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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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HEAVENLY MINDED MEN

C. S. LewisC. S. Lewis:

“If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire; the great men who built up the Middle Ages; the English evangelicals who abolished the slave trade, all left their mark on earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” (Mere Christianity)

CHILDREN AND THE CHRIST OF CHRISTMAS

Samuel A CainFor to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 ESV)

You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 ESV)

Christmas is a good time to share the Word of God with your children. Of course, as we see in Deuteronomy 11, every day and every moment is, in general, a good time to do this. So, what are your children learning about the Christ of Christmas this year? What are you teaching them? Is there more talk in your home about Santa Claus than Jesus? Continue reading

WHAT THE PUBLIC WANTS

C. S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis:

“A man who first tried to guess ‘what the public wants,’ and then preached that as Christianity because the public wants it, would be a pretty mixture of fool and knave.”

 

HALF-HEARTED CREATURES

C. S. LewisC. S. Lewis:

“If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith.  Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” (The Weight of Glory, 1-2)

C. S. LEWIS ON SIN

Screwtape LettersUncle Screwtape on small sins:

“You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness.  But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy.  It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing.  Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick.  Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.  Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.” (The Screwtape Letters, 56)

LOSE YOUR LIFE AND YOU WILL SAVE IT

C. S. LewisC. S. Lewis:

“Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death to your whole body in the end: submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” (Mere Christianity, 226-227)

Pride and Humility

Satan Cast Down From Heaven“Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.” (Proverbs 16:5 ESV)

Edwin Chapin wrote, “Pride is the master sin of the devil.” I think that most of us have some experience with the form of pride discussed in the verse above, but I know I am very familiar with pride. It is a meal that I have feasted upon many times. I have made mistakes because of the sin of pride. Pride has cost me some great opportunities. It has taken its toll on relationships as well.

I knew I was in trouble the very first time I read 1 Peter 5:5: “God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.” Then I read Proverbs 16:18, which says, “Pride goes before destruction, and an haughty spirit before the fall.” C. S. Lewis could have described my early life when he said, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that’s above you.”

I can tell you exactly when God saved me from my atheistic lifestyle, but I believe I thought I was taking a consulting position with Him. I’m sure the angels were astonished by God’s grace to me. The Holy Spirit began to change me and continues His work some thirty-three years later.

Pride is very deceitful. It continues to plague our culture of self-worship. Pride is seen as an entitlement by many. We believe we should be treated with a level of respect we have not earned and worshiped in spite of the fact we are the created – not the Creator. Where pride and arrogance reign, men are consumed by the fear of losing status. On the other hand, God “leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way.” (Psalm 25:9) God’s way offers life eternal and greater contentment in the here and now. St. Augustine spoke wisely, when he said, “The sufficiency of my merit is to know that my merit is not sufficient.” The proud man will never enjoy the peace of God.

Samuel at Gilgal

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