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Posts Tagged ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’

This was supposed to just be a short post on a couple of things God taught me during this week, but as it turns out, is not. 😉

1. Faith:

I finally learned what it means that Jesus is the author and “finisher” of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). It’s a term my Dad used a lot in his prayers and sermons, but I don’t think I ever quite understood it too well until this week. I’ve been learning a lot about faith lately, and I clearly understand that “without faith it is impossible to please God”. I also understand that God has made it easy for us to have that faith because He Himself is the “author” of our faith. He Himself puts faith in us when we accept Him into our lives, which itself is a step of faith.

The Bible talks about us having faith as tiny as a mustard seed, and even that little faith being enough to move mountains. So I went with that thought. I imagined a tall transparent glass with just one tiny mustard seed in it – pitifully tiny, insignificant and incapable of anything big in that large glass. That’s how my faith is more often than not. However, this is what I learned… that no matter how small, insignificant or incapable of anything our faith is, God completes it for us, in other words, he is the “finisher” of our faith. It’s as if He fills that tall glass with Himself and thereby makes all things possible. I imagine the glass being filled up with water (symbolic of the Holy Spirit). Try it practically and see what happens… you will see that the mustard seed no longer remains at the bottom of the glass, but rises up bit by bit to the very top and floats there. So it is with our faith… no matter how small, when we realize that Jesus Himself completes it, our faith rises to meet the challenge. We are emboldened with courage just knowing that He completes our faith and we are not in the struggle alone… and suddenly ALL things become possible for us.

2. It’s not about us and our capabilities; it’s about Him and His infinite abilities:

This sort of goes hand in hand with what I learned on faith, and I’ve seen this happening through this last week as I’ve ministered to people with various needs, most of them beyond me and my own understanding. I’ve seen God use me despite my inability in certain situations, and give me the right words at the right time for people that He brought my way in His perfect time. I know that none of those were co-incidences or mistakes, but divine appointments. In one particular situation I didn’t feel very “knowledgeable” regarding the situation, but God gave me His wisdom to deal with it. All it took was for me to say, “Here I am, Lord. I’m available. Use me. If you can use anything, Lord, you can use me!”

I was moved by a dialogue towards the end of the film, Prince Caspian (yes, I am a HUGE Narnia fan, in case you don’t already know that). After the war is won, when Aslan meets with the children, he tells Prince Caspian that the time has come for him to be King and rule over the land. Prince Caspian is overwhelmed and says something like, “But I don’t think I am ready yet”, to which Aslan’s reply is, “It is for that very reason I think you are.”

God is not looking for people who think they have it all together and are content in their self-sufficiency. God is looking for people who know they are not capable in and of themselves, but He is able. We need to always remind ourselves that it is never about us and our capabilities, but about Him and His infinite abilities! And be available for Him to use.

3. Obedience:

1 Samuel 15:22 says, “Obedience is better than sacrifice”. Along with faith, knowing that it’s all about God and being available for Him to use, goes obedience. We have often heard people say, “Delayed obedience is disobedience”. So true! I have been learning that too this week. It is better to obey God no matter how crazy it might seem.

Last night I heard God tell me something that sounded like He was out of His mind. I was like, “What??? No, no, no… there’s nothing I can do about it. Thank you for telling me, but I don’t see how I can help with that.” But I couldn’t bring myself to ignore God’s voice and eventually found myself doing the outlandish thing He told me to. Now, this involved another person too, and even if I had done my part in obedience, the buck stopped with her if she thought I was out of my mind. To my surprise, she not only took me seriously, but was also obedient to what she said was the Holy Spirit telling her not to just brush it aside as some nonsense like she would have normally done, but to act on it. What our obedience achieved, I am yet to find out, and I sincerely hope it saved a life. However, the point is not what we achieved, but that we were both obedient to God and his voice. John 10: 27 says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” What is God saying to you today? Are you one of His sheep? Are you following Him?

4. Look Inside Yourself!

The fourth thing I learned this week is something very personal, but I want to share it all the same, knowing that many struggle with this question. We often wonder why God doesn’t “show” Himself to us and reveal Himself visibly. Why is it that God shows Himself to some stranger who has never even heard of Him, ever, but won’t show Himself to me??? I remember reading once that God, more often than not, needs to show Himself to those that don’t believe and those who would find it hard to believe if He didn’t. However, for those of us that have a strong faith and believe in Him even without having seen him, it is not necessary for us to see Him. I made myself content for a while thinking, “Oh, I must have great faith that God doesn’t need to show Himself for me. Cool!” And that was cool… but there came a time not too long ago, when I asked the Lord to show Himself to me and He did in a very strange way, so much so that it freaked me out for a bit, wondering what the strange Presence in my room was. His Presence remained in my room several days, and I would see it every night. But after a while I stopped seeing it. Then the other night I asked the Lord to show Himself to me again, and this is what He answered, “Why are you looking here for me? Look inside yourself!” Whoa! That was pretty amazing to me, and a necessary reminder that He is inside of me, working in and through me. When others see me, I sincerely hope they see Jesus inside of me.

Now, I’d like to make it clear that God is very capable of showing Himself to anyone, and in different ways to different people. For me at this point in time, this is what He chose specifically for me. The only reason I am sharing it is because I know many people have the same question on their minds, and I hope to encourage you not to stop seeking after Him, but to wait patiently, spend time in His presence, and in His time, He will reveal Himself in His own way.

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I begin my first inspiration right at the very beginning, when little Polly Plummer meets Digory Kirke and the meeting is not exactly what you might call fantastic.
It begins when Polly, out in the garden, is surprised on seeing a boy scramble up from the next garden door and put his face over the wall.
“Polly was very surprised because up till now there had never been any children in that house, but only Mr. Ketterly and Miss Ketterly, a brother and sister, old bachelor and old maid, living together. So she looked up full of curiosity. The face of the strange boy was very grubby. It could hardly have been grubbier if he had first rubbed his hands in the earth and then had a good cry, and then dried his face with his hands. As a matter of fact, this was very nearly what he had been doing.”
And so is Polly’s first impression of Digory – grubby and dirty – very typically what a young, well-mannered girl of that age might have thought of any other boy, I imagine. Despite her misgiving though, Polly manages to be polite – at firt at least – until, having temporarily forgotten her manners, she comments on how funny Digory’s name is. He then retorts that it isn’t as funny as her’s, Then, unable to control herself any longer, Polly rudely points out that unlike Digory’s, her face is clean. But just before she can get any ruder, she checks herself, remembering that she ought to be polite.
In the next few paragraphs, Digory does admit (like a man) that he had been crying, but only because he had been forced to leave his father and his exciting life in the country to live in the city with an aunt and his mother who was now on her death bed.
At this point, Polly is moved with compassion, and has the heart enough to apologise humbly. And thus begins a friendship that takes the two on an adventurous journey they would never have imagined.
I wonder (if the story were true), what would have happened if only Polly hadn’t apologised? What if she had continued to say mean things to Digory? Would there have been a friendship between them? Would they have journeyed to distant worlds and experienced any adventure at all? Perhaps there wouldn’t have been a story to tell at all…
A lot of the time, in real life situations, we too find it so easy to back-bite or hurt others with our words. Maybe certain people are just so irritating or maybe you happened to wake up on the wrong side of your bed – whatever the reason, we hurt others with the things we say. And seldom do we apologise. So there ends any seed of friendship or a relationship of any kind.
One of the keys in good communication is not only being well-mannered, but also to apologise when you’ve made a mistake. Some may think it’s below their dignity to do so, but that’s far from the truth. Rather, admitting your mistakes and saying you’re sorry is a show of character. It shows the other person that you’re willing to take responsibility for your words and actions. It shows that you respect others and their feelings as much as you do your own. And saying sorry also earns you respect in return.
So, the lesson in communication is: Admit your mistakes and apologise when you’re at fault – it speaks volumes about your character and can earn you respect and a good friend.

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The Magician’s Nephew (TMN) is the story of “how all the comings and goings between our world and the land of Narnia first began.”* It tells of two children called Polly Plummer and Digory Kirke (who later appears in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe as the old Professor Kirke) and how they were tricked into visiting other worlds by Digory’s uncle, the wicked magician. The two children stumble into the Land of Charn where Digory, unable to quell his curiosity, wakes up the evil Queen Jadis from her sleeping spell. The queen then follows the children back to London and amidst all the chaos and confusion that follows, the children find themselves in a strange dark land along with Queen Jadis, Uncle Andrew, a Cabby and his horse Strawberry.

As it turns out, the group witnesses the land of Narnia being brought to life by a beautiful yet fearsome lion called Aslan. This done, Digory is sent on an adventurous errand to undo the wrong he had done and at the end of which he is duly rewarded.

Finally, as all good stories must end, the children and a rather subdued Uncle Andrew return safely home and live quite happily ever after.

For further reference on The Chronicles of Narnia or C. S. Lewis, kindly visit the following websites:
http://adisney.go.com/disneypictures/narnia/index.html
http://books.narnia.com/movielanding.html
http://www.narniaweb.com/
http://cslewis.drzeus.net/
http://www.cslewis.org/

*Quoted from The Magician’s Nephew.

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While The Chronicles of Narnia is an excellent read by itself, it is without doubt also ‘a story within a story’ i.e., though not allegorical in the strict sense of the term, the Chronicles do bear reference to certain biblical characters and incidents and each story appears to deal with a different biblical principle. Following are the names of the books and the overall themes they encompass:

The Magician’s Nephew: The creation of the world and the entry of sin
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: The death and resurrection of Christ
The Horse and His Boy: Christianity the only way to God
Prince Caspian: The believer’s role in the world
Voyage of the Dawn Treader: Heaven
The Silver Chair: Hell
The Last Battle: The end times

Therefore, from the Christian perspective, the Chronicles are definitely a worthwhile read that can both teach and inspire. The Chronicles are also and excellent evangelistic tool – if used in the right spirit and manner and if not forced upon or over-done.
As a Christian, I myself have been greatly taken up by the Chronicles and their potential to bring the truth of the gospel subtly yet impressively to the vast number of unbelievers in today’s world. “Narnian Inspirations” is therefore and attempt to share the spiritual inspiration I have drawn from the Chronicles with all I can, that they might also be inspired and profit from it greatly. However, to profit from it the most, one must read for themselves The Chronicles of Narnia!

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The Chronicles of Narnia were written over 50 years ago by author Clive Staples Lewis (also known by his friends as ‘Jack’), who was a member of the informal writers club, the Inklings, along with friend and fellow- writer J.R.R. Tolkien. The Chronicles began with the book entitled, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe that became immensely popular among children and adults alike. Consequently, Lewis wrote six other books: Prince Caspian; Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver Chair; The Horse and His Boy; The Magician’s Nephew and The Last Battle – all of which came to be known as The Chronicles of Narnia.

Over the years however, the order of the books has been rearranged in accordance with the continuity of the storyline, and the Chronicles now begin with The Magician’s Nephew, followed by The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Horse and His Boy, Prince Caspian, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair and finally conclude with The Last Battle.
Nevertheless, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, being the first book written among the other books and also one of the best loved books of all time, has been given precedence in the film that was released in a joint effort by Disney Pictures and Walden Media in December, 2005. (Don’t forget to watch it if you haven’t already!)

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The Chronicles of Narnia, as they have come to be known, are shockingly unknown to a vast majority of the Indian population. Except in literary circles or amongst book and movie lovers, even the title The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe evokes little or no reaction! Sadder still is the fact that while the entire west is caught up in religious controversies surrounding the upcoming film based on the Chronicles, most Indians – and young people at that – still know nothing of it!

However, I myself am an ardent fan of the Chronicles and although I got to read them rather late in life for a children’s classic (a year ago, to be exact); they have left a lasting impression in my mind and have inspired me in more ways than one.
No doubt, the Chronicles have drawn much attention in the past years and will hopefully draw much more attention with the December release of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (LWW). And while many others are involved in Narnian discussions, forums, sermons and criticisms, I hereby wish to merely record my personal impressions and the inspirations I have drawn from The Chronicles of Narnia. Hence, “Narnian Inspirations”.

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The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis have greatly inspired me in more ways than one. With thrilling fantasy, vivid imagery, and rich language all packed into the series, it is nothing short of excellent!However, while the Chronicles have been regarded over the past fifty years as a classic collection, I find it rather distressing that hardly any writer has had anything to say about them. In fact, up until recently when it was announced that Disney Pictures would be releasing a film series based on the Chronicles, not many people even knew that such a series existed!I do hope that with the December release of the first film, “The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe”, this situation will change and more and more people will be motivated to read these books and draw inspiration from them – as I have.

In the days to come I will be penning the thoughts and inspirations that I have gathered from the Chronicles. For those of you who haven’t read them yet, I encourage you to do so. For others, I’m sure you will love reading and debating over my impressions, or at least adding your own thoughts and comments.

This done, I hope to pass on my inspiration to other readers and in time to come, I hope I will have accomplished what I have been deeply moved to do.

Long live The Chronicles of Narnia!

P.S.: If you are interested in knowing more about The Chronicles of Narnia, please visit the following website: http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/narnia/

 

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