Category: good news

Also includes what it means to be a disciple. Materials for a lesson in the His Story Module.

Thor

We are watching a lot of films during this pandemic.

Typically, I will sit down with my two daughters and watch a film most nights. We are going through the Marvel movies on Disney+. Last night we watched the first Thor movie.

Thor is a character from Norse mythology. This particular mythology has been very influential in the writings of C.S. Lewis (Out of the Silent Planet, The Narnia Chronicles, etc.) and J.R.R. Tolkien (Hobbit, Lord of the Rings).

Norse mythology has a God the Father figure (Odin), a son figure (Thor) and a devil figure (Loki).

C.S. Lewis and others like J.R.R. Tolkien often explore in their writings the connections between ancient legends and myths and a universal knowledge of God. They draw upon an understanding that His ways permeates all pagan and ancient societies as well as our current times. Their argument goes that there is something good to be found in all these legends.

Likewise with the Thor film. The major theme of the film is this: Training and redemption of a son of God. We are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:26) and because we are sons, God disciplines us (Heb. 12:5-11). In the movie, Thor is a son and heir of the Kingdom (of Asgard) and his father (Odin) wants to give him the authority and power to rule.

However, Thor disqualifies himself through arrogance, pride and being a hot head and is banished by his father to the wilderness of earth and stripped of his power. During his subsequent trials the father seems to be in a coma and apparently unconscious of his needs. To make matters worse his evil brother, Loki, who represents the devil, seems able to take the throne and run amok. Some of his friends try to help but are powerless. In the end a mechanical monster sent by Loki kills Thor and all seems over.

Through all this Thor is humbled and his character improves. His last act is to lay down his life for his love interest and the world.

But, of course, that is not the end. Thor is brought back to life by the power of the father which is invested in the hammer (which even has a triquetra inscribed on it). By the will of the father, the hammer would only give its power to one who was found worthy of it. Thor initially thinks that by using his own physical strength he could wield it but discovers that the hammer does not yield its power to that kind of persuasion.

If we consider the hammer as a simile for the Cross we can see the message more clearly. The Cross only has power because the One who loved the world enough to lay down His life for it, hung on it. Likewise the hammer in the film does not release its power until the one who wields it is found worthy.

Of course there are problems with the film’s depictions. It is not hard to find faults. But as Marvel movie’s go, this one seems to me to be one of the more profitable for a Christian to think about.

Blessed is the One Psalm 1

Charles Haddon Spurgeon says Psalm 1:

“..may be looked upon … as the text upon which the whole of the Psalms makes up a divine sermon.”

The Treasury of David Vol. 1, Psalms 1-57 by C. H. Spurgeon available at https://archive.spurgeon.org/treasury/ps001.php

Because it is such an important Psalm it is worth learning off by heart. Hopefully this mind map helps with that – start in the centre and follow the numbers around:

Verse 2 lines up very closely with the command given to Joshua about meditation in Joshua 1:8

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success.”

I have written about Christian meditation based on this verse in more length in this post. In that post I bring out the point that the Hebrew word (“Hagah”) translated as “meditate” here and in Psalm 1 is better translated as “deeply connect” or “allow it to well up and out of you” day and night.

There is no way of this happening naturally. None of us are going to think about and express the bible day and night, hour by hour, in our own strength. Maybe some people could do that for a few days but for your life to be the expression of Psalm 1 – a tree planted by rivers of wateralways bearing fruit – and whose leaf never withers – you need a fundamental change to your heart, mind and soul to start with.

Jesus says you shall:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength”

Matt. 22:37, Mark 12:30, (quoting from Deut. 6:5)

This is a promise only He can make true in our beings by His Holy Spirit within us. God says I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you (Ezekiel 36:26).

When you are born again (John 3:3-8) and baptized in the Spirit (Acts 2:1-4, 9:17-18, 10:44-48), you have the power within you to enable you to meditate on – eat, chew, deeply connect with – God’s word day and night. As a disciple of Jesus Christ you can do what your new heart craves to do, be fully in love with Him and hang on every word He says. There is satisfaction for your thirsty and hungry soul in Him – He is the Bread of Life (John 6:35) and the Living Waters that satisfy your eternal thirst for something deeper (John 4:13, 14).

However, there is a “not yet” to the promises of God. We won’t ever know full satisfaction in this life because we don’t get a new body until the next one (1 Cor. 15:42-44). You still have to take up your cross daily and deny yourself even as you eat and drink the body and blood of Jesus.

Paul describes the answer to this predicament in Romans 7:14- 8:4. We know there is another law working in our members that tends to bring us into bondage to sin. But thanks be to God that Jesus delivers us from this body of death. Because we know Him we can hear His voice (John 10) and obey Him unto the saving of our souls and eternal life. There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1). The answer is to walk with Jesus, take his light yoke upon you (Matt. 11:28-30) and learn from Him.

That way you won’t progress down the path of walking alongside, standing and eventually sitting down with sinners.