Friday, March 6, 2015

Reading as Spiritual Warfare

Since these two go together a little bit I thought I'd posted about both. I read The Bait of Satan in January and just finished The Screwtape Letters. The small group I'm teaching ends next Friday (*big frown*) so I made sure to finish the second one just in case I wanted to share anymore thoughts about it. Also, we will be discussing demons next week and since the Screwtape Letters is written from the perspective of demons or specifically a "Senior Tempter" and a "Junior Tempter" I thought it might come in handy. 

The Bait of Satan basically outlines the Spirit of Offense that all Christians face. It talks in depth about forgiveness, being offended, offending others, and gives examples from the Bible relating to offense. This book was life-changing for me. There were some areas in my heart that were quite offended and I have either processed through them or I am currently doing so. John Bevere is a no-nonsense kind of pastor. He speaks the truth and I found that his teachings are profound. For better or for worse, I am in a spiritual season where basic teachings do not move me. I need something that's hard to hear...something that makes me think so much I can't sleep. This book did that and I'm grateful. 

The Screwtape Letters was a re-read, but I'm not certain that I finished it the first time. The entire book is letter after letter from Screwtape (a Senior Tempter) to his nephew Wormwood (a Junior Tempter). He is teaching Wormwood how to deal with his "patient" who is a human and specifically how to keep him from the Enemy (God the Father) and instead bring him into the house of "Our Father Below" (Satan). It takes a while into the book for your mind to shift from thinking like a Christian to thinking like a demon. Not that this really matters, but I listened to the audio version of this book and the man reading it has the creepiest voice so I think that brings an extra layer of shivers to my body about this topic. I think the largest take-away from this book is that the tempters just continue to attack the man and are very thoughtful, strategic, and intentional. They find distractions for the patient. They use things that are good to keep the patient in negative attitudes such as selfishness or pride. 

I think Satan wants us to forgot about him, because if we do we won't try as hard to fight against his evil schemes. I know that sounds dramatic, but he really hates us. These books just reminded me that my identity is always being attacked, but that Jesus has stood in the gap to free me. Sweet grace...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Reading is hard

So, I finally finished 2 books! Yay, I'm so proud!!

Actually I'm embarrassed that I was in grad school a year ago and now I can't finish a book to save my life.

These are my first two:

1. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg - She puts together a lot of research on how we hold ourselves back, and gives practical ideas for how to "lean in."
2. Take This Bread by Sara Miles - A spiritual memoir from a woman who was a journalist in Central America during the wars and revolutions, and who starts a food pantry after she becomes a Christian.

This is the shelf of books I have acquired in some fashion and haven't yet read. This shelf is my goal for 52 in 52. A few highlights I'm looking forward to: Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl, Persuasion by Jane Austen (that one I have read and want to reread), Shop Class as Soul Craft by Matthew Crawford, Half the Church by Carolyn Custis James, and You Lost Me by David Kinnaman.

What are y'all reading?? Surely someone is reading more than me?