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People who change their life and begin to think about making spiritual progress also begin to suffer from the tongues of detractors.

St. Augustine,

God works wonders in his saints and leads them wonderfully, against all reason and wisdom,so that those who fear God and are Christians learn to cling to things invisible and are brought back to life through being given over into death. For the word of God is alight that shines in a dark place ...

Martin Luther, TableTalk

Love is born of God, and cannot rest but in God, above all created things. He that loveth, flyeth, runneth, and rejoiceth; but is free, and cannot be held in.

Thomas á Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

Once a person begins to think he will never be satisfied till he has found Christ and is safe from the partings and separations of this life.

J. C. Ryle, Practical Religion, on Happiness

Yet he was merciful;
he forgave their iniquities
and did not destroy them.
Time after time
he restrained his anger
and did not stir up his full wrath.
He remembered
that they were but flesh,
a passing breeze
that does not return.

How often they rebelled
against him in the desert
and grieved him i
n the wasteland!
Again and again
they put God to the test;
they vexed the Holy One of Israel.

They did not remember his power--
the day he redeemed them
from the oppressor ...

Psalm 78.38-42

One of the great sins of the ancient Hebrews was to forget what God had done. Throughout the Bible we read story after story that laments the short memory of God's chosen people and the ease with which they followed after idols. Are we any different today? Do we remember "what God has done." Sadly, we are not. If a prophet was to arise in Washington, London,
Berlin, or Paris, he or she would surely proclaim the unfaithfulness of the people. Christians need to reflect on the ease with which we forget things that happened even in our own lifetimes where God was clearly at work. The Fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Empire is surely one such event.

Yet how many people know that the events leading up the the Fall of the Wall began ten years earlier with a prayer meeting in Leipzig's historic Nicolikirsche. And how many of those who know about this remarkable event remember it and continue to wonder at God's working in history? Christians have a duty to remember the deeds of God and to see our times in the light of the Bible and God's providence. But, unless we know that history how can we ever begin to reflect on it theologically?

As you visit Europe remember that the stones cry out in witness to God's great deeds even though the hearts of many have been turned to stone. Read the scriptures to see how God worked in biblical times. Read history to see how He guided his people in the past. Then ask yourself how God is working in the world today.

Day: 6 -7 - 8

These readings are based on a) John E. Rotelle O.S.A's., excellent Augustine Day by Day, (New York, Catholic Book Publishing, 1986). Permission to use these passages has been sought, although I believe what I have used falls within a "fair use" policy; b) Various works of Martin Luther (1483-1546); c) Thomas á Kempis (1380-1471); d) Anglican Bishop J. C. Ryle's (1816-1900) Holiness (18??) or Practical Religion (1900); e) Zondervan's New International Version of the Bible.

Copyright Irving Hexham 2001