Saturday, July 22, 2017

R.E.A.L. Women Devotional: Wonder Woman

This summer, the blockbuster hit at the theaters is the movie "Wonder Woman." I happen to see it twice.  I will say that the first time left me energized. But seeing it a second time with my daughter, got me thinking. 

I don't want to give away the plot, but what I will say about the story line is Diana does not yet know what she has been created to do. Her mother was fearful that if she ever found out that her purpose was to fight, she might lose her.  One of the endearing lines that her mother says to her as she is leaving the safe haven was, "You have been my greatest joy, but today you are my greatest sorrow." As I sat next to my daughter now that she is an adult, I could feel her mother's heart.  Letting your children go as they walk out their purpose is bitter sweet. I'm sure God must have felt this way when He sent His one and only Son to earth to save us.

But as Diana begins to discover her strength and courage, her destiny begins to unfold. Her mother didn't want her to know that she was created as "a weapon" against the god of war. Only she had the power to defeat him.  Her mother never wanted her to be exposed to evil, but as her purpose would have it, she finds herself wanting to stop evil in the world.

The cinematography was spectacular with all the choreography and special effects. But there were key weapons and words used in this movie that seemed to parallel with what the Word of God says. While watching her "get after it" I believe the Holy Spirit impressed on  me the real power we women have in the Holy Spirit. She carried a magic lasso that was truth, a shield and a sword, wrist bands of power, and upon her head a kind of crown that gave her authority. You are probably getting where I'm going with this. She was dressed to some degree in the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17)  She discovered that one has to "believe in" and "love" in order to conquer evil.  1 John 3:23 says "And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us."

As a women of God, we too are like "Wonder Women." We were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)! When you think about it, in the very beginning, the woman (Eve) was the first to stand before the one who is evil and would bring sin and death to the earth God had created (Genesis 3). But, the climax of this story we are living in, is that Jesus conquered sin and death because of God's love for us (John 3:16). First Corinthians 15:53-56 says "For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory.'55 'Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?'56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

We have been called to be warriors not worriers, especially we women.  We have adopted worry as a badge of honor. It is a lie.  The truth is we have been crowned with glory and honor, Psalm 8:5 says "You (God) have made them (us) a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor." We've been given authority in Jesus name. In Luke 10:19 Jesus says "I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you." In order to do this God gave us spiritual armor that we are to put on daily. Ephesians 6:11 says "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes." Lastly, one of our most important weapons is prayer.  Ephesians 6:18 says "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." It is time for us to rise up to the purpose we have been created for. To carry out God's purpose of redemption of mankind.  Matthew 28:19 & 20 Jesus tells us "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. 

Wonder Woman was fearless, bold and always ready to face the enemy. If we put our complete trust and hope in God, we too can be Women of Wonder. Others will "wonder" where our strength comes from. It comes for the power of the Holy Spirit in us as it says in Romans 15:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Jesus already won the battle that gave us the victory, all we have to do is "live it out"! We have been created in God's image (Genesis 1:27) and ultimately be transformed into Christ's likeness (Philippians 3:20-21).  

In closing, going back to what I said about what I felt in my heart seeing this with my daughter, it's my responsibility to train her to be a wonder woman. The only way I can do that is if I am living like one. I want to encourage you today, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then lets unite and work together to prepare for that glorious day when Jesus returns for his Bride. If you are reading this and not yet a follower of Jesus, then you can become one right now.  All you have to do is surrender your life to him, ask for forgiveness and believe on the name of Jesus Christ who saves! We are victorious in Him who saves!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Stars and Stripes Forever

When I was a child, the 4th of July celebration was as memorable as Christmas.  We would spend the day at my grandparents house. While my grandma and great grandma would be preparing the dishes for the barbecue, my grandpa would be building the platforms for the firework show he would put on for us and the neighbors.  My grandma always bought the largest box of fireworks and what a show we'd have.  Living so close to Disneyland, it made for some competition.

My sisters and some of the neighborhood kids would dress up as patriotic forefathers and parade up and down the street singing patriotic songs, like "God Bless America," as the sun was setting.  This was the opening act prior to the firework show.  I can remember so vividly how grateful we all felt living in the land of the free.  We would carry a large flag. We carried that flag with pride because we were proud to be Americans.

Our flag is dressed and carries an attitude of what it stands for. One of the nick names for the flag is "old glory". Adorned with stars and stripes, the story of our country is told. The stars represent the 50 individual states and the red strips for the thirteen colonies and the white representing courage. There are some who believe the color red represents the blood that was shed for the freedom that we have in this great nation today.

The atmosphere in our country today is very anti Christian. It is "politically incorrect" for me to share my faith, except in the context of church functions. To be honest, I'm a little uncomfortable writing this blog because of those who disagree with me. I've realized when one side is outspoken, the other must be quiet. When I visited the Mayflower and heard why those people came to this country, it was for religious freedom. In the last 15 years, the name of Jesus is used more as a curse word than one that will set one free.
Before long, it won't be legal for me to profess Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in public. I can say that I am a Christian now because I live in a free country. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I thought about the "stars and stripes" of my faith. the "stars" in my faith represent couple of things. One when God promised Abraham a large family, He told him he would have as many as the stars in the sky . (Genesis 15:5) These stars are symbolic of the Jewish people who are God's chosen people, which is the line of people Jesus came from. The next symbol of a star is the "Star of David." I was told by our tour guide in Israel that the Israelites needed a symbol to represent them. They were forbidden to carve any images out of wood or stone so instead they chose the symbol of this star. Unsure as to why this kind of star, it is possible that three of the letters in David's name in Hebrew together form this symbol. It could also reflect back to the promise God made to Abraham of his children being like the stars in the heavens.

But another star spoken of in the Bible was the star that lead the wisemen to the King of the Jews. (Matthew 2:2) The star that lead them to Bethlemham also called the "City of David" where Jesus, the Son of God was lying in a feeding trough wrapped in swaddling clothes (burial cloth) in a stable. (Luke 2:7). Last but not least, in the book of Revelation, Jesus is called the " bright morning star" the "offspring of David." (Revelation 22:16)

The stripes on the other hand tell a different story. Isaiah 53:4-5 says it all.
"Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed." (NKJV) The stripes only Jesus could carry for us. The red stripes represent his blood that was shed for our sin and sickness, but the white stripes represent the forgiveness and peace that we can receive when we believe in the sacrifice he made for all of mankind. Because of all those stripes we are healed and free from the bondage of sin in our lives.

Unlike the days that our forefathers formed this great nation, they were "united as one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."  What is bothersome to me is the heart of where Americans are now. Like the days of Noah and Sodom and Gomorrah so shall it be when the Son of Man comes. (Luke 17:26) The issues we face today have divided us which will surely bring us down. But hopefully to our knees! Jesus said in Matthew 22:25 "
Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand." But don't lose heart, Jesus came that we would have life and life more abundant. (John 10:10). We don't put our hope in man because man is human. Psalm 42:5 & 6 says, "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and 6 my God."  Remember those who put their trust in God, our faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1 NLT) A life in Jesus is for eternity. His stars and stripes are forever!