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Posts Tagged ‘C. S. Lewis’

 servingThe devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”  [Luke 4:5-8]

This is a disturbing passage; not because Jesus resists the enemy but the devil’s claim that the earth belongs to him. In essence, until the great coming of the Christ, there was little opposition to the presence of evil. The prophets would warn and encourage the following of God’s laws as a bulwark against the arrows of Satan and his demonic forces. But, this was a losing proposition. The longer evil ruled, the more difficult the light was to find and follow.

And so, God sends the Son to become the ultimate sacrifice for everyone. Grace instead of the law is offered to the people. The presence and indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the new way to fight the good fight against evil.

But still evil is not defeated. The Hitlers (Germany), Mugabes (Zimbabwe), Gadhafis (Libya), Husseins (Iraq), Castros (Cuba), Jong-ils (North Korea), and Stalins (Russia) poured out much bloodshed; the terrorists continue to frighten and murder; people die of hunger [25,000 a day] and disease such as AIDS [1 every 20 seconds] all over the world. Where is hope for victory? Where is the new Ruler of this Earth? How much longer will the earth groan [Romans 8:22]?

I can choose to keep my head in the sand and pretend that my extravagant living makes no difference in the world (one of the techniques expounded in C. S. Lewis’s wonderful book, The Screwtape Letters, or I can stop. I can open the door of my heart to the pain around me and touch it with the truth of the Spirit in me. Do I believe that God within, Christ died and risen, changes every day life or not?

Joshua asked, “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . ” [Joshua 24:15] but really, this is the question I am asked every day.

Perhaps I can’t transform the whole world, but I can metamorphose my use of time and impact my circle of friends, colleagues, and family by being a vessel for Spirit. I can pray with intent and not just lists of names. I can show up. I can be present. I can be open. I can choose life.

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.”
[Deuteronomy 30:19-20]

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I have heard it said that everything we need—we have, in order to accomplish what is needed to fulfill God’s destiny. This is so easy to say but so hard to live, to believe. If anything, I see myself (and those around me) always looking for more and still more, thinking that will make the difference.

II Peter 1:3
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

I remember during the season of the “Toronto Blessing” when a great outpouring of delights and miracles seemed to be endless at the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church of the mid-nineties. In addition to a variety of phenomenon from laughing to falling out in the Spirit to shaking, a buzz word of that time was “soaking” in the Spirit and asking for “more.” More, Lord, more.

In hindsight, this call seems self-indulgent. It feels too much like more Edmund in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe who, under the influence of the evil White Witch, could not get enough of Turkish Delight. When she asked what he liked the best, this was the first thing that came to mind, this sickly sweet candy. And then, he was driven by his desire for it, excluding all else.

Do we really want more? Do we really want Divine Power? Would we know how to wield it if had hold of it consciously? Would we merely laugh and shake and cry? Or worse, be like Bruce Almighty, who uses this temporary power for personal gain.

Or, do we want “more” power because we have our own vision of what we want to do or be?

God’s divine power is available to us for one purpose, to live a godly life. And what is a godly life: to love others, to serve those less fortunate that we are, to worship and adore God.

And out of that, comes, on occasion, an opportunity to make a difference.

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I struggled with this one verse today. It’s going to be a slow trip to I Peter at this rate. Although I have come to peace with the idea of “fear” of God as awe and so forth, this verse is pulling me into new territory: downright fear of God who is not just my friend & Savior, but also sovereign.

I Peter 1:17
Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.

I kept reading this verse over and over again trying to find a way out. I even checked some of the commentaries and a few blogs. It’s a challenge; it’s not warm and fuzzy with words like judgment and fear as pillars of the verse.

In the end, I found a wonderful blog post by Terry Hamblin (Mutations of Mortality) on this same verse. And I have to thank him for opening me up to accepting this verse at face value and allowing that to resonate in my soul. Amazingly enough, he quotes one of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, from The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe,

“If there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than me or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” asked Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

And that’s the point. We must remember that God is God and not our “chum.” God is loving and we, as believers, enjoy the safety of his mercy and grace, but God is also just and cannot be mocked or toyed with.

As much as I like to talk about God within and the Kingdom of heaven within and all of that, I must also remember that there is part of God without, that bigger God Being that envelopes all that is. Power is too small a word.

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