COMMITTED to train men and women
to have minds for the Lord Jesus,
hearts for the truth, and
hands that are skilled to the task.

"C.S. Lewis" Tagged Sermons

JESUS TRIUMPHANT

THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS which is a compilation of 31 letters written by a SENIOR DEMON NAMED SCREWTAPE TO HIS NEPHEW, WORMWOOD, a Junior TEMPTER.
Screwtape reveals the Enemy’s intentions:
“Now it may surprise you to learn that in His (the Enemy’s) efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, He relies on the troughs even more than on the peaks; some of His special favorites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else. The reason is this. To us a human is primarily food; our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of selfhood at its expense.
But the obedience which the Enemy demands of men is quite a different thing. One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really DOES want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself – creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His.
We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become SONS. We want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled; HE IS FULL AND FLOWS OVER. Our war aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other beings into himself; THE ENEMY WANTS A WORLD FULL OF BEINGS UNITED TO HIM BUT STILL DISTINCT.” C.S. Lewis “The Screwtape Letters”
“One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth.”

Dr. Michael Heiser comments on this topic:
“First Peter 3:14-22 has Jesus descending to these “spirits in prison” to tell them they were still defeated, despite his crucifixion. God’s plan of salvation and kingdom rule had not been derailed – in fact, it was right on schedule. The crucifixion actually meant victory over every demonic force opposed to God. This victory declaration is why 1 Peter 3:14-22 ends with Jesus risen from the dead and set at the right hand of God – ABOVE ALL ANGELS, AUTHORITIES AND POWERS. The messaging is very deliberate and has a supernatural view of Genesis 6:1-4 at its core.”

Application
Perhaps you’ve been told a narrative counter to the New Testament testimony concerning the miraculous, bodily resurrection of Jesus. But the fake news pushed by the Jewish leaders then and by so many academics in the secular and religious leaders today, demand a closer analysis.
• The empty tomb is a fact of history.
• That the Jewish leaders alleged that the body was stolen is an implicit admission of the fact that was not there.
• The early, widespread, and numerous independent eyewitness accounts of encountering the resurrected Jesus are impossible to ignore.
Ultimately, however, accepting the truth of the miracle of the resurrection of Jesus IS AN ACT OF FAITH.

THE DAY IS COMING

Chuck Swindoll in his commentary on Malachi writes:
“The people of Judah began to be exiled from the Promised Land in 605 B.C. and returned from Babylon about seventy years later. By the time of Malachi, they had been back in the land for more than a hundred years and were looking for the blessings they expected to receive when they returned.
Though the temple had been rebuilt, the fervor of those early returning Israelites had given way to a thorough apathy for the things of God. This led to rampant corruption among the priesthood and spiritual lethargy among the people.
Malachi came along at a time when the people were struggling to believe that God loved them. The people were focused on their unfortunate circumstances and refused to account for their own sinful deeds.
So, God pointed the finger back at them, and through Malachi, told the people where they had fallen short of their covenant with Him. If they hoped to see change, they needed to take responsibility for their own actions and serve God faithfully according to the promise that their fathers had made to Him on Mount Sinai all those years before.”

In his book ‘DARK AGENDA’ – “The war to destroy Christian America”, author David Horowitz (published 2018) writes:
“Religion must die in order for mankind to live”, proclaims left-wing commentator and comedian Bill Maher in RELIGULOUS, the most watched commentary feature of 2008.
Both title and script were transparent attempts to stigmatize religious people as dangerous morons whose views could not be taken seriously. Through the film, Maher travels to Jerusalem, the Vatican, and Salt Lake City, as well as other centers of religion, interviewing believers and making them appear foolish. How did he gain interviews with his victims? HE LIED TO THEM, SAYING HE WAS MAKING A FILM CALLED ‘A Spiritual Journey.”
According to Maher, “THE IRONY OF RELIGION IS THAT BECAUSE OF ITS POWER TO DIVERT MAN TO DESTRUCTIVE COURSES, THE WORLD COULD ACTUALLY COME TO AN END.” He predicts the destruction of the human race as a result of “religion-inspired nuclear terrorism.” Hence the need for religion to die if mankind is to live. Maher’s views accurately reflect the attitudes of a movement called THE NEW ATHEISM, whose leaders are prominent scientists and best-selling authors, far superior in intellect to Maher but equally contemptuous of religion and religious believers.
Like Maher’s film, the New Atheism movement seeks to discredit all religious belief by caricaturing its adherents as simpletons, and worse. The goal of the New Atheism is to delegitimize and extinguish the religious point of view.”

Most people don’t realize that if God is dead,
THEN EVERYTHING IS PERMITTED, BECAUSE THERE ARE NO GROUNDS FOR CALLING ANYTHING – AN ACT, A STATEMENT, AN EVENT, A CHOICE, EITHER GOOD OR BAD, RIGHT OR WRONG, VALUABLE OR WORTHLESS, IMPORTANT OR UNIMPORTANT.

Richard Dawkins “The God Delusion” (2006)
“Do we know of any……examples where stupid ideas have been known to spread like an epidemic? Yes, by God! Religion. Religious ideas are irrational. Religious believes are dumb and dumber. Religion drives otherwise sensible people into celibate monasteries or crashing into New York skyscrapers. Religion motivates people to whip their own backs, to set fire to themselves or their daughters, to denounce their own grandmothers as witches, or, in less extreme cases, simply to stand or kneel, week after week, through ceremonies of stupefying boredom.”

C.S. Lewis in his book “The Abolition of Man” writes:
“The triumph of personal desire over objective validity as a standard of behavior creates what is tantamount to a moral vacuum into which will rush disordered passions bloated in their abnormal freedom from any constraint.
The three passions are: THE LUST FOR SENSATION, THE LUST FOR MANIPULATIVE KNOWLEDGE, AND THE WILL TO POWER, respectively.
The egotistical will to power and pleasure supersedes any less explicit idea or sentiment of obligation to some criterion or good outside of self.
It assumes that the pleasure of self is the highest good and that life is an aesthetic phenomenon; under such conditions, society becomes a jungle in which eventually a contest for the survival of the fittest can only favor the Nazi, the Hell’s Angel, the robber baron, and the gangsters.”

GO TELL THAT FOX

King Herod was the tetrarch of Galilee meaning “ruler of a fourth,” for the kingdom was divided) He was King of Judea and he ruled the territory with Roman approval. While Judea as an independent kingdom it was under heavy Roman influence and HEROD came to power WITH ROMAN SUPPORT. It was in Herod’s territory where Jesus was ministering. We all know about Herod the Great, the one who was in power when Jesus was born and who slaughtered the innocent children after the Magi told him about the Christ child, but this is his son, Herod Antipas. What do we know about him? Well, when Jesus calls him “that fox,” he is not just saying that he is as sly as a fox but Jesus is actually insulting him, for a fox is an unclean animal in the Israelite holiness codes. Herod the Great (Herod Antipas’ father) was by descent an EDOMITE, whose ancestors had converted to Judaism. Herod was raised a Jew.

C.S. Lewis, “The Abolition of Man”
“Man’s conquest of Nature, if the dreams of some scientific planners are realized, means the rule of a few hundreds of men over billions upon billions of men.”

As John Whitehead wrote:
“Like it or not, the COVID-19 pandemic with its veiled threat of forced vaccinations, contact tracing, and genetically encoded vaccines is propelling humanity at warp speed into a whole new frontier – a surveillance matrix – the likes of which we’ve only previously encountered in science fiction. Those who eye these developments with lingering mistrust have good reason to be leery.
The government has long had a tendency to unleash untold horrors upon the world in the name of global conquest, the acquisition of greater wealth, scientific experimentation, and technological advances, all packaged in a guise of the greater good.
Indeed, “we the people” have been treated like lab rats by government agencies for decades now: caged, branded, experimented upon without knowledge of consent, and then conveniently discarded and left to suffer from the after-effects.
“There is a sinister world beyond that which we perceive, one in which power players jockey for control over the one commodity that is a necessary ingredient for total domination: YOU.
By you, I mean you the individual in all your SINGULAR HUMANNESS.”
“Remaining singularly human and retaining your individuality and dominion over yourself – mind, body, and soul – in the face of corporate and government technologies that aim to invade, intrude, monitor, manipulate and control us may be one of the greatest challenges before us.”
These COVID-19 vaccines, which rely on messenger RNA technology that influences everything from viruses to memory, are merely the tipping point.
The groundwork being laid with these vaccines is a prologue to what will become the police state’s conquest of a new, relatively unchartered, frontier; mental, emotional, of the human race.”
If you were unnerved by the rapid deterioration of privacy under the Surveillance State, prepare to be terrified by the surveillance matrix that will be ushered in on the heels of the governments, rollout of this COVID-19 vaccine.”

The term “SINGULARITY” – that is, computers simulating human life itself – was coined years ago by mathematical geniuses Stanislaw Ulam and John von Neumann.

“The ever accelerating progress of technology gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.
The plan is to develop a computer network that will exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to or indistinguishable from that of human beings by 2029. And this goal is to have computers that will be a billion times more powerful than all of the human brains on earth.”
John von Neumann

Science and Technology Journalist Marcelo Gleiser published an article under the title :”The Transhuman Future; BE More Than You Can Be”
“How is it that we define a human? Is it our body? Our genome? Our behaviors? Our self-awareness? Our compassion? Our minds? All of these and then something more? What now may be obvious to most people about being human will become less so as we become progressively more integrated with technology both inside and outside our bodies.”
“The future? Transhumanism will only grow. Technological devices will be implanted in our heads and bodies, our used peripherally, like Google Glass, extending our senses and cognitive abilities. Why see only in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum? Let’s go ultraviolet! Infrared! Let’s extend our hearing range, our memory capacity, our immune defenses, our life span, our brainpower.” Marcelo Gleiser

Ray Kurzweil is the brainchild behind what Google is doing. This is what he sees:
“Google will know all the answer to your question before you have asked it. It will have read every email you’ve ever written, every document, every idle thought you’ve ever tapped into a search-engine box. It will know you better than your intimate partner does. Better, perhaps, than even yourself.

Ray Kurzweil wrote in his book titled:
“SINGULARITY IS NEAR: When Humans transcend Biology”
“Artificial circuits replicating themselves at a molecular level will merge with the biological circuits that constitute our nervous systems, giving rise to an ENHANCED HUMAN SUPER INTELLIGENCE. Once this starts happening, what we now call the Internet will in effect become telepathic, giving these enhanced humans instantaneous access to all available knowledge and information as they fashion their brave new world. You see how explosive this gets? And its just the beginning.
Once the process gets underway, the evolving superintelligence keeps expanding until it permeates the entire planet and, still accelerating, eventually the universe.
That movement should one day facilitate rapid travel beyond our own galaxy, taking the process literally everywhere.”

THE FAITH FACTORY

C.S. Lewis published the out of print book titled:
“The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment” sub-titled: “God in the Dock”
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their conscience.”

January 29, 2020 Timothy Akinyomi published an opinion article in the “Businessday.ng” In the article he quoted Ronald Coase, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Law School, “If you torture data long enough, it will confess to anything”.

Louis Mencken was an American journalist, essayist, satirist, cultural critic, and scholar of American English. He commented widely on the social scene, literature, music, prominent politicians, and contemporary movements. Wikipedia. “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”

On April 2, 2020, Madeline Chambers wrote an article in the “Thomson Reuters Foundation News” titled:
“Germans Snitch on Neighbors Flouting Virus Rules, in Echo of the Stasi Past”
In the article the reporter explained that “Munich police took up to 150 calls every day last week from citizens reporting alleged breaches of corona rules.”

Douglas Axe, William Briggs and Jay Richards, have just published a book under the title:
“THE PRICE OF PANIC” subtitled:
“How the Tyranny of Experts turned a Pandemic into a Catastrophe”
Under the chapter: “What about Masks?” they write:
“At first, neither WHO nor the CDC encouraged masks for healthy people, perhaps because it’s so easy to misuse them and they feared shortages among healthcare workers. Moreover, the WHO report says: “There is a moderate overall quality of evidence that face masks do not have a substantial effect on transmission of influence.”
The message from WHO and the CDC did not inspire confidence. They seemed to be saying both that masks don’t work, and that people shouldn’t hoard them because healthcare workers need them. Surgeon General Jerome Adams managed to distill this confusing message into a single tweet.
On February 28, he wrote:
“Seriously people – STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT EFFECTIVE in preventing general public from catching #Coronovirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk.”
It looks like the CDC was trying to herd sheep rather than reason with adults.
In the end, face coverings may have been as much about signaling and social control as about science and safety.”

Under the chapter: “High School Science Fair” they write:
“Perhaps the weirdest fact about coronavirus models was described in a NEW YORK TIMES article: “THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE BIRTH OF SOCIAL DISTANCING.”
The idea started as “an important discovery kicked off by a high school research project pursued by the daughter of a scientist at the Sandia National Laboratories.”
In 2006, fourteen-year old Laura Glass developed a model of social networks in her high school in Albuquerque. That’s impressive. But what’s troubling is that this science-fair project gave rise to the template of shutting the world down on the signal from health authorities.
This dystopian progression started when Laura’s dad, Sandia National Laboratories scientist David Glass, took notice. The two expanded on the idea by applying the model to a pandemic, and they published a paper on it with two other authors in a CDC journal. It’s called: “Targeted Social Distancing Designs for Pandemic Influenza.”

“The excited authors of this paper sent their simulation to a
Dr. D.A. Henderson, who was, as the New York Times explains, “the leader of the international effort to eradicate smallpox and had been named by (President) Bush to help oversee the nations biodefense efforts after the 2001 terrorist attacks.”
Henderson pushed back, saying that “it made no sense to force schools to close or public gatherings to stop.” Indeed, if authorities adopted such policies, he rightly discerned, the result would be “possibly serious economic problems.”
Henderson had vast scientific expertise and broad and pertinent experience dealing with such crisis. His advice? We should “TOUGH IT OUT: LET THE PANDEMIC SPREAD, TREAT PEOPLE WHO GET SICK AND WORK QUICKLY TO DEVELOP A VACCINE TO PREVENT IT FROM COMING BACK.”

Francis Schaeffer in his book published in 1968 “The God Who is There” writes:
“Demonstrating God’s character must be existential. As far as living is concerned, we are on the knife-edge of time.
What will matter is our relationship to the Lord Jesus, individually and then corporately, at this existential moment. What counts, as men look upon us individually and corporately, is whether we are exhibiting God and His character NOW. The Christian position is not static, but is LIVING.”

ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” C.S. Lewis
“Only a mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda.” Hannah Arendt

I think Ravi Zacharias said it right when writing about the devastating consequences of Pluralism:
“A friend was considering enrolling his kids in a reading program. He asked, “What are they reading?” The leader of the program responded: “ANYTHING, JUST AS LONG AS THEY ARE READING.” It is interesting that we would never respond that way about eating. We would never think it is OK to eat anything, just as long as we are eating. Why do we think, as a society, we are happy to judge right and wrong when it comes to what we put in our bodies but are averse to judging right and wrong with respect to what we put in our minds and souls?”

God was at work on behalf of his people but the consequences of their actions could not be nullified.
• The prophet Elijah left this earth without dying (2 Kings 2:1-18)
• The waters of the Jordan River rolled back twice (2 Kings 2:8, 14)
• The prophet Isaiah was living during the same time period.
• The prophets Joel, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and Jeremiah prophesied in Judah, warning people of the coming consequences of their actions.
• The prophet Elisha was living during that time period.
• Israel’s kings are recorded in 2 Kings as having led the people into idolatry.
• Judah, on the other hand, had some very loyal kings; Joash, Uzziah, Hezekiah, and Josiah.
It is this Hezekiah who held off the Assyrians by fortifying Jerusalem and building up his military. It is this Hezekiah who was faithful to Yahweh and prayed to him when the king of Assyria came to destroy the city of Jerusalem. And a look how this confrontation came down will teach us a lot about our time and HOW IMPORTANT A FEW LOYAL LEADERS, political and religious, are during such times. While the consequences of the nations actions cannot be avoided, they can be delayed by godly people interceding before God Almighty on behalf of the nation.

TAKING THE RIGHT ACTION

Dallas Willard “The Allure of Gentleness”
Therefore; Christianity is false, since God is either not benevolent or not powerful, to which the presence of suffering testifies.
“God’s love is not a sentiment, but a well-reasoned devotion to the good or well-being of its objects. We have a terrible time understanding love, because we confuse it with desire. DESIRE AND LOVE ARE TWO UTTERLY DIFFERENT KINDS OF THINGS. Not only is desire not love; it is often OPPOSED to love.
Right action is the act of love, regardless of the desires of anyone involved.

Jeremy Bentham is his book: “Intro to the Principles of Morals and Legislation” writes:
“Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think; every effort we can make to throw off our subjection will serve but to demonstrate and confirm it. In words a man may pretend to abjure their empire; but in reality, he will remain subject to it all the while.”

Dallas Willard writes:
“It is only in the heat of pain and suffering, both mental and physical, that real human character is forged. One does not develop:
• courage without facing danger,
• patience without trials,
• wisdom without heart- and brain-racking puzzles,
• endurance without suffering
• temperance and honesty without temptations.
These are the very things we treasure most about people. Ask yourself if you would be willing to be devoid of all these virtues. If your answer is no, then don’t scorn the means of obtaining them.
The gold of human character is dug from torturous mines, but its dung and dirt are quite easily come by. And it should come as no surprise to us that in our time – the time of the great flight from pain, such virtues as these are conspicuous only by their absence.
I’m not saying that we should go looking for pain, so that we can develop character. This is not at all necessary. All we need to do is make an honest and thorough effort do discover what is right and wrong, good and bad, when we are convinced on these points, then simply go out and face life for what it is worth. There will be plenty of opportunity to develop character.”

C.S. Lewis in his book “The Problem of Pain” writes:
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest, most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or the other of these destinations….
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors……..
YOUR NEIGHBOR IS THE HOLIEST OBJECT PRESENTED TO YOUR SENSES.”

FEARLESS LIVING

“It is curious. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and what not. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore.
It’s because he is smart.”
The reported asked: “So what’s he doing now?”
Scalia replied: “What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.” Antonin Scalia

In May 2016 the GUARDIAN, a highly respected British daily news, published this report:
“We live with an epidemic of anxiety. In 1980, 4 percent of Americans suffered a mental disorder associated with anxiety. Today half do. The trends in Britain are similar. A third of Britons will experience anxiety disorder at some stage in their life, with an explosion of reported anxiety among teenagers and young adults. Anxiety, depression, self-harm, attention deficit disorder and profound eating problems afflict our young as never before.
Anxiety has always been part of the human condition – as has depression and tendencies to self-harm – but never, it seems, on this scale. A number of trends appear to be colliding. This is an era when everyone is expected to find their personal route to happiness at the same time as the bonds of society, faith and community – tried and tested mechanisms to support wellbeing – are fraying. Teenagers in particular – fearful of missing out – are beset by a myriad of agonizing choices about how to achieve the good life with fewer social and psychological anchors to help them navigate their way. Who can blame them if they respond with an ever rising sense of anxiety, if not panic?”

STOP FENCE STRADDLING

C.S. Lewis in his book THE GREAT DIVORCE wrote these powerful words:
“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 in “THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS” writes:
“The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts… The long, dull monotonous years of middle-aged prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather (for the devil).

Paul comes full circle. Making his point once again that just as Isaac was supernaturally born AS A RESULT OF GOD’S PROMISE, so all Christians are “born-again” as a RESULT OF GOD’S PROMISE that all nations would be blessed through Abraham. (Genesis 22:18).
Not everybody in the church or outside the church likes that truth. Paul wants the people In Galatia to know that this introduces us to a spiritual conflict of major proportion.

Final thoughts
• We should expect to be persecuted by religious people.
It has been this way throughout history, beginning with Jesus himself. The religious leaders of His day opposed, mocked, condemned, and eventually executed the true Seed of Abraham.
The Judaizers made life and ministry difficult for Paul and all those who, like him, took a stand for the freedom that comes through grace.
During the Reformation, Popes and kings brutalized Protestants who took a stand on the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith.
In our own day, legalistic Christians who have never experienced the sweet liberation of grace can make the Christian life a miserable experience for true believers, overwhelming them with an endless, uncompromising list of dos and don’ts.
Therefore when it comes to law and grace, we have to get off the fence. We can’t fluctuate between rules and faith, mixing them in our approach to God. He won’t allow it.

• Man-made religion is incompatible with God’s grace.
Hagar and Ishmael symbolize human attempts to achieve what God only God can do. Just as Hagar and Ishmael were cast out of Abraham’s household, so must works-oriented religions and beliefs be removed from God’s family (Galatians 4:30).
Once we stop fence straggling, we will realize that free life can’t survive the structured demands of rule-centered living. Conversely, law keeping can’t maintain a grip on the truly liberated life. As Christians, we are called to a life of freedom.

FAITH DEMANDS UNCERTAINTY

Chuck Swindoll in his commentary ON ACTS:
“The Lord used the old covenant to prove that HEARING the word of God isn’t our primary problem. HEEDING the word of God is our constant challenge. With the inauguration of the new covenant, our Master has taken a different approach. Instead of standing before us to issue orders, He now lives within us to transform our minds (Romans 12:1-2) so that we begin to think His thoughts. As the Spirit gradually takes over, defeating our old, selfish, vain, foolish manner of life, we begin to cherish what God cherishes, make decisions according to His values, and view life from His eternal perspective.” Chuck Swindoll

In his essay on prayer, C.S. Lewis suggested that God treats new Christians with a special kind of tenderness, much as a parent does with a newborn. He quotes an experienced Christian: “I have seen many striking answers to prayer and more than one that I thought miraculous. But they usually come at the beginning before conversion, or soon after it. As the Christian life proceeds, they tend to be rarer. The refusals, too, are not only more frequent; they become more unmistakable, more emphatic.”
C.S. Lewis asks: “Does God then forsake just those who serve Him best? Well, He who served Him best of all said, near His tortured death, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” When God becomes man, that Man, of all others, is least comforted by God, at His greatest need. There is a mystery there which, even if I had the power, I might not have the courage to explore. Meanwhile, little people like you and me, if our prayers are sometimes granted, beyond all hope and probability, had better not draw hasty conclusions to our own advantage. If we were stronger, we might be less tenderly treated. If we were braver, we might be sent, with far less help, to defend far more desperate posts in the great battle.”

The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, in his book “Philosophical Fragments”
“Christians remind me of schoolboys who want to look up the answers to their math problems in the back of the book rather than work them through.”

“Faith like Job’s cannot be shaken because it is the result of having been shaken.” Rabbi Abraham Heschel

YOU ARE COMPLETELY FREE

Philip Yancey ins his book “DISAPPOINTMENT WITH GOD writes:
I found that for many people there is a large gap between what they expect from their Christian faith and what they actually experience. From a steady diet of books, sermons, and personal testimonies, all promising triumph and success, they learn to expect dramatic evidence of God working in their lives. If they do not see such evidence, they feel disappointment, betrayal and often guilt.” Philip Yancey

C.S. Lewis nails it when he writes in Mere Christianity:
“Either we give up trying to be good, or else we become very unhappy indeed. For, make no mistake: If you are really going to try to meet all the demands made on the natural self, it will not have enough left over to live on. The more you obey your conscience, the more your conscience will demand of you. And your natural self, which is thus being starved and hampered and worried at every turn, will get angrier. In the end, you will either give up trying to be good, or else become one of those people who, as they say, “live for others” but always in a discontented, grumbling way – always making a martyr of yourself. And once you have become that you will be a far greater pest to anyone who has to live with you than you would have been if you had remained frankly selfish.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson said:
“The God of the cannibals will be a cannibal, of the crusaders a crusader, and of the merchant, a merchant.”

PRIORITIES THAT GLORIFY JESUS

C.S. Lewis under the title: A GRIEF OBSERVED makes this comment after grieving the death of his wife, Joy:
“What sort of a lover am I to think so much about my affliction and so much less about hers? Even the insane call, ‘Come back,’ is all for my own sake. I never even raised the question whether such a return, if it were possible, would be good for her. I want her back as an ingredient in the restoration of my past. Could I have wished her anything worse? Having got once through death, to come back and then, at some later date, have all her dying to do over again? They call Stephen the first martyr. Hadn’t Lazarus the rawer deal?”
R.C. Sproul comments about this verse:
“I will never obey the truth of God apart from the power, grace, and assistance of the Spirit. We are living in strange times in terms of how the church functions. We have been caught up with a fierce desire to find a way to relate to a culture that has been immunized to Christianity. We try to find new methods to reach the lost. The motivation is righteous, because we should have compassion for the lost. The danger comes when we ask the lost how they want to come into the kingdom of God, how they want to worship God, and how they want to hear God’s Word, and then tailor our method to their tastes and preferences. THAT IS FATAL. Sooner or later the church must come back to confidence in God’s way of doing God’s work, because the Bible does give us A BLUEPRINT FOR EVANGELISM.
…It is accomplished by the method of proclaiming the Word of God, which, as Peter says here, changes lives and purifies souls through the power of the Holy Spirit.
…We must never negotiate those fundamental, biblical methods of worship, preaching, evangelism, and spiritual growth.”

RADICAL DISCIPLESHIP

“Christ didn’t send us into the world as vacationers on a self-guided tour of a playground but as soldiers on a tour of duty in a battlefield. We’re not called to kick back, relax, take in the scenery, and wait for our Guide to take us home. We need to arm ourselves with spiritual armor to withstand the temptations of this world.” Chuck Swindoll
C.S. Lewis in his classic: Mere Christianity writes:
“The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God. The present state of things is this. The two kinds of life are now not only different but actually opposed. The natural life in each of us is something self-centered, something that wants to be petted and admired, to take advantage of other lives, to exploit the whole universe. And especially it wants to be left to itself; to keep well away from anything better or stronger or higher than it, ANYTHING THAT MIGHT MAKE IT FEEL SMALL.
It is afraid of the light and air of the spiritual world, just as people who have been brought up to be dirty are afraid of a bath. And in a sense, it is quite right.
IT KNOWS THAT IF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE GETS HOLD OF IT, ALL ITS SELF-CENTEREDNESS AND SELF-WILL ARE GOING TO BE KILLED AND IT IS READY TO FIGHT TOOTH AND NAIL TO AVOID IT.”
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his excellent book ‘Joy Unspeakable” writes:
“Perhaps the greatest danger of all for Christian people is the danger of understanding the Scriptures in the light of their own experiences. We should NOT INTERPRET SCRIPTURE IN THE LIGHT OF OUR EXPERIENCES, but we should EXAMINE our experiences in the light of the teaching of the Scripture.”

WHAT ARE YOU AIMING AT?

The church speaks a lot about Faith, Love, and Hope, but what does it look like?
• Faith is anchored in the past, in actual history events, as we look back to the Lord’s saving work on the cross.
• Love is anchored in the present, as we practice Christlike love toward the people around us.
• Hope is anchored in the future, in the trustworthy promises God gave us in His Word.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

From Murderer To MARTYR

We all recognize this man named Apostle Paul. We have heard of him and read his incredible letters that are a part of the New Testament in the Bible. But what do we know about this man? We know that he was and still is an amazing teacher, a colossal figure of the first century world. No wonder some churches and Christian denominations have assigned sainthood to this humble yet greater than life man.
I would venture to say that no other person in the Bible, aside from Jesus Christ Himself, had a more profound influence on his world and ours than this man, the Apostle Paul.
He was a powerful witness of God’s faithfulness. But he was not always that witness of God’s faithfulness. We sometimes forget that all human being, no matter how great an impact they had during their lifetime on this earth, CAME FROM THE SAME PLACE; A WORLD OF SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS AND PHYSICAL BRUTALITY.
Saul had a great upbringing. His parents were Pharisees, members of the party most fervent in Jewish nationalism and strict in obedience of the Law of Moses. He was a Jew of Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city.
Saul grew up in a very controlled Jewish environment. Friendship’s with Gentiles was not allowed. Greek ideas were despised. His parents made sure that Saul could speak Greek, Latin and Aramaic, a language of Judea, a derivative of Hebrew.
Saul and his parents looked to Jerusalem as Islam looks to Mecca. Saul grew up in a home where he constantly was reminded that they are the People of Promise to whom alone the Living God had revealed His glory and His plans. By his 13th birthday, Saul had mastered Jewish history, the psalms and the prophets.
“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” C.S. Lewis “Mere Christianity”