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Showing posts from 2016

Ryle on Peter's Death Foretold by Jesus

Caravaggio, The Crucifixion of Saint Peter. Oil on canvas, circa 1600. J. C. Ryle has some really great comments on John 21.  As for Jesus' foretelling of Peter's future, he writes,  "We learn, for one thing, from these verses, that the future history of Christians, both in life and death, is foreknown by Christ. The Lord tells Simon Peter, “When thou art old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.” These words, without controversy, were a prediction of the manner of the Apostle’s death. ... The truth before us is eminently full of comfort to a true believer ... it is an unspeakable consolation to remember, that our whole future is known and forearranged by Christ. There is no such thing as luck, chance, or accident, in the journey of our life. Everything from beginning to end is foreseen,—arranged by One who is too wise to err, and too loving to do us harm. Let us store up this truth in


Notes on Wendel Berry's ​ Whitefoot: A Story from the Center of the World . She is a creature who knows her place and how to live.  She goes about the unfinished task of staying alive (p. 60), taking - hour by hour - the opportunity to live (p. 56).  To that end, she does her work in the only world she knows, the only world she has to live in: her acre. But our little lives are still lived in a wide world and there are storms in this world.  And these storms can move us and change our circumstances.  They can lead us into strange places; challenging places. How does she take these storms?  By simply staying alive where she is. She went on a trip - unwillingly via the storm - into the wide world - far from her familiar acre - and at certain points on the way, she was actually quite unaware of what all was going on in world.  For she ate and slept, which was her nature as she continued to live in the littleness of the world immediately around her. A bit of a summary: T

We Must Forgive

The Lord's Prayer is a pattern prayer for all our praying, but it is also a lesson for us in forgiveness: we must forgive.  In Matthew 6, the petition, "and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us" is the one petition that the Lord emphasizes above all others.  It's almost as if Jesus is saying that this is the main reason for giving us the prayer in the first place!  He no more says "Amen" and then he says, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." This makes perfectly good sense.  It's a matter of justice, isn't it.  It's not fair for us to ask God to forgive us our enormous offenses against him, if we will not forgive the offenses people have committed against us.  That doesn't make it easy, but it is the fair thing. And think of it this way: How can God

Should you desire more for yourself?

Lewis looking at the inspiring scenery out his window at The Kilns in 1963.  (Photo by permission of Walter Hooper) If we have read the New Testament, we know that Christians are not to be selfish, i.e. self-seeking, putting one's self above others.  The example that Jesus gives his followers is one of self-sacrifice, of giving up of one's self for the sake of others. Yet he tells us in Mark 8 to follow him that we might save ourselves: 34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. C. S. Lewis, in his sermon The Weight of Glory , brings up the point that this does seem rather mercenary or self-seeking.  We are to follow Jesus to save ourselves; not other people or some general idea of "humani

Letters to Malcolm Study @ HOP

I will be leading a discussion of Lewis' book Letters to Malcolm at the Chattanooga House of Prayer, 11 & 12 March.  Here's the Facebook event page - hope you can join us! That's me leading a discussion of Letters to Malcolm at The Kilns, home of C. S. Lewis, in Oxford last year.

United with Beauty

Source: In The Weight of Glory , Lewis says we are meant to get into the Beauty we see in the universe around us; to be united with it. Our literature often depicts beings that reflect what is seen in Nature as the sphere of their existence, both ontologically (it comprises the nature of their being) and circumstantially.  We write stories like that because we want to be able to step into that world (overcoming exclusion) and we like the idea of beings so closely connected, united, to the beauty we see in Nature.  It's the kind of stuff Tolkien dreamed of when he created his elves.  Nature reflects the objective reality of the thing that our desires point to, but as mere distant echoes.  If we are in Christ, we will endure after Nature is gone and enter into that which Nature has reflected in this age.   He has redeemed us to become what we were meant to be as human beings, and being one with his Beauty is