Tag Archives: C. S. Lewis

I pray because…

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2014. All rights reserved.

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Filed under CS Lewis, Prayer, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation

Enough Already God

A piece of art, in any form, is crafted and put on display to reflect the artist’s creativity and skill; to reflect a virtue or beauty envisioned by the artist. According to the Apostle Paul, we are God’s piece of art.

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For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. ~ Ephesians 2:10

The word for “workmanship” in the Greek is poiema and can be translated: achievement, work of art, masterpiece. The more passionate an artist is about a particular piece of art the more they will labor to reshape it and mold it giving it their utmost attention.

C.S. Lewis put it this way…

We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. Here again we come up against what I have called the “intolerable compliment.” Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be. But over the great picture of his life — the work which he loves, though in a different fashion, as intensely as a man loves a woman or a mother a child — he will take endless trouble — and would doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient [alive and conscious of its feelings]. One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and re-commenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only a thumb-nail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.
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 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Most of the time I really do want to be shaped and molded according to God’s intended design. I know that sin has marred and twisted not only my true identity in Christ but also my capacity to reflect the glory of God. But when that process gets uncomfortable or downright painful my heart cries, “Enough already God!”

But God’s love for us will not allow Him to stop working to reshape us into the person He made us to be. And to balk at His work in us is to want less of His love.

Grant us grace God that we might give ourselves wholeheartedly to the work of the Holy Spirit as He transforms us into your poiema!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

 

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Filed under Christianity, CS Lewis, Discipleship, Glory of God, God, Holy Spirit, Love of God, Morphing, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Surrender

Quote: A kind of dance

“In Christianity God is not a static thing … but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance.”
~ C.S. Lewis

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, CS Lewis, Dance, God, Quote, Religion and Spirituality

Like little children…

“When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. ~ Matthew 18:2-4

Sometimes in our attempt to be “very grown up” we lose some important childlike qualities such as the humility to be willing to ask for help. Our pride or fear of looking foolish gets in the way.

  • Having trouble with the car or an appliance or a house project… you learn to ask for help
  • Having trouble with a school or work project… you learn to ask for help
  • Having trouble understanding your wife or girlfriend or women in general… you learn that there are some things in life that no one can help you with… (just keeping it real!)

Well… you get the idea.

The Holy Spirit dwells in us to lead us in living a life that delights in God and reflects His glory. But we’re learning a whole new way to live – one that revolves around God rather than us.

Because it’s a new way to live and because we tend to gravitate back to old patterns, we need help navigating unchartered territory. While the Holy Spirit is more than willing to help, we must be willing to ask for it when we need it.

 So, what do you need help with?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

 

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Filed under Children, Christianity, CS Lewis, Glory of God, Holy Spirit, Humility, Religion and Spirituality

Laughter… the obvious response

Certain experiences affect the way we look at life.

Men and women who come home from the battlefield often see things differently.

Those who have survived a serious heart attack or stroke have a changed point of view.

But no one had a more radical turn of events or adjustment to his perspective than Lazarus! One moment he’s dead, the next (three days later) he’s stumbling out of a tomb!

Lazarus knew that this earthly life isn’t what we were made for.  And I think he must have laughed.  Because in the experience of dying and being resurrected, Lazarus must have discovered there was so much more to living than what he had known.  To his reborn eyes, the life he’d been attached to, the one that had seemed so fraught with difficulty, must have looked like child’s play.

From his brief glimpse of eternity, Lazarus could surely discern the counterfeit from the genuine.  The cardboard facsimiles we work so hard to build.  The papier-mâché dreams that occupy our hearts and minds.  The silly games we play.  The inconsequential things we inflate until they seem monumental.

The resurrected Lazarus surely saw life differently because he knew there was more to come.  If we could only grasp that, Lazarus wouldn’t be the only one laughing.
~ Excerpted from Lazarus Awakening by Joanna Weaver

I love the notion that Lazarus laughed more after coming back from a pit stop of pushing up daisies. A peek into eternity must have made the stuff of this life pale in comparison.

In The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis describes a busload of people from hell visiting the grassy meadows outside the gates of heaven. Among other things, these visitors come to realize that they are mere shadows compared to those they encounter.

Ever see something out of the corner of your eye and turn only to discover it was a shadow or reflection; nothing real. I wonder if that’s what all of life was like for Lazarus after his return?

If we truly came to see all the stuff of this world as temporary, would it change the way we view life? Would we laugh more?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Laughter, Life in General, Morphing, Wonder

Two kinds of gratitude… one brings real peace!

A few years ago, university psychologists conducted a research project on gratitude and thanksgiving. They divided participants into three groups. People in the first group practiced daily exercises like writing in a gratitude journal. They reported higher levels of alertness, determination, optimism, energy, and less depression and stress than the control group. Not surprisingly, they were also a lot happier than the participants who were told to keep an account of all the bad things that happened each day.

The benefits of gratitude are enormous and obvious; but we need to understand that there are two kinds of gratitude. American preacher and theologian Jonathan Edwards identified them as Natural Gratitude and Gracious Gratitude.

Natural Gratitude, as its name implies, flows out of us effortlessly when good things happen to us. It could be something big like receiving an inheritance or as small as someone letting you go ahead of them in the checkout lane. But there’s nothing very hard or difficult about it.

Gracious Gratitude can be more challenging because it’s the gratitude we express for God and His goodness even when we are surrounded by difficult circumstances. It’s rejoicing in God’s character and love for us when the health report is negative, the bills outweigh the checkbook or a family member dies unexpectedly.

This gracious gratitude for who God is also goes to the heart of who we are in Christ. It is relational, rather than conditional. Even though our world may shatter, we are secure in Him. The source of our joy, the love of the God who made us and saved us, cannot be hindered by any power that exists (Romans 8:28-39). People who are filled with such radical gratitude are unstoppable, irrepressible, overflowing with what C. S. Lewis called “the good infection” – the supernatural, refreshing love of God that draws others to Him. The peace that passes understanding (Phil. 4:7).

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! ~ Romans 5:3-5 (The Message)

We need to be more intentional about Gracious Gratitude!

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Filed under Faith, Gratitude, influence with the world, Peace, Thankfulness, Trusting God