Posts Tagged ‘C.S. Lewis’

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QUOTE (C.S. Lewis) – Nov. 29

November 29, 2015

lewis“Ever since I served as an infantryman in the First World War I have had a great dislike of people who themselves in ease and safety, issue exhortations to men in the front line. As a result I have a great reluctance to say much about temptations to which I am not exposed.”
~ C.S. Lewis

In honor of C.S. Lewis , a British novelist, poet, academic, Christian apologist and one of my favorite authors, who was born on this day in 1898.

Resources:
November 29 in Literary History
Exhorting Syrian Refugees to Stay and Fight from the Safety of the Recliner

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QUOTE (C.S. Lewis) – Nov. 22

November 22, 2015

lewis“You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose that you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it? Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief.”
~ C.S. Lewis
In honor of C.S. Lewis , a British novelist, poet, academic, Christian apologist and one of my favorite authors, who died on this day in 1963.

Resources:
November 22 in Literary History
C.S. Lewis Quotes

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VACATION FRUIT- Oct 6

October 6, 2014

“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-9

 There is nothing like a good vacation to make you want to go home.

My family and I have just returned from a vacation to the east coast of the United States. We spent two weeks continuously touring sites from New York through Virginia. Our heads are still spinning comprehending all we saw and the soles of our feet still aching from the miles trekked.

Every day, our vacation produced fascination and enjoyment as we explored places I had only known in books.

We saw the birthplace of English North American colonization at Jamestown.

We saw the birthplace of English North American colonization at Jamestown.

We walked the streets of colonial Williamsburg, the capital of colonial Virginia.

We walked the streets of colonial Williamsburg, the capital of colonial Virginia.

We visited George Washington's home at Mount Vernon.

We visited George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon.

We visited Thomas Jefferson's home at Monticello.

We visited Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello.

We walk the first halls of power at Independence Hall

We walk the first halls of power at Independence Hall

We were guided through the modern halls of power at the US Congress...

We were guided through the modern halls of power at the US Congress…

...White House...

…White House…

...and the Supreme Court

…and the Supreme Court

We joined a prayer walk for Pastor Saeed in front of the White House.

We joined a prayer walk for Pastor Saeed in front of the White House.

We contemplated the cost of freedom at the Lincoln...

We contemplated the cost of freedom at the Lincoln…

WWII, Korean, and Vietnam memorials

…WWII, Korean, and Vietnam memorials

We were overwhelmed by the collections of the Smithsonian...

We were overwhelmed by the collections of the Smithsonian…

...and Botanical Gardens.

…Botanical Gardens.

We pondered the destruction of the civil war at the flashpoint of Harpers Ferry.

We pondered the destruction of the civil war at the flashpoint of Harper’s Ferry.

We were assaulted by New York City’s time square.

We were assaulted by New York City’s time square.

We applauded the talent display on Broadway (The Lion King).

We applauded the talent displayed on Broadway (The Lion King).

We wept the loss captured at the 911 Memorial.

We wept the loss captured at the 911 Memorial.

We drank in the hope promised by the Statue of Liberty.

We drank in the hope promised by the Statue of Liberty.

Our east coast conceptions crumbled under the landscapes of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey.

We had a fabulously full vacation. Yet, the allure of home was universally felt as our vacation drew to a close. A desire for the familiar overwhelmed our affection for continued exploration. We had toured for two weeks through a land that was not our own. We created memories that will last our lifetime and enhanced a love for home.

A desire for home may be the greatest fruit of our east coast vacation.

I am reminded of a quote by C.S. Lewis:

I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death.

Most of us have lives filled with wonderful busyness. We have so many blessings to experience and enjoy; so many opportunities to explore and fulfill. I assert that the average person in North America and Europe are living what historically would be a life of wonderful vacation. Yet, there runs through our culture dissatisfaction with this prosperity. We live  fabulously full lives. Yet, there is an allure felt by most for something more.

It is the call of our true country. It is the unsatiated desire for our heavenly home. A home we were created for.

A desire for our heavenly home may be the greatest fruit of the dissatisfied prosperous. We need to redeem our incessant dissatisfaction with the wonderful and amazing. Rather than letting dissatisfaction turn to contempt or thanklessness, we need to be reminded that our tendency is to look to earthly pleasures to satisfy something that they were never created to fulfill.

The blessings of this earth are “only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage” to enhance our love for our heavenly home and Father. Our longing for something more is the reminder that we are not home. A reminder that should give us courage and direct our efforts toward pleasing our Lord and Savior who has created for us an everlasting home with Him.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for the blessing of a wonderful vacation.  Thank you for the opportunity to travel with my family and see so many wonderful sites.  Thank you for my home.  Thank you for the reminder that you have created for me an everlasting home with you.  Forgive me for being dissatisfied in the earthly blessings you have given me.  Forgive me for forgetting that this is not my home.  Create in me a desire for my true country with you.  Help me to be of good courage and to desire to please you in all that I do.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

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I LOVE YOU…THERE I SAID IT – April 27

April 27, 2014

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 “I love you!”, my friend professed as I turned to leave.

Oh, man…why did he go there?

“I have a profound appreciation for you, also,” was the perfunctory reply I dared not utter since  “love”  hung in the air.

I struggled for an appropriate response as milliseconds turned toward awkwardness.

Why could I not respond with, “I love you too”?
Why does professing our love from a brother in Christ seem so weird?
Why couldn’t we  just hit each other on the shoulder and that be enough?

I mustered up a weak, “me too,” as I made for the door.

Endless loveFew phrases cause me more social angst than a profession of brotherly love from a non-confidant. I might have been scarred by the Bud Light commercials from the mid-90’s (I Love You Man).

The problem arises from my cultural interpretation of the implied meaning of love.  Love as defined by Dictionary.com:

  1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
  2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
  3. sexual passion or desire.
  4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.

I know intellectually what the Bible teaches regarding love.

The second is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  (Mark 12:31)

These things I command you, so that you will love one another.  (John 15:17)

Love one another with brotherly affections.  (Romans 12:9)

Owe no one anything, except to love each other…  (Romans 13:8)

Let brotherly love continue. (Hebrews 13:1)

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart… (1 Peter 1:12)

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.  (1 Peter 4:8)

Greet one another with the kiss of love…  (1 Peter 5:14)

Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.  (1 John 2:10)

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:11)

If anyone says, “I love God”, and hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.  (1 John 4:20)

Motherly Love

Our culture has skewed the meaning of love to such an extent that I struggle with the emotional aspect of love. I can intellectually know that I should tell my brother in Christ that I love him but a mental checklist suppresses my feelings:

Do I have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for this other person?
…Nope.

Do I feel a warm personal attachment or deep affection for this person?
…Not really.

Do I feel a sexual passion or desire for this person?
…Definitely not.

The inevitable conclusion is that I don’t feel the profound emotional response of love for this person as I have come to know what those feelings should entail. This conclusion makes any reciprocal profession of love seem less than genuine (Rom. 12:9). How can I love them…I barely know them?  That makes it weird.  Weirdness goes off the scale in trying to tell a sister in Christ that she is loved by me.  And to just complicate it more, consider the implications of the command to love our enemies.

But I say to you who hear, Love our enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.  (Luke 6:27)

If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? Fore even sinners do the same.  (Luke 6:32)

If they truly are our enemy, than all the inherent meanings of love are turned upon their head. Our love must be genuine. It must flow from a heart that truly feels love. Therefore, we need to change our definition of love.  C.S. Lewis has aided my personal definition transition. He defined love as:

Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.
~
Answers to Questions on Christianity,” God in the Dock .

When we remove the societal demand for emotional affection from the definition of love, we begin to gain a better understanding of how to practically live in genuine love for those who are acquaintances, distant neighbors, or an enemy.

When I love someone, wishing for that person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained, my actions become those defined by love (1 Cor. 13:4-7).

Love is patient and kind
…because that leads to their ultimate good.

Love does not envy or boast
…because that will not lead to their ultimate good.

Love is not arrogant or rude
…because that will detract from their ultimate good.

Love does not insist on its own way
…because that is the way to their ultimate good.

Love is not irritable or resentful
…because that will detract from their ultimate good.

Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing
…because that will not lead to their ultimate good.

Love rejoices with the truth
…because therein lies their ultimate good.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things for the ultimate good of those we love.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish
but have eternal life.

(John 3:16)

God loved us while we were yet enemies because He desired our ultimate good and He accomplished it.

I  genuinely want that for everyone. I genuinely wish that all would come to Christ. I genuinely wish that all my family, friends, acquaintances, and enemies would come to their ultimate good. I don’t want to do anything that would be a stumbling block to anyone’s salvation or sanctification.

Based on this more appropriate definition of love, I do love people even though I find it sort of weird to express it.  However, expressing our love for one another is important.

Therefore, I want to express to all those who are reading this blog:

I LOVE YOU!

PRAYER: Father, thank you for first loving me.  Thank you for desiring my ultimate good and working out everything to that end.  Thank you for enabling me to love others – even my enemies.  Help me to to desire their ultimate good.  Lord, I lift up my enemies to you in love – give them their ultimate good, which is to know you. Father, make me a loving person in all ways and at all times.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

Just to clarify, I love you …in an unromantic, less than platonic,  non-sexual, slug you in the shoulder sort of brotherly love …
that genuinely and earnestly wishes  the ultimate good for you,  that Jesus Christ, will flow in and through your life.

I know … it just seemed a little weird.
(I am working on it.)

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“SEEKING A MISSING BOLT” – Jan 22

January 22, 2014

“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”  They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.” Psalm 14:1

I nearly missed my first outdoor bike ride of the year.

English: Taken by Andrew DresselI had set out with the intention of doing some adjustments on my triathlon bike.  I wanted to get lower and I needed a little more stretch over the front wheel.  I figured that the stem on my road bike was the perfect solution.  The stem is the part that joins the handle bars to the headset / front forks of a bicycle.  I thought it would be a quick switch to exchange the stems between my two bicycles.

I proceeded to remove the stem from my road bike, setting the cap and bolt on a nearby stool.  I then proceeded on to installing it on my tri-bike.  I carefully tightened the stem in place, inserted the bolt into the top of the forks and tightened the entire assembly into place. Now, it was time to put my road bike back together with the tri-bike stem.  I completed the assembly and reached for the bolt that holds it all together but it was gone.  I looked under the stool; it was not there.  I looked under some exercise equipment; it was not there.   I looked throughout the house but the bolt was gone and I eventually gave up.  Amid the contemplation of a return trip to the bike store, I recalled a previous experience when I accidentally removed the compression fitting that I was now trying to screw a bolt into.  That didn’t make any sense.  Why would they put bolt threads inside the exact hole that takes the wrench to loosen the compression fitting?  Doubt began to enter my recollection.

I loosened the compression fitting and pulled it from its place inside the headset tube for closer inspection.  I looked at the fitting.  The top looked a lot like a bolt with a hole in the end.  There were threads on the outside.  I looked closer at the cap.  It has threads on the inside – it is a nut.

It was then that I remembered that my road bike doesn’t need a bolt.  I don’t know why I didn’t remember that.  I have taken the stem off a dozen times.  I simply got distracted by the knowledge of how one bike worked and convinced myself that everything has to work the same way, even when I had experienced the truth.  I was foolish to search for a bolt that did not exist.

No GodI have talked with many people who say that there is no God or that it is highly unlikely that there is a God.  They think that the guilt of religion is keeping them from happiness and enjoyment.  Often, they are truly sincere in their conviction that a deity does not exist.  Basing their convictions on observations of the physical world and being persuaded that the world is held together by the laws science.

However, we all, Christian and atheist, recognize that there are many questions in this world that science does not answer.  There are some people in a diligent search for those answers.  They spend their careers diligently searching for a bolt that they are confident exists. CARMA Radio Telescope, Big Pine, CAI argue that most who are looking for the bolt to hold their worldview together, the solution to their life of worry and sadness, have given up in either frustration or apathy.  They may pick up the search periodically but the results are typically the same – deeply unsatisfying – so they try not to think about it.

The problem with all these potential bolts is that they prove to be incomplete and unsatisfying.  Some seek assurance in science, but that is just the start of the list of potential bolts: money, status, appearance, relationships, education, popularity, pleasure; all have been tried in an attempt to hold a person’s worldview together.

I hold that people are searching for bolts that don’t exist.

There is no solution to what this world seeks to appease troubled minds and give meaning and purpose to short lives.  God is the only solution to holding our world together and He is not a bolt.

He has designed our hearts to be perfectly threaded to Him.

Most children start their lives without any difficulty in believing that there is a God.  It is typically through a lifetime of observing worldly solutions (bolts), that a person comes to the conclusion that there’s probably no God.  A close inspection of our hearts will reveal that God is not the source of our anxiety and disenchantment.  We are broken.  We cannot be who we aspire to be.  We will never be deeply satisfied even if we were to obtain every goal  we set.  A close inspection of our hearts will reveal that we were designed for something other than this world.

If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world. ~ C.S. Lewis

Our lives were designed to be held together by the perfect connection between the God of the Bible and the new heart that He gives us when we receive the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  It is only through that connection that we will ever stop worrying and enjoy life.

It is foolishness to seek a bolt that does not exist when the solution we desire is already at hand.
It is even more foolish to reject the true answer to our created desire.

All we have to do is thread them together.

PRAYER: Lord, I know that this world is held together by your mighty hand.  I know that my life is held together by your loving grace and mercy.   Father, I pray for all those who are searching for something that does not exist.  You know those whom I am specifically lifting up to You.  Show them that their particular bolts are useless to satisfy their need.  Open their eyes to your Son.  Draw them to the door of salvation and create a new life in them..  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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QUOTE (C.S. Lewis) – Nov 22

November 22, 2013

lewis“[To have Faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.”
~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

In honor of C.S. Lewis, who died on this day in day in 1633.

Source:  November 22 – Today in Christian History

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“DON’T PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN” – May 18

May 18, 2013

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”  Romans 5:3-5

climbingI have a bicycle ride that I think of as my little hill of pain.  This ride has a short span of road that is only ¾ of a mile long but it has three switch-backs and a continuous grade of over 10%.  We recently rode the ten miles out to this location of personal affliction and then up my little hill twice.

Oh, how I suffered.

On our initial ascent, I was very quickly down into my lowest gear and standing on my petals in a personal battle with gravity.  The grade is unrelenting and with each foot of elevation gained my poor legs increasingly voiced their displeasure.  In my desperation not to tip-over, I began to zig-zagg across the width of the road in a pathetic attempt to find some relief from the vertical grade of the road.

When I got to the top, I was a mess.  My feet were a little numb, my thighs stung from way too much lactic acid, my calves were threatening a massive cramp, and my lungs felt like I had just cooked them over a campfire.  I found a nice easy gear that allowed me to spin away my nausea as I joined my riding buddy.  He was riding back to me in annoyingly good spirits and asked me the question that I knew he would ask, “wanna do it again?”

The look on my face was sufficient to convey my displeasure and caused my buddy to laugh at me.  After a few more moments of spinning, my lungs were once again capable of powering words.  I explained to my compatriot that there is a difference between wanting to and knowing that I should.  I did not really want to ride up that hill in the first place but I knew that I should ride back up that hill.  It would be good for me.  So, we turned around, raced down the hill, and experienced the joy of hill climbing one more time.  It was worse the second time.

71472755_0Climbing hills on a bicycle is just not very fun.  It is particularly not that much fun when you are training to climb hills.  The reason I go out to this particular hill of pain is because I have a hope for July of this year.  There is a ride called the Four Summit Challenge.  It is a ride over to two ranges and then back again.  The total ride has 5,714 feet of vertical climbing over 72 miles.  From what I understand, it is an absolutely beautiful ride.  I am looking forward to it.  It should be a fun day.  However, I do not have a lot of hope in being able to do that ride unless I can get some climbing training in before July.  I will not be able to enjoy the beauty of that ride if I am in agony.  Therefore, I am training on hills.

The key to climbing is to understand that it has less to do with what is going on with your muscles than it does with what is going on in your melon.

My little hill of pain is training me mentally just as much as it is training me physically.  I know that by being able to recover in a couple minutes that I can physically ride up this hill.  I have the physical endurance and strength to do it.  I am now working on the character to do it.  There are a variety of times when I was climbing my hill when I really wanted to put my foot down and end the discomfort.  I could stop it at anytime by just lowering my foot and admitting defeat.  However, I would never make it to the top of the hill if I gave up.  I would never attain what I am hoping to attain in July.  Suffering on my bike makes me stronger and gives me endurance; endurance gives me confidence and builds my character; character allows me to hope; without hope I would never try anything.

Suffering is just a fact of life.  No one likes suffering.  If you like suffering for suffering sake, then you are a little bent in the head.  However, suffering is unavoidable.  Everyone will go through difficult periods in their lives of varying degrees and durations.  Since going through some form of hardship is guaranteed, then we should determine beforehand what we are determined to gain from it.

We are promised that our souls can benefit from suffering but that gain is not guaranteed.

The reality is that suffering has caused many people to quit on their faith.  It has caused many to give up on their hope.  Hardship has resulted in some putting their foot down and stagnating in their faith for years.  Suffering is not just about enduring until life can get back to normal.  Life may never get back to normal for some. Trials are given to us to mature our faith in a way that only difficult times can do.  Suffering trains us mentally.  I don’t want to diminish physical pain and heartache, but the implications of suffering to our faith come from how we approach it in our minds.  Suffering can cause us to grow in our faith if we fight the battle of the mind.

We will probably go through struggles in this life that are beyond our strength.  God did not give you specific trials because He knows you have the strength to handle them.  They are given to us to teach us that we do not have the strength to carry them on our own.

“You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.”
Corrie ten Boom

Suffering causes us to seek strength outside of ourselves.  God has promised to be our strength when we have no strength.  His strength is all that we need.  A lesson of suffering is that we should not be living in our own strength at any time, much less when we face hardship.  The strength to endure is never in question for the child of God, who is trusting in their Lord, because we have a source of unlimited strength from our Father.  Suffering forces us to draw strength from beyond ourselves.  Hardship trains us in how to rely upon God for everything we need, including the strength to endure in difficult times.

Therefore, our challenge is to not give up. 

This is where character comes in.  Suffering sculpts our character.  Suffering teaches us who we can rely upon when the going gets tough.  The character of a child of God, who has been trained by suffering, is formed by faithfully following Christ through pain, discouragement, loss, and tears.  Their hope is grounded in a character that knows that they don’t have to put their foot down no matter how bad it gets.  They are confident that they will have all the strength that they need, when they need it.  They know that their Savior will be with them through all the pain and anguish; that He will never leave them nor forsake them.  Their faith can survive anything; they can endure anything because their hope is secure.  The Savior is sufficient.

Suffering teaches us that our hope is attainable.  How can you be confident that you will persevere to the end?  If you have never suffered, than your confidence is theoretical.  Suffering puts theory into practice.  Suffering shows us that our hope is not a fool’s dream.  It grounds us in the confidence that God can and will bring us to glory and we have the strength to fight the good fight to the end.  It is when we have endured through hardship that we learn from the practice of our faith that nothing can pluck a child of the King from His hand.

If you are currently blessed with a period of tranquility, then prepare yourself.  Determine in your mind now, to make the most of the suffering when it inevitably comes.  Prepare your heart to be trained and taught by hard times.  Draw your strength from God in the good times so that you will be ready seek your strength from Him when you need it most.  Stack the kindling of the goodness of your Lord and His word around you now so that when the darkness of trials come, the Spirit can ignite the treasures stored in your heart to be your beacon in the night.  Learn to recognize your Savior’s voice on the mountain top so that you can follow His whisper through the valley.

If you are enduring hardship at this time, then may I encourage you to lift up your eyes to your Lord and cry out to Him.  He is faithful and He will give you the strength that you need.  He can sustain you in your weakness.  He will sustain you for He loves you.  Don’t give up.  Don’t put your foot down.  He is sufficient and He will turn all the suffering you are going through into something gloriously good.  Hang onto the only one who can sustain you.  Don’t give up; Don’t put your foot down!

“Hardship often prepares ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”
CS Lewis

PRAYER: Lord, I don’t want to suffer.  Father, you know that I don’t want to go through trials and tribulations.  However, I know that You will never leave me and You will never forsake me.  I know that You will give me the strength that I need, when I need it.  Forgive me for living in my own strength.  Lord, prepare me for the trials that I have ahead of me.  Teach me how to rely upon You in all things, at all times.  Prepare me to suffer well to your glory.  Help me to be a beacon while I walk through dark times.  Thank you for the assurance that it will be well with my soul no matter what the future holds.  I praise  you O’ Lord and pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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