“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Who is your enemy? Now maybe you’re saintly enough that your response to that question is some version of, “I don’t have any enemies.” Granting that, who comes closest to that status for you? If you’re at all like a growing segment of our society, the answer just may be the people on the other side of the political aisle. In our hyper-partisan times, political rivals are among the most bitter enemies we have. The latest entry from Marvel Studios offers an important counterpoint to this decidedly unhealthy trend. Let’s talk today about Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
This week, in part four of our series, I Do, we dealt with one of the dirtiest words in our culture. Want to know what it is? Submission. The idea of one person submitting themselves to another is anathema in the mind of the culture. And yet, when guys like Paul and Peter talked about marriage in their New Testament letters, they consistently used the word. That means we need to figure out what kind of a role it is supposed to have. Keep reading and wrestle with me with what this should look like.
My boys enjoy Legos. A lot. In addition to having two of them on Lego Robotics teams at school, I think we are on a good approach for having every Lego set known to man before they graduate from high school. Over the years of accumulating various cool sets, though, some have gotten disassembled after being played with for a while. On occasion, they’ll want to play with a set from the past they know now resides in pieces in the playroom. Fortunately, the Lego website has the instructions and parts list for pretty much every set they’ve ever produced available to download. It’s just a simple matter of printing out the parts list, finding the right pieces, and then pulling up the instructions on some kind of a computer so they can rebuild it. Simple, right?
This week we continue our new series, I Do, by talking about what marriage is for. Knowing what marriage is (which we established a couple of weeks ago) is great, but knowing what God designed it to accomplish gives us a huge boost in terms of making sure we’re doing it right ourselves. Keep reading to learn the purpose of marriage and what you can do to see that realized in your own life.
A Higher Purpose
I have a little quiz for you this morning. I hope you studied. Some of you who were never very good test takers in school are already starting to get a bit nervous, aren’t you? There’s just one question to this test, though, so you can relax just a bit. Are you ready? What is this thing in my hand? No, that’s not a trick question. Yeah, it’s a hammer. Here’s a bonus question for extra credit: What is a hammer? (And no, saying it’s the thing in my hand is not the correct answer.) In answering that bonus question, you might be tempted to say something like, “A hammer is a tool used for driving nails into wood,” but that is not the correct answer. If you were thinking anything along those lines, no bonus points for you. “Wait a minute,” you might be wanting to protest, “That is what a hammer is!” No, that definition tells me what a hammer is for. I asked you simply what a hammer is. Two different things there. Now, had you stopped after the word “tool,” you would have been more correct, although not terribly specific. Had you wanted to be more specific, you could have said something like, “A hammer is a tool, often made of shaped steel, with a round, flat peen which is often set against a divided claw located at the end of a short shaft made of wood, steel, or some composite material and which serves as a handle.” That’s what a hammer is. See the difference? But, because our brains are wired for purpose and meaning, we often define things according to their intended purpose.
“Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Have you ever had in mind exactly what you wanted to happen and then things did not go that way? I suspect so. I suspect so not because I know you, but because that’s common. That’s the root of all disappointment, and in a world broken by sin, disappointment is par for the course. But, when things didn’t go the way you wanted them to go, did they ever turn out better than you imagined? If you are a follower of Jesus, you serve the God who specializes in doing just that.
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
This Friday, we are going to take a look at James’ contribution to the topic of spiritual warfare. He says that we should submit to God and resist the devil. The result will be that the devil will flee from us. Here, we encounter Paul’s even more famous thoughts on spiritual warfare. How does what he says fit with James’ words? Let’s take a look at this together and set a context for what is to come.