Outrageous Grace

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When people realize that they have received a gift they can never repay, they notify their faces and their actions, and the tenor of their lives becomes one of humble and joyful thanksgiving. They simply rejoice in the gift. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love is everlasting” (Ps. 107:1).

–Brennan Manning,
Ruthless Trust

Published in: on 05/30/2017 at 16:59  Leave a Comment  
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Pleasure Was God’s Idea

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Pleasure is designed to
raise our sense of God’s goodness,
deepen our gratitude to him,
and strengthen our hope of
richer pleasures to come.

–J. I. Packer

Made to Run on Divine Fuel

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God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other.

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That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.

–C. S. Lewis,
Mere Christianity

Choosing Joy

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Published in: on 10/21/2016 at 9:22  Leave a Comment  
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Our True Home and Happiness

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When you have learned
that your only home
is God’s presence,
and your only happiness
is in doing God’s will,
there is nothing more
that I can teach you.

–Edward Dennet
(1831-1914)

Published in: on 04/10/2016 at 5:39  Leave a Comment  
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Patches of Godlight

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Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy. These pure and spontaneous pleasures are ‘patches of Godlight’ in the woods of our experience.

–C. S. Lewis,
Letters to Malcolm

Reverence and Rejoicing

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It is fascinating to notice how Scripture often combines “furious opposites.” The psalm, for instance, that says, “The LORD reigns, let the nations tremble” is found right alongside another that declares, “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth” (Psa. 99:1; 100:1). This God evokes both holy trembling and happy shouting. He inspires dread and delight (Psa. 2:11). In his presence we are constrained not only to bow down but also to dance, to be awestruck and joy-filled. It makes for a great mix. Here is worship that motivates holiness and happiness. It frees us from the extremes of frivolity and frigidity, of emotionalism and formalism. Neither reverence or rejoicing should be absent. A fascinating and powerful combination.

–Jurgen O. Schulz

Not just survival

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It is worth mentioning . . .
that this God . . .
is the one who created kites,
and sex, and good wine,
and spring flowers,
and children’s eyes.
Coming home to him
will not just be survival—
it could turn out to be
an awful lot of fun.

–Adrian Plass
When You Walk

More to come

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We long for more
and God’s promise is
that there is more awaiting us.
More to delight us than
we will ever exhaust.

–C. S. Lewis

Pleasure and Pain

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Pleasure and pain are, in a word, the positive and negative poles between which flow the currents of human life. Detach one pole, and this life will cease. People who ask for a painless world don’t truly know what they are asking for.

–Dallas Willard
The Allure of Gentleness

Published in: on 04/23/2015 at 21:50  Leave a Comment  
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The sin of not rejoicing

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I think we all sin
by needlessly disobeying
the apostolic injunction
to ‘rejoice’ as much as
by anything else.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 01/29/2015 at 3:19  Leave a Comment  
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Two lessons to learn

Stephen Darbishire 1940 - British Interiors and Landscape painter - Tutt'Art@ (18)

There are but two lessons
for the Christian to learn:
the one is to enjoy
God in everything;
the other is to enjoy
everything in God.

–Charles Simeon
(1759–1836)

Artwork: Stephen Darbishire

Life Is Meant to Be Spent

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Lay your life down. Your heartbeats cannot be hoarded. Your reservoir of breaths is draining away. You have hands, blister them while you can. You have bones, make them strain—they can carry nothing in the grave. You have lungs, let them spill with laughter.

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With an average life expectancy of 78.2 years in the US (subtracting eight hours a day for sleep), I have around 250,00 conscious hours remaining to me in which I could be smiling or scowling, rejoicing in my life, in this race, in this story, or moaning and complaining about my troubles.

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I can be giving my fingers, my back, my mind, my words, my breaths, to my wife and my children and my neighbors, or I can grasp after the vapor and the vanity for myself, dragging my feet, afraid to die and therefore afraid to live. And, like Adam, I will still die in the end.

― N. D. Wilson
Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent

Three things promised

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Jesus promised
the disciples three things–
that they would be
completely fearless,
absurdly happy and
in constant trouble.

—G. K. Chesterton

Reason to rejoice

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God is the one
who helps us, who accepts us,
who brings us holiness
in our unholiness.
In this God we may and can
and must rejoice.

–Karl Barth

Art: Stephen Darbishire

Published in: on 11/26/2014 at 2:18  Leave a Comment  
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The serious business of play

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We are not meant
to be perpetually
solemn:
We must play.

–C. S. Lewis

The speed of humor

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Common sense
and a sense of humor
are the same thing,
moving at different speeds.
A sense of humor is just
common sense,
dancing.

–William James

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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Gifts from God

b90d9ba1a77ae29c06ff29319f31edd7Only those
who give thanks
are able to rejoice,
for only they
are conscious
that life, freedom
and well-being
are not rights
but gifts.

–Roger Scruton

 

 

Artwork: Lynne Henderson

God of the Beautiful

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One of my greatest difficulties in consenting to think of religion was that I thought I should have to give up my beautiful thoughts and my love for the things God has made. But I find that the happiness springing from all things not in themselves sinful is much increased by religion.

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God is the God of the Beautiful—Religion is the love of the Beautiful, and Heaven is the Home of the Beautiful—Nature is tenfold brighter in the Sun of Righteousness, and my love of Nature is more intense since I became a Christian—if indeed I am one. God has not given me such thoughts and forbidden me to enjoy them.

–George MacDonald
(1824 – 1905)

Artwork: Jim Mitchell

Published in: on 09/30/2014 at 2:22  Leave a Comment  
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Holiness is a flood

green - waterfallWe should strive for holiness, but holiness is a flood, not an absence. Are you the kind of parent who can create joys for your children that they never imagined wanting? Does your sun shine, warming the faces of others? Does your rain green the world around you? Do you end your days with anything resembling a sunset? Do you begin with a dawn?

We say that we would like to be more like God. So be more thrilled with moonlight. And babies. And what makes them. And holding on to one lover until you’ve both been aged to wine, ready to pour. Holiness is nothing like a building code. Holiness is 80-year-old hands crafting an apple pie for others, again. It is aspen trees in a backlit breeze. It is fire on the mountain.

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Speak your joy. Mean it. Sing it. Do it. Push it down into your bones. Let it overflow your banks and flood the lives of others.

At his right hand, there are pleasures forevermore. When we are truly like him, the same will be said of us.

–N. D. Wilson
Lighten Up, Christians

Published in: on 09/21/2014 at 5:37  Leave a Comment  
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Calling forth joy

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To know that God is your Father and that he loves you, his adopted child, no less than he loves his only begotten Son and to know that enjoyment of God’s love and glory for all eternity are pledged to you brings inward delight that is sometimes over-whelming; and this also is the Spirit’s doing. For the “joy in the Holy Spirit,” in terms of which Paul defines the kingdom of God in Romans 14:17, is the “rejoicing in God” spoken of in Romans 5:2,11, and it is the Spirit’s witness to God’s love for us that calls forth this joy.

-James I. Packer
Keep in Step with the Spirit

Retaining the wonder

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Let us remember one thing: the worst thing that can happen to our Christianity is to let it become a thing taken for granted . . . The marvel of God’s gracious act upon our life never really dawns upon us unless we render thanks to him every day. Only the man who gives thanks retains the wonder of God’s fatherly love in his thoughts. But the one who has this wonder in his thoughts keeps the very spring and freshness of his Christianity. He holds on daily and nightly, to a living joy in his Lord and Saviour.

–Helmut Thielicke
The Waiting Father

The gift of joy

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Yes, joy is God’s gift, but we must stretch out our hands to split the kindling of prayer, carry the logs of good deeds, lay the fire of faith, and strike the match of the Spirit. If we do our part, the Lord will not fail to build a cheerful roaring fire in our hearts.

–Mike Mason
Champagne for the Soul

Published in: on 06/10/2014 at 8:39  Leave a Comment  
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Spreading happiness

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Let the weakest, let the humblest remember, that in his daily course he can, if he will, shed around him almost a heaven. Kindly words, sympathizing attentions, watchfulness against wounding men’s sensitiveness, — these cost very little, but they are priceless in their value. Are they not almost the staple of our daily happiness? From hour to hour, from moment to moment, we are supported, blest, by small kindnesses.

–F. W. Robertson
(1816 – 1853)

Published in: on 06/05/2014 at 7:49  Leave a Comment  
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The Giver of gladness

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Every spring-fountain of gladness about us is his making and his delight. He tends us and cares for us; he is close to us, breathing into our nostrils the breath of life, and breathing into our spirit this thought and that thought to make us look up and recognize the love and the care around us. . . . To recognize and know this loving-kindness, and to stand up in it strong and glad; this is the ministration of God unto us.

–George MacDonald
(1824 – 1905)

Image: Henri Martin

Fun and God’s will

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Whence comes this idea that if what we are doing is fun, it can’t be God’s will? The God who made giraffes, a baby’s fingernails, a puppy’s tail, a crooknecked squash, the bobwhite’s call, and a young girl’s giggle, has a sense of humor. Make no mistake about that.

  –Catherine Marshall
(1914 – 1983)

Published in: on 05/17/2014 at 9:33  Leave a Comment  
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Inventor of pleasure

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In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you, they would have not been at all.

— St. Augustine

Stretches of darkness

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If anyone tells you that the life of prayer is one uninterrupted experience of being happy with Jesus, do not follow him. He is not a safe guide. Those who follow the Lamb know that there are stretches of darkness and loneliness and perplexity along the way, and they know that Jesus himself went that way.

–Lesslie Newbigin
(1909-1998)

Playful universe

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The universe is not
God at work but
God at play.

–Leonard Sweet
The Well Played Life

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