Screwtape Letters – Notes on Chapters 1-5

“Don’t waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think that is is strong or stark or courageous–that it is the philosophy of the future. That’s the sort of thing he cares about” –> remember how the devil often skips trying to convince you by strong argument of something and instead just appeals to emotion or desire to influence your actions, or will just flat out strike at whatever part of you he has the biggest or most convenient stronghold on.

Unconscious difficulties with religion not brought to the surface, without clarity = exploitable point

The devil will flat out lie to you and tell you that God’s not going to help you but will leave you to “do things on your own”

Devil technique: “Keep his mind off the most elementary duties by directing it to the most advanced and spiritual ones.” –> @todo: what are the “elementary duties” vs. “advanced ones”. how does this relate to Hebrews 5-6 where they talk about the elementary teachings of Christ?

Devil technique: keep the focus on sins and irritations, anything that distracts from prayer, especially prayers of physical healing.

Things associated with evil (AVOID): irritation, judgment, quarreling, terror, self-pity, contented worldliness

“Hence [by having double standards] from every quarrel they can both go away convinced, or at least nearly convinced, that they are quite innocent. You know this kind of thing: ‘I simply ask her what time dinner will be and she flies into a temper.’ Once this habit is well established you have the delightful situation of a human saying things with the express purpose of offending and yet having a grievance when offense is taken.” …watch out for and be cautious of the second half of that statement 😉

God works from the center outward, gradually bringing more and more of your conduct under his control and new Godly standards

Effectiveness of prayer should not be judged by whether it produces the desired feeling.

“Wherever there is prayer, there is danger of His own immediate action” 🙂

“He pours out self-knowledge in a quite shameless fashion”

When you are attending to God, the devil is defeated. The devil will try to get you to turn your gaze away from God to yourself…don’t fall to that temptation

The devil often works not through putting things into your mind but by keeping things (ie. godly things) out.

differentiate mood from concentration of will and intelligence in prayer

“For if he ever comes to make the distinction, if he consciously directs his prayers ‘Not to what I think thou art but to what though knowest thyself to be,’ our situation is, for the moment, desperate”

Are you directing your prayers to an image of God, a physical object that represents God, or to the REAL god himself?

The devil may try to paint a picture of terror about your future and fill you with self-pity about a happy past…–> counter = belt of truth

“The Enemy [ie. God], true to His barbarous methods of warfare, allows us to see the short misery of His favorites only to tantalize and torment us”

From the preface:

  • no uncreated being except God, God has no opposite (no such thing as perfect badness)
  • devils = angels gone bad…abuse their free will to oppose God and therefore by extension, God’s people
  • Satan = opposite of Micheal, not God
  • images (symbolic representations) of angels have wings in art & literature to suggest swiftness of unimpeded intellectual energy & human form because man is the only rational creature we know
  • Bad angels are practical. Two motives: fear of punishment, hunger to dominate

Ephesians Class Notes (wed 5/4/05) – Belt of Truth & Breastplate of righteousness

Review from first class
Ways Satan Attacks:
1. undermine god’s character and credibility (so you doubt god)
2. makes it hard to live the christian life (eg. persecution, opposition, lethargy, etc)
3. false doctrine (usually causes an emotional pull, often Satan will take a little bit of truth and twist it with a lot of lies)
4. hinders effective service to god
5. causes division w/in the body of christ (so the enemy is one another rather than satan)
6. leads us to trust our own resources (rather than god’s)
7. causes us to be hypocritical, phony, and wear a mask
8. make us worldy and materialistic (worship anything BUT god)
9. causes us to act in disobedience to god’s word

sword (the word) is *attached* to the belt (commitment to truth)

Satan infiltrates the church w/ Tares — Matt 13
non-believers = the tares among the wheat (look like the real thing but don’t give fruit)
satan infiltrates the church w/ these counterfits
sons of the kingdom (13:38) = the true believers

need counsel? how’s your walk? 😉
“beauty that is only skin deep will suck the brains out of a man”

Belt of Truth

Gird your loins was a common phrase at the time. the belt holds together your robes (loose material) so they stay in place and you’re ready to get up and go and won’t get caught on something and have your robes pulled over your head blinding you or the like.
ex. 12:11-14 – have a belt on your waits, be girded–committed & ready to go–how you’re dressed when you’re on your way out.
luke 12:35-40

What you do when no one is looking show who you really are.

2tim2:4 — no one engaged in warfare *entangles* himself with the affairs of the world. (belt ties up the loose material so it doesn’t tangle. Similarly we must gird up our loose thinking (our mind) 1pet1:13-16 (be sober minded). main thrust of belt = commitment to truth (be holy, obedient)

1cor9:24-27 persevere in not giving up.

heb12:1-3 sin and bulk — many who aren’t committed are sim. to those weighted down with sin (ties up your feet so you can’t move) and bulk (just slows you down whether or not its sinful). Anything that slows you down in seeking God is bulk, and you don’t need it.

“Rom12:1-2 Sacrifice: Most christians say they would be burned at the stake for Christ, yet, don’t likve their lives for Him here and now”

“Phil. 1:9-11 Abounding *more and more*. Knowing and partaking of that which is most *excellent*”

Breastplate of Righteousness (key to whole armor)

the “key” to the “whole armor” = breastplate of righteousness. Righteousness = having a right relationship with god
* regeneration john3:3, 1pet1:23 —> spiritual birth
* faith in jesus – rom 10:9, john1:12,eph1:13
* relationship john 17:3
* eternal transaction john3:36,heb10:14

The armor of God isn’t effective if you only put part of it on–how much of you do you want to protect? (“put on the WHOLE armor of god”). Many people today = wearing paper armor. Spend time with God (all day if needed) so he can point out any holes in your armor.

God doesn’t just want your heart, he wants *all* of your being (a sacrifice to commitment at that).

The belt of truth => commitment to integrity & discipline. w/ integrity you start building inside out (may take a while to show fruit, but its more important than outisde-in growth). But w/o righteousness there willl be no commitment.

* In (?? suffering), until you understand the depth of the love that god has for you, you will resort to the last thing that brought you pleasure. ”
* all that bible study is useless if you don’t apply it. * Your righteousness will not get you to heaven (saved by grace).
* Our conscience is our friend as believers…”suppression of the conscience is dangerous”

1John1:4–if you aren’t feeling god’s joy (your joy should be in full) something is probably wrong. (these things are so you will have joy!) Edify one another. Engage in exhortations

breastplate (in war) protects *vital* organs (eg heart lungs intestines)
Jewish thought: heart represents mind or thinking and intestines represents seat of emotion

Stan wants to attack our thoughts and emotions (the way we think & feel) Theological understanding is irrelevant to winning the spiritual battle. you will remain a loser in the war unless you properly apply the spiritual armor *daily*

imputed righteousness
jerimiah17:9 – self-righteousness != righteousness
imputed righteousness = gods veil of righteousness granted through salvation b/c of christs sacrifice (eph2:8, rom 4:5, rom11:6)
impute = “To consider or calculate as a value or cost” or to assign or attribute something to

“Even Christ righteousness *is only the basis* of the breastplate” (??)
phil 3:1-11
“the believer has to apply righteous principles given to him in christ, to the matter of daily LIVING. it does matter what we DO. James 1:22,2:20, Phil2:12”

2 types of sorrows
1) worldly sorrow (leads to death)
2) godly sorrow (leads to repentance and salvation)
how we respond determines which of these it is.
the church = hospital for the spiritually sick

poor in spirit – surrender to god & begin to see our sin as god sees it

we can be sorry b/c we got caught OR because we sinned against god

1cor3 -> a judgment for (how much) rewards

2john8 — do not lose what we’ve work for, but see that we receive the full reward (don’t to start sinning)

1pet 2:11-12 confess, repent, and *turn* — we are aliens on this earth, passing through. Abstain from fleshly lusts b/c they war against the soul (breastblate of righteousness)

rom 13:12-13 – let us not walk in envy or jealousy!

if facing thoughts that are from satan it is good to pray “Lord, please purify my mind” and quote scriptures

Spiritual attack (Geeky Analogy)

Here’s an analogy that just came to me: The attacks of the devil are like script-kiddie denial of service attacks against Livejournal that happened recently. Knocknocknocknockknock (It kind of helps if you visualize Miles imitating the devil’s ceaseless knocking) Yeah, the attacks kind of suck, we’re all sitting here in withdrawal for a day or two cuz we can’t hardly get to the site cuz they’re just hammering the site so badly.

But a couple days later, when Brad and the development team came out victoriously, Brad had only surprisingly good things to say about the attack. He was like “thank you script-kiddie, cuz thanks to your attack efforts, not only did the site become more robust against that kind of attack in the future, but it also tested the load-capacity (testing…like a “refiners fire”) in ways they hadn’t really tested before so they were able to greatly reduce some bottlenecks they didn’t even realize they had, making the overall performance of the site more robust.

Is spiritual attack not the same way? If the evil one doesn’t win, don’t you come out stronger than you thought possible after the brief period of suffering and troubles? “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” Ha. Take that. Whack.

Luke 8:4-15 ~ The Parable of God’s Seed (and how the devil tries to eat you alive)

Ways the Evil One will try to keep you from being a fruitful Christian:
1) fill you with worries
2) distract you with riches
3) distract you with pleasures of the world
4) encourage you to give up easily at the first sign of trouble
5) encourage you do doubt God and doubt the truth of God’s teachings
6) choke you with “weeds” (aka something “useless, detrimental, or worthless”)
7) leave you somewhere “rocky” and unforgiving
8) starve you of the water you need to survive (being washed in water is symbolic of repentance in Mat3:11, so this might mean you are being kept from repentance or don’t know you need to repent)
9) be eaten alive (revelation 19:21) – interesting parallel: birds gorging themselves on flesh, and here birds eating living seed)

To Produce Good Fruit:
1) Have a good, honest heart
2) Obey God
3) Be patient and let your fruit have time to ripen
4) See and understand, don’t just look and listen
5) let your light shine before mankind (light being symbolic of God’s presence)

and the fire in my soul is back! I feel that radiance bursting through as the truth becomes evermore clear. Just as it says but a couple verses later, “Everything that is hidden will become clear”…”so make good use of what you have”

Verses of the Day ~ “What to Read when you are challenged by dark forces”

Matthew 6:26 ~ Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or
store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not
much more valuable than they?

Luke 12:24
Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or
barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!
My little red letter NIV bible that I had at Remnant on Friday (the one I
normally leave at work) is awesome because instead of having a normal hefty
concordance in the back it has a simplied “kids version” of the concordance
with “what to read when…” topics. And what do you know but I find an
outpouring of encouraging verses as a result…Sorry there’s so many and
some of them so long…but it was just in my heart that none of this was
superfluous and unnecessary, but every last word of these something I want to
go back and reread over and over and not forget 🙂

Joshua 1:6-9
6 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit
the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very
courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not
turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful
wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth;
meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything
written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not
commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be
discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

Psalm 56:1-4
1 Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press
their attack. 2 My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me
in their pride. 3 When I am afraid, I will trust in you. 4 In God, whose
word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.

Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor
depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from
the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2Corinthians 4:7-18
7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing
power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side,
but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not
abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
10We always carry around in
our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed
in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for
Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then,
death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 13It is written: “I
believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also
believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the
Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with
you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that
is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the
glory of God. 16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are
wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our
light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far
outweighs them all.
18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on
what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is

Ephesians 6:10-18
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full
armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers,
against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against
the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on
the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able
to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with
the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with
the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all
this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the
flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword
of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all
occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be
alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

2 Timothy 4:3-5
3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.
Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great
number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will
turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5But you,
keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an
evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

2 Timothy 4:16-18
16At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me.
May it not be held against them. 17But the Lord stood at my side and gave me
strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all
the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.
18The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely
to his heavenly kingdom.
To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.