'And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year;
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.”'
So heart be still:
“It means" said Aslan, "that though the witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and darkness before time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treason was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards".
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)
‘If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning’.
A Father’s Return
The late Dr Adrian Rogers of Bellevue Baptist Church Memphis Tennessee in a sermon on 1 John 3 vs 1-13 entitled When We All Get to Heaven shared this powerful story told by one of his predecessors Dr. Robert G. Lee:
“Dr. Lee said that, one day when he was a boy on the farm and everybody else had gone to town, he was there on the front porch with his mother and he said his mother was doing some crocheting or knitting. Dr. Lee said, I was a little boy, I was down on the floor, she was out on the porch of the old farm house. He said ‘I was down on the floor, I had my chin in my hands, my heels sticking up in the air. And I asked my mother, “Mother, what was the happiest day of your life?” I looked up at her worn hands as she was doing that work and she said something I didn't expect for her to say. I thought maybe she would say it was the time when my father, a tall man, six feet tall with dark eyes, expressed his love for her, but she didn't say that was the happiest day of her life.’ Then he said, ‘I thought it might have been that time out by the gate of that farm, it was such a poor farm, you could hardly raise an umbrella on it, much less a mortgage.’ He said, ‘I thought maybe it was the time out there when, when he asked her to marry him, but she didn't mention that.’ He said, ‘I thought well maybe it was that time when in the little farmhouse there on the corner of that farm where they said, took their holy vows, vows that they kept for fifty years before he was taken on, but she didn't mention that. She said, “Son, I believe the happiest time of my life was this.” She said, “You know, we lived back, when I was a little girl, in the days of the Civil War. And all the men had gone off to war and the women had to stay there and work on the fields and I saw my mother work out there alongside the other women in the fields. We had very little. We got our salt from the smokehouse floor. We made tea from sassafras. We made something like coffee from dried corn and then the word came that your grandfather Bennett had been killed in the Civil War.”’ Dr. Lee's mother said, “I watched my mother, she didn't seem to cry much in the day, but at night-time when I was a little girl I could hear her in the next room as she was sobbing out her heart to God … You asked me about the happiest day of my life. I'll tell you about it. After we had learned that and heard that your grandfather had been killed in the war, my mother was sitting on the porch, very much like we are, and she was snapping beans and she saw a man coming down the road and she said, ‘I declare, Elizabeth, look at that man! He looks like your daddy, he looks like your father,’ and I said, ‘now mother, don't be sad. You know daddy is gone.’ But then that man came and began to walk across a little patch of cotton and she threw those beans in the air and she said, ‘Elizabeth, that's your daddy!’ And she ran across that field and there he stood. He had an empty sleeve, he was missing an arm, and they embraced and he reached out with that other arm and pulled her in close … I ran as fast as my little legs would carry me, hugged my daddy's knees, ran my hand up that empty sleeve and felt that funny little arm … Son that was the happiest day of my life.”’ Then Dr. Lee said this, he said ‘that day will pale into insignificance to the day when we see Him, when Jesus comes, and our eyes behold the king and the one who opened to us the doors of grace will open to us the doors of glory. What a day that will be when our Savior comes.’”
The desire for knowledge apart from God and lure of power independent of God has ever been the downfall of man.
‘Freedom is not the permission to do what you want, but the power to do what you ought’.
The Historical Basis of the Gospel
The apostles of the Lord Jesus were particularly careful to stress and unequivocally state the historical and experimental foundations of the Christian faith. The gospel they preached and the person they presented did not belong to the category of myths so prevalent in the cultures of the ancient world.
Writing his second epistle, Peter reaffirms the factuality of what he had previously shared about the kingdom glory of the Lord Jesus: ‘We did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty’ – 2 Peter 1:16. In other words – we didn’t invent the story.
Also, John writing about the apostles’ personal knowledge and experience of Jesus states: ‘That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life —the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us’ – 1 John 1:1-2. John confirms the reality of His person – He was physically and tangibly real, not imaginary.
The circumstances and events foundational to Christianity happened in real time involving real people being demonstrated by real evidence and verified by real witnesses. Yes, these events, such as the miracles of Jesus and His resurrection, were the work of God not men, but that doesn’t make them imaginary, rather it proves the reality of God present in history. Sadly, though, history and evidence regarding these things doesn’t seem to matter to a secular mindset. You just dismiss it all as nonsense and lies for there is simply no place for God in a secular and material view of the world.
‘Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding’ – Proverbs 23:23. Sage advice in any and every generation.
'Truth becomes hard if it is not softened by love; love becomes soft if it is not strengthened by truth. The apostle calls us to hold the two together which should not be difficult for Spirit filled believers, since the Holy Spirit is Himself "the Spirit of truth," and His firstfruit is "love." There is no other route than this to a fully mature Christian unity'.
John Stott (1921-2011), The Message of Ephesians
‘God's grace is sufficient for anywhere his providence places us’.
I sing of my Saviour's first coming to earth
Louis XIV (1715), as he lay dying, called the Dauphin to his bedside and said:
‘Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face’.