John Henry Newman

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Christlikeness: Day Seventeen, Forty Days of Prayer

Posted by on 17 Mar 2017 | Tagged as: John Henry Newman, Lent, Prayer

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere (2 Co 2:14).

Dear Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go;
Flood my soul with your spirit and life;
Penetrate and possess my whole being so completely
That all my life may be only a radiance of yours;
Shine through me and be so in me
That everyone with whom I come into contact
May feel your presence within me.
Let them look up and see no longer me—but only Jesus.
Amen.

–John Henry Newman

Advent Waiting: Watching for the Bridegroom

Posted by on 03 Dec 2016 | Tagged as: Advent, John Henry Newman, Second Coming

Advent: Second Week

Advent: Second Week

So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.

Matt. 24: 42 NLT

Watchfulness is a passionate desire for the presence of the bridegroom which awakens within us a spiritual sensitivity to the signs of his soon arrival. This spiritual sensitivity is a heart connection with the Holy Spirit who graces the believer with insights and discernment concerning the times and seasons immediately preceding Christ’s parousia. A watchful attitude is characterized by being spiritually alert, holy and ready for Christ’s return, as opposed to spiritual dullness typified by worldly attitudes and sinful passions. (HT: Mike Bickle)

We must not only have faith in [Christ], but must wait on Him; not only must hope, but must watch for Him; not only love Him, but must long for Him; not only obey Him, but must look out, look up earnestly for our reward, which is Himself. We must not only make Him the Object of our faith, hope, and charity, but we must make it our duty not to believe the world, not to hope in the world, not to love the world. We must resolve not to hang on the world’s opinion, or study its wishes. It is our mere wisdom to be thus detached from all things below. . . .

They, then, watch and wait for their Lord, who are tender and sensitive in their devotion towards Him; who feed on the thought of Him, hang on His words; live in His smile, and thrive and grow under His hand. They are eager for His approval, quick in catching His meaning, jealous of His honour. They see Him in all things, expect Him in all events, and amid all the cares, the interests, and the pursuits of this life, still would feel an awful joy, not a disappointment, did they hear that He was on the point of coming.

John Henry Newman,   “Waiting for Christ”

 

Not a God of Confusion

Posted by on 26 Mar 2012 | Tagged as: God's Sovereignty, John Henry Newman

All the people of the earth are nothing compared to him. He does as he pleases among the angels of heaven and among the people of the earth. No one can stop him or say to him, ‘What do you mean by doing these things?’

Dan. 4:35 NLT

God’s sovereignty is the biblical truth that God is the King and legal authority over all his creation. God reigns and nothing is a surprise to him, nothing is by chance, and nothing is beyond his purpose and workings. The fact that God is sovereign should bring us great peace: our lives are not just a series of random events and lucky breaks.

The sovereignty of God is his powerful might working his purposes in and through our circumstances, irrespective, of Satan’s wicked devices and man’s evil intentions. You and I can be thankful for the Lord by his sovereignty is working his appointment in the midst of our disappointments. My life and yours has meaning, purpose, and divine direction. The bad breaks in life when submitted to God can bring spiritual growth and intimacy with Jesus. Indeed, God is in control.

He is not a God of confusion, of discordance, of accidental, random, private courses in the execution of His will, but of determinate, regulated, prescribed action.

John Henry Newman, “Sermon 11: Order, the Witness and Instrument of Unity,” Sermons Preached on Various Occasions

What We Lack

Posted by on 11 Mar 2012 | Tagged as: God's Grace, John Henry Newman

 

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Eph. 3:20 NLT

The problem with my walk with the Lord is not a lack of the person Christ, a lack of the power of the Holy Spirit, or a lack of personal promises from God, but the lack of my desire, will, and determination to walk apart from sin. Just how badly do I want to be holy? That is the question. Often what we lack in our battle with the flesh is a passionate hunger for a holy life.

Why is it that we, in the very kingdom of grace, surrounded by angels, . . . nevertheless, can do so little, and, instead of mounting with wings like eagles, grovel in the dust, and do but sin, and confess sin alternately? Is it that the power of God is not within us? Is it literally that we are not able to perform God’s commandments? God forbid.

We are able. We have that given us which makes us able. We do have a power within us to do what we are commanded to do. What is it we lack? The power? No; the will. What we lack is the simple, earnest, sincere inclination and aim to use what God has given us, and what we have in us.

John Henry Newman, “The Power of the Will,” Parochial and Plain Sermons (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1997), 1175 [paragraphing mine].

I Will Trust Him

Posted by on 10 Mar 2012 | Tagged as: Faith, John Henry Newman

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Heb. 11:6

Trusting God is a response of the heart that believes God’s promises, stands on his faithfulness, and is confident in his unfailing love.

Trusting God is relying on God’s character, believing God’s Cross, and obeying God’s Spirit with a certainty that surpasses physical sight and transcends human reasoning.

Trusting God ignores bad circumstances, negative feelings, and discouraging thoughts to stand on God’s word and walk in his ways (Isa. 55:8-9). In short, faith simply believes what God says is true—our sins are washed away in Christ’s blood, our lives are in his hands, and his love will never fail us.

Therefore I will trust Him [God]. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us.

He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life, He may shorten it; He knows what He is about. He may take my friends, He may throw me among strangers, He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide the future from me–still He knows what He is about.

John Henry Newman, Meditations and Devotions 

A Little Child Crucified?

Posted by on 08 Apr 2011 | Tagged as: Good Friday, John Henry Newman, The Cross

 

Preacher of the Cross: John Henry Newman

And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

Matt. 1:21 NLT

John Henry Newman was born in England on February 21, 1801 and he died on August 11, 1890. Newman was ordained an Anglican priest on Trinity Sunday, June 13, 1824, and later was received into Roman Catholic Church in 1845. Newman’s preaching ministry was well known throughout England. Newman faithfully taught at St. Mary’s chapel at Oxford serving in the capacity of vicar. Newman’s sermons are collected in ten volumes; they are just a sample of the over 1,000 sermons he preached. His most popular set of sermons is the Parochial and Plain Sermons (eight volumes) still available through Ignatius Press. In his day, Also Sermons Bearing on Subjects of the Day and Fifteen Sermons Preached Before the University of Oxford were published. These ten volumes make up the corpus of Newman’s Anglican ministry.

Even a devout Baptist, Warren Wiersbe, describes Newman’s preaching in glowing terms. “Newman can help teach us how to preach to a man’s conscience, how to get beneath the surface and apply spiritual truth where it is needed.” [Warren Wiersbe, Walking with the Giants (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1998), 23]

Newman’s ability to paint pictures and make startling contrasts in order to bring a spiritual truth to bear on the conscience was his greatest gift. The following quotation from Newman’s sermon, “The Crucifixion,” displays his aptitude at mastering powerful truths, and then insightfully, applying those truths directly to the struggles of a parishioner’s heart. In this sermon, Newman compares the innocence of a mistreated child with the holiness of Christ in the midst of his Passion.

How overpowered should we be, nay not at the sight only, but at the very hearing of cruelties shown to a little child, and why so? For the same two reasons, because it was so innocent, and because it was so unable to defend itself. I do not like to go into the details of such cruelty, they would be so heart-rending. What if wicked men took and crucified a young child? What if they deliberately seized its poor little frame, and stretched out its arms, nailed them to a cross bar of wood, drove a stake through its two feet, and fastened them to a beam, and so left it to die? … O, my brethren, you feel the horror of this, and yet you can bear to read of Christ’s sufferings without horror; for what is that little child’s agony to His? And which deserved it more? Which is the more innocent? Which the holier? Was He not gentler, sweeter, meeker, more tender, more loving, than any little child? Why are you shocked at the one, why are you not shocked at the other?

John Henry Newman, “The Crucifixion”