VIDEO The Screwtape Letters Narrated by John Cleese

Sept 9, 2011

C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters” Narrated by John Cleese.

The Screwtape Letters is a satirical Christian apologetics novel written in epistolary style by C. S. Lewis, first published in book form in February 1942. The story takes the form of a series of letters from a senior demon, Screwtape, to his nephew, a junior “tempter” named Wormwood, so as to advise him on methods of securing the damnation of a British man, known only as “the Patient”.


Eyes on the Ball

For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You. 2 Chronicles 20:12b

Imagine landing a jet on the rolling deck of an aircraft carrier in the pouring rain—in the middle of the night. It’s complicated, but it boils down to a single request from the Landing Signal Officer to the incoming pilot: “Call the ball.” The “ball” is a round light shining toward the plane that the pilot uses to line his plane up with the carrier’s deck. When the pilot sees the “ball” and is confident of his path, he responds, “Ball.” From that point until he lands he has one lifesaving task: to keep his eye on the ball.

Think now of dark times in life when you’re looking for a port in the storm, a place to land safely and in one spiritual and emotional piece. Lots of things may help—friends, funds, family. But there is one thing absolutely essential: keeping your eyes on the Lord. When Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, was surrounded by a vast army, the people of Judah came together. Jehoshaphat led in a prayer for God’s help, the last words of which were these, “Nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”

You can only follow God if your eyes are on Him. The destination is wherever He leads.

It costs to follow Jesus Christ, but it costs more not to. Unknown

God’s Purpose in Difficult Times

Romans 8:28-29

If we could design an ideal life, most of us would skip over times of hardship. But Scripture teaches us that God has a purpose in the storms of life.

Cleansing. When problems press in on us, ungodly attitudes and habits tend to surface in our lives. Impatient behavior, a quick temper, or reliance on something or someone other than the Lord may become apparent. In a crisis, the bad habits we previously ignored can show up in ways that are too obvious to overlook. The Holy Spirit will use tough times to smooth away our rough edges and produce the fruit of the Spirit in us. (See Gal. 5:22-23.)

Companionship. When life is good, we may spend less time with the Lord and start taking our relationship with Him for granted. We may even drift off His chosen path. Crises help us see our need for Him as well as our inability to help ourselves. Hard times bring us to our knees in prayer and drive us to seek opportunities for His companionship.

Our heavenly Father’s desire is for us to develop Christlike character and grow in intimacy with Him. He wants us to experience the richness of His love and wholeheartedly show Him devotion. He will use trials and difficulties to accomplish His good purposes for us.

Life brings trouble to us from many sources. But the common thread in all trials is the Lord’s desire and ability to use them for our good and His glory. Through these experiences, we can let go of ungodly traits and experience sweet communion as we walk in intimacy with Him.

The Hand of the Lord

“This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him.” (Ezra 7:6)

Neither Ezra, who was a scribe, nor Nehemiah, who was apparently a butler, had been prepared by either study or experience to supervise a great construction project, rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem and the wall of the city, both of which had been destroyed many years before by the armies of Babylon. Yet God called them to these ministries and led them and protected them as they carried them out.

They were both careful, then, to give God the credit for what they had accomplished. No less than six times in Ezra and twice in Nehemiah they reminded their readers that God’s hand had been upon them as they supervised the work (see Ezra 7:6, 9, 28; 8:18-22, 31; Nehemiah 2:8, 18).

There had been many difficulties and much opposition, but as Paul would later say: “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

We also need to be careful to give God the credit for anything He enables us to accomplish in His service. Even such a great and useful Christian as the apostle Paul had to say: “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).

We remember, however, that the hand of the Lord can be a chastening hand as well as a guiding and providing hand. When a certain false prophet tried “to pervert the right ways of the Lord,” Paul said: “The hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind” (Acts 13:10-11). And so it was. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). HMM

Fruitful Spirit-Filled Lives

Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. —Luke 24:49

It is my contention that the individual believers who comprise the membership of our evangelical Christian churches ought to be leading fruitful and happy Spirit-filled lives. If you will set aside the necessary time to search the Scriptures with an honest and open being, you will be convinced that fruitfulness and joy and peace and blessing and contentment are all part and parcel of what the Holy Spirit expects to provide in and through the yielded life of the Christian believer….

As a Christian believer, shouldn’t my life and outlook, and the very life of my church, be affected by the promise of the Father God that He would give the Spirit as a gift to His children?

In Luke 11:13, I am sure God had in mind the love we have for our children when He said, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”…

The members of the redeemed Church should be bound into a bundle of love with the Holy Spirit. The truth is that God never fathered His Church apart from the Holy Spirit. We should be anointed with the Spirit. We are led of the Spirit. We are taught by the Spirit. The Spirit, then, is the medium, the divine solution, in which God holds His Church.

Thank You, Father, for the gift of the Spirit. May I be “bound into a bundle of love” with Him today. Amen.

Chosen in Him Before Time

He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame. (Ephesians 1:4)

I have been told that sometimes when I preach I really worry the Calvinists, but I want to make a point here, and I take the chance of worrying my brethren in the Arminian persuasion. The recorded acts of Creation in the beginning were not God’s first activity. God had been occupied before that, for He must have been engaged in choosing and fore-ordaining before the foundation of the world!

Paul told the Ephesian Christians: “God has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world; that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”

Can I explain how God could have chosen us before the creation of the world? Can I explain the eternal nature of God, the uncreated Being? Can I explain a time when there was only God—no matter, no law, no motion, no relation and no space, no time and no beings, only God?

God was there, and God is not a void! He is the triune God and He is all there is. Before the Creation, He was already busy with eternal mercies and a redemptive plan for a mankind not yet created!

Whenever He said that word

Son of man—whenever He said that word, He shed a halo round the head of Adam’s children. Jesus Christ called Himself the Son of man to express His oneness and sympathy with His people. He thus reminds us that He is one whom we may approach without fear. As a man, we may take to Him all our griefs and troubles, for He knows them by experience; in that He Himself hath suffered as the “Son of man,” He is able to succor and comfort us. All hail, Thou blessed Jesus! inasmuch as Thou art evermore using the sweet name which acknowledges that Thou art a brother and a near kinsman, it is to us a dear token of Thy grace, Thy humility, Thy love.