Wednesday, May 17, 2017

And now... a Few Messages from Iron Man

Above is a maze I created for tonight's class.  It may look a little complicated, but it's a simple 3D maze where you follow the wiring from start to finish.  And don't make any wrong turns.  Along the way, you're needing to "suit up" with the full armor of God.  We were talking about the full armor this week, using Iron Man as a bit of a starting point for our message.  Although Iron Man's real message - to me, at least - is about a literal change of heart.  I was happy to put in Agent Coulson at the top, Happy Hogan there at the bottom, Pepper Potts, War Machine, Vision, Black Widow, and of course no Iron Man maze is complete without Dummy.

Here's the devotional entry I wrote concerning Iron Man, which is actually a deeper message than I thought originally.

God, create a pure heart in me. Give me a new spirit that is faithful to you.” Psalm 51:10 NIrV

     Tony Stark is a guy with big money and an even bigger ego. It used to be much, much bigger before a tragic accident left him with a different heart – literally. His old heart, damaged and broken, had to be replaced with something altogether new.
It was a tense and scary time, but fortunately, a kind doctor had managed to save his life. Sadly, it was just before sacrificing his own, to save that of Tony Stark’s.
     His life changed. His eyes were opened. His heart was new. As soon as he was able to recover, Stark determined that from this point on, he would use all of his abilities and finances to fight injustice and make a difference for others. He developed and put on an amazing suit of armor, powered by his new heart. He became the Invincible Iron Man.
     Once we’ve become Christians, we too have a change of heart. Our old nature is gone, and people should tell a difference in the way we go about our day. We should look different, starting off each day by putting on the full armor of God, and taking on the battle like Iron Man.
     There should be a stark contrast between our old life and our new one. Jesus makes this possible, because he now lives in our hearts. And that’s where the real power comes from. 

Daddy wrote a few more devotional entries about characters in the Iron Man universe, yes, including Dummy:

“It is the same with faith. If it doesn’t cause us to do something, it’s dead.” James 2:17 NIRV

     Tony Stark is Iron Man, and from the beginning, he has counted on getting a reliable hand from a faithful sidekick. No, we’re not talking about James “Rhodey” Rhodes, otherwise known as the hero War Machine. Instead, we’re talking about Dummy, a robotic device Tony Stark made early in his career. In fact, Dummy has been there to literally lend him a hand long before Tony even considered building his Iron Man armor. This was all easy to do, because Dummy is actually just a robotic arm.
     It’s a playful nickname, of course. And don’t question Tony’s loyalty to his old friend. On one occasion, Dummy fell into the sea – along with the rest of Tony Stark’s seaside mansion when it was attacked. This robotic arm was one of the first things rescued from the depths.
     Even though Dummy likes to spray a fire extinguisher at him a little too much, Tony Stark would rather not live without his sidekick. The reason? Around the lab, it has always been there to lend a hand. Literally.
     This is because Dummy is no dummy. Even though it is just a robotic arm, it has proven useful, doing good works all the time. It may seem minor, but Dummy even has a part in saving the day, time and again.
In our Bibles, a man named James was no dummy. He told us that faith without works is dead. Read what he wrote for yourself, from James 2:14-17 (NIRV).
     “Suppose a person claims to have faith but doesn’t act on their faith. My brothers and sisters, can this kind of faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister has no clothes or food. Suppose one of you says to them, ‘Go. I hope everything turns out fine for you. Keep warm. Eat well.’ And suppose you do nothing about what they really need. Then what good have you done? It is the same with faith. If it doesn’t cause us to do something, it’s dead.”
     Dummy is just a robot arm, and he does not have a mouth. But you are acting like a real dummy if all you do is use your mouth to talk about doing good things. No, faith is actually doing something. In other words, lend a hand! You’re no dummy. 

Why not continue with just a few more?  Remember James Rhodes, otherwise known as War Machine?  I wrote a devotional entry for that character too:

“Wounds from a friend can be trusted. But an enemy kisses you many times.” Proverbs 27:6 NIRV

     James Rhodes has been a friend to Tony Stark for a long time. Tony even made his friend a suit to wear, the Mark II War Machine Armor. It’s a heavily armored battle suit, and when “Rhodey” goes to fight against the bad guys, he calls himself War Machine.
     Bad guys know this won’t end well for them. War Machine’s suit is very similar to the one worn by Iron Man, except that it is covered with a gazillion extra weapons! Sure, his suit may look a different color, but inside, Rhodey and Tony have the same heart to save the humanity. We know this, because the two have fought side by side for years, flying through the air to defeat Ultron, Whiplash, and those many other threats to the world.
     But there are times that they fight against each other as well. This is because as everyone knows, Tony Stark has more than a few bad habits. He’s made some bad decisions, and it took some tough love to set him right. Rhodey is and always will be a true friend, and he’ll speak up when he sees his buddy going down the wrong path.
     That’s what real friends do. It’s tough watching someone you love do the things you know are wrong. But a real friend doesn’t stand by and just watch it all happen. A real friend will try to stop someone from doing those things that can only lead to hurt.
     The Bible tells us that wounds from a friend can be trusted. You see, a real hero is someone that helps others, and if you want to be like that, it’s important to speak up and warn your friends when you feel you need to. Speak with love, but don’t just watch those you love hurt themselves.
     And if you find yourself on the receiving end of a warning, perhaps you shouldn’t try to fight back so much. Instead, be thankful that you have someone care about you that much. Listen with love, because wounds from a friend can be trusted. 

The devotional has 56 entries in it, and if we do this again, Daddy will add another 28 or so.  There are so many rich superhero stories out there.  But I might as well toss out this last one here dedicated to the man himself, Tony Stark:

“I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.” Proverbs 8:12 KJV

     There’s an expression people use when trying to explain how difficult it is to find something or someone. They say, “It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.”
     Could you imagine actually trying to find a needle in a haystack? Picture that in your mind, this big pile of hay. Now picture that within it is a small needle. Your job is to find that needle, and by the looks of things, such a task might take forever.
     Unless you’re Tony Stark. He’s been given a gift of intelligence and inventiveness. Listen as he uses that same old expression, this time with a twist: “This is going to be like finding a needle in the world's biggest haystack... fortunately, I brought a magnet!”
     All of the sudden, it becomes so obvious! If we use a magnet to attract anything metal out of that haystack, only one thing will come out, and that’s the needle!
     The point is this: there are a lot of challenges people are facing in life. This world is filled with haystacks! But you’re pretty sharp. God has given you gifts, talents and abilities to look at these problems. Just as quickly as Tony Stark, you can find an answer really fast, and be just like a superhero in someone’s life.
     There are discoveries yet to be discovered, and inventions yet to be invented. There are people in trouble, just waiting on a hero with the right talents to swoop in and save the day.
     That hero could be you. Seek God in prayer, asking for wisdom. Put Him first in everything. Ask for ways that He can use you. He’ll give you answers that no one ever thought of before! No matter how small a start, you’ll be on your way to standing tall like the greatest heroes the earth has ever known. 

Sometime soon, Madison will see "Iron Man 2" and "Iron Man 3," most likely during this series.  We really get engaged in the themes here.

But today was a day for for Madison to be doing a lot of work at home right now.  School is winding down, and the kids know it.  Tomorrow is yearbook signing day, and there are assemblies and parties and all kinds of things gong on at the school.  And then there are the recitals: the piano recital is tomorrow, something she played some more for practice today.  She's also working on her science project, the sea turtle one.  It has been a group effort, with Daddy showing her how to make graphics and so forth.  But she's been doing a ton of research online, and can spout off facts left and right.  We'll show the finished project here, and yes, it is close to 100% created by Madison herself, and not Mommy and Daddy.  We were tossing around ideas, and guiding her with instructions on how to find and print pictures.  Also, we were setting things up for her to type.  But she is doing most of the work on her own, and it's coming along nicely.  Today she was gluing pictures she cut out to poster board, and also attaching those items that wind up in the sea that can harm sea turtles.  You'll see when it comes out!

No comments:

Post a Comment