Promise me you'll keep an open mind, because I'm this episode of the Cheer Up Podcast, we pose a thought-provoking question. What if we told you that the most mundane aspects of your life could be influenced by the unseen, spiritual world? We're not talking about ghosts or apparitions, but the unique interpretation of demons as presented in the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.
We walk you through the murky waters of idolization and manipulation, aiming to highlight the subtle, often overlooked ways the enemy can divert our attention from our faith. Our discussion finds its roots in Uncle Screwtapes advice to his nephew Wormwood, a narrative that compellingly illustrates how focusing too much on others' faults can lead us away from God. We also touch upon the historical backdrop of the Screwtape Letters, drawing parallels between the turmoil of the 1940s and the characters' dilemmas.
As we wrap up our engrossing dialogue, we're going to underscore the resilience that prayer offers. You'll find out how it acts as a beacon of hope and strength in the face of adversity.
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Hi and welcome to the Cheer Up Podcast. I'm your host, kara R Hunt, and with me is my lovely co-host and talented author and speaker, sherry Swalwell. How are you doing today, sherry? I am?Speaker 2:
doing great. Did you enjoy your long Fourth of July weekend? I cannot believe that Fourth of July is over already. Like, where is the summer going?Speaker 1:
I know right, summer is just so like, really, truly, that is the question of the year. Well, that, and where did February go? I know I'm still looking for it. To me it's just like, you know, for our listeners out there. I'm just like, for some reason, i just February seemed like it showed its face and then left before, like the whole month was completed. So and now here, it is almost the middle of summer, am I right? I'm not exactly sure. When summer ends, i know, around here they just tease and say, oh well, labor Day is like the end of summer, you know, but I don't think that's technically correct, but I do think July is definitely the heart of summer, you know. So, wow, 2023 is on its way out, technically, i know, and 2024 is showing and saying hi, i'll be there soon, you know. So, yeah, time is just really really flying by, and I just want to say welcome to all of our listeners. If you are a listener to the Cheer Up podcast, you are part of what we call Cheer Nation, and so we want to thank you for joining us and being a part of Cheer Nation. And we're called Cheer Nation because we referred our listeners as Cheer Nation, because the scripture that the Cheer Up podcast is based on, and that's John 16, verse 33. And Sherry will be able to mention more about that later, you know, at the end of the podcast. But welcome to all of our listeners, those in the States and out of the States. We see you And if you are a regular listener, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast and download it as well. All of that goes and like if it's available on your particular podcasting platform. All of that goes makes it easier for your friends to find us and others to find us, you know, and all that algorithm stuff. So thank you for doing that, okay, so as we mentioned in previous podcasts starting in June and I believe the first podcast for this particular we referred to as a summer episode It's, i believe, the very first podcast for the summer series that we're doing, called the Screwtape Letters. We're covering the topics and the letters that were covered in a book, the Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis. As an LEWIS And some of you may be familiar with him from, like Mir Christianity, the book Mir Christianity, or the Chronicles of Nornia He has also wrote a. He also wrote a book called the Screwtape Letters And that is the topic of the summer series that we're covering from. We started last month, in June, and again, i believe the first episode for that series was June 7. And we initially was going to go to August, but we have now extended it to the end of September. So from now until the end of September, and including last month, we will be discussing the Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis. And again, for those who may just be joining in, the book CS Lewis was originally written, or I should say published, and I believe, 1941. So the book is an old book. It's not current, but it's, i think it's, considered, i think it's firmly planted in the genre of classical literature. So it is, so it was written at that time and you know, and everything else, the topic of the book, or the book, is about 31 letters written from one demon to another demon, and that is why it's called the Screwtape Letters. The demon writing the letters is Screwtape, or Uncle Screwtape, and he is writing letters to his nephew Wormwood, who is a new demon, so to speak. You know, so to speak, and Uncle Screwtape is an older demon, higher in rank, and he's just trying to let his nephew Wormwood know how to handle his Christian per se. And the book is referred to as the patient, and a name I don't believe is ever actually given to the patient. So, but because we're using American vernacular, i'm just going to say Christian you know for the topic of the book. But so nephew Wormwood, young nephew Wormwood and lower in rank demon, a lower in rank demon has been assigned a Christian, a male Christian, and I think he's like in his thirties, he's a fairly new Christian, no, no. Well, he is a new Christian, very, very new Christian. And Uncle Screwtape is just writing letters to him telling him of the things to do and what not to do. And for those of you who are just tuning in to this podcast, to this episode, please go back and listen to the June 7th episode of the screw-taped letters. And the reason I say that is because we go into very much, we go a lot more in depth about demons and what the Bible has to say about demons, and we give several scriptures about demons and what the Bible has to say about that And that is, those scriptures are the foundation that we're basing a lot of the topics on that we're discussing in the book of the screw-taped letters. Okay, i just wanted to give that quick summary as a quick catch up to everyone. And last month we also. The book contains 31 letters from Uncle Screw-Taped to his nephew Rormwood. Last month we were able to cover letters one, two and three And in this episode we're going to cover the topics of four excuse me, cover the letters of four and five in the book. And the two things in those letters that Uncle Screw-Taped talks to his nephew Rormwood about are a sincere prayer and war. He is talking about sincere prayer because the Christian that Rormwood has been assigned, the young male Christian who was new to the faith, is interested in prayer or trying to start praying and everything like that. And Uncle Screw-Taped is like, yeah, no, we need to work on this because we really don't want him to get too far into this And he teaches him and advises him and gives him tips on how to distract him from prayer. And letter five the Christian is kind of upset because there's a war going on And we need to remember this was like in the 1940s. So it was a war that was happening in Europe at the time or that has started in Europe at the time, and it was nerve-wracking, to say the least, and he was losing a lot of sleep over it. And Rormwood is like, yay, he's losing sleep over this. He's so scared, he's so frightened and things like that. But Uncle Screw-Taped is like you idiot, like no, the last thing we really want is war, and it tells him exactly why. So those are the premises of today's episode. Sherry, what did you think of letters four and five?Speaker 2:
I thought that, like I had talked about last month, it was hard for me to read, simply because the way that they refer, the way that Rormwood refers to Satan he keeps calling him and I forget his exact wording but like master or father or something like that, and so I'm so used to that being our heavenly father that it's hard for me.Speaker 1:
You had to reverse your Christian brain in a way.Speaker 2:
Yeah, yeah, that was really hard for me, but I thought that they definitely make you think, the different chapters. They definitely make you think, and I would love for you to share with the audience your thoughts and then I'll tag along after them.Speaker 1:
Well, one of the things in letter four regarding prayer that I thought Uncle Screwtape said that I found interesting is okay, he says something along the line he tells Rormwood that to keep your Christian from seriously, the goal this is what he's telling his nephew Rormwood he had demon to lower ranking demon. he is telling Rormwood that the whole goal is to keep the Christian from seriously intending to pray at all. And if you can't keep him from praying, then you should misdirect the focus of the Christian's prayer so that they're only about himself or an object than another person. And then he adds it is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds, but in reality our best work is done by keeping things out. And I found that very interesting because he's the whole purpose. he's like, hey, if your Christian is starting to pray and yeah, we can't let that happen, it's just like opening up a giving the God's camp, like a hands up and things like that. But if he's intent on praying, then we need to make the prayers about himself or something else, but not just about that person. And oh, by the way, our best work is done by keeping things out of their mind. And he goes on to even talk about how give them an object to pray to. He's like I have been successful Again this is the head demon, uncle Screwtape, talking. He's like I've been successful at getting people to pray. looking at the right, looking at a certain part in a room, looking at the corner of the ceiling, looking at a cross on the wall, and he's looking at, you know, a chair or an object or something like that. He's like all he said you want to get them looking and focused on something. Why they, if they, if they intend on praying, get them to focus on something anything other than the one who creates it them. If it's a cross on the wall, if it's a spot in the ceiling, if it's a spot in the carpet, wherever, basically he was saying, just get them to look at that and focus on that and not on the God. you know the God who created them. And I thought of that as very curious, you know, because I've heard people say that, you know, i've heard people say, oh, you know, i set a chair in front of me and when I'm praying and I just imagine Jesus is sitting in that chair and I pray to him, i pray as though I'm talking to him right there in that chair. you know, and I didn't think anything of it, right, and I'm not even sure we should, but it was interesting that he that that was one of the tactics that can be used. And but when you think about it, how easily is that? You know, the enemy always uses very subtle ways to distract us, right, a very slow-bade type of distraction, and those type of objects can become a huge distraction. What are your thoughts on this, sherry?Speaker 2:
Yes, i completely agree with you. In fact, i just this week I was talking to God and I usually tend to talk to him out loud when I'm driving in the car And I noticed that if I don't start prayer with praise, thanksgiving and worship, that it tends to, or at times, especially on those days when I'm like super, super busy and I have a gazillion things that I need to check off my to-do list and my life becomes more of a assembly line than it does actually living those kind of days, i find that it's almost as though I'm talking out loud to myself instead of talking to God, and I never, ever, ever want it to get that way. So I have found that I've started to apologize to him And if I start to feel myself going into that rope to do list, assembly line mentality, i will all automatically switch over to worshiping him, thanking him for my blessings or thanking him for who he is, or speaking his name, or lifting all the different names of God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit, to get my focus back on who I'm truly praying to. But I'm not just talking out loud to hear myself talk, that. I'm not just, you know, solving my problems out loud by speaking them out loud. No, i'm truly speaking to praying to the Holy Spirit, god's Father and God's Son, and I also wanted to, or no? I guess that was what I was thinking about when you were talking about the whole prayer thing is that, yes, we just need to be reminded all the time of who we're truly praying to and that it is God who answers our prayers. And thank goodness, because if I'm just sitting here trying to solve my own problems out loud, speaking out loud, they're not going to get solved And my problems are going to stay as big, or possibly get even bigger, than they already are.Speaker 1:
Absolutely, it's in vain, right, right, right. Yeah, it's really in vain, and I love how you say starting with prayer and worship and thanksgiving. You know, and that's scriptural right, because the scripture talks about and I can't think of the exact verse, listener, so please forgive me where it talks about we enter his gates with praise and thanksgiving, am I right, sherry? Yeah, and there's a reason for it?Speaker 2:
Uh-huh, there's a reason for it, and that's why we do it.Speaker 1:
Yes, and we keep a focus on him, yes, and we enter his gates with praise and thanksgiving, and that helps keep our focus on him and not on the problem or the circumstance or trying to figure it out, you know, and everything else. And, by the way, we're not supposed to figure it out, you know, i just want to throw that out there And we are to cast our burdens on the Lord and let him figure it out. We are to say, lord, you know all my anxieties, you know all the thoughts that are bouncing around in my head today or this morning or tonight that's stopping me from sleeping And I can't do anything about any of them right now. But that's okay, i don't need to because you are the Alpha Omega, you got it all handled and you've asked me to cast my burdens on you, and so this is what I'm doing, and you replace all of those thoughts and all of those emotions with peace of mind and joy in my spirit, and that's honestly how we are to respond to those things. But going back to just using, you know, idolization and objects and being swayed without even realizing being swayed is so subtle, right, sherry? Like you say at first, you're realizing like wait, who am I talking to? You know it's like am I talking to myself? Am I talking a lot? Am I being my own psychologist Or am I actually talking to the Lord of heaven and earth, the Most High God, the Holy One of Israel? And I think it's very, very important to keep our objects to that. And that also goes with those who because I've had people you know wonder and they say well, you know, what do you think Jesus looks like? Do you really think he's like the European version that we see everywhere in the pictures and his stainless windows of you know, white face, long hair, blue eyes and things like that? And when I hear people, they go no, he has woolly hair, he has this, he has that. And my initial thought is it doesn't matter. Right, you're focusing on the wrong thing. And I can see the enemy using that to distract a lot of people, you know, and praying to paintings and or stainless windows over their image of what people look, of what Jesus should look like, you know, and things in that tone. And I can definitely see the enemy using that and creating an object in a person's mind to pray to and actually praying in the spirit of Christ to Father above. So, and that is exactly what Uncle Scrutate was trying to tell his nephew Warnwood and he was also saying and, by the way, make their prayers very, very self-centered. You know about them. You know they need more money, they need this, they need a house, they need a car, they need a better job, they need this, they need that. Keep it focused on them. And when they're praying for other people, you know, have them focus on the things that's wrong with them, like, oh, help so-and-so with their anger, because they are a very angry person, or help so-and-so, you know, with their addiction, because they're addicted to. You know everything they put in their mouth, so to speak. He said, but you know any, but have them focus on anything and everything except praying for their soul, you know, and so a lot of that. It's so subtle and that's just, and you know that's how the enemy operates. He's very subtle and he's very deceitful and he's very manipulative And so, and that is exactly the skills that Uncle Scrutate was trying to teach his nephew Warnwood in that fourth letter And then in a fifth letter of the Scrutate letters, they were they. They talk about, they're talking about war and again, this is, you know, back in the 1940s and a ward that was starting. Who would you want to have a starting back in Europe? you know, at the time and the nephew is just like, hey, uncle Scrutate, like I got him all worried and anxious and everything else you know about this ward is coming up and all the what-is like, well, what if my country gets involved, and what if this country gets involved? and you know, and everything else. And then you know there's a big world war and we already have one of those, and you know, and then this can happen, and then that can happen, and you know, and then how does that affect us? Like you know, we'll be running out of our homes, and anxiety just builds and builds and builds. So you know, warnwood, matthew Warnwood, who's a law-ranking demon, was thinking this was a good thing and he kind of was bragging along, i think, to his uncle and Uncle was like you, silly little demon, you know, like no more people we have lost more people to God's camp during wartime than any other time. He's like so no, putting those thoughts in his mind, those suggestions in his mind, those fears in his mind about war really doesn't work for us. You know, he's like that just actually brings them closer to the God that they serve. What's more beneficial is, he says, much more beneficial for us to lose someone in a nursing home, for example, because you have doctors who's lying to them and giving them false hope and false promises, saying, oh, you're going to be okay, oh, we just do this surgery and you'll be right as rain, you know, and things like that. And he's like and then you know they don't know that and everything else. But then they lose hope, they lose faith, like why, god, if this was really you, then why didn't that surgery work? Or why did I actually end up losing my leg? Or you know why am I in a wheelchair now? And you know it's not getting better because I'm getting older. He's like those type of tactics work a lot better for us than wartime ever could. What are your thoughts on that, sherry?Speaker 2:
I agree 100%. And this is going to seem weird because, instead of focusing on the war aspect, what I got out of it or what I continue to get out of the whole main theme of the screw tape thing is we talked about it in June, the first one, June 7th, where we spoke about the different demons and the biblical viewpoint of demons, And I guess I don't know God just impressing it upon my heart to focus on the fact that no matter what screw tape did, it was always wrong. Wormwood was never pleased with him, even when he quote unquote did something good.Speaker 1:
By Bersa. But yeah, Wormwood's a nephew. Screw tapes the uncle. Yes, Sorry.Speaker 2:
Yeah, screw tape was never, never pleased with Wormwood, and I think that we really need to to realize that, that when you aren't serving God, by default, you're serving Satan, and he will never be pleased with you. No matter what he says and no matter how you feel, and no matter what you think you're being promised, you are never going to please him. He hates you, and screw tape hates Wormwood. I mean, let's be honest, they may be related, but he hates him because they don't know how to love and they're imitators, so they can't do anything, they can't create anything new, so all they can do is twist the truth, and I think that's really what I. I see the relationship aspect of it more so than the details, and and that's just kind of what sticks out or stands out to me is that, no matter what happens, he's never going to be pleased with him, he's never going to satisfy him, he's never going to make him happy, and so I I feel like this is a good place to wrap up, kara, but is there anything else that you want to say before we do officially wrap up for today and then jump into our next new topic for next week?Speaker 1:
Yes, um, uh, just to piggyback a little bit on something that you were saying um, it just goes to show you that you may think that not serving God and we covered this previously If you're not serving God, you're serving the enemy. It's pretty much as simple as that, and I believe we gave biblical foundations for that, too, in the June 7th episode. Um, so, no matter if you think that you're trying to do something to to you know, when you're worshiping something, if it's not God, you're worshiping something. And if you think that any in that that's going, that, that is going to make you happy, or that, um, it's going to make that, that, that that somehow or help you, it's not, it's all designed by the enemy to deceive you and to add you to the other fallen angels, you know, in the pit. So, uh, we just have to be really, really, really careful, and that is the whole point we're discussing. We're discussing the school tapes, letters, uh, over the next couple of weeks, uh, also, if we would love to hear your thoughts and your insights, and if you would like to hear more, you have something to add, or you have something to say or you have a comment, then, uh, then let us know. And if you also are interested in doing something like a Twitter space um to where we can all be in discussion and a discussion about the book together, then let us know. Just send us an email at chairuphighcasts at gmailcom and say Hey, yeah, i'll be interested in joining you and Sherry on a Twitter space And if we get at least 10 people, then we will announce the date and time um of the Twitter space to to uh be able to even discuss this in more detail and get our listeners in sight and our listeners input and what our listeners think um about the book and what we've said during this podcast. So that's all I wanted to ask, sherry.Speaker 2:
I I I'm really enjoying the screw tape letters much more than I thought I would because, like I said, it's confusing for me to read them, but there's nothing like discussing them and discussing the different um topics and the different chapters that are um, that are spoken about, um, and I loved how, when I read CS Ruiz's phone take on it, it took him forever to publish it because he struggled with the whole um opposite thinking as well, and so I just think that this is a really nice topic for this summer, um and September. I think that the chapters are very relevant to today. Next week, the two chapters that we're going to talk about are focus and extremism, so if you're interested, come and listen to those. I also want to give a quick shout out to Kara. She is the winner of the Saeva Award with her um book Paper Dolls, the very first of her fiction series, and I will tell you if you have not read it yet, go out and get it because it is amazing. I I have had the privilege of reading Paper Dolls, types and Priscilla, um, and soon I'll be reading Lydia. But you know, Kara, as much as I love all three of them, paper Dolls is still my absolute favorite, and I think it's because you talk about all of the dolls at the same time and you introduce them all instead of starting us out with this one by one. Um, i just absolutely love how you did that And I cannot wait to continue it going in depth with each of the different dolls, um, with each of the different books. So if you haven't read Paper Dolls yet, i highly encourage it. You can find it on Amazon. You can also go to Kara's website, kara A-T-U-N-P dot com. Um, and she has uh videos up about her different books. She just has some great information on her website, so please check it out. As she said, john 1633 says these things. I have spoken to you. This is Jesus speaking, but in me, you may have peace in the world. You will have tribulations, but be a prettier, i have overcome the world. Um, the screw tape letters just speaks about that as well. Um, it goes right back to our topic that we will have childhood tribulations in this world, whether we're believers or unbelievers, and it's just um, it's just kind of the nature of the beast and the way life is, but we just get to decide. Do we want to do life with God or without God. Do we want his help or do we want to shut him out? So come back next week. We're going to talk about that again. And, um, if you are a new believer, if you're a Christ follower and you've been one for a while but you just have this, this nudge on the inside that you want to grow and you don't know how, you don't know where to start, you don't know what to do, i would encourage you to go to my website, sherry12lcom, and check out Jesus and the Everyday Membership. It's a monthly membership. For a small monthly fee, you will get 365 days in your inbox of encouragement and ways to help you grow personally and in the community with Jesus Christ. So I ask you to check that out as well. And um, uh, i have a fiction series there. I have some nonfiction books for sale there on Amazon and Nintendo Unlimited Um to check out all of that stuff. If you need prayer or encouragement, send us an email at cheeruppodcastcom. And we're just really grateful that you're here. We love interacting with our listeners and we hope that you are enjoying the screw tapes as much as we are. So we will talk to you next week. Have a great rest of your week and I hope you had a great 4th of July.