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What I Learned From Captain Marvel

So I posted something on Facebook but it turned out to be a spoiler 😂 I took it down and decided to write it (and more) here instead. Consider this your warning!

I didn’t know about the bad rap Captain Marvel or Brie Larson was getting so it did not influence me at all as I watched the movie. I know nothing about the comic book stories, and no one spoiled the movie for me 😬. I enjoyed it! The story, the characters, the action, the heart, and the MUSIC! I don’t normally watch movies more than once in the theater, but I would totally see this one again because of the music. High five to all who love 90s music (save for most boy bands 😬) like I do!

Awwww and the opening…the tribute… THANK YOU STAN! I’m so glad to learn that he was able to finish his scene for this one. I thought they just CGIed him into it. Even our girls, also pseudo daughters who watched with us, were almost teary remembering Stan Lee. It’s bittersweet to see his cameos in the Marvel movies.

So what did I learn from Captain Marvel? Quite a few actually.

THE POWER OF MANIPULATION.

Self-serving motive under the guise of friendship and mentorship.

Yon-Rogg (Jude Law’s character apparently 😂 thank you Google 😂) was fully aware of his goals, his intentions, and his actions. To Vers aka Carol Danvers/Capt Marvel, he was a trusted friend and mentor. Because of the trust and friendship that was built, she not only believed in their cause, she fought alongside them. She was aware of (some of) her power, her gift, but she was not aware that she was being used as a pawn in an unjust war.

Imagine the power Yon-Rogg held over Vers. He had her in the palm of his hands, and she had no clue. He appeared so good and trust worthy. He seemed to genuinely care about her. I mean didn’t you love him at first? I did. And Vers was all in, believing she was one of the good guys. For 6 years. Amazing how deception could last that long. How sad that the person she looked up to was not who she thought he was. Proximity and love can create blind spots.

But I believe that truth is more powerful than lies.

THE POWER OF TRUTH.

The truth always has a way of coming out. In this case, the key was Carol giving Talos the benefit of the doubt and giving ear to his story. She gave him a chance, and she listened!

The truth freed her from the lies that she once completely believed. The truth gave her the freedom to choose for herself — not dictated to her or because she was manipulated — to make her own decision about whose cause she would fight for. To choose to use her powers for what was right and for what was truly good.

The truth freed her from the power of Yon Rogg. Oh how I loved when she blasted him and told him that she had nothing to prove to him! Yessss! It’s like when we overcome our past, our old patterns, our sin. The lies of the enemy are given no more power in our lives because of the Truth!!! The truth of who Jesus is and what He did for us to be forgiven and to be new. We break free and we break through!

And she discovered that she had been fighting with one hand tied behind her back, because they constantly told her to control her powers and told her that her powers could be taken away from her. I would generally agree with that because it takes great character to use great power responsibly, IF they were training her to use her powers wisely. But their intention was to keep her at bay, keep her controlled, so they could continually manipulate her to do what they wanted her to do. What greater powers were unleashed when she refused to be controlled by that chip and by the Supreme Intelligence’s words!

What greater power we have when we refuse to believe the lies of the enemy. What greater power we have, to do all things, because of Christ in us!

THE POWER OF IDENTITY.

But even when Carol already knew about the lies fed to her, she was still lost. She still did not understand what she was supposed to do, until her best friend Maria reminded her of who she is. It was then that she regained her confidence and made the decision to continue Lawson/Mar-vell’s fight to end the war.

All the great stories have this element. Losing one’s identity, consumed by whatever in the world consumes them (hate, love, greed, career, relationship, fame, drugs, ambition, and so many more), and then remembering, going back to who they are, regaining their identity. This one’s no different.

We are no different. Once lost, now found. Once blind, but now able to see. Loved, valued, saved, forgiven, redeemed, accepted, secure. Identity anchored in Jesus alone.

How powerful it is to know exactly who you are in Christ and be 💯 committed to Him and His purpose for your life!

Sometimes what we know and believe are actually not the truth. Sometimes who we think and believe we are, or who others think or say we are, is not true. Sometimes, we get lost. May we be open, and learn to be sensitive, to the leading of the Holy Spirit, who guides us into all truth. May we find our way back to Jesus.

Discipleship, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, Parenting

3 Life Lessons from Cars 3

Even though I was standing for probably half the movie, because of course, Gianna and her desire to move struck again, I liked Cars 3. It spoke to me.

1. “Truth is always quicker, kid.”

I completely agree. We get to the heart of the issue if we just tell the truth. No mincing of words, no beating around the bush, no sugar-coating or trying to cushion the blow. Always with love, but clear and straight to the point. It will lead to better understanding.

Also, the quicker we hear the truth, the quicker we accept the truth, the quicker we deal with the truth, the quicker we heal, make changes, and move forward. Lightning didn’t like hearing that he was old, but the sooner he accepted it, the better he was able to train for the race. Denial, because of pride, just delays the inevitable. It’s counterproductive. It does not solve the issue. It may even make things worse. We should seek the truth with humility. Be open to correction and advice.

2. “My last chance to give you your first chance.”

Lightning McQueen prepared the way, showed the way, and though that wasn’t his plan, he got out of the way. In his pursuit to become faster and better, he taught his trainor, Cruz, to race. And in his last chance to win and continue his career in racing, he gave her the opportunity to shine. Even if it meant she would outshine him. Her youth, her speed, and her passion were an advantage. He even continued to coach her during the race. This ought to be our attitude in discipleship and parenting, but deliberately and with a goal. We lead, we teach, we let them grow, we tap their potential, and we let them soar. We take a chance on them, support them, root for them, believe in them. We celebrate when the “rookies” (our children, both biological and spiritual), turn out ten times better than us. We continue to be there to guide and mentor.

And like Lightning, we don’t quit. We don’t quit life. We don’t quit church. We don’t stop discipling others when our mentees outgrow and outshine us. We don’t stop because we’re getting old. We keep running the race with them. We make disciples together. Better and stronger, together.

3. “You got into his head.” “You’re a racer. Use that.”

Storm was a fast racer, but he played dirty. He fought dirty. Not with how he raced, but with his words. He would act all supportive and pleasant, but he was really speaking death to Lightning, implying retirement, the end of his career, the decline of his talent or skill. He used the same tactic on Cruz, when she was catching up to him during the race. He told her the lie that she did not belong there, that she did not have it in her to be a racer, that she was just a trainer/motivator. All while smiling and appearing to encourage her. Cruz almost believed him. But Lightning told her that the only reason Storm was trying to get into her head was because she had already gotten into his. He was afraid she would beat him. Satan is exactly like that. He is the expert at planting seeds of doubt, fear, hopelessness in our hearts. He does that because he is afraid of us. He is afraid of our potential to ruin his plans. He is afraid of our calling, which is to advance God’s kingdom. He is afraid of our design, which is to bring glory to God.

If Satan fights with lies, we fight with the truth. We must always remember and be secure of who we are in Christ. The power of Satan lies on our belief in his lies. When we are armed with the truth of who our God is, of who we are and whose we are, we can overcome. Cruz overcame when she believed in who she was. She was a racer. No amount of lying or berating Storm did, changed that. She did not let him go on “winning.” She did not cower in defeat. She did not give in to discouragement. She fought back and came out victorious.

 

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Eph 4:15

And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:2

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:14-15

 

Just My Thoughts

Out of sight, out of mind?

When she’s in the mood to stay put and when she likes her food, Gianna pretty much feeds herself. Obviously, there are spills and messes here and there. When that happens, she calls me to clean it up, or she asks for tissue so she could wipe it. If it’s on the chair (she doesn’t sit on a high chair anymore), she usually waits for me to finish picking up the mess before she sits back down. I noticed that she doesn’t like to SEE the mess in her area. Sometimes she moves her plate or bowl over the spilled rice or what have you, to cover it up.

This happened again recently when some of her milk spilled onto the counter. She called me, but before I wiped it, she was already putting her cup over the spill. I told her that I needed to clean it, because even though she covers it, it’s still messy under there.

Doesn’t that sound so familiar? Out of sight, out of mind? We don’t want to be reminded of our mistakes, our problems, our flaws. And we try so hard to cover it up. We bury ourselves in work, keep ourselves busy. We party to forget. We go on trips to escape. We avoid people who we know are not afraid to ask us how we are. We project a happy front on our social media accounts. Sometimes, we even hide behind ministry or volunteer work. But no matter how hard we try, our issues don’t magically disappear. They’re still there.

I cleaned the countertop and the bottom of Gianna’s cup. Just as she needed me to help her, we need Jesus to help us with our messes. We could go on hiding and covering up our issues, just let it fester deep in our hearts, but is that how we really want to live? We compound our problem, make it harder to get to a solution, and perpetuate more covering up. Not only that, we miss out. We miss out on the beauty of Jesus. He starts with that which no one sees — our heart. He cleans from the inside out. He HEALS from the inside out. With Jesus, we encounter the truth. The truth that we are sinners and that we need Him as our LORD and Savior. That apart from Him, we can do nothing. We learn to surrender to Him. We learn humility. We learn repentance. We seek and receive forgiveness. We experience freedom. We learn obedience and faith. With Jesus we get a new, clean heart. We get a fresh start. We live a FULL life.

Now to be clear, we will still make mistakes. Gianna is a toddler. She will still have accidents. WE are human. We’re still flawed. We still sin. We will have problems. And that is precisely why we need Jesus, not just in the beginning, but every single day of our lives. With Jesus, there’s no more need for hiding or covering up. We just run back to Him each time. TRUTH, REPENTANCE, FAITH. Repeat. With Jesus, we grow with ever-increasing glory. With Jesus, we can face our problems with confidence because we are secure in His love and our hope is in Him.

 

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:7-9

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:28-31

 

Parenting

God’s Word to a Child

Attending the 8am service today and hearing Ptr Jun’s preaching about the authority of God’s word in our lives reinforced my plan to share about what our daughter Danae has been learning these days. As much as possible, King and I read the Bible to our girls (though Noelle doesn’t really sit and listen yet and Danae gets distracted a lot still) before bedtime. We believe that we are sowing God’s word into the hearts and minds of our daughters whether they understand it already or not, whether they listen attentively or not, whether they stay awake for the whole thing, including processing and prayer, or not.

But teaching them about God does not begin or end at Bible time. Every situation is a teaching opportunity. An ordinary moment like a ride in the car can turn into a teaching moment when we teach our kids to be thankful for what we have as they see other kids selling sampaguita or begging for money in the street, when we teach them to pray even for a mere parking space, or when we teach them about helping others as we bring friends to the bus/fx station or straight to their homes. A hilarious instance like when Danae did not listen to me during Family Camp, kept walking on mud and fell like I said she would, became a teaching moment on listening and obeying right away. There are countless opportunities to teach our children.

When Danae says that she does not love someone, either a friend or family member because they’re not being nice to her, we always remind her that the Bible says that Jesus wants us to love others (John 13:34). When we hear her complain because she wants something that a friend has even though she already has one that’s a different version, we remind her of what she learned in Kids Church — “Do not compare. Be happy. (Exodus 20:17)” When we discipline her and she says that she will obey, we remind her to let her “yes” be “yes” and let her “no” be “no” (Matt 5:37). Let’s just hope and pray that she never says “no” to obeying haha.

We’ve taught her the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), but for some reason, only the first 5 has stuck with her. Before, every time she would see a statue or a bust, she’d point it out, say that it’s an idol, and remind us that God said to not make idols. She says “Oh my gosh” a lot but months ago, she heard someone say “Oh my god” and started copying it, jokingly even, knowing that we disapproved. Now she knows not to take God’s name in vain (or disrespect His name). We also have the R word, which is respect. All we need to say is “remember the R word?” and she immediately quotes the 5th commandment, “Respect your parents.” Though of course sometimes, it takes her getting the rod before she actually does it.

I find that it’s easier to go to the Bible to explain to Danae why something she is doing is wrong, because she accepts it as the truth. It actually matters to her what God says, and she actually wants to obey God and make Him happy. In other words, God’s word already has authority in my little girl’s life! I’m so amazed because I was nowhere near her maturity when I was her age. Of course she’s only 4 & 1/2 and acts like it a lot, but we can see that the Word of God is already at work in her life. Wow. 🙂