Posts Tagged ‘Captain America’

Verse 8: “Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of time.”

In the movie The Avengers, in the scene where Captain America first faces off against Loki in Stuttgart, Germany, Loki addresses him as “The soldier. The man out of time.” Those who know the origin of Captain America will remember that, although he fought in World War II, due to a freak accident, he was frozen into suspended animation, and thawed out alive in the modern day. I was reminded of that scene when I read today’s verse.

My wife and I have sometimes discussed how, compared to a lot of modern society, we feel out of place due to our old-fashioned upbringing and morals. Sometimes, we have reminisced about how it be interesting to go back in time and see how society was: the society where our morals and standards would fit in more.

Paul is reciting to the Corinthian church about all the eyewitnesses to seeing the risen Savior. He mentions he was last to see Him, as if he was born out of time (the NIV translation says of one being abnormally born). He goes on to mention that he considers himself the least of the apostles because of his history. But, remember, Jesus forgave him. He used Paul to become one of the greatest missionaries to ever walk the earth (literally walk!)

The next time you feel like someone who’s “out of time”, remember God has you at the exact point in history that He wants you. Especially in the strange times in which we are living, remember: we may be the only example of Jesus others need to see…a light in a dark world.

Something to think about.

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John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.””

In the Marvel comic book The Avengers, there was a storyline in Avengers Annual #14 called “The War to End All Skrulls” (the Avengers part of this story was called “Fifth Column”). It had the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, out in space, converging on a plot by a member of the shapeshifting Skrull alien race to use a “doomsday” weapon. A renegade named Zabyk was threatening to use a galactic bomb to take command of the Skrull race in the aftermath of the destruction of its throne world by Galactus. He used the genius of an old compatriot, a scientist named Myrn, to fuel a hyperwave bomb through a dimensional interface on the old Skrull power asteroid to “change the Skrull race forever”. The Avengers had allied themselves with a Skrull contingent under General Zedrao (originally to stop Thanos’s self-proclaimed granddaughter Nebula), and partnered with Zabyk’s old rebel ally, Prince Dezan, to try and stop him. To activate the bomb, Myrn had Zabyk shapeshift his form into insulate-armor, needed due to heavy radiation leakage during the bomb’s powering up. In his moment of seeming triumph, Zabyk slew Myrn and activated the bomb. What the bomb did, though, was not what everyone thought. The dimensional radiation from the bomb stabilized the Skrulls’ deviant DNA throughout the galaxy, thus removing their shapeshifting abilities! As Myrn said, “it would change the Skrull race forever”.

Once the Avengers and the Fantastic Four had broken through the chamber to confront Zabyk, he was pitifully whimpering that he couldn’t get out of the armor! As Reed Richards commented to Zabyk and to Captain America, they had found the dying Myrn when they entered the space station. He confirmed what Reed suspected the device to be. “Ironically,” Reed commented, “Zabyk killed the only person who could have possibly helped him get out of the armor”. No one else could.

In the passage above, Jesus is at the tomb of Lazarus, who had died days earlier. In talking with Lazarus’s sister, Martha, Jesus assured her that Lazarus would rise again. When Martha answered that she knew he would rise in the resurrection on the last day, Jesus said to her directly, “I am the resurrection and the life”. Only through belief in Jesus as Savior and Messiah, would a Christian never die. Our old bodies may pass, but our spirits will be forever with Him! Jesus goes on to demonstrate this by physically calling Lazarus back to life.

Only one Savior can give us that promise of resurrection and life. Not Mohammed, not Buddha, not any other prophet of any other religion in the world. Only Jesus gave Himself on the cross as the perfect offering for our sins, and only Jesus died and rose again to conquer sin and death’s power…forever! On this evening before Easter, think on that thought…and rejoice!

Happy Easter! He is Risen indeed!

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Verse 29: “that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these you will do well. Farewell.”

In the movie Captain America: Civil War, Captain America (Steve Rogers) is wrangling with the decision being forced on his team, the Avengers, about accepting oversight from a governing body. Iron Man (Tony Stark) and several others are for it, but Cap and several others feel it will take away freedom to act if there is a need to. While debating this, Steve’s WWII love interest, Peggy Carter, has passed away (she had aged normally while Cap was in suspended animation). Upon attending her funeral as a pallbearer, the eulogy is given by his apartment neighbor, Sharon Carter, whom Steve discovers was really Peggy’s niece! In the words of her eulogy, including advice from Peggy, Steve decides which side he’ll stand on. Sharon stated the following eulogy (copied from https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Captain_America:_Civil_War#Sharon_Carter/Agent_13)

Sharon: “Margaret Carter was known to most as the founder of SHIELD, but I just know her as Aunt Peggy. She had a photograph in her office: Aunt Peggy standing next to JFK. As a kid that was pretty cool, but it was a lot to live up to, which is why I never told anyone we were related. I asked her once how she managed to master diplomacy and espionage at a time when no one wanted to see a woman succeed at either. And she said, “Compromise where you can. Where you can’t, don’t. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say, ‘No, you move’.”

Compromise and hold firm. The convention was ending with a decision by James and the elders to offer some guidance to the new Gentile converts. The “hold firm” part was the fact that salvation was for both Jew and Gentile; that was not going to change. The “compromise” part was probably a bit of what I would modernly call “discipleship training”. My copy of Holman’s New Testament Commentary on Acts, page 251, summed it up thusly: “We might parallel this to rules in the student handbook at a Christian college.” The Gentiles had formerly worshipped in pagan temples using pagan practices. James and the elders wrote them a letter to outline a few points of things to avoid that would offend Jews, and thus help pave the way for joint worship (they also used the letter to encourage the new converts). Again, quoting from page 251: “Perhaps it would be useful to sum up these four regulations in our modern understanding: no idolatry, no immorality, no murder, and not eating meat offered to idols.”

By sending the letter with Jerusalem representatives Judas and Silas to encourage and to continue teaching, the convention was all but finished with what could have been a very divisive issue. When God is in charge and Christians turn to God for guidance, all the issues, big or small, get taken care of.

Just a little more to come!

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Verses 25-26: “Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”

“I know a guy.”

That’s what Dr. Hank Pym said when wondering how to retrieve his shrinking technology from Darren Cross in the movie Ant-Man. It’s also what the Falcon tells Captain America when they are trying to figure out who can help them with the captured Winter Soldier in the post-credits scene of the same movie (they weren’t sure about contacting Tony Stark, or even if they could contact him, at all).

“I know a guy.”

That’s what the Falcon said; he and Pym were both referring to Scott Lang, the Ant-Man. He was just the perfect person they needed for the situation.

“I know a guy.”

That’s not exactly what Barnabas said, but he was probably thinking along those lines. Having seen the young church at Antioch, Barnabas knew they needed instruction and teaching. And who better than his close friend and brother-in-Christ, Saul? (by the way, don’t let the last sentence of verse 26 slip by you….the first calling of the believers as “Christians”!) Barnabas travelled to Tarsus, got Saul, and they both travelled back to Antioch, thus spending a year teaching the congregation.

That same Jesus that Saul (later Paul) and Barnabas told the Antioch believers more about, is the same Jesus who died on the cross, was buried, and rose again the third day to ascend to Heaven, and is our only way to salvation, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Do I really need to repeat that first statement again? 🙂

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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Verse 13: “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

I remember Captain America 301, the issue after 300 (the supposedly final fight between an artificially-aged Cap versus a dying Red Skull). In it, the Avengers attempted to use the Red Skull’s machine devices that had aged Captain America to try and restore his youth. During the process, the Skull’s daughter, Mother Superior, and her attack force, the Sisters of Sin, invaded the treatment chamber. The Avengers couldn’t enter to help Cap; it could possibly upset the restoration process and doom Cap. The aged Captain has to fight as best he can. At one point, only Mother Superior is left. I remember this “heroic” moment, as Cap forces himself to stand to face her, and she just can’t believe he’s actually standing defiantly before her. A blinding flash illuminates the room, making it impossible to see. The Vision signals that the process is complete; the Avengers burst in to find Cap restored to his youthful age and the Sisters of Sin returned to their pre-adolescent ages (they, too, had been artificially aged into adults by the Red Skull).

This is an oft-used theme in dramatic heroic conflicts in fiction; the hero, against impossible odds, rising again to stand against evil.

However, when we are clothed in all of the pieces of the armor of God, we too can stand against our supernatural enemy, the devil. We can’t face him alone. But when you have Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and go out to fight those battles fully prepared, you too will “be able to withstand in the evil day”.

A side note here: please check out archived entries in this blog for a short study that God led me to share on the armor of God.

Something to think about today.

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Verse 10: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

In the movie The Avengers, Loki is speaking to the mob he has herded into the street in Stuttgart after ordering them to kneel; among other things he arrogantly insults humanity by stating “you were made to be ruled.” One older German man rises and replies back, “not to men like you.” The reference was clear in his reply to another time and another tyrant. Of course, Captain America, who leaps in to save him from Loki’s blast, echoes his reply: “You know, the last time I was in Germany, and I saw a man standing above everybody else, we ended up disagreeing.” (The movie quotes can be found at http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/The_Avengers_(2012_film) .)

In the verse above, Paul reminds the Ephesians that we were “created in Christ Jesus for good works”. Now, this doesn’t mean we do good works on our own, and that gets us into Heaven. As pointed out in a statement in the Holman Concordance on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians (page 113): “It means God does a good work through us as we are faithful and obedient to Him. God is at work. In faith we join Him in that work to the praise of His glory.”

Now that is a feeling of almost like none other…to be used by God to do good! Or to echo what the old Winter Warlock said in Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town (1970 by Rankin-Bass)…(you remember the musical number after Kris Kringle’s gift to him melts his icy heart and changes his outlook from bad to good):

“If I want to change the reflection
I see in the mirror each morn,
You mean that it’s just my election
To vote for a chance to be reborn?

Have you made that election? Ready to be made for good works…in Him?

Something to think about.

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Ephesians 6:16 “in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.”

I have read a good many superhero comic books over the years. I always enjoyed a good story of escapism and mythic proportions, of heroes with powers “far beyond those of mortal men” battling diabolical villains (some who had powers as well). Or they might be ordinary heroes, not with super powers but just as determined to fight for the cause of justice.

Some of these heroes had amazing weapons that they used: Batman, with his never-ending gadgets on his utility belt, Spider-Man with his amazing web-shooters, Green Arrow or Hawkeye, with their quivers of trick arrows, Thor with his powerful hammer, Wonder Woman with her golden lasso of truth and her bulletproof bracelets, Iron Man with his weapon-laden armor, the Black Knight and his ebony blade, and even Green Lantern and his power ring. Even pulp-fiction heroes such as the Phantom, the Shadow, and the Lone Ranger seemed to have some weapons they used in their never-ending battle for truth and justice.

Yet one of these heroes always intrigued me with the singular weapon that he used. I’m talking about Captain America, the star-spangled avenger, and his indestructible shield. Not only was Cap’s weapon a primarily defensive one as opposed to most of the other heroes’ offensive-minded weapons, he also found ways to use it as an offensive weapon as well. Nothing ever got past Cap when he had his shield up; there were many stories of him using it to protect not only himself but others as well. Anyone behind the shield knew it was about the best protection they could have, whether it was against bullets or laser beams.

That’s how it is for the Christian warrior today; our faith in God is our shield in the daily war we’re involved in with the devil. How many times have you seen a fellow Christian go through extremely trying times? Almost without fail, they always seem to answer “my faith in God got me through”. I honestly cannot fathom how non-Christians make it through all the battles we as human beings go through…without God on their side! For those who actually are on the physical battlefields today (our soldiers in our armed forces)…how many times have I heard of those who have accepted Christ as their Savior during those conflicts, knowing that they really needed a shield to get them through such life-and-death situations?

Don’t let your guard down; keep your shield of faith up in the battle today. God still reigns, our Shield and Defender, and He’ll never leave us.

Have a blessed day!

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