Posted in Devotion

The White Witch

“You have a traitor there, Aslan,” said the witch. Of course everyone present knew that she meant Edmund. But Edmund had got past thinking about himself after all he’d been through and after the talk he’d had that morning. He just went on looking at Aslan. It didn’t seem to matter what the witch said.”

In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Edmund leaves his brothers and sisters to chase after the White Witch because what she offers to him seems more enticing. He soon learns that everything she told him was lies, and he is treated very poorly in her presence. After being rescued by Aslan’s army and talked to by Aslan, he seems completely changed. This quote describing the White Witch’s accusations against Edmund and his reaction remind me perfectly of Satan’s accusations against us.

Jesus has made me completely clean in God’s eyes and rescued me from my own White Witch, Satan. Even still Satan tries to come back and tell me that I’m a traitor and that I don’t deserve to be part of God’s family. He does this by attacking my service to God, convincing me that I’m not doing enough or that my heart is impure. My reaction sometimes is to give in to the lies and try to work harder when in reality God loves me no matter what I do. When accused by the White Witch Edmund looked at Aslan. Even when Satan tries to accuse me, I can simply look at Jesus and know that nothing Satan says matters.

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Posted in Book Challenge

For Narnia! Part Two

As promised, today I will reveal my favorite Narnia book. Drum Roll please….

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader!

Prince Caspian gains a close second, but there are some scenes in Dawn Treader that make it more noteworthy. As a caveat I should say that I have only read The Last Battle once, but I remember it being slow.

Before you read further,  please know that the newer movie version of this book changes some major points. There is no silly green mist in the book and there are many more stops taken in the book.

Dawn Treader doesn’t include the older Pevensies but it does include my two favorite Pevensies and their  oh-so-endearing cousin Eustace.

It’s a book about temptations, and some of my favorite scenes are when each of the characters are tempted.

  1. Eustace and the gold. The scene where Eustace is un-dragonfied is possibly my favorite scene in this book, maybe the entire series. The movie does not do it justice because the movie cannot get into Eustace’s brain. He talks of how no matter how many times he scratched off the skin, it grew back hard and scaley. It took Aslan’s power to completely remove the skin, and it hurt when the skin was taken off. The metaphors abound!
  2. Lucy and her desire to be pretty. This is one scene that the movie does well. In the movie, Lucy wishes to be like Susan so much that she actually dreams that she is Susan. Aslan appears and shows her that being herself is most important.
  3. The Dufflepuds. Oh they’re so funny.
  4. Reepicheep gets to go to Aslan’s country.

 

 

Book Challenge

Posted in Book Challenge

For Narnia!

My favorite series? Well that’s easy!

The Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis.

I seriously don’t know why I didn’t read more of these as a child. My fifth-grade class read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe together and watched the movie, but I never picked up more of the series. As an adult though, my roommate and I read the series together one chapter at a time.

narnia

Reasons I like the Narnia series:

  1. The Biblical metaphors abound
  2. The adventures are full of adventure.
  3. The characters are likeable (see points below).
  4. It’s British.
  5. Good triumphs over evil.
  6. There are good words like “bivouac”.
  7. It’s fun to read aloud.
  8. C.S. Lewis is a brilliant author.
  9. My copies of the books are pocket sized.

collier-chronicles-of-narnia-box10. Some editions have cute drawings.

11. The newer movies are somewhat accurate.

12. Eustace…oh Eustace!

13. And Mr. Tumnus. My heart got sad when he was turned to stone.

14. And other loveable but we can’t show our love characters like Reepicheep and Trumpkin.

trumpkin15. Marshwiggles. The name alone makes me giggle.

16. ASLAN. “He’s not a tame lion, you know.”

17. It makes me believe that there really might be a Narnia out there.

18. The books connect to one another in mysterious little ways.

19. The world is created and destroyed all within a series.

20. It has a very clear ending that also happens to hint at a beginning of something new.

NarniaMap-e1324285473899

Watch out tomorrow for a post about my favorite book in this series. Now that will require some thought.

Posted in Book Review

The Chronicles of Narnia Part One

It’s been so long since I made a post here that WordPress has changed its entire format. Say what? Just because I haven’t posted doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. I have, just very slowly.

I’ve actually been re-reading the Narnia series. Somehow I read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe in fifth grade and then never read any more of the series. I finally read the entire series with my roommate during college. It was a sweet bonding moment for us, even if I think I fell in love with the books more than she did (I think she liked them though). This time through I’m reading in publication order, mainly because I keep getting stuck on The Magician’s Nephew. I’m currently in The Silver Chair, which is the fourth book he published.

This series is a beautiful, somewhat realistic image of God’s relationship with us. There are passages that make me sigh with joy because I can see how C.S. Lewis is using imagery to remind his readers of God. I’m going to list a few of my favorite Narnia moments below in no particular order.

  1. When Eustace describes his transformation from a dragon to a boy. Eustace tells the others how he kept trying to pull off the dragon skin himself, but he couldn’t. He finally realizes that he can’t remove his scaly skin on his own; he needs Aslan. This passage reminds me how we need God in order to take off our old self.
  2. When Jill Pole wants a drink of water but has to turn her back to Aslan. She is scared of the lion, but she’s also really thirsty. In order to get a drink, she has to trust him. Sometimes in order to get what we need or want, we have to trust God is right behind us and not going to hurt us.
  3. When Reepicheep gets to go to Aslan’s country. Actually everything about this little mouse is adorable, although he would hate that word being used to describe him. He is faithful to Aslan through and through.
  4. When Lucy realizes she should follow Aslan regardless if the others do or not. Sometimes following God is difficult, but especially so when those closest to you claim that their way is better. Just as the others finally saw Aslan leading them, God will reveal himself to everyone eventually.

Those are just a few of the finest moments in the Narnia series that immediately come to mind. Now remember I haven’t re-read three of the books yet so there might be more in the future.

For now,

Cheers!

Posted in Bible Study, Literature

Cleaning our Swords

“You have forgotten to clean your sword,” said Aslan.
It was true. Peter blushed when he looked at the bright blade and saw it all smeared with Wolf’s hair and blood. He stooped down and wiped it quite clean on the grass, and then wiped it quite dry on his coat.
“Hand it to me and kneel, Son of Adam,” said Aslan. And when Peter had done so he struck him with the flat of the blade and said, “Rise up, Sir Peter Wolf’s-Bane. And whatever happens, never forget to wipe your sword.”
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. C.S. Lewis. Chapter 12.

Even though C.S. Lewis claims to have no intention of writing an allegory or even Christian symbolism when he set out to write The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I see symbolism oozing from these pages. This part about cleaning the sword stumped me for a bit, but if you’ll bear with me I’ll attempt to put my insight into words.

In the Bible, the sword symbolically refers to the word and truth of God. (Ephesians 6) We are equipped with that piece of armor in order to fight spiritual battles. These battles come at us as Christians from all sides: the mind, the flesh, and the spirit. For me, my battles are mainly fought in the mind. The devil tries to get me to believe all sorts of lies about myself or about the situations God has placed me in. If I am not diligent about keeping my focus on God and using the armor God has provided, those lies start to feel true. It’s a battle to keep the lies in perspective in my head, to remember that they’re lies that don’t define me. It’s a hard battle because Satan is good at disguising them to look like discipline from God until I begin examining them closer against God’s truths. Once I recognize the battle has begun I must use all of the armor provided. The other pieces of the armor mentioned in Ephesians help me to stand against the attacks and the sword provides me the ability to fight back.

Just like Peter in Narnia had wolf guts on his sword after fighting, I think we can get dirty in spiritual warfare. During the battle in my mind pieces of the lies can work their way into my head. Just enough that if I allowed them to stay there they could hinder my ability to keep fighting other battles.

In order to clear my head of those bits of lies, I have to return to God and symbolically clean myself so that I am always prepared for battle. This means I have to remain close to God through personal Bible study, prayer, and Christian fellowship/discussion. The sword is God’s word so the best way to keep prepared for battle is to continually study it. In this way, I am ensuring that it is clear and fresh in my mind and not clogged up by pieces of Satan’s lies.

The symbolism may not be entirely perfect because Peter cleaned his sword and there is no way I can make God’s word better. My cleaning is of my understanding of God’s word. Regardless of the symbolism, Lewis’s message rings clear. As he said in Mere Christianity, we have to continually remind ourselves of our faith so that we don’t drift away. Based on this passage in Narnia, I would add that we must also continually remind ourselves of our faith in order to be prepared for battle.

Posted in Literature

A choice to believe

“Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things- trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then ask I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones….We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t a Narnia.” -chapter 12 of The Silver Chair.

Sometimes I have moments of doubt. I wonder if there really is more than this life. I can’t prove it myself. The only evidence I have is the many lives lived before me who believed it enough to die for it. I have the Bible which has survived much longer than other books I read and definitely gets read by many more people. I have the times when I’ve felt God’s presence. But is that enough evidence to base a belief that effects my entire life? Some would say no.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not doubting what I believe. I’m just being honest that sometimes these doubts run through my mind. I believe it’s the devil that puts them there as a temptation to give up. Belief is something that we must continually remind ourselves of. That’s why I read my Bible, pray, and attend church and Bible study. This is how I prepare myself for these attacks on my belief that come from within.

I recognize that these doubts exist but I choose faith and hope. Like Puddleglum in this passage I choose to believe what may seem to some as a make-believe. The fact of the matter is that this belief has much more hope than anything else in this world. I’m on God’s team even if there is no God to lead it (although I believe there is). I will live as a Christian even if there turns out to be no heaven.

Posted in Life, Remembering

Perfect Moments

Today during Outdoor Adventures (a class about hiking, canoeing, archery, and mountain biking!), the professor had us blindfold ourselves and imagine a perfect moment.  His specific example was involving a field and hiking, but his general definition was being in the right place with the right people.  That got me thinking about my perfect moments during life. It’s the little moments that sometimes make me the most happy.  Here’s a few:

1. When my Papaw made a mountain of mashed potatoes and put a candy cane in the top.

2. Skipping across the Quad on campus in the dark with two friends.

3. Standing next to the train as it sped past with some other friends.

4. Looking at Conwy Castle in Wales from the highest spire with some of my high school buddies.

conwy

5. Looking up at the Eiffel Tower from the middle while it is sparkling, knowing I will soon be at the top.

6. Reading Winnie the Pooh to Panamanian children, not understanding what I’m reading, but seeing their smiling faces.  Either they were enjoying the story or laughing at my Spanish skills.

7. Roasting s’mores on a stove with my best friends.

8. Reading the entire Narnia series with my roommate/best friend (okay that’s not a single moment but a series of moments)

9. Watching a little girl’s face light up after she accepted Christ and then seeing her run back into the cabin and tell all of the cabin about her decision.

10. Flying for the first time (okay I did feel a little nauseous but it was pretty perfect other than that).

11. Laying flowers on 100+ year old graves in Haworth.

12. Singing Happy Birthday to someone at the top of the London Eye.

13. Hearing kids’ laughter while they made brownies during their tutoring session.

Those were in no specific order by the way.  I’m sure there are other perfect memories in my life, but those stand out most vividly to me