Baseball, Heaven and Hell

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The self is like a baseball. Throw it back to the divine pitcher who pitched it to you in the first place, and the game of love goes on. Hold it, and the game is over. That is the difference between Heaven and Hell.

—Peter Kreeft,
The God Who Loves You

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Published in: on 01/15/2016 at 17:28  Leave a Comment  
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The Final Banquet

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Jesus will make the world
our perfect home again.
We will no longer be living ‘east of Eden,’
always wandering and never arriving.
We will come, and the father will meet us
and embrace us, and we will be 
brought into the feast.

–Tim Keller
The Prodigal God

Published in: on 10/28/2015 at 15:51  Leave a Comment  
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Stories, hopes and laughter

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Published in: on 10/24/2015 at 12:34  Leave a Comment  
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Future fulfillment

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There is no inborn longing
that shall not be fulfilled.
I think that is as certain as 
the forgiveness of sins.

–George MacDonald

Published in: on 10/14/2015 at 11:34  Leave a Comment  
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Keep on going

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Your life is short,
your duties many,
your assistance great,
and your reward sure;
therefore faint not,
hold on and hold up,
in ways of well-doing,
and heaven shall
make amends
for all.

–Thomas Brooks

 

To Enter Heaven

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TO ENTER HEAVEN is to become more human than you ever succeeded in being on earth; to enter hell is to be banished from humanity. What is cast (or casts itself) into hell is not a man: it is “remains.”

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To be a complete man means to have the passions obedient to the will and the will offered to God: to have been a man – to be an ex-man or “damned ghost” – would presumably mean to consist of a will utterly centered in its self and passions utterly uncontrolled by the will.

–C. S. Lewis
The Problem of Pain

Aim at Heaven

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Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is.

If you read history you will find
that the Christians who did most
for the present world were just those
who thought most of the next.

The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. […] Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.

–C. S. Lewis
Mere Christianity

Made for another world

the_garden_of_hope 2If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.

If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or to be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage.

I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same.

― C. S. Lewis
Mere Christianity

Beyond all expectation

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I believe, to be sure, that any man who reaches Heaven will find that what he has abandoned (even in plucking out his right eye) was precisely nothing: that the kernel of what he was really seeking even in his most depraved wishes will be there, beyond expectation, waiting for him in ‘the High Countries.’

–C. S. Lewis
The Great Divorce

Artwork: Freydoon Rassouli

Published in: on 02/14/2015 at 8:24  Leave a Comment  
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Not a fairy tale

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In the salvation
of Jesus Christ
we learn that
the happy ending
we all long for
is not a fairy tale.

–Tim Keller

Published in: on 02/13/2015 at 5:48  Leave a Comment  
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Heaven already inside

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If you have really handed yourself over to Him it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.

–C. S. Lewis
Christian Behavior

Hearts made for God

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Pride struggles to push us to the top of the heap. But the top of the heap is not vacant. God is there, high above all. Ambition drives us to seek power and glory—but the glory and power are Yours, Lord. The promiscuous man or woman is looking desperately for some kind of love in return, but fails to see the love of God, offered freely and without condition . . .

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Others search restlessly for satisfaction in this or that sensual experience, but only “at his right hand” are there “pleasures forevermore.” Truly our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You, O Lord . . .

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In other words, sin comes when we take a perfectly natural desire or longing or ambition and try desperately to fulfill it without God. Not only is it sin, it is a perverse distortion of the image of the Creator in us. All these good things, and all our security, are rightly found only and completely in him.

–St. Augustine
The Confessions of Augustine
In Modern English

The serious business of joy

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Dance and game are frivolous, unimportant down here; for ‘down here’ is not their natural place. Here, they are a moment’s rest from the life we are placed here to live. But in this world everything is upside down. That which, if it could be prolonged here, would be a truancy, is likest (most like) that which in a better country is the End of ends. Joy is the serious business of heaven.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 10/30/2014 at 4:21  Leave a Comment  
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The best is yet to come

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“You have kept the good wine until now” (Jn. 2:10).

In this world the best comes first. The wonder of childhood vanishes before the harsh realities of adulthood. The vigor of youth gives way to the feebleness of old age. Sin’s pleasure is followed by regret and remorse, dreams turn into illusions, and hope frequently gets reduced to cynicism. In a very short time the latest cutting edge innovation becomes outdated and obsolete.

We live on a planet where magnificence
quickly turns to monotony.

In Christ it works the other way. The best comes last. His love gets sweeter, his grace grows richer, his presence more comforting. The road that starts narrow keeps getting wider, the good news of the gospel continually shines brighter. The end is better than the beginning.

And when we finally get to the other side, we will discover that everything is more wonderful than we ever dreamed—and it will keep on getting better! In Christ we are involved in an everlasting process of going higher, an unending experience of “grace upon grace,” an eternal increase of goodness.

The phrase: “It doesn’t get any better than this”—is not applicable in God’s kingdom. However good it gets—the best wine is yet to come.

–Jurgen Schulz

Photo: Marek Jedzer

Where we belong

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The Kingdom of God
is where we belong.
It is home, and whether
we realize it or not,
I think we are all of us
homesick for it.

–Frederick Buechner

Made in heaven

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Every bit of love and beauty and truth that anyone ever experiences on earth is made in Heaven and is a participation in Heaven. For Heaven is God’s presence; and God is present in all goodness, all truth, and all beauty . . . In God all goodness, truth and beauty exist, coexist and meet . . . God is the point of it all.

–Peter J. Kreeft
Heaven: The Earth’s Deepest Longing

Published in: on 10/05/2013 at 17:49  Leave a Comment  
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The coming joy

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While other worldviews
lead us to sit in the midst of life’s joys,
foreseeing the coming sorrows,
Christianity empowers its people to sit
in the midst of this world’s sorrows,
tasting the coming joy.

–Tim Keller

Published in: on 10/01/2013 at 5:03  Leave a Comment  
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Brief journey

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Faint not;
the miles to heaven
are but few
and short.

–Samuel Rutherford

Getting ready for heaven

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Learn to dance,
so when you get to heaven
the angels know what
to do with you.

–St. Augustine of Hippo
(354 – 430)

Published in: on 08/25/2013 at 4:34  Leave a Comment  
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A magnificent obsession

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There is a magnificent insanity about the parable that [Jesus told in Mt. 13:45]. It has to do with a pearl freak—a merchant whose hobby was pearls. One day he evidently came across a pearl to end all pearls. You can imagine the quick intake of his breath, his staring eyes, the licking of his dry lips, the anxious inquiry about price, the haggling, the pondering of the tremendous cost of the pearl. You can also imagine him returning home and looking over the rest of his pearl collection. With shaking hands he would pick them up one by one and drop them into a soft leather pouch. Not only the pearls but house, slaves, everything went so that the one pearl might be his.

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And then, bereft of everything but a big pearl—what would the food do? You can’t eat pearls. In my mind is a picture of a crazy merchant sitting in a miserable hovel, his glowing eyes feasting on his pearl and his fingers gently caressing it. Crazy? Perhaps he is the one sane person among us.

It all depends on whether the pearl was worth it. We see at once that treasure in heaven would be worth it. Why are we so quick to opt for earthly treasure and so slow to be obsessed with the heavenly? Perhaps it is because we do not believe in heavenly realities. They represent a celestial cliché in our minds, but no more. Basically you see, it is faith that makes us step lightheartedly along the Way of the Cross—not a spirit of sacrifice but faith that the next life is important…

The Way of the Cross is a magnificent obsession with a heavenly pearl, beside which everything else in life has no value.

–John White
The Cost of Commitment

Two kinds of people

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There are only two kinds
of people in the end:
those who say to God,
“thy will be done,”
and those to whom
God says, in the end,
“Thy will be done.

–C. S. Lewis
The Great Divorce

One day we shall ride

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To shrink back from all that can be called Nature into negative spirituality is as if we ran away from horses instead of learning to ride. There is in our present pilgrim condition plenty of room (more room than most of us like) for abstinence and renunciation and mortifying our natural desires. But behind all asceticism the thought should be, ‘Who will trust us with the true wealth if we cannot be trusted even with the wealth that perishes?’

Who will trust me with a spiritual body
if I cannot control even an earthly body?

These small and perishable bodies we now have were given to us as ponies are given to schoolboys. We must learn to manage: not that we may some day be free of horses altogether but that some day we may ride bareback, confident and rejoicing, those greater mounts, those winged, shining and world-shaking horses which perhaps even now expect us with impatience, pawing and snorting in the King’s stables. Not that the gallop would be of any value unless it were a gallop with the King; but how else – since He has retained His own charger – should we accompany Him?

–C.S. Lewis
Miracles

Longing for Home

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Maybe at the heart
of all our traveling
is the dream of someday,
somehow, getting Home.

–Frederick Buechner

Image by AJ Gonfiantini

Retroactive glory

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Heaven, once attained,
will work backwards
and turn even agony
into a glory.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 05/28/2013 at 20:16  Leave a Comment  
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Future harvest

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Expect the seeds you sow
of mercy, grace and justice
to appear as life in the
new heaven and new earth,
one Day.

–Scotty Smith

It will end well

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[T]he God who came in history and comes daily in mystery will one day come in glory. God is saying in Jesus that in the end everything will be all right. Nothing can harm you permanently, no suffering is irrevocable, no loss is lasting, no defeat is more than transitory, no disappointment is conclusive. Jesus did not deny the reality of suffering, discouragement, disappointment, frustration, and death; he simply stated that the Kingdom of God would conquer all of these horrors, that the Father’s love is so prodigal that no evil could possibly resist it.

–Brennan Manning

The quest for happiness

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The Christian doctrine of suffering explains, I believe, a very curious fact about the world we live in.

The settled happiness and security
which we all desire, God withholds from us
by the very nature of the world:
but joy, pleasure, and merriment,
He has scattered broadcast.

We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose . . . our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency.

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Our Father refreshes us on the journey
with some pleasant inns, but will not
encourage us to mistake them for home.

―C. S. Lewis
The Problem of Pain

Published in: on 04/21/2013 at 5:48  Leave a Comment  
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Waiting at the door

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We are orphans at the gate of the orphanage, awaiting our new parents. They aren’t here yet, but we know they are coming. They wrote us a letter. We haven’t seen them yet, but we know what they look like. They sent us a picture. And we’re not acquainted with our new house yet, but we have a hunch about it. It’s grand. They sent a description.

–Max Lucado
When God Whispers Your Name

Published in: on 04/18/2013 at 3:34  Leave a Comment  
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Never meant to satisfy

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Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desire exists. A baby feels hunger; well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex.

If I find in myself a desire which
no experience in this world can satisfy,
the most probably explanation is that
I was made for another world.

If none of my earthly pleasure satisfy it, that does not mean the universe is a fraud . . . earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.

–C. S. Lewis

Photo by Mohd Shamsudin

Paradise restored

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Jesus will make the world
our perfect home again.
We will no longer be living ‘east of Eden,’
always wandering and never arriving.
We will come, and the father will meet us
and embrace us, and we will be 
 brought into the feast.

–Tim Keller
The Prodigal God

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