Prayer by Timothy Keller

I have always struggled with a consistent prayer life. I found the book “Prayer” by Timothy Keller to be extremely helpful in getting this part of my spiritual life on track. Specifically the two chapters I have outlined below. Using the Lord’s Prayer as a guide has really kept me from just using my prayer time as a “Santa Claus” list of wants. Also, dedicating myself to prayer time in the morning and a shorter prayer time as I go to bed (that includes a Psalm) has helped me to start and end my day well.

Two other things that have been helpful to me (and may or may not be to anyone else)…. The first is that when I am particularly tired, unfocused or have something heavy on my heart, I type out my prayers in a journal. It keeps me from becoming distracted or falling asleep and also I find that in the writing of the prayers I become aware of things I didn’t even know I was thinking. And the other goes back to C.S. Lewis (I know, imagine that). This is a quote from Screwtape Letters (whom was a senior demon telling a junior demon how to keep his human from grower closer to the Lord), “At the very least, they can be persuaded that the bodily position makes no difference to their prayers; for they constantly forget, what you must always remember, that they are animals and that whatever their bodies do affects their souls.” I have found that kneeling during my prayer time puts me and the Lord in our proper places. And in doing so with my body, helps me also get my mind to the proper place.


Chapter 8: The Prayer of Prayers

  • Augustine, Luther and Calvin all developed their instruction on how to pray mainly out of their understanding of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). This chapter goes into these three men’s insights line by line of the Lord’s prayer and how we can use the Lord’s prayer as a mode that will have all of the components that should always be a part of our prayer time with the Lord.
  • We must keep the Lord’s prayer from just becoming a ritual, by not simply just praying the words, but by understanding each part and praying each part’s truths through our our thoughts and what is actually going on in our lives.


  • “Our Father Who Art in Heaven”
    • This should cause us to be blown away by the fact that the God who could have justly judged us all severely, instead implants a comforting trust in our hearts through His fatherly love.
  • “Hallowed Be Thy Name”
    • This is a call that God’s Holy name be glorified among all nations. It is our time to praise God for who He is and thank him for his goodness in our life
  • “Thy Kingdom Come”
    • We are asking God to so fully rule us that we want to obey him with all our hearts and with joy. And we yearn for the day when God’s kingdom comes in full to make all things right.
  • “Thy Will be Done”
    • We ask God to grant us the grace to bear whatever it takes that we fully lie down our own will for our lives and take up the Lord’s will; acknowledging that the Lord knows best and we must trust him even when we don’t understand or like how he is bringing about his will in our lives. We echo Jesus’ words from the Garden of Gethsemane. It is an opportunity to give those things over to the Lord that we know we are hanging onto, that we are trying to accomplish on our own and our keeping us from falling submitting to God’s will.  
  • “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”
    • This is when we pray for the needs of ourself and others. We must be careful not to turn this into a list of wants. Augustine suggested we pray that God give us neither poverty or riches (Proverbs 30:8). It is also a time not to pray just for individuals, but for needs throughout the world; that the poor would have their daily bread, that those being exploited would be treated justly, etc.
  • “Forgive Us Our Debts as We Forgive Our Debtors”
    • This is the time when we search our hearts and lives in order to confess honestly before the Lord. Luther said this should not be a demeaning experience, but that if regular confession does not produce an increased confidence and joy in your life, then you do not truly understand salvation by grace. In addition, this is also a time to make sure there is no one we need to forgive, for it is hypocritical to seek the radical forgiveness of God, yet be unable to forgive those who have wronged us.
  • “Lead Us Not into Temptation”
    • This is not praying against being tempted, as this is inevitable and brings about spiritual growth. Instead, it is praying against “entering into temptation” (Matt 26:41), which means to entertain and consider the prospect of giving in to sin. Take time to pray against those things that you know are common temptations to you. While also considering those that might not be so obvious, like the temptation to be judgemental of co-workers or of the feeling self sufficiency in your wealth.
  • “Deliver Us from Evil” (or the evil one)
    • Luther said this is to pray against specific evils that come from the devil’s kingdom, while Augustine felt it was praying for deliverance against the remaining evils outside of us (as opposed to, “lead us not into temptation” being evils inside of us).


Chapter 15: Practice: Daily Prayer

A Pattern for Daily Prayer (This comes from Selwyn Hughes’ contribution to a book entitled My Path of Prayer, which contains short essays by Christian leaders on their main pattern of prayer)

  • Praying as soon as possible after waking
  • Read a passage of scripture to meditate on, including a Psalm
  • Take a moment to “still your mind” and remind yourself of God’s presence
  • Begin to pray
    • Start with adoration, praise and thanksgiving
    • Then, self-examination, confession and repentance
    • Lastly, Petitionary prayer for self, those he knew, the church and the world
  • End by stilling the mind again to be sure you have had heard from God what especially he wanted you to learn that morning


Praying the Psalms


  • There is more than one way to pray the Psalms
  • Verbatim prayer – pray the words of the Psalm back to the Lord as written
  • Paraphrase and personalize
  • “Deliver me from my enemies” turns into a prayer for the Lord to help you with temptations or spiritual traps you might fall into.
  • Responsive Praying  – Take themes and statements to stimulate adoration, confession and supplication


      • Psalm 116:7 – Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you — So, you pray, “O Lord, my heart does not rest in your goodness, it is never consoled as deeply as it should be by your grace. It is too restless. Help me to know you – – let your goodness be so real to my heart that it is completely at rest.

A Poem of Praise 2

Lord Your goodness is beyond measure

Your love endures forever

Your kindness is bestowed upon me

And on to my children

Your hands reach down to touch me

And calm me from my fears

Your arms wrap lovingly around me

Like a Father holds His son



Your gaze sees straight through me

And knows my sin within

Yet You avert not you eyes from me

As you see my possibility

For you observe not my current state

But what I can become



Lord You should have given up on me so long ago

Yet You love me still

I am unworthy of these second chances

But Your mercy is so great

I should have been cast aside so many times

But Your grace endures



Take me, your humble servant

And use me for Your will

Take me, a broken vessel

And fill me to the brim

Take me, a wandering sheep

And lead me to the path



Lord Your goodness is beyond measure

Your love endures forever

Your kindness is bestowed upon me

And on to my children

Your hands reach down to touch me

And calm me from my fears

Your arms wrap lovingly around me

Like a Father holds His son

Why Worry When You Have Jesus….Well, Do You Really Want to Hear My List?

If I were to catch you in a completely honest moment and ask you what you worried about right now; how would you answer? Maybe with a financial concern. Possibly you are worried about whether or not your rocky marriage is going to survive. Or maybe if you are ever going to find the right someone to marry. It might be that you are worried about your child who seems to be growing ever distant as they reach their teenage years. Or you might be concerned whether you are going to be stuck in a job you can’t stand for the rest of your life. 

Chances are, whether it made my list or not, if you were forthright there would be at least a few things in your life that you are worried about. But, wait. If we have entrusted our lives to Jesus, that shouldn’t be….Or should it? When you take a closer look, it seems there are times that Jesus gives us plenty of reasons to worry. Yet, there are other times when He tells to accept His peace and that we have no reason to worry. So let’s take a look at how Jesus turns an apparent contradiction into a comforting confirmation.

  • Just a few of the reasons Jesus gives us to worry

    • Matthew 8:18 – 22 (Cost of following Jesus)
      • No place to lay your head
      • Let the dead bury the dead
    • Matthew 10:37-39 (Love Him more than family)
      • Love Jesus more than mother, father, son and daughter
      • Lose your life to find it
      • Take up your cross
    • Matthew 16:24 – 27 (Take up your cross)
      • Deny self
      • Take up your cross
      • Lose your life
    • Luke 14:25-33(Count the cost, give up everything)
      • Hate your family
      • Carry Your Cross
      • If you do not give up everything, you cannot be His disciple
    • Matthew 19:16 – 30 (Sell everything)
      • Rich man asks what must be done to inherit eternal life and Jesus responds to SELL EVERYTHING.
  • Oh and by the way, No need to worry

    • Matthew 11:28-30 (Yoke is easy)
      • If you are weary, come to Jesus
      • He will provide rest for your soul
      • His yoke is easy and burden is light
    • Matthew 6:25-34 (Birds of the air, lilies of the field)
      • 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendorwas dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
  • Okay, so….how does this all fit together?

    • Jesus doesn’t tell us that there won’t be worrisome things in our life. Just that we need not worry about them.
    • Interesting thing about birds and lilies. Let’s start with the lilies. They don’t have brains. They don’t think. They are not thinking about a drought. They are just soaking up the rain. Birds have extremely tiny brains and do not think ahead to the winter when food gets scarce. They are only concerned with finding their next worm….Jesus is telling us not to worry about our needs, one moment, one day at a time. He is not giving us long-term security. He is saying that if you are willing to put your trust in me so greatly to do the absolutely crazy things I call you to; If you are willing to not know how things are going to work out a year, a month, a week down the road; But if you are willing to simply trust me for today; For right now. To have that sort of absolute trust, then you have no need to worry. Cuz I got you. I got you in this moment. In this day. And that should be enough. Let’s talk about tomorrow, tomorrow.
  • A familiar passage…but how did it end?

    • Luke 21:1-4 (Poor widow’s offering)
      • 1 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
      • Ending 1 … God’s delight
        • You see, what Luke didn’t record is that after the woman put in her last 2 pennies, she found a quarter on the way home. God loves when we trust him beyond our own understanding and delights in meeting that need in a miraculous way. (Think of the widow who made bread for Elijah and God gave her never ending oil. 1 Kings 17:7-24).
      • Ending 2 … Love they neighbor
        • Or maybe Luke left out that when one of the synagogue congregants saw what she had done, God pricked her heart. She rushed to Giant Eagle, bought a bag full of groceries, and by the time the old woman had managed to shuffle home, they were there on her porch waiting for her. Easily enough food to feed her for the next 2 weeks. You see, God finds pleasure when we take the opportunity to see the need of another and meet it through the commandment of loving our neighbor as our self. This is a beautiful ending, because two are blessed: the giver and the recipient. Not to mention, our Heavenly Father who flashes one of His patented, “someone finally gets it” smiles.
      • Ending 3 … A quick exit
        • Also, I can envision the woman going home. And the nosey neighbor, who doesn’t really care about her, but does wonder what she is going to do now that the crazy old bag put her last 2 cents in the offering, comes peeking in the windows. And the widow isn’t there. Yep, that’s right, just not there anymore. Hey, it happened for Enoch, right? (Genesis 5:18-24). And Elijah went up in a whirlwind (2Kings 2:11-1). But for those of you a little more practical like myself, maybe she just died in her sleep. Before the prongs of hunger could reach her stomach. She passed away that night. And when they found her in the morning she wore a thin smile of contentment.
      • Ending 4 … Eternal perspective
        • So, when I was talking through this with my brother, he ruined the “happily ever after” endings with the reminder that Christians all over the world die of starvation, terrible disease, persecution, etc. With that thought in my mind, Luke may have finished the story like this: After the woman left that day the Pharisees were furious. This woman had upstaged them. So they riled up the synagogue members against her. They said that the only reason she no longer had any money was that she was a sinner from birth. And if she had a pure heart God would take care of her. Therefore, no one came to her aid and without any money left she slowly starved to death. She shrank away to nothing before her belly became bloated with the pains of one truly dying of hunger. And eventually she died in great agony….But the moment she breathed her last, she stood face to face with Jesus in eternal paradise….Sometimes, the only thing to keep us from worry is the eternal perspective. That what we face on this earth is momentary and temporary and compared to eternity is not even worth fretting over….I know this is an easy answer coming from people who live in a country where we will most likely never face many of terrible hardships many others around the world will face, such as lack of food; But, I also believe it is what Jesus teaches. 
  • A little more on the eternal perspective

    • Let’s take another look: Matthew 16:24-27; 19:16-30
      • 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
      • 16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”

18 “Which ones?” he inquired.

Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”

20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”

28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

        • Focus on verse 26-27 and verses 27-30 – – Jesus says that the reward for doing the difficult things he calls us to are eternal, not earthly. Sometimes, the only thing we can hang onto in order not to worry is to (again do something completely contradictory) and focus on one moment, one day at a time, when it comes to the current difficult situation, while keeping an eternal perspective on the reward we will receive that will never end. C.S. Lewis puts this thought quite elegantly in Screwtape Letters when he says, “For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.” 
  • How does an eternal perspective look in our daily life?

    • Measuring time in the light of eternity
      • We often say God’s time is different than ours and we can’t understand  the way He perceives and sees time…
        • So, what if our idea of time, we were able to push aside, and decide that each moment we have, the amount of time we give it will be based on eternal significance. So, instead of saying, when we see someone in need of help on the side of the road or In need of food holding up a cardboard sign, that we don’t have any extra money or we are going to be late…that we said to our self, Being late to my meeting isn’t as important as showing this person Christ’s love.
        • What if instead of getting the laundry done, when your kids are dying to spend time with you, put the laundry off till Friday this week. Because the relationship you build with them matters eternally. Because God showed that building a relationship with us mattered so much he sent His son….
        • If we measured time and the way we spend it by the eternal significance of what we’re taking part in, think of how greatly your daily activities would change. And as you became more and more other focused, how much less time you would have to worry about your own concerns…
  • For the super practical who like three easy steps to keep from worrying, here you go 🙂

    • 1 – Focus on one moment, one day at a time. Jesus does not provide long term security.
    • 2 – Focus on the eternal. Sometimes, the only way not to worry is to remember what is to come in the next life.
    • 3 – Focus on others. The more we are focused on others, the less time we will have for worrying about our own troubles

Why Will Tomorrow be Just Like Today? (The Answer)

It’s incomplete

It doesn’t fully satisfy

But I think God has started

To give me a reply

Yes, tomorrow will be much the same

But why is that so bad?

Look at the beauty in each day

See the loveliness all around

Feel life’s rhythm

There is beauty in repetition


Fulfillment in my work…

Well, at least most days

Growing daily in knowledge

And in my spirit too

Contentment at home

Beautiful wife, loving kids


May I recognize the beauty

The beauty in the routine

But may I not lose step

As the Spirit leads

May I not be afraid

To deviate from the path

As the Spirit leads

May I not refuse to follow


But why am I so damned complacent

So damned scared

To tell them of You

To share the good news

I’m messed up

So are you

But, God has a plan

His Son came to redeem

Trust in Him

Follow Him

And eternal life

Is promised to you


Cat’s got your tongue?

Devil’s got mine

Deceiving me

Telling Me Lies

They won’t listen

They won’t care

It will make things awkward

Why even try?


It’s not the whole answer

But it has to be part

Enjoy the sameness

That each day brings

But don’t be afraid

When the Spirit changes things

And stopping keeping to myself

The joy that Jesus brings

Why Will Tomorrow be Just Like Today? (The Question)

Roll out of bed

Stumble down the stairs

Hit my knees

Begin to pray

Eat a bowl of cereal,

Read the Word

Off to work

Listening to a book

Growing my mind

And hopefully my soul


Walk in my classroom

Prepare for my day

Students enter in

“Good morning DeAndre, Good Morning J’Ana”

Trying to teach them

Trying to love them

“Sit down in your seat!”

“Eli and Rileigh, are you serious? Stop talking!”

Trying to reach them

Trying to love them

“All car riders and walkers are dismissed”

What a relief, the day is done


Back in the car

Pop my CD book back in

Can’t focus, can’t concentrate

Put on Sports radio

Lebron’s still great, Browns still suck

My mind wanders still

Maybe a little Boys II Men

Takes me to a peaceful place


Walk into the house

“Daddy, daddy, daddy”

Hugs and kisses

“Pick me up,” says Aubs “Play with me,” says V

“Love you Sessa, how was your day?”

“Hey Jas, dance or the library today?”

Reading stories, tucking in

Lunch packed, trash taken out

Ride the exercise bike

Time with Sessa, but…

Have to go, dance is over

Pajamas on as I start to yawn


Lay down in bed, read a Psalm

Close my eyes, off to sleep

Tomorrow I will wake up

And do it all again….

Wait, is this it?

Is this all there is?

What did I do today?

Why am I not changing the world?

Why am I not bringing people to Jesus?

Why will tomorrow be just like today…..?

Echoes Through Eternity

  • “He (God) therefore, I believe, wants them (people) to attend chiefly to  two things, to eternity itself and to the point of time which they call the Present. For the present is the point at which time touches eternity.” (C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters)


Echoes Through Eternity

I fell asleep and began to dream;

A Spirit dressed in white came to me.

He beckoned me to follow;

And I followed with much curiosity.


I followed the Spirit into the past;

Back, back, and further, until…

We reached the happy memories of childhood

And for a moment time stood still.


We began to travel once again.

Peering in on teenage years gone by.

The great expectations of first love;

And the heartbreak that made me cry.


Then forward we rushed on;

Watching me with a graduation cap upon my head.

Pausing at the alter of my wedding day;

And gazing as I tucked each of my children into bed.



The Spirit then stopped and looked at me.

He seemed to wait for me to speak;

So, I asked, “Spirit, Can you take me to the future?

Show me next year, next month, next week?”


“No, the future is not yet certain,”
The Spirit answered  me in reply.

“For the choices that you make each day

Will determine what happens in the by and by.”


“Do not waste your time on moments not yet here;

It will only give you hopes that may never be.

Do not waste your thoughts upon what is to come;

It will only give you fears that never become reality.”



“But let me take you past your future;

Let me take you to eternity.”

What I saw……well I can not describe

For there was a light so bright it blinded me.


What I heard…..well I can not really tell you.

For there was a deafening sound, like waves upon a shore.

What I felt…..that I can try to tell you.

For even now I am longing to feel it once more.


An anticipation that I can hardly describe;

I don’t know exactly what for, but maybe it will be clear later.

But it was met beyond my wildest dreams,

And followed instantly by an anticipation even greater.



We then left this eternal realm

And I could tell it was time for the Spirit to go.

But as he walked away, he turned and said to me,

“There is one time that I did not show.”


“It is the most important time you have in this life,

The time we call right now, you see;

For only in the present can we do things

That will have echoes throughout eternity!”

A Poem of Praise

“The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is ‘to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.” (C.S. Lewis, “Reflections on the Psalms”)

I have started to read a Psalm or two every night before bed and I have found what C.S. Lewis said to be very true. So, this is my first very feeble attempt to write a “Psalm-like” praise to the Lord.


I stumble in my walk with

You Yet You steady my step

I veer off the path of righteousness

And Your light guides me back


God, You are faithful beyond measure

You’re goodness is without limit

Your love endures through all eternity

And Your kindness never fails


My dedication to You is lacking

But You let me try again

My promise to You are not always kept

But I hear Your gentle whisper, “I forgive you”


God, You are faithful beyond measure

You’re goodness is without limit

Your love endures through all eternity

And Your kindness never fails

Mere Christianity Summarized, Part 10

Mere Christianity Summarized, Part 10

                           (Book 4 : Beyond Personality, The First Steps                                                      in the Doctrine of the Trinity, Chapters 9-11)


Chapter 9: Counting the Cost

People have been bothered by Lewis’ comments in the last chapter about being perfect. It doesn’t mean God won’t help you until your perfect. It means when you come to him you may think you want something less, but He says no the only help I will give is the help to become perfect. You may want something less, but I will give you nothing less.

Lewis says that when he was a child he knew if he went to his mom and his tooth hurt, she would give him some Tylenol and he would feel better. But sometimes he wouldn’t go and he’d hurt all night because he knew she’d also take him to the dentist. And he didn’t want to go to the dentist. Because once he got to the dentist, he wouldn’t just fix that one tooth, he’d find the other ones that were bad, but hadn’t started hurting yet and begin fiddling about.

Well, God is the same way.  People go to God to be cured of some one sin they’re ashamed of, like masturbation or physical cowardliness. Or something that is spoiling daily life like bad temper or drunkenness. Well, He will cure it alright. But, He won’t stop there. That may be all you ask, but once you call Him in , He will give you the full treatment.

That is why he warned people to count the costs before becoming Christians. If you let me I will make you perfect. But the moment you put yourself in my hands that is what you are in for, nothing else, nothing less. You have free will and if you choose you can push me away. But if you do not push me away, understand that I am going to see this job through. Whatever suffering it may cost you in your earthly life, whatever conceivable it may cost you after death, whatever it costs me, I will never rest, or let you rest, until you are literally perfect. So my Father can say without reservation he is well pleased with you, like he said he was well pleased with me. This I can do and will do. But, I will not do anything less.

This helper, who in the long run will be satisfied with nothing less than absolute perfection, will also be delighted with the first feeble, stumbling effort you make tomorrow to do the simplest duty.

You do need to get discouraged that you are not getting anywhere near perfection. Every time you fall, He will pick you up again. He knows that your own feeble efforts are going to bring you nowhere near perfection. On the other  hand, you must realize that the goal He is going to guide you to is perfection. And not power in this universe can keep Him from taking you to this goal. And that is what you’re in for.

If not we very likely to pull back and start resisting him after a certain point. Often we are inclined to think after he helps us with a sin or two, or the more obvious ones, that we are good enough. Now, that He has done all we would want him to do, we would be obliged if He would leave us alone.

See, we may say humbly, “Oh, I never thought I was going to be a saint. I just wanted to be a good ordinary chap. But it is not what we intended, it is what God intended. We don’t know his final intention. We can’t understand it. And it’s cowardliness, not humbleness to say I’m gonna stop here. Instead of to keep going to God’s final intention which is something so much greater than we can understand or imagine.

On one hand we must never imagine that our own unaided efforts can be relied on to carry us even through the next 24 hours as decent people. On, the other hand no possible degree of holiness or heroism which has ever been recorded in the greatest saints is beyond what he is determined to produce in everyone of us in the end. The job will not be completed in this life. But he means to get us as far as he can before death. That is why we must not be surprised if we are in for a rough time.

See we get rid of those first couple bad things that are noticeable and then think things should go on fine. Then when trouble comes along we want to know why. Well, because God is forcing us onward to continue growing. He is putting us in situations where we have to be braver or more patient or more loving than we ever dreamed we could be before. It seems to us all unnecessary. That is because we have not yet had the slightest notion of the tremendous thing he means to make of us.

The command be perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said in the Bible that we were gods and he is going to make good His word. If we let him, but we can prevent him if we choose. He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back God perfectly (though, of course on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness.

The process will be long and very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what he said.


Chapter 10: Nice People or New Men

Lewis  poses the question, “If Christianity is true, why are all Christians not nicer than all non-Christians? The first part of the answer is if a man’s conversion to Christianity makes no apparent difference in his outward actions, then we can assume that that conversion was largely imaginary. We must in one sense judge by results. Christ told us to. The tree is known by its fruit. Or the proof is in the pudding.

Christians who behave badly or refuse to behave well makes Christianity hard to believe for the outside world. But the outer world also makes an illogical demand, not only should individuals improve, but they should also see the whole world divided neatly into two camps, Christian and non-Christian. And that all the people in the Christian camp should be nicer at any given moment than all of the people in the non-Christian camp. This is unreasonable.

This is not that easy. There is no 100%Christian/non-Christian camp. For example, there are many people who are slowly ceasing to become Christians who still call themselves one. There are also many people who are slowly becoming Christians who don’t call themselves one yet. There are people who do not accept the full Christian doctrine about Christ, but are so strongly attracted to Him, that they are His in a much deeper sense than they understand.

There are people in other religions who are being led by God’s secret influence to concentrate on those parts of their religion that are in agreement with Christianity. And thus belong to Christ without knowing it. For example, a Buddhist might focus more and more on the Buddhist teaching of mercy while leaving others behind. Many of the good pagans before the time of Christ may have fallen into this category. Then, there are a lot of people who are just confused. Who have a lot of inconsistent beliefs all jumbled up together. Consequently, it is not of much use trying to make judgments of Christians and non-Christians in the mass.

Secondly, let’s talk about an actual Christian and an actual atheist in our own neighborhood, not imaginary. Not as a group, but actual. If Christianity is true, it ought to follow that, A: Any Christian would be nicer than HE would be if HE were not a Christian and, B: Any man who becomes a Christian should become nicer than he was before.

See, just because that Christian does not have as kind of a tongue as the atheist on the same block, does not mean that his Christianity is not true, the question is what that Christian’s tongue would be like if he were not a Christian. He must be compared to himself. What you do have the right to ask, is if that person is improving. Eventually, that Christian on the block is going to become much kinder if he is really in Christ.

However, is niceness the whole aim? Is it that nasty people need Christ and ones who are already nice do not?  In God’s eyes that kind atheist needs saving just as much as that nasty Christian who just started to clean up their act. The atheist was just naturally given as a gift from God a kinder temperament. Therefore, it was not his gift to God, but God’s gift to him.

In the same way, living in a world of sin, natural causes have produced this kind of sour Christian on your block. Who, yes, will become changed. But, there is a reason for her disposition as well. The Lord intends in His good timing to set that part of him right, but that is not the critical part for  God…. At the end of the day, it’s all about what they choose to do with their free will. Do they choose to turn to God? Do they choose Christ? See, the Lord can help them toward it, but at the end of they day He can’t make them. They have to choose it, choose Christ. That is the whole nature of free will.

The whole question is will that kind atheist, Dick, or that sour puss Christian, Jane, will offer their natures to God. Right now, what state their natures are in is of secondary importance. God created Dick’s sound nerves and good digestion, and there is plenty more where that came from. It costs God nothing, so far as we know, to create nice things: but to convert rebellious wills cost him crucifixion. And because they are wills they can – in nice people just as much as nasty ones – refuse His request. And then because that niceness in Dick was merely part of nature it will all go to pieces in the end. Nature itself will pass away.

There’s a paradox here. Along as Dick doesn’t turn to God. He thinks his niceness is his own. And as long as he is not offering to God it is not his own. It is only at the moment where he realizes his niceness is a gift from God and offers it back to God that it begins to become his own.

The only things we can keep are the things we freely give to God. What we try to keep for ourselves is what we are sure to lose. So you can follow that there will be nasty Christians because they are in the process of being changed. And you can even follow that thought through to say that nasty people are drawn to Christianity. That was people’s objection of Jesus and those he hung around. That will always be people’s objection to Christianity. Because those who are nasty come to realize they need Christ in greater number than those who are nice, well off and think they have it figured out on their own.

There is a silent warning or encouragement here for everyone of us. If you are a nice person – if virtues come easily to you – beware! Much is expected from those to who much is given. If you mistake for our own merits what are really God’s gifts to you through nature, and if you are contented with simply being nice, you are still a rebel: and all those gifts will only make you more terrible, your corruption more complicated, your bad example more disastrous. The Devil was an archangel once; his natural gifts were far above yours as yours are above those of a chimpanzee.

But if you are a poor creature – poisoned by a wretched upbringing in some house full of vulgar jealousies and senseless quarrels – saddled, by no choice of your own, with some loathsome sexual perversion – nagged day in and day out by an inferiority complex that makes you snap at your best friends – do not despair. He knows all about it. You are one of the poor whom He blessed. He knows what a wretched machine you are trying to drive. Keep on. Do what you can. One day (perhaps in another world, but perhaps far sooner than that) he will fling it on the scrap-heap and give you a new one. And then you may astonish us all – not least yourself: for you have learned your driving in a hard school. (Some of the last will be first and the first will be last.)

We must try to produce a world where as many people as possible are nice. But, we must now suppose that if we make everyone nice we have saved their souls. A world of nice people content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world. And might even be more difficult to save. Mere improvement is not redemption; although redemption always improves people, even here and now. And in the end will improve them to a degree we can’t even imagine. God became man to turn creatures into sons. Not, to just simply produce better men of the old kind, but to produce a new kind of man.

It’s not like teaching a horse to jump better and better. It’s like turning a horse into a winged creature. Once it has got its wings it will soar over fences that it could’ve never jumped. It must beat the natural horse at its own game. But, there may be a period, when the wings are just beginning to grow when it cannot do so. And at that stage, the lumps on its shoulders, no one can tell by looking at them that they are going to be wings. It may even give it an awkward appearance.

Chapter 11: The New man

Lewis sets this up by saying, if you are a believer in evolution, thousands or millions of years ago when huge armored beasts roamed the Earth. The next natural steps in evolution would’ve been bigger, larger armored beasts. But, instead you end up with people, with brains, who think and reason and subdue the creatures. Well, that’s what Christianity is saying. We’re not going to go from brainy men to brainer men, but  off in a totally new direction. Change from being creatures of God to being sons of God. The first instance appeared in Palestine 2,000 years ago.

The steps in evolution before were centered around things that just happened, not in choices. But this is a choice. Not that we could’ve taken this step to become sons of God on our own, or that we in any way could finish the process or make ourselves into that. But, it’s voluntary in that we can reject it.

Lewis says he’s called Christ the first new man, but He’s not just the new man, he’s the origin, the creator the center of all new men. He brings with him the Zoe that he’s had forever and he transmits it, not be heredity, as evolution occurred through sexual reproduction and the next one taking on a litter different form, but he transmits it through what Lewis has called good infection.

So, in the scope of the universe, Christianity is still in its infancy, its still breaking teeth. The world sees it differently, though. The world things it’s on its way out. What it has thought so many times. Starting with the crucifixion of Jesus. Followed by other persecutions, followed by corruption within the church. This and that and Christianity’s dead. But, every time they think they have it buried and they’re patting down the Earth, it breaks out! And seems to have somehow spread to somewhere new.

The stakes could not be higher. For if you do not take this step from becoming a creature of God to a son of God the consequences are infinite and eternal. So think of it as childbirth. This is a new birth, but unlike childbirth we have a choice. Think of childbirth if the baby had a choice. They might well choose to stay in the womb where it seems warmer and safer. However, ultimately staying in the womb past when it should be would lead to death.

Same choice, we might choose to stay just a creature of God, but ultimately that choice keeps us from becoming a son of God and leads to death. See, these new births, these Zoe moments are happening in people all over the world. But, you must know what to look for. They will not be very like the idea of religious people, which you have formed from your general reading. They do not draw attention to themselves. They tend to think that you are being kind to them when they are really being kind to you. They love you more than other men do, but they need you less. We must get over wanting to be needed. They seem to have a lot of time and you are wondering where it comes from.

Once you recognize one, you’ll start to recognize more. And I think you’ll see that these people can recognize one another across color, class, creeds. So, becoming holy is sort of like becoming part of a secret society. To put it at the very lowest, it must be fun!

But, don’t think they’re all alike. Although to become new men, means losing ourselves, into Christ we must go. His will is to become ours. And we are to think his thoughts. To have the mind of Christ, as the Bible says.

Think of a person who never tasted salt and you have him taste salt. He tastes it by itself and gets that strong taste. You tell him that in most all dishes you use salt. He asks why would you want everything to taste the same. What we know is that the salt simply brings out the taste even more so of that dish. That illustration breaks down of course, because you can kill the flavor of the food by putting in too much salt. Where you cannot kill the taste of a human personality by putting in too much Christ.

It is something like that with Christ and us. The more we go of what we now call “ourselves” out of the way and let him take us over, the more truly ourselves we become. There is so much of Him that millions and millions of “little Christs,” all different, will still be too few to express Him fully. He made them all. He invented – as an author invents characters in a novel – all the different men that you and I were intended to be. In that sense our real selves are waiting for us in Him. The more I resist Him and try to live on my own, the more I become dominated by my own heredity and upbringing and surroundings and natural desires. All I am is a bunch of random events, and not so much really a person, as I like to believe, on my own. It is when I turn to Christ and give myself to His personality that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.

At the beginning I said there were personalities in God, I will go further now. There are no real personalities anywhere else. Until you have given up yourself, you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among the most “natural” men, not among those who surrender to Christ.Think about who monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints.

But there must be a real giving up the self. You must throw it away “blindly” so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality. But, you must not go to him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him.

Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing, nothing that you have not given away will ever really be yours. Nothing in your that has not died will never be raised from the dead. Look for your self, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him with everything else thrown in.

Mere Christianity Summarized, Part 9

Mere Christianity Summarized, Part 9

(Book 4 : Beyond Personality, The First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity, Chapters 7-8)

Lewis entitled chapter 7, Let’s Pretend. And he starts by asking the reader to think of two stories. The first is Beauty and the Best, where Beauty had to marry the Beast and she did. She kissed him as if he were a man and he turned into a man. The other is of a man who had to wear a mask that was much more handsome than he really was. And he wore it for years and he found that when he took it off, he now looked as he did with the mask. His disguise had become a reality.

We want to transition from talking about God and who He is and what He’s done to talking about practice. What do we do next? What difference does all of this theology make?

Think of when you say the Lord’s prayer and you say “Our Father” , Do you realize what you are doing? You’re putting yourself in the place of a Son of God. To put it another way you are dressing up like Christ. From the moment you realize what the words mean, you realize you are not a son of God. You’re not being like the Son of God whose will and interests are at one with the Father. You are a bundle of self-centered fears, hopes, greeds, jealousies, and self conceit. All doomed to death.

There is a time when pretending is good. That is when the pretense actually leads up to the real thing. For example, you’re not in a great mood, but you know you should be friendly toward others still. So, you pretend like you’re in a good mood and you are friendly toward others. And usually you find that in not too long, you’re really in a better mood.

Remember, as you pretend the real Son of God is at your side. And he is trying to turn you into the same thing as himself. He’s beginning to inject his Zoe into you to turn the tin soldier into a live man. And the part that doesn’t like it is the part that’s still tin. So, when you’re praying and you hear him telling you to go downstairs and help your wife with the dishes. You hear him telling you to apologize for harsh words you said earlier in the day. Stop and go do it. Because in that moment you are becoming more like him!

If I don’t hear the “whispering of God,” how else can I see Him working in my life? Some of us who have never had this experience of feeling as if an invisible Jesus is there helping us, but you’ve had others help you. But this is Christ working through others. He works through others, through nature, through our own bodies. Sometimes through experiences that don’t even seem Christian. Think of a woman who says when the bread shortage comes it won’t affect her family because they have toast. Well, there’s not toast without bread. All of these other things would not be happening without first, Christ.

When a young man who has been going to church in a routine way, honestly realizes he does not believe in Christianity and stops going, provided he does it for honesty sake and not just to annoy his parents, the spirit of Christ is probably nearer to him than it ever was before.

Above all, Christ works on us through each other. Men are mirrors. Carriers of Christ to other men. Sometimes, unconscious carriers. This good infection can be carried who have not go it themselves. People who are not Christians. Lewis says people who are not Christians helped him to reach Christianity. See, we are so important to each other. You might say that when two Christians are helping each other follow Christ, there is not twice as many Christianity but sixteen times as much Christianity.

So, who gets the credit when a person does something “good” for you?We must come to recognize the help we receive from other humans as Christ through them. If not, we come to rely on humans. When our reliance should be on Christ.We must be thankful and honor these human beings who have helped us. But, never pin our faith on them. We can never pin our faith on a human being.

We must come to have the mind of Christ. The New Testament talks about Christians being born again. Putting on Christ. About Christ being formed in us. About our coming to have the mind of Christ.

This is much more than reading what Christ says and carrying it out.  It means that a real person, Christ, here and now. In the very room where you are saying your prayers, is doing things to you. It is not a question of a good man who died 2,000 years ago. It is a living man, still as much a man and still as much God as when he created the world. Really coming and interfering with your very self. Killing the old natural self in you and replacing it with the kind of self he has. First for only moments, then for longer periods. Finally, if all goes well, turning you permanently into a different sort of thing. Into a new little Christ. A being which, in its own small way, has the same sort of life as God. Which shares in his power, joy, knowledge and eternity.

What should happen is we begin to notice not just our sinful acts, but our sinfulness. Not just about what we do that is wrong, but about who we are. For example, Lewis says when he asks for forgiveness in the evening, he often goes straight to his lack of charity (love). Where he snapped or snubbed or sneered at somebody. But, his quick excuse is that I was caught off guard in that situation. It happened in a split second. Well, the greatest picture of who we really are would have to be what we do when we are caught off guard and don’t have time to think it through. And he sees that who he is in those moments, is sinful. And does not choose right.

On the other  hand, how many of our good deeds are done out of bad motives, just to show off. Because you feel superior to someone, because we want people to look at us a certain way, because it will bring some sort of good back to us. So at the end of the day we can see that it is not just about changing what we do, but remember the most important thing is to change who we are on our deepest level.

The paradox…Only God can do it, but I need to keep pretending I can! But, I cannot just by direct moral effort, just give myself new motives. We must realize that everything that needs to be done in our souls can be done only by God.

Secondly, I’ve been talking as if we do everything, but it is God who does everything. We at most allow it to happen to us. God, the Great Pretender! See, God does much more pretending than us. He sees before him a grumbling, greedy, self-centered human being and says, “Let’s pretend this is just this type of creature. But let us pretend this a  Son of God.”

It is like Christ because it is a man and Christ also became a man. But, let us also pretend it is like Christ in spirit. Let us treat it as if it were, what it in fact is not. Let us pretend until we make the pretense into a reality. God looks at you as if you were a little Christ. Christ stands beside you in order to turn you into one. Isn’t this how it always works? A higher being pretending for a lower one? A mother pretends her baby understands her by talking to her until her baby really talks. We treat our dogs as if they were human until they almost are human to us.

In Chapter 8, Lewis moves on to answering the question “Is Christianity Hard or Easy?” We talked about sort of dressing up in the last chapter to be like Christ. This is not one of many exercises a Christian must do. Nor is it set aside for the top class of Christians. Being like Christ is the whole of what Christians must do.

Becoming like Christ is not the same as becoming good in how we think of it. How we think of it is saying there are things we know we want do but they’re wrong, so I am going to stop them. The things that we don’t want to do that we know are right for the good of others or the society, so we must do them. But, we still hope that there is time left for us to just do what we want to do. So, one of two things happens. Either we give up on wanting to be good and just be selfish or we become quite unhappy because what we are doing is things we don’t really want to be doing to be good.

The Christian way is different, harder and easier. “I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. Hand over your whole natural self, things you think innocent, things you think wicked. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you myself.”Christ himself both describes the Christian way sometimes as very hard and sometimes as very easy. He says, “Take up your cross” but the next minute, “My yoke is easy and my burden light.”  He means both.

You can see how both are true. For example someone who just memorizes a math equation to solve just that one problem and it seems easier now. And the other person who takes the time to understand it. But later, on the test he flies through it because he really understands and the other one who is so labored because he doesn’t really understand the process. It was hard at first for the one who learned it, but easier now.

With Christ it’s the same way, because yes it’s hard to take up your cross and kill your whole self and take on Christ, but in the end it’s much easier than trying to remain yourself and be good in your own natural self, under your own power.

It starts each morning when you wake up and all the things you think you need and you want come rushing in and you stop and listen to that still voice to what He wants. And at first this is so difficult. But, then it becomes more and more who you are . It’s the difference between just putting on a layer of paint and using stain which seeps in and soaks through.

See, when Christ said Be perfect, he meant be perfect. Remember, in the Christian life there is nothing else. This is it. What is the sole purpose of the Church (and maybe the universe)? The church may think it exists for many reasons, but the only thing it exists for is draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missionaries and the Bible itself are just a waste of time. God became man for no other purpose. And it is doubtful whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose. 

It says in the Bible everything in the universe was made for Christ and everything is to be gathered together in him. It’s the only thing we were made for. And there are strange, exciting hints in the Bible, that when we are drawn in a great many other things in nature will begin to come right. The bad dream will be over. It will be morning.

He Was a Traitor!

It seems that often without knowing our young children articulate a profound truth that is far beyond their years. This is what happened the other day when I was reading with my son. Victor Jr. is 7 years old and in the second grade, but a very deep thinker for his age. He has an amazing imagination and when he is into a good book, he is fully drawn in. He lets what is happening become real and it fully invades all areas of his life. It is also able to evoke from him both deep thought and intense emotion.

Victor and I  were reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe together. (If you haven’t read this book, you should.) But, in order for this story to make a little bit of sense you need to know that Aslan is a talking lion in the magical land of Narnia. He is a good lion and a “Christ-like” character. Edmond is a boy who enters Narnia with his two sisters and brother through a magical wardrobe. He becomes involved with the evil character in the book, The White Witch, even though he is warned by his siblings and Mr. and Mrs Beaver how wicked she is.

We had reached the point in the book where because of rules that Edmond has broken, the deep magic in the land demands he pays for what he has done with his life. But, there is an ancient law that allows someone innocent to take his place. And this is just what Aslan does. There is a very moving scene where, although Aslan has power to destroy his enemies with ease, he allows them to take him captive. Aslan’s mane is shaved and he is beaten and mocked by the White Witch and her minions. And finally Aslan is tied down to the stone table and sacrificed in place of Edmond.

While I am reading this part of the story, I look over and Victor has covered his head and is hiding under the blanket. He is crying and does not want me to see. He has been so deeply moved by what is happening to Aslan that it has brought him to tears. And then he takes his head out of the blanket and asks a question that for him is truly about Aslan and Narnia, but that in reality has deep theological significance. “Daddy,” he says between sniffles. “Why would Aslan die for Edmond? He was a traitor!”

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And there you have it. From the mouth of babes… You see, I like to look at things deeply. I like to reason and research. To take every perspective and every angle on a topic into consideration. And I do this with my faith as well. Over the past few years it has raised questions like, “What is praying Jesus into your heart and where did it come from?” “How do I reconcile a loving God with the total annihilation of towns in the Old Testament?” “What proof is there for my faith and for eternity outside of the Bible?” And I truly believe these are good questions to ask. And that we should constantly be seeking digging deeper to truly be sure of what we believe.

William Barclay says in his commentary on the book of Mark, “With all God’s grace and glory before him he can go on learning for a life time and still need eternity to know as he is known.” And it is true that no matter how much we seek and learn, there will always be more to try to understand of our Lord. Yet in another part of that same commentary Barclay also says, “God gave man a mind, and it is man’s duty to use that mind to think to the very limit of human thought. But it is also true that there are times when that limit is reached and all that is left is to accept and to adore.”

And in that moment my 7-year-old brought me to a moment where I was just meant to adore. He reminded me why the Gospel of Jesus Christ truly is good news. In that instant, it was time for me to stop making everything so complicated and remember why the message of Jesus Christ can be only be accepted when we do so like a child. For what we seem to so often be blind to as adults, Victor Jr. was able to see so clearly in the magical land of Narnia. The truth is the same question that Victor asked about Edmond and Aslan, we must all ask for ourselves. “Jesus, I am such a traitor! Why did you die for me?” And it is only in that admittance of our own sinfulness, that has made each of us a traitor and enemy of God, that the gospel becomes good news.

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This is the first step. And it is the step that holds so many back. While almost everyone believes that they could become a little better person and (whether it is by self-determination or a belief in God) it’s all good if you are working at being the best you that you can be. But this is not the case. This is not the truth. It is so much more than just being a better person.

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis puts it like this “…fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement, he is a rebel who must lay down his arms. Laying down your arms, surrendering, realizing you have been on the wrong track and get ready to start life over from the ground floor.”

This acknowledgment and ownership that you have willingly done things that go against God. Now sometimes this sounds self-deprecating. It seems to go against the modern psychology of looking yourself in the mirror and reminding yourself that you are somebody. Yet, if each of us takes just a moment to be honest with ourself, it is so painfully honest!

How many times have you had just a thought that was prideful, lustful, hateful, judgmental, and the list could go on. And you knew that thought was not good or kind or loving, yet you entertain the thought and allowed it to grow. You even relished in the thought and indulged yourself in putting yourself up on a pedestal while belittling your neighbor or allowed yourself to act out a fantasy with someone other than your spouse. All the while somehow telling yourself it was okay as long as it stayed in your mind, but knowing that it was wrong.

And this is simply our thought life, but we can certainly move onto our actions. How many times have you known the good you ought to do for another human being and not done it? You saw that a person was having a horrible day, yet you were too busy to ask what was wrong. You shoveled your own driveway and hustled back into your house pretending not to notice the elderly widow struggling to clear hers; after all the football game was on. You joined into the gossip in the break room at work because you just wanted to fit in with your co-workers.

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Is it really that hard to see that we don’t ever go a day without actively choosing to think and do things that we know are wrong? That every day when we lay our head down on our pillow we know we are not without fault; that there is at least one regret of “I know I should’ve of” or “Why did I do that?” Yet, I believe for so many this is the offense of the Gospel. This is what stops them dead in their tracks from going any further with Jesus.

But if only we will admit ourselves guilty before the Lord. Confess to Him that we know we choose to do wrong. And that this puts you in the opposite camp of a perfect and holy God; the Good News begins!

And when we throw up our hands and say, “Jesus, I am a traitor! Why did You die for me?” We hear back from the God-man himself, “Because I love you! Because I am the Good Shepherd. I am the Father who has stood at the end of the driveway watching for you and waiting; hoping you would come home. I am gracious and merciful, abounding in love. Because I desire for You to be with me forever in eternity.”

And you see I explained this to Victor Jr. It was in a little simpler terms, but with the same concept. And he seemed to get it. He understood that he often disobeys his mom and I. That there are times he is purposefully mean to his little sister. That he has lied to try to stay out of trouble a time or two. He grasped that each these choices all went against what he knew was right and what God would want him to do. And he understood his need for a Savior.

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Dear Lord, May my adult pride does not get in the way my remembering to daily humble myself in the same way. Amen.