” to be notified whenever a new poem is posted.
David J. Bobb has a title/subtitle combination that almost sounds paradoxical—Humility: An Unlikely Biography Of America’s Greatest Virtue. After all, when many think of America they are more likely to use the terms “confidant” or even “brash,” but not usually “humble.” But in this seeming paradox is a great truth.
The Greek philosophers often described a virtue as the golden mean between two extremes. Indeed, David Bobb uses such philosophers as Socrates and Aristotle, alongside Augustine and even more modern thinkers like Benjamin Franklin, to explore how America could be virtuous because of its humility.
Or more precisely, how America could be virtuous because of humble Americans. Dr. Bobb explores the biographies of notable Americans like George Washington, James Madison, Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass to give us an intriguing description of what true humility looks like. Although in their time many thought of these people as proud or even glory-seekers, Dr. Bobb shows us how it was their profound, often hard-won humility that made them examples worth emulating.
And we do need these examples. In the epilogue, Dr. Bobb quotes Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Humility is the first of the virtues for other people.” How true! The question is: Will Americans re-learn the virtuous power and strength of humility, or will humility continue to erode, mistaken by many as a weakness?
For both history enthusiasts, leaders, leaders-in-training, and those who love a good biography, Humility is a very enjoyable and educational book.
I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.