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I remember seeing Mary Poppins when it first hit the big screen. Greasy fingers found the bottom of a red-striped popcorn box with no help from my brain. My gaze never left the dancing chimneysweeps, the laughing man, nor the woman floating through the air clutching an umbrella. Live actors integrated with animated penguins sent my imagination reeling.
This week another movie captured the #1 spot in movie theaters. Star Wars has already achieved box-office-sales history and seized the attention of my two oldest grandsons – twice! If you don’t live with trolls under a bridge you know Star Wars: The Force Awakens is about the perpetual battle between good and evil.
Ephesians 6 reminds us, “Our 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.” Make no mistake; Satan is after us with an arsenal of weapons. He uses those living in darkness to come after any who dare to shine a light. He commissions them to attack villages, school campuses, movie theaters, and churches.
“Winds in the east, there’s a mist comin’ in, like somethin’ is brewin’ and about to begin.”
I am convinced the Holy Spirit is hard at work convicting Christians everywhere of the need to unite forces under the flag of God’s love. Satan has no new weapons – he doesn’t need them. The old ones are working just fine.
“Can’t put me finger on what lies in store, but I feel what’s to happen all happened before.”
When Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand”, he didn’t come up with that profundity on his own; he borrowed it from Jesus. Those 1860 American brothers fighting American brothers were in a lose-lose situation. Satan and his minions had taken aim at this self-proclaimed Christian country, raised a victorious fist, and declared, “Nothing will stand in our way!”
When tensions between black and white Americans soared in the 1960’s, Martin Luther King used the apostle John’s teaching to proclaim, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” But even as those words were uttered, Satan held his fist high once more, and his minions made a hollow vow, “We will finish what you started!”
Today, the Mason-Dixon line has been erased, and despite what the media wants us to believe, racial strides have been made since the 60’s. However, there remains an even more frightening tension that Satan loves to exploit, and that’s pitting Christian against Christian. With conservative Christians to my right and progressive ones to my left, I slump to the ground in frustration with chin in hands, moaning, “Why can’t we all just get along!”
Perhaps, we’ve forgotten who our real enemy is. They are not the enemy, Satan is! With a gleam in his eye, he arrogantly asks each of us, “Who are you?” If he finds us empty, we are tempted to answer, “I am no one”, and we place our worth in either diligently adhering to traditions or believing new rituals will set us free. But when filled with the Spirit, we shout back, “I am a child of the King! I will not be overtaken! God’s grace has set me free!”
2016 seems like a good time to fill up and suit up! It’s time to ask for an enormous amount of Holy Spirit, courage-providing power. This year, let’s lay aside our differences, put on the armor of God, and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all those who trust in the name of Jesus. Trouble is not just brewing; it’s here.
The dark side and The Light. They’re real. And they are at war. Which side are you on? Who will you lead into the Light?
The Holy Spirit Force – it’s calling to you.
Just let it in!
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“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5