Avengers Infinity War Christian Movie Review

Avengers Infinity War opened this weekend. My wife and I went to see it on Friday, my friends and I went to see it Saturday on IMAX 3D… and my wife and I plan to see it again next weekend. That being said, how much do you think I enjoyed this film??? So far I have roughly $70 invested and another $50 or so on the way from my bank account to Disneys.

In Case I have been unclear, I give Avengers Infinity War a big…

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That being said other Christian reviews are not as positive. The Popular Christian website Plugged In, gave the movie 2.5 Plugs.
plugged in Avengers

Most movie review critics spend half their time telling you what the movie is about, but I am not going to do that here. If you are reading this, you have probably already seen the movie or are considering it and just want to see what a Christian has to say on the matter. So I want to get right into it. From this point forward I will be talking in detail about the film…

SPOILERS AHEAD…. STOP READING IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS FILM YET.

I want to start by saying I have come to a place in my Christian walk where I have given up many of the popular shows and movies I once used to enjoy, because God has placed it on my heart to do so. Some examples would be Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, Horror Films in General and several popular video games like Call of Duty. My reasons for giving these up, is that they don’t Glorify God in any way and in many cases do the opposite. Many of these titles even open doorways into your life for the enemy to infiltrate. Marvel I have not given up, with the exception of Deadpool… sorry Ryan.

Now I have been watching Marvel films from the beginning and have collected comic books for most of my life. While I understand there is little reference to God (the one true God we worship as Christians) in the Marvel universe, I also understand it is a completely fictitious universe where Good generally or nearly always triumphs over evil.

There is a message throughout all of the films… of a few willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the many. These are people who are generally vastly outnumbered and overpowered facing certain doom, and yet never willing to give up the good fight.

So let’s talk about Avengers Infinity War

From  a purely Christian perspective I see no reason to recommend people avoid this film. There is one mention of Jesus by the character Star Lord and it was mean’t as a laugh line. There are several references to others as “gods” such as Thor the “man-god” and Thanos who is worshipped by his followers as a god, and let’s face it… once you get all the infinity gems, you are about as close to god as you’re going to get.

There is little if any foul language, there is no nudity or overt sexuality. The violence is over the top, but for the most part done in a very minimally graphic way… very little blood.

If you have ever read a comic book, you understand that heroes have to fight, pretty much every day of their lives against all the evildoers in the world… who are always plotting. This kinda reminds me of our Christian walk… we are always preparing for battle (or at least we should be)… against an ever-present enemy.

I would have no problem recommending Christian families go see this movie… it was a lot of fun, but you must remember it is part one of TWO. The ending still hasn’t been told and if you have little children in the theater, what happens in the last 10 minutes will sadden their little hearts… especially if they are Marvel fans and have a favorite Hero on the screen.  When the credits roll you will have to explain, it is NOT OVER! The Good Guys will still have time to defeat the bad guys.

Now from a Fanboy perspective. WHERE THE HECK IS THE SILVER SURFER!!!!????

They already replaced him when the Hulk came crashing down in Stephen Strange’s Sanctum… so it is not looking good! What is he, locked up in some sort of Copyright jail with the Fantastic Four?

And I am not happy with the Hulk’s stage fright either, especially since in the trailer he is clearly running with the gang in Africa. Nothing like trailer scenes that never make the final cut (this happens quite frequently).

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Screen capture from the trailer, look who it is! The Hulk!

My only theory on his not coming out to fight, is maybe it’s the first time Hulk ever got his butt handed to him… and maybe Hulk is a little frightened of Thanos??? Hard to imagine, but I am open to other theories.

A few other quick points… I know some people are like… “Dr. Strange! How are you going to give up the Time Gem so easily to save Stark?? You just gave a speech 30 minutes ago where you said you would do the exact opposite of that!” But don’t forget the scene where Strange was able to see the million plus possible endings to come… and he said ONLY one had the Heroes winning. It must be in THAT version that Strange gives over the gem.

Now we can try to cross-reference this with the comics but won’t get very far… the books and the movie universe have diverged too far. Which is good in some ways, you do remember in the books, Thanos was motivated to do all this by Mistress Death because he wanted her to love him. I never liked that aspect of the story, so I am glad they didn’t go that route.

My other small gripe, how come everyone blows away peacefully into dust, except Spidey? Why does he have to be all whiny and crying about it??? Wasn’t that the merciful part of the Thanos finger snap? That people would just cease to exist, with no suffering?

Oh and I would say I missed Hawkeye, but that wouldn’t be true. HAHAHA

Other than that this movie was AWESOME and I cannot wait to see it again, for the third time! What are your thoughts? Comment Below.

Stay Strong & Stand Tall

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How Jesus Christ Saved My Life

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As you may have discovered if you have been looking around my blog, Jesus Christ has saved my life. For 35 years I was an Atheist and for many of those years in bondage to lust and an addiction to pornography.

Today, at the age of 46 I can loudly proclaim that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and the God of first, second and fifteenth chances! He has forgiven my sins, shattered the stronghold of pornography in my life, restored my marriage and given me the promise of eternal life.

He is a God who can restore any life, and rebuild any shattered mess you find yourself in. Whether you suffer from anxiety, depression, fear, anger, lust, addiction to drugs, alcohol, co-dependency, eating disorders, financial ruin, grief, physical pain or any other affliction… Jesus Christ alone is the answer to a new and victorious life.

Does your life feel out of control? Hopeless? Do you feel like there is no way out? Do you feel like the pain is too much to handle? Do you just want to give up? Do you want to run away or even have thoughts of ending it all? I know I have. Life can be filled with pain and grief and unless or until we learn to find the one way to cope with the trials and tribulations of life… there will be no end to it. Life will continue to be a vicious cycle and we will sink further and further into a pit of despair.

If this sounds like your reality, let me share something with you… something that will change your life forever. There is a God who created all that you see in the universe. He created you, a unique being in all of His creation… there has never been another like you and never will be. Your DNA is yours alone. That same God knows and loves you more than anything else. He wants to have a personal loving relationship with you… but He wants you to come freely into His arms.

You have a choice to make, we all do. Turn away from God and face the world on our own, or turn towards God and leap into His waiting arms. You may look back on your life and your story is unique… but let me ask you… how has life been so far, doing things your way? When I asked that question of myself, I realized very quickly that I hated the life I had created under my own power. It was littered with destruction as a result of my sinful choices and I knew there had to be a better way.

Once you accept that you are hopelessly lost where you are, cry out to God and ask Him to forgive you for your life of sin… put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and you too will be freely given the gift of eternal salvation. Not only that, but this call to faith will invite the Holy Spirit of God to come into your life and be your guide and counselor. You will learn to leave all of your worries, anxieties, fears, and old habits at the foot of the cross… and in time you will know what it means to walk in Victory.

You will become renewed, a new creation and as you walk side by side with Jesus your life will start to look more and more like His. Brother or Sister, if something you read above has appealed to you, or has described your life I want to encourage you to reach out to God right now, right where you are!

You can begin this new walk, this new chapter of your life this very moment… God is waiting. If you would like, it would be my honor to pray for you. You can leave a comment below and I will pray for you right away, or if you prefer privacy you can send a prayer request to standtallforchrist@gmail.com

Stay Strong & Stand Tall

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7 Reasons Christians Should NOT Gamble

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Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Many times over the years I have had friendly debates on the topic, should Christians Gamble? For me, the answer to this question has always been very cut and dry, black and white… and not gray at all. The answer is quite simply NO.

There is a brother in Christ, who loves Jesus very much, that I fellowship with on a regular basis. He gambles regularly is not convinced it is a sin, he bets the horse races and doesn’t even like referring to it as “gambling”. No amount of arguments I make against the idea is going to change his mind, he has been gambling for decades.

However, with this article I may be able to convince some of you who wonder if this should be a part of your Christian life. There are SEVERAL reason why I believe God does not want us to gamble, and here they are in no particular order:

  1. Gambling does not glorify God. In 1 Corinthians 10:31 Paul writes “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”. There is nothing about Gambling that Glorifies God. My friend will argue that going to the horse track is no different than him going golfing, they are both just ways to pass the time. But that is not correct. Golf is an athletic sport, which you could very much Glorify God while doing. Whether you win or lose is based on your skill level and how much you practice. My friend would also argue that horse betting is not gambling, it’s skill… and that is what we call D E N I A L.
  2. Gambling is incredibly destructive and is commonly used by the devil to tear apart families. If you EVER question this statement, I dare you to visit any Casino in the nation and just walk through looking at the faces of people glued to slot machines. So much anguish, so much sadness and desperation. These people are hurting and they just keep feeding and feeding and feeding the machines. Once in a  blue moon they may hit a winner, maybe $500, maybe $1000… certainly enough to go brag about the next day at work and more than enough to keep them coming back. If Gambling is used by the devil to destroy families (which it is) why would any Christian want to be a part of it? We should be about BUILDING God’s Kingdom, not helping the devil tear it down.
  3. Gambling can easily become an addiction. Just like alcohol, drugs or pornography… Gambling can become a very compulsive disorder and powerful addiction. One that could cost you everything, literally. I have sat next to men in recovery groups that lost their children, marriage, home, job and retirement to Gambling. Why on earth would anyone want to play around with something so deadly and destructive? It is unwise and prideful to think you can “handle” it.
  4. Gambling is not being a good steward of God’s resources. The money we walk around with is not our money. Plain and simple. It’s all God’s money and he wants us to be a good steward of that money. You can NEVER convince me that Gambling is good stewardship and any attempt on your part is you trying to justify your behavior, or you playing devil’s advocate. Either way, you are wrong.
  5. Gambling feeds your pride and is all about selfish gain. What is pride? It is being selfish, making decisions that are all about you. God has given you resources, and it’s not enough. You want more than God has given you, because you think you deserve it? Maybe you should stop and think, if I was a better steward of the money God already gave me, he would trust me with more!
  6. No one ever wins Gambling. I would love for ANYONE to make a ledger of their wins/losses to gambling over their life and show me one example where someone came out ahead over the long haul. It’s mathematically impossible, which is why Casinos rake in BILLIONS each year… it’s not because so many Gamblers are striking it rich. The only winners in Gambling, are the Casinos and of course our enemy Satan.
  7. Your testimony is damaged. Remember you are a representative of Jesus Christ and when people see you in the world, you should REPRESENT! Some people will say “but Jesus used to hang out with prostitutes and criminals”… Yes, but did Jesus ever PARTAKE of their criminal or sinful behavior? That’s a rhetorical question.

This is the bottom line, and the simplest way to know if you should leave something alone… do you find yourself justifying your behavior? You NEVER, EVER have to justify giving Glory to God…. but you will find yourself constantly trying to justify behavior YOU know runs counter to God’s character, simply because you don’t want to give it up.

Pick up your cross and follow him. This is what we are called to do daily. This means we need to let go of all the stuff we think we want in this world, we need to love what he loves and hate what he hates. If you are still convinced you should be gambling or that it is just a harmless hobby, then there is no amount of convincing that will change your mind.

If you feel like you have an argument in favor of Gambling as a Christian, I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

Stay Strong & Stand Tall

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5 Steps to Overcoming Pornography Addiction

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Over the years I have openly discussed my struggle with Pornography Addiction and lust. During that time I have discovered that this particular addiction is far more prevalent than I ever imagined. In fact MOST men suffer from some type of sexual desires that are outside of God’s design for intimacy. If you are unclear as to how harmful pornography can be please read my previous article on the subject.

In this article I want to focus on SOLUTIONS, so I have put together a list of 5 action items you can start today that will help you break free and stay free from the bondage of lust. Here are the 5 steps in the order I recommend taking them, I will elaborate on each step below:

  1. Deepen your relationship with Jesus Christ.
  2. Heal the wounds of your past.
  3. Assemble your Accountability Team.
  4. Put strong defenses in place.
  5. Share your struggle openly.

Step #1: Deepen your relationship with Jesus Christ

To be very clear there is one primary reason we get lost in sin. There may be many contributing factors, but one underlying REASON. We do not love God… as much as we can. The closer we draw near to God, the more we will want to honor him with our thoughts, bodies and actions.

If you are honest with yourself, and this is a critical step… you have to approach this with HONESTY… you will admit that when you are lost in pornography you have wandered far from Jesus. You will just feel spiritually weak as you drift further from his presence. That small voice inside, the Holy Spirit who urges you to do the right thing, will become barely audible the more you feed the desires of your flesh.

So your first step on the road to freedom is to spend more time with Jesus. This is the only way to deepen a relationship. Share your thoughts and feelings with him daily and ask him for guidance in all that you do. He loves you and is waiting with open arms. You have being doing life on your terms for how long? As Dr. Phil would say, how’s that working out for ya? It’s time to RUN into the arms of Jesus. What are you waiting for?

Step #2 Heal the Wounds of Your Past

You will never experience true freedom until you have healed the wounds of your past. Earlier I mentioned there are many contributing factors to pornography addiction and lust. Normally these are rooted in past experiences from our childhood. In this step you have to take a detailed personal inventory of who has hurt you and how you have hurt others. You want to find a quiet place where you can be alone and start at your earliest memories. Write down who hurt you, when and what they did. Create another list of who you hurt, when and what you did. When I did my inventory it was 36 pages long! The deeper you dig, the more healing you will experience.

After you finish your inventory you NEED to share it with a trusted person who won’t judge you, and then you need to completely forgive all the people who have hurt you and forgive yourself for all the wrongs you have committed. I really don’t recommend you do all of this on your own, I recommend finding a Celebrate Recovery program in your area. This is the same Christ-Centered 12 step recovery program I used and it was an amazing experience. Most cities have several meeting groups and times.

Step #3 Assemble your accountability team

If you go through Celebrate Recovery they will encourage and help you develop an accountability team. If you are going this on your own, you need to enlist members of your Church for help. Your accountability team needs to be about 2-3 trusted Christians of the same sex as you. Preferably people who have experience in your area of struggle but even better if they have some victory behind them. These people must not judge you as you share your most intimate lustful thoughts with them. They must hold you accountable when you act out and lovingly guide you back on track. For your part, you MUST be completely open and honest with them about your struggle. DO NOT HIDE YOUR BEHAVIORS or what is the point of this whole process? Do you want to be free or continue in bondage? BE OPEN. BE HONEST.

Step #4 Put strong defenses in place

Now that you are working on a closer relationship with Jesus, are working towards full healing from your past and have your accountability team in place… it is time to mount your defenses! It is a WARZONE out there and the enemy wants to destroy your marriage, crush your family, take away your livelihood and kill you!!! Are you willing to let the enemy take everything from you? It is time to MAN UP, STAND UP and PREPARE TO FIGHT! Your Marriage, Your Family, Your Ministry, Your Job and Your LIFE depends on it.

It IS THAT SERIOUS.

First thing, get some accountability software on your computer and devices RIGHT NOW! There are many choices on the market, and the one I have used for years is Covenant Eyes it only costs $15/month and you can load it on unlimited devices and computers. When you get it installed, set up your accountability team to receive its reports each week.

Next, evaluate dangerous territory and triggers in your life. BE HONEST. Can you watch TV alone safely? Can you use Social Media responsibly? What about your smart phone? Is it safe in your hands? If you have to leave something completely behind, DO IT! The stakes are too high. Be HIGHLY aware of dangerous places… do not frequent GYMS, or BEACHES as they will be filled with scantily clad women. Be smart about the choices you make. Do not put yourself in places where you are alone with a woman who is not your wife… even in places that seem innocent, like CHURCHES.

PLEASE do not think you have the willpower to do this on your own. You Do NOT! That is why you are addicted to pornography in the first place. You need to rely on Jesus Christ and submit your will to his. Give up many things in order to save the most important things in your life.

Step #5 Share your struggle openly

This final step will help you maintain a life of freedom from sexual lust and bondage. Sin likes to be hidden in dark corners of your life, places where people won’t see what you’re doing. The more you keep hidden the more destructive the consequences when it finally comes to the light. AND IT WILL COME TO THE LIGHT. God is merciful and God is very patient. But if you do not start taking the steps I have outlined above right now… it is only a matter of time before God intervenes and brings all of your hidden sin into the spotlight.

What has helped me greatly is being very transparent about my struggle, not just with my accountability team, but with the world. It seems the more people that know my struggles the more support I have in this battle. So I encourage you to live your life openly and honestly and talk frequently about your journey.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I write this article mostly geared towards men, as they are more commonly snared by the trap of pornography. But increasingly more and more women are becoming addicted, so this article is really for everyone. It is my prayer that you decide today, right now to be free from this terrible curse in your life. As you take these five steps you will begin to find small victories that will build up to large ones. Soon you will have days, weeks, months and years behind you since you watched pornography.

Then one day your testimony of freedom will point right up to Jesus Christ and give him all the glory. AMEN!

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Note: If you have further questions or need more support please don’t hesitate to reach out to me here. God Bless You!

 

Stay Strong & Stand Tall

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The Secret to True Healing…

You may be wondering why there is so much deep rooted pain in your life, this pain can take many different forms from Alcoholism or drug addiction to sexual immorality, gambling, violent outbursts or even physical sickness. There are countless ways in which the pain from our past can intrude upon our present… and never in a positive way.

UNLESS we heal those past wounds.

It doesn’t matter if you were abused physically, sexually or emotionally, it doesn’t matter how badly you were abused or for how long. It doesn’t matter if YOU were the one abusing someone else or doing bad things in your past (who among us is innocent?) none of these things matter.

The only one thing that matters, is how do we recover from our past? How do we heal the wounds given to us by other people, or given by us? How do we move forward and not be hindered by the past? How do we break free of the spiritual, physical or emotional bondage our past has us trapped in?

There is only one way, and here it is. FORGIVENESS.

You see until we truly forgive those who have hurt us, or forgive ourselves for our actions we will NEVER heal from those wounds. We might be able to suppress them, push down those feelings by sheer will power or through chemical dependency of one sort or another… but mark my words. The hurts and pains will resurface in your life. There is nothing short of total FORGIVENESS that will prevent this from happening.

So what does it mean to truly forgive? When God forgives us of our sin, he doesn’t even remember our transgressions (Hebrews 8:12)… not because God is forgetful, but because he chooses to forget. This is the example God has given us on how to forgive. For humans, it’s much more of a struggle to forget the wrongs that have been done to us… especially when it comes to abuse from our childhood. Sometimes those memories are the most vivid of all.

So how do we forgive?

There is one way that has worked for me, and I am no expert, I am just offering you my life as an example. What I found when I went through Celebrate Recover (a Christ-centered 12 step recovery program) was that the person I had to forgive the most, was myself. For years I hated the man I had become and the things I had done to hurt others. It wasn’t until I was able to fully forgive myself and learn to love myself as God loves me that I could truly heal the wounds of my past.

So how did I forgive myself? By realizing that Jesus forgave me over 2,000 years ago when he laid himself down on that cross. You see Jesus DIED to forgive my sins… not just mine but yours too, and not just yours but all those people that hurt you in the past. He DIED for us all… and if we were worth DYING for, then who are we to hold hatred in our hearts towards those that God loves the most?

You are worthy of forgiveness, I am worthy, our perpetrators are worthy… and not only are we all worthy, but Jesus paid the greatest price of all for us. That’s how important it is to forgive others and ourselves.

Whatever troubles you are facing and no matter how deeply hurt you are, when it comes to your past it is time to leave it behind. You have probably heard the phrase “You cannot move forward by looking in the rear view mirror”. Once you discover true forgiveness in your life, the prison door will open and Jesus will shatter the chains of bondage in your life, setting you free to live a life of peace. But as in all things, you have a choice to make.

Continue to harbor the anger, hurt and pain or truly forgive and experience peace and joy. I will be praying that you make the right choice.

Stay Strong & Stand Tall

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Petition to fire Fresno State professor attracts 24,000 signatures

A petition to fire the Fresno State professor who called the late Barbara Bush “an amazing racist” has attracted over 24 thousand signatures.

Source: Petition to fire Fresno State professor attracts 10,000 signatures | Fox News

You may have heard the story of Randa Jarrar who took to twitter hours after Barbara Bush died to post some very disgusting remarks. There was outrage on social media from the right and applause from the left. What a shocker. Here are a few of her tweets…

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Ms. Jarrar is currently out of the Country on leave, and a University investigation is under way into her conduct. Many are calling for her to be fired.

Not me.

While I am just as disgusted by her remarks as anyone else, I am a strong defender of the Constitution, and not just the 2nd Amendment, but all of them. Now just because her speech is protected, doesn’t mean it cannot have consequences. There are several financial donors of the University that are considering closing their checkbooks, depending on the outcome of this case, so there is a lot of pressure on the University to act.

Imagine if a Conservative professor tweeted that all gays need to repent and turn from their sin. How long before the left would move heaven and Earth to take his job? Every time a situation like this develops there is always hypocrisy on both sides of the isle which is a clear reflection of how divided our Country has become.

As Christians I feel we need to Stand Tall for the values of our God first and our Country second… part of that is defending the core documents that shaped this great nation, even when it feels uncomfortable… or especially when it feels most uncomfortable.

Stay Strong & Stand Tall

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‘Flush It’: New Undercover Video Exposes Brutal Reality of Late-Term Abortion

In a newly released undercover video by pro-life organization, Live Action, an abortion worker describes the process of terminating an unborn child six months in the womb.

Source: ‘Flush It’: New Undercover Video Exposes Brutal Reality of Late-Term Abortion – Faithwire

As the abortion debate rages on in America the progressive left has continued its assault on the unborn… and its unwavering support of Planned Parenthood that receives over 300 Million taxpayer dollars each year.

Live Action is a non profit organization that performs undercover video investigations of the abortion and sex trafficking industries. It was founded my Lila Rose when she was 15 years old and now has over 2 Million followers on social networks and is one of the largest and most engaged online pro-life movements.

Christians should stand united, shoulder to shoulder in opposition to the abortion-on-demand industry in our Country. However, there are many Christians and progressive churches that stand on the side of Planned Parenthood and use a “woman’s right to choose” as a banner to defend.

As Christians we should all be able to agree that the Word of God is the standard by which we should measure all truth claims. If you are pro-choice and call yourself a follower of Jesus can you give me ONE scripture that would support your position? Just one? Go ahead and Google it, I’ll wait…

P.S. If you cannot find just ONE scripture that supports your position on abortion, why do you hold that position as a Christian? Are you a follower of Jesus or a follower of a fallen secular world? Which master do you serve?

Food for thought.

Stay Strong & Stand Tall

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