VIDEO The Screwtape Letters as performed by the Queens Players

Jan 4, 2014

THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS

a play by C.S. Lewis
directed by Nathan Duddy & Shalom Carr
QUB Students’ Union, Belfast
March 2010

In the beginning is Screwtapes “Toast” to the new devil minions that just graduated tempters school. Lewis’ views on the words: equal/equality & democrat through the viewpoint of devils, is very enlightening, especially in todays world. One of satan’s favorite ways to deceive man is to mix just enough truth/goodness to make the deceit sound right.

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Miracle Rain – The Vision and The Reality

Miracle Rain

corn stocks

I am God, and there is no other. Isaiah 46:9

Life is hard for the villagers who live on a hilly terrain in the Yunnan Province of China. Their main source of food is corn and rice. But in May 2012 a severe drought hit the region and the crops withered. Everyone was worried, and many superstitious practices were carried out as the people attempted to end the drought. When nothing worked, people started blaming the five Christians in the village for offending the spirits of the ancestors.

These five believers gathered to pray. Before long, the sky darkened and thunder was heard. A heavy downpour started and lasted the whole afternoon and night. The crops were saved! While most of the villagers did not believe God sent the rain, others did and desired to find out more about Him and Jesus.

In 1 Kings 17 and 18 we read of a severe drought in Israel. But in this case, we are told, it was a result of God’s judgment on His people (17:1). They had begun to worship Baal, the god of the Canaanites, believing that this deity could send the rain for their crops. Then God, through His prophet Elijah, showed that He is the one true God who determines when rain falls.

Our all-powerful God desires to hear our prayers and answer our pleas. And though we do not always understand His timing or His purposes, God always responds with His best for our lives.

In what ways have you seen God answer prayer in the past? What needs do you have to bring before Him today? What do you want to thank Him for?

Through prayer, we draw upon the power of the infinite God.

By Poh Fang Chia
—-
The Vision and The Reality

dirt road grass cloud

…to those who are…called to be saints… —1 Corinthians 1:2

Thank God for being able to see all that you have not yet been. You have had the vision, but you are not yet to the reality of it by any means. It is when we are in the valley, where we prove whether we will be the choice ones, that most of us turn back. We are not quite prepared for the bumps and bruises that must come if we are going to be turned into the shape of the vision. We have seen what we are not, and what God wants us to be, but are we willing to be battered into the shape of the vision to be used by God? The beatings will always come in the most common, everyday ways and through common, everyday people.

There are times when we do know what God’s purpose is; whether we will let the vision be turned into actual character depends on us, not on God. If we prefer to relax on the mountaintop and live in the memory of the vision, then we will be of no real use in the ordinary things of which human life is made. We have to learn to live in reliance upon what we saw in the vision, not simply live in ecstatic delight and conscious reflection upon God. This means living the realities of our lives in the light of the vision until the truth of the vision is actually realized in us. Every bit of our training is in that direction. Learn to thank God for making His demands known.

Our little “I am” always sulks and pouts when God says do. Let your little “I am” be shriveled up in God’s wrath and indignation— “I AM WHO I AM…has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14). He must dominate. Isn’t it piercing to realize that God not only knows where we live, but also knows the gutters into which we crawl! He will hunt us down as fast as a flash of lightning. No human being knows human beings as God does.

The emphasis to-day is placed on the furtherance of an organization; the note is, “We must keep this thing going.” If we are in God’s order the thing will go; if we are not in His order, it won’t. Conformed to His Image, 357 R

OSWALD CHAMBERS

Understood By Jesus

Hebrews 4:14-15

Whenever disaster happens in your friends’ lives, it is natural to try to comfort them in any way you can. But how many times do you feel as if you’ve said the wrong thing? Sometimes expressions of consolation create even more pain. For example, the well-intentioned words “I understand” feel empty if the speaker has never actually experienced the situation.

Yet we all long to feel understood. And it helps to know individuals who have endured circumstances similar to ours. Today’s passage reassures us that Jesus truly understands because He experienced struggles like ours.

The writer of Hebrews refers to Jesus as our High Priest. Each year the man who was chosen to serve in this capacity would enter the Holy of Holies and there, in God’s presence, offer a sacrifice for sin (Lev. 16). The priest was the Jewish people’s bridge to God. Christ not only took on this role, but He Himself also became the sacrifice when He died on the cross. By doing so and dying in our place, Jesus endured every possible sin. Now He sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven and intercedes on our behalf.

That in itself is encouraging. But even more than that, we know Jesus truly understands our pain and our weakness. For example, a single parent who has suffered greatly can be assured that Christ also knew betrayal (when Judas turned against Him), loneliness (when Peter denied knowing Him), and depression (when facing separation from His heavenly Father).

If you feel alone in the hardships you’re facing, recall Jesus’ trials, hurts, and temptations. You’ll find comfort in His understanding.

The Bible Stands!

“Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” (Psalm 119:160)

Very few books survive very long. Only a few survive past the first printing, and science books especially get out of date in just a few years.

But one book is eternal! The Bible stands! Even its most ancient chapters are still accurate and up to date. Furthermore, despite all the vicious attacks of both ancient pagans and modern humanists, it will continue to endure. Jesus said: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33). Even after everything else dies and all the bombastic tirades of skeptics and secularists are long forgotten, the Word endures. “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8).

Note the oft-repeated testimony to this same effect in Psalm 119. In addition to the comprehensive promise of today’s text, this great “psalm of the word” also contains these affirmations: “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. . . . Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart. . . . The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: . . . Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever” (Psalm 119:89, 111, 144, 152). Founded forever, inherited forever, settled forever, lasting forever! God is eternal, and His Word was true from the beginning.

Men may, in these last days, arrogantly think they can “take away from the words of the book of this prophecy” (Revelation 22:19), but such presumption will only “take away [their] part out of the book of life,” and the Bible will still stand. “The word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Peter 1:25). HMM

Tune the Strings

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. —1 Timothy 4:14-15

I have been forced to admit that one of the things hardest for me to understand and try to reconcile is the complete aimless-ness of so many Christians’ lives….

Probably the worst part of this situation among us is the fact that so many of our Christian brothers and sisters have unusual gifts and talents and capacities—yet they have not exercised this discipline of girding up the mind and spiritual potential in order to make the necessary progress in the Christian life.

Why should a pastor have to confess total failure from year to year? Why should he have to go from one church to another, starting something, trying something—only to admit failure again?

I don’t think he has ever really girded himself. He has abilities but they are not disciplined. He has a fine mind but it is not girded up. He is like a man with a treasured Stradivarius violin that has never been put in tune. He has never taken time to sit down and tune that priceless instrument, therefore he gets no melody and harmony from it.

Lord, help me today to gird myself in the Holy Spirit’s power; to discipline myself to faithful service; to gird my mind to excellence. Amen.

God Was First to Say, “You Are My Friends”

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

The idea of the divine-human friendship originated with God. Had not God first said “Ye are my friends” it would be inexcusably brash for any man to say “I am a friend of God.”

But since He claims us for His friends it is an act of unbelief to ignore or deny the relationship!

Even though radically different from each other, two persons may enjoy the closest friendship for a lifetime; for it is not a requisite of friendship that the participants be alike in all things; it is enough that they be alike at the points where their personalities touch. Harmony is likeness at points of contact, and friendship is likeness where hearts merge.

For this reason the whole idea of the divine-human friendship is logical enough and entirely credible. The infinite God and the finite man can merge their personalities in the tenderest, most satisfying friendship. In such relationship there is no idea of equality; only of likeness where the heart of man meets the heart of God!

This likeness is possible because God at the first made man in His own image and is now remaking men in the image that was lost by sin. Perfection lies on God’s side but on man’s side there are weaknesses of purpose, lack of desire and small faith.

In spite of human frailties we can grow in grace and move progressively toward a more perfect experiential union with God, exercising robust faith in the truths revealed in the Scriptures!

“Toward the Mark”

Forgetting those things which are behind… I press toward the mark. PHILIPPIANS 3:13-14

It is one of the devil’s oldest tricks to discourage Christian believers by causing them to look back at what they once were. It is indeed the enemy of our souls who makes us forget that we are never at the end of God’s love.

No one will make progress with God until the eyes are lifted to the faithfulness of God and we stop looking at ourselves!

Our instructions in the New Testament all add up to the necessity of looking forward in faith—and not spending our time looking back or just looking within.

Brethren, our Lord is more than able to take care of our past. He pardons instantly and forgives completely, and his blood makes us worthy!

The goodness of God is infinitely more wonderful than we will ever be able to comprehend. If the “root of the matter” is in you and you are born again, God is prepared to start with you where you are!

Thank You, Lord, that we can never reach the end of Your love for us. Your love, like all Your attributes, is never-ending.