Saturday, January 31, 2009

Keep Your Fork



I read this story quite a while ago and thought it was pretty neat… it’s called Keep Your Fork:


There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live.
So as she was getting her things "in order," she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.
She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.
The woman also requested to be buried with her favourite Bible. Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.
"There's one more thing," she said excitedly.
"What's that?" came the pastor's reply.
"This is very important," the woman continued. "I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand."
The pastor stood looking at the woman, not knowing quite what to say.
"That surprises you, doesn't it?" the woman asked.
"Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the request," said the pastor.
The woman explained. "In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, 'Keep your fork.' It was my favourite part because I knew that something better was coming... like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!"
"So, I just want people to see me there in the casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder, "What's with the fork?"
Then, I want you to tell them:
"Keep your fork... The best is yet to come!"
The pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman good-bye.
He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did.
She knew that something better was coming. At the funeral people were walking by the woman's casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing and her favourite Bible and the fork placed in her right hand.
Over and over, the pastor heard the question, "What's with the fork?"
And over and over he smiled.
During his message, the pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died.
He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.
He was right.

So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you oh so gently, that the best is yet to come.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Yielding to Distractions


This is a wonderful little excerpt from a reading found in Charles Spurgeon's Morning & Evening...

As a shadow has no power because there is no substance in it, even so a supplication in which a man’s proper self is not thoroughly present in agonizing earnestness and vehement desire is utterly ineffective, for it lacks that which would give it force…
The common fault with most of us is our readiness to yield to distractions. Our thoughts go roving hither and thither and we make little progress towards our desired end. Like quicksilver our mind will not hold together, but rolls off this way and that. How great an evil this is! It injures us, and what is worse, it insults our God. What would we think of a petitioner, if, while having an audience with a prince, he were playing with a feather or catching a fly? … Prayer must not be our chance work, but our daily business – our habit and vocation. As artists give themselves to their models, and poets to their classical pursuits, so must we addict ourselves to prayer. We must be immersed in prayer as in our element, and so pray without ceasing.
Lord, teach us to pray that we may be more and more prevalent in supplication.
(C.H. Spurgeon)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Darkness Into Light


You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
- Psalm 18:28

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Boredom

Elisabeth Elliot wrote the following bit about boredom, which I thought was a great read!

Boredom

Dorothy Parker was famous for her wit before she was thirty. She had great charm, a fine education, a fascinating kind of beauty, and many interesting friends. But she was utterly bored. She thought of suicide, and was quoted in John Keats' book You Might As Well Live as saying:
Razors pain you;

Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;

Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.
Her life story seemed to me the exact illustration of acedia, or accidie, which is an old word for boredom, but a word that includes depression, sloth, irritability, lazy languor, and bitterness. "This rotten sin," wrote Chaucer, "maketh a man heavy, wrathful and raw." Poor Miss Parker had been so irritable and raw with people -- she had treated even her friends unspeakably badly -- that she spent her last years alone in a hotel in New York, her pitiful, neglected dogs and her liquor bottles almost her only companions.
Gertrude Behanna says, on her record, "God Isn't Dead," that she has come to believe that it is a real sin to bore people. When we stop to think about it, most of us would readily agree. But how many of us have thought of boredom itself, so long as it affects only ourselves, as a sin? The Bible speaks of joy as a Christian virtue. It is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and often we find that it characterizes the people of God whose stories we read in the Bible. The worship of God in the Old Testament was accompanied by the most hilarious demonstrations of gladness -- dancing, shouting, and music-making.
Joy is not a word we use much nowadays. We think of it poetically as the opposite of sorrow, another word that does not often come into conversation. Both words represent experiences one does not normally have every day.
But I think we are mistaken. I think joy is meant to be an everyday experience, and as such it is the exact opposite of boredom, which seems to be the everyday experience (am I being overly pessimistic?) of most Americans. I get the impression that everybody is always hoping for a chance to get away from it all, relax, unwind, get out of these four walls, find somewhere, somehow, some action or excitement. Advertising, of course, has done a splendid job of creating in us greed for things we would never have thought of wanting, and thereby convincing us that whatever we have is intolerably boring. Attributing human wants to animals, we easily swallow the TV commercials that tell us that Morris the cat doesn't want tuna fish every day, he wants eight different flavours.
"Godliness with contentment is great gain.'' Those words were written a long time ago to a young man by an older man who had experienced almost the gamut of human suffering, including being chained day and night to a prison guard. Contentment is another word which has fallen into disuse. We think of it, perhaps, in connection with cows -- the best milk comes from contented ones, doesn't it? -- but it doesn't take much to content a cow. Peace and fodder are probably all it asks. We are not cows. What does it take to content us? How could Paul, after what he had been through, write as he did to Timothy?
C. S. Lewis, one of the most godly and civilized men I have ever heard of, exemplified what Paul was getting at. Lewis wrote that he was never bored by routine. In fact, he said, he liked it. He had what his anthologist Clyde S. Kilby called "a mind awake." Why should routine spoil it? Pictures of him show a joyful man. But he was not a man unacquainted with poverty, hard work, and suffering any more than Paul was. He knew them, but he knew, too, what lay beyond. "All joy," he wrote to a friend, "(as distinct from mere pleasure, still more amusement) emphasizes our pilgrim status; always reminds, beckons, awakens desire. Our best havings are wantings."
Those wantings lie in the deepest places of our being, and they are for the kind of joy that, according to Lewis, is "the serious business of heaven." So we waste our time, our money, and our energies when we pursue so frantically the pleasures which we hope will bring us relief from boredom. We end up bored with everything and everybody. Work which can be joyful if accepted as a part of the eternal order and a means to serve, becomes only drudgery. Our pettiest difficulties, not to mention our big ones, are cause for nothing but complaint and self-pity. All circumstances not deliberately arranged by us look like obstacles to be rid of. We consume much and produce little; we get depressed, and depression is actually dangerous and destructive.But there is another way. Paul made it perfectly clear that his contentment had nothing to do with how desirable his circumstances were. "I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities." It is no list of amusements. How, then, did it work? It worked by a mysterious transforming power, something that reversed things like weakness and hardship, making them into strength and joy. Is there any chance that it will work for us? Is there for us, too, an antidote for boredom? The promise of Christ was not for Paul alone. "My grace is sufficient for you." It's a gift to be accepted. If we refuse it, nothing will be enough and boredom will be the story of our lives.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Not Worth Anything



Lie: I’m Not Worth Anything

More than 42 percent of the women we surveyed indicated that this is a lie they have believed. It is a powerful lie.
The problem is that our view of ourselves and our sense of worth are often determined by the input and opinions of others. Sometimes the input of others is accurate and helpful. But not always. If, for some reason, the person we are listening to is looking through a defective “lens,” his or her vision will be distorted. Some of us have lived all our lives in an emotional prison because we have accepted what a false “broken” mirror said to us about ourselves.
Even when the input is, in and of itself, true, the Deceiver can use that data to put us in bondage. Sometimes a single sentence heard as a child can haunt and plague a person for years.
What we believe about ourselves determines how we live. If we believe and act on lies, we will end up in bondage.
Many women today are desperately seeking affirmation; they are driven to gain the approval of others. It’s as if they were trying to balance the scales of the negative input they have received from others. But, in most cases, no number of positive “strokes” can outweigh those negative, hurtful expressions that have led them to believe they are worthless. No amount of affirmation is enough. They can get one hundred compliments about how they look or what they have done, but let one family member offer a criticism, and they are devastated. Why? Because they are letting others determine their worth.
There is a wonderful verse in 1 Peter that shows us how Jesus’ sense of worth was determined, not by what others though of Him – good or bad – but by the Truth as expressed by His heavenly Father: He was “rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him” (2:4). Jesus was rejected by men – those He had created for Himself, those He loved and for whom He laid down His life. But that is not what determined His value. He was chosen by God; that is what made Him precious; that is what determined His worth.
It is conceivable that someone who did not recognize or appreciate fine art would toss a masterpiece into the trash. Would that make the painting any less valuable? Not at all. The true worth of the are would be seen when an art collector spotted the painting and said, “That is a priceless piece, and I am willing to pay any amount to acquire it.”
When God sent His only Son, Jesus, to this earth to bear your sin and mine on the cross, He put a price tag on us – He declared the value of our soul to be greater than the value of the whole world. Whose opinion are you going to accept? Believing a lie will put you in bondage. Believing in the Truth will set you free.


The Truth is that our value is not determined by what others think of us or what we think of ourselves. Our value is determined by how God views me.

Psalm 139:1-18: O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.

Ephesians 1:3-8: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

1 Peter 2:4: As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him…


The Truth is that to God, my soul is worth more than the price of the whole world.

John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 5:6-8: You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

The Truth is that if we are children of God, we are God’s cherished possession and treasure.

Romans 8:1-2: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:13: For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

Romans 8:15-17: For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

1 Peter 2:9: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Victory Over Sin



Lie: I Cannot Walk In Consistent Victory Over Sin

More than half of the women we surveyed acknowledged that they had bought into the lie that they could not live in consistent victory over sin. It is easy to see how Satan uses this lie to place believers in bondage.
Romans 7:21-24 [says] any person who is a true child of God has been given a new nature – a nature that desires to obey God. Deep down, every true believer wants to live a life that is pleasing to God.
However, according to the Scripture, even after we are born again, our “flesh” (our natural inclinations) continues to wage war against the Spirit of God living within us.

The Spirit says: Forgive.
The flesh says: Hold a grudge.

The Spirit says: Be temperate.
The flesh says: Eat whatever you want, whenever you feel like it.

The Spirit says: Give that money to someone in need.
The flesh says: Spend that money on yourself.

The Spirit says: Spend some time in the Word and prayer.
The flesh says: You’ve had a long day; chill out in front of the TV for the evening.

The Spirit says: Hold your tongue. What you are about to say is not kind or necessary.
The flesh says: Tell it like it is!

Every time we choose to give in to the flesh, rather than yielding to the Spirit of God, we allow sin to gain mastery over us. On the other hand, every time we say yes to the Spirit, we give Him greater control of our lives.
When we make repeated choices to obey sin rather than God, we establish habit patterns that are extremely difficult to break – we choose to live as sin’s slaves. For a while, we may find ourselves trying to do right, then failing, trying and failing, trying and failing. That is when the devil begins to convince us that it can never be any different, that we will always be enslaved to that sinful habit. We think, What’s the use? I’m just going to blow it again! I’m going to be defeated by this for the rest of my life. So we give up. What has happened? Satan has succeeded in making us believe we cannot walk in consistent victory over temptation and sin.

Remember that what we believe determines the way we live. If we believe we are going to sin, then we will. If we believe we have to live in bondage, then we will. If we believe that we can’t live victorious lives, we won’t.
The Truth is, you and I are powerless to change ourselves, for “Apart from me,” Jesus said, “you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
So what are we to do? How can we be set free from habitual sin? It is the Truth that sets us free.
The Truth is, through Christ’s finished work on the cross, we can live in victory over sin; Satan is no longer our master, and we no longer have to live as slaves to sin. If you are in Christ, the Truth is:
You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness… Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
– Romans 6:18; 8:2


The Truth is we are not slaves to sin. Through Christ we have been set free from sin.

John 8:31-32: To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Romans 6:6-7: For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

Galatians 5:1: It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Hebrews 10:10: And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.


The Truth is that by God’s grace and through the finished work of Christ on the cross, I can experience victory over sin.

John 15:5: I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11: Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 5:22-25: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Can't Control My Emotions



Lie: I Can’t Control My Emotions

The Enemy uses this lie to make us believe we have no choice but to be controlled by our emotions. While it may be true to some degree that we can’t help the way we feel, the Truth is that we don’t have to let our feelings run our lives.
You may not be able to help feeling apprehensive about an upcoming medical exam, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stop worrying and fretting about the outcome. You may not be able to help feeling vulnerable in a lonely season of your life when a married man takes an interest in you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help “falling in love” with him.
The Truth is, regardless of what emotions are whirling around inside, by God’s grace, we can choose to fix our minds on Him and to “trust and obey.” When we do, we will experience His peace and the grace to be faithful, even though our circumstances may not change.

“We must choose, without any regard to the state of our emotions, what attitude our will will take toward God. We must recognize that our emotions are only the servants of our will…
Our will can control our feelings if only we are steadfastly minded to do so. Many times when my feelings have declared contrary to the facts, I have changed those feelings entirely by a steadfast assertion of their opposite…
Surging emotions – like a tossing vessel, which by degrees yields to the steady pull of the anchor – finding themselves attached to the mighty power of God by the choice of your will, must sooner or later give allegiance to Him.”
- Hannah Whitall Smith

The Scripture is filled with divine promises and commands that provide the means by which our emotions may be steadied in the midst of any storm – Matthew 28:20; Philippians 4:19; Isaiah 54:10; John 14:27; Philippians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Matthew 5:44; Mark 11:25.
When we fix our minds on Christ and bring every thought into subjection to the Truth, the Holy Spirit sanctifies our emotions and grants supernatural grace, comfort, and peace.


The Truth is that we do not have to be controlled by our emotions.

Isaiah 54:10: Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

Ephesians 4:26: “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.

Philippians 4:4-7: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18: Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.


We can choose to fix our minds on the Truth, to take every thought captive to the Truth, and to let God control our emotions.

Psalm 42:11: Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.

Isaiah 26:3: You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

Isaiah 50:10: Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

John 17:17: Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

2 Corinthians 10:5: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Philippians 4:8-9: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Colossians 3:1-2: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It Must Be True



Lie: If I Feel Something, It Must Be True

The Enemy wants us to believe that if we feel unloved, we are unloved. If we feel we can’t cope with the pressure, it must be true that we can’t make it. If we feel God has deserted us or that He has acted unjustly in a matter that concerns us, the perhaps He has let us down. If we feel our situation is hopeless, then there must be no hope. If we don’t feel saved, then maybe we aren’t. If we don’t feel forgiven, then we must not be.
The Truth is that, due to our fallen condition, our feelings often have very little to do with reality. In many instances, feelings are simply not a reliable gauge of what is actually true. When we allow them to be tied to our circumstances – which are constantly changing – rather than to the unchangeable realities of God and His Truth, our emotions are prone to fluctuate wildly.
It doesn’t take much to put our emotions on an upswing – a clear, sunny day, a raise at work, a compliment from a friend, the successful completion of a big project, or losing five pounds. Meanwhile, emotional lows can be the result of a variety of factors including (but not limited to) a series of cloudy days, a tough day at the office, a disappointing phone call, a sleepless night, or a pizza we ate too late the night before.
When you add in “big” things like the birth of a fourth child in five years, a major move, the loss of a job, the death of a mate or child, caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s, or being diagnosed with cancer, those emotions can really go haywire.
In the midst of the roller-coaster ride our emotions sometimes take us on, we have to constantly bring our minds and thoughts back to the Truth. The Truth is, God is good, whether I feel like He is good or not. The Truth is, God loves me, whether I feel loved or not. The Truth is, through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ on my behalf, I am forgiven, whether I feel forgiven or not. The Truth is, God will never leave me or forsake me; He is with me all the time, even when I feel alone and forsaken.
If we want to walk in freedom, we must realize that our emotions are not necessarily trustworthy and be willing to reject any feelings that are not consistent with the Truth.

The Truth is that our feelings cannot always be trusted. They often have little to do with reality and can easily deceive us into believing things that are not true.

Psalm 119:29-30: Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law. I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.

Jeremiah 17:9-10: The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? "I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve."


We must choose to reject any feelings that are not consistent with the Truth.

Psalm 33:4: For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.

Psalm 51:6: Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

Psalm 56:3-4: When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

Ephesians 4:14-15: Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

Philippians 4:8-9: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

God Is Not Really Enough

I was recently reading Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ book called Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free and there were a few chapters that I particularly wanted to share here. Each of these sections I am going to share (over the next few days) talk about the lie itself (what we tell ourselves) and then state the Truths and Scripture verses that prove those Truths.
I hope you enjoy reading these, and if you find you relate to them, that you will be able to apply the truths to your life when these lies surface.
The first is the lie that “God Is Not Really Enough,” which is a lie I think many Christians struggle with…


Lie: God Is Not Really Enough

“Christ is all I need, all that I need.” It’s one thing to sing that little chorus when we’re sitting in a church service. But when we walk out the church doors and into the rough-and-tumble world, do we really believe He is all we need? As with [other] lies, we would hardly dare to breathe these words; few of us consciously believe this lie. But the way we live reveals that this is what we really do believe.
When it comes down to it, we don’t believe God’s Word is truly sufficient to deal with our problems. Oh, it can deal with everyone else’s problems; but it doesn’t speak to my issues, my needs, my relationships, my situation. I need God’s Word plus these eight books from the Christian bookstore; I need God’s Word plus tapes and conferences and counsellors.
Sure, I need God. But I need Him plus close friends; I need Him plus good health; I need Him plus a husband; I need Him plus children; I need Him plus a job that pays enough; I need Him plus a house with a microwave, a washer/dryer, a garage, and a fresh paint job…
Do you really believe that if you have God you have enough? Do we truly believe God is enough, or are we looking to other things and people to fill the empty places of our hearts – food, shopping, friends, hobbies, vacations, our job, or our family?

The Truth is that God is enough. If you have Him, you have all you need.

Psalm 23:1: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

Psalm 73:23-26: Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Colossians 2:9-10: For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Will Be Their God

“I will be their God.”
– Jeremiah 31:33

Christian! Here is all you can require. To make you happy you want something that will satisfy you; is this not enough? If you can pour this promise into your cup, will you not say with David, “My cup runneth over; I have more than my heart can wish”? When this saying “I am thy God” is fulfilled, are you not possessor of all things? …Are you complete when God is yours? Do you want anything but God? Isn’t His all-sufficiency enough to satisfy you if all else should fail? But you want more than quiet satisfaction; you desire rapturous delight. Come, soul, here is music fit for heaven in this your portion, for God is the Maker of Heaven…
“I will be their God.” If this does not make your eyes sparkle, and your heart beat high with bliss, then assuredly your soul is not in a healthy state. But you want more than present delights – you crave something concerning which you may exercise hope; and what more can you hope for than the fulfillment of this great promise, “I will be their God”?

… Dwell in the light of the Lord, and let your soul be always ravished with His love… live up to your privileges, and rejoice with unspeakable joy.
(C.H. Spurgeon)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Never Alone

The following are lyrics to a song that I’ve come to really appreciate, called “Never Alone,” by Barlow Girl. It’s a good reminder that even when we feel that we are alone, we never are – which is a truth revealed in two of my favourite Scripture verses:
Matthew 28:20: And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age and Psalm 73:23(-26): Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand…


Never Alone

I waited for you today

But You didn't show
I needed You today
So where did you go?

You told me to call
you said You'd be there
And though I haven't seen You
Are You still there?

I cried out with no reply and
I can't feel You by my side
So I'll hold tight to what I know
You're here and I'm never alone.

And though I can not see You
and I can't explain why.
Such a deep, deep reassurance
You've placed in my life

We cannot separate
'Cause You're part of me
and though You're invisible
I'll trust the unseen

I cried out with no reply
And I can't feel You by my side
So I'll hold tight to what I know
You're here and I'm never alone

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Last Battle pt.2


This is the last Narnia posting, from the ending chapters of The Last Battle - which include some of my favourite parts of the entire series! Enjoy. :)


… They had seen strange things enough through that Doorway. But it was stranger than any of them to look round and find themselves in warm daylight, the blue sky above them, flowers at their feet, and laughter in Aslan’s eyes. (Revelation 21:1; 2 Peter 3:13)

… It still seemed to be early, and the morning freshness was in the air (Revelation 22:5). They kept on stopping to look round and look behind them, partly because it was so beautiful but partly also because there was something about it which they could not understand.
“Peter,” said Lucy, “where is this, do you suppose?”
“I don’t know,” said the High King. “It reminds me of somewhere but I can’t give it a name. Could it be somewhere we once stayed for a holiday when we were very, very small?”
“It would have to have been a jolly good holiday,” said Eustace. “I bet there isn’t a country like this anywhere in our world. Look at the colours! You couldn’t get blue like that blue on those mountains in our world.”
“Is it not Aslan’s country?” said Tirian.
“Not like Aslan’s country on top of that mountain beyond the Eastern end of the world,” said Jill. “I’ve been there.”
“If you ask me,” said Edmund, “it’s like somewhere in the Narnian world. Look at those mountains ahead – and the big ice-mountains beyond them. Surely they’re rather like the mountains we used to see from Narnia, the ones up Westward beyond the Waterfall?”
“Yes, so they are,” said Peter. “Only these are bigger.”
“I don’t think those ones are so very like anything in Narnia,” said Lucy. “But look there.” She pointed Southward to their left and everyone stopped and turned to look. “Those hills,” said Lucy, “the nice woody ones and the blue ones behind – aren’t they very like the Southern border of Narnia?”
“Like!” cried Edmund after a moment’s silence. “Why, they’re exactly like. Look, there’s Mount Pire with his forked head, and there’s the pass into Archenland and everything!”
“And yet they’re not like,” said Lucy. “They’re different. They have more colours on them and they look further away than I remembered and they’re more… more… oh, I don’t know…”
“More like the real thing,” said the Lord Digory softly.
Suddenly Farsight the Eagle spread his wings, soared thirty or forty feet up into the air, circled round and then alighted on the ground.
“Kings and Queens,” he cried, “we have all been blind. We are only beginning to see where we are. From up there I have seen it all – Ettinsmur, Beaversdam, the Great River, and Cair Paravel still shining on the edge of the Eastern Sea. Narnia is not dead. This is Narnia.”
“But how can it be?” said Peter. “For Aslan told us older ones that we should never return to Narnia, and here we are.”
“Yes,” said Eustace. “And we saw it all destroyed and the sun put out.”
“And it’s all so different,” said Lucy.
“The Eagle is right,” said the Lord Digory. “Listen, Peter. When Aslan said you could never go back into Narnia, he meant the Narnia you were thinking of. But that was not the real Narnia. That had a beginning and an end. It was only a shadow or a copy of the real Narnia which has always been here and always will be here: just as our own world, England and all, is only a shadow or copy of something in Aslan’s real world. You need not mourn over Narnia, Lucy. All of the old Narnia that mattered, all the dear creatures, have been drawn into the real Narnia through the Door. And of course it is different; as different as a real thing is from a shadow or as waking life is from a dream.”
… It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right forehoof on the ground and neighed, and then cried:
“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this…” (Isaiah 35:10; Isaiah 65:17; 2 Corinthians 5:1)

… And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.


Scripture Verses:

Revelation 21:1 - Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.

2 Peter 3:13 - But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

Revelation 22:5 - There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

Isaiah 35:10 - They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Isaiah 65:17 - Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.

2 Corinthians 5:1 - Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Last Battle pt.1

The next two days will be focusing on excerpts from The Last Battle. This last book of The Chronicles of Narnia is packed with Scriptural parallels… I’m sure there are many more than I marked in these sections!

He looked round again and could hardly believe his eyes. There was the blue sky overhead, and grassy country spreading as far as he could see in every direction, and his new friends all around him laughing.
“It seems, then,” said Tirian, smiling himself, “that the stable seen from within and the stable seen from without are two different places.”
“Yes,” said the Lord Digory. “Its inside is bigger than its outside.”
“Yes,” said Queen Lucy. “In our world too, a stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.” (Luke 2:7)


They all stood beside Aslan, on his right side, and looked through the open Doorway (Revelation 4:1).
The bonfire had gone out. On the earth all was blackness; in fact you could not have told that you were looking into a wood if you had not seen where the dark shapes of the trees ended and the stars began. But when Aslan had roared yet again, out on their left they saw another patch where there were no stars: and the patch rose up higher and higher and became the shape of a man, the hugest of all giants. … the giant raised a horn to his mouth. They could see this by the change of the black shape he made against the stars. After that – quite a bit later, because sound travels so slowly – they heard the sound of the horn: high and terrible, yet of a strange, deadly beauty.
Immediately the sky became full of shooting stars. Even one shooting star is a fine thing to see; but these were dozens, and then scores, and then hundreds, till it was like silver rain: and it went on and on (Isaiah 34:4). And when it had gone on for some while, one or two of them began to think that there was another dark shape against the sky as well as the giant’s. It was in a different place, right overhead, up in the very roof of the sky as you might call it. “Perhaps it is a cloud,” thought Edmund. At any rate, there were no stars there: just blackness. But all around, the downpour of stars went on. And then the starless patch began to grow, spreading further and further from the center of the sky. And presently a quarter of the whole sky was black, and then a half, and at last the rain of shooting stars was going on only low down near the horizon.
With a thrill of wonder (and there was some terror in it too) they all suddenly realized what was happening. The spreading blackness was not a cloud at all: it was simply emptiness. The black part of the sky was the part in which there were no stars left….
On the grass before them lay their own shadows. But the great thing was Aslan’s shadow. It streamed away to their left, enormous and very terrible. And all this was under a sky that would now be starless forever (Joel 3:15).
The light from behind them (and a little to their right) was so strong that it lit up even the slopes of the Northern Moors. Something was moving there. Enormous animals were crawling and sliding down into Narnia: great dragons and giant lizards and featherless birds with wings like bats’ wings. They disappeared into the woods and for a few minutes there was silence. Then there came – at first from very far off – sounds of wailing and then, from every direction, a rustling and a pattering and a sound of wings. It came nearer and nearer. Soon one could distinguish the scamper of little feet from the padding of big paws, and the clack-clack of light little hoofs from the thunder of great ones. And then one could see thousands of pairs of eyes gleaming. And at last, out of the shadow of the trees, racing up the hill for dear life, by thousands and by millions, came all kinds of creatures – Talking Beasts, Dwarfs, Satyrs, Fauns, Giants, Calormenes, men from Archenland, Monopods, and strange unearthly things from the remote islands or the unknown Western lands. And all these ran up to the doorway where Aslan stood.
… The creatures came rushing on, their eyes brighter and brighter as they drew nearer and nearer to the standing Stars. But as they came right up to Aslan one or other of two things happened to each of them. They all looked straight in his face, I don’t think they had any choice about that. And when some looked, the expression of their faces changed terribly – it was fear and hatred: except that, on the faces of Talking Beasts, the fear and hatred lasted only for a fraction of a second. You could see that they suddenly ceased to be Talking Beasts. They were just ordinary animals. And all the creatures who looked at Aslan in that way swerved to their right, his left, and disappeared into his huge black shadow, which (as you have heard) streamed away to the left of the doorway (Matthew 25:32, Matthew 25:41). The children never saw them again. I don’t know what became of them (Revelation 21:27; Psalm 37:20; Matthew 13:37-43). But the others looked in the face of Aslan and loved him, though some of them were very frightened at the same time. And all these came in at the Door, in on Aslan’s right (Matthew 25:46b; John 6:40; Luke 13:24; 2 Peter 3:13)

…Then the Moon came up, quite in her wrong position, very close to the sun, and she also looked red. And at the sight of her the sun began shooting out great flames, like whiskers or snakes of crimson fire, toward her. It is as if he were an octopus trying to draw her to himself in his tentacles. And perhaps he did draw her. At any rate she came to him, slowly at first, but then more and more quickly, till at last his long flames licked round her and the two ran together and became one huge ball like a burning coal. Great lumps of fire came dropping out of it into the sea and clouds of steam rose up.
Then Aslan said, “Now make an end.”
The giant threw his horn into the sea. Then he stretched out one arm – very black it looked, and thousands of miles long – across the sky till his hand reached the Sun. He took the Sun and squeezed it in his hand as you would squeeze an orange. And instantly there was total darkness (Isaiah 13:10; Isaiah 8:22a).


Scripture Verses:

Luke 2:7 - …and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Revelation 4:1 - After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven.

Isaiah 34:4 - All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall.

Joel 3:15 - The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine.

Matthew 25:32 - All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Matthew 25:41 – “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed.’"

Revelation 21:27 - Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Psalm 37:20 - But the wicked will perish: The LORD's enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish—vanish like smoke.

Matthew 13:37-43 - He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father."

Matthew 25:46 - "… the righteous to eternal life."

John 6:40 - For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

Luke 13:24 - He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.”

Isaiah 13:10 - The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light.

Isaiah 8:22a - Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Today’s section of writing is from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

… it looked as if the sky came down to meet the grass in front of them. But as they went on they got the strangest impression that here at last the sky did really come down and join the earth – a blue wall, very bright, but real and solid: more like glass than anything else. And soon they were quite sure of it. It was very near now.
But between them and the foot of the sky there was something so white on the green grass that even with their eagles’ eyes they could hardly look at it. They came on and saw that it was a Lamb. (John 1:29; Revelation 5:12)
“Come and have breakfast,” said the Lamb in its sweet milky voice.
Then they noticed for the first time that there was a fire lit on the grass and fish roasting on it. (John 21:9) They sat down and at the fish, hungry now for the first time for many days. And it was the most delicious food they had ever tasted.
“Please, Lamb,” said Lucy, “is this the way to Aslan’s country?”
“Not for you,” said the Lamb, “For you the door into Aslan’s country is from your own world.”
“What!” said Edmund. “Is there a way into Aslan’s country from our world too?”
“There is a way into my country from all the worlds,” said the Lamb; but as he spoke his snowy white flushed into tawny gold and his size changed and he was Aslan himself, towering above them and scattering light from his mane.
“Oh, Aslan,” said Lucy. “Will you tell us how to get into your country from our world?”
“I shall be telling you all the time,” said Aslan. “But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder. And now come; I will open the door in the sky and send you to your own land.”
“Please, Aslan,” said Lucy. “Before we go, will you tell us when we can come back to Narnia again? Please. And oh, do, do, do make it soon.”
“Dearest,” said Aslan very gently, “you and your brother will never come back into Narnia.”
“Oh, Aslan!!” said Edmund and Lucy both together in despairing voices.
“You are too old, children,” said Aslan, “and you must begin to come close to your own world now.”
“It isn’t Narnia, you know,” sobbed Lucy. “It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?”
“But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan.
“Are – are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund.
“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.” (1 Chronicles 28:9b; Proverbs 8:17)


Scripture Verses:

John 1: 29 – “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Revelation 5:12 – “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain”

John 21:9 - When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

1 Chronicles 28:9b – “If you seek him, he will be found by you.”


Proverbs 8:17 - I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Horse and His Boy

The Following excerpt is from my very favourite part of The Horse and His Boy. I love how Lewis brings the story together, showing it all from Aslan’s point of view and showing how all was worked in his wisdom:

“I can’t see you at all,” said Shasta, after staring very hard. Then (for an even more terrifying idea had come into his head) he said, almost in a scream, “You’re not – not something dead, are you? Oh please – please do go away. What harm have I ever done you? Oh, I am the unluckiest person in the whole world!”
Once more he felt the warm breath of the Thing on his hand and face. “There,” it said, “that is not the breath of a ghost. Tell me your sorrows.”
Shasta was a little reassured by the breath: so he told how he had never known his real father or mother and had been brought up sternly by the fisherman. And then he told the story of his escape and how they were chased by lions and forced to swim for their lives; and of all their dangers in Tashbaan and about his night among the tombs and how the beasts howled at him out of the desert. And he told about the heat and thirst of their desert journey and how they were almost at their goal when another lion chased them and wounded Aravis. And also, how very long it was since he had had anything to eat.
“I do not call you unfortunate,” said the Large Voice.
“Don’t you think it was bad luck to meet so many lions?” said Shasta.
“There was only one lion,” said the Voice.
“What on earth do you mean? I’ve just told you there were at least two the first night, and – ”
“There was only one: but he was swift of foot.”
“How do you know?”
“I was the lion.” And as Shasta gaped with open mouth and said nothing, the Voice continued. “I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you.” (Psalm 73:23; Romans 8:28)
“Then it was you who wounded Aravis?”
“It was I.”
“But what for?”
“Child,” said the Voice, “I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”
“What are you?” asked Shasta.
“Myself,” said the Voice, very deep and low so that the earth shook: and again “Myself,” loud and clear and gay: and then the third time “Myself,” whispered so softly you could hardly hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all round you as if the leaves rustled with it. (Exodus 3:14)
Shasta was no longer afraid that the Voice belonged to something that would eat him, nor that it was the voice of a ghost. But a new and different sort of trembling came over him. Yet he felt glad too. (Psalm 2:11)
The mist was turning from black to gray and from gray to white. This must have begun to happen some time ago, but while he had been talking to the Thing he had not been noticing anything else. Now, the whiteness around him became a shining whiteness; his eyes began to blink. Somewhere ahead he could hear birds singing. He knew the night was over at last. He could see the mane and ears and head of his horse quite easily now. A golden light fell on them from the left. He thought it was the sun.
He turned and saw, pacing beside him, taller than the horse, a Lion. The horse did not seem to be afraid of it or else could not see it. It was from the Lion that the light came. (1 John 1:5; Revelation 21:23) No one ever saw anything more terrible or beautiful.
Luckily Shasta had lived all his life too far south in Calormen to have heard the tales that were whispered in Tashbaan about a dreadful Narnian demon that appeared in the form of a lion. And of course he knew none of the true stories about Aslan, the great Lion, the son of the Emperor-over-the-sea, the King above all High Kings in Narnia. But after one glance at the Lion’s face he slipped out of the saddle and fell at its feet (Psalm 95:6; Romans 14:11). He couldn’t say anything but then he didn’t want to say anything, and he knew he needn’t say anything.
The High King above all kings stooped toward him. Its mane, and some strange and solemn perfume that hung about the man, was all round him. It touched his forehead with its tongue. He lifted his face and their eyes met. Then instantly the pale brightness of the mist and the fiery brightness of the Lion rolled themselves together into a swirling glory and gathered themselves up and disappeared. He was alone with the horse on a grassy hillside under a blue sky. And there were birds singing. (Isaiah 12:2)


Scripture Verses:

Psalm 73:23 - Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.

Romans 8:28 - And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Exodus 3:14 - God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”

Psalm 2:11 - Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling.

1 John 1:5 - …God is light.

Revelation 21:23 - The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

Psalm 95:6 - Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker

Romans 14:11 - It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’”

Isaiah 12:2 – “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

These excerpts are, like yesterday’s, also taken from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I found these sections to be quite packed with Scriptural parallels!


“Oh, children, children, why are you following me?”
“We couldn’t sleep,” said Lucy – and then felt sure that she need say no more and that Aslan knew all they had been thinking.
“Please, may we come with you – wherever you are going?” asked Susan. (Luke 23:27)
“Well –” said Aslan, “I should be glad of company tonight. Yes, you may come, if you will promise to stop when I tell you, and after that leave me to go on alone.”
“Oh, thank you, thank you. And we will,” said the two girls.
Forward they went again and one of the girls walked on each side of the Lion. But how slowly he walked! And his great, royal head drooped so that his nose nearly touched the grass. Presently he stumbled and gave a low moan.
“Aslan! Dear Aslan!” said Lucy, “what is wrong? Can’t you tell us?”
“Are you ill, dear Aslan?” asked Susan.
“No,” said Aslan. “I am sad and lonely. Lay your hands on my mane so that I can feel that you are there and let us walk like that.” (Matthew 26:38)
And so the girls did what they would never have dared to do without his permission, but what they had longed to do every since they first saw him – buried their cold hands in the beautiful sea of fur and stroked it and, so doing, walked with him. And presently they saw that they were going with him up the slope of the hill on which the Stone Table stood. They went up at the side where the trees came furthest up, and when they got to the last tree (it was one that had some bushes about it) Aslan stopped and said,
“Oh, children, children. Here you must stop. And whatever happens, do not let yourselves be seen. Farewell.”
And both the girls cried bitterly (though they hardly knew why) and clung to the Lion and kissed his mane and his nose and paws and his great, sad eyes. Then he turned form them and walked out on to the top of the hill. And Lucy and Susan, crouching in the bushes, looked after him and this is what they saw.
A great crowd of people were standing all round the Stone Table and though the moon was shining many of them carried torches which burned with evil-looking red flames and black smoke. But such people! Ogres with monstrous teeth, and wolves, and bull-headed men; spirits of evil trees and poisonous plants; and other creatures whom I won’t describe because if I did the grown-ups would probably not let you read this book – Cruels and Hags and Incubuses, Wraiths, Horrors, Efreets, Sprites, Orknies, Wooses, and Ettins. In fact here were all those who were on the Witch’s side and whom the Wolf had summoned at her command. And right in the middle, standing by the Table, was the Witch herself.
A howl and a gibber of dismay went up from the creatures when they first saw the great Lion pacing toward them, and for a moment even the Witch herself seemed to be struck with fear. Then she recovered herself and gave a wild, fierce laugh.
“The fool!” she cried. “The fool has come. Bind him fast.”
Lucy and Susan held their breaths waiting for Aslan’s roar and his spring upon his enemies. But it never came. Four Hags, grinning and leering, yet also (at first) hanging back and half afraid of what they had to do, had approached him. “Bind him, I say!” repeated the White Witch. The Hags made a dart at him and shrieked with triumph when they found that he made no resistance at all. Then others – the evil dwarfs and apes – rushed in to help them, and between them they rolled the huge Lion over on his back and tied all his four paws together, shouting and cheering as if they had done something brave, though, had the Lion chosen, one of those paws could have been the death of them all. But he made no noise, even when the enemies, straining and tugging, pulled the cords so tight that they cut into his flesh. (Isaiah 53:7) Then they began to drag him toward the Stone Table.
“Stop!” said the Witch. “Let him first be shaved.”
Another roar of mean laughter went up from her followers as an ogre with a pair of shears came forward and squatted down by Aslan’s head. Snip-snip-snip went the shears and masses of curling gold began to fall to the ground. Then the ogre stood back and the children, watching from their hiding-place, could see the face of Aslan looking all small and different without his mane. The enemies also saw the difference.
“Why, he’s only a great cat after all!” cried one.
“Is that what we were afraid of?” said another.
And they surged around Aslan, jeering at him, saying things like “Puss, Puss! Poor Pussy,” and “How many mice have you caught today, Cat?” and “Would you like a saucer of milk, Pussums?” (Matthew 27:27-31)
“Oh, how can they?” said Lucy, tears streaming down her cheeks. “The brutes, the brutes!” for now that the first shock was over the shorn face of Aslan looked to her braver, and more beautiful and more patient than ever.
“Muzzle him!” said the Witch. And even now, as they worked about his face putting on the muzzle, one bite from his jaws would have cost two or three of them their hands. But he never moved. And this seemed to enrage all that rabble. Everyone was at him now. Those who had been afraid to come near him even after he was bound began to find their courage, and for a few minutes the two girls could not even see him – so thickly was he surrounded by the whole crowd of creatures kicking him, hitting him, spitting on him, jeering at him. (Matthew 26:67)
At last the rabble had had enough of this. They began to drag the bound a muzzled Lion to the Stone Table, some pulling and some pushing. He was so huge that even when they got him there it took all their efforts to hoist him onto the surface of it. Then there was more tying and tightening of cords.
“The cowards! The cowards!” sobbed Susan. “Are they still afraid of him, even now?”
When once Aslan had been tied (and tied so that he was really a mass of cords) on the flat stone, a hush fell on the crowd. Four Hags, holding four torches, stood at the corners of the Table. The Witch bared her arms as she had bared them the previous night when it had been Edmund instead of Aslan. Then she began to whet her knife. It looked to the children, when the gleam of the torchlight fell on it, as if the knife were made of stone, not steel, and it was a strange and evil shape.
At last she drew near. She stood by Aslan’s head. Her face was working and twitching with passion, but his looked up at the sky, still quiet, neither angry nor afraid, but a little sad. Then, just before she gave the blow, she stooped down and said in a quivering voice,
“And now, who has won? Fool, did you think that by all this you would save the human traitor? Now I will kill you instead of him as our pact was and so the Deep Magic will be appeased. But when you are dead what will prevent me from killing him as well? And who will take him out of my hand then? Understand that you have given me Narnia forever, you have lost your own life and you have not saved his. In that knowledge, despair and die.”


At that moment they heard from behind them a loud noise – a great cracking, deafening noise as if a giant had broken a giant’s plate.
“What’s that?” said Lucy, clutching Susan’s arm.
“I – I feel afraid to turn around,” said Susan; “something awful is happening.”
“They’re doing something worse to Him,” said Lucy. “Come on!” And she turned, pulling Susan around with her.
The rising of the sun had made everything look so different – all colours and shadows were changed – that for a moment they didn’t see the important thing. Then they did. The Stone Table was broken into two pieces by a great crack that ran down it from end to end (Matthew 27:51); and there was no Aslan.
“Oh, oh, oh!” cried the two girls, rushing back to the Table.
“Oh, it’s too bad,” sobbed Lucy; “they might have left the body alone.”
“Who’s done it?” cried Susan. “What does it mean? Is it more magic?”
“Yes!” said a great voice behind their backs. “It is more magic.” They looked round. There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.
“Oh, Aslan!” cried both the children, staring up at him, almost as much frightened as they were glad. (Luke 24:5-6)
“Aren’t you dead then, dear Aslan?” said Lucy.
“Not now,” said Aslan.
“You’re not – not a – ?” asked Susan in a shaky voice. She couldn’t bring herself to say the word ghost. Aslan stooped his golden head and licked her forehead. The warmth of his breath and a rich sort of smell that seemed to hang about his hair came all over her.
“Do I look it?” he said.
“Oh, you’re real, you’re real! Oh, Aslan!” cried Lucy, and both girls flung themselves upon him and covered him with kisses.
“But what does it all mean?” asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.
“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned (Hebrews 1:10; Jeremiah 10:12), she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim (John 10:18) who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.” (2 Corinthians 5:21; Isaiah 53:5)


Scripture Verses:

Luke 23:27 - A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.

Matthew 26:38 - Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."

Isaiah 53:7 - He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

Matthew 27:27-31 – (The Soldiers Mock Jesus) Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

Matthew 26:67 - Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him.

Matthew 27:51 - At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.

Luke 24:5-6 - In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!

Hebrews 1:10 – “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.”

Jeremiah 10:12 - But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.

John 10:18 - No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.

2 Corinthians 5:21 - God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.


Isaiah 53:5 - But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Narnia

I am 26 years old and I can honestly say that my favourite series of books is C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Perhaps that seems immature, but there’s just something about them that I can never get enough of. Growing up I read the series many times, and as an adult have re-read the series several times again. They are just great books for kids and (I believe) adults alike. When I was a kid I tended to like the fun descriptions of the creatures and all of the adventure most of all. As an adult I’ve come to love the parallels to the Bible that are so clear to me now, that I didn’t understand as a child.
The last time I re-read the books I jotted down verses as I was reading… verses that reminded me of what I was reading in the books. Some weren’t necessarily exact “references” between Lewis’ words and Scripture, but many are. I was talking about these parallels with a friend of mine recently and thought I would take a few days on here to share what I personally see through Lewis’ books. I will be including the text from the books, with the address of the Scripture that came to mind while reading, followed by the actual Scripture verses noted at the end.
I’m not a C.S. Lewis or Narnia expert. I’m not saying that these verses are exactly what Lewis had in mind. In fact, I did read that Lewis never really meant the books to be so paralleled to the Bible. But this is just what comes to mind as I’m reading the Narnia books and I always appreciate that these books draw my mind to Scripture.
The first couple of excerpts are from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe:



… now that Aslan is on the move – ”
“Oh, yes! Tell us about Aslan!” said several voices at once; for once again that strange feeling – like the first signs of spring, like good news, had come over them
“Who is Aslan?” asked Susan.
“Aslan?” said Mr. Beaver. “Why, don’t you know? He’s the King. He’s the Lord of the whole wood, but not often here, you understand. Never in my time or my father’s time. But the word has reached us that he has come back. He is in Narnia at this moment. He’ll settle the White Queen all right. It is he, not you, that will save Mr. Tumnus.”
“She won’t turn him into stone too?” said Edmund.
“Lord love you, Son of Adam, what a simple thing to say!” answered Mr. Beaver with a great laugh. “Turn him into stone? If she can stand on her two feet and look him in the face it’ll be the most she can do and more than I expect of her. No, no. He’ll put all to rights as it says in an old rhyme in these parts:
Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.
You’ll understand when you see him.”
“But shall we see him?” asked Susan.
“Why, Daughter of Eve, that’s what I brought you here for. I’m to lead you where you shall meet him,” said Mr. Beaver.
“Is – is he a man?” asked Lucy.
“Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion – the Lion, the great Lion.” (Revelation 5:5)
“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.” (Nahum 1:5)
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”


They were on a green open space from which you could look down on the forest spreading as far as one could see in every direction – except right ahead. There, far to the East, was something twinkling and moving. “By gum!” whispered Peter to Susan, “the sea!” In the very middle of this open hilltop was the Stone Table. It was a great grim slab of gray stone supported on four upright stones. It looked very old; and it was cut all over with strange lines and figures that might be the letters of an unknown language. They gave you a curious feeling when you looked at them. The next thing they saw was a pavilion pitched on one side of the open place. A wonderful pavilion it was – and especially now when the light of the setting sun fell upon it – with sides of what looked like yellow silk and cords of crimson and tent-pegs of ivory; and high above it on a pole a banner which bore a red rampant lion fluttering in the breeze which was blowing in their faces from the far-off sea. While they were looking at this they heard the sound of music on their right; and turning in that direction they saw what they had come to see.
Aslan stood in the center of a crowd of creatures who had grouped themselves round him in the shape of a half-moon. There were Tree-Women there and Well-Women (Dryads and Naiads as they used to be called in our world) who had stringed instruments; it was they who had made the music. There were four great centaurs. The horse part of them was huge like English farm horses, and the man part was like stern but beautiful giants. There was also a unicorn, and a bull with the head of a man, and a pelican, and an eagle, and a great Dog. And next to Aslan stood two leopards of whom one carried his crown and the other his standard.
But as for Aslan himself, the Beavers and the children didn’t know what to do or say when they saw him. People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time. If the children had ever thought so, they were cured of it now. For when they tried to look at Aslan’s face they just caught a glimpse of the golden mane and the great, royal, solemn, overwhelming eyes; and then they found they couldn’t look at him and went all trembly. (1 Chronicles 16:30a; Jeremiah 5:22)
… “We have come – Aslan.”
“Welcome, Peter, Son of Adam,” said Aslan. “Welcome, Susan and Lucy, Daughters of Eve. Welcome He-Beaver and She-Beaver.”
His voice was deep and rich and somehow took the fidgets out of them. They now felt glad and quiet and it didn’t seem awkward to them to stand and say nothing.
“But where is the fourth?” asked Aslan.
“He has tried to betray them and joined the White Witch, O Aslan,” said Mr. Beaver. And then something made Peter say,
“That was partly my fault, Aslan. I was angry with him and I think that helped him to go wrong.”
And Aslan said nothing either to excuse Peter or to blame him but merely stood looking at him with his great unchanging eyes. And it seemed to all of them that there was nothing to be said.
“Please – Aslan,” said Lucy, “can nothing be done to save Edmund?”
“All shall be done,” said Aslan (Matthew 18:14). “But it may be harder than you think.” And then he was silent again for some time. Up to that moment Lucy had been thinking how royal and strong and peaceful his face looked; now it suddenly came into her head that he looked sad as well.


Scripture Verses:

Revelation 5:5 - Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah.”

Nahum 1:5 - The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it.

1 Chronicles 16:30a - Tremble before him, all the earth!

Jeremiah 5:22 – “Should you not fear me?” declares the LORD. “Should you not tremble in my presence?”

Matthew 18:14 - In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

God The All

I’ve been greatly inspired, blessed, and encouraged through the prayers found in the book The Valley of Vision. I have posted a few prayers from this book in the past, and I want to continue to do so as I read through the book this year and come across prayers that specifically impact me... Like this one!

God The All

O God Whose will conquers all,
There is no comfort in anything apart from
enjoying thee and being engaged in thy service;
Thou art All in all, and all enjoyments are
what to me thou makest them, and no more.
I am well pleased with thy will, whatever it is,
or should be in all respects.
And if thou bidst me decide for myself in any affair,
I would choose to refer all to thee,
for thou art infinitely wise and cannot do amiss,
as I am in danger of doing.
I rejoice to think that all things are at thy disposal,
and it delights me to leave them there.
Then prayer turns wholly into praise,
and all I can do is to adore and bless thee.
What shall I give thee for all thy benefits?
I am in a straight betwixt two, knowing not what to do;
I long to make some return, but have nothing to offer,
and can only rejoice that thou doest all,
that none in heaven or on earth shares thy honour;
I can of myself do nothing to glorify thy blessed name,
but I can through grace cheerfully surrender soul and body to thee,
I know that thou art the author and finisher of faith,
that the whole work of redemption is thine alone,
that every good work or thought found in me is the effect
of thy power and grace,
that thy sole motive in working in me to will and to do is
for thy good pleasure.
O God, it is amazing that men can talk so much
about man’s creaturely power and goodness,
when, if thou didst not hold us back every moment,
we should be devils incarnate.

This, by bitter experience, thou hast taught me concerning myself.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Psalm 31:14-15

But I trust in you, O LORD;
I say, "You are my God."
My times are in your hands…
(Psalm 31:14-15a NIV)

A while ago I read this verse in a devotional reading I was doing and it really jumped out at me. I decided to memorize it immediately, and I find myself often repeating this verse in my head. It’s proven to be a verse of great comfort!
So, as I usually do when I have a verse that I particularly find myself mulling over, I read as much about it as possible to grasp its fullness.
This passage had quite a bit of commentary on it, and here’s what I all learned about it:

Verse 14a – “But I trust in you, O LORD”…
Paraphrasing John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible: this verse focuses on the fact that David’s faith was revived again and was set upon the Lord, after all of the discouraging views he had of things. He committed himself to Him, believing He was able to help him and deliver him in his time of trouble.
Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary on the Bible expounds this, saying, “everything looked black and dismal round about [David], and threatened to drive him to despair: “But I trust in you, O LORD” and was thereby kept from sinking. His enemies robbed him of his reputation among men, but they could not rob him of his comfort in God, because they could not drive him from his confidence in God.”
Spurgeon comments that, “notwithstanding all afflicting circumstances, David's faith maintained its hold, and was not turned aside from its object.” He makes this applicable to us reminding us that “so long as our faith, which is our shield, is safe, the battle may go hard, but its ultimate result is no matter of question.”

Verse 14b – “I say, You are my God”…
This phrase has so much confident power in it… as Matthew Henry looked at it, it’s as though David is saying here, “I have chosen you for me, and you have promised to be mine.” Henry’s commentary continues: “and, if he be ours and we can by faith call him so, it is enough when we can call nothing else ours.” What a comfort, and what a wonderful truth to have such confidence in!
Spurgeon explains this further as he says, “[David] proclaimed aloud his determined allegiance to Jehovah. He was no fair weather believer, he could hold to his faith in a sharp frost, and wrap it about him as a garment fitted to keep out all the ills of time.” What a great way of wording it… “determined allegiance” – that is exactly what we see here in this short, yet powerful phrase.

Verse 15a – “My times are in Your hands”…
To start very simply, the word “times” is here translated as being one’s “course of life” (Jamieson, Faussett and Brown). To make this phrase personal, one can say:
“Whatever changes come, you govern them by your providence” (Geneva Study Bible); or “My times - all the affairs and events of my life, are wholly in thy power” (John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible).
Matthew Henry really brings this verse – “my times are in Your hands” – to the believer’s life as he expands on it further, saying, “If God has our times in his hand, he can help us; and, if he is our God, he will help us; and then what can discourage us? It is a great support to those who have God for their God that their times are in his hand and he will be sure to order and dispose of them for the best, to all those who commit their spirits also into his hand, to suit them to their times, as David here. The time of life is in God's hands, to lengthen or shorten, embitter or sweeten, as he pleases, according to the counsel of his will. Our times (all events that concern us, and the timing of them) are at God's disposal; they are not in our own hands, for the way of man is not in himself, not in our friends' hands, nor in our enemies' hands, but in God's.”

Spurgeon gives a beautiful word picture of this, stating that the “sovereign arbiter of destiny holds in his own power all the issues of our life; we are not waifs and strays upon the ocean of fate, but are steered by infinite wisdom towards our desired haven. Providence is a soft pillow for anxious heads, an anodyne for care, a grave for despair.”