Did C. S. Lewis believe in purgatory?

We’re going to discuss if Lewis believed in purgatory at the end of the week — and I am eager for your views. He says some very controversial things in Chapter 9.

But first, a life-changing chapter on the purpose of suffering.

So often I have asked:

“Why must this child of yours, who loves you, suffer so?”

So many of the sisters on the blog seem to be

pummeled with one giant wave after another!

I ask that they be spared, and He sends another killer wave!

I say, “No, no, no — that’s not what I asked for!”  

 

But prayer is not ordering off a menu,

asking for what I want,

but rather, attempting to align my will

with the will of Almighty God.

We are in the next to the last week of Mere Christianity,

and indeed, Lewis has saved the best for last —

truths that illumine our suffering and can give us real hope.

We often come to Christ, Lewis explains,

in hopes of a little remodeling.

We’d like to be done with our bad temper or tendency to drink too much —

we’d like to be made into a “decent little cottage.”

But no! He is not just remodeling, he is tearing down

our whole house in a way that hurts abominably.

He will not be satisfied until we are perfect!

Why?

One day, we will be perfect.

Lewis says:

It has been good for me to go through this classic slowly,

for there are such gems.

There are also things that give me pause, and I want to discuss those things with you as well. In fact, I’m hoping to draw in those who do disagree with Lewis this week, for Lewis, though one of the most gifted men who ever lived,

is still not on par with the Word of God.

Welcome to a week of pondering, sharpening, and growing!

Sunday:

1.What stands out to you from the above and why?

2. How have you grown from the last killer wave that hit you? (I realize you might not want to share details, or you may, but I’d like you to share how you’ve grown.)

Monday: Is Christianity Hard or Easy?

Christ tells us:

Yet then He turns around and says:

How do these seemingly contradictory statements go together?

Listen to or read  Book 4, Chapter 8, and see if you can find the answer.

3. Share your notes and comments.

 

Reflecting on Chapter 8.

4. How would Lewis answer the question: “Is Christianity hard or easy?”

5. When you look at your own journey and your own heart, do you think the following statement of Lewis’ was/is true of you?

 

But we are hoping all the time when the demands [of decent morality] have been met, the poor natural self will still have some chance, and some time, to get on with its own life and do what it wants.

Lewis explains that Christianity is easy if we surrender all — yet that feels so frightening, like being asked to parachute from the sky!

In truth, though we may think we surrendered all when we first came ot Christ, that really is not possible. Jim Elliot observed that no one could give a whole life to Christ in one moment. Surrender comes bit by bit — with each new challenge. When we surrender that bit, we feel good about it, but then! He asks us to surrender more! Lewis says that this surrender begins every morning, when all our own wishes and dreams rush at us like wild animals.

6. What encouragement does Lewis give us as surrender begins to be a pattern in our lives?

 

Wednesday: Count the Cost

Before I trusted Christ I asked my sister, “Would Steve and I have to give up the house on the water that we are planning to build?”

After crying out to God silently, my sister said, “In your case, yes.” She felt the house was a god in my life and would have to go. She was asking me to count the cost. I’ve admired that, for she could have feared that I would walk away. Instead, she was doing what Jesus did, when everyone was following Him, wanting food, wanting healing…and He turned around and said, “Count the cost.” I wonder if the reason so many Christians are so weak, is because they have not come to terms with the cost. Indeed, salvation is a free gift, but when we come to Christ, it must be for who He is, and He is Lord of lords and King of kings.

7. Before Christ, or during your journey, were you ever asked to count the cost? What thoughts do you have on this?

8. Read or listen to chapter 9 and share your notes and comments.

 

Thursday-Friday: Reflecting on Chapter 9.

9. What point was Lewis making with his toothache illustration?

 

10. How might this relate to our heart idols? To facing suffering?

 

 

11. The fourth paragraph in this chapter gave me some pause — I agree with most of it, but there were phrases that caused me to ponder if Lewis was right. Read it, and see if there is anything in it that causes you to pause as well. (I will tell you — but don’t look ahead!) It is the paragraph that begins with “This is why He warned people to ‘count the cost’…” Read it slowly and see if anything jars you. If so, what and why?

 

 

 

 

The phrase that most bothered me was the one I’ve put in red:

“Whatever suffering it might cost you in your earthly life, whatever inconceivable purification it might cost you after death, whatever it costs Me, I will never rest…until you are perfect.” I have heard people accuse Lewis of believing in purgatory, but I thought they misunderstood that The Great Divorce was a metaphor, not to be pressed so hard. But now I wonder, and perhaps this is why Catholics like him so…I don’t see how we can be fully forgiven and cleansed, how Christ’s blood can be sufficient, and yet we still need to go through some kind of suffering after death.

12.  What are your thoughts on the above and why?

13. What scriptural case can you make for or against purgatory?

 

 

The other phrase that he repeats that troubles me a bit is “if we let Him.” I know that we have free will, but I also believe that I was DEAD and couldn’t choose anything, and He came and breathed life into me. And I know He will make me perfect, whether I resist Him or not, for when I see Him I will be like Him. It won’t happen on earth, but He will make it happen. Many of you may not be troubled by this recurring phrase in Lewis, but I am — though I love the man, have learned so much from him, and will run and thank him in heaven. And I think, Who am I to question Lewis — and yet, we are all mere mortals, and he could be wrong about this.

14. What thoughts do you have on the above and why? 

Saturday

15.What is your take-a-way and why?

 

COMMENTS (95) Post a New Comment ↓
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God will not be satisfied until we are perfect- not just a little cottage but a palace. And He will bring down the house and it will hurt terribly.

My killer wave came in the form of a student’s mom last school year. Many of you may have been privy to the situation. Although I can point to the mom as the devil’s advocate at that time, I have learned that the Lord was purging my motives and sifting me. And just like Peter, He wanted me to be a changed woman. I saw Pride in its ugly form n grieved  my defensiveness and refusal to acknowledge it is in my very being. Am glad it is over and the Lord vindicated me in many ways but the lesson of humility has stayed with me and am thankful.

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    You had such a godly response to that killer wave, Bing.

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    Yes Bing, that was so hard & u truly handled it with such grace & strength :)

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Oh wow, what hit me was “He is building a palace. He intends to come & live in it Himself”!! That explains a lot! haha. I want to be a palace for the King of Kings, & yet I resist when it hurts.

I think my latest killer wave has been in the form of hostile opposition to my faith, in my marriage, even when I haven’t even said a word. I hope & pray that I have grown. I want to stand firm & still in the Presence & power of the Lord, & trust Him with all the details & the mess. Not to walk in fear, but to quietly let His Light shine.

I would so love your prayers for my daughter Lisa this week. She has a few interviews lined up & I am going to visit her this weekend in Boston, for my birthday! I am praying that we can celebrate a job offer together!! Thanks & the Lord bless u all!

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    That is a killer wave, Jenny.

    And I’ll pray for a job for Lisa!

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    Jenny, I am so sorry to read of the hostility towards your faith.  I can’t even imagine how hard that must be for you.  Actually, I do understand somewhat how that is.  Our kids were raised in a Christian home & environment, but my son, especially, seems to bristle & squirm at times when the name of Jesus is mentioned.  I believe he lost his faith in college (Madison), and some conversations we’ve had since then were frankly so disturbing & emotional for me that I haven’t had the courage to bring it up again.  A part of me doesn’t want to know, b/c then it just feels so overwhelmingly hopeless.  It seems as if all my praying, all these years, just hits the ceiling & falls back down.  I don’t know that, (& honestly I don’t believe that–I know God hears my prayers) but it’s draining, when you just beg God for decades & you do not see much if any change…sometimes it’s hard to keep the faith.  But you always have hope, no matter what.  I will pray for you dear Jenny, & also for your daughter Lisa.  Sweet you can celebrate your birthday with her, have a blessed, super special day!

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1.  Praying for relief from the waves only to see another looming over us. I’ve heard it said that Jesus did not come to make us happy, but to make us holy. If holy is the intent, that means being wholly set apart for Him and His purposes. Not a little or a lot, but totally. My problem is that I keep wanting to hold on to ‘me’, even though rationally I know that who I am in Him is so much better.

 

2.  I’ve also heard it said that our tests are never for God. He is already aware of how we will do. Tests are for us, so we can see how we have grown to this point, or need to grow.

I can’t claim them to be killer waves, but they were tests in the last months. First, my niece from Oregon sprinkled the ashes of her mother, my sister, four hours from me without anything but a Facebook post after the fact. There was never a service, either. Then, I did some alterations on dresses for my granddaughter, but what she wore to church the next day was what her other grandmother sent while I was there. In both cases I felt hurt and intentionally snubbed. The good was that I acknowledged being hurt, but didn’t hold on to it or make a big deal of it. That was progress for me.

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    That is progress, Mary!

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    Mary, wow, I would call those fairly big waves, & it sounds like you certainly passed the test(s).  I know myself too well– if I had been in your shoes I would have flunked both of them.

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1.What stands out to you from the above and why?

Honestly, just how appealing that “decent little cottage” can look! And yet, I know… ;)

2. Oh my killer waves. It has been a long season of storms for me and much of the time I have struggled to see beyond it. But recently, God graciously gave me a glimpse at some changes happening in my heart. The “natural man” in me didn’t even desire to be so changed, and yet, He is faithful to His plan that my life’s one purpose is to bring Him glory. I prayed to be able to love this person who has caused me more pain than anyone in my life. I expected just the strength to carry out the actions of love, but I’ve noticed that it’s become more than that. It’s become genuine love for this person who in many ways feels like my worst enemy. He’s also doing something in me in regards to forgiveness, which has always been a struggle for me. I had a tendency to only really forgive if the offender was “really” sorry, and truthfully I felt justified in that stance. The penny on that finally dropped and my heart finally agrees that forgiveness is never deserved. The very nature of the word tells me it to to give what is not earned.

I need so much refining, and while I know to thank God in all trials, I’m honestly still struggling with that–and yet, I do see His hand, I see Him using it for good, and for His purpose and glory in my life.

 

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    These are giant steps, Lizzy. Really loving and really forgiving. Castle building!!!

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As I read over your introduction, Dee, I see that Lewis talks about suffering this week. I just want to pop in to say I am reading a great book on the persecuted church called “The Insanity of God” by Nik Ripken. I highly recommend it.

I begin my job this week, plus we have my daughter and her three sons until Friday; AND our middle son has moved in with us as he begins university this week. I am used to be chief cook and bottle washer – but that has to change since I will not be here to make the meals. I am hoping other adults will cheerfully step in the gap; as I expect to be exhausted when I arrive home. It is not a killer wave but it definitely is a wave. I would appreciate your prayers for courage and stamina. This gives me a tiny taste of what Laura-dancer has had to deal with.

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    Oh you will need stamina, Diane — and for that I will pray!

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    Diane–praying for your first day tomorrow! Hope you can jump in and give an update! Also praying for your full house, for courage and stamina.

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    Yes Diane, may the Lord give you joy & energy in your new job, & stamina at home. May the family step up to help too!  :)

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    Praying for you Diane, sweet sister! You got this 😊.

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3. Share your notes and comments.

These were my favorite quotes– “The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self—all your wishes and precautions—to Christ. But it is far easier than what we are all trying to do instead. For what we are trying to do is to remain what we call “ourselves,” to keep personal happiness as our great aim in life, and yet at the same time be “good.”

Life here is hard. Relational trials, work stress. But for the Believer, we have the Word to remind us that this is not all. And we have the Spirit within us, to convict our hearts and to strengthen us to follow Him. For an un-surrendered non-Believer, whose only hope is this life, and who does not have the power of the Spirit—that is far harder than surrendering all to Him, and believing His path for us.

“If I want to produce wheat, the change must go deeper than the surface. I must be ploughed up and re-sown.”

I have felt “ploughed up and re-sown”! But I know I need deep, deep, root level change in me.

“the real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.”

I also liked the part about an egg cannot go on being an egg—it must either hatch, or spoil.

 

4. How would Lewis answer the question: “Is Christianity hard or easy?”

It is both. “It is hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hankering after is harder—in fact, it is impossible”. 

It is hard to surrender all to Him. I think it is impossible until you begin to know Him, for once you start to know His trustworthiness, His goodness, it’s still hard, but somewhat comprehensible. But Lewis points out that this surrender is far easier than what we tend to do instead, holding onto “ourselves” and our idols, and still trying to be “good”.

5. When you look at your own journey and your own heart, do you think the following statement of Lewis’ was/is true of you?

I’m not consciously aware of that thought, and yet—my reaction to ongoing trials does seem to validate it. There are times I have cried out—asking Him to give me a rest from the storms, asking Him to let me catch my breath and show me mercy…those times when I don’t really want the fruit that comes from enduring another fire, I just want rest, comfort. I do sense that surrender comes ‘bit by bit’.

6. What encouragement does Lewis give us as surrender begins to be a pattern in our lives?

This change greatly encourages me: “We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us. It is the difference between paint, which is merely laid on the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks right through.”

 

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    I love the quotes here, Lizzy. I hope I have time to read the chapters.

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Book 4)  Ch 8:  The Christian way is:  Christ asks us to give Him our all; to hand over the whole natural self & He will give us Himself & make us new. It is hard & it is easy. Altho it seems almost impossible to hand over ourselves , it is much easier than always trying to be good.  Every morning we must learn to put aside our desires & listen for that “other Voice.” It becomes easier with time as Christ grows in us. The Church exists to draw men into Christ. If not it is a waste of time. When we all come into Christ, “the bad dream will be over…it will be morning”!

5. “In truth, though we may think we surrendered all when we first came to Christ, that really is not possible. Jim Elliot observed that no one could give a whole life to Christ in one moment. Surrender comes bit by bit — with each new challenge. When we surrender that bit, we feel good about it, but then! He asks us to surrender more!”

I feel this is definitely true in my own life. I can only surrender a bit at a time, & it is a daily challenge & commitment. Yes at times, I resist, cause I feel I need comfort & a rest, as Lizzy said. And yet, I know it is the only way to have lasting Peace & true joy.

6. I agree with Lizzy, that this is an encouragement:  “We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us.”  Jesus will never give up on us; He pursues us in Love relentlessly, & is so patient with us & kind.  :)

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This lesson is so powerful.  I like Dee’s response to someone above where she said, in reference to someone’s suffering, “Castle Building!”  This is really a helpful analogy and gives hope when the waves are pummeling one to despair.  How much I have longed for my decent cottage which is being currently demolished by God.  Lewis is right – He is not trying to renovate, but to reconstruct.  And the process is oh so painful.  Idols are being crushed and ripped away, and I feel bleeding and exposed.  Only He can see the castle He is building.  All of ME has to go!  Bring it on, Master Builder!  Only sustain me.  And I shall be satisfied when one day I awake with Your beautiful likeness.  Thank you for this study and the comradery here.

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1.What stands out to you from the above and why? 
 

The picture of the wave. The idea of waves in my life has now been mentioned three times in the last week or so. I am thoroughly exhausted from the waves this time. Beaten to a pulp. I can’t even imagine what God is thinking after the last week of my life. I am clinging to Psalm 63 and 64.

 
2. How have you grown from the last killer wave that hit you? (I realize you might not want to share details, or you may, but I’d like you to share how you’ve grown.)
 

I can’t really get into details, but this last week has brought me to probably the lowest point in my life. It has dawned on me that my God has “blessed” me with 5 moral issues that my children have demonstrated over the years that I would run from myself; to stay far far away from any of them. Yet He has put them right in my face through my kids. Even my “normal” kid has issues! Ugly and sad. I used to think every person would have one major life changing event that shapes who they are; defines them. I lost my dad at 13, my husband was run over by a dump truck at 18 and survived. But no, my life continues to be bludgeoned. It’s never enough. What I have learned is to feel extremely disappointed but not worried about the future. I cry, but realize there is nowhere to turn, nowhere to run and hide. I am forced to face them full on and feel the awful pain. I press on begging for this life to end and to start the new one where maybe I will be at peace.  Wonder if I’m the only one? Then I look around; a friend who has an adult son who had to have his tongue removed due to cancer, another friend who has two adult sons in wheelchairs from a form of MD. Okay I think, everyone has some kind of pain in their lives….but FIVE painful things? I think it is so abnormal and what in the world is wrong with us? The movie I suggested for last week, “The Trip to Bountiful,” has a scene where the old woman says she wondered if God punished those who do wrong. I have asked that question before because I just can’t believe how it happens over and over again! I must be doing something wrong is how I feel, but I know that isn’t true. Then, someone said to me today that maybe God isn’t working on me, but on them (the kids). Whoa….never thought of that.

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    Such a good comment about God working on your kids and it ripples out to you, for no man is an island, as John Donne said.

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    Oh dear Laura, my heart goes out to u <3. May the Lord give you rest & His Peace & provision, as only He can  xxx

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1.What stands out to you from the above and why?

SO at first my heart lept at “…Prayer is an attempt to align my will with Almighty God’s“, not a to do list for God-such a deep truth, but then what hit me even more was the rest so I have to tell! :-) Leading up to Sept, 1988 before He captured my heart and saved me-He was wooing me and there was a growing desire to know Him and be fully known by Him but I also knew only He could straighten out my path for He is Holy I am not. Though I didn’t fully understand transformation-the pain of letting Him rip off my scales..But He began to straighten out my paths slowly but there was a VERY noticeable difference to those who knew me, and GLORY-it was undeniable that it was Him, not me. So what hit me in this post is that Jesus building me into a Castle was a surprise after I came to know Him, and so was the cost-although HIS cost is what helps me to yield more now and I hope as I mature, yielding more gladly for there are tougher places in my heart that He has been gently and patiently pounding away at lately..mostly in regard to being more patient with, or (loving), some people close to me who are hard to love lately. :-/

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    Just a disclaimer: Part of the reason I haven’t posted much is that I have little time in the morning to edit and I want to thoughtfully post, so maybe from time to time a long post may happen and hopefully it won’t end up being too off topic. lol. :) :)

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      Last night at The Orchard I showed the men your video and Debbie and Vicki talked about how they truly saw Jesus in you.

      He is building a castle — and we’ll take you anyway we can get you Rebecca, edit or not!

        Dee, you have so encouraged me this morning. :) My hope is that I don’t get in the way so to hear others see Him in me is a balm indeed and puts me in awe of him again!. I was talking with Len a few weekends ago and he and I were talking about my dad dying and he said, what is amazing is we won’t sin anymore..can you imagine that? I responded, no more grieving over my sin and when I delight in my sin-OH..no more double grieving me..but no more grieving Him.  Soo none of that when He is done building my castle! :) :) :) I miss you..I love you tons.

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3.  Is Christianity hard or easy? My knee jerk is to say yes. It is easier than constantly going downhill on my own, but harder than I ever thought to continually surrender self. The easy yoke and the daily cross. Both involve carrying something. Maybe the point is in how we view it. Is it a big pain that we have to do, or a privilege that we are allowed to lay down our stuff and only carry what He gives us?

chapter eight. Lewis says the only goal of Christianity is to be drawn into the life of Christ, and draw others there with us. I don’t know if it is really that simplistic. Seems to me that God has many layers of meaning in everything. “The more you obey your conscience, the more it demands of you” is how I feel about my weight and eating. Others look at me and don’t get why it is such a big deal to me. They seem to say, either accept being heavy, or get serious and lose the weight. But I am all tangled us what is an idol and what is God honoring and what fits with scripture and what is just me. Like what Lewis said about the field. I am trying to do something about the grass, while all the time Jesus wants me to grow something else entirely. Lewis says that our holding back the natural man can only be done for minutes at first, but gradually for longer periods. God isn’t interested in compromise, but in transformation. We can’t stay an egg and learn to fly. We either hatch or go bad. I want to hatch!

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    Easier than constantly going downhill on my own, but harder than I ever thought to surrender. I can see that. Unless you are healthy, I don’t agree with those who say accept yourself as you are — but I also don’t think we should try to be model thin. There’s a struggle going on in our hearts when we resist, I know, so I pray for all of us, and you and me with food, to trust. I loved how Rebecca expressed it on the video on my Idol Lies page. Would God just let me sit in my pain? I imagine you’ve seen that, Mary!

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Sunday     1.  What stood out to me…”prayer is not ordering off a menu, asking for what I want,  but rather attempting to align my will with the will of Almighty God.”  I wish I could say that when I pray it’s always according to God’s will, but “little self” sneaks in thinking it knows best.  I have learned over the years that if I pray Gods Word that I’m praying His will…so many wonderful prayers that Paul prayed that I use and of course the Psalms.

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    So good, Sharon, to pray the psalms and prayers of Paul too.

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Doing this book study is a great help to me though I have been just quietly trying to absorb it.Is Christianity hard or easy? I love the illustrations in this chapter.

“In the same way the church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs.” My pastor has used the acronym SOS, surrender, obey and submit to Christ. And this takes a process I know, bit by bit, through struggles and waves, I see the changes. Letting go of myself and my natural desires and the idols. This is a great chapter. And I ,too, like the quote about prayer, not ordering off a menu, but attempting to align my will with the will of Almighty God. Thanks, Dee, for an amazing study.

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    I like the SOS!

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3. Share your notes and comments.

 

Just when I thought I was understanding this chapter he switches to something that makes no sense!

 

I think what he (Lewis) is trying to say is that even though we think something is difficult, because it really is hard, it is actually easier than the way we are working to avoid the hard thing! It’s like I tell my daughter…you make it so hard on yourself by avoiding the “normal” route. If you would just do the right thing you would have so much less pain in your life.

It’s easier to study the first time properly than to cram for the test and forget down the road when you need to recall the info.

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4. How would Lewis answer the question: “Is Christianity hard or easy?” 
 

He he would say it’s both.

 
5. When you look at your own journey and your own heart, do you think the following statement of Lewis’ was/is true of you?
 

When I get through with my check off list for being a good person then I can get around to doing the things I want to do….hmmm.

 

I don’t think I always separated the two things. I do think later in life I knew in my heart that to be of Him meant I had to give myself and my desires up. I didn’t/don’t think that is a bad thing, just didn’t/don’t always know how to proceed. I might have compartmentalizations things though now that I think of it. Protected myself from some things while still living that sinful life in another box? Hard question.

 

He says that each day we have the “daily grind” to manage. It rushes in and we are full throttle ahead. Instead, we need to let Him take charge for us; every day. I have had a bit of that, especially when it comes to my job. I have learned to wait for His guidance. I am doing that this week. I know if I am patient He will come. I am not all ready for school to start. It is okay. My heart desires mostly to show the students His love (my face of Jesus) and He will give me the rest as the days go by. It is scary. But, I know it is what will happen because I have done it before and He steps in. Amazing! Thank You Lord Jesus!

 

6. What encouragement does Lewis give us as surrender begins to be a pattern in our lives?

 

It starts as “little moments” and spreads through us entirely. Joy comes in the morning!

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2. How have you grown from the last killer wave that hit you? (I realize you might not want to share details, or you may, but I’d like you to share how you’ve grown.)

It is hard to pick which one! :-/ The killer wave has been this discovery at how good I am at avoidance-clinging to the “bright side” and not embracing and grieving with Jesus the harder side of my son’s disability and so therefore I am impatient with him when he says and believes foolish things. A few weeks ago his counselor who specializes in Autism looked me in the eye and said, “he is really disabled”…”he is REALLY disabled and will need a lot of help transitioning. But this is when the knife got deeper, ” I am concerned about his view of reality, and how he is unable to embrace other people’s perspectives. This will affect him being able to work with his bosses and work with others.”  She said the best way to get him to re-think his false reality, is if he changes his thinking himself. So we must ask questions and show Grace-tons of Grace. So I have been asking him questions whenever he says something extreme or foolish instead of correcting him, and he is talking to me more than before, and he is opening up like she said he would. God has lavished so much patience-His Kindness-on me when I don’t deserve it..I have a foolish heart too and if there is any wisdom inside it is Him. So God is growing His patience and kindness in me through this valley.

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    Wow, Rebecca, that’s hard and huge. Thank goodness for good counselors who help us see! Sometimes life is so hard we cannot see and that hurts us. I remember when I told my grief counselor that I couldn’t give away Steve’s clothes and she said, “Dee, he isn’t coming back.” Of course I knew that, and yet I didn’t — I was in fierce denial that she helped me get past.

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      Dee, that was really hard but good advice..so relatable! Reminds me of how He “heals” us. When He made the blind man see.  I think His healing is more about healing our hearts and opening our eyes and good counselors are crucial in helping to clear the crud in the way. It is hard to have intimacy with Him and others and to grow when we have blinders on. I know that too well!

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    Rebecca, this is so hard and beautiful at the same time. I can understand trying to “look on the bright side”; sometimes it is self-protection and at times it just feels easier to deny reality. This counselor sounds very wise and I love how you took her at her word and are changing your approach. We have even talked on the blog about asking good questions to get the other person to open up rather than pushing them away.

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5.  For sure I can relate to wanting something of me to remain when all is said and done. I question why God made me if He finds nothing in me worth keeping. Yet I know that what I most want to hang onto is what He calls dross.

 

6.  The encouragement is that He spreads in us like stain as opposed to paint, and little by little we are being conformed to His image, which is Jesus.

 

Dee, a question. The house you were asked to give up- is it the house you have now?

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    No — Steve and were planning to build. Instead we ended up in Nebraska for most of our marriage, because, being a less beautiful state, it was an area of medical need, for doctors didn’t choose it.

    I inherited this house in Wisconsin from my parents — and it is beautiful, and I try hard to use it to bless others, though as I get older and weaker, it is more challenging — but so far, I still have been able to do it. I am so blessed by beauty and it quiets my soul and is ideal for writing. I’m trying to hold it loosely, but I admit that is a challenge!

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Praise God & THANK YOU for your prayers….my daughter got a good job offer today, in Boston where she lives. Now we can celebrate when I go to visit her this weekend!! :)   So grateful  :)

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    Wonderful news Jenny and thank You Lord for answered prayer!  May you have a sweet celebration weekend with your daughter.

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    Praising God with you!

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    Wow! Thanks for letting us know!

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    Wonderful news Jenny! Have fun celebrating with her!😊

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    Yay!

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4&5)  I disagree with Lewis here.  I think that Christianity is never easy.  He says it’s easy if you surrender all, but even that (surrendering all) is nearly impossible in our human state!  No, life is hard.  Christianity, in my opinion, is harder still.  We truly do have to take up our cross on a daily basis.  We have the pressure of those voices we hear inside our heads, constantly reminding us of our failures & inadequacy; we have the pressure from the world, reminding us that although we live in this world, we are not of this world, that the world is watching us to see if what we say matches what we do, how we act; we even feel “pressure from God”, reminding us that we are to ‘be holy’, ‘live holy’.   I say, from all directions, Christianity is very hard indeed.  And so Lewis is very spot-on in writing the next chapter, “Counting the Cost”.  Because it is a cost.

When those killer waves hit us in life, & we have Jesus to cry out to, to beg him for mercy & grace & peace…those are the times when I always wonder how non-believers get through the storms of life.  They don’t have Someone to take their burden, lift it off their shoulders, and carry it for them.

In just the past few weeks, a relative from TX went to the doctor & was told she has a month to live.  A very aggressive form of lung cancer.  She is home on hospice, & near the end of her life.  She is in a lot of pain & begging God to take her.  We sent money to one of her sons, a missionary in Kenya, so that he & his wife could get a flight back home immediately to be with her (his mom).  We heard from him today, & he is struggling with feelings of intense anger.  Not anger at God, but anger at hearing her cry out in pain, and that he is so helpless to do anything.  Oh Lord have mercy.  Life, & Christianity are not easy, ever, I think, because in our imperfection, we don’t have the ability to completely, fully surrender all to Jesus, much as we try.

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    Wendy — you make a good point — and shows the danger of generalizations. At times, surrender leads to rest, as it has for me with manipulation and over-eating. Other times, as in the case of sickness, it may not.

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    Wendy I am so sad to hear of your relative. I will pray for peace.

     

    I agree that Christianity is difficult.  Our former church has a sign up that says, “Faith doesn’t mean it’s easy, just possible.”

     

    I was thinking about being the youngest sibling of three children and my own children not being very “friendly” these days. My husband is 6 years older than me. I wondered if I would be alone when I am old and dying. If anyone would care about me? My one son says he would take me to Europe with him. I don’t really want to go there to die, but if he’s the only one who wants me I may not have a choice. He’s our world traveler. I seriously doubt any of the others would care 😔. So then I thought, “well, God loves me and that’s all that truly matters.” I suppose it will be me and Him at the end. Better start being more like Him…

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7.  Have I ever been asked to count the cost? I think we are repeatedly asked this. All along the way we are asked if we love Him more, if we are willing to sacrifice for Him, if we are satisfied with Him alone.

 

8.  Lewis says that on our own, our position is hopeless. But Jesus means to give us help. Not help to do what we want, but help to become perfect in His eyes. And He will not stop short. He will do whatever it takes in our lives. Yet He is happy with our feeble, wobbly efforts. Many years ago I complained to Him about how poorly I thought I was doing for how long I had known Him, and that I had to keep learning the same things time and again. His answer was that I am spiritually retarded. But because He understands that, He doesn’t fault me for not being ‘smarter’. He is pleased when I keep trying, even if it means learning the same thing over and over. That has been humbling, comforting and surprising for me, all at the same time.

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I’ve a prayer request here. My youngest, Annie, is very sick — combination of a viral infection and reaction to meds. I’m very concerned about her as she has chest pain, hives everywhere, trouble breathing. Appreciate prayer! Three young children and in a position of great responsibility at the hospital…

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    Oh Dee…so sorry to hear about Annie!  Praying for healing, for her family and you!  Thank you for sharing.

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      Thanks, Sharon!

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    Praying, Dee.   My husband had to go to ER earlier this summer after an allergic reaction to meds & it was horribly scary.  Please let us know how Annie’s doing when you’re able.

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Dee, just seeing this about Annie….any update? I’m so sorry and will pray.

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Praying for dear Annie! Oh Lord Jesus, cover her, heal & intervene for her! Let Your Peace fall upon all the family!  Keep us posted dear Dee.

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Praying for Annie..

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1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

 

That so many sisters on our blog have been pummeled with one giant wave after another, “I ask that they be spared, and He sends another killer wave!” This is something I’ve been thinking about for a couple of weeks since we read the chapter Time and Beyond Time, where Lewis said things like God is outside and above the time-line, and that days that are tomorrow for us are all visible to Him. Lewis wrote, “Although tomorrow is not yet there for you, it is for Him….He is already in tomorrow and can simply watch you.” So the idea that God  sends or plans things….I know we’ve discussed this in relation to suffering….does God “allow” or actually “plan” it. I know He is sovereign, but ever since I read this I’ve been wondering about it; is it just that God already sees our future and knows everything that will happen to us in advance? So what may happen to me next year, which I obviously know nothing about, He knows what lies ahead because He is, in a way, already there? That seems different to me than God planning something out for me, whether good or bad.

I caught the picture of Neuschwanstein castle….I’ve been there and seen it and it’s quite amazing!

 

2. How have you grown from the last killer wave that hit you?

 

I would say that the only two ‘killer waves’ that have hit me in my lifetime are first, the death of my nephew back in 2009, and then my mom’s death last November. He was 21, mom was 90. His death was definitely a tragedy and I was engulfed by it. I made it through and grew by being here for Dee’s first study through The God of All Comfort. Somehow, I felt an inner peace during the few days that my mom lay dying. My husband remarked that he didn’t think I’d do as well as I have. Yet, I’ve had my bad days, too. Last weekend was one of those times; I felt very depressed and sad. Maybe because it was my first birthday without my mom. I guess the growth may be that I am seeing the truth that I cannot depend upon anyone but God; people we love disappoint us, fail to come through for us, and yes, they die and leave us. I try to be thankful in the midst of it and I thank God that I had my mom for 90 years, that her Alzheimer’s never got to the place where she didn’t know us, that she didn’t have to go into a memory unit but was able to live in her home.

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    How good to find things, even in your loss, that you are thankful for. And fun you saw that castle!

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7.  I’ve been asked to count the class.  I guess it’s like paying the price?

 

I guess we pay a price to be Christians? Certainly nothing like Stephen who was stoned, or John who was beheaded. Certainly people in other countries are more persecuted than we are here in America. I have been told we Christians are “nerdy.” And just today I read in a news bulletin that the Christian and Christianity in general is at an all time decline.  Sometimes I feel like other groups have more rights of Christians too, even though Christians are a high percentage of citizens in America. But then up is down and down is up these days.  I just heard about this case in New Mexico where children were endangered, even one found buried dead, and the judge dismissed the charges.  She claimed a technicality! Not acceptable! Supposedly this group (another religion) was teaching children how to go out and perform school shootings. They were taking them at a very young age and training them this hatred.  Sounds like something that would happen another country… Not America! How could a judge allow adults to be let go when there is evidence of child abuse???  Why should I care about keeping kids safe in school then?

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    I often think about John’s statement that we shouldn’t be surprised if the world hates us, since it hated Him. I know Keller says Christians have more joy and more pain. I think that is true.

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3. Share your notes and comments (Book 4, Chapter 8)

 

I like Lewis’ thoughts on man’s attempts to be good apart from God: he says that we will either give up trying to be good, or try to live for others but be grumbling martyrs in the process – “far greater pests to anyone who has to live with you than you would have been if you had remained frankly selfish.” Ouch! I’ve played the part of the ‘grumbling martyr’ – it’s the idol of approval/affirmation and wanting others to notice how hard I’m working and how much I’m sacrificing for them!

 

This also stood out: “But we are hoping all the time that when all the demands have been met, the poor natural self will still have some chance, and some time, to get on with its own life and do what it likes.” I’ve been listening to a series by Chip Ingram, in which he said almost the same thing: Chip was talking about “making room for God”, and how even as believers, we can say, “I want to be a good Christian, I want to go to heaven, I want to be deeply loved, I want God to bless my life, AND….my way, my stuff, my thought, my goals, my idols, my work, my family, my picture….”  And when I listened to this, do you ever feel something inside of you stirring (and not a good thing, but it’s the natural, sinful self) saying “yes”….and I had to admit it, I have those thoughts and feelings.

Chip went on to say that idols can be your children or grandchildren, success, your body, money, the letters behind your name or your kid’s name, the school your kids get into or their SAT scores. If we look at where our time, energy, focus, and what really matters – that will tell us what we really worship. But God says that all these things are dead, they don’t give life.

 

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4. How would Lewis answer the question: “Is Christianity hard or easy?”

 

I think he says it is BOTH hard and easy. Jesus tell us that He wants all of us: I want YOU. He wants to kill the natural self He doesn’t want to cut off a branch here and there, he wants to take down the whole tree. He wants to give us a new self and in turn, He give us Himself and “My own will shall become yours.” This is harder, yet easier than what we try to do; trying to be good on our own. I think the hard part is giving it all to Him, and the easier part happens when we let Him be fully in control. It’s hard because of us wanting to hold onto some of our wants, desires, and idols. We want Jesus plus our stuff. Lewis explains it this way: “For what we are trying to do is to remain what we call ‘ourselves’, to keep personal happiness as our great aim in life, and yet at the same time be ‘good’. We are all trying to let our mind and heart go their own way – centered on money or pleasure or ambition – and hoping, in spite of this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly.”

When you look at it matter-of-factly, you can see that Jesus’ way is much easier. What we want is compromise, and that is much harder.

I guess my question would be this: If we/I feel that the Christian life is so very hard, it must mean that I am still wanting Jesus plus….I still want my own goals, agenda, happiness?

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    Susan, this is it exactly!  “If we/I feel that the Christian life is so very hard, it must mean that I am still wanting Jesus plus….I still want my own goals, agenda, happiness?” I am sure this is what Lewis is saying! I am sitting here playing on the computer and feeling tired and a bit sorry for myself. I want Jesus PLUS my own goals/happiness. I want life to be easy and pout (or worse) when it isn’t and when I can’t understand the hard things!

    How do we learn to want only Jesus? I think it is a moment by moment thing — to be waking up again and again to how I am, at this moment, choosing my agenda instead of Jesus! Otherwise, I constantly want things my way!

    I find your answers to questions so insightful, Susan. I always read your answers carefully, though I am not commenting because I so appreciate your insights! Thank you for persisting here!

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5. When you look at your own journey and your own heart, do you think the following statement of Lewis’ was/is true of you?

 

I do see that in my own heart, and I like what Mary said in her post, that what I want to hang onto the most, God says is dross. This is a question that bothers me a lot. Perhaps if I was a missionary in another country I wouldn’t question if I was living my life for God. But living my ‘ordinary’ life of going to work, working at home and taking care of things here, getting together at times with friends and family….how do I know if this is all just my agenda and what I want to do, or if I am living for God at all? I don’t have to work full time, and my husband often says to me, “You get to do what you want to do”, and it makes me feel guilty. If I have the time, I can go to the park on my day off and go for a walk and enjoy the outdoors. Is that selfish, or should I be volunteering my time somewhere? Is it selfish to go get your nails done, or should that money be given to the church or another Christian organization? Sometimes I think that people like Mother Theresa are the ones who have truly given their whole selves to God.

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6. What encouragement does Lewis give us as surrender begins to be a pattern in our lives?

 

At first, we may have success in only mere moments of surrender to God. But from those moments, the new life that He puts in us will spread through us because we are letting Him work in the right part of us. Lewis says it is the difference of paint, which only covers the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks through. I think this is a good way to describe the Holy Spirit’s work in producing the fruit of the Spirit in us. We can try to artificially paint on some good fruit by our own efforts, but the ones brought about by Him go much deeper and are more lasting.

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Thanks for prayers for Annie. She is still very sick but the severe chest pain is gone and we are thankful for that. I appreciate your love.

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    Dee, I just said a prayer for Annie….was noticing your absence here and wondering if you were with her!

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      No — have thought of flying to her but last night she told me she thought she might be taking a turn. So appreciate prayers.

      In the midst if editting “The Jesus Who Surprises”

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7. Before Christ, or during your journey, were you ever asked to count the cost? What thoughts do you have on this?

 

I don’t remember anyone saying to me, before I was a Christian, to “count the cost” of becoming one. I don’t think I started to understand that for a while. When Jesus said for us to take up our cross and follow Him, it makes me think of how He carried His cross to the place where He was put to death. He was carrying much more than a wooden cross because He was also carrying our sins and the guilt and shame too. Does Him asking us to carry our cross and to follow Him mean for us to follow Him to a place where we die to ourselves? Dying to self wasn’t something I thought about when I became a Christian because no one ever told me that. It’s a daily choice I have to make. I like what Lewis said on pages 110-111 that one little part of what Jesus meant by saying that a thing will not really live until it first dies is like letting go of the thrills in life and settling down to a quieter and more lasting kind of interest.

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    Susan — I always remember Kathy Troccoli saying “With every death there is a resurrection” meaning dying to ourselves daily.

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9.  The point of the toothache illustration is that God is never content to relieve us of our immediate, perceived pain. He wants to make it permanently right. I think that is why so many times God’s dealings with me don’t make sense, and sure don’t follow what I have asked for or expected. He wants to get at some root deep within me. I may not even be aware of it, and yet ferociously protect it from His grasp. I want so much to understand so that I can cooperate with Him. Maybe that is a self deception, and underneath I just want to hold on to my sinfulness.

 

10.  Whether it is heart idols or facing suffering, what God is asking of us is to worship Him only. And He will do whatever it takes for that to be true of us. He will work at destroying our idols. He will show them for the false things they are. The closer we have tied ourselves to it, the more it will hurt. When we face suffering, again, it is to refine us and purify us, and get rid of whatever doesn’t fit in our new place.

Anyone who has moved has found that some of the things you keep turn out to not have a spot in the new house. Maybe in our pain, God is telling us that the very thing we are grasping is something we don’t need in our new life. I also think that like Abraham, He can ask us to lay something before Him in sacrifice primarily to find out (or for us to find out) if we are truly willing for Him to be God in our lives. And like with Abraham, He can give us back what we gave up for Him. But this time we hold it not as an idol, but as a gift from Him. This is why I asked Dee about her house. She gave up one, yet God gave her a different one.

As I write, I think of Job. Sometimes we suffer not so much for ourselves, but to show God to others. I think this is the hardest. Like what Laura is going through.

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    Mary B., this is such a good point and I perceive it is true for me. I am so blind to my deepest sins. “The point of the toothache illustration is that God is never content to relieve us of our immediate, perceived pain. He wants to make it permanently right. I think that is why so many times God’s dealings with me don’t make sense, and sure don’t follow what I have asked for or expected. He wants to get at some root deep within me. I may not even be aware of it, and yet ferociously protect it from His grasp.”

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11. The fourth paragraph in this chapter gave me some pause — I agree with most of it, but there were phrases that caused me to ponder if Lewis was right. Read it, and see if there is anything in it that causes you to pause as well. (I will tell you — but don’t look ahead!) It is the paragraph that begins with “This is why He warned people to ‘count the cost’…” Read it slowly and see if anything jars you. If so, what and why?

“…whatever inconceivable purification it may cost you after death…” I have to say,  listening to the book twice on audio I didn’t catch that sentence, which is why reading is better for me than listening.  We can derive from this that Lewis believed in purgatory. I find that to be contrary to the bible’s assurance that Jesus paid it ALL. If there was any amount of punishment or purification that I needed to go through then  I would have earned my salvation in some small way because of my suffering. If the blood of Jesus washes us white as snow and cleanses us from all our iniquity then there is no more payment due.

 

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    Susan — I always remember Kathy Troccoli saying “With every death there is a resurrection” meaning dying to ourselves daily.

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Dawn — I agree with you on purgatory. I’m trying to think if there could be any other way to interpret that sentence from Lewis.I supposed it could be loss of reward but doesn’t sound like that. Eager to get others thoughts!

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Thank you for praying for Annie. She has turned a corner — still sick, but better, so we quite sure it was an allergic reaction as the meds get out of her system. Her husband set her up with a blog — but she only has one entry — but I love it — did it yesterday after her turn:

https://findingareason.com/

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    thanks for sharing this, Dee. I was awake in the night thinking about her, so very grateful to God that it is improving.

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      Thanks, Mary!

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11.  I, too, hit on the same phrase. I’ve always believed that my time on earth after coming to Jesus was twofold. One, to tell others about Him, and two, to give me opportunities to grow in Him. That once this body died, those opportunities cease. Yes, I will be perfect, but not as mature if I don’t grow. My crowns and rewards can only be earned now.

 

12.  It is a stretch to understand how perfection comes in, as we are never perfect this side of the grave. Maybe it lies in our definition of perfect. We look at a baby and say they are perfect as they are. But if they were thirty years old and still acting like a baby, we would say that they are damaged, not perfect. So maybe at death when God takes away our sin nature, He says we are perfect for the age that we are spiritually. That could be newborn, toddler, adolescent, or spiritually mature.

 

13.  Other than having always rejected the idea of purgatory, I’ve never researched it in scripture.

 

14.  If we let Him…I think this can be read as ..if we cooperate with Him. There is a difference in the people who merely get in the door of Christianity and are content to never let God do anything with them, and those like Jabez in the Old Testament who beg for God to make of them something more. I want to be a Jabez.

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8. Read or listen to Chapter 9 and share and share your notes and comments.

 

This is an interesting chapter. Lewis writes that Jesus means business – His goal is to make us perfect. I find this reassuring, “On the one hand, God’s demand for perfection need not discourage you in the least in your present attempts to be good, or even in your present failures. Each time you fall He will pick you up again.” Lewis writes that He is going to guide us to “absolute perfection”….it’s not clear from this one paragraph on page 103, but I just can’t see how that is possible in this life. I can’t be “perfect” for 24 hours, probably much less than that. I may be able to act outwardly “perfect”, but what goes on in my thoughts….

 

9. What point was Lewis making with his toothache illustration?

 

Lewis wrote that when he was a child, he didn’t want to tell his mother that he had a toothache because he knew that she would take him to the dentist. He wanted the immediate relief from the pain from the aspirin she would give him, but not the permanent fix the dentist would give him. The dentist would look at all the teeth. Likewise, Lewis says that God is like the dentist. We may want to be cured of one particular sin, but we don’t want God getting into other bad habits or sins. Once you call in His help, you will get the “full treatment”.

 

10. How might this relate to our heart idols? To face suffering?

 

I think we have to be careful with our idols because they are very sneaky. I may think I am giving up one idol, with God’s help, and I end up replacing it with another. I remember a Tim Keller sermon where he talked about a woman who had made an idol out of men/wanting a relationship so that she even took up with abusive men. Once she focused on Christ and gave that up, her counselor suggested going back to school for more education or an exciting career, but the woman recognized that she’d be replacing one idol with another. Not that work, career, or furthering one’s education is bad, but if we make that our meaning/purpose in life, then it’s an idol. The woman wanted her focus to remain on God.

I guess with suffering, we may ask God for help to remove our idols, sin, bad habits, and He may choose to bring us some suffering in order to do that, and then we feel we got more than we bargained for. I know that I prefer the easy way, not the hard way.

 

11. The fourth paragraph in this chapter gave me some pause – Read is slowly and see if anything jars you. If so, why?

 

Okay….I read others’ posts, so I know what the jarring phrase is: “….whatever inconceivable purification it may cost you after death….

These are my thoughts. I do not think this statement proves that Lewis believed in purgatory. I have wondered myself just how I am ever going to be made perfect by God. Everyone says that after we die and go to heaven, we won’t have any of our sinful selves left. I can’t even imagine it: no jealousy, resentment, bad temper, desire to gossip, unforgiving spirit, critical thoughts. Suddenly I will be 100% good and perfect. So, how is my sinful nature removed from me? Perhaps that is the “inconceivable purification” that happens after death? Will I be aware of it happening, will it be painful- physically or emotionally?

 

I remember having a conversation with a Catholic woman many years ago about purgatory. Here were her thoughts, which made sense to me then. She said something like when we die and stand before the Lord face-to-face, and our whole life and its events flashes before us (the good, the bad, and the ugly), it may very well be a very, very painful thing to stand before Him and in the face of such goodness and love, see the bad things we have done. It may very well be like a “burning fire” that purges those things from us….maybe it will hurt? She didn’t see purgatory as a place where we spend so much time being purified, but this one instance of standing before Jesus and the painful reality of our sin before Him.

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    Your last paragraph is very interesting Susan! I do not know if that is Catholic theology or just her take. Does anyone know? I know that purgatory is found in the Apocropha – the books in the Catholic Bible that are of questionable authority, but I don’t know what it teaches.

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      yes Susan, interesting about purgatory. I’ll ask my Catholic raised husband.

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    Susan, I also sooo appreciate your thoughts & comments, always.   I’ve been thinking about this purgatory thing for several days now.    Can anyone here explain what purgatory IS exactly??  Your post is really good, thanx.

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12. What are your thoughts on the above and why?

 

I think I answered this in #11. This is the question – will we still need to go through some kind of suffering after death? That suffering would be related to the process of being made finally perfect. I know that the Bible says that He has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west, yet I’ve been taught in church that we will be held accountable for our sins, so that must mean that they will be brought up? I was in a study once where it was emphasized about our being held accountable for “every careless word spoken.” That alone is enough. Won’t I feel very ashamed before Him when my life review is being done?

 

13. What Scriptural case can you make for or against purgatory?

 

I don’t find the word purgatory anywhere in Scripture. There is a passage in Corinthians, I think, in which Paul wrote something about how some will be saved, but only as those escaping the fire….kind of like their clothes will be a little bit smoky as they’re on their way to heaven…. I’m not quite sure what that all means. I don’t find anything that supports our being held in a place until we are purified of sin. But I still wonder, how long does the process take? Paul wrote that when we are absent from the body, we will be present with the Lord. Jesus said, “It is finished.” I guess we will have to wait to find out.

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8. Read or listen to chapter 9 and share your notes and comments.

 

I’ve been pondering how just because we are Christians doesn’t mean we are immune from pain. I was listening to Nancy Demoss Woglemuth this week talking about getting older. She said our lives may continue to have tough times. There is hope….she was focusing on Psalm 71. There is much written, but this phrase stuck out to me, “…forsake me not when my strength is spent.” I’ve been memorizing Psalm 63. In it there is a similar sentiment. Now we come to Lewis who is suggesting that we will go through pain if we really submit to God’s will for our lives. I’m not sure I am there yet; had another blow this past week. I think it might be easier to be an atheist.

 

One small flicker of light was in my work; started the new school year and the week went okay. No major issues so far, my students seem very nice, and although my colleagues have had some spats, we basically are rolling along smoothly. Being back to work is cathartic for me. Home is so stressful. My only prayer is that we somehow find a Friday baby sitter 😔. The one we had is recovering from a long hospital stay and had more surgery coming up in the near future.

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    Good to hear about a good school start — and prayers for that sitter!

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      Thanks Dee.

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9. What point was Lewis making with his toothache illustration? 
 

We get more than we bargained for if we allow God to work in us. We just want Him to fix one thing and he ends up taking  us down.

10. How might this relate to our heart idols? To facing suffering?
 

We may not really want God to take away our idols in our heart. On the surface we may think we want this, but underneath we don’t.

 

Who wants to suffer? I’m tired of suffering…but, Lewis says that suffering means that God is taking us to a higher level. I guess 😩?

 

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12.  What are your thoughts on the above and why? 
 

I was disturbed by the phrase about after death. I was not too concerned about the “…if we let him.” Some people don’t want anything to do with God. That’s what I think he means with the second phrase.

 

However, I don’t know what he means when he says, “The job will not be completed in this life; but He means to get us as far as possible before death.” What does he mean that it won’t be completed in this life? I thought we were done when we die?

 
13. What scriptural case can you make for or against purgatory?
 

I’m not Catholic so I don’t know a lot about the belief of Purgatory. I remember my mom saying it was some sort of level between earth and heaven. You “live” there in limbo for some reason? I don’t remember anything that references us in this state in the Bible, but I’m not an authority on this at all.

 

14. What thoughts do you have on the above and why? 

 

I’m not sure I will ever make the “perfection” that Lewis describes. I  believe that  I am human, I will try my best to do well in this life, however I don’t think I can always keep up the hard work of behaving as Christ did.

 

I think if you’re a Christian then you automatically “let” Him work on you. If you’re not a Christian then you don’t.

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I wasn’t bothered by the “if we let him for we can prevent him if we choose” because we have freewill. Freewill  by definitiion means that we have to be able to accept or not accept.

I do believe that according to John 15:16  which says ” You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” and John 6:44 which says, ” No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” That God knows who will respond and that is why it says that we couldn’t have done it except through God’s power both to be able to accept and to even want to accept salvation in the first place.

But since all will be without excuse when the time for judgement comes there has to have been a real clear choice in the matter otherwise we would have an excuse and that excuse would be that God never called us.

To me it is one of those things that will remain a mystery, we can’t see it clearly now, but when we see Him it will all be crystal clear.

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11&12)  This thing about purgatory is bothering me.  I’d just like to know more.  Like others have said here, I’ve always believed that once we die & our souls are immediately with Christ in heaven, I thought that “was it”–no more work on anything from the human standpoint.  That we then are made whole & perfect in Jesus.  To my knowledge, the Bible does not speak of anything otherwise.  I sure wish we had another week to try to sort this out a bit more, try to unravel this big mystery a little more.  But Dawn, what you said is true–maybe it just boils down to “we can’t see it clearly now, but when we see Him it will all be crystal clear.”

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I have not participated much this week but the thought about purgatory bothered me, too. I know from my Catholic friends in the Philippines, they say, it is a place for a second chance for everybody. I don’t believe that is so because it is not biblical. To be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord. What Susan shared above seems like a plausible explanation but contradicts “there will be no more tears, pain and no more death” when we get to Heaven. I Corinthians 13 says “now we see through a glass but then we shall see clearly” so I do agree with Dawn’s ““we can’t see it clearly now, but when we see Him it will all be crystal clear.” 

I got to thinking to like between Jesus burial and his resurrection, there was time that He just was. So where did He go? Why did He wait to rise on the first day of the week? Why not just a few hours after they wrapped him up in spices? Did He go to a purgatory like place to fight the spirits that were still claiming His rightful throne until the resurrection? I don’t think so.

I know this is the place to dialogue and am glad for the openness and hospitality we offer one another. I do like what somebody said and couldn’t think of the person’s name-“We are responsible for the revealed will of God. The rest we have to leave to Him in trust and confidence that He is God and no other. ” something along this line.

 

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    Wow, Bing, it’s like you’re right inside my head!  All those verses you mentioned are zinging around in my brain!  “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord”, “…no more tears, no more death or sorrow…”, “now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face…”   And I sometimes think / wonder about Jesus waiting to rise also!  Oh so many questions.  Someday we will have all the answers!

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