Exposition of Psalm 95 with Paul

Exposition of Psalm 95: Hearing God’s Word in Faith

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

Oh, that today you would listen as he speaks!

Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of testing in the wilderness.

There your fathers tested me and tried me, and they saw my works for forty years.

Therefore, I became provoked at that generation and said, Their hearts are always wandering and they have not known my ways.’

As I swore in my anger, They will never enter my rest!’”

See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has an evil, unbelieving heart that forsakes the living God. But exhort one another each day, as long as it is called “Today,” that none of you may become hardened by sin’s deception. For we have become partners with Christ, if in fact we hold our initial confidence firm until the end. As it says,

Oh, that today you would listen as he speaks! Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

For which ones heard and rebelled? Was it not all who came out of Egypt under Moses’ leadership? And against whom was God provoked for forty years? Was it not those who sinned, whose dead bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear they would never enter into his rest, except those who were disobedient?  So we see that they could not enter because of unbelief.

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Walk

Remember He is the artist and you are only the picture. You can’t see it. So quietly submit to be painted—i.e., keep fulfilling all the obvious duties of your station (you really know quite well enough what they are!), asking forgiveness for each failure and then leaving it alone. You are in the right way. Walk—don’t keep on looking at it.

–CS Lewis, Collected Letters

Hymn to God, My God, in My Sickness, John Donne

Since I am coming to that holy room,

         Where, with thy choir of saints for evermore,

I shall be made thy music; as I come

         I tune the instrument here at the door,

         And what I must do then, think here before. 

Whilst my physicians by their love are grown

         Cosmographers, and I their map, who lie

Flat on this bed, that by them may be shown

         That this is my south-west discovery, 

      Per fretum febris, by these straits to die, 

I joy, that in these straits I see my west;

         For, though their currents yield return to none,

What shall my west hurt me? As west and east

         In all flat maps (and I am one) are one,

         So death doth touch the resurrection.

Is the Pacific Sea my home? Or are

         The eastern riches? Is Jerusalem?

Anyan, and Magellan, and Gibraltar,

         All straits, and none but straits, are ways to them,

         Whether where Japhet dwelt, or Cham, or Shem. 

We think that Paradise and Calvary, 

         Christ’s cross, and Adam’s tree, stood in one place; 

Look, Lord, and find both Adams met in me; 

         As the first Adam’s sweat surrounds my face, 

         May the last Adam’s blood my soul embrace. 

So, in his purple wrapp’d, receive me, Lord; 

         By these his thorns, give me his other crown; 

And as to others’ souls I preach’d thy word, 

         Be this my text, my sermon to mine own: 

“Therefore that he may raise, the Lord throws down.”

John Donne

A Living Sacrifice

A vision of sonship in our Lord:

“The last act of our Lord in thus commending his spirit at the close of his life, was only a summing up of what he had been doing all his life. He had been offering this sacrifice, the sacrifice of himself, all the years, and in thus sacrificing he had lived the divine life. Every morning when he went out ere it was day, every evening when he lingered on the night-lapt mountain after his friends were gone, he was offering himself to his Father in the communion of loving words, of high thoughts, of speechless feelings; and, between, he turned to do the same thing in deed, namely, in loving word, in helping thought, in healing action towards his fellows; for the way to worship God while the daylight lasts is to work; the service of God, the only “divine service,” is the helping of our fellows.”

– George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, The Eloi

A vision of discipleship, and the path to the healing of the hearts of men:

“Troubled soul, thou art not bound to feel, but thou art bound to arise. God loves thee whether thou feelest or not. Thou canst not love when thou wilt, but thou art bound to fight the hatred in thee to the last. Try not to feel good when thou art not good, but cry to Him who is good. He changes not because thou changest. Nay, he has an especial tenderness of love towards thee for that thou art in the dark and hast no light, and his heart is glad when thou dost arise and say, “I will go to my Father.” For he sees thee through all the gloom through which thou canst not see him. Will thou his will. Say to him: “My God, I am very dull and low and hard; but thou art wise and high and tender, and thou art my God. I am thy child. Forsake me not.” Then fold the arms of thy faith, and wait in quietness until light goes up in thy darkness. Fold the arms of thy Faith I say, but not of thy Action: bethink thee of something that thou oughtest to do, and go and do it, if it be but the sweeping of a room, or the preparing of a meal, or a visit to a friend. Heed not thy feelings: Do thy work.”

– George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, The Hands of the Father

 

 

“Rise; take up thy bed, and walk.” (John 5:8)

On Forgiveness, with CS Lewis

“He doesn’t say that we are to forgive other people’s sins provided they are not too frightful, or provided there are extenuating circumstances, or anything of that sort. We are to forgive them all, however spiteful, however mean, however often they are repeated.”

– CS Lewis

Once You are Real

From “The Velveteen Rabbit”:

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Once you become Real, you can’t be ugly…❤️

The Spirit of Christianity

Dear Ladies,

Who told you that Christians must not go to the theatre, dance, play cards, drink, or smoke? The “World,” you will remember, is mentioned along with the flesh and the devil. The Flesh means sexual vice (but not marriage), drunkenness (but not drinking) enslavement to indulgent habits (but not [illegible], not smoking just as much) and over-eating (but not enjoying one’s meals). The Devil means occultism and magic in all their various forms (spiritualism, astrology, future-telling, avoiding 13, not walking under ladders). The World means worldly ends and ambition (inordinate interest in one’s career, love of money, snobbery, desire to be in the right set, desire for popularity). Of course any of the innocent pleasures may have to be given up in a particular xtreme: e.g. cards must go if you can’t play without becoming totally absorbed in it and drink must go if you can’t drink without taking too much. But a list of general prohibitions such as you suggest is not in the spirit of Christianity at all: it is more like the old Jewish law, from which, as St. Paul says, we are ‘set free’. The test of an innocent pleasure is whether you can with a clean mind give God thanks for it—as I certainly can for a glass of beer on a hot day but can not for being drunk: can be contended without it. It is not the pleasure but the enslavement to an act is bad. I don’t myself know of a particular actor who has been converted—how shd. I—just as I don’t happen to know of a particular postman who has. But I don’t think that means that I must’ve lost the letter. You write again if I haven’t been clear: meanwhile, all good wishes.

Yours sincerely,

C.S. Lewis