Wednesday, December 16, 2015

May the Real Force Be With You

An interesting article from about Star Wars. This follows this post about Christians and Christmas. For a free magazine subscription or to get the books recommended for free click HERE! or call 1-888-886- 8632.
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 “If you only knew the POWER of the dark side,” thundered the feared Darth Vader, trying to convince his son that the dark side of the “force” was better than the light side. The Star Wars saga wasn't just a battle of good against evil—there was a battle for the minds .
In the movies Luke chooses the light side while, Anakin chooses the dark side. As the series depicts, there is good and evil and both are powerful. In our lives, our choices will also make us good or evil.
The choices we make are based on these two basic ways of life. There is the way of give (the light side), and the way of get (the dark side). The way of give shows concern for others, while the way of get only shows concern for the self. Our choices and actions reflect which way of life we embrace.
Power can be good or evil
Power is neither good nor evil by itself. It is how that power is used that makes it good or evil. The “force” was a power that could be used for good or evil. Our minds also have power that can be used for good or evil. If we use power to help others, it leads to good. But if we use power to only help ourselves, it leads to evil.
God lives by the way of give . He chooses to use His power for good, not evil. But some take their God-given powers and use them for evil. The first recorded evil act happened long before mankind was ever created.
A long time ago there was an angel named Lucifer. He was in a very powerful position. But he wasn't happy with just that. He wanted more. He wanted to be God! (See Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28.) It seems he influenced a third of the angels, and they chose to follow him and fight against God Himself!
The end result was his name being changed to Satan, and his being thrown out of the presence of God. Satan chose to use his power for evil instead of good. Satan does not want anyone, not even his Creator, to tell him what to do. The way of Satan is the way of get .
We must choose
Since God is the one who made everything, He alone has the right to decree what is right and wrong. Humans are simply not qualified to make that determination. Right and wrong are outlined in God's Ten Commandments. These commandments show us the give way. That way of life is caring for others, just as you care for yourself.
Jesus Christ described the give way of life; “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:12). The give way is also summarized as, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Romans 13:9). If we let that command guide our thoughts and actions, choices will be a lot easier to make.
God warns us not to trust in our own thinking. He says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Yet God will not force His way on us. He lets us choose. We can choose to follow His instructions and have peace, or we can choose to follow our ideas and have problems.
An evil influence
In the movie, Anakin thought too much about himself and his needs. The evil emperor influenced Anakin to do what “felt right” and to let his feelings control his actions. Anakin chose to listen to the emperor instead of his wise teachers. His desire for more power—the way of get —made him evil. Instead of being a peacemaker, Anakin became a destroyer. Millions of lives were destroyed because he chose to use his power for selfish purposes.
As the emperor tempted Anakin, so Satan tempts us. Satan makes evil look good, and good look evil. When God tells us to do right, Satan tries to influence us to do wrong. Right after God taught Adam and Eve, Satan approached them and said God lied to them.
God also tells us certain things are wrong. Satan tries to convince us that they are right. Drugs, smoking, violence, abuse of alcohol and premarital sex are shown to be fun and have no bad effects. Yet God says there will be bad results.
Time shows that God is right. But Satan doesn't want us to think about the future. Satan wants us to think about the present, about what “feels right” now. He uses peer pressure to influence our choices. Although Satan can influence our choices, only we can make the choices. The choices we make today will affect us and those around us for years into the future. We need to let our actions show that we live by God's way of give and resist Satan's evil influence.
Using the real force in our lives
No doubt, the pressures of Satan are great. It's like he is thundering out to us, “If you only knew the power of the dark side!” So how do we fight the dark side, the way of get ? There is a force that is the most powerful force around. That force is God's Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the very power of God. Through this Spirit, the universe was created from nothing! Through this Spirit, all evil can be stopped. Upon baptism we receive this power from God, and we must learn to rely upon it to help us.
There are many heroes in the Bible who had God's Spirit with them. As a teenager, David relied on God to help him defeat the mighty Goliath. As young men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego chose to risk their lives in obedience to God rather than worship an idol. God delivered them from the deadly furnace. As teenagers, Daniel and his friends chose in their hearts to obey God and not eat the king's unclean foods. God intervened and Daniel and his friends were promoted by the king.
God wants us to not only know what is right, but to do what is right, regardless of the consequences. He wants us to demonstrate our obedience and trust in Him. That's what the heroes of the Bible did. And that's what we can do too.
We cannot expect God's help if we disobey what He says to do. If we choose to cheat, steal or lie, we cannot expect God's help. But if we are strong enough to stand up for and do what is right, and obey God, He promises to help us. When evil is done to us, we must choose not to return evil (Romans 12:17). Our human nature wants to fight back. But God says to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). We must choose to believe God.
In the movie Luke said, “The force is strong in my family.” The real force can be strong in your family too.
Fulfill your destiny
Luke was also continually reminded to fulfill his “destiny.” The destiny of all people, including each of us, is to be part of God's eternal family! That destiny is the very reason God brought all of us into existence! But before we can fulfill that destiny, we have to show God we can control our actions, resist temptations and make right choices.
God wants us to choose and do good, not evil. He will not let us live forever until we show Him that we voluntarily choose to live the way of give . No one can make that choice for us. Only we can. There will be mistakes. Yet when we fall down, God wants us to get up and do better next time.
God knows we need His help, and He will help us if we let Him. Satan is constantly influencing us, and those around us, to do evil. Satan wants us to live the get way, just caring about ourselves. So what if someone else gets hurt! But remember what happened to Satan. He was cast out of God's presence because of his choices.
After years of living with the dark side, Darth Vader finally understood that good was better than evil, and changed. The emperor chose to remain evil, and was destroyed by good. In real life, God's way will ultimately destroy all evil.
Yes, there are two ways of life, God's way of give , and Satan's way of get . Which way will you live? Choose God's way, and may the real force be with you! VT

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