Posts Tagged ‘satan’

Remember Who the Real Enemy Is–Processing World Vision with the Hunger Games

Spoiler Alert: Catching Fire spoilers

I love how deeply God knows me and I love the creative ways He speaks to me. I love how He knows just exactly how to point out my sin in a loving way. I love that He knows that in the past few weeks I’ve watched Catching Fire about a billion times and I love that He’s connected and involved enough in my life to use Catching Fire to speak to me, advice teach me, overweight convict me, and help me process every heartbreaking detail of the World Vision story.

The Hunger Games trilogy is a dystopian story in which the Capital, the center of power, greed, and corruption, orchestrates a yearly event called the Hunger Games. What they do is go around to the 12 districts of Panem (North America) and randomly select a girl and boy tribute from each district who will be forced to participate in the hunger games, which is a fight-to-the-death battle in which one boy or girl comes out as the winning victor. Basically it’s a way to keep all these people, many of whom live in horrible poverty, hopeless, depressed, and compliant.

In Catching Fire, we see Katniss Everdeen, one of the victors of last year’s hunger games, being forced to participate in the hunger games again. An incredibly important scene is one that takes place right as Katniss is about to be sent back in to the hunger games. Her mentor, Haymitch, gives her a last piece of advice with these words: “Katniss, when you’re in the arena, remember who the real enemy is.” 

Later, at the climax of the game, it seems as though everyone has turned against Katniss–the tributes who were her supposed allies have acted in ways that, to Katniss, make clear that they are her enemies. One of these tributes, Finnick, finds Katniss and Katniss raises her bow and arrow and is ready to shoot him. The movie then cuts to the President, named President Snow, who has orchestrated this game and represents the entire corrupt and evil society. He is watching Katniss getting ready to shoot Finnick and he says, “Let it fly, Miss Everdeen. Let. It. Fly.”

When Finnick finally sees Katniss, who is about to shoot him, he yells out these words: “Remember who the real enemy is.” 

And Katniss stops and doesn’t shoot him. Instead, she takes her arrow and shoots the arena, destroying the literal structure that has trapped them in the games and with that, symbolically destroying the structural systems of corruption and opening the way for revolution. And the look on President Snow’s face is one of utter bewilderment and fear.

Katniss believed, up until the moment Finnick said those words, that her enemies were the tributes that were with her in the arena. But the reality is that those tributes are victims of evil, just as she is. She was able to see this bigger picture and turn and fight against the real enemy.

Here is the scene if you want to watch it:

God reminded me that I am often like Katniss–people around me do things that I perceive as threatening and hurtful and wrong and my automatic reaction is to think that they are my enemies and that my fight is against them.

I believe that when I do this, Satan, my actual Enemy, is standing there watching me, just like President Snow, saying, “Yes. Let it fly.” Satan loves for us to believe that people are our enemies and that our fight is against them, that our fight is against flesh and blood.

Last week I wrote, with a really broken heart, about the entire World Vision situation.

Today I found out that the number of kids who were dropped by their sponsors last week was 10,000.

Ten THOUSAND children lost emotional support and connections with their sponsors, financial support for their families and communities, and the sense of security that they are going to have food and medical care and access to education when they wake up tomorrow, all so a group of people could make a point.

Y’all, I feel the us versus them.

The gays against the Christians.

Us against the Evangelicals.

The Evangelicals against them.

God against gays.

Jesus against conservative Christians.

When I read the news about the ten thousand children, I felt sick to my stomach. I wanted to cry. I wanted to run in to the temple and flip tables and make everyone leave. I wanted to yell to all the non-believers witnessing this horror, “This isn’t who Jesus is! Don’t believe THEM! They’re clearly don’t know Jesus!”

And Satan looks on saying, “That’s right, Amilia. Let. It. Fly.”

The reality is, that Jesus’ enemies were never the Pharisees. In fact, the Pharisees were His precious children, His creation, and He loves them with just as much love as He has for me. Jesus’ enemy is Satan and I need to be reminded daily that the Enemy, the Accuser, the god of this age, the prince of this world, the father of lies, is my enemy, too. In fact, he is my ONLY enemy. The Enemy. And my battle is, and forever will be, against him until his final defeat at the end of this age.

Remembering that Satan is our real Enemy gives us the ability to truly love everyone. It gives me the strength to start dragging myself down the road of dying to myself and loving those who have so hurt me. It gives me the power to stop regarding people from a worldly point of view and see people as new creations in Christ, to see people as God sees them, with eyes that have the ability to call out their authentic identities, their true holy and precious selves. I believe the most terrifying thing for Satan to experience is what happens when we stop fighting against our own brothers and sisters, against God’s precious and dearly loved children, and start fighting him. This is look I want to put on Satan’s face every single day:

I know so many of us are hurt and broken and crying and angry at everything that has happened with World Vision. I mean, let’s be real, this is what I wrote in my previous post about this whole mess:

Evangelicals, you sent the message loud and clear. Your hatred for gay people triumphs over the command of Christ to serve the least of these. You will stop at nothing to continue this culture war over an issue that Jesus did not say one word about. You will not hesitate to tell your gay brothers and sisters in Christ that the idea of working alongside them to bring God’s kingdom to earth is despicable. To you, the very existence of gay people is enough to stop providing for a sweet child of God.

So yeah…it’s how I feel, but I have been convicted by the Lord that while my feelings are valid, my fight is not. You guys, Satan has already been defeated. His defeat was sealed on the Cross. Why are we letting him reign here on earth? My prayer is that we would be able to pick ourselves up, by God’s grace, dust ourselves off, and take up the weapons that have the power to demolish strongholds, the weapons that help us fight against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. We are supposed to hate the things that God hates, things like hatred, injustice, pain, suffering, starvation, disease, and death. We are supposed to long for justice and liberation for those who are oppressed and lonely and who feel unloved. But we are supposed to love people, and that includes the people that we don’t like. This is integral to what it means to follow Christ and it is such a hard and painful road. But it’s how we bring His Kingdom down, it’s how we bring His reign on earth, it’s how we become His hands and feet.

And so I sit here and say over and over again, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

Who Rules the World? Part 2- The Sovereign Lord and a Freewill Creation

who rules the world 2

This is Part 2 in a 5 part series. To see all the posts in the Who Rules the World? series, sovaldi sale CLICK HERE.

In my last post, Who rules the world? Why the answer changes everything- Part 1, I referenced four different Bible passages in which Jesus and Paul say that Satan is the ruler, prince, and god of this world. In that post I talked about how Satan’s defeat is sealed, but until the time when he is finally defeated, he still reigns as the ruler over this world.

So where does God fit in to this equation? How is it that Satan can have authority and power over God’s creation? What does this mean about the sovereignty and power of the Lord? I don’t pretend to have all the answers to these questions, but if we go back to Eden and read about creation in the book of Genesis, we might start to find some answers.

God created Eden, a beautiful paradise, for His greatest creations- Adam and Eve. In Eden, they lived in harmony with all of creation, with each other, and with their Heavenly Father. One of the first commands God gives Adam and Eve is to “subdue the earth” and to “rule over” the animals. I believe that in this moment, God gives Adam and Eve authority over the earth and the rest of creation. From the very beginning, God wanted Adam and Eve to be His link to the earth and God wanted to work through them and with them in a perfect partnership.

God also gives Adam and Eve freewill—He tells them that they should not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but, as we soon figure out, Adam and Eve have the power and ability to go against God’s command and His desire for their lives.

So we know that Adam and Eve have authority over the earth and creation and they have the freewill to do God’s will or to reject Him. In Luke 4:5-8, when Satan says that he has authority over the kingdoms of the earth for it has been given to him, I believe that Adam and Eve were the ones who gave him this authority in the Garden when they chose to listen to and trust him over the Lord.

Dutch Sheets says:

Humans were forever to be God’s link to authority and activity here on earth. God had to become human to regain what Adam gave away. God chose, from the time of Creation, to work on the earth through humans, not independent of them. He always has and always will, even at the cost of becoming one.

God is absolutely sovereign and all-powerful. He is the I am, the beginning and the end, the Creator, complete goodness, complete love. And He could have created this world however He wanted to, but we see that He chose to create a world in which His power and authority were limited.

God’s authority was limited because He shared it with Adam and Eve and entrusted them with ruling of His creation. So complete was the authority that He gave them that they had the power to then give their authority away to another.

God’s control is limited because He chose to allow creation to have freewill. Adam and Eve were able to do something against God’s plan, against His will, against His desire. God’s control is also limited because He desires to have partnership with His children and wants to work through them to bring His glory to the earth.

When we realize that God has limited His own power, right to rule, and authority over the earth, we start to be able to understand how it is that Satan could possibly be the ruler of the world that God created. But how can God limit Himself? I’m not sure, but I think when we look at Jesus we start to understand. The night that Jesus was betrayed, a crowd of people came to Gethsemane to seize and arrest Him.

Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” -Matthew 26:50-53

Jesus limited His power, His right to sovereignty and control, and was led like a lamb to slaughter. And if we believe Jesus when He says, “if you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him,” (John 14:7) it’s not hard to know that Jesus limiting His power, giving up the control He had every right to have, gives us a picture of our Heavenly Father.

The implications of these assertions are widespread.

James writes “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).

John writes, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).

Every good and perfect gift…there is no darkness in Him at all.

We know that everything good we experience on earth stems from the Lord’s goodness- the beauty we witness, the love we feel for each other, moments of pure and inexplicable joy…those are all from God. And it seems that many people think that if we give God glory and credit for all the good things we experience, we also have to give Him the blame for the bad things we encounter. The bad things like pain, disease, mental disorders, loss, hopelessness…those are all part of God’s will and plan as well.

And we would have to give God the credit for these dark things if He was in control of everything that happens on earth. But what if, in fact, when Jesus says that Satan is the ruler of the earth, He is telling us something profound about our world? What if He’s saying that Satan is active and working on this earth, carrying a shroud of darkness, bringing with him disease and chains that hold people in bondage? If there is no darkness in God, who do we look to as the source for the darkness we face? Maybe it’s time for us to look towards our Enemy, instead of our Lord.

To read the next post, Part 3, click HERE.

Who rules the world? Part 1- How the answer changes everything

Eating Disorder Awareness- Recovery

Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist and am not trained in eating disorder treatment or prevention. I struggled with disordered eating/eating disorders for 12 years and I am now in recovery. My purpose behind writing these posts is to start the conversation about eating disorders, information pills which continue to be misunderstood and stigmatized, search  share my experience with those who have eating disorders or know others who do, and to hopefully give some clarity and understanding about these complicated and dangerous diseases. I also want to give hope that recovery is possible!
Trigger warnings: In all of my posts about eating disorders, I try to be very sensitive and avoid triggering language. However, the reality is that I am talking about eating disorder thoughts and behaviors and recognize that these posts could trigger people struggling with EDs. If you think that these posts could be the least bit triggering for you, please do not read them. The last thing I want to do is to set anyone back in their recovery process.

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Who you are and what you struggle with are not the same thing.

This statement it true, but when you are struggling with an eating disorder, it doesn’t feel true.

When I was struggling with my eating disorder, I lost who I was. I couldn’t separate myself from it—we were the same.

The scariest part of recovery for me was not the idea of gaining weight or losing my long-time coping mechanisms…don’t get me wrong, those things were absolutely terrifying. But there was something that was even harder for me to face and that was the reality that I didn’t know who I was without my eating disorder. I was scared of losing my identity.

And the idea that your eating disorder gives you your identity is such a lie from the Enemy—no one but the Lord gives you your identity. And while I knew that with my mind, I didn’t feel it in my heart. Twelve years of hearing the lies of the Enemy had given them such a hold over me.

As I entered into recovery, the eating disorder and I started to separate. Instead of it being a part of me, it stood right behind me, breathing down my neck. But it was a start. As I walked further into recovery the eating disorder was pushed further back behind me. It could still talk to me, but the voice grew quieter as it was pushed further away. Sometimes it was so far behind me that I couldn’t hear its shouts anymore. And sometimes something would happen that pushed it right behind me again.

There’s an argument between psychologists whether or not people can ever be recovered from their eating disorder, or if they will always be “in recovery.” I absolutely one hundred percent believe that full and final recovery is possible not only because I have met people who consider themselves recovered, but most of all because I love a God with whom all impossible things become possible.

In this post I talked about how God promised me that the year 2013 would be the year of my recovery and praise God it was! I saw such amazing freedom in the year 2013 and as it got closer to the New Year, I got more and more excited about full freedom. But the Lord also warned me—He warned me that just because I knew recovery was coming didn’t mean that the Enemy would respect it one bit. And let me tell you, Satan has not respected my recovery.

On the morning of January 1st, 2014, I got up and was so excited! Yeah freedom! I went downstairs, made breakfast, and when I put the first bit of food in my mouth I had the strongest urge to use an old ED behavior. And you know what I did? I said, “Well, that’s not who I am anymore!” finished that bite of food and the rest of my breakfast, and then I praised God for His faithfulness!

I currently consider myself in recovery, not quite to the point of recovered, only because I have to continue to be on high alert for any ED thoughts or behaviors that enter my life. But I know that the status of recovered is in my future. I am confident of it because in the past year God has taught me who I am in Him. Any anytime Satan tries to tell me otherwise, I can look him in the face and say I am a new creation in Christ! He has made me new and I will never forget my identity in Him. The parts of me that fell away along with my eating disorder were not core parts of my identity. I did lose things with the loss of my eating disorder–I lost depression, anxiety, and bitterness. And it turns out, I was just fine letting go of those things.

Eating disorder recovery statistics are discouraging. But Praise the Lord that He is not a respecter of statistics. After 12 years of battling an eating disorder I didn’t think that I would ever recover. And yet I have :) If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, don’t give up on recovery! No matter how long you’ve been battling this disease, you can win.

If you want to learn more about eating disorders, click here to read more posts I’ve written about the issue :)

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who rules the world 1

This is Part 1 in a 5 part series. To see all the posts in the Who Rules the World? series, injection
CLICK HERE.

Several years ago, cure when I was in high school, viagra 100mg
I was home alone and someone rang the doorbell. I looked to see who it was and saw an older woman and a young child (I’m assuming her daughter). I opened the door and, without introducing herself, saying hello, or anything, she help up a pamphlet that had this scary apocalyptic picture on it with the question, “Who rules the world?” written on it. The woman asked me, “How would you answer this question?”

I was, naturally, thrown off guard– remember, she didn’t say hi or anything, she just asked this question right away. So here I am, a straight-A, perfectionist scrambling for an answer. I decided to go with the classic Sunday school technique- if you don’t know the answer to a question, just say, “Jesus” and you’re probably right. So I said, “Umm…God?” And her response was, “You would think so, but no! It’s Satan!” And I thought, “Drat! I knew that!”

This incident has stuck with me, first of all, because it was a truly bizarre experience. But also because it illustrates a really important theological issue that, I believe, most Christians get wrong just as I did in that moment standing in my doorway years ago. When asked the question, “Who rules the world? Who has authority here?” most Christians, in my experience at least, answer “God.” But the interesting thing is that Jesus tells us something very different, and what he says forces us to change the way we think about the world we live in.

 In John 12:31, Jesus says, “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.”

In John 14:30, he says, “the ruler of this world is coming.”

In John 16:11, he says, “the prince of this world now stands condemned.”

In all three verses, Jesus is talking about Satan, the Devil, and calls him the prince and ruler of the world. The word that is translated as “prince” and “ruler” in these verses is the same Greek word “archon,” which means “ruler, commander, chief, leader.”

In the Believer’s Bible Commentary, William MacDonald says about John 12:31:

The world was about to crucify the Lord of life and glory. In doing so, it would condemn itself. Sentence would be passed upon it for its awful rejection of Christ. The ruler of this world is Satan. In a very real sense, Satan was utterly defeated at Calvary. He thought he had succeeded in doing away with the Lord Jesus once for all. Instead, the Savior had provided a way of salvation for men, and at the same time had defeated Satan and all his hosts. The sentence has not yet been carried out on the devil, but his doom has been sealed. He is still going through the world carrying on his evil business, but it is just a matter of time before he will be cast into the lake of fire.

MacDonald draws a good clarification- Satan’s ultimate defeat was sealed by the Cross, yet that doesn’t mean that he stops being the ruler of the world until the time of his ultimate judgment. This is seen when Paul, years after Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, writes in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

Paul says that Satan is the “god of this age.” This is true even after Calvary and will continue to be true until Satan is defeated for all time, as described in the book of Revelation (12:11 and 20:7-10).

At the beginning of Luke 4, Jesus is “led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil” (Luke 4:1-2). And this is what Satan says to him:

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
-Luke 4:5-8

Did you catch that? Satan says that he has authority over all the kingdoms of the world- that authority has been given to him. And does Jesus dispute this claim? No, he does not.

Dutch Sheets writes in his book Intercessory Prayer:

God created Adam and Eve in his own image, in his own likeness, and gave them authority over the earth. They were to represent God on earth, to govern and manage the Earth. So complete and final was their authority over the earth that they, not just God, had the ability to give it away to another.

This is absolutely crucial- the Bible clearly tells us that Satan, the Adversary, the Devil has authority over this world- he is the god of this world, he is the ruler, he is the prince. This truth needs to impact our theology, the way we view this world, and the way we view God, and it reveals three important things:

1.  It challenges the view that God is in control/wills everything that happens on earth.

2.  It teaches us about the need for prayer, especially intercessory prayer.

3.  It tells us about the spiritual warfare that is happening around us and leads us to pick up arms and fight.

In the next three blog posts, I will address and expand upon these three points in the hopes that we will start to have a better understanding of our Lord Jesus Christ so that we can better live out our lives as ambassadors of Christ and bring His kingdom to earth.

So what are your thoughts? How would you answer the question I was asked? Have you ever thought about these Bible passages in this way?

To read the next post, Part 2, click HERE.