Monday, August 29, 2011

Faith IS an Essential Virtue for any Belief

C. S. Lewis on Faith from Mere Christianity

Roughly speaking, the word faith seems to be used by Christians in two senses or on two levels, and I will take them in turn. In the first sense it means simply belief--accepting or regarding as true the doctrines of Christianity. That is fairly simple. But what does puzzle people--at least it used to puzzle me--is the fact that Christians regard faith in this sense as a virtue. I used to ask how on Earth it can be a virtue--what is there moral or immoral about believing or not believing a set of statements? Obviously, I used to say, a sane man accepts or rejects any statement, not because he wants or does not want to, but because the evidence seems to him good or bad. If he were mistaken about the goodness or badness of the evidence, that would not mean he was a bad man, but only that he was not very clever. And if he thought the evidence bad but tried to force himself to believe in spite of it, that would be merely stupid.
Well, I think I still take that view. But what I did not see then--and a good many people do not see still--was this. I was assuming that if the human mind once accepts a thing as true it will automatically go on regarding it as true, until some real reason for reconsidering it turns up. In fact, I was assuming that the human mind is completely ruled by reason. But that is not so. For example, my reason is perfectly convinced by good evidence that anesthetics do not smother me and that properly trained surgeons do not start operating until I am unconscious. But that does not alter the fact that when they have me down on the table and clap their horrible mask over my face, a mere childish panic begins inside me. I start thinking I am going to choke, and I am afraid they will start cutting me up before I am properly under. In other words, I lose my faith in anesthetics. It is not reason that is taking away my faith; on the contrary, my faith is based on reason. It is my imagination and emotions. The battle is between faith and reason on one side and emotion and imagination on the other.....
Now just the same thing happens about Christianity. I am not asking anyone to accept Christianity if his best reasoning tells him that the weight of evidence is against it. That is not the point at which faith comes in. But supposing a man's reason once decides that the weight of the evidence is for it. I can tell that man what is going to happen to him in the next few weeks. There will come a moment when there is bad news, or he is in trouble, or is living among a lot of other people who do not believe it, and all at once his emotions will rise up and carry out a sort of blitz on his belief. Or else there will come a moment when he wants a woman, or wants to tell a lie, or feels very pleased with himself, or sees a chance of making a little money in some way that is not perfectly fair; some moment, in fact, at which it would be very convenient if Christianity were not true. And once again his wishes and desires will carry out a blitz. I am not talking of moments at which any real new reasons against Christianity turn up. Those have to be faced and that is a different matter. I am talking about moments where a mere mood rises up against it.
Now faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding onto things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian, I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable; but when I was an atheist, I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why faith is such a necessary virtue; unless you teach your moods "where they get off" you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of faith.

C.S Lewis

Saturday, August 27, 2011

High School and Lost Teeth

It is a Friday evening and I am having a major “reflecting” moment. It has been a big week for us Crowder’s, lots of change provoking lots or gratitude in the heart of this mommy.

This week I sent my oldest off to high school after homeschooling her for the last 8 years and this week I pulled my youngest sons front teeth out, I realized that “every one is getting older!” I can hear the Fleetwood Mac ‘s song playing in my head all day long….”children get older, I am getting older too.” I want to yell STOP! At the perpetual ticking clock of time, but I know I can’t. So because I cannot, I will ask God the same question that the Psalmist asked, “teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” I want to constantly ask my Father, “what is important for this year, this month, this week, this day, this moment?” Where should I be investing my time and energy? What is the more important choice for this hour, cleaning the house or gathering my clan for a hike in the woods? Lord, where should my Yes’ lie and where should I state my No’s? Every moment counts, and for me, as a mother, it is a different “counting” than say Donald Trumps ambitious time equals money counting. I am ambitious in another matter of time and its value, family time equals the most valuable time!  I want to be constantly sensitive to the importance of every moment, resting in His Grace and aware of what He has placed in front of me at each and every second, valuing every relationship that He has given me, especially the relationship with my husband and quickly growing children.

What a gift I have been given in seeing my children transition from phase to phase.  I have been given a gift that highlights life and all its sweetness in little front teeth. It all hits you hard and magnified at the end of the day when you are reflecting on the precious days events of your last six year old loosing their last set of front teeth! I want to take those teeth and mount them on the wall for all the world to see, those little teeth would shout, “ LIFE IS SHORT! ENJOY IT!” It hits you even harder when you see your teenager all grown and beautiful as a young lady in a sea of other high schoolers, you think, “ seems like just yesterday she lost her front teeth!” And in the broad spectrum of time it was just yesterday! I know I cannot wallow in ridiculous semimetal memories of the days and times gone past, that is not the point of these milestone reminders. I am given these milestones to remind me how valuable every moment with these little’s are so I can embrace EVERYTHING with gratitude. It isn’t a wallowing in bittersweet memories that produces fruitful meaningful ways to spend your next hours and days, it is Wisdom highlighting what is important in the littleness of lost teeth.

I betcha! Any grandma or grandpa you pull aside to ask what is the most important thing at the end of ones life, will agree in their reflection of years gone past, that the most valuable and meaningful use of their time was the minutes, hours and years spent loving those close to them.

Relationships always out way any other duty and task set before us. I plan to invest hard and earnestly into my children, grabbing my high-schooler for a hug and being available for every question and any wonderful dialogue we get to have as mother and daughter.

I guess I will end this Friday evening by saying; Thank you Lord for front teeth, for teenagers in high school, for every moment you have given me with my kids!

This is a sweet story I found:

This is another good bit of wisdom sent from my 91 year old grandmother about what is important in life. A light, but meaningful read for your Sunday pleasure.

Original author unknown

Over the phone, his mother told him, “Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday.” Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.
“Jack, did you hear me?”
“Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It’s been so long since I thought of him. I’m sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago,” Jack said..
“Well, he didn’t forget you. Every time I saw him he’d ask how you were doing. He’d reminisce about the many days you spent over ‘his side of the fence’ as he put it,” Mom told him.
“I loved that old house he lived in,” Jack said.
“You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man’s influence in your life,” she said
“He’s the one who taught me carpentry,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in this business if it weren’t for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important… Mom, I’ll be there for the funeral,” Jack said.
As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser’s funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.
The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.
Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture… Jack stopped suddenly.
“What’s wrong, Jack?” his Mom asked.
“The box is gone,” he said
“What box?” Mom asked.
“There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he’d ever tell me was ‘the thing I value most,’” Jack said.
It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.
“Now I’ll never know what was so valuable to him,” Jack said. “I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom.”
It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. “Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days,” the note read.
Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention. “Mr. Harold Belser” it read. Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack’s hands shook as he read the note inside.
“Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It’s the thing I valued most in my life.” A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.
Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover. Inside he found these words engraved:
“Jack, Thanks for your time! Harold Belser.”
“The thing he valued most was…my time”
Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. “Why?” Janet, his assistant asked.
“I need some time to spend with my son,” he said.
“Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!”

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.”

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Oh, YE Saints! by Danielle Aceino

Here is a cool thought from my friends blog:Danielle Aceino's blog

 Oh, YE Saints!
So, interesting discovery.  I was making my way through with enough surface skills to make a quick discovery.  I am not sure about the organizational and theological study aids, but I if you give it to me plain and simple, I can understand the revy with the best of them.  Word of the moment: SAINT.  I wanted to know what the word meant, because, well, we ARE saints.  When Paul addressed believers he called them SAINTS.  However, what I really want to know is how did the trend come about of calling ourselves sinners?  We, the righteousness of Christ, redeemed and delivered are called sinners?  Is it humility? No, it is heresy- plain and simple.
Well, I found the word SAINT on blueletterbible.  Here it is:
and it means:most holy thing
Then, I found other uses of the same word.  You know where else this word pops up?  Matthew 1:18, when he talks about the HOLY Spirit.  That’s right.  The word for HOLY Spirit is the same word used for SAINT.  It’s the SAME word.
I am not even going to explain it.  Just think about it.  How do we view ourselves?  We need to talk highly of ourselves because honestly, it’s Christ we are talking about.  He IS our identity.  He is the only ONE who matters, and HE died to make us righteous.  So, let’s claim it.  Own it. Oh, and say THANK YOU!  :)


Monday, August 8, 2011

be a mentor!

I remember years ago being overwhelmed at the thought of meeting all of my children's needs, not just the natural day to to day needs and demands, but the emotional and spiritual connection that they need at every chapter of their lives.  I wondered how I could be sensitive and understanding to each of their perceptions, questions and views of their ever-expanding world and horizons.

You know when you just "clique" with someones personality? How you may seem to connect with a person and their ideas and views and dreams and responses and humor? It feels so great to "gel" with another person, right? Well, I wanted to find that same kind of connection with each of my children, but at times I just don't get them completely, I can fill in some blanks to their questions and be a guide to the capacity that God has allowed me to for them, but there are some spots I am not meant to cover. I have to trust that there will be the right people in place at the right times as my kids grow. Because I may not be able to meet every need in my child's life does not mean I am inadequate or need to question my love and patience for my child, God has given us all a full measure! We are just not meant to be their only mentors in life. W are created to function, grow and develop as a whole body full of unique people with different gifting s and insight; we are crucial pieces along the way for each other even when we are unaware our part. 1 Corinthians 12

When I think about my younger years I realize that it was not just my mother and father that spoke into my life or even connected with me. It was a teacher, a friends parent, a coach. There were crucial, pivotal moments that God used, even the most random people in my life to plant life producing seeds that I am now enjoying the fruit of. I am so grateful for the time my own mother and father took in guiding, encouraging and speaking into my life but I know so much of who I am today is a result of other mentors and adults who took time to notice me and invest wisdom and spark encouragement in my life. I have had the privilege of being able to thank some of these individuals.  

I think of each of these people in my life and I am reminded that if I am unable or unaware of a need my child may have as they grow, God will bring others into the picture to fill in a piece, spark a part of their destiny and instill wisdom that will take them through every season. I am confident of this and can rest in that Grace.

When God showed me how He would bring other people into each of my children's lives throughout every phase of their growth and maturity, He also showed me how He has been bringing other peoples children into my life, highlighting and giving me opportunity to speak life into them and encourage and love them.

I began to be motivated to lavish, love and speak into every child, teenager and even young adult I am around in the same way I would like to see another adults invest and love on my children.  I know sowing and reaping applies in this in a huge way. I am already in awe at the people God is surrounding my children with, I see it fulfill and spark so much in their character and inspire their being in a way I just could not. It is so cool! I hope I can do the same for another!

I know it can seem overwhelming to spend yourself on other children, feeling like your adoration is only meant for your own, but to take the time and notice Gods beauty and purpose in an individual is so fulfilling and never in vein. Look at every person in the same way you would want another to notice your young child, teenager or way-ward young adult.  Take time to seek them out, call out a talent, be patient and sensitive to a need no one may see.

I love my kids, and think the world about them, they will always come first in my priorities but I am finding and ever-increasing love for other peoples children as well and I have to be unafraid to spend  more of my energy and invest the love I have been given on another because I know God calls us to meet one anthers needs.

Mentor-ship is such a lost art now a days. Young people need to be discipled, mentored, encouraged! Let us always be in a place to give, water, invest and nourish the next generation with what the Lord has given us. Think about the kids that surround your life and lavish them with every opportunity you get!

2 Corinthians 5:14
For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.

1 Peter 1:22
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.

Colossians 3:16
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.