As good preachers do, Dr. McGee often made a point stick in our minds or touch our hearts through a quote or poem. You'll find hundreds of thought-provoking sayings here. If you're looking for a specific quote, use the search engine to find it or browse through the Study Guide for the book of the Bible you were studying.
Poems and quotes heard on the Sunday Sermon programs appear below, listed alphabetically by sermon title.
Abraham Will Lead Us in Prayer
"Tell God all that is in your heart, as one unloads one's heart, its pleasures and its pains, to a dear friend. Tell Him your troubles, that He may comfort you; tell Him your joys, that He may sober them; tell Him your longings, that He may purify them; tell Him your dislikes, that He may help you to conquer them; talk to Him of your temptations, that He may shield you from them; show Him the wounds of your heart, that He may heal them; lay bare your indifference to good, your depraved tastes for evil, your instability. Tell Him how self-love makes you unjust to others, how vanity tempts you to be insincere, how pride disguises you to yourself as to others. If you thus pour out all your weaknesses, needs, troubles, there will be no lack of what to say. You will never exhaust the subject. It is continually being renewed. People who have no secrets from each other never want for subjects of conversation. They do not weigh their words, for there is nothing to be held back; neither do they seek for something to say. They talk out of the abundance of the heart, without consideration, just what they think. Blessed are they who attain to such familiar, unreserved intercourse with God.”
The Amazing, Alarming, and Awful Apostasy
One day at dusk during the tragic, bloody battle at Bataan, a 19–year–old lad from Indiana scribbled in poetic form the burden of his heart. Early the following morning he was killed. The burial detail found his poem:
And if our lines should sag and break
Because of things you failed to make,
That extra tank, that ship, that plane
For which we waited all in vain.
Will you then come to take the blame?
For we, not you, must pay the cost,
Of battles, you, not we, have lost.
The Empty Pew
I am an empty pew.
I vote for the world as against God.
I deny the Bible.
I mock at the preached Word of God.
I rail at Christian fellowship.
I laugh at prayer.
I break the Fourth Commandment;
I am a witness to solemn vows broken.
I advise men to eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.
I join my voice with every atheist and rebel against human and divine law.
I am an empty pew.
I am a grave in the midst of the congregation.
Read my epitaph and be wise.
The Bittersweet of Life
I have nothing to do with tomorrow,
My Savior will make that His care.
Should He fill it with trouble and sorrow,
He’ll help me to suffer and bear.
I have nothing to do with tomorrow,
Its burden then why should I share?
Its grace and its faith I can’t borrow,
Then why should I borrow its care?
Is there no other way, Oh God,
Except through sorrow, pain and loss?
To stamp Christ's likeness on my soul,
No other way except the cross?
And then a voice stills all my soul,
That stilled the waves of Galilee,
"Cans't thou not bear the furnace
If midst the flames I walk with thee?
I bore the cross, I know its weight,
I drank the cup I hold for thee.
Cans't thou not follow where I lead?
I'll give thee strength, lean hard on Me."
Daniel: A Man of Prayer
“O Almighty and Everlasting God! How terrible is this world! Behold, it openeth its mouth to swallow me up, and I have so little trust in Thee! … How weak is the flesh, and how powerful is Satan! If it is in the strength of this world only that I must put my trust, all is over! … My last hour is come, my condemnation has been pronounced! … O God! O God! … O God! do Thou help me against all the wisdom of the world! Do this; Thou shouldest do this … Thou alone … for this is not my work, but Thine. I have nothing to do here, nothing to contend for with these great ones of the world! I should desire to see my days flow on peaceful and happy. But the cause is Thine … and it is a righteous and eternal cause. O Lord! help me! Faithful and unchangeable God! In no man do I place my trust. It would be in vain! All that is of man is uncertain; all that cometh of man fails … O God! my God, hearest Thou me not? … My God, art Thou dead? … No! Thou canst not die! Thou hidest Thyself only! Thou hast chosen me for this work. I know it well! … Act, then, O God … stand at my side, for the sake of Thy well-beloved Jesus Christ, who is my defence, my shield, and my strong tower.”
The Dark Side of Love
Is there no other way, O God,
Except through sorrow, pain and loss,
To stamp Christ’s likeness on my soul,
No other way except the cross?
And then a voice stills all my soul,
As stilled the waves of Galilee.
Can’st thou not bear the furnace,
If midst the flames I walk with thee?
I bore the cross, I know its weight;
I drank the cup I hold for thee.
Can’st thou not follow where I lead?
I’ll give thee strength, lean hard on Me!
God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower–strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.
God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river, turbid and deep.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the laborer, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
–Annie Johnson Flint
In the Crucible
Out from the mine and the darkness,
Out from the damp and the mold,
Out from the fiery furnace,
Cometh each grain of gold,
Crushed into atoms and leveled
Down to the humblest dust,
With never a heart to pity,
With never a hand to trust.
Molten and hammered and beaten,
Seemeth it ne’er to be done.
Oh! for such fiery trial,
What hath the poor gold done?
Oh! ’twere a mercy to leave it
Down in the damp and the mold;
If this is the glory of living,
Then better be dross than gold.
Under the press and the roller,
Into the jaws of the mint,
Stamped with the emblem of freedom
With never a flaw or a dint;
Oh! what a joy, the refining
Out of the damp and the mold!
And stamped with the glorious image,
Oh, beautiful coin of gold!
Does God Ever Change His Mind?
It fortifies my soul to know
That, though I perish, Truth is so:
That, howsoe’er I stray and range,
Whate’er I do, Thou dost not change.
I steadier step when I recall
That, if I slip, Thou dost not fall.
–Arthur Hugh Clough?
God's Answer to Problems in Times Like These
Not Man's Opinion, But God's Word
Not my opinions may I speak;
If so, my witness will be weak.
Not what in human books I find,
Or the conclusions of men's minds,
But what my God has deigned to give,
The teaching whereby we may live;
The Book of Heaven, the Sacred Page,
The Rock of Faith in every age!
That only must my message be
If I shall bless humanity.
I am not left to seek, forsooth,
In learning's page to find the Truth,
But here it is beneath my hand
The Word which shall forever stand.
Unalterable, enduring, sure
Flows the Divine Fount fresh and pure.
The Hands of Jesus
Knocking, knocking, who is there?
Waiting, waiting, O how fair!
‘Tis a Pilgrim, strange and kingly,
Never such was seen be-fore
Ah! my soul, for such a wonder,
Wilt thou not undo the door?
Knocking, knocking, still He’s there,
Waiting, waiting, wondrous fair;
But the door is hard to open,
For the weeds and Ivy-vine,
With their dark and clinging tendrils,
Ever round the hinges twine.
Knocking, knocking—what! still there?
Waiting, waiting, grand and fair;
Yes, the piercèd hand still knocketh,
And beneath the crownèd hair
Beam the patient eyes, so tender,
Of thy Saviour, waiting there.
–Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1876
He is Coming Again!
Our Little Lord
Our little Lord, we give thee praise,
that Thou hast deigned to take our ways.
Born of Mary, a man to be,
and all the angels sing to thee.
The eternal Father's Son He lay,
cradled in a crib of hay.
The everlasting God appears
in our frail flesh and blood and tears.
What the globe could not enwrap,
nestled lies in Mary's lap.
Just a baby, very wee,
yet the Lord of all the world is He.
They were looking for a king
To slay their foes and lift them high;
Thou cam'st, a little baby thing
That made a woman cry.
The Home: A Casualty of the Last Days
A Growing-Up Son
It seems but such a little while
Since he was playing at my knee,
And when I spoke to him, my eyes
Would downward turn his face to see.
And now, in just a few short years,
(O God, how short the years can be!)
My eyes must upward turn, for then
He will be looking down on me.
Dear God, if in the years gone by
I have been in some measure fit
To merit childhood’s upturned gaze,
And only quail a little bit,
Please help me in the coming years
A nobler woman yet to be—
That when his eyes must downward turn,
His soul will still look up to me.
–Dorothy Markham Brown
How Big is God?
No time for God; what fools we are to clutter up our lives with common things,
And leave without heart’s gate the Lord of life and life itself.
No time for God is soon to say no time to eat or sleep, or love or die.
Take time for God, or you shall dwarf your soul.
And when the death angel comes knocking at your door,
A poor, misshaped thing you’ll be to step into eternity.
No time for God? That day when sickness comes or trouble finds you out,
And you cry out to God, will He have time for you?
No time for God? Some day you’ll lay aside this mortal self
And make your way to worlds unknown.
And when you meet Him face to face,
Will He—should He—have time for you?
It’s not because God is great and I’m small;
It’s not because He lives forever
And my life is but a handbreadth;
It’s not because of the difference
Between His omniscience and my ignorance,
His strength and my weakness,
That I’m parted from Him.
Your sins have separated
Between you and your God.
No man, build he Babels ever so high,
Can reach thither.
There’s one means by which
The separation is at an end,
By which all objective hindrances to union
And all subjective hindrances
Are alike swept away.
Christ has come, and in Him
The heavens have bended down to touch
And, touching, to bless this low earth,
And man and God are at one once more.
How to Have Fellowship with God
Tell God all that is in your heart, as one unloads one’s heart, its pleasures and its pains, to a dear friend. Tell Him your troubles, that He may comfort you; tell Him your joys, that He may sober them; tell Him your longings, that He may purify them; tell Him your dislikes, that He may help you to conquer them; talk to Him of your temptations, that He may shield you from them; show Him the wounds of your heart, that He may heal them; lay bare your indifference to good, your depraved tastes for evil, your instability. Tell Him how self-love makes you unjust to others, how vanity tempts you to be insincere, how pride disguises you to yourself as to others. If you thus pour out all your weaknesses, needs, troubles, there will be no lack of what to say. You will never exhaust the subject. It is continually being renewed. People who have no secrets from each other never want for subjects of conversation. They do not weigh their words, for there is nothing to be held back; neither do they seek for something to say. They talk out of the abundance of the heart, without consideration, just what they think. Blessed are they who attain to such familiar, unreserved intercourse with God.
The Potter and the Clay
Harden Not Your Heart
There is a time, I know not when,
A place, I know not where,
Which marks the destiny of men
To heaven or despair.
There is a line by us not seen
Which crosses every path,
The hidden boundary between
God’s patience and His wrath.
To cross that limit is to die,
To die, as if by stealth.
It may not pale the beaming eye,
Nor quench the glowing health.
The conscience may be still at ease,
The spirits light and gay;
That which is pleasing still may please,
And care be thrust away.
But on that forehead God hath set
Indelibly a mark,
By man unseen, for man as yet
Is blind and in the dark.
And still the doomed man's path below
May bloom like Eden bloomed.
He did not, does not, will not know,
Nor feel that he is doomed.
He feels, he sees that all is well,
His every fear is calmed.
He lives, he dies, he wakes in hell,
Not only doomed, but damned.
Oh, where is that mysterious bourn,
By which each path is crossed,
Beyond which God himself hath sworn
That he who goes is lost?
How long may men go on in sin?
How long will God forbear?
Where does hope end, and where begin
The confines of despair?
One answer from those skies is sent,
“Ye who from God depart,
While it is called today, repent,
And harden not your heart.”
The Proper Posture of Prayer
The Proper Way
"The proper way for a man to pray,”
Said Deacon Lemuel Keys,
“The only proper attitude
is down upon his knees.”
“No, I should say, the way to pray,”
Said Reverend Doctor Wise,
“Is standing straight with outstretched arms
And rapturous upturned eyes.”
“It seems to me his hands should be
Devoutly clasped in front,
With both thumbs pointing t’ward the ground,”
Said Reverend Doctor Blunt.
“Last year I fell in Hodgkin’s well
Head first,” said Cyrus Brown.
“With both my heels a’sticking up,
My head a’pointing down.
And I made a prayer right then and there,
Best prayer I ever said—
The prayerest prayer I ever prayed
Was standing on my head.”
Remember Jesus Christ
When Jesus Came to Golgotha
When Jesus came to Golgotha they hanged him on a tree,
they drove great nails through hands and feet, and made a Calvary;
they crowned him with a crown of thorns, red were his wounds and deep,
for those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap.
When Jesus came to live with us we simply passed him by,
we never hurt a hair of him, we only let him die;
for we had grown more tender, and we would not give him pain,
we only just passed down the street and left him in the rain.
Still Jesus cries, "Forgive them for they know not what they do,"
and still it rains the winter rain that drenches through and through;
the crowds go home and leave the streets without a soul to see,
and Jesus crouches 'gainst a wall and cries for Calvary.
–Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy
Lord Jesus Christ Thou art to me.
From the spectral mist and the driving clouds,
From the shifting shadows and phantom crowds
From unreal words and unreal lives,
Where truth with falsehood feebly strives:
From the passings away, the chance and change,
Flickerings, vanishings, swift and strange,
I turn to my glorious rest in Thee,
Who art the grand Reality.
“O, pity for evermore that there should be such a one as Christ Jesus, so boundless, so bottomless, and so incomparable in infinite excellency and sweetness, and so few to take Him.”
Struggle of a Saved Soul
"Run, run and do," the Law commands,
But gives me neither feet nor hands.
Better news the gospel brings,
It bids me fly and gives me wings.
The Success Story of a Failure
I Dreamed Death Came
I dreamed death came the other night
And Heaven’s gate swung wide.
With kindly grace an angel ushered me inside.
And there to my astonishment,
Stood folk I’d known on earth.
Some I judged and labeled as unfit—
Or of little worth.
Indignant words rose to my lips,
But never were set free.
For every face showed some surprise
No one expected me!
The Tears of God
Backward, flow backward, O tide of the years!
I am so weary of toil and of tears—
Toil without recompense, tears all in vain—
Take them and give me my childhood again!?
–From "Rock Me to Sleep" by Elizabeth Allen
Oh! too convincing—dangerously dear.
In woman’s eye the unanswerable tear!
That weapon of her weakness, she can wield,
To save, subdue—at once her spear and shield.
We, as a church, have failed to communicate effectively the Christian message to the present generation, and this generation needs it so desperately. I say this because I have found that the educated man today is the anxious man. He has a sickening realization of his own insecurities, inadequacies, defenses, and aggressions. He has soberly discovered that all men are not inherently good, just, and honest, nor does right always prevail. He’s disturbed because the old standards of conduct and control no longer seem adequate. He’s beginning to see that all of our meager remedial efforts have failed to stop the inexorable drift of society.
The Son of God in tears,
The wondering angels see.
Be thou astonished, O my soul,
He shed those tears for thee.
What Does God Look Like?
There is an eye that never sleeps beneath the wing of night.
There is an ear that never shuts when sink the beams of light.
There is an arm that never tires when human strength gives way.
There is a love that never fails when earthly loves decay.
That eye unseen o’er watcheth all; that arm upholds the sky.
That ear doth hear the sparrow’s call; that love is ever nigh.
–James C. Wallace
What is Your Life?
The Floorless Room
Wish that my room had a floor!
I don't so much care for a door,
But this crawling around
Without touching the ground
Is getting to be quite a bore!
Out of the night that dazzles me,
Bright as the sun from pole to pole,
I thank the God I know to be
For Christ the conqueror of my soul.
Since His the sway of circumstance,
I would not wince nor cry aloud.
Under that rule which men call chance
My head with joy is humbly bowed.
Beyond this place of sin and tears
That life with Him! And His the aid,
Despite the menace of the years,
Keeps, and shall keep me, unafraid.
I have no fear, though strait the gate,
He cleared from punishment the scroll.
Christ is the Master of my fate,
Christ is the Captain of my soul.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
–William Ernest Henley
Where is God and What Does He Do?
The world is a bud from the bower of His beauty;
The sun is a spark from the light of His wisdom;
The sky is a bubble on the sea of His power.
–By the Persian poet, Jami
The Maker of the universe, as man for man was made a curse.
The claims of law which He had made, unto the uttermost He paid.
His holy fingers made the bough which grew the thorns that crowned His brow.
The nails that pierced His hands were mined in secret places He designed.
He made the forest whence there sprung the tree on which His body hung.
He died upon a cross of wood, yet made the hill on which it stood.
The sky that darkened o’er His head, by Him above the earth was spread.
The sun that hid Him from God’s face, by His decree was poised in space.
The spear which spilled His precious blood was tempered in the fires of God.
The grave in which His form was laid was hewn in rocks His hands had made.
The throne on which He now appears was His from everlasting years.
But a new glory crowns His brow, and every knee to Him shall bow.
Who? Jesus the Man
He made the forests whence there sprung
The tree on which His body hung;
He died upon a cross of wood
Yet made the hill on which it stood!
The sky which darkened o’er His head
By Him above the earth was spread;
The sun which hid from Him its face
By His decree was poised in space!
Why God Hated Esau
The Pig and the Inebriate
How well I do remember
Twas in the bleak December
As I was strolling down the streets in a manly pride
When my heart began to flutter
And I fell into a gutter
And a pig came up and laid down by my side
As I lay there in the gutter
My heart still all a flutter
A man passing by did chance to say,
"You can tell a man that boozes by the company he chooses"
And the pig got up and slowly walked away.
Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell….
Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.
–“The More Loving One” from Homage to Clio by W. H. Auden