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Lewis discusses joy in a letter found tucked into a copy of Lewis's The Problem of Pain which was bought in a used bookshop.
"Real joy seems to me almost as unlike security or prosperity as it is unlike agony...."
"It jumps under one's ribs and tickles down one's back and makes one forget meals and keeps one (delightedly) sleepless o' nights. It shocks one awake when the other puts one to sleep. My private table is one second of joy is worth 12 hours of Pleasure. I think you really quite agree with me."
In a postscript, he added:
"Don't you know the disappointment when you expected joy from a piece of music and get only pleasure: Like finding Leah when you thought you'd married Rachel!"
"I think I can say from experience, from history, and from the Bible: Every Christian needs more spiritual food than one meal a week. That doesn't work physically; it doesn't work spiritually. Temptations are too relentless. Doubt is too frequent. Satan is too active. Tribulations are too heavy. Conflicts are too many. Emotions are too volatile. Perplexities are too difficult. Faith, hope, and love are too threatened, to think I can deal with these all week long simply from one word I got on Sunday. I can't do it. And I don't think anybody can."
Rosaria Butterfield writes that we need to look back to the past to find sound Christian counsel on indwelling sin and holy living.
"Worldview matters. And if we don't reach back before the 19th century, back to the Bible itself, the Westminster divines, and the Puritans, we will limp along, defeated. Yes, the Holy Spirit gives you a heart of flesh and the mind to understand and love the Lord and his Word. But without good reading practices even this redeemed heart grows flabby, weak, shaky, and ill. You cannot lose your salvation, but you can lose everything else.
"Enter John Owen. Thomas Watson. Richard Baxter. Thomas Brooks. Jeremiah Burroughs. William Gurnall. The Puritans. They didn't live in a world more pure than ours, but they helped create one that valued biblical literacy. Owen's work on indwelling sin is the most liberating balm to someone who feels owned by sexual sin. You are what (and how) you read. J. C. Ryle said it takes the whole Bible to make a whole Christian. Why does sin lurk in the minds of believers as a law, demanding to be obeyed? How do we have victory if sin's tentacles go so deep, if Satan knows our names and addresses? We stand on the ordinary means of grace: Scripture reading, prayer, worship, and the sacraments. We embrace the covenant of church membership for real accountability and community, knowing that left to our own devices we'll either be led astray or become a danger to those we love most. We read our Bibles daily and in great chunks. We surround ourselves with a great cloud of witnesses who don't fall prey to the same worldview snares we and our post-19th century cohorts do.
"In short, we honor God with our reading diligence. We honor God with our reading sacrifice. If you watch two hours of TV and surf the internet for three, what would happen if you abandoned these habits for reading the Bible and the Puritans? For real. Could the best solution to the sin that enslaves us be just that simple and difficult all at the same time? We create Christian communities that are safe places to struggle because we know sin is also "lurking at [our] door." God tells us that sin's "desire is for you, but you shall have mastery over it" (Gen. 4:7). Sin isn't a matter of knowing better, it isn't (only) a series of bad choices--and if it were, we wouldn't need a Savior, just need a new app on our iPhone."
Questions, worksheets, and activity ideas designed around William Bennett's The Book of Virtues
We are satisfied with trivialities and counterfeits when "exceeding joy" is promised to us. Five truths to remember when you're tempted to trade your morning devotions for a few more minutes of sleep: God is inviting me to exceeding joy. His word will strengthen my weak faith. His word will shine light on the darkness around me. When I pray, God will work. This is the one thing that can't be taken from me.
From The Gospel Coalition website: "As a pastor, there are certain things I hope the people at my church will never say they never heard. These are not necessarily the most important doctrines of the faith (though some are). Rather, these are the things we easily assume our people know, but often still miss." They include: "Being a Christian is more than going to church and being a good person." "We must be born again." "We need to develop a personal relationship with Christ." "Mature Christians develop lifelong habits of Bible reading and prayer." "Christians suffer." "God can be pleased with me." "Beware of false teachers." "There is one God in three Persons." "There are many people in the world who don't think Christianity is true and some of them are very nice and very smart." "There is a reason we worship the way we do."
Isaac Newton's catalog of his own sins from 1662, his expenses from 1666 and 1669, and notes on geometry.
Some of his transgressions: "Making a mousetrap on Thy day," "Contriving of the chimes on Thy day," "Squirting water on Thy day," "Having uncleane thoughts words and actions and dreamese," "Carelessly hearing and committing many sermons," "Setting my heart on money learning pleasure more than Thee," "Not living according to my belief," "Not turning nearer to Thee for my affections."
Some of his expenses: "ffor my degree to ye Colledg: £5 10s." "Making yt & turning my Bachelors Goune: £1 6d." "ffor oranges \1667/ for my sister: 4s. 2d."
How sinful anger at a child's sin disqualifies a parent from helping that child to repentance and restoration, what's required to "re-qualify," and the consequences if you don't. Plus an important "heart check" at the end. If you asked your kids questions like this, what answers would they give?
- When you think of me, do you first think of my love for you or my displeasure in you?
- Which is greater in your mind, as it pertains to me: affection or correction?
- When I say I have something to say to you, what do you think first? I'm going to encourage you or discourage you?
- Am I generally a joy or a burden to be around?
- If you could choose a word that best describes my affection for you, what would that word be?
The very beginning of the Book of Psalms contains a promise of transformation to those who read and meditate on God's Word:
Many reading plans which encourage variety will include beginning the Psalms today. How good it is then that on this first day of the year so many Christians will read these great promises from God himself. If we will but meditate on The Truth we are assured God will change our nature so we will be a well-rooted tree able to be firmly established and in due course being forth fruit.
Do we really believe the promises God gives us in His word? Do we behave as if they're true? Read the intro and sample chapter (on 2 Tim 3:16-17) on the publisher's website.