C.S. Lewis

His Strong Hand

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The scene is usually a cliff, a waterfall, a window ledge, or some other precipice – a fall from which would result in certain death.  One person is over the precipice, kept from falling only by holding to the outstretched hand of another.  Three things can happen to the one hanging over the edge; the grip is unintentionally broken due to a failure in strength, the grip is released intentionally due to malevolence, or the person is pulled to safety due to the strength of the rescuer.

One of the strongest images of the believer’s eternal security in Christ was painted by the Savior’s own words: “Neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”  Too often, Christian’s feel that eternal security depends on their strength, their faithfulness, their perseverance – their ability to hold on to the Savior’s hand.  The opposite is actually the truth:  It is Christ’s strength, Christ’s faithfulness, Christ’s perseverance – Christ’s ability to hold on to the believer’s hand – that keeps the Christian eternally secure.

When you wonder if you have been faithful enough, hold out your hand – and picture it enveloped in the strong hand of Christ.

“Once a man is united to God, how could he not live forever?”  C. S. Lewis

Commentary from the Pathways devotional, by David Jeremiah, June 6.

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Destroyer

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Satan’s deceptive cunning is highlighted by Paul’s statement that he becomes an angel of light, disguising evil as good (2 Cor. 11:14).  His destructive ferocity comes out in the description of him as a roaring, devouring lion (1 Pet. 5:8) and as a dragon (Rev. 12:9).  As he was Christ’s sworn foe (Matt. 4:1-11; 16:23; Luke 4:13; John 14:30; cf. Luke 22:3, 53), so now he is the Christian’s, always probing for weaknesses, misdirecting strengths, and undermining faith, hope, and character (Luke 22:32; 2 Cor. 2:11; 11:3-15; Eph. 6:16).  He should be taken seriously, for malice and cunning make him fearsome; yet not so seriously as to provoke abject terror of him, for he is a beaten enemy.  Satan is stronger than we are, but Christ has triumphed over Satan (Matt. 12:29), and Christian’s will triumph over him too if they resist him with the resources that Christ supplies (Eph. 6:10-13; James 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:9-10, 1 John 4:4).

Acknowledging Satan’s reality, taking his opposition seriously, noting his strategy (anything, provided it be not biblical Christianity), and reckoning on always being at war with him-this is not a lapse into a dualistic concept of two gods, one good, one evil, fighting it out.  Satan is a creature, superhuman but not divine; he has much knowledge and power, but he is neither omniscient nor omnipotent; he can move around in ways that humans cannot, but he is not omnipresent; and he is an already defeated rebel, having no more power than God allows him and being destined for the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).

Commentary from, Concise Theology, by J. I. Packer, page 70.

“Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present.  With this in view, we sometimes tempt a human (say a widow or a scholar) to live in the Past.  But this is of limited value, for they have some real knowledge of the past and it has a determinate nature and, to that extent, resembles eternity.  It is far better to make them live in the Future.”  The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis, page 76/chap. 15.

Who do you love?

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For everyone who practices wicked things

hates the light and avoids it,

so that his deeds may not be exposed.

John 3:20

“Keep everything hazy in his mind now, and you will have all eternity wherein to amuse yourself by producing in him the peculiar kind of clarity which Hell affords.”  The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis, pg. 7

Willful

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This verse, in either location, is merely a confirmation of willful disobedience.  Contrast this with John 3 (which I won’t retype here).  In John 3 there is nothing about behavior, nothing about actions we must take.  Instead, there you will find Jesus affirming that whoever trusts in Him will be saved and will have eternal life.  But we need Christ’s power to understand, be enlightened, to believe, and to turn to Him in obedience.  Understanding something of supernatural origin is not possible with our natural senses.

Scientists have tried in vain to create life in a laboratory ex nihilo-out of nothing.  But so far they have been unsuccessful.  No one has discovered the power of life.  Yet that is the power that God displayed when He raised Jesus Christ from the dead.  It is a power we do not know how to explain.  

The power of the Spirit of God is a power man cannot understand or duplicate in a lab.  It is a power that is limitless.  We can be filled with the Spirit of power-the power only Christ can give.  The choice is yours-to willfully turn to Jesus, asking HIM for HIS power to believe, or to willfully turn away from Him.  My belief in Jesus doesn’t make Him real.  Likewise, disbelief does not make Jesus nonexistent.  If He is real then that is true apart from you or I.  The Lord wants you with Him forever.  He gives us a choice-He does not force.  The flag you wave is of your choosing.

Portions of commentary from David Jeremiah’s Turning Points Devotional, November 21, and Charles Stanley’s In Touch Devotional, November 23.

“All the healthy and out-going activities which we want him to avoid can be inhibited and nothing given in return, so that at least he may say, as one of my own patients said on arrival down here, ‘I now see that I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked.’  The Christians describe the Enemy as one ‘without whom Nothing is strong’.  And Nothing is very strong: strong enough to steal away a man’s best years not in sweet sins but in a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why, in the gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them,…”  The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis, pg. 60.

A World of Deception

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We’re living in a world where people cut corners whenever they can.  After a while, scamming the system becomes a way of life.  That doesn’t work on the spiritual level.  There aren’t any shortcuts to spiritual growth.  The Bible uses the word “diligent” to describe how we should go about our Christian lives.  According to Hebrews 11:6, God rewards those who diligently seek Him.  Peter told us to be diligent to make our call and election sure.  “Be diligent,” he wrote,”to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless” (2 Peter 1:10 and 3:14).

As Christians we need to take responsibility for our walk with God, seeking to be more like Him, sharing our faith, and serving others.  Be diligent to serve the Savior.  Don’t try to scam the system.

Commentary from David Jeremiah Turning Point Devotional, November 11, 2016.

“Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing.  Provided that meetings, pamphlets, policies, movements, causes, and crusades, matter more to him than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours-and the more ‘religious’ (on those terms) the more securely ours.  I could show you a pretty cageful down here.  Your affectionate uncle, SCREWTAPE.”

The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis.  Pg. 34-35

Porn is accepted

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Porn is accepted, don’t you think?  According to the demand and the stats, you would think so.  Generally, I would sum up pornography as images of what was created (originally) to be private and precious moments, which were never meant to be projected on the world’s screen.  So it’s sort of a new version of something old and what God created to be good, twisted into a different version, a darker version.  The acts themselves are a different type of darkness, separate from the projection of the images of the acts-projecting the images is an extension of the acts in the images.  Whether you never view these images or you view them everyday, you should know what they really are.

The darkness of lust is difficult to escape.  If you are there, you are not free.  We are slaves to whatever controls us.  But you should know there is a chance of escape.  Jesus came here to rescue us all, and make us whole.  Seek Him and you will find Him.  When you do, thank Him for every incremental improvement each day.  Because of the nature of sin, change sometimes takes awhile.  Sort of like deconstructing a vault.

For His divine power has given us everything

required for life and godliness,

through the knowledge of Him who called us by

His own glory and goodness.

By these He has given us very great and precious promises,

so that through them you may share in the divine nature,

escaping the corruption

that is in the world through lust.

For this very reason,

make every effort to supplement your faith

with goodness,

goodness with knowledge,

knowledge with self-control,

self-control with endurance,

endurance with godliness,

godliness with brotherly affection,

and brotherly affection with love.

2 Peter 1:3-7

“He’s vulgar, Wormwood.  He has a bourgeois mind.  He has filled His world full of pleasures.  There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least-sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working.  Everything has to be twisted before it’s any use to us.”  The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis, pg. 118

Choose

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Enter through the narrow gate.

For the gate is wide and road is broad

that leads to destruction,

and there are many 

who go through it.

Matthew 7:13

“He must not be able to suspect that he is now, however slowly, heading right away from the sun on a line which will carry him into the cold and dark of utmost space.”  The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis

From the Holman-CSB Apologetics Study Bible:  C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)  “Lewis’s parents taught him the proper faith and religious life of an Englishman, but troubles awaited the young man.  His mother died when he was a boy, after which his father sent him to boarding schools.  Though early on he tried to be a good Christian, he came to resent religion and developed instead a fascination with myth and fantasy literature.  His great concerns were with whether Christianity was unique and how it could solve (or not solve) the problem of evil.  When he entered Oxford in 1917, Lewis was a convinced agnostic.  He had sought through logic to debunk religion in general and Christianity in particular.  Yet his favorite authors-Dante, MacDonald, Herbert, Plato, Milton, and Virgil-were all people who held some sort of religious understanding of the world.  In reading George MacDonald, and through personal acquaintance with J. R. R. Tolkien and Owen Barfield, Lewis eventually abandoned his nontheistic view of the world.  In 1929 he threw in the towel, conceding that ‘God was God,’ and he knelt and prayed-perhaps the ‘most reluctant convert in all England.'”

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By Chad Owen Brand, The Holman CSB Apologetics Study Bible, pg. 975. 2007. Holman Bible Publishers.  Nashville, TN.