Category Archives: CS Lewis

Friends


Friends

A friend loves at all times – Proverbs 17:17a

Circles
God gave friends to each one of us.  Like family, like sunshine, like warmth, like majestic trees and like chocolate, they are an awesome gift from the Creator.  Friends are to be cherished.  We all have circles of friends.  Small circles of close friends, circles of church friends, circles of work friends, and monstrous circles of Facebook friends.  These circles overlap and chain together like Olympic Rings.

The Closest Kind
My closest friends tend to come from within the church, actually within my local church or denomination, because we are aligned on a deeply spiritual level. We are in effect brothers and sisters in faith.  We are a tight, loving group.  We are all branches from the same root.  A root that feeds, nourishes, sustains and anchors us.  “The root of Jesse.”  This root is Jesus, and He is also my friend.  Actually a very close friend because His love for me is deeply and unconditionally sacrificial.  Jesus changed our relationship with God forever.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” – John 15:15

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. – Proverbs 18:24

Each Other and One Another
As the saying goes, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.”  Good advice.  But there’s more.

Friends pray for each other.
Friends confide in one another.
Friends empathize with each other.
Friends help one another.
Friends do not gossip about each other. (Gossip separates the best of friends – Proverbs 16:28b)
Friends are sincere and loyal to one another.
Friends trust each other. (An honest answer is the sign of true friendship – Proverbs 24:26)
Friends enjoy time with one another.
Friends accept each other’s weaknesses and imperfections.
Friends are good medicine.
Friends enrich our lives.
Friends celebrate good times and support in difficult times.
Friends prevent loneliness.
Friends are quick to ask for forgiveness and ready to be forgiving.

Chosen by the Master
I just love this quote by C.S. Lewis on friendship:

“In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.” ― C.S. Lewis, the Four Loves

“The aim of friendship is exclusively determined by what God’s will is for the other person.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Tribute to Friendship
I love you not only for what you are,
But for what I am when I am with you;
I love you not only for what you have made of yourself,
But for what you are making of me,
I love you not for closing your ears to the discords in me,
But for adding to the music in me by worshipful listening;
You have done it without a touch, without a word, without a sign.
You have done it just by being yourself.

Perhaps that is what being a friend means, after all!
—Author Unknown

Introduced by God!
Sometimes in life we run across friends that we know the Holy Spirit has so delicately and deliberately placed onto our path and into our lives. Friends who have been filled with, and touched by the Holy Spirit. The God of the universe introduces us to one another because He knows that we will be a blessing to each other.

Thank you Lord for the gift of friendship.

Advertisements

Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord


Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord

Lord, Open…
my eyes to see
my ears to hear
my heart to feel
my mind to absorb
what you are doing today.
Amen.

“It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.”
– C. S. Lewis

“It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision.” – Helen Keller

We Are Not Robots


We are not robots, so don’t worship like one.

Caution! Reading this article may stir your emotions.

Should we strip all emotions from our worship? Some denominations might still answer “yes”.

It is Biblical
King David’s worship was dripping with emotions – emotional displays that would be uncomfortable to me and to you, but apparently not to God. And Jesus had emotions as well. For crying out loud God wept! He rejoiced. He raged in righteous fury and He felt compassion for the crowds. And the Gospel writers thought it important enough that we should know about it. Given such evidence, it would be difficult to argue from Scripture that emotional expression is out of place in the worship of God.

Lot’s of Questions; No Answers
So why are we supposed to shun our emotions in worship? Why can’t we have emotions while singing hymns? While praying? While receiving the Lord’s Supper? While just contemplating? Why shouldn’t worship be emotional? Why shouldn’t singing be emotional? Why can we be emotional towards each other but not towards God? Why did God give us emotions? Will our worship in heaven be joyous? Joy is an emotion!

Now I’m Really Getting Angry!
So let’s talk about emotions. I am talking about joy at Easter. I am talking about sorrow on Good Friday. I am talking about remorse during the confession of sins and joy and relief during the absolution. I am talking about tears. Anger. Confidence. Frustration. Elation. Delight. Peace. Awe. Love. Fear. Sadness. Anticipation. Shame. Grief. Surprise. Sorrow. Wonder. Excitement. Hope. These are all natural responses that flow from a genuine relationship with the living God.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt 6:21)

Look at Me! Look at Me!
I am not talking about making a spectacle of oneself, being a hindrance or a distraction. I am talking about being real. I am talking about being yourself. I am talking about being a person and not a stone. I am talking about emotions motivated by truth.

We should all worship God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength. This includes all our emotions. Half-hearted worship is no worship at all. Worship is the highlight of my week so my emotions will naturally be higher than during the week because God is to be desired above all things. I am not the type of person that compartmentalizes my secular life from my church life. I listen to the same music in both places and if I have emotions at home I will also have emotions in church.

Music Defined
The difference between music, and the written word, at a fundamental level – is emotion. Music evokes emotion. Music moves me. Music should move you. It should stir your heart and pull on your heart strings. Music without emotion stinks because God designed it to be emotional from the get go. God invented major keys to be happy and minor keys to be sad. That’s just the way it is. Don’t fight it.

So don’t hide your emotions in worship. Don’t leave them at the door. Every hymn or song has an unwritten direction that should be written under the writer’s name. It should say “Sing with emotion.” Some of our songs do have little instructional notes like “sing joyfully” or “with great feeling”. Don’t be afraid of this. Embrace it. Your music will sound better. You won’t miss that penultimate note that the artist intended for you to sing. Your worship will improve. There’s nothing worse in worship than to hear a deadpan, lifeless, expressionless group of believers droning out a dirge-like tune as if the words mean nothing to them. God detests this kind of worship. He got an earful of it in Amos 5.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep! – Romans 12:15

The Dreaded Frenzy!
I have heard some in the traditional church claim that the contemporary churches use the newer music to “whip our emotions into a frenzy.” This is preposterous. This has not been my experience and we’ve been using contemporary music for almost a decade. The motive is not to deceive people or to manipulate, it is to honor Christ, to show our love towards Him and worship and glorify Him in the best ways we can. These claims are hypocritical and judgmental and are hurting the church at large. These accusers have gone off-course. They have turned grace into condemnation and truth into judgment. The church has enough enemies and mockers without us believers throwing bombs at one another trying to guess what each other’s motives are.

It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds; in reality our best work is done by keeping things out. – Wormwood, the Devil (C.S.Lewis)

Lutheran Forefathers
Us old timers, self included, have been taught to hide our emotions. This is not the case with the younger generation. In fact the opposite is true and they can see right through our facade. We need to understand this if we are to grow the church.

So some of us will sit in worship like an ancient Reformation era tombstone because God made us that way. Cool! But let’s not judge the heart of those different than us because that’s God’s job, not ours.

God deserves our highest, purest, strongest emotions.

Forgiveness


Forgiveness

Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have someone to forgive. – C.S.Lewis

Forgiveness is mercy.
Such pardon and kindness I cannot fathom.

Forgiveness is unfailing love.
Such patience and understanding I cannot comprehend.

Forgiveness is overwhelming compassion.
Such sympathy and warmth I cannot reciprocate.

Forgiveness is the blotting out of transgressions.
Such freedom and good will I do not deserve.

Forgiveness is the washing away of my iniquities.
Such purity and newness I cannot maintain.

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

Based on (Psalm 51:13,15)

“I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.” – C. S. Lewis

My Dwelling


My Dwelling

I imagine myself as this living dwelling
Being forged and built by God, it’s so compelling.

At first, I understood just what He was doing
Fixing the foundation with a little renewing.

But now He’s knocking down walls that contain
What’s He up to? And should I complain?

It’s become a different house than what I can afford
Towers, Courtyards; gold and silver ingots are poured!

I thought that I had a comfortable, quaint home
But He is building a palace where I can roam.

You see, It is a home for Him to dwell as well
His Spirit inside me til I bid this world farewell.

by Steve Brown

– Based on a quote from C. S. Lewis and God’s Holy word

 

Why Pray?


Why Pray?

I pray because I can not help myself.

because I’m bewildered
I’ve squandered.
I’m confused.
I’m baffled.
I’m perplexed.
I’m worried.

I’m needy.
I’m greedy.

I’m lost.
I hurt.
I doubt.
I’m deep in thought.
I’m upset.

I’m dependent.
I think I’m independent.

I’m straying.

I’m mixed up.
I’ve messed up.

I question?

I’m hopeless.

I’ve forgotten.

I’m thankful.
I’m joyful.
I’m blessed.
I am a child of God.
I’m loved.

Yet…

I’m a sinner.
I need help.
I’m blue.
I’m old.
I have issues.
I offend.
I loose my patience.
I lack faith.

I pray because He listens.
I pray because it works…
… and because it’s a privilege.
Because I get to.

I pray because others need it.
I pray because He answers.
I pray because Jesus prayed.
I pray to recharge my spiritual batteries.
I pray because the need flows out of me all the time,*
Waking and sleeping, it does not matter.*
It does not change God – it changes me.*

That’s why I pray!

– Based on one sentence by C. S. Lewis*

The line spaces are meant to convey the flow of thoughts as they came to me.