C.S. Lewis On Spiritual Feelings

Someone wrote to C.S. Lewis about the profound and moving spiritual experience they had just experienced, and wondered what Lewis thought about it. His reply is very insightful—

C.S. Lewis at his desk“It is quite right that you should feel that ‘something terrific’ has happened to you (it has) and be ‘all glowy.’ Accept these sensations with thankfulness as birthday cards from God, but remember that they are only greetings, not the real gift. I mean, it is not the sensations that are the real thing. The real thing is the gift of the Holy Spirit which can’t usually be—perhaps not ever—experienced as a sensation or emotion. The sensations are merely the response of your nervous system. Don’t depend on them. Otherwise when they go and you are once more emotionally flat (as you certainly will be quite soon), you might think that the real thing had gone too. But it won’t. It will be there when you can’t feel it. May even be most operative when you can feel it least.” —C.S. Lewis (emphasis added)

The spiritual experiences are great, but let them use you to turn to the Bible to find the facts behind your experience. Lewis is quite right that feelings come and go, but the Holy Spirit never does.

10 Blessings From Obeying God’s Word

Wonderful WordThe entire 119th Psalm is a love song to God for His amazing Word. Quite simply it is “far exceeding anything conceived by man” (v. 129, AMP) and “a miracle Word” (v. 129, MSG).

In the 8-verse section called Pe, the psalmist says, “I can’t think of any better response to Your Word than to obey it!” In Pe, here are ten blessings that come with that obedience—

  1. Light … this is the discernment that allows for the “Aha!” revelations of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Understanding … the blessing of comprehending what God is saying to us.
  3. Longings fulfilled … nothing but God’s Word will ever satisfy like God’s Word!
  4. More clearly seeing God’s face as He shines upon us.
  5. God’s mercy and favor.
  6. A greater understanding of God’s love.
  7. Secure paths that keep us from sin’s snares.
  8. Freedom from satan’s extortions … this is literally what the phrase redeem me from the oppression means in verse 134.
  9. Greater obedience.
  10. Learning God’s Word so that I can teach it to others.

The psalmist also gives us good insight into how to respond to those who reject God’s Word: Rivers of tears gush from my eyes because people disobey Your instructions” (v. 136). With all the blessings that come from obeying God’s wonderful law, why would you ever want to try to live any other way?!

I will be continuing our series on Psalm 119 this Sunday. If you are in the area, I would love to have you join us!

Links & Quotes

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“Reason can engage the conversation; winsomeness can set the tone; patient listening can earn the right to be heard; but only divine revelation—the Gospel of Jesus Christ—is powerful to break the hold of the Lie and open someone’s heart to the truth of God.” —T.M. Moore

“I am sure, whenever we see Christ, we ought to remember the deluge of wrath from which He has delivered us, the flames of hell from which He has saved us; and so, humbly bowing ourselves in the dust, let us love, and praise, and bless His name.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Remember: ‘I cannot turn one hair black or white: but I can brush my hair daily and go to the barber at regular intervals.’ In other words we must divert our efforts from our general condition or frame of mind (which we can’t alter by direct action of the will) to what is in our power—our words and acts. Try to remember that the ‘bottomless sea’ can’t hurt us as long as we keep on swimming.” —C.S. Lewis

Hey, fellas: Mark Merrill has a great suggestion of 10 texts to send your wife.

When Yonggi Cho began holding services in May 1958 in Seoul, South Korea, he couldn’t have known what God would do through his ministry. Only five people attended the first service, held in the home of a friend. However, the small gatherings grew in size, ultimately developing into the largest Christian congregation in the world, Yoido Full Gospel Church, an Assemblies of God church with over 700,000 members.” Read more about Pastor Cho in From Buddhism To Christ.

George O. Wood is the General Superintendent for the Assemblies of God. In light of last week’s Supreme Court decision, he sent out a letter that I really appreciated. Here is how the letter closes: “I close with three words of pastoral advice—First, to Assemblies of God ministers: Politics reflects culture, and culture reflects religion. If you are concerned with the political drift of American culture, preach the gospel! As it sends out roots in the lives of believers, the seeds of the Gospel will change hearts and minds. Second, to Assemblies of God adherents: You are privileged citizens of a blessed nation. Use your citizenship well! Seek the common good. Advocate for the last, the lost, and the least. Speak the truth in love. And vote for candidates and issues that reflect a biblical perspective. The difference in so many conflicts in American politics and culture turns on who turns out to vote. Third, to all Christians: If you are troubled with the Supreme Court’s decision, keep perspective! In this and every other matter, always remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33). Let us all pray for a great spiritual awakening in our country!”

Links & Quotes

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“It is the disagreeable things which make us exhibit whether we are manifesting the life of the Son of God, or living a life which is antagonistic to Him. When disagreeable things happen, do we manifest the essential sweetness of the Son of God or the essential irritation of ourselves apart from Him?” —Oswald Chambers

“Without the Holy Spirit no good thing ever did or ever can come into any of your hearts—no sigh of penitence, no cry of faith, no glance of love, no tear of hallowed sorrow. Your heart can never beat with life divine, except through the Spirit; you are not capable of the smallest degree of spiritual emotion, much less spiritual action, apart from the Holy Spirit. Dead you lie, living only for evil, but absolutely dead for God until the Holy Spirit comes and raises you.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Man was created ‘to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ Whether that is best pictured as being in love, or like being one of an orchestra who are playing a great work with perfect success, or like surf bathing, or like endlessly exploring a wonderful country or endlessly reading a glorious story—who knows? Dante says Heaven ‘grew drunken with its universal laughter.’” —C.S. Lewis

“Our Lord will come! This is one of the great certainties of the unknown future. He may tarry, but He will come at last. Many obstacles may seem to rise up, but He will come. Men may not desire Him, but He will come. The Church may be cold, but He will come. Earth may think she has no need of Him, but He will come! The scoffer may say, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?’ but He will come. satan may do his utmost to oppose, but He will come. This is the great future certainty which Christ and His apostles have proclaimed to us. Our Lord will come!” —Horatius Bonar

“[God] does not bless us begrudgingly. There is a kind of eagerness about the beneficence of God. He does not wait for us to come to Him. He seeks us out, because it is His pleasure to do us good. God is not waiting for us, He is pursuing us. That, in fact, is the literal translation of Psalm 23:6, ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall pursue me all the days of my life.’ … God is never irritable or edgy. His anger never has a short fuse. Instead He is infinitely energetic with absolutely unbounded and unending enthusiasm for the fulfillment of His delights.” —John Piper

“When it comes to spiritual matters, you and I will never know our potential under God until we step out and take risks on the front line of battle. … Sitting safely in the shelter of Bible discussions among ourselves, or complaining to one another about the horrible state of today’s society, does nothing to unleash the power of God.” Read more of this post from Jim Cymbala.

Putting a probe on a moving comet is just too cool! Check out the latest news from the Philae lander.

Alan Trammell has always been one of my all-time favorite Detroit Tigers. Here’s proof that he is just as classy off the field as he was on it.

The Counselor Makes Us Childlike

ChildlikeJesus loved being around kids! In fact, it still is the childlike nature that Jesus wants to see in all of us, and that’s one of the roles of the Holy Spirit as our Counselor.

There is a huge difference between being childish and childlike. Childish is being aware that what you’re doing is foolish; childlike is being innocently unaware.

Jesus was childlike.

  • He knew the kid’s songs in the street—Luke 7:32.
  • He wanted to have lot of kids around Him—Mark 10:14.
  • Most of His teaching examples were basic—farmers, birds, flowers, wedding parties.
  • Some were downright obvious—Matthew 15:16-17.
  • Some of His interactions with His adversaries were playful—Mark 11:27-33.

And when He described the way to Heaven—

He called a little child to Him, and placed the child among them. And He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-4)

Humbly loving God and innocently serving others. Isn’t that the essence of what Jesus taught us the Kingdom of Heaven was? Loving God and loving others in a childlike way.

Here’s how The Counselor trains us to be childlike:

  • Think of everyone as your friendMatthew 5:9, 44.
  • Laugh more often because you have no burdens weighing you downMatthew 11:28-30.
  • Don’t use double entendrés—…be innocent (harmless, guileless, and without falsity)… (Matthew 10:16, AMP).
  • Be fascinated by natureLuke 12:27.
  • Exercise your imaginationMatthew 18:10; Acts 6:15; 7:55-60.

The Counselor will teach us Christ-like childlikeness; He will reprove us when we are too “adult” in our thinking; He will continually correct us when we cross the line into childishness; and He will train us to love God and love others in a childlike way.

Links & Quotes

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“One profound biblical insight we need to know is that our heart exploits our mind to justify what the heart wants. That is, our deepest desires precede the rational functioning of our minds and incline the mind to perceive and think in a way that will make the desires look right.” —John Piper

“‘No hope’ is a cry which no human tongue should utter, which no human heart should heed. May God grant us grace whenever we get an opportunity to go and tell all we meet with that are bowed down, ‘There is lifting up.’ And tell them where it is likewise. Tell them it is only at the Cross. Tell them it is through the precious blood. Tell them it is to be had for nothing, through simply trusting Christ. Tell them it is of free grace, that no merits of theirs are wanted, that no good things are they to bring, but that they may come just as they are, and find lifting up in Christ.” —Charles Spurgeon

“We must not be naïve about the power of reason. Reason can only do so much. No one can be reasoned into believing the Gospel. That requires a work of the Spirit of God, a work of faith. Reason can clear the way for faith, but it cannot engender it. Only God can do that. … So, even as we reason with our unbelieving friends, we must remember that only if God the Spirit works with our words—and if our words are faithful to the Word of God—will are friends come to faith in Jesus Christ. Reason is a tool, but the Holy Spirit is the power for faith and eternal life.” —T.M. Moore

“The best reason to brand someone with a pejorative label is to push them away, to forestall useful conversation, to turn them into the other. Much more useful: Identify the behavior that’s counter-productive. When we talk about the behavior, we have a chance to make change happen. What would happen if the behavior stopped? When we call someone misogynist or racist or sexist or a capitalist, a socialist or an abstract expressionist, what are we hoping for? Every one of us is on the ‘ist’ spectrum, so the label becomes meaningless. Meaningless labels are noise, noise that lasts. If that person stopped acting like a _____ist, what would change? Because if there’s nothing we want to change, the labeling is useless. And if there’s a change that needs to be made, let’s talk about what it is.” —Seth Godin

Does anyone else find this statement ironic? “Christ, what does this mean?” says Greger Larson, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Oxford, UK. Let me contrast two words: Christ (as in Jesus, the Son of God) and evolutionary (as in, don’t believe in God). Even the supposed God-deniers cannot help but evoke His name!

For anyone who works with students, Tim Elmore shares three balancing acts we all need to keep in mind.

Nancy Pearcey has an eye-opening post about the transgender fascination in our culture. In part, she writes: “The worldview implicit in the transgender movement is that our physical bodies have no particular value—that our biology is irrelevant to who we are as persons…. It is a worldview that drives a wedge between one’s body and one’s sense of self, which exerts a self-alienating, fragmenting effect on the human personality….” Please read Transgender Politics Vs. The Facts Of Life.

Thursdays With Oswald—Standing In A Crisis

Oswald ChambersThis is a periodic series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Standing In A Crisis

     If, when no one is watching us, we are building ourselves up in the Word of God, then, when a crisis comes, we shall stand; but if we are not building on the Word of God, when a crisis comes we shall go down, no matter what our wills are like. …

     We may be able to give a testimony as to what God has done for us, but does the life we live evidence that we are not listening now, but living only in the memory of what we once heard? We have to keep our ears trained to detect God’s voice, to be continually renewed in the spirit of our mind. If when a crisis comes we instinctively turn to God, we know that the habit of harkening has been formed. … We have to learn to hearken to Jesus in everything, to get into the habit of finding out what He says. … The Holy Spirit will bring back to our remembrance a certain word of our Lord’s and apply it to the particular circumstance we are in, the point is—are we going to obey it?

From Our Brilliant Heritage

Standing in a crisis involves two things: (1) Reading the Word of God regularly, and (2) Obeying the Word of God every time the Holy Spirit illuminates it to our heart and mind. It’s not a matter of if a crisis will come in your life, but when. Will you be ready?

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