Category Archives: C. S. Lewis

Love Till the End

Radiant with Prayer

A long time ago there lived a little boy whose parents had died. He was taken in by an aunt who raised him as her own child. Many years later, after the boy had grown and become successful in business, he received a letter from his aunt. She was terminally ill and from the tone of her letter, quite afraid of death. Thus, the man who had been raised and strongly influenced by this woman decided to write her a letter in response.

 He began, “It is now 35 years since I, a little boy of six, was left quite alone in the world. You sent me word that you would give me a home and be mother to me. I have never forgotten the day when I made the long journey of ten miles to your home. I remember being disappointed that instead of coming yourself, you sent your servant, Caesar, to fetch me. I well remember my tears and anxiety as, perched atop your horse and clinging to Caesar, we rode off to your home. Night fell before we finished the journey and as it grew dark I became more afraid. ‘Do you think she will go to bed before we get there?’ I asked Caesar nervously. ‘Oh, no,’ Caesar replied, ‘she will certainly be up to stay with you. When we get through these woods you will see her light shining in the window.’

 “We made it to the clearing and there was the light as he promised. I remember that you were waiting in the doorway. You put your arms around me and lifted me, a tired and frightened little boy, and gently took me from the horse and safely placed me on the ground. You had a fire burning and a hot supper was waiting for me on the stove. After supper you took me to my new room. You listened to my prayers and then you waited until I fell asleep.

 “You probably know why I am retelling these events to you now. Very soon, God is going to send for you and take you to a new home. I am trying to tell you that you need not worry nor be afraid of the summons or of the strange journey or the dark messenger of death. God can be trusted to do as much for you as you did for me so many years ago. You can wait and not fear, for at the end of the road you will find love and welcome awaiting you, and you will be safe in God’s care. I will watch and pray for you until you are out of my sight. I shall also wait for the day when I will make the same journey and find you waiting for me to greet me at the end of the road.”

 —-Author Unknown

I share this story today in the hope that it may remind us of the great love that God has for us. He, in his heart of grace, is with us in our darkest hours. We are never alone, never abandoned, never forsaken, but are always resting in the bosom of his love. A love that defies description, or comparison to anything we possess. C. S. Lewis walked into the midst of a great argument about the love of God toward us and said, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.” Yes, that is grace, and God has chosen us to be the recipients of His marvelous grace filled love.

  • Grace (fivesixteenforfaith.wordpress.com)

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Filed under C. S. Lewis, Christian Living, Grace, Love of God

To Have Faith in Christ

Christ icon in Taizé

“[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 

As Christians, Christ followers, we are called to be hands on radical servants. As Christ fed the hungry, clothed the naked , and consorted with all manner of persons, we too must be willing to go where the opportunity for ministry presents itself. Ministry is inconvenient, and doesn’t come wrapped in neat little packages. Lewis urges us to our surrender to Christ seriously. That level of seriousness requires discipline and action that come from within the center of the soul.

Prayer- Loving Christ help me to see the heart of being a Christian, and follow it wherever it leads.

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Filed under C. S. Lewis, Christian Journey, Commitment, Devotional Quotes

Looking Above

C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis

“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”

― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

All of us have an inbuilt prideful tendency to look down and out at our circumstances. We look down because this situation cannot be my fault. My situation, after all, must be caused by some evil person who has infiltrated my life. We look out because there has to be a way out – a way that I can construct. As we look down at the cause and out for the solution, we miss the answer because our egos hide the solution. Simply stated, let us look to the God from above who loves us and cares for us no matter how bad things seem.

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Brave Knights and Heroic Courage

03.365 (02.08.2009) Faith

“Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.”

—-C S Lewis

Not just children, but all of us need to experience brave knights and heroic courage. Every follower of Christ experiences difficult and dark times and without the encouragement of seeing others overcome adversities, we will fall utterly exhausted. With so many cruel enemies that prey upon the people of sincerity and faith, it is necessary that believers see and experience the stories of the giants of the faith.

For far too many years I neglected to acknowledge the suffering of my soul. Somehow I thought that if I lived a holy enough life, won enough spiritual victories, and just closed my eyes and prayed hard enough all things would be well. In Hebrews Chapter 11 we are given a long list of the behaviors of people of faith and there heroic lives. I have found great strength from the Fathers of the Church who withstood great afflictions to establish the Church that sustains us today. In studying the spiritual and physical afflictions of mystics Julian of Norwich and John of the Cross, I know that sufferings need not be hollow and spiritually useless. If we look closely enough, we can find present day heroes that quietly and faithfully practice their faith in our world. Their spiritual journeys enliven and strengthen my faith. Christians need to seek out and find strength in the stories of brave knights and heroic courage.

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Filed under C. S. Lewis, Devotional Quotes, Encouragement

Love and Vulnerability

Jesus is So Cool

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

——C. S. Lewis

No matter how much we try, it is impossible to love without vulnerability. Lewis points this out with his usual bold clarity. The reality is that all love relationships involve some hurt and pain. The high divorce rate and the overall lack of commitment that plagues our society are outward signs of our inward fear of the hurt that comes with love. We have tried very hard to establish a society that loves without vulnerability, and we have failed.

The ultimate example of love with vulnerability is Jesus. Over and over again He tried to tell His disciples of the cross He must bear. More than once He hesitated at His own mission, but in the end He submitted to the Father. How many times must it have occurred to Him how much easier it would be to just forget the cross and move on? Just let man get what he deserves. In the same way, it is easy for us not to love. Why should we?  It just hurts! Like Jesus, we are compelled to love and with that love to give ourselves to others. That is our Christian service.

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Atheism, Skepticism and the Church

A few days ago I posted a CS Lewis quote that I titled,” C. S. Lewis on Atheism.” For me it simply seemed to be a typical wordsmith type quote-clever language and deadly logic. Something quite surprising happened. That quote had more reads than anything else I had ever blogged, overcoming my previous highest day, ” When God Dies.” Was there a connection? I believe so. Many internet viewers are very interested in atheism and skepticism. That would indicate a pattern in our culture.

We live in a time of skeptics and doubters. The popularity of doubting God is at all-time high. From 2007 -2012 the number of non-religious Americans grew from 15% to 20%. This increase is by far the largest increase in any five year period. That, as well as the rise of people that called themselves agnostics and doubters, causes these types of blog entries to have many readers. Why are we headed in this direction?

America is becoming highly secularized – There is not one easy answer to our rapidly increasing secularism. We are far more diverse than ever before.  In any given community there are people from various parts of the world, and they practice many faith traditions. Our diversity, instead of allowing us to celebrate our identity, has caused us to lose our identity in the name of being fair and accepting. The easy answer is for all to be “secular” and non-offensive.

People are just busy – The demand of success and productivity seems to leave little room for God or religion. Society demands that we be productive, do our best, and produce and spend at ever increasing rates. That means success is king, and it is measured with the bottom line. Workers are expected to put in long hours and give all to the job.  That leaves very little for God or religious practice.

Churches have hardened attitudes – Our world is crying for mercy and grace and the church just seems to demand more. With all the other pressures people have in our culture, it would be nice if churches offered a place of refuge and comfort. On the contrary, the church has become as success oriented and demanding as the workplace. The church needs to offer help and understanding instead of rules and judgment.

Perhaps if you find yourself reading this because you are interested in atheism or skepticism, you might consider that God meant for His church to be a place of peace. Let us all take the advice of Mahatma Gandhi who said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” As a believer or a skeptic, just give such an idea a chance. Become that change you want to see in the church

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Filed under Atheism, C. S. Lewis, Church, Doubt, Skeptic, Spiritual Seekers

C. S. Lewis on Atheism

lewiscs34

C S Lewis

“Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”

—— C S Lewis

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Filed under Atheism, C. S. Lewis, Devotional Quotes, Uncategorized

The Only Choice

cs-lewis“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

——-C. S. Lewis

This is always been a favorite of mind.

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Pain and Mystery

lewiscs34

C. S. Lewis

In The Problem of Pain, published in 1940, Lewis offered the reader this overly humble confession: “You would like to know how I behave when I am experiencing pain, not writing books about it.  You need not guess for I will tell you; I am a great coward.”  In a letter to his brother Warnie, written while working on the book, he claimed: “If you are writing a book about pain and then you get some actual pain […] it does not either, as the cynic would expect, blow the doctrine to bits, nor, as a Christian would hope, turn into practice, but remains quite unconnected and irrelevant, just as any other bit of actual life does when you are reading or writing.” Neither the confession nor the claim stood the test of time.  In 1961, Lewis wrote about pain again, this time about his own.  In A Grief Observed he inadvertently satisfied the alleged curiosity of his readers.  But he did not come across as a coward; nor did his firm grasp of “a theory of suffering” prove altogether irrelevant.  True, his faith in God was challenged; he uttered blasphemies; he doubted God’s existence; worst of all, he went through the very objections to God’s goodness which he had refuted in The Problem of Pain: they all seemed valid to a disabled mind, under the sway of unbearable pain.  But then, reason returned: “Why do I make room in my mind for such filth and nonsense? Do I hope that if feeling disguises itself as thought I shall feel less?”

When feeling disguises itself as thought, all nonsense is possible.  Nowhere is it truer than in the problem of pain.  Yet, from the Christian perspective, anything that can reasonably be said about suffering is only a preamble to the Mystery of the Cross.  Lewis’s solution to “the problem of pain” prepares the intellect for a dive into the Mystery.

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Christian Innocence Part 2

Innocence

Innocence

We spend an inordinate amount of time bemoaning the evils of our day. Each day brings a new political and social organization whose primary focus is to turn our country toward “Christianity.” There is a sense that the world has never been worse than is right now.

  Nearly 60 years ago C. S. Lewis said:

“The practical problem of Christian politics is not that of drawing up schemes for a Christian society, but that of living as innocently as we can with unbelieving fellow-subjects under unbelieving rulers who will never be perfectly wise and good and who will sometimes be very wicked and very foolish.”

The problem then and now is not that the society is a failure, but that individuals fail to see the role of innocence in their lives. Innocence means believing and doing the “red letter” words of  the Bible, and accepting that they are the words of Jesus.

 Then we can believe:
  • Innocence is turning the other cheek even when we have the advantage.
  • Innocence is trusting in people that are not saints.
  • Innocence is giving a second chance, and the second, second chance.
  • Innocence is going one more mile for someone who doesn’t deserve it.
  • Innocence is believing that God will win in the end, and we don’t have to make it happen.

When we can embody these principles and more, we become world changers. Our lives and our influence become  a great factor in the lives of others.  Therefore, by our practice many others are led to a knowledge of the love of God and the reality of Jesus as Savior of the world.

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