Worry more about what you do than what happens to you. This bit of advice, though it seems obvious on deeper analysis, is difficult to follow. In the book, The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis, the opposite advice is given by Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood, to use in instructing his assigned human. The whole point is, Wormwood is seeking to drag his human down, much like a guardian angel would try to encourage him for good. So, all of the advice that Uncle Screwtape gives his nephew is generally intended for us to turn around and follow the opposite advice. Whereas, Satan would prefer that we spent our time worrying more about what might happen to us, than about what we are doing in this world.
I think the essence of this idea is represented in the Scripture where Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, "But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33 If I am more concerned with doing something for the Kingdom of God, I won't have to worry about what happens to me. This reminds me of the Apostle Peter asleep in prison, the night before he was to be executed. He was not concerned about what was going to happen to him at all. He had been busy about the work of the ministry. When things went South, as they sometimes do, he went to sleep. So, God interceded on his behalf. The Bible doesn't record that Peter did anything about his situation, but sleep.
Good night. I'm going to sleep myself. :)
I watched a video sermon online today about hell. It was supposed to be about hell, that is, but turned out to be about how the Pastor didn't believe hell was meant in the literal sense. He wanted to believe that all the references to eternal fire in the Bible were meant in the metaphoric sense, since he couldn't "wrap his mind around" the thought that God could be so judgmental. He decided that the fire was metaphoric for God's burning love.
Well, that's all well and good if you are planning on going to heaven, or is it? I had to wonder if he believed that heaven was a literal place he had his mind wrapped around. He seemed to look at it as if Jesus changed that mentality with love and grace, but I don't see how he could overlook Jesus Himself saying that hell was a place of worms and fire in Mark 9:44, Mark 9:46, and Mark 9:48 "Where the worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched." Even if he was using the NIV Bible, which admittedly leaves out verses 44 and 46, because of the repetition, it still says it in 48. Maybe he was applying the 5 second rule here, where if it wasn't repeated long enough it couldn't hurt you. :)
No harm done, and my evening wasn't wasted, because I was already in the middle of an Audible version of the book The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis. I read the book years ago and still have it, but I don't read as much anymore, preferring audio version. This story is a classic, and is a collection of witty letters that are supposed to be from Uncle Screwtape, a Senior Demon in Hell, to his nephew Wormwood, a Junior Demon in training. The book is a comedy in a way, based on the idea that people have demons assigned to them to bring them down to "Our Father Below" just like they have guardian angels. Screwtape is giving Wormwood advice to help him tear his man down in each letter. The thoughts you gather from listening in on these private letters are very original and thought-provoking. It is well worth buying in any format. I am sharing links below for this as well as another favorite audio cd of mine.
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The Essential Word on the Street, by Rob Lacey is a retelling of the Bible Gospel "story" in a one hour version. Rob uses everyday common street vernacular, such as referring to the Psalms as "tracks." I put together a recorded sampler of parts of four of the tracks from this cd here below, as a medley of sorts. It includes Creation, David's "Track 23," Good Sam Aratin, and Heaven on Earth. Simply put, I believe Heaven and Earth are real places of existence in eternity. I believe that the Gospel is for us and our children, and as many as the Lord our God will call. Acts 2:39 So, I believe the Gospel is essential. Do you believe?
The story of a country, a people, or a town can not be told, but by telling the story of certain people within that place. I've heard said that a group has no morals. That is true, and illustrates why certain things happen within group situations, which never would have happened in any other context. The problem is that usually, within a group, each individual is waiting for the decision of the group. A group can not act. It always takes someone to incite a group. Likewise, it only takes one person to change or set the course of action for all those in the group.
"There is no way of making three men right but by making right each one of the three; but a cure in one man who repents and turns, is a beginning of the cure of the whole human race." -George MacDonald Hope of the Gospel
George MacDonald was a remarkable creature. I use the term creature because we are all created by God. George was a writer of fantasy genre, or rather the instigator of the fantasy genre in his time. just like C. S. Lewis, he was a preacher and had extensive theological training. They were brilliant theologians, and creative writers as well. But George lived a lifetime before Lewis, as Lewis was 7 years old when George died. Lewis credits George MacDonald as being his mentor, or "master": "Picking up a copy of Phantastes one day at a train-station bookstall, I began to read. A few hours later," said Lewis, "I knew that I had crossed a great frontier." Of course, MacDonald also inspired Tolkien, and many other writers to follow in the fantasy genre.
Lewis himself was a man of remarkable vision, living among men of great vision. He died the same day as two other prominent visionaries; John Kennedy and Aldous Huxley. Men such as these did not wait for the group to take action. They set the standard for their time, and many followed them; still follow them today. The fact is, some are propelled forward only by the group, while others are self-propelled by an inner navigation system. It should be God who determines our direction in this life, or how can we expect Him to handle the itinerary for the next life? Yes, His is the GPS, God Positioning Satellite System that will help us find our way.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.
MacDonald explains in his book Hope of the Gospel the importance of hope. You see, hope is fueled by vision. If you don't have hope, or you have lost hope, then you need to get a fresh vision. Just turn on the navigation system.
The roar of the lion is no new sound. Some of the references to Jesus roaring like a lion appeared many thousands of years before the first advent of Jesus on Earth. C. S. Lewis wrote a picturesque trilogy based on the coming of the Lion that he called the Chronicles of Narnia, Narnia being the abode of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve.
Joel 3:16-18 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice
from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be
the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall you
know that I am the LORD your God... And it shall come to pass in that day, that the
mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the
rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth from the
house of the LORD..."
Of course, we all wait in hope for the return of the Lion. Jesus is the Lion and He will call His children from afar on that great and notable day.
Hosea 11:10 They shall walk after the LORD: he shall roar like a lion:
when he shall roar, then the children shall come trembling from the west.
The image of the Lion fits well, because is Jesus not the King, much like the Lion is the King of Beasts? Actually that is quite a striking metaphor, seeing as how the King of the Beasts must be a beast himself. God, being the Creator of mankind, was not a man himself, until he robed Himself in flesh like clay, and took upon Himself the likeness of a man in Jesus Christ. Then He was able to call Himself the King of Men... the Son of Man... He who was first the Son of God now walked in the clay that He created. Now... the Lion could call Himself the King of all Creation, because He dwelt in our earthly realm.
Isaiah 31:4 For thus has the LORD spoken unto me, Like the lion and the
young lion roaring over his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth
against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor disturbed by the noise of
them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for its
Oddly matched battle usually, between the lion of Judah and the multitude of world leaders! (Our leaders are our shepherds, I hope we vote in the matter.)
Isaiah 42:13 The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up
jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, shout aloud; he shall prevail
against his enemies.
And on the Lion marches...coming, coming in glory! Hear the battle cry? Our Champion is leaping and charging ahead, leading the Kingdom Saints!
Jeremiah 25:30 Therefore prophesy against them all these words, and
say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his
holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a
shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the
There will come a day when all will see His face in glory. After the rapture of the church, after the havoc of the man Antichrist, the man of sin, has devastated Earth with the climax of sin's effect which began at the Fall, after the desecration of everything called holy on this earth! Then comes King Jesus, charging on a white horse, leading the saints in their glorified bodies. Then we will not only behold Him, but we will be like Him, for we will have seen Him as he is.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not
yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be
like him; for we shall see him as he is.
2 Corinthians 11:16-33, 12:1-11
Yes, everybody plays the fool sometimes. Here you see Paul playing the fool, illustrating for the early church two things: first the foolishness of bragging about what God has done through your life, and second the fact that the best thing we have is our weakness and dependence on Christ. It reminds me of the story C. S. Lewis tells at the end of the chapter titled Faith in his book, Mere Christianity.
"It is like a small child going to its father and saying, 'Daddy, give me sixpence to buy you a birthday present.' Of course, the father does, and he is pleased with the child's present. It is all very nice and proper, but only an idiot would think that the father is sixpence to the good on the transaction."
The fact is, as Lewis makes the point, everything we have is given from God. How can we boast of what we have received?
But, Paul continues to explain that the strength of Jesus is illustrated best in our weakness. So, when we are compelled by our own need to turn to Christ, we then end up with more strength than we would have had, had we not been deficient to start with. This too can be illustrated with C. S. Lewis' anecdote of the six pennies, for the boy now is six pennies and/or a gift for his Father richer in the deal. That is all we have to boast of, the pleasure in sharing the gift, is it not?!