Experience His Presence More Than You Have

If I were to name a common denominator, a desire that the women here all have, it is to experience His presence. This last week I’ve been mediating on a pattern I see in Scripture, so I’m hoping together we can follow this pattern and see if we indeed do experience His presence on a steadier basis than we might have before. I’m not talking about the mountain-top experiences, but the steady stream of peace His Spirt can give: peace like a river. Sunday: The Pattern A few of you will look at this before you go to church, and can try this in church. So first, let us see the pattern. Find it for yourself by looking up just a few of the many times this pattern occurs. 1. What repeated refrain do you see in these passages? A. […]

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WAITING ON THE LORD!

I’m taking a break to wait on the Lord as to what He would have me do next with this blog. But in the meantime, I’d love to continue the fellowship here by suggesting that each day you come on and share: 1: One way God ministered to you through His Word 2. One blessing from yesterday for which you are thankful. Remember George Mueller’s exhortation that “the foremost duty of a Christian at the start of each day is to get his soul happy in the Lord! Also, if you have prayer requests or answers to prayer, put them in italics. I’d love your prayers for me to hear from the Lord about this blog. I so often have run ahead of Him, so I’m trying to slow down [thus this shot of me in a hammock — I couldn’t […]

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FINISHING MERE CHRISTIANITY! WE DID IT!

WE DID IT! WITH THIS LAST WEEK OF SUMMER, WE WILL HAVE COMPLETED MERE CHRISTIANITY. IT MAKES ME WANT TO SING THIS, FROM MY FAIR LADY: You did it! You did it! You said that you would do it, And indeed you did. I thought that you would rue it; I doubted you’d do it. But now I must admit it That succeed you did. You should get a medal Or be even made a knight.  WE SHOULD HAVE A FEELING OF ACCOMPLISHMENT!    I want to celebrate this group, who has persevered through what I realize is a very challenging book. I was stirred by your opening testimonies of why you wanted to join in. Chris told of how Mere Christianity impacted her husband, and how he listened to it again through audio as he and his unbelieving sons worked on cars. I […]

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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 […]

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Let’s Pretend (Earthly stories that illumine truth)

One evening at Oxford, before C. S. Lewis was converted to Christianity, he had a famous conversation with J. R. R. Tolkein in which Lewis lamented that though he had always loved the myths, that they were “lies, though breathed through silver.” Tolkien told him they were not lies at all, for every story that touches the heart does so because it taps into the true story of Christ, and “steers us, however shakily, to the true harbor.” Indeed, in his chapter called “Let’s Pretend” Lewis uses two “myths.” The first is Beauty and The Beast, showing the power of love to transform a beast into a man.   To see a re-enactment of this life-changing love, here’s a clip from Beauty and the Beast.   Then, here is the life-changing conversation re-enacted between two actors who play Lewis and […]

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How To Change (Mere Christianity)

Theology, or doctrine, matters. It influences our thinking, and our thinking shapes how we live. Let me illustrate. Living close to my daughter Sally the last five years has given me the opportunity to teach Sadie, their firstborn, the first twenty five answers to the questions in the Reformed Catechism for Young Children. (Available online) Sadie lights up with pleasure in being able to answer these questions so perfectly. The third question asks: Why did God make you and all things? Sadie answers: For His own glory. Now I know that much of this she will only understand later, but I see it seeping into her thinking, and that gives me joy. We were reading a book about what we can learn from dogs, for Sadie plays with toys dogs and her own real dog (who must endure much dressing up) […]

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Sensing Beauty in the World Will Never Save Us (The Necessity of Theology)

Oh, I do believe this final section will be my favorite. Though warned against it, Lewis closes with theology. Why? Though it is true, Lewis says, that we may sense God in beauty, and the world prefers that to theology for it is less work, still, he admonishes: You will never get eternal life by simply feeling the presence of God in flowers or music. Don’t misunderstand — I loved it when Julie Andrews sang “The hills are alive with the sound of music…” Indeed — they are. Creation cries out with the glory of God, But if we do not have the Word as well, we will be misguided. Even in this beautiful movie there was some very bad theology. See if you can spot it in this song:   These are going to be valuable weeks, and we are right on […]

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If nothing on this earth can satisfy…Lewis on Hope and Faith

I wait all year for Door County summers: for the beauty and the warmth, for the joy of children and grandchildren coming     and for times on the back porch, talking with friends about things that matter, while the waves lap against the shore. And yet, as blessed as I am, and I know I am, none of these things truly satisfy. This is why: Some of my favorite quotes are in these short but pithy closing chapters of Book 3 of Mere Christianity: words that penetrate my heart and help me live in a world, though echoing of Eden, is still, as Lewis says, “enemy territory.” We’ve had so much joy, but each day is always also dampened by disappointment: sickness, bee stings, jealousy and fighting among the children, 3 trips to Urgent Care in July alone, continual noise […]

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The Great Sin: Mere Christianity

This is the chapter that may shake your world. I’m reading an old tattered copy that has notes and underlinings from my then teenage daughter, Sally. This chapter is particularly full of underlinings, confessions, and determined prayers. Her own testimony is that during all of her childhood she thought Christ chose her because she was such a good girl, but then God opened her eyes to the great sin. This is the chapter that brought Charles Colson to repentance. This is the chapter that led Tom Monaghan, devout Catholic and founder Domino’s Pizza, to stop building his mansion. Tim Keller says his two main mentors have been Jonathan Edwards and C. S. Lewis — and I hear Lewis’s thinking so often in Keller, and will share one such sermon that I believe may have been inspired by this chapter in […]

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C. S. Lewis on Marriage and Forgiveness:

So much has been written on marriage and forgiveness, but Lewis has some fresh ideas, and I’m looking forward to edifying discussions! When he gave his radio address on marriage he thought it might be his most unpopular address, but then he changed his mind when he spoke on forgiveness, saying, this would be the most unpopular subject. Remember, he was speaking to an audience who were experiencing terrible atrocities from the Nazis. Lewis said: Forgiveness is hard, for it means letting someone off the hook who does not deserve to be let off the hook! As Lewis said: I’d like to tell you a story Billy told at my church, The Orchard, recently. Billy was baptized in the lake outside my house two summers ago, after “everything in his head fell to his heart” while mowing the lawn. Billy and […]

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C. S. Lewis and Sexuality

Lewis continues foundational arguments on Christian behavior, and then begins with specific categories, the first being sexuality. It is remarkable how contemporary he is, and yet that should only give us confidence in the principles he has found in God’s Word. Jesus, who is the Word, is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Man nor culture can change God’s standard for sexuality. Because God’s plan for sexuality is true, only harm, monstrous harm, can come from flaunting His boundaries. Remembering that these were radio addresses originally, Lewis does repeat himself, for the benefit of listeners who have just tuned in, and because, as he says: “People need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed.” He reminds us that morality, including sexual morality, is not a matter of personal preference, but a design of our Creator. Yet man wants to be sovereign […]

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Christian Behavior (Beginning Book 3 of Mere Christianity)

Congratulations to all who have made it this far! Now, in July, we will cover Book 3 of Mere Christianity: CHRISTIAN BEHAVIOR Lewis begins with some foundational principles, showing how the following world’s standard of morality: is radically different than Christianity’s standard of behavior. The truth is, even if we are in the privacy of our own bedroom, what we do does affect others, for as John Donne put it: Lewis says: “Moral rules are instructions for running a machine.” When we break the moral rule, even in the privacy of our own home, whether it is too much food, too much television, or too much ruminating over wrongs done to us, we hurt our machine, which is part of the big machine of society. Or, as Jesus puts it, “a little yeast can ruin the whole dough.” Lewis also dismantles […]

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The Shocking Jesus (Finishing Book II of Mere Christianity)

I was twenty-one, a wife, and a new mother. My newly converted sister came to Indianapolis, followed me around with a Bible, and asked me question after question about Jesus: Who do you think He is? Why do you think He came? Did you know He wants your whole life? It was the longest weekend of my life. I was so eager for her to leave and go back to Iowa. But when I awoke on Sunday, and drew back the curtain, I saw that we’d been hit with a freak October blizzard. I couldn’t even see her car under the snow. I was snowbound with a fanatic: my trouble as deep as the drifts outside our window. But Sally saw it as God’s opportunity and continued on for three more days. It was God’s timing. And when Sally finally left, […]

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What Christians Believe (Mere Christianity)

We Begin Book II of Mere Christianity, and you’ll be heartened to know it is easier! Congratulations to you who made it through Book I, which is, in my opinion, the hardest of the four books. Now that it is easier, we will be covering 2 or 3 short chapters a week, covering Book II in our two remaining weeks in June. Truly, this is a perfect time to invite friends to join us — they won’t be behind, for Lewis continually summarizes where he has been, for these were originally radio broadcasts, and his audience kept growing. In Book I, Lewis logically explained, without referring to Scripture, the evidence that there must be a “moral law-giver,” and he summarizes his reasoning in the first chapter of “Book II.” Book II now moves to actual Christianity.   You’ll start recognizing famous quotes, […]

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We Have Cause To Be Uneasy (Ch. 5 of Mere Christianity)

We come to the close of Part I, or Book 1 of Mere Christianity. Lewis has established that outside of anything you learn from “the Bible or churches,” we know intrinsically that there is a moral law, so therefore, there must be a moral lawgiver. That also means, as Lewis says, “We have cause to be uneasy.” Why? Because we know there is a moral law, and yet, we cannot keep it. The world does seem to recognize the importance of love. Do you remember the movie, Alfie? Burt Bacharach’s song was haunting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIO3eDdfHcs   Likewise many of you may have watched parts of Prince Harry’s Royal Wedding. Let me say there was much that was beautiful — and a “Royal Wedding” is such a picture of Psalm 45, and the wedding in the Song, and Bishop Curry did point […]

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