“The Yes of Love”, a poem from L.Willows (Glory of God, See Jesus)

b2cbfbd063823176901cb30309340854

The Yes of Love,
it looked like this,
with words that spoke
of the morning’s bliss.

Here they are fathomed,
there they are kept,
with joy in the reach
of dreams love swept.

Speak the Yes.
Let the words confer,
before the Angel sky clouds
assemble to stir.

In first of the day
let all prayers rise to flight.
Oh, such was the night
that brought our hearts to God’s sight.

The Yes in Him, the Yes of love
It looked like all, filled with God above.

© 2019 Linda Willows

1 Corinthians 1:20 – “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”

“Walking Towards Hope”, from L.Willows (Revival, God’s Goodness, His Glory, Believe)

40-Awesome-Secret-Garden-Design-Ideas-For-Summer-9

Walking Towards Hope, from L.Willows

The other day, I went to a nearby garden park that has been closed due to the pandemic. The loosely gated entry has not prevented locals from wandering in for private walks.  It is like a paradise inside.  Beyond the gate are gardens that volunteers lovingly tend to on a usual year.  The crews were absent but their labors from so many years past were still evident. That day was a real gift to me.

I  had been praying for a “second wind” in this journey of endurance during home isolation in our region. My heart felt heavy. I was deeply missing loved ones. I felt distant from all that I loved.

Then I stepped beyond the gate of the park. My heart lifted with gratitude that fell over me. Nothing of the world and its concerns seemed real in the gardens. Life seemed to be continuing without knowledge of the news or any updates of what tomorrow might bring. This was an isle apart. I smiled as I listened to birds singing to one another and stepped towards the largest fushia petals that I had ever seen.

Then I stepped amongst delicate yellow buds that reached up to feel the warmth of the sun. My heart melted and I became like a child walking in God’s open green, breathing His sweetened air.

I said to myself, “I am willing to believe that at this moment, everything is new. The bluebells tell be so. The lavender pearl buds on the bushes that run through the field tell me so. The lush green grasses that are dancing in the breeze are telling all that life is moving. A red cardinal flies majestically by.  The deep blue of the vast sky lives like the freedom that I long for. I walk but my heart is dancing. My soul is singing to God. I am praising Him.”

He is the Good Gardener. Nothing can prevent or delay God’s Goodness from rising. The Hope of His Presence and the beauty of His Creation lifts our hearts, from wherever we are.  I understand that there is no time, but the one that He sets. In the beautiful sky that I gaze at, my heart is set free, I am reminded of the vastness of God Himself. That freedom, which is the Altar of His Presence dwells within each of our hearts.  The Gateway is Jesus who is the Door .  My prayer was anwered. I had been revived by the sweetness of His Spirit. He led me to these Green Pastures.

John 10:9 “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”

I had been free all the while. Because of the isolation, I allowed my heart to believe that the “walls that I saw” were real. They were really only walls within my own heart. I allowed myself to believe that the limitations of life during home isolation though they were tangible and physically confining did not have to confine by heart and soul. The Good Shepherd, Jesus was leading me once again to the truth of His Kingship and most especially of the gift of salvation.

The Lord, my Good Shepherd had led me to His Green Pasture. There I was, praying for renewal and revival. God sees our hearts, each burden, each care – wherever we live and wherever our walk takes us, He is there. I am so encouraged as I write, yet there is no tangible evidence in life, except that I had the great privilege of this walk. Yet, I realize that the great Glory of our God displays in intangible ways. I am reminded that we can’t always ask to see and have or even feel what we want in a mortal way. The goodness and Glory of God are beyond the gardens of this world, they are only “sighted” by the eyes of our heart when they have been opened by believing.

 

John 11:40 -Jesus said to her, Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?

That evening in my home, I did not feel enclosed by any boundary nor did I feel isolated. I looked out to the sky and I felt hugged by everything that is good. I felt wrapped in the Presence of God. He is beside us each and with us wherever we are. The paradise that I longed for is a blessed eternity in His Kingdom that is promised to all in His Care. For some reason, the words to a familiar song that we used to sing in Church comes to mind as I write:

I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in one…

and we will sing together again!

Hebrews 1:3 -He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

© 2020 Linda Willows

“Follow Jesus”, the Invitation C.S. Lewis Accepted, from Dr. Randy Newman (Christ, Faith, Eternity)

wJSOZz.jpg

Follow Jesus

The Invitation C.S. Lewis Accepted – And One You, Too, Can Accept
by Dr. Randy Newman

I’ve read enough of C.S. Lewis’s delightful writings to know that he’d be amazed that anyone would be interested in his life and writings and that there would even be websites like this one named after him.  He suspected that he and all his work would be forgotten within five years of his death.  He could not have been more wrong.

But once he got past the shock of organizations, books and websites with the name C.S. Lewis, he would express deep concern and exhort people to look past him and consider seriously the person, teaching, and work of Jesus.

He would be appalled if people settled for Mere C.S. Lewis instead of Mere Christianity.

If you’ve heard the story of Lewis’s life, you know that the gospel of Jesus Christ dramatically changed him. Lewis would want you to experience that same kind of transformation and connect with a local church that believed the Bible as he did.

Lewis regularly called people to make a decision for Christ before it’s too late.  Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity,

“It will be too late then to choose your side.  There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing: it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side.  God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last for ever. We must take it or leave it.”

Would you like to make a decision to follow Jesus? He would be overjoyed if you did. In fact, you can talk to Him right now through prayer. The Scriptures tell us that if we repent of our sins (are truly sorry for our sin and desire to change) and truly believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, that you can be forgiven and begin a new journey as a disciple of Jesus. As you consider this life-changing (eternity changing!) decision, reflect on these words that Lewis wrote at the very end of his classic book Mere Christianity.

“Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it.”

“…there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away ‘blindly’ so to speak… The principle runs through all life from top to bottom.  Give up yourself, and you will find your real self.  Lose your life and you will save it.  Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes everyday and death of your whole body in the end:  submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life.  Keep back nothing.  Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours.  Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead.  Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin and decay.  But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”


If you have made a decision to give yourself to Jesus or if you would like to ask more questions about what it means to be a follower of Christ, we here at the C.S. Lewis Institute would be happy to talk with you.  You may contact us at staff@cslewisinstitute.org.

Source: New Reflections Magazine, June 2019 edition, C.S. Lewis Institute

Written by Dr. Randy Newman is the Senior Teaching Fellow for the C.S. Lewis Institute. He posts regularly at his website, Connection Points, helping Christians engage people’s hearts the way Jesus did.

This blog explores the links between the Christian faith and all of life and encourages exploration of common ground between Christians and those with other beliefs. This content can be found at http://www.connectionpoints.us