Posted in Book Review

Perelandra

Perelandra, the second book in C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy, is a creation story slightly different than the Genesis creation story. It is a battle between good and evil played out on another planet. Lewis tells the story of Ransom, who in the first book visited Mars (Malacandra), being called once again to visit another planet. This time he is taken to Venus, known as Perelandra where he discovers a planet just starting to come to knowledge of itself. He meets a beautiful woman and introduces her to many earthly concepts such as death and pain.

FieldofArbol

While much of the novel passed over my head and I often got lost in trying to keep an image of this new place in my head, I did enjoy much of the symbolism and parallels created by Lewis. One of the most telling scenes is when the evil character is trying convince the Lady that she should visit the Fixed Island. Maleldil, which I interpret to be the equivalent of God or Jesus, has commanded the lady to not live on the Fixed Island but has never given her a reason for this command. This brings to mind the command God gave to Adam and Eve to not eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil but did not tell them exactly why. This evil character tries to convince the lady by saying “Is not Maleldil showing you as plainly as He can that it was set up as a test–as a great wave you have to go over, that you may become really old, really separate from Him.” She has some doubt, but the evil character persists. Ransom steps in to explain that possibly Maleldil has given this law so that she can experience the joy of obedience. I think that through this scene Lewis is stating that while we may not always understand the laws of God, we should follow them. God wants us to experience the joy that comes from being obedient to him without any other motivation.

This won’t rank on my list of favorite books or even at the top of my favorite books by C.S. Lewis, but I appreciate what Lewis has created here. If someone likes science fiction and particularly space travel, I think he might find it to be a very enjoyable book.

cs-lewis-with-walking-cane

Posted in Bible Study

New Year’s Resolutions

I usually refrain from setting New Year’s Resolutions because it seems like a lot of hubbub over another day. I also fear failure. This year, though, has me thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2016. I know the year holds the potential for a lot of change within me; hopefully I’ll be starting a teaching career, which I know will grow me as a person. I want to go at this year the right way, growing with God, not against him. For that reason, my resolution is to follow this chronological Bible reading plan.

Reading Genesis 1-3 on January 1 got me thinking about beginnings. This is the account of the beginning of everything that I know, excluding God (he already existed). There was nothing except God before this as far as I know. Then God resolved to create. Of course, he didn’t fear failure because He’s God. He set out to do something, a project that would last for eternity. It was all good for a while, but we know that there were a few bumps in the road. They weren’t failures on God’s part though; similarly, even if there are bumps in my path toward my goal this year, it doesn’t automatically mean I’ve failed. Fear of failure shouldn’t be what holds me back from setting a goal, especially if it’s a goal to seek after God.

In addition, I have set a few smaller goals to accomplish this year.

-Get a teaching job.

-Love more.

-Live in the present.

-Keep a gratitude journal.

-Get a live Christmas tree at Christmas.

I also hope to make more posts on this blog about what I’m reading and watching. As a teaser, you should know I brought all of my books from my mom’s house to my apartment, so I will probably be looking back at some of my childhood favorites while I work on reading whatever it is I am currently reading.

For now, cheers!

Happy reading in 2016.

 

Posted in Bible Study

Forgiveness and Focus: Joseph

Maybe I can get back to writing.

The story of Joseph in Egypt is a beautiful story that reveals many truths. At this point in the story, Joseph is a leader in Egypt when his brothers come to him for help without knowing his identity as their brother. It had been twenty years and much had changed. Joseph waits a few minutes to reveal his identity but when he does it is worth the wait. There is forgiveness towards his brothers and praise for God within his words.

Genesis 45:1-11

1 Joseph could stand it no longer. There were many people in the room, and he said to his attendants, “Out, all of you!” So he was alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. Then he broke down and wept. He wept so loudly the Egyptians could hear him, and word of it quickly carried to Pharaoh’s palace.

“I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them.“Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors.[a] So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser[b] to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.

“Now hurry back to my father and tell him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me master over all the land of Egypt. So come down to me immediately! 10 You can live in the region of Goshen, where you can be near me with all your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and everything you own. 11 I will take care of you there, for there are still five years of famine ahead of us. Otherwise you, your household, and all your animals will starve.’”

When his brothers came to him, Joseph had two choices: forgive or harbor resentment. In the world’s eyes he had every right to harbor resentment; his brothers had thrown him into a pit and then sold him simply because they were jealous of his coat and father’s love. Thankfully Joseph chose forgiveness even though his brothers had committed major wrongs against Joseph. Corrie ten Boom says “forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” Joseph chose to put aside his feelings about the past and forgive his brothers even though he was in a position to harm his brothers.

It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives….God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! Genesis 45: 5, 7, 8

20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:20

In the midst of a tough situation, Joseph not only forgave his brothers but also gave glory to God. He mentioned three times to his brothers that God was the one in charge of everything. Joseph could have blamed his brothers for everything, but part of forgiveness is recognizing how God moves through every situation. Joseph fixed his eyes on God rather than looking at his current situation.

Colossians 3:1-2

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.

So as you move through this life, remember to look for God in every situation. Be quick to forgive people as you realize that holding resentment only detracts from God’s glory. Keep your eyes focused on God rather than on the hurts of this world.

Posted in Bible Study

A Time Of Waiting

I know I’ve made several posts about waiting but I think that’s the lesson God keeps trying to teach me. Waiting is difficult that’s for sure.
There was a man in the Bible that sure knew what it meant to wait. Well there are several now that I think on it, but the one that I’m thinking of right now is Noah. I know I’ve read the flood story numerous times and heard it told many more but God always finds something new to reveal.
Noah waited.
A long time.
Noah waited on God while he built the ark. Waiting doesn’t always mean twiddling your thumbs. Noah had a task but he didn’t know how long God would take to send the rain. By the way, Noah probably looked pretty silly to his friends who had forgotten God-waiting for something that had never happened before.
Next, Noah waited on the boat. He was on the boat for over a year, waiting. To top it off, Noah was 600 years old. Jeez! Think about the aches and pains he must have had at that age. Still he waited.
If Noah could wait on that boat for over a year with stinky animals and whiny children just so God could accomplish his plan, I think waiting on God for the short amount of time he makes me wait shouldn’t be so hard. Noah gives waiting a bit more perspective and the hope that God will fulfill his promises.