C.S. Lewis On Agape

C.S. Lewis“Of course taking in the poor illegitimate child is ‘charity.’ Charity means love. It is called Agape in the New Testament to distinguish it from Eros (sexual love), Storgë (family affection) and Philia (friendship). So there are 4 kinds of ‘love,’ all good in their proper place, but Agape is the best because it is the kind God has for us and is good in all circumstances. (There are people I mustn’t feel Eros towards, and people I can’t feel Storgë or Philia for; but I can practice Agape to God, Angels, Man and Beast, to the good and the bad, the old and the young, the far and the near. You see Agape is all giving, not getting. Read what St. Paul says about it in First Corinthians Chap. 13. Then look at a picture of Charity (or Agape) in action in St. Luke, chap 10 v. 30-35. And then, better still, look at Matthew chap 25 v. 31-46: from which you see that Christ counts all that you do for this baby exactly as if you had done it for Him when He was a baby in the manger at Bethlehem: you are in a sense sharing in the things His mother did for Him. Giving money is only one way of showing charity: to give time and toil is far better and (for most of us) harder. And notice, though it is all giving—you needn’t expect any reward—how you do gets rewarded almost at once.” ―C.S. Lewis

12 Quotes From “The Cross Of Jesus”

The Cross Of JesusWarren Wiersbe’s book The Cross Of Jesus is a very easy read, but that doesn’t mean the subject matter is light. It is a sobering look at what Jesus Christ did for us on the Cross, and it’s something at which we should always take a repeated look. You can read my book review by clicking here. Below are some quotes I especially appreciated.

“The Cross was a divine assignment, not a human accident; it was a God-given obligation, not a human option.”

“The fundamental problem lost sinners face isn’t that they’re sick and need a remedy. The problem is that they’re ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ (Ephesians 2:1) and need to experience resurrection. Religion and reformation may cosmetize the corpse and make it more presentable, but religion and reformation can never give life to the corpse. Only God can do that. ‘But God, Who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ’ (Ephesians 2:4-5).”

“If our faith in Jesus Christ isolates us from those who need Him, there’s something wrong with our faith—and our love.” 

“Respectable religion that rejects the blood of the Cross can’t understand the message of the Bible, and it is powerless to deal with sin and sinful human nature. ‘Comfortable religion’ that avoids bearing the Cross and following Jesus is but a religious facade that knows nothing of true discipleship.”

“The Romans and the Jews ‘by lawless hands’ (Acts 2:23) put Jesus Christ to death, and yet their very actions fulfilled the plan of God. Even the wrath of man praises God (Psalm 76:10), and when sinners are doing their worst, God is giving His best. They were ignorant of their own sin. The enormity of their sins never bothered them. They nailed the Son of God to a Cross and then went about their business celebrating Passover!” 

“God still works providentially to create situations that give people opportunity to meet Christ, trust Him, and be saved. No one is ever saved by accident, for meeting Jesus Christ is a divine appointment.”

“Grace is simply the undeserved favor of God. You can’t earn it, buy it, or work for it. You can only receive grace as a gift. But that demands honesty and humility: honesty in admitting that you need to be saved, and humility in confessing that you can’t save yourself.” 

“The salvation Jesus gave to this man was personal. Jesus spoke to this man personally and saved him personally. ‘Assuredly, I say to you.…’ (Luke 23:43). God loves us personally. Writing about Jesus Christ, Paul said ‘…Who loved me and gave Himself for me’ (Galatians 2:20). The Lord Jesus Christ died for us personally. God’s love is shown to us personally, and God saves us personally. God doesn’t deal with sinners as part of a crowd; He doesn’t save people en masse. God saves people individually, one by one.”

“Salvation is not a process. You don’t receive the forgiveness of sins on the installment plan. Salvation is an instantaneous spiritual experience by the power of God when you put your faith in Jesus Christ.”

“‘Christ died for our sins’ (1 Corinthians 15:3) is a statement so simple that a child can believe it and be saved, but so profound that a theologian can never fully understand it.”

“A Crossless life is a wasted life. No matter how much enjoyment we experience or accomplishment we achieve, without the Cross our lives have been fruitless and in vain.”

“The question today is not, ‘Do you thirst?’ because all mankind has a thirst for reality, a thirst for God, a thirst for forgiveness, whether they realize it or not. The real question is ‘How long will you continue to thirst?’ When you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior, you will never thirst again. If you reject Him, you will thirst forever.”

Attitude Check

Attitude checkWhen we realize that nothing can thwart God’s plan, and that you and I are a part of that plan, I think there could be a couple of attitudes that might pop up: (1) Confidence―not in my abilities, but in God’s; or (2) Humility―not thinking less of myself, but thinking of myself less.

Confidence without humility leads to self-destructive pride, and humility without confidence leads to self-destructive fear. We need confidence with humility, just like Jesus demonstrated in going to the old rugged Cross.

We can see the confidence in Jesus when He claims to be the “I AM” (John 8:54-59). But we can also see the humility of Jesus when He said He would lay His life down (John 10:11, 15:13).

These two attitudes converge powerfully in John 13:1-17 when we read that Jesus knew that God had put all authority under His command (vv. 1, 3), and then He used His confident authority to serve His friends by washing their feet.

Confidence without humility won’t serve because it thinks others must serve them. Humility without confidence won’t serve because it thinks others will take advantage of them. But Jesus was confidently humble (or humbly confident) so He could serve. It’s the only time Jesus said “I have set you an example” (v. 15). Our attitude is to mirror His, and we are to confidently and humbly serve.

A humbly-confident / confidently-humble servant is known by his or her:

  • Heart―E.G.O. (edging God out) or E.G.O. (exalting God only) [*]
  • Head―having his/her thoughts aligned with the Word of God
  • Hands―serving God and others (Matthew 20:25-28)

If you were to honestly reflect on this, where do you rate yourself?

  • Are you confident that God loves you and has a plan for your life, a plan that cannot be thwarted?
  • Are you humble enough to serve others? To give up your own agenda so that God is glorified?
  • Can you honestly say you have the right E.G.O.?
  • Are your thoughts becoming more and more aligned and shaped by God’s Word?

We’ll be continuing our series on The Old Rugged Cross next Sunday, and I would love to have you join us.

[*] My thanks to Kenneth Blanchard for his insightful description of E.G.O. in his book Lead Like Jesus

Charles Spurgeon On Grieving The Holy Spirit

C.H. Spurgeon“Grieve the Holy Spirit, and you will lose all Christian joy; the light shall be taken from you, and you shall stumble in darkness; those very means of grace which once were such a delight, shall have no music in your ear. Your soul shall be no longer as a watered garden, but as a howling wilderness. Grieve the Spirit of God, and you will lose all power; if you pray, it will be a very weak prayer—you will not prevail with God. When you read the Scriptures, you shall not be able to lift the latch and force your way into the inner mysteries of truth. When you go up to the house of God, there shall be none of that devout exhilaration, that running without weariness, that walking without fainting. You shall feel yourself like Samson when his hair was lost, weak, captive, and blinded. Let the Holy Spirit depart, and assurance is gone, doubts follow, questionings and suspicions are aroused. Grieve the Spirit of God, and usefulness will cease: the ministry shall yield no fruit….” —Charles Spurgeon

No Plan B

The Old Rugged CrossIn my family, what starts off as Plan A at the beginning of the day is highly likely to end up as Plan K-13 by the end of the day! We just try to be flexible and roll with the changes.

But we must be careful about giving the characteristic of “flexibility” to God—He doesn’t need to be flexible and modify His plans. He has no Plan B; everything is His Plan A.

Jesus is described as being the sacrificial Lamb from before the dawn of Creation (1 Peter 1:18-20). And in Heaven Jesus is still known as the Lamb that was slain (Revelation 13:8 and 5:5-6). Jesus coming to earth to die on an old rugged Cross was always God’s Plan A. The whole time Jesus Christ was on earth, He knew what was happening.

Here are 5 things Jesus knew. He knew…

  1. …when His time had come, and that all things were about to be fulfilled through His crucifixion—John 13:1, 3
  2. …the exact sequence of events leading up to His death on Calvary—Matthew 20:17-19
  3. …the immutability of the Scriptures—Matthew 26:53-56
  4. …the infallibility of the Scriptures—Luke 24:25-27
  5. …that God would be glorified in fulfilling His Plan A—John 12:27-28

With this in mind, here are 5 things we should know. We should know…

  1. …that all my days were written down before the dawn of Creation—Psalm 139:16
  2. …God loves me more than I can fathom—Psalm 139:17
  3. …my life was always intended to be a part of God’s Plan A—Ephesians 2:10
  4. …no weapon formed against God’s Plan A for me will succeed—Isaiah 54:17
  5. …that God will be glorified in fulfilling His Plan A in my life—Romans 8:28

The old rugged Cross reminds us that God’s Plan A was always for Christ’s death to make it possible for our lives to make sense!

As Andrew Murray wrote: “God fully relied on His Son to see to it that His honor was respected. And in Jesus we too may bravely enter this covenant without fear that we will not be able to fulfill it. We can rely upon Jesus to see to it that He will bring everything to completion. Jesus has not only discharged our old debt but also undertaken the responsibility for whatever else may be required.”

I’ll be continuing our series on The Old Rugged Cross this Sunday, and I hope you can join me.

Links & Quotes

link quote

“We can gather that their state [ISIS] rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.” Read more of this fascinating piece in The Atlantic: What ISIS Really Wants.

Frank Viola wrote, “Mark it down: As you go on with the Lord, your faith will be sorely tested. You will be tempted to ‘shrink back’ into unbelief. But you—dear child of God do not belong to those who shrink back.” Read more from his post The Crisis Of Faith.

Rob Bell is fast becoming irrelevant himself, by choosing which parts of the Bible he wants to follow, when he states “the Church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense” for traditional marriage.

[VIDEO] Epigenomes in the human body are like a symphony. How amazing is our Creator! Check out this artistic depiction of how this works—

Links & Quotes

link quote

For my pastor friends: “A growing church is a work of God. We, His servants, matter only to the extent that we are faithful in our callings.” —T.M. Moore

“Maintaining doctrinal purity is good but it is not the whole picture for a New Testament church. The apostles wanted to do much more than simply ‘hold the fort,’ as the old gospel song says. They asked God to empower them to move out and impact an entire culture.” Read more from Jim Cymbala’s post His Hand Of Love.

“Read whatever chapter of Scripture you will, and be ever so delighted with it—yet it will leave you as poor, as empty and unchanged as it found you unless it has turned you wholly and solely to the Spirit of God, and brought you into full union with and dependence upon Him.” —William Law

Pastor Chilly Chilton has an important reminder: Being Mean Is MEAN.

If you are fasting during Lent, or if you simply fast on a regular basis, this post is helpful: Kingdom Fast: Caffeine.

Very helpful: Want To Get Your Dream Job? Do These 4 Things.

Ever been here? How To Pray When You Don’t Feel Like It.

Thoughtful words from Seth Godin: Kicking And Screaming (vs. singing and dancing).

Funny, but true, from Truth Facts

Tax forms

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,687 other followers

%d bloggers like this: