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December 2021 HTH Flowpaper Sample Flipbook PDF

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HEART TO HEART FROM GOD’S HEART TO YOUR HEART

LESSONS FROM

NARNIA December 2021

HEART TO HEART MAGAZINE, DECEMBER 2021 Published by Wisdom International President/Publisher Stephen Davey

Design and Layout Adam Dohrmann

Executive Director Scott Wylie

Contributing Staff Carol Schneider Lorie Wylie

Editor-in-Chief Chad Wylie Devotional Writer J.S. Davey COPYRIGHT™ Have a comment or question? [email protected]

WELCOME Clive Staples Lewis, known by his friends as Jack, was born to Irish parents in 1898. Lewis’ parents were avid readers, and they passed that love to both of their sons. At age 17, Lewis wrote to a friend, “I believe in no religion . . . there is absolutely no proof for any of them and, from a philosophical standpoint, Christianity is not even the best [option].” Lewis studied at Oxford and later returned to the university as a professor. At the age of 32, this rather skeptical author and professor became a Christian. What caused his change of heart? Primarily, his skepticism was challenged by colleagues at Oxford University. One particularly close friend was a famous author who penned the series of novels: Lord of the Rings. While J. R. R. Tolkien was not a Christian, his questions caused Lewis to dig deeper into the claims of Christianity. The most profound influencer was a pastor named George MacDonald. MacDonald was an exceptional storyteller, who wove mythical creatures, kings, queens, and knights into gospel-themed stories. Clearly, his imaginative writing impacted the mind and heart of Lewis. Eventually, after believing the gospel of Christ, Lewis began to write his own fictional series, The Chronicles of Narnia, filled with gospel themes and biblical allegories. Lewis later wrote: “The whole story of Narnia is the story about Christ. I asked myself, ‘Supposing that there really was a world like Narnia … and supposing Christ wanted to go into that world and save it, what might have happened?'” This Christmas season, I want to explore the fascinating world of Narnia and some of the gospel analogies woven throughout Lewis’ writing. Through these articles I’ve entitled, The Chronicles of Christmas, I’m praying that you will capture afresh the glory of God’s redemptive drama, and the wonder of Christ’s amazing plan of salvation.

Wisdom International provides radio broadcasts, digital content, and print resources designed to make disciples of all the nations and edify followers of Jesus Christ. 2

EXPOUNDING ON SCRIPTURE, I L LU S T RAT I N G WI T H L I F E ! 3

THE CREATION OF NARNIA by Stephen Davey

Think for a moment about your favorite novel or fictional series. More than likely, the author led you to imagine a unique setting, another country, or perhaps another world of their making.

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After finishing five books in his The Chronicles of Narnia series, C. S. Lewis decided to describe

the creation of a special world called Narnia in his prequel story, The Magician’s Nephew. While this installment was the sixth in publishing order, it actually introduced the reader to the world of Narnia.

another in London, and often visited each other’s homes for playdates. One day, as they explored Digory’s attic, they stumbled into a private room—belonging to Digory’s Uncle Andrew—filled with magical objects and artifacts.

In this story, two children—Digory and Polly—lived next door to one

The curious children tried on a pair of magical rings that transported

them to another world; one ring would whisk them away and the other ring would return them to London.

Digory and Polly soon found themselves in a strange world ruled by an evil queen. When they attempted to escape, the queen clung to Digory and arrived back

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and preserve her power over the kingdom of Narnia. To accomplish this, she makes Edmund a personalized promise. If he follows her wishes, he will become her prince, eventually becoming king of Narnia. And, of course, he will have all the Turkish delight he desires!

S I N I N NA R N I A by Stephen Davey

I’m sure you have heard the saying, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” The expanded paraphrase of that advertisement is: “Come to Vegas, pursue your sinful desires and no one will tell on you.” In other words, “whatever you do here will stay here.” That happens to be a lie! Still, the tantalizing temptation is sweetened by the promise of anonymity—sinning without being found out. But like a fisherman disguising a steel hook with a fat worm, Satan disguises the destructiveness of sin with this attractive lure: “your secret is safe.” Few authors have so imaginatively illustrated the lure of sin and the false promises of temptation than C. S. Lewis in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Lewis dramatizes the tantalizing power of the evil one and the enticing promises that, of 8

course, never come true. Edmund, one of the four human children in the Narnia story, finds his way into Narnia and hears bells and sees a sleigh approaching him in the snow. At first, Edmund is wary of the cold, calculating woman in the sleigh, dressed in white fur. The reader might remember this evil queen from The Magicians Nephew. She seems pleasant enough, however, and offers Edmund a hot drink and asks him what his favorite food is. “Turkish delight,” Edmund replies, and immediately his favorite treat magically appears in the sleigh. Stuffing his mouth with candy, Edmund foolishly reveals to her the truth about his siblings. The evil queen wants Edmund to lure his brother and two sisters to Narnia so she can kill them, eliminate their threat to her throne,

For those who have read this volume, you will remember what happens when Edmund brings his siblings to Narnia and then rushes off to the queen to claim his prize. Instead of Turkish delight, she gives him a piece of dry bread.

apple core in her hand, her lips stained from the fruit. As Digory turns to run, an apple in his hand, the queen says to him, “Do you know what that fruit is? I will tell you. It is the apple of youth, the apple of life. I know, for I have tasted it; and I feel already such changes in myself that I know I shall never grow old and die.” Ultimately, Digory resists the temptation and runs to safety. This scene sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

What a perfect illustration of Satan’s strategy! Instead of delight, sin fails to keep its promise, inevitably leading to disappointment and loss.

Satan spoke through the serpent to Eve that tragic day in the Garden of Eden “[Eat of this tree] and you will not surely die” (Genesis 3:1-2).

For those who walk in obedience to Christ, we pursue a genuine promise from Psalm 16: “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

Even now, temptation might be whispering to you:

Communion with God is far sweeter than Turkish delight; fellowship with Him is more fulfilling than even the most tempting sin. Perhaps the most obvious allegory Lewis makes to the Bible comes in The Magician's Nephew, when Aslan tells Digory to search for an apple tree. Digory is commanded to find the tree and bring fruit back to him but take none for himself. When Digory finds the tree, the sweet aroma overcomes him and his desire to eat an apple becomes almost unbearable. Suddenly, the evil queen appears, holding an

"Don’t take God’s word so seriously; He wants you to be happy; enjoy your own desires; no one will ever find out." Beloved, Satan’s tactics can be as effective against believers as they are against those who do not yet know God. So, as followers of Christ, let’s rely on the power of the Holy Spirit within us and resist the lure of the flesh and the empty promises of sin. You can’t fight this alone; walk with Christ and rely on the power of God’s Word in your life. And don’t forget, our final victory is just ahead. As Mr. Beaver said to the children in Narnia when it seemed like the evil queen was winning and hope was lost: “Aslan is on the move!” 9

s111111111-1111111111991111111111-111111111t QUOTES O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM By Phillips Brooks

“The Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the Incarnation.” — J. I. Packer

“The story of Christmas is the story of God’s relentless love for us.” — Max Lucado

“The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.” — C. S. Lewis

“God is in the manger, wealth in poverty, light in darkness, succor in abandonment. No evil can befall us; whatever men may do to us, they cannot but serve the God who is secretly revealed as love and rules the world and our lives." — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“And when the Lord Jesus has become your peace, remember, there is another thing: good will towards men. Do not try to keep Christmas without good will towards men.” — Charles Spurgeon

“He was created of a mother whom He created. He was carried by hands that He formed. He cried in the manger in wordless infancy, He the Word, without whom all human eloquence is mute.”

Adapted from Al Smith’s Treasury of Hymn Histories

When Phillips Brooks was blessed to spend his 1865 Christmas in Israel, he mounted a horse on December 24 and rode from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. As he wandered in the fields outside Bethlehem, Brooks observed a scenery not very different from what a group of shepherds would have lived in 2,000 years earlier. Brooks would later write about this experience: “Again and again it seemed I could hear voices telling each other of the ‘Wonderful Night’ of the Saviour’s birth.” Brooks could distinctly feel the words of a new carol in his heart, but he did not attempt to write them out until three years later. Finally, in 1868, Brooks introduced his congregation to this classic hymn:

O little town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep The silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets shineth The everlasting Light; The hopes and fears of all the years Are met in thee tonight. For Christ is born of Mary, And gathered all above, While mortals sleep, the angels keep Their watch of wond’ring love O morning stars, together Proclaim the holy birth! And praises sing to God the King, And peace to men on earth. How silently, how silently The wondrous gift is giv’n! So God imparts to human hearts The blessings of His heav’n. No ear may hear His coming, But in this world of sin, Where meek souls will receive Him still The dear Christ enters in. O holy Child of Bethlehem! Descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin, and enter in; Be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels The great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel. Amen.

s111111111-1111111111991111111111-111111111t — Augustine

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