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The Wisdom of C.S. Lewis (Quotes from Brian Sibley’s Book): Enemy-Occupied Territory

Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. When you go to church you are really listening-in to the secret wireless from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going. He does it by playing on our conceit and laziness and intellectual snobbery.

I know someone will ask me, “Do you really mean, at this time of day, to reintroduce our old friend the devil—hoofs and horns and all?” Well, what the time of day has to do with it I do not know. And I am not particular about the hoofs and horns. But in other respects my answer is “Yes, I do.” I do not claim to know anything about his personal appearance. If anybody really wants to know him better I would say to that person, “Don’t worry. If you really want to, you will Whether you’ll like it when you do is another question.”

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2022 in rebellion

 

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The Wisdom of C.S. Lewis (Quotes from Brian Sibley’s Book): What Is the Problem?

“What is the problem? A universe that contains much that is obviously bad and apparently meaningless, but containing creatures like ourselves who know that it is bad and meaningless. There are only two views that face all the facts. One is the Christian view that this is a good world that has gone wrong, but still retains the memory of what it ought to have been. The other is the view called Dualism. Dualism means the belief that there are two equal and independent powers at the back of everything, one of them good and the other bad, and that this universe is the battlefield in which they fight out an endless war. . . .

One of the things that surprised me when I first read the New Testament seriously was that it talked so much about a Dark Power in the universe—a mighty evil spirit who was held to be the Power behind death and disease, and sin. The difference is that Christianity thinks this Dark Power was created by God, and was good when he was created, and went wrong. Christianity agrees with Dualism that this universe is at war. But it does not think this is a war between independent powers. It thinks it is a civil war, a rebellion, and that we are living in a part of the universe occupied by the rebel.”

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2022 in rebellion

 

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Time for a Great Commercial! Man’s Fall in the Garden! (reprise)

I understand that this Allstate commercial was banned!  If that is true, how interesting.

The biblical picture of the Fall presents man’s choice as rebellion, not simply mayhem.  If the mayhem man represents Satan in the commercial (or rather the forbidden fruit), who does Allstate represent?

Your comments?

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2019 in Genesis 3

 

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Getting to Know . . . I Samuel! (15:22-35) RELIGIOUS REBELLION!

We’ve seen in I Samuel 15 that King Saul disobeyed a clear and direct command from God to annihilate the Amalekite people, including their animals! Saul captures King Agag spares “the best of” the flocks to “sacrifice to the Lord [Samuel’s] God” (v. 15).

Samuel is grieved at Saul’s disobedience. The Lord regrets that He made Saul king. And Samuel pronounces judgment on Saul. Saul has lost his original humility, was motivated by greed (pouncing on the plunder), and did evil in the eyes of the Lord (v. 19). He is also self-deceived, thinking he had done God’s will and engages in blame-shifting and religious excuse-making.

We now look at the rest of I Samuel 15. In one of the most poetic sections of the Old Testament, Samuel says to Saul: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams” (v. 22).

Samuel then says, “For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.” (v. 23).

Samuel then pronounces judgment on Saul: “You’ve rejected the word of the Lord — the Lord has rejected you as king.”

Saul confesses his sin, admits that he had violated the Lord’s command out of fear of his men (“and so I gave in to them”) (v. 24). He then pleads for forgiveness and asks Samuel to accompany him to worship. (v. 25). Samuel refuses to go back with Saul and turns to leave. Saul grabs Samuel’s robe which tears. Samuel says the Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one better than you (v. 28).

We then get a great statement about God: “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind” (v. 29).

Samuel agrees to go back with Saul to worship the Lord (to “honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel”) (vv. 30-31).

Samuel then has the unsavory task of executing King Agag, who thinks “surely the bitterness of death is past” (v. 32). The prophet Samuel declares, “As your sword has made women childless, so will your mother be childless among women” (v. 33). The text then says, “And Samuel put Agag to death before the Lord at Gilgal” (v. 33).

The English Standard Version and the Holman Christian Standard Bible have “And Samuel hacked Agag to pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.”  The New American Standard Bible and the King James Bible have “And Samuel hewed Agag to pieces before the LORD at Gilgal.”  The Contemporary English Version has “Then Samuel chopped Agag to pieces at the place of worship in Gilgal.” [John MacArthur uses verse 33 (hacking Agag to death) as an illustration of killing sin in our lives.]

Samuel leaves for Ramah and does not see Saul again, “though Samuel mourned for him” (v. 35). The chapter closes with the sad statement “And the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel” (v. 35).

Some takeaways for me:
1. How do we know in what the Lord delights (v. 22)? He revealed His will to Saul — who promptly trusted his own reason and evaluation and disobeyed the Lord.
2. Saul’s was no small sin! Samuel describes it as rebellion, arrogance, rejection of the Word of the Lord.
3. The Lord is fully capable of reciprocation. Saul’s rejection of God’s Word leads to the Lord’s rejection of him!
4. In the midst of such personal tragedy, the beauty of God shines forth! Samuel makes a declaration about the very character of God: “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind” (v. 29).
5. Sometimes religious leaders have to do what political leaders fail to do. There are no Agags around for us to execute, but Samuel’s passion to do God’s will ought to inspire each of us!
6. It is quite possible to live in such a way that we bring regret to the heart of God. And I don’t want to do that. Do you?

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2018 in I Samuel 15

 

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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior! (Part 7)

Jonah’s call is clear — and his response, though unspoken, is equally clear.  He ran away from the omnipresent God.  He might have felt that he was successful in “fleeing” from the Lord.  But he was wrong.

We always are when we think we can escape God.  He is no wimpy celestial parent who wrings His hands at the rebellion of His child and says, “Oh, no!  Whatever shall I do?”  God acts.  He has the whole universe at His disposal to deploy against His mutinous missionary.  God uses, or rather “sends,” a “great wind on the sea.”  We read in Psalm 135 that “He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries.” (v. 7, KJV)

Great winds produce great storms and this storm caused hardened, nauseous sailors to panic and become incredibly religious!  As they called out on their “own” gods, they divested themselves of the very cargo they were paid to transport.  They did everything they could to preserve their own lives, even resorting to religion in their despair.  But where is Jonah? (to be continued)

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior! (Part 6)

Fleeing from the Lord, in Jonah’s case, was a literal, buy-your-own-ticket trip to Tarshish.  For us, fleeing from the Lord relates to the entirety of life:  what I think, what my priorities are, what’s important to me, what is God’s will for my life, for today.  Whenever I am failing to put Him first, I am fleeing from Him (even if I’m in my place in my pew in my church!).

What’s the opposite of “fleeing from” the Lord?  Fleeing to Him, of course.  Eagerly and without reservation (or with as few reservations as possible) submitting my will and plans and dreams and goals to Him.  The Bible calls that submission.

This raises several critical issues for the believer.  What is the “Nineveh” to which the Lord is sending me?  It might not be a geographical location, but a specific mission that I need to fulfill.

What is the “Joppa” for me, the place of resources that enable me to run away from doing what He has called me to do?  And what is my “Tarshish,” that place of rebellion and insensitivity to His plans for me?

I wasn’t a very good geography student in school, but those three cities might well represent three spiritual conditions of my heart.  My Nineveh — the place or task to which God is calling me.  My Joppa — my resources (given by the Lord) which I can use to run away from His will.  My Tarshish — the condition of my heart when it rebels against Him.  May I ask, which city are you in right now? (to be continued)

 

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior! (Part 5)

What does it really mean to run away from the Lord? A total rejection of His Lordship. A turning away from the source of all life. A complete dismissal of the God of all creation!  It’s not just disobedience — it is spiritual rebellion and mutiny!

The Lord’s command was clear:  “GO!”  And Jonah went.  Away from the Lord. Away from obedience.  Away from the center of God’s will for his life.

He used his own resources to buy a one-way ticket to Tarshish.  And God let him.  God gave His servant the freedom to say “no!”

The text tells us that he purchased passage on that ship “to flee from the Lord.”  Can anyone really “flee” from the omnipresent God?  Absurd!

Fleeing from the Lord involves much more than physical movement.  We literally can’t move out of God’s zip code into our own.  He’s over all zip codes.  The basic idea of “fleeing” is to remove oneself from God’s control and Lordship — and that’s idolatry!  Mentally fleeing from God is a universal tactic (of believers!) which seduces us into thinking we can escape the Lord.  And that’s just plain dumb.  (to be continued)

 

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Time for a Great Commercial! Man’s Fall in the Garden!

I understand that this Allstate commercial was banned!  If that is true, how interesting.

The biblical picture of the Fall presents man’s choice as rebellion, not simply mayhem.  If the mayhem man represents Satan in the commercial (or rather the forbidden fruit), who does Allstate represent?

Your comments?

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2017 in Allstate, the fall

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 106)

Psalm 106

Praise the Lord.screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-7-28-50-am

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

2 Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord
    or fully declare his praise?
Blessed are those who act justly,
    who always do what is right.

Remember me, Lord, when you show favor to your people,
    come to my aid when you save them,
that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones,
    that I may share in the joy of your nation
    and join your inheritance in giving praise.

We have sinned, even as our ancestors did;
    we have done wrong and acted wickedly.
When our ancestors were in Egypt,
    they gave no thought to your miracles;
they did not remember your many kindnesses,
    and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.
Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
    to make his mighty power known.
He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up;
    he led them through the depths as through a desert.
10 He saved them from the hand of the foe;
    from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them.
11 The waters covered their adversaries;
    not one of them survived.
12 Then they believed his promises
    and sang his praise.

13 But they soon forgot what he had done
    and did not wait for his plan to unfold.
14 In the desert they gave in to their craving;
    in the wilderness they put God to the test.
15 So he gave them what they asked for,
    but sent a wasting disease among them.

16 In the camp they grew envious of Moses
    and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the Lord.
17 The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan;
    it buried the company of Abiram.
18 Fire blazed among their followers;
    a flame consumed the wicked.
19 At Horeb they made a calf
    and worshiped an idol cast from metal.
20 They exchanged their glorious God
    for an image of a bull, which eats grass.
21 They forgot the God who saved them,
    who had done great things in Egypt,
22 miracles in the land of Ham
    and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
23 So he said he would destroy them—
    had not Moses, his chosen one,
stood in the breach before him
    to keep his wrath from destroying them.

24 Then they despised the pleasant land;
    they did not believe his promise.
25 They grumbled in their tents
    and did not obey the Lord.
26 So he swore to them with uplifted hand
    that he would make them fall in the wilderness,
27 make their descendants fall among the nations
    and scatter them throughout the lands.

28 They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor
    and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods;
29 they aroused the Lord’s anger by their wicked deeds,
    and a plague broke out among them.
30 But Phinehas stood up and intervened,
    and the plague was checked.
31 This was credited to him as righteousness
    for endless generations to come.
32 By the waters of Meribah they angered the Lord,
    and trouble came to Moses because of them;
33 for they rebelled against the Spirit of God,
    and rash words came from Moses’ lips.

34 They did not destroy the peoples
    as the Lord had commanded them,
35 but they mingled with the nations
    and adopted their customs.
36 They worshiped their idols,
    which became a snare to them.
37 They sacrificed their sons
    and their daughters to false gods.
38 They shed innocent blood,
    the blood of their sons and daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,
    and the land was desecrated by their blood.
39 They defiled themselves by what they did;
    by their deeds they prostituted themselves.

40 Therefore the Lord was angry with his people
    and abhorred his inheritance.
41 He gave them into the hands of the nations,
    and their foes ruled over them.
42 Their enemies oppressed them
    and subjected them to their power.
43 Many times he delivered them,
    but they were bent on rebellion
    and they wasted away in their sin.
44 Yet he took note of their distress
    when he heard their cry;
45 for their sake he remembered his covenant
    and out of his great love he relented.
46 He caused all who held them captive
    to show them mercy.

47 Save us, Lord our God,
    and gather us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
    and glory in your praise.

48 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting.

Let all the people say, “Amen!”

Praise the Lord.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2017 in God's anger, sin

 

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Time for a Great Quote: C.S. Lewis on Man’s Rebellion

“Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-5-09-35-amimprovement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms. Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realizing that you have been on the wrong track, and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor—that is the only way out of a hole. This process of surrender, this movement full astern, is what Christians call repentance.”

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2016 in rebellion

 

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