MORAL LAW

[ Psalm 150 ] Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. ...

[ Psalm 150 ] Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. …

We have two bits of evidence about the Somebody [behind the Moral Law]. One is the universe He has made. If we used that as our only clue, then I think we should have to conclude that He was a great artist (for the universe is a very beautiful place), but also that He is quite merciless and no friend to man (for the universe is a very dangerous and terrifying place). The other bit of evidence is that Moral Law which He has put into our minds. And this is a better bit of evidence than the other, because it is inside information. You find out more about God from the Moral Law than from the universe in general just as you find out more about a man by listening to his conversation than by looking at a house he has built.

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis

Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1980, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers

 

GOD COMFORTS THE PERSECUTED

God comforts those who are persecuted

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Responding to those who attack you

13Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death:

14That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.

19Arise, O LORD; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight.

20Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah.

Psalm 9:13-14, 19-20  KJV  (SEE FOOTNOTE)

Asking God to relieve our suffering

Life is difficult enough without people seeking to attack us in one way or another. But as David quickly learned when he became king, the more responsibility and power we are given, the more enemies oppose us.

When we are being attacked by our enemies, we instinctively fight back. But as this prayer shows, our first response to opposition should be to bring the situation to God in prayer. Instead of plotting how he could destroy his enemies, David identified how his current predicament could bring glory and honor to God.

What difficult and troublesome situations have you gone through? Submit those situations to God, and ask him to save you so that you may rejoice in him.

A prayer for today…

Dear Lord, you know how I am suffering. Please save me so I can rejoice in you…

From The One Year® Book of Bible Prayers edited by Bruce Barton(Tyndale) entry for November 19

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

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(Footnote:  TPH used NLT:

Lord, have mercy on me. See how I suffer at the hands of those who hate me. Snatch me back from the jaws of death.

Save me, so I can praise you publicly at Jerusalem’s gates, so I can rejoice that you have rescued me…

Arise, O Lord! Do not let mere mortals defy you! Let the nations be judged in your presence.
Make them tremble in fear, O Lord. Let them know they are merely human.”  Psalm 9:13-14, 19-20 NLT)

GOOD VS EVIL

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PHIL. 4:3

Today’s Reading

How do we decide what is good or evil? The usual answer is that we decide by conscience. But probably no one thinks now of conscience as a separate faculty, like one of the senses. Indeed, it cannot be so thought of. For an autonomous faculty like a sense cannot be argued with; you cannot argue a man into seeing green if he sees blue. But the conscience can be altered by argument; and if you did not think so, you would not have asked me to come and argue with you about the morality of obeying the civil law when it tells us to serve in the wars. Conscience, then, means the whole man engaged in a particular subject matter.

But even in this sense conscience still has two meanings. It can mean (a) the pressure a man feels upon his will to do what he Thinks is right; (b) his judgment as to what the content of right and wrong are. In sense (a) conscience is always to be followed. It is the sovereign of the universe, which “if it had power as it has right, would absolutely rule the world.” It is not to be argued with, but obeyed, and even to question it is to incur guilt. But in sense (b) it is a very different matter. People may be mistaken about wrong and right; most people in some degree are mistaken. By what means are mistakes in this field to be corrected?

From The Weight of Glory
Compiled in Words to Live By

The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses. Copyright © 1949, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1976, revised 1980 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

(Shared Newsletter:  CSLewis.com

Born of the Spirit

Born of the Spirit

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“Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

John 3:8 

Who died on November 22, 1963?

Many will correctly answer, “President John F. Kennedy.” But also on that day another person died who was mightier in God’s kingdom. His name was C. S. Lewis.

His initials stood for Clive Staples, but to his friends he was known as “Jack.” Born near Belfast, Ireland, in 1898, he was raised as an Anglican. But at the age of ten his world was shaken when his mother died of cancer. Jack wanted nothing to do with a God so cruel as to take his mother. By his early teenage years he had become an atheist.

Jack’s spiritual pilgrimage back to God began in 1926 with a conversation with a cynical friend whose belief in the Trinity challenged Lewis’ atheistic presuppositions.

Through the influence of various philosophers he read and conversations with his intellectual colleagues, including J. R. R. Tolkien, he began to realize that an absolute Spirit or God existed and that the events of the Bible had really happened.

By 1931, he had passed from merely believing in God to trusting in him as his Savior.

In 1941, Lewis burst on the literary scene with The Screwtape Letters. Books then began to flow from his pen at an amazing rate.

C. S. Lewis is considered the most influential Christian author of the twentieth century — quite a leap from the atheism of his youth.

Adapted from the The One Year® Book of Christian Historyby E. Michael and Sharon Rusten (Tyndale) pp 654-55

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Come to your senses

Come to your senses

PHIL. 4:3

“When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired men have food enough to spare, and here I am, dying of hunger!”

Luke 15:17

Resisting forbidden fruit

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the first volume of C. S. Lewis’s famous Chronicles of Narnia series, which features four British children during World War II who are magically transported into the world of Narnia. There they are given the heroic task of helping to undo the curse cast by an evil witch, which has kept the land frozen in a perpetual winter.

Soon after arriving in Narnia, Edmund is separated from the other children and encounters the White Witch. She offers him a magical candy that he finds addicting; eating it puts him under her power. With deadly accuracy Lewis paints a picture of the way sin affects us. It doesn’t announce itself as sin; it draws us in with something that seems pleasant and comforting but becomes addictive, blinding us to what is good and attracting us to what is evil.

The charms of the magical candy eventually wear off. The turning point comes when Edmund is finally moved to compassion for someone besides himself. The story echoes the parable of the lost son, who succumbs to sin and then comes to his senses, repents, and returns home to his overjoyed father.”

adapted from How Now Shall We Live? Devotional by Charles Colson (Tyndale) pp 625-26

With the movie version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe available, now is a good time to read this classic tale and some of the many helpful books about it, including Walking Through the Wardrobe by Sarah Arthur (Tyndale, 2005)

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

ON THIS DAY 12/25/ LONG AGO…

Isaiah 9:6

 

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

 

Read at Bible Gateway   Read all of Isaiah 9    Public Domain

 

God will give you peace

Where do you find peace?

“A child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the Lord Almighty will guarantee this!”

Isaiah 9:6-7 NLT

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Isaiah 26:3 NLT

I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give you isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

John 14:27 NLT

Peace is a person

“His peace of mind came not from building on the future but from resting in what he called “the holy Present.”

If you were navigating in strange waters or tracking through the wilderness, you would feel at peace with a competent navigator. As we move through spiritual territory that’s frightening, new to us, or full of trouble, what a comfort and support to have the Lord God, creator of peace, walking with us. He knows the way!2
1from The Quotable Lewis edited by Jerry Root and Wayne Martindale (Tyndale) p 416 2from the TouchPoint Bible with commentaries by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers (Tyndale) p 535

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

HUMILITY

 God blesses humble people

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Humility, not humiliation

Father, You Always Said...

Father, You Always Said…

“You rescue those who are humble, but you humiliate the proud.”

Psalm 18:27 NLT

The high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in that high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I refresh the humble and give new courage to those with repentant hearts.”

Isaiah 57:15 NLT

“May God’s grace give you the necessary humility. Try not to think — much less, speak — of their sins. One’s own are a much more profitable theme! And if on consideration, one can find no faults on one’s own side, then cry for mercy: for this must be a most dangerous delusion.”

Humility is not effacing oneself. It is not destroying one’s sense of self-worth. It is honest recognition of our own worth, our worth as God sees us. Pride elevated us above others, and often above God himself. But to destroy one’s sense of self-worth is also unacceptable, for it denies the value God placed upon us when he created us in his image and when he sent his Son to die for us. Christ did not die for worms but for people he loves very much, and those people have great worth or value in God’s eyes. To see ourselves as God sees us — that is our goal. From the TouchPoint Bible with commentaries by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers (Tyndale) p 1217

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

SPIRITUAL GROWTH

 

God is a refuge for the oppressed

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God blesses in the midst of suffering

 

Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.

Psalm 126:5-6 NLT

For he has not ignored the suffering of the needy. He has not turned and walked away. He has listened to their cries for help.

Psalm 22:24 NLT

Those who suffer the same things from the same people for the same Person can scarcely not love each other.

English: Psalm 90 of The Holy Bible, King Jame...

English: Psalm 90 of The Holy Bible, King James version, 1772. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Suffering — the soil of spiritual growth

The Bible does not promise that Christians won’t suffer. In fact, the Scriptures give much evidence that we can expect to suffer, given the evil that is in the world around us and the sin that is in us.
What God does promise is that our suffering can become the catalyst for new growth. God promises to redeem our suffering into his glory.
What griefs are you currently suffering? Can you entrust them to God, confident that he will use them to bring new growth into your life?
The worst kind of suffering is that which we experience alone. When we suffer with another person who is sympathetic to our problem, the suffering is easier to bear. Throughout history, God has sympathized with suffering people. He hears our cries. How would your life and outlook be different if you become convinced that God never failed to respond to your pain?
From the TouchPoint Bible with commentaries by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers (Tyndale) p 538, 479

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

From the TouchPoint Bible with commentaries by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers (Tyndale) p 538, 479

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

How does God lead?

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“My sheep recognize my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.”

John 10:27-28  

Hearing His voice

 

As our Good Shepherd, Jesus promises that we can hear and know His voice. This does not, however, have to be some mysterious, mystical process. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that God speaks to you quite often. I would venture to say He has spoken to you lately and may be speaking to you right now in some way. 

God speaks to us through His Word. God will never lead us contrary to His written Word. It is our litmus test, our bedrock, our absolute. 

God speaks to us through circumstances. Those circumstances can include failure. Jonah certainly heard God through his mistake. God may even speak to us through tragedy or hardship. C. S. Lewis wrote that, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains. It is His megaphone to arouse a deaf world.” 

God speaks to us through His peace. When we live in God’s will, we enjoy His peace. Do you need God to make a crucial call in your life? Then listen for His peace. 

And once we have heard God’s voice, what should we do? We must follow. Jesus calls, we respond. He whispers, we move. We follow — and then we keep on listening. 

Adapted from Breakfast with Jesus by Greg Laurie (Tyndale House) pp 243-45

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

ARE YOU DESPERATE?

Blessed Are the Desperate

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Zechariah 1:1–21

I’m a colorful sinner, and I’ve fallen woefully short of God’s glory. I’m desperate for divine help. We all are.

C.S. Lewis paints a vivid description of how we humans seem to desecrate every good thing God does for us. In his book Letters to Malcolm, Lewis writes, “We poison the wine as He decants it into us; murder a melody He would play with us as the instrument. We caricature the self-portrait He would paint. Hence all sin, whatever else it is, is a sacrilege.”

Maybe you expect rejection from a perfect God because of your less-than-perfect past. Or maybe you’re spiritually crippled by a sin that seems unforgivable. But the good news of the gospel is that our heavenly Father loves us with an everlasting love.

We need to acknowledge the fact that we’re crippled—that there is nothing righteous in us, that we are desperate for his mercy. And when the Spirit prompts us to recognize our need for salvation, God provides a Savior through the sacrifice of his only son, Jesus, who rescues us from barren places and gives us a seat next to him at the Lord’s banquet table.

Because of God’s mercy, our stained hearts have been bleached by the blood of the Lamb. The God who spoke the universe into existence, who breathed life into Adam, who stretched out the heavens and the necks of giraffes, has looked down, taken our hand in his, and said, “Yep, she’s mine.” Even though we’re crippled, we have been royally adopted by the King of kings and Lord of lords. We are listed as his next of kin. Our names are written on his hands and in his book of life. His love for us is based on his character, not our performance. And it is greater than we could ever hope for or imagine.

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

Blessed are the desperate.

—Lisa Harper

Reflection

  1. Describe a time when you felt desperate for God’s mercy. How did God rescue you from the barren place?
  2. When did you know that you belonged to God? How does knowing that your name is written on his hand and in his book of life comfort you?
  3. In today’s passage, the Lord spoke of those who would not listen to him. Do you know people like that? Spend time praying that they will begin to hear God’s voice and turn or return to his Son.

Zechariah 1:4, 6
“Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the LORD . . . But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your ancestors?”

Related Readings

Isaiah 55:6–13Malachi 3:6–71 Peter 2:22–24