Sunday, October 16, 2022


“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19.

Hello Friends:

     Did you realize that we as Christians are engaged in a cosmic battle? We'll talk about it in a little bit.
     Welcome to the website. Last time we talked about fruit production, based on Jesus’ discourse in John 15. In that chapter, he likened himself to a vine, and we as Christians are the branches that bear much fruit if we abide in Him. I think the topic of fruitfulness is needed and interesting, but perhaps rather boring.
     I just finished watching the “Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power” TV movie series. I’m not suggesting it as a must-watch series. Some of you might question the fact that I watched it at all. The redeeming quality for me is the struggle of good against evil. I would suggest to you, however, that the intensity and importance of the Lord of the Rings TV movies pales in comparison to reality.
     I think it’s amusing that movie lovers and gamers live vicariously through movies and games such as Lord of the Rings. They watch and follow movie and gaming heroes, and don’t realize there is a bigger drama—or game in play. They resort to a shallow make-believe world, instead of the hard-hitting reality that is facing them squarely in the face, but they don’t realize it.
     Satan has done a very good job of making us not think of the cosmic importance of our lives. We think that life on this earth is all that we have—and we don’t realize that our very lives and the lives of our loved ones are teetering on the brink of disaster.
     I entitled this post “Discipleship Point 6: Engagement In A Cosmic Battle!” It’s not a physical war with guns and weapons, but the implications of this war are not just earthly. The Bible says the implications are cosmic, which is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “relating to the cosmos, the extraterrestrial vastness, or the universe in contrast to the earth alone.” In other words, if something is cosmic, it’s much greater than anything we experience here on earth, or in the case of Lord of the Rings, “middle earth”.
     We as Christians aren’t engaged in just some namby-pamby exercise. We can’t just be nice and sweet, and the world will come to us for answers to the tough questions they face. Jesus and His disciples had an edge to them. They weren’t going to back down when the lives of people were at stake. They realized they were in a war of cosmic proportions.
Paul described it in Ephesians 6:10-18. Here it is:
“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. 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. For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints."
     There you have it! Do you believe that today’s battle for the souls of people is more intense than the one staged on Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings? This is because Lord of the Rings is just fantasy fiction, albeit very intense and dramatic. It was written by J.R.R. Tolkien, a friend of C.S. Lewis, who also wrote the very famous Chronicles of Narnia Christian fantasy fiction.
     It's time to get mad at the enemy of our souls. Galadriel in Lord of the Rings got mad at Lord Sauron, the evil enemy out to destroy the elves, dwarves, Harfoots, and Southlander and Numenorian humans who tried to get in his way. Sauron wanted to establish the dark kingdom of Mordor, inhabited by savage Orcs and other evil followers.
     Satan is, however, much eviler than Lord Sauron. He wants to lull people into a stupor—then destroy them and send them to an eternity in hell.
     In Lord of the Rings, the prevailing thought of many was to not resist the inevitable. Many people today joke about hell, saying, “At least I’ll be in good company.” They don’t have a clue what they’re dealing with—and with whom they’re dealing!
     All seems rosy and good now, but are we aware of the evil forces at work in the world? We are in a world where leaders propose war, destruction, and killing of innocent human lives to get what they want. How would it be if a tank went rolling down your road ready to annihilate you if you resist—and even annihilate you if you don’t resist?
     What about the unease in the Middle East? What about the hatred of Israel, a country about the size of New Jersey? You may say, “Arlen, those things are far away from us.” Well, then let's get closer to home.
     What about the killing of innocent people in our cities, and even in our own towns? I knew a young woman that was killed by a serial killer in Ashland, Ohio where I worked. I was very angry at the man who took the life of this vulnerable woman with mental illness—who was even paranoid on a good day.
     Also, my brother one year older than I got shot and blinded in 2001. It was the same year evil men used planes to kill people in the trade towers and the Pentagon. Their goal was to bring terror to the people of the United States by killing many, many people in one day.
     I know that when my brother was shot I was devastated. Then about two months later I found out that he had become 100% blind. That was almost too much for me to bear. All because one evil man decided to kill and destroy the lives of people that got in his way.
     I also had cancer in 2001. Cancer is another evil destroyer, and thankfully God spared me. My first cousin, however, had the same type of cancer and died.
     Evil forces are all around us, whether we want to believe it—or not. Whether we have experienced it—or not. The reality is that we are all going to experience evil forces at some point in our lives, whether we want to admit it—or not.
     This is not a time for “the power of positive thinking” that many people promote and believe in. We are in a battle of cosmic proportion. Are we going to rise and meet the challenge as Paul encouraged in Ephesians 6? Or, are we going to stand passively by and let Satan continue to kill and destroy us and those around us?
     I want to—and pray that many others of you--choose the Ephesians 6 option to do as Paul said. I want to join forces with you and many others, to engage in a cosmic battle to combat, as Paul said, "the cosmic powers of this darkness."

So, until I see you next time, keep sharing the wonderful love of Jesus,


No comments: