What do you know of Calvary Love and Project Gutenberg?

Renee Ann Smith —  March 13, 2011 — 20 Comments

Love can be a hard word. In conversations, we tend to overuse it or abuse it. Some love everything; others, nothing. We live in a culture that changes the definition of love to fit each new whim or fancy. And how many folks do we know who’ve wasted their lives “looking for love in all the wrong places”?

Sometimes the best way to understand love is to take note of the actions and attitudes that do NOT demonstrate love. Why are the negatives so recognizable? Because it’s easy to focus on ourselves and what we want. So that seems to be the default position from which we approach life.

I often re-read a little book by missionary poet Amy Carmichael that attempts to capture in words what love is not and then encourages us to do the opposite. It’s called If. Here are a few excerpts:

If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love. For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted.

If I take offense easily; if I am content to continue in cold unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the ultimate, the hardest, cannot be asked of me; if my fellows hesitate to ask it and turn to someone else, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I belittle those whom I am called to serve, talk of their weak points in contrast perhaps with what I think of as my strong points; if I adopt a superior attitude, forgetting “Who made thee to differ? And what hast thou that thou hast not received?” Then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I cast up a confessed, repented, and forsaken sin against another, and allow my remembrance of that sin to colour my thinking and feed my suspicions, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the praise of man elates me and his blame depresses me; if I cannot rest under misunderstanding without defending myself; if I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

In just about any page of the book, I can see myself and be convicted of an attitude I need to let God transform!

If you’d like some devotional reading by an interesting Christian woman from the past, you can follow this link to download a free version of If by Amy Carmichael.

This next link will take you to free downloads of two of Amy’s lesser known works at the Project Gutenberg site.

Not familiar with Project Gutenberg? According to Wikipedia, it’s a volunteer effort to digitize and archive cultural works, to encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks. I’ve found all kinds of classic authors at PG: L. M. Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, C. S. Lewis, Charles Dickens and so many more.

Just another reason to “love” technology! Blessings all!

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

20 responses to What do you know of Calvary Love and Project Gutenberg?

  1. Just popping by I Love My Online Friends to wish you a lovely week ahead.
    Helen x

  2. I can see why this is a book you often return to. What wonderful life lessons and meditations it offers. I may have to get a copy for myself! I need all the reminders I can get to help me on the right path that is pleasing to God! I seem to have a built-in forgetter! Here’s hoping we won’t have any snow/flood days off from school.

    • Love your name for it “a built-in forgetter!” I have that, too. Unfortunately! . . . Yes, I almost had to turn around on the Taconic the other day because of flooding. Here’s hoping we don’t have any flood days this week. Blessings, Maureen!

  3. I am following you (suelee1998) from the blog hop, you have a great site. Would you please follow me back? http://susansdisneyfamily.blogspot.com/
    thank you 🙂

  4. That’s a great excerpt you shared Renee! I appreciate the links to where to find them too! 🙂

    XOXO~ Renee C.

  5. Hey Rene,
    I am new to the mommy blogs and love hops. I’m ur newest follower. Great blog, I am very guilty of loving everything. Terrific post, I will have to look for more from Amy. I have started a children’s book blog and would love to have you visit and follow.
    Have a great week.
    Little Book Monster

  6. Hiya! Newest follower from the McHoppin’ Monday Hop– please stop by and say hello! Would love if ya followed back!


  7. Hi! So glad I stopped by!
    Awesome blog.
    I’m your new follower on GFC 🙂
    You can reach me at:

  8. It’s always so inspiring to be reading your blogs =)

    Love love love!


  9. Our daughter just did a report on Amy Carmichael…I’m definitely going to check out the download..thank you!
    If anyone hasn’t seen the movie about her–it’s really good too.

    That first “IF” quote reminded me of this convincting one by C.S. Lewis:

    “Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in the cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am.”

  10. Renee,
    I just wanted to thank for this site. I have been looking for the Amy Carmichael poem “If” for a sermon that I was preparing and found the information here. Because of your work on this site others will be exposed to a wonderful poem, to help use reflect on our lives and how we need to love love.

    Thanks for your passion for the Lord,

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