The Captain America Legacy

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Captain America, the First Avenger offers valuable truths regarding dreams, determination and spiritual warfare. The hero, Steve Rogers, is a sickly ninety-pound weakling who can’t pass the Army enlistment physical — until his mentor Dr. Erskine injects Steve with a super-soldier serum. Now Steve is realizing his once impossible dream — but his journey is bittersweet: a Nazi saboteur gains access to the secret facility where Steve’s transformation is taking place, and shoots and kills Dr. Erskine!

With the death of Dr. Erskine, the enemy strikes a real blow to the cause of freedom, but interestingly, it’s this tragedy that actually propels Steve Rogers along the road to his destiny — as the first Avenger. On the heels of his tragic loss, and without giving it a second thought, Steve hotly pursues and captures the Nazi spy who shot down his friend and facilitator in cold blood. In the process Steve discoveries his amazing new strength and abilities and uses them for the first time.

The lesson here is that in life, it’s often during difficult times — in the midst of loss and tragedy — that we discover our true strength and abilities in God alone; and have an opportunity to see our spiritual super soldier serum (the Holy Spirit) in action. The Apostle Peter writes, “…Greatly rejoice, even though … you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-7 NASB)

Steve Rogers could have got caught up in the moment. And afterwards, he could have spent months mourning the loss of his mentor; losing his focus and getting stuck in the past. Instead,  Steve kept his eye on the mission, and the reason Dr. Erskine blessed him with super soldier abilities: to defeat the enemy and have total victory over the evil.

We must follow Steve’s example, as well as that of the Apostle Paul, who declared, “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:13-14 NLT)

While pursuing Erskine’s murderer, Steve begins to see how fast he can run, how much endurance he can muster, how much inner strength he can summon. The next day all the newspapers recount his exploits, making Steve an overnight sensation. But he doesn’t let his newfound abilities or instant celebrity status go to his head. In fact, he handles the limelight with grace and humility.

Let us ponder at this point: with each and every personal triumph, will we handle the spotlight of success just as gracefully? We hope so, because “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5 NLT)

And thus is born a legend. Steve Rogers, the 4F ninety-pound weakling from Brooklyn, who refused to lose hope and give up on his seemingly impossible dream, begins a new chapter — as Captain America. In both the original Marvel Comics magazines and the big-budget movies based on them, “Cap” is the symbol of all that is good and right and noble in the free world. He embodies the ideal that any one of us, no matter what our circumstances or social status, and regardless of any disability or disadvantage, can still achieve the great American Dream!

Cap is the personification of courage, determination, integrity, goodness and humility. He reflects the Judeo-Christian values upon which our nation was founded; the values of freedom, equality, family and faith which Cap’s creators, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, held dear. These values may not always be practiced, but we should always aspire to them. We must remember that “Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34 NLT)

Captain America’s optimism, “can do” attitude, patriotism, and sense of duty reflect the strong moral standards that defined what has been called “The Greatest Generation” — the people who endured the Great Depression of the 1930s and stepped up to serve during WWII; the kind of heroes depicted in Cap’s handpicked special strike force the Howling Commandos. (We’ll visit The Greatest Generation in an upcoming article.)

Fighting alongside Captain America, the Howling Commandos storm the strongholds of the enemy, confronting any threat to our freedoms, and ultimately preserving our way of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Cap and the Commandos remind us of the bravery of today’s heroes, our military (both our veterans and active-duty personnel), our law enforcement officers, and our emergency first responders, who continue to make great personal sacrifices on our behalf. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13 NIV)

This is the ideal that prompted Steve Rogers’ repeated attempts to join the U.S. Army, and which motivated him to do his patriotic duty throughout the movie. He expresses this profound philosophy when he tells his friend Bucky, at the New York World’s Fair, “It’s not about me.”

Just as Steve came to this sobering realization, WE need to similarly realize that LIFE itself is not about us!

Fellow creators and dreamers, we have a Higher Calling, to do God’s Will in all things. We acknowledge this calling in The Lord’s Prayer, with the declaration “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

It’s a hard truth, but our main purpose in life is NOT to realize our hopes and dreams. These matters and pursuits certainly are, however, a significant part of God’s plan for us. But think of your big dreams and creative pursuits as just “the icing on the cake” the Lord has cooked up for you. Indeed, He’s prepared a great future for each of us, but the foundation of this future is that we mature spiritually and become more like Yeshua, the Son of God.

First and foremost, our Heavenly Father wants each of us to be “conformed into His image.” (Romans 8:29) He also wants us to bring Glory to His name by reflecting, in our lives, His divine character (love, generosity, service, and sacrifice — the essence of hospitality)  through our gifts, talents, and resources … and through our creativity and dreams.

Like Captain America, who represented the best of the U.S.A., we are to represent the best of … well, the BEST: the Kingdom of God. As the Apostle Paul writes, “…We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us….” (2 Corinthians 5:20 AMP)


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Another Super-Soldier Serum (Spiritual Boot Camp for Creators & Dreamers 21.11)

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Captain America, the First Avenger offers valuable truths regarding dreams, determination and spiritual warfare. The hero, Steve Rogers, is a sickly ninety-pound weakling who can’t pass the Army enlistment physical — until his mentor Dr. Erskine injects Steve with a super-soldier serum. Now Steve is realizing his once impossible dream — but his journey is bittersweet: a Nazi saboteur gains access to the secret facility where Steve’s transformation is taking place, and shoots and kills Dr. Erskine!

We previously stated that Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy. (John 10:10) One of his favorite battle tactics is to use personal tragedy (loss, betrayal, disappointment, injustice, etc.) to discourage us to the point that we lose faith in God and give up on our hopes and dreams. To combat Satan, we encouraged you to run to God and stay anchored in the truth and promises of His Word; to build your “house” (your life and your hopes and dreams) upon the Rock of Ages — the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel! (Matthew 7:25)

Now, let’s pose the hard questions: How do we respond to tragedy? How do we recover from grief, betrayal, or disappointments? How do we stay “good” when things turn out bad? How do we continue to be Godly in a world filled with injustice and … well, evil?

Short answer: We do it supernaturally!

No, we’re not talking X-Files stuff here. But we do worship a supernatural God, who inhabits a supernatural world, and who moves and works in supernatural ways. Which is a good thing, because face it, in the natural — in our own strength — we’re pretty feeble when it comes to weathering the storms of life. Otherwise, tragedy could strike and utterly destroy us! In fact, our world is filled with spiritual and emotional casualties, people who are so broken that they never fully recover; individuals so shattered that not only do they give up on God, and on their hopes and dreams, they also give up on life itself. In many ways, these people are like the walking dead.

Like zombies in real life, these unfortunate souls do little more than exist, going through the motions of their daily routines, with no hope, no joy, no enthusiasm, no sense of purpose — completely missing out on the abundant life Jesus Christ promises in John 10:10. No doubt, they were once like us. Now they exist as human wreckage. But we shouldn’t deal with these emotional zombies in typical television fashion. We’re not out to finish them off. To the contrary, we should reach out to them, and attempt to restore them to the land of the abundant living. This is why it’s critical to engage in the sacred practice of hospitality. (See Boot Camp session 20)

No hope, joy or enthusiasm: this reminds us of an old Vaudeville tune: “We’re just shuffling along … [NOT] singing a song … side by side….”
We certainly don’t want to suffer a similar fate. But then, we don’t have to! In the supernatural we can weather the storms and endure the tragedies of life. How do we tap into the supernatural? Nothing Arcane. We do it by simply relying on God’s strength, and banking on the truth and promises of His Word. As the prophet Zechariah writes, we overcome “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord Almighty—you will succeed because of My Spirit, though you are … weak.’” (Zechariah 4:6 TLB)

Just as Dr. Erskine injected Steve Rogers with a super-soldier serum, God imbues us with a special spiritual power that can transform us into super men and women. The big difference, however, is that what God injects into our lives is not concocted by human hands in a lab. It’s actually ALIEN technology! Like the Tesseract cube so coveted by Captain America’s arch enemy, the Red Skull — and later, by the villainous Loki, in the movie Marvel’s The Avengers, this supernatural power supply is literally out of this world!

The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is our super-soldier serum. He is the ONE who comes to dwell within us, at the exact moment we ask Christ to forgive us for our sins, to redeem us, and to come into hearts. After Jesus takes up residence, the door to our souls is “sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise” (Ephesians 1:13) — sort of like hanging up a sign that states “Satan Keep Out!”

After His death and resurrection, Jesus said, “…You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NLT)

The word power means the ability to do something or act (respond) in a particular way; the capacity to direct or influence the behavior of others, or to effect change. Power is the force, energy, strength, influence, momentum … to build, to create, to accomplish, to achieve — or to withstand any enemy attack!

The Greek word for power is dunamus, which roughly translates “Miraculous might.” From this word we get the name for dynamite, one of the most powerful explosives used in WWII to destroy bridges, blowup damns, and thereby thwart the advance of the enemy. By the way, are you beginning to see all the parallels to spiritual warfare?

Jesus said, “Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you.” (Luke 10:19 AMPC)

The word authority means the power or right to command or rule, to act or to influence. Another, related definition speaks of responsibility, respectability, and weight of character. Authority and power are often used synonymously.

Fellow creators and dreamers empowered by God’s Holy Spirit (our super-soldier serum), our Heavenly Father has given us power and authority over the dark forces of the enemy. We have what it takes to defeat the schemes of Satan and win the spiritual war for the freedom of our souls. Hence, we can confidently declare: “We have overcome them … because He who is in [us] is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 NKJV)

When we respond supernaturally to the trials of life, those trials can actually make us stronger, not weaker. We come through the battlefield of disappointments, betrayals, loss and heartache BETTER, NOT BITTER. In the end, like Colonel Chester Phillips, the battle-hardened, tough old soldier in Captain America, the First Avenger, we’ll eventually be able to overcome anything life throws at us.

We’ll be victorious in any situation, because after all, we are “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17 NKJV) … seated in Heavenly places with the Father. (Ephesians 1:20)

We’ll be above our circumstances, not below them, because: “The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me… My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell.” (Psalm 27:1-2 NKJV)


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