Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious. It is too good to waste on jokes."

--C.S Lewis, The Last Battle.

Friday, September 23, 2011

"We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good, if bad because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country."

--C.S. Lewis

Monday, September 19, 2011

In Christ

"The love of Jesus, which had been fixed upon his people from all eternity, is manifested to them in time--by calling them out of darkness into his marvellous light. They are dead--until he quickens them by his Spirit; dark--until he enlightens them by his word; in bondage--until he frees them by his grace.

They are in Christ, and they are new creatures; old things are passed away, and behold, all things are become new. God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved them, has quickened them together with Christ, and by grace they are saved.

Salvation is now brought home; their sins, which are many, are all forgiven them, and they are accepted in the beloved. They are now the people of God, they have obtained mercy and are habitations for God through the Spirit."

--James Smith, The Love of Christ: The Fullness, Freeness, and Immutability of the Savior's Grace Displayed.

Friday, September 16, 2011

To sit in His presence

What a blessing it is to simply sit in His presence and be still, to push out the noise of the world and listen to the Holy Spirit instead. I've always loved turning out all the lights and sitting on the floor with lit candles spread out around me, enough for me to be able to read Scripture. We quiet our hearts before Him, and sing songs to Him.

We ask Him to teach us. We learn that prayer is not as much about talking to God, but learning to listen; not as much about presenting our desires before Him, but aligning our desires with His will and the wisdom of His plan. We learn to stop striving, as if our plans, anxieties, and concerns were really all that they seem to be at first glance.

We look deeper, and find God leading us to quiet waters, teaching us to trust Him, to be patient, and to let Him give and take away as He sees fit. We learn obedience through suffering, and in quiet contemplation, we learn to see that suffering as infinitely worth it.

We begin to see the needs of the world as we imagine others all over the planet sitting around a campfire, or maybe by candlelight, as we are, asking God for food or security, or perhaps simply crying tears of grief to Him. And we see God crying tears over them, too, so we learn to cry tears for others as well. And we begin to beg Him to use us to wash their feet and carry their burdens.

We quiet our hearts and let eternity resonate into our thoughts. We focus on the Cross and see that it is so much more important than we act like it is in our daily lives. We cry out for transcendence.

We focus on our sin, and see that it is so much more horrifying than we will admit; our sin begins to truly disgust us, as it disgusts God. We begin to beg the Lord to deliver us from the hell of our own selfishness. We ask God to "make us holy, whatever it takes."

We listen, and discover that we need to listen better, and more often. We learn to put our hands over our mouths, and simply become students--disciples--of Christ. We ask for the way of wisdom, admitting that our own way has failed us. We ask for humility, so we might see ourselves correctly.

We ask for insight, so we might think clearly and translate our beliefs into a fortified worldview. We ask for a vision, to see God move us where He would have us go. We ask for openness, so that we will be truly willing and eager to obey His will. We ask for open doors, because we long to show the other beggars where we, who were once beggars ourselves, have found the bread.

We ask for protection, so that our faith would be strong. We ask for increasing intimacy with our loving Creator, that we might embrace what existence is ultimately all about. And we ask for the increasing ability to rest ourselves in Him, so that we might come back to these times of refreshing over and over again, for our delight, His glory, and simply because we truly long to be near Him, and to offer our gratitude to Him for the great things He has done.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011

" ... both good and evil, when they are full grown, become retrospective ... They say of some temporal suffering, 'No future bliss can make up for it,' not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory."

--C.S. Lewis

Friday, September 2, 2011

Entertaining friends and a visit from a cat

Dinner with the Hayes family, playing with Sienna.

The great, unfolding drama

"I'm afraid we often take the glorious for me of the gospel and separate it from the for us and the for God. We shrink the gospel down until it is a message about the individual standing before God that no longer contains the gospel community at the heart of God's plan. Instead, we need to see the for me wrapped up in the for us, which is wrapped up in the for God. It all goes back to God and His glory being made manifest through the church that he bought with the blood of His Son.

Emphasize the for me to the exclusion of everything else, and you wind up with an individualistic message about personal salvation; the church becomes an optional side-effect of the gospel message. Emphasize the for us and for God aspects of the message and you never bring the good news down to the personal level; you don't challenge someone to trust in Christ. But put them together, and you have the biblical understanding of the gospel--both individual and corporate. Once you grasp all three aspects, your personal salvation story is given eternal significance because it is caught up in the great, unfolding drama dreamed up in the heart of our good and loving Creator."

--Trevin Wax, Counterfeit Gospels.