enemy

Avengers 2.0

Image result for the avengers infinity war

It’s been a long time coming, but it is finally here and I am so excited to share this piece with you. I love the MCU and this list isn’t exhaustive, but there enough to serve a purpose.

Captain America used to be the traditional legalistic one, but he realized that traditional thinking wouldn’t save his friend. Many of us have to go through the reality check of life, have our beliefs challenged, and have to do what Paul said and become all things to all people so that some may be saved. Our change in thinking, like Captain America, will cause people to look at us weird and ultimately we must separate ourselves, so that we may become all we were meant to be and reach those we couldn’t before. Nevertheless, when the time comes, we put our differences aside and rise to the task at hand.

Thor is the broken Christian who has endured so much rain in his life, loss after loss, struggle after struggle. Yet, the rain only strengthens him, and his anger builds persistence and perseverance, for he continues to avenge the Enemy from destroying anyone else without giving up on himself. Thor’s story speaks to those of us who can’t seem to get a break from life. We try so hard to stay face, but we struggle on the inside; we try so desperately to be strong but we are so broken, yet like Thor, every loss, every thunderstorm, reveals a higher level of the gifts God put inside of us. Our power then, delivers and liberates more people, just as Thor.

Iron Man is the believer whom the Lord humbled in order that he realize that it’s not all about him. Iron man Christians become so poor in spirit that they do whatever they can to reconcile, but become pious as Captain American Christians started off to be, but their heart is to keep others from making the same, if not bigger, mistakes than they did, when their ego creeps back up and they believe they know best. The safety net though, is the realization that we all have a different flavor in our worship and ministry, but the salt is the most important spice in our seasoning. The spiciness among the body may cause friction, but when the Chef blends us just right, we can take on alien armies.

Black Panther represents the Christian who is trying to find his own faith. It’s not that he doubts his faith, but life forced him to make it personal, make it real, which required him to break familial curses, finding his own strength. Those of us like this avenger, the Black Panther Christians, are just trying to make our mark in this world and fully understand the mantle the Lord has given us, which forces us to get out of the bubble we grew up in and allow God to do new things, greater still is that the Lord will place people around us to encourage us and hold us accountable to do better and be better.

Scarlett Witch represents one of those persons who have been blessed with heavy gifts, like seeing in the Spirit, but used it in darkness with out the apart from the Spirit. Because her gifts were so unique and so powerful, it caused others to fear her, misunderstand her, and shun her because of them, something that happens too often in the church. But, when this type of Christian gives her gifts over to the Lord, she not only finds her own freedom, demons tremble and the heaviest chains are broken. Most important, it is imperative that she surrounds herself with people who will encourage her and cover her with prayer, and angel armies will protect her.

The Hulk went from one extreme to the other. Originally he was ashamed and timid of the power and gift and did not embrace that which was within him. As we see his character develop, he was in a place where his gift was taken advantage of and his pride got the best of him and he actually lost who he was. He never lost his gifting, but he lost sight of what mattered and what his purpose was. Therefore, when an Enemy came that was bigger and stronger, he wasn’t prepared and he got scared. However, he is on the journey of rediscovering himself and we will wait and see what the Lord does.

Spiderman Christians are the newbies who have no idea about the Christian walk, but have the heart and desire to make a difference and be apart of God’s avenger team, making plenty of mistakes. What keeps this Christian from spiraling is a mentor, someone to come alongside him as Iron Man did, helping him grow and mature in Christ.

Gamora is the Christian who is just trying to escape her past, but around every corner is a reminder of her bondage. She has tried to reconcile, but her bitterness limited her ability to love, though she desired relationship, but we do see her growth and her strength. However, it’s her anger and inability to forgive that is her downfall, but thankfully, in Christ there is always restoration; He can reach down deep in the bottom of the pit through the thickest muck and darkness and lift us out.

Star-Lord is the guy who came to church because of a girl and found redemption. He experienced terrible loss and has yet to really deal with what happened in his past, so that when a similar situation occurs in his present, he loses focus, creating a heavier burden for those fighting with him. This Christian wants to be better, he just has to be more intentional and deliberate and not get in his own way, especially with his mouth.

Black Widow found her way. In my first avengers blog, she was the one working for her salvation. At this point, this lady avenger found her groove and though she still had some difficult decisions to make in her redemption journey, her heart was softened and she was able to love and receive love for the first time. She stopped working for salvation and accepted the gift, as one accepts God’s gift, and continued her work because she finally received and became confident in her salvation.

Dr. Strange is like the church usher who takes his job way too seriously. Granted, ushers are important and often times determine if a person returns to the church or not, but like Captain America, when these Christians recognize that people matter more than ministry, that love is more important than their gift, they are able to draw so many more people to the foot of the cross.

The White Wolf is the Christian that just needs some extra grace. He had a rough past that some church people won’t accept, but we must embrace him and remind him of God’s love. He wants to be please God and tries with all he’s got, but if we are deliberate enough to reach out and love him no matter what, this Christian will become a mighty force in the Kingdom, if we don’t we will lose him forever.

These individuals all have their unique strengths and unbecoming tendencies, however, we don’t have to be super rich or super smart to be a super hero, nor do we need some scientific enhancement, intentional or otherwise. We are superheroes when we allow God to use the little we are to do super things out of the regular things. We are of another world, like Gamora, and require training and discipline like Dr. Strange. and if we allow the Holy Spirit to transform us daily, our power and impact on the world around us will be far above what we could dream.

We are in fact avengers for those who have gone before us, avenging the world that was once perfect, but tainted by sin, ruled by Satan, and it’s the Holy Spirit presence that keeps the Enemy at bay, but there is still so much work to do; in one way or another we fight every single day. Just keep being you for a purpose, the superhero you already are.

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A Screwtape Perspective

So, if you are unaware, we are living in the final days. Now to give you a time frame or a IMAG1165-1-1date, by no means will I attempt to do so, but I will just say, open your eyes. Jesus laid it out flat when the disciples asked him for the sign of his return in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. For some time I wondered why such bad things foreshadowed his return, but if you haven’t read either of those passages, here are a few things: wars and rumors of wars, nations against nations, weird weather in random places, lack of love, children going against their parents to the extreme, brothers fighting each other, Christian persecution, pestilence, fearful events, and increase in natural disasters or events (famines and earthquakes).

Now if you just watch the news or read through Facebook, you can see the truth of each of these happenings, whether a random shooting, children killing their parents, parents killing their kids, monsoons, earthquakes, diseases and sicknesses, or wars and tension between nations (ie Russian, Ukraine, US, Iraq, Egypt, Liberia, Libya, etc). It’s heartbreaking to be honest and it again just makes me wonder why things are getting so ridiculous. I understand God is sovereign, but it’s like seriously. Then I think well, many of our problems are a result of our desire to not want anything to do with Him or His Word, just in the US alone, not to mention the persecution of Christians around the world.

Besides all that, I have been reading C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters.” So far the book has blown my mind to get a further glimpse into the mind of Satan and the tactics of him and his counterparts. Nonetheless, in one of the letters, Uncle was speaking on how the idea that war or pestilence are a shoe in for attacking the faith alone is an exaggeration and can actually hinder the Enemy’s desire for people to undermine their faith and keep people from turning to God. The reasoning is that in the midst of things like war and pestilence, people tend to call out and seek redemption from a higher power, the Enemy of the Enemy.

To bring it all together, through all the terrible things that are happening in the world we live in, God is getting our attention so that we can get right with Him before it is too late. If Jesus would come back when the world was all honky dory, there would be no incentive to get right, and more people would be lost. With all that is going on, people are seeking help and an answer for what is happening. I am hear to say Jesus is that answer an he is on his way back, and with everything occurring, he is providing more and more opportunities for people to come to a saving knowledge of His love, mercy, grace, power, and redemption and salvation. Uncle Screwtape (a high ranking demon in the book) even said so Himself, it’s through the suffering that people turn to God, and the Devil and his demons don’t like that; misery loves company and they will do all in their power to bring as many people to Hell with them.

Open your eyes. Your God-given purpose, your destiny, your calling is so pertinent to giving and or providing an answer to the struggles of so many others. By choosing to be all that God made you to be, being you for a purpose, you will help usher in the coming of the Lord Jesus, in a way that only you can, providing hope to those that need to hear and know that a better day is coming.

No Days Off

Everything in life has a person from the sycamore tree to the bumble bee. As the point this site attempts to get across, you have a purpose just as do I, but there may be something that you never given attention to or rather put the pieces together of what has or is happening in your life and the world around you. The Devil himself has a purpose, that purpose, found in John 10:10, which states that he is here for the purpose to steal, kill, and destroy.

From the moment he fell from heaven, he understood who he was and what he was to do, and may I say, he has lived up to his purpose. From the first sin, Satan has done everything is his power to ruin and mess up what God had established and created in so many ways. whether it be how we treat each other (racism, genocide, abuse, selfishness, greed, hatred, violence, slander, gossip, pedophilia, gender bias, tyranny, etc), how we treat ourselves (suicide, drug abuse, STDs, alcohol abuse, depression, cutting, anorexia, bulimia, homosexuality, etc), how we view God and who or what He is (philosophy, religions, cults, atheism, the occult, astrology, evolution, new age beliefs, existentialism, humanism), or how we treat his creation (animal abuse, pollution, construction, abandoned projects, littering, etc).

The ironic part about it is that each of these things listed are a lie; someone somewhere somehow was deceived and believed the lie of Satan to act on it and further fulfill the purpose of Satan. As the father of lies (8:44), the Enemy knew his purpose and what it was going to take to get there, some lies were just straight up wrong and evil like God is non-existent or that women are inferior to men or pedophiles deserves the same treatment as married heterosexuals or a person is not a person at conception. On the other hand, there are less obvious deceptions like we can treat animals any type way because they are animals, or God isn’t a loving or forgiving, but an absent non-caring God, or a person has no worth or value or identity – thus harm themselves – or if you fall out of love or things get bad that gives the right or to divorce and go from one spouse to the next.

Bottom line, Satan has one trick deception, and he is very good at it and uses his “gift” to carry out his purpose and because he has used it since the beginning of time and it works; he knows the power of fully using his gift he achieves his purpose every single day feeding and creating lies, persuading people to believe them and act on them, and continuously destroying what God created as perfect.

The Devil doesn’t take a day off, why do we? He knows who he is and his purpose and everyday he works toward fulfilling it in our homes, our families, our school, our churches, our community, out government, or our relationship with God through various methods, whether we realize or recognize his tactics, through music, television, books, movies, media, science, education, false doctrines (the tickle-your-ear messages found in far too many churches today), desire for money, and politics. Many times his lies are so well conceived that most of us are blind to what we are receiving or being fed, which is why it is so crucial to put our own thinking aside and embrace the mind of Christ to be able to discern what is truth and what is a lie, no matter who it is that speaks or promotes it.

The blessed part about John 10:10 is that it doesn’t stop there. Jesus has a purpose too and his is to give us a life more abundantly, and how does he do it? John 14:6 says that he is the truth, so whatever lie the Enemy has told us we find the truth in Christ alone, and when we discover God’s truth, we are set free and have the ability to live the life Jesus is purposed to provide us. Ephesians 6:14 tells us to wear the belt of truth, the belt holds everything together, every peace of armor, in the same way the truth holds our lives and faith together so that we can fight the Devil and ultimately fulfill our own purpose in life that God has predestined us to do,

So I encourage you to open your eyes and ears and discover God’s Word to recognize the lies that we are subject to believe. Satan is busy and every day he fights to take this world to Hell with him, but as Christ-followers we have the truth in God’s Word and we must use it fight the battle that most are unaware of or refuse to acknowledge, the battle between  unseen kingdoms (Ephesians 6:11-12). It’s time to stand up and fight, taking no days off because Satan is getting bolder and bolder, just watch the news or those crazy videos on Youtube about forces that control this world (I’ll leave it as that) or what some people are doing that seems so left field and evil. Now is not the time to be passive or afraid, but bold and strong, and discover and fulfill the purpose God has for you, because in one way or another, whatever you God-given purpose may be, it will help to counter act the lies Satan how been telling. You, whoever you are reading this, are meant for greater things and God wants to use you, yes you, to fight with him against his arch enemy. No matter what you gift may be, no matter if it’s just one thing, let God take that gift and make room for you to do great things (Proverbs 18:16). I mean look at Satan, he had one thing, deception, and look at what his deception has done over thousands of years, some of his lies started back in Eden and people still believe it today. So even if all you can do is write, you write your heart out; if all you can do is debate, let God use that for His glory and open doors; if all you can do is sew, you make clothes fit for royalty; if all you can do is teach little preschoolers you pour into their lives as much as God allows; if you can sing, you better sing like no one else has your gift.

Whatever you have whatever you do, do it on purpose, because you hold the truth that can break chain and set people free from the bondage from Satan’s lies. This world is getting darker and darker, and this world needs the Light of Jesus that is in you. Remember, even if you wait or you are nonchalant about serving God in one way or another, Satan doesn’t take days off, even if and when we do. So everyday, wake up ready to fight and learn the truths of God through His Word. Satan is fulfilling his purpose each and every day one person, one community, one group at a time. Are you??

Matrix

The More I mature, the Christian walk seems more and more like the Matrix. The idea of Matrix is that the world we live in is only a cover up of reality. I think of Morpheus and how he came to Anderson (which happens to be my last name) and gave him the option to join him or go back to life as he knew it. Jesus did the exact same thing with his disciples. He gave them a choice: red pill or blue pill. He gives us a choice follow him or refute him.

As a Christian, we learn the Word and it’s like the scales our removed from our eyes; our perspectives and world views change and the truth is revealed. Just like the movie, there were many people inside of the Matrix, but not that many on the outside. Like Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it,” Matthew 7:13-14. Furthermore, if you’ve seen the movie, you know that the enemy was not perceived by those in the Matrix, only those on the outside. Paul told the church in Ephesus the same thing, the “struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” As Christians, our spirits our more sensitive to the evilness in the world that we were unaware of before coming to Christ.

If you remember the movie, those who were no longer in the matrix, like Neo, they didn’t live glamorously; they actually looked shabby. The Christian life is a life of suffering, and Paul talked about it plenty in the old testament. In the same way, they looked broken, which is how we should be, because God has to break us to build us. However, they did go back to the Matrix from time to time to save the world from the machines and looked the part. As Christians we have to live in this world, even though it is not our home, and help bring people to safety (witnessing).

The best part about it, “bullet time.” Just as Jesus chooses us, Morpheus picked Neo. Although, he could not just fight on his own, he had to train. We have to train – 1 Timothy 4:7 and Hebrews 5:14 – Through reading, studying, listening, praying, and fasting we train ourselves not only to defeat the enemy, but to understand the world around us and not get caught up in the illusion and deceit, even the things that seem right, like Neo. Needless to say, the most popular scene in the movie is when the enemy is shooting and he bends all the way backward and avoids the bullets. We were given armor to defeat and defer the attacks of the enemy (Ephesians 6). As we grow, mature, and solidify our walk and salvation, the enemy becomes weaker; we become stronger through Christ. As we stay faithful we will be able to accomplish more things than we imagine and no obstacle is too great.

Our purpose is not inside the Matrix; it’s not found in this world. Our purpose comes from heaven. Only Christ can open our eyes. So I ask, red pill or blue pill?

Weapons with a Purpose: Fight

Two Edged Sword

So in working with the youth band, I ended up doing a series on the weapons we have to fight the enemy that are sure to work: his blood, your testimony, his word, and your praise. These four have the ability to do serious damage to the schemes of the enemy.

His Blood: Revelation 12:11 tells the story of the fall of Lucifer. He was kicked out of heaven, fell on Earth and has brought destruction ever since. However, in this verse we learn that we overcome him by the blood of the Lamb. First and foremost, we must realize the power of the blood. It saved us and now protects us from the enemy’s schemes. Because of the blood, we are no longer guilty in front of God. This passage calls Satan the accuser; he regularly goes to Heaven and questions the things we do, trying to convince God that we are not His. But then God looks at us, but the blood of our defender makes us not guilty; we are free from the bondage of sin. So live in victory, knowing that you may mess up, but we are God’s children forever and He will never leave us. Nothing can separate us from His love.

Your Testimony: Revelation also mentions another weapon that defeats the enemy – our testimony. I often come across people that are reluctant to share their testimony, because they are ashamed, or they feel that it is insignificant. However, I am here to tell you that sharing your testimony of how God has delivered you or sustained you or kept you is a mighty way of defeating the enemy. When you walk and talk, and embrace the power of God and what He has done in your life, you break the chains of Satan, not only you, but someone else can be encouraged just by hearing what God has done for you. Don’t be afraid of your testimony.

His Word: Ephesians 6:17 specifically calls His Word the sword in the armor of God. The greatest example of this, is Jesus himself. He conquered Satan when he was tempted in the wilderness (Luke 4). Each time Satan tried to make him fall, Jesus responded “it is written,” and eventually the Devil left. Satan is the father of lies so when he comes for us, even as an angel of light, when we know and understand the Word for ourselves, that is the fail proof way to make the Devil flee.

Your Praise: 2 Chronicles 20:12, 18-20 tells the story of King Jehosophat. The Israelites were facing and army they could not defeat, nor did they have a clue as to what to do. Thus Jehosophat went to God and simply worshipped God and commanded the people to do the same. During their worship, God himself fought for them and they were victorious against their enemies. The same goes for us. Many times there are obstacles and things in our lives that are too big for us to handle. But, the sure way to confuse the enemy is to go to God and worship Him in the midst. Joshua also did so in Jericho; they praised God and the walls came tumbling down. So the encouragement is to use a great weapon that is often times down played or overlooked: praise. Praise and worship is so critical, because it’s a defense mechanism, and it gives us the power to stop the giants and enemy in their tracks.

Know that greater is He who is in you than He that is in the world (1 John 4:4), and if you forget, you still have these four weapons to literally destroy your baddest enemy, Satan and his demons. Be encouraged and fight. Satan knows God has an amazing purpose for you and wants to hinder and destroy it every opportunity he gets. Fight. We have the victory.