Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Born of Your Desperation

Born of Your Desperation
This lesson come from: “The Terror of the Noh Mask

Other lessons from this episode: “Being Someone’s Hero,” “How the Spiritual Realm Affects our World,” “You are the Only one who can Save her,” “Finding Your Damascus part 2”

Image result for inuyasha episode 11 sota

Scene Summary: An evil monster is after Kagome and the Jewel shards in the modern world. Kagome sends Sota to go through the well and get Inuyasha to come to this world and slay the monster. Sota tries to jump through the well like Kagome always does, but he hits the bottom of the well instead of going through. Sota doesn’t know what happened or how to get through the well. He desperately starts digging, crying, saying that he has to cross over because his sis needs help and he is the only one who can help her. Suddenly Inuyasha appears in the well. Sota looks at him and knows this must be Inuyasha who he was sent to get even though he had never seen him before. Inuyasha carries Sota and goes to Kagome, following the scent of her blood. Inuyahsa kills the Noh mask, and everything is good again.
I watch this episode over and over trying to figure out how Inuyasha appeared in the well. It was like he just materialized there. He says he could smell Kagome’s blood from back in the well, so at first, I thought he could smell it back on his side of the well. I don’t think that would have been possible though. No, I do not think there were any magical properties in Sota’s tears like there are in almost every movie. No, I believe it was Sota’s sheer desperation that caused Inuyasha to manifest.
You know the expressions “If there’s a will, there’s a way,” and “You can do anything you put your mind to.” As true as those may be, this desperation is something more than just determination. My youth pastor once said that nothing could stop a desperate person with a desperate prayer. The Bible says the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. That’s the key—fervent.
              Sota wasn’t just nonchalantly passing by the well. He wasn’t just half-heartedly picking at the dirt at the bottom of the well. He didn’t think that if he just happened to run into Inuyasha that then he would ask for his help. No, he was being intentional. He went to the place where he knew he would have the best chance of getting Inuyasha. He went to his own little “Damascus.” And he was desperately digging in the dirt. He was about as fervent as you can get. And it payed off.
              My last point about why Sota was able to summon Inuyasha is that he was being obedient. Kagome told him to go to the well and get Inuyasha. Sota had no idea how to do this, but he did not question or protest. He went anyway and tried his hardest. He did what he had to. This is what God requires of us. He wants our obedience. Even when we don’t understand. Even when we have never done it before. Even when we think there is no way we could possibly do it, He honors our obedience.
God always makes a way out for us. He parts the water for us. And when we are desperate, we turn to Him in ways that we wouldn’t under normal circumstances. Our desperation gives a fire and a power more so than anything else. When we are desperate things start to change. That is when God steps in, when we are ready for Him. (No, I am not saying Inuyasha is God.) I am saying that when we are desperate, God opens the flood gates of heaven. I am saying that when we are desperate, God will do for us what would otherwise be impossible. When we are desperate we will surrender fully. We will believe for a miracle. It is that faith that God responds to. Look at anyone who has ever been desperate, and you will see what can be born of your desperation.

"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." James 5:16b KJV 

~you’ve got me desperate~            Desperate by Fireflight

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

my piece from Animation Fixation

InuYasha is my favorite anime for several reasons, one of which is its strong women. InuYasha is able to show women in all their strength and glory, and the show does it without killing chivalry or being a girly show either. It is the perfect balance. Although Inuyasha protects Kagome with his life, this show is not the stereotypical man saving girl situation. They all protect each other: the way it should be. Alright so let’s look at some of these women. There are a lot to choose from so I’m going with a perfect 10 in the order they appear: Kikyo, Kyade, Kagome, Mrs. Higurashi, Mistress Centipede, Yura of the Hair, Sango the Demon Slayer, Priestess Midoriko, Kagura, Rin

1. Kikyo

source: InuYasha Wiki
I have so many mixed feelings about Kikyo. She’s good. She’s evil. She’s healing people. She’s trying to drag Inuyasha to Hell. We never really know what she is doing. So, for the sake of my sanity, let’s just look at Kikyo in her first life. She was a high priestess. Even that to me is a big deal. Where I went to school, girls couldn’t be in leadership over boys. This was always infuriating. So, to watch this show and see Kikyo as the head of the town was enlightening. Now not only was she a high priestess in the village, she was known throughout the region as being a powerful priestess. She led the village and protected the sacred jewel on her own and still had time to fall in love with Inuyasha. She wanted to be free of that life and to be with Inuyasha instead. I can’t blame her for wanting that, but there was where her downfall started. In the end, she had the strength to choose not to kill Inuyasha even though she could have.

2. Kaede

source: InuYasha Wiki
Kaeda was Kikyo’s younger sister. After Kikyo died, Kaede was the new high priestess of the village. I love when the men clear a way for her to come through; it warms my heart. I just want to look at one attribute of Kaede: her forgiveness. For 50 years she believed that Inuyasha killed Kikyo. But after the spell was broken and Inuyasha revived, she trusted him to help Kagome find the jewel shards. She encouraged Kagome to get along with him. And when Kikyo was brought back from the dead, Kaede told Kikyo that Inuyasha was not her enemy. That is some powerful forgiveness!

3. Kagome

source: women write about comics
Even though the show is called InuYasha, Kagome really is the main character. She is the only one we follow all the time. Kagome was just a normal 15-year-old girl. And then she had to become this demon-fighting adventurer. She became good with a bow and arrow and nearly killed arch enemy Naraku with a single strike. Her ability to see the jewel shards was indispensable. Kagome brought out the best in Inuyasha, and was the only one who could soothe his demon blood. She never lost her compassion or her kindness. She even went to Hell and back again to save the soul of a little girl she didn’t even know. Her heart remained pure despite the constant pain of being in love with someone who wouldn’t love her back. She never viewed Kikyo as her enemy and helped her, even saving her, time and time again. If that isn’t an example of strength, I don’t know what is. I could go on and on about Kagome Higurashi.

4. MrsHigurashi

source: InuYasha Wiki
Kagome’s mom is the best example of an encouraging mother. Here Kagome is going off on these crazy dangerous missions, and her mom always supports her. She never tries to stop her daughter because she knows that those missions are something Kagome has to do. She is always there to cook her a meal or pack some supplies. She is even considerate of Inuyasha. Mrs. Higurashi is probably the only woman who actually fits the female gender role, but she does it so well I don’t even care. Mr. Higurashi is never seen, so she is raising to two kids and grandpa all on her own. You know it takes a strong woman to do that, so don’t discount her just because she is not out slaying demons with the rest of the gang.

5. Mistress Centipede

source: InuYasha Wiki
Mistress Centipede is the first evil creature we see in the series. She is the one that pulled Kagome into the well. She is the one who bit the sacred jewel out of Kagome. She is the reason Kagome freed Inuyasha from the tree. She is the first demon Inuyasha slayed. And let’s not forget that Mistress Centipede came back to life after however many years her bones were in the well. She is really creepy looking, and she isn’t in the show for long, but she is a pretty big deal.

6. Yura of the Hair

source: InuYasha Wiki
Guess who the second villain is. That’s right: another strong female character. Some people really like Yura. I don’t really like her, but she’s included in this because It’s significant to me that the first two villains are both female. Yura is really strong she does some serious damage to Inuyasha. It takes more than one episode to finally defeat her, and it was thanks to Kagome they finally did. This battle also caused some necessary bonding between Inuyasha and Kagome.

7. Sango the Demon Slayer

source: ShareTv
Where do I begin? Sango is the Epitome of a strong woman. In her debut, she walked out in her full demon slayer garb and knocked out this demon with one swing of her “hiraikotsu.” Then she changed clothes and was all cute and with her family. Sango was the only female demon slayer from her village, and she was the best they had. She should have died from Naraku’s first attack, but she survived on sheer willpower. She later joined the group and fought Naraku for the sake of her brother. She endured the suffering of facing her brother. On a lighter note, she put up with Miroku too. That takes just about all the strength you can get.

8. Priestess Midoriko

We only see Midoriko in one episode, but she is really the most significant person in the whole story. She was the greatest priestess ever from hundreds of years ago. She was the one who created the sacred jewel that caused all drama in the first place. She faced countless demons and battled them for days on end. The story goes that her soul is still inside the sacred jewel battling the demons. Strongest woman ever.

9. Kagura of the Wind

source: InuYasha Wiki
Naraku may be the main villain, but he would be a lot easier to deal with without his incarnation Kagura. She is my personal favorite because she uses a feather. Kagura is always causing problems for our heroes, and they can never do any damage to her. Little do they know, she is desperately trying to escape from Naraku. She cannot stand having him control her, and that is why she is her own hero. She does what she must to survive while constantly planning her betrayal. She’s the villain that you secretly root for. She does get her freedom in the end, but Naraku kills her and she becomes the wind. So sad.

10. Rin

source: InuYasha Wiki
We cannot forget sweet little Rin. Rin was an orphan stealing to survive. She ended up finding Sesshomaru in the woods when he was hurt. She tried to help him even though she could barely fend for herself. Long story short, Rin joined up with Sesshomaru and started traveling with him. Rin changed Sesshomaru from a total jerk to someone who actually cared about someone else besides himself. Rin softened his heart so much that he realized the toxicity of his lust for power. I believe this change in Sesshomaru is why he helped the gang defeat Naraku in the end. Rin didn’t do anything that heroic. She was just her-happy-go-lucky- self. That’s all she needed to be, and that’s all it took.
As you can see, these women changed their world. They fought right alongside the men. They were all equal. They were all great. And when we realize that, we can change our world too.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

He Loved you Then

He Loved you then
This lesson comes from: The whole entire series!
Image result for inuyasha and kagome public domain

Summary: Although they painstakingly don’t admit it, Inuyasha and Kagome love each other from the beginning. Inuyasha loved Kagome even before he knew she could see the jewel shards. He loved her back before she became a good archer. He loved her before she realized her full spiritual power, which took a long time. Kagome loved Inuyasha even though he was half demon. She didn’t ask him to become human like Kikyo did. She loved him back before he had Tessaiga, back when he only had his claws. She loved him while he was still in love with someone else. She loved him during his moments of weakness. She loved him through his pride, his recklessness, and his depravity. She even loved him when he pushed her away, literally. She even loved him when he was in his full demon state. They loved each other THEN, and they love each other now. The relationship they have NOW started THEN.

Let me tell you something that will change your life: God has always loved you. People know that God loves them, but they have trouble believing it. There is this unspoken belief that God doesn’t love them while they are being “bad.” Although they know in their heads the words that God’s love is unconditional, for some reason they forget what that means. They think that God turns His love for them off and on depending on where they are in their walk. They must clean their lives up and be “good” and then God will love them. No one comes right out and says it, but this is how people feel. I don’t know where this belief comes from, but sure isn’t the Bible.

Think back to a dark time in your life. A time when you were at your weakest, like when Inuyasha was poisoned by the spiderhead and was in his human form. A time when nothing was going right and you didn’t know what you were going to do like Miroku felt facing the demons at Mt Hakurae. A time when you were in pain, like Sango when she was wounded by her brother. A time when you were disappointed like when Kagura was denied her request for help. A time when you were betrayed like how Kagome felt so often with Kikyo and Inuyasha. A time when you let your guard down, like Inuyasha did over and over with Kikyo. A time when you were disgraced like when Seshomaru was defeated in battle. A time when you lost yourself like Kohaku did with Naraku. Think of that time in your life and know that God loved you then. He didn’t abandon you in your trouble. In that dark time the love of God still surrounded you and gave you the strength to break through the dark.

Inuyasha’s demon nature is like our sin nature, so now I want you to think about the worst sin you ever committed. The dark secret sin that no one knows about. Maybe it was recent, or maybe it was a long time ago before you were saved. Think about what led you to that sin. Think about how you got to that point in your life. Now think about the exact moment that you committed the act. Put yourself in that moment again. I know it hurts. Now, listen to this: God loved you then. When you were in the middle of your worst sin God was looking down at you from heaven with love in His heart and probably some tears in His eyes. God did not stop loving you because of your sin. He did not stop pursuing you. You did not ruin His plans for you. Let yourself believe it. God still loves you despite whatever it is you have done against him.

Think back to when you were reckless like Inuyasha going after Naraku even though he was injured and didn’t stand a chance. When you didn’t care to listen to the voice of reason. When you let your emotions control you. When you ignored God’s timing and God’s calling on your life. Think back to when you just wanted to do your own thing your own way. When you just went around swinging your sword leaving a trail of destruction wherever you went. And once you finally calmed down you didn’t even know what you had done. God loved you even then. God did not give up on you when you gave up on Him.

              Now I want you to think back to a time when you were in love with something else. I want you to think back to a time when you allowed something else to be an idol in your life. When you couldn’t care less what the real God thought. When you pushed Him away as hard as you could. When you relentlessly pursued this other love. When you tried to go back to the pleasures of your old life before you surrendered to Jesus. Guess what? God loved you even then. Even when you betrayed him. Even when you went back to your first love, God patiently waited for your return to Him. He didn’t complain. He didn’t make your life miserable even though He could have. He just waited for you to realize that those other idols in your life, those other little g gods, those other loves, could never love you back the way the God, who is love itself, could.

Now to those of you who are leaders, think back to before you had that position. Think back to before you even knew how to pray at all let alone pray in the Spirit. Think back to when you had no spiritual weapons or power at all. To before you had any idea what your spiritual gifts were. When you just lived an ordinary life and never dreamed God had a purpose for you. When you felt like you couldn’t do anything. When you felt like you were just a burden to the actual leaders and actual prayer warriors. When you were just floundering around trying to survive. When you felt like you wanted to give up and just go back to your ordinary life and not have to deal with spiritual warfare. You know what I am about say: God loved you then. He did not pass you by. He had great plans for you then. He just needed to grow you into them. And as you grew in your knowledge and power the spiritual warfare did not become easier, but you can handle it now because you have learned to rely on the power of God inside you. You can lead now that He has fully equipped you.

God loved you at your worst. He loved you when you were dead in your sins and didn’t even know it. He loved you when you intentionally ran from Him. He loved you when you thought you weren’t good enough and when you thought you wouldn’t amount to anything. He loved you when you gave into your fleshly desires, and He even loved you when you tried to make deals with the demons. Understand that you don’t have to get it all together before God can love you. It is His love and His power that enables you to live a holy life in the first place. He won’t love you anymore, but you will find more favor. There is nothing you could do to change how much He loves you!

He loved you then, and you better believe He loves you now.
          Now maybe you are reading all this and you don’t have to think back to a dark time in your life. For you, the darkest time in your life is right now. You feel the sting of sorrow right now. The pain keeps you up at night and that is the only reason you are even reading this blog post. And even now after reading everything I have to say, you still believe the lie in your heart that the God in Heaven loves everyone on this earth except you. Everyone belongs here except you. God has a purpose for everyone except you. God can forgive everyone and everything except you and what you did. Listen to me, precious reader, you’re not that special. You don’t have any defining qualities that exempt you from God’s love. You have not done anything worse than anyone else in the history of mankind. The blood of Jesus covers it all. The blood of Jesus takes it all. When John said, “For God so loved the world,” he was taking about you too. God does love you, and there is nothing you can do about it. Whether you like it or not. Whether you believe it or not.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, it that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 NASB

Disciple, Invisible, “Cuz nothing you have done could change how much I love you.”

Disciple, after the World, “I’m the one that you’ve been looking for. I’m the one that you’ve been waiting for.”

Disciple, Scarlet, “Though my sins they be as scarlet, Though my hands have been an enemy of God, Though my heart has played the harlot.”

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Finding your Damascus Part 1

Finding your Damascus Part 1
Down the well and back again

This Lesson Comes from Episode 1 The Girl who overcame time and the boy who was just overcome.
Other lessons from this episode: Unfinished Business, All are bound till They are Free, Demons in the Past.

Image result for kagome in the bone eater's well

           Finding your Damascus is one of my favorite ministry topics to talk about. It is a concept I came up with all on my own. The idea of finding your Damascus comes from Acts 9. The Lord audibly spoke to Saul. Saul asked what to do. Then the Lord told him to go to Damascus and there he will be told what there is for him to do. In essence, he had to go somewhere to find out what God had for him. Once he was there, his life changed forever. He encountered Jesus and gave his life to Him. He got baptized and started preaching Jesus. He was now fighting on the other side of a spiritual warfare. The trip to Damascus changed his life forever. And in case you didn’t realize it, this is the apostle Paul who wrote most of the New Testament. His trip to Damascus changed the whole world.  
Everyone has their own Damascus. Everyone has a place where they have to go where God will reveal to them things that He wouldn’t have otherwise. It might be a physical location or it might just be a an emotional place in your life. Your Damascus may be college, or a convention. It may be the shop down the road, your friend’s house, or the tree in the backyard. It may even be watching InuYasha, which I know revealed a lot to me.
For Kagome, it was the Bone-Eater’s well. When she went down the well she was transported to a different time, almost another dimension. Her life was turned upside down. She encountered the spiritual realm for the first time. She was given a new mission and a new purpose. She grew in her spiritual powers. She made new friends and had new teachers, and in the end, she even got married to someone from the other side of the well. She started fighting a spiritual warfare against Naraku and the other demons. Her trip down the well changed the InuYasha world. If she had never gone down the well, the sacred jewel would never have been back in the world for everyone to fight over. And when she came back to the modern world, do you think she was the same as before she went? No! It changed her life forever.

Your bone eater’s well or your Damascus, whichever you prefer, is out there. All you have to do is go there, and your life, and the world, will never be the same. Listen to the call of God on your life. Wherever He is telling you to go, whatever he is telling you to do, just do it.

Where You go I go by Jesus Culture

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

In Defense of InuYasha

In Defense of InuYasha
Why a devout Christian watches a show about demons

This lesson does not come from any particular episode but the whole show, and is more of an introduction to my blog than a lesson itself.

InuYasha is a show about the half demon Inuyasha, the human Kagome, and their friends Sango the demon slayer, Miroku the monk and Shippo the fox demon. Together they go around slaying demons in pursuit of the sacred jewel shards. Their ultimate enemy is the demon Naraku. Spoiler alert, they do eventually defeat Naraku, fall in love, and get married. There is a lot of violence in the show as they are battling demons most of the time. There are also some adult themes including a little bit of nudity, and some cussing.
I have heard it said that Christians should not watch something so demonic. We should stay clear of such brainwashing; that there is no such thing as a good demon and that humans and demons cannot live together. Let me be clear: those things are all true, but let’s keep in mind this is just a TV show. It is not real, but the lessons we can learn from it are. Although these things are true, I am going to defend this show from every angle I can.
#1 God’s name in vain. Not once in this whole series have I heard any of the characters takes the Lord’s name in vain. For a long period in my life I would not watch anything that used the Lord’s name in vain whether it be GD, OMG, or JC. I agonized over what I would do if my beloved InuYasha ever did, and to my amazement, I was never in that position because they never did it. Anything that can pass this test is worth giving a chance in my book.
#2 Fighting Demons. While it is true that Inuyasha himself is a half demon, he fights his demon nature throughout the show. They are constantly slaying demons and saving humans. Every time someone makes a deal with a demon things turn out horribly for that person. This show does much more to promote the slaying of demons than it does befriending them. The concept of humans and demons not understanding each other and being from separate worlds also comes up a few times.
#3 Strong Women. InuYasha was written by a woman. I love how this show has so many strong female characters and warriors without being a “girl’s show.” They make it natural for the priestess to be the most powerful person in town. Kagome the mere mortal girl gets the credit for saving the day multiple times. Sango, the only female demon slayer, was the best from her village. The female Kagura is one of the top antagonists almost until the end. People need to watch something like this and get it through their heads how powerful women can be.
#4 Salvation. In the Inuyasha universe there is a Heaven and a Hell, and there is the idea of finding salvation and that some actions could send you to Hell. No, this is not the Biblical account of salvation. I am not pretending it is. However,ust to breach the subject of souls finding salvation is enough to get people thinking which gives us an opportunity to share the true gospel. Give people every chance you can. Let them watch and start to wonder about these heavy spiritual topics.
#5 The Lessons. This is the most important one for me because that is what this blog is! There are so many lessons to be drawn from InuYasha. So many! I have touched on a few already, but there are so many more: compassion, forgiveness, purification, discipleship; even heavier, more spiritual parallels such as being reborn, fighting the old self, and choosing life. Even Biblical parallels could be drawn comparing Inuyasha to King Solomon and to Jesus (dangerous I know) and Naraku to King David and to Satan himself (obviously).
Nothing is sacred. God can use anything to teach anyone one of His truths. Something like InuYasha that is so rich with spiritual truth should not be dismissed on account of being demonic. Of course, it is demonic; demons are real! And the spiritual realm can affect the earthly realm as we see in every episode of this show.

Stick around and enjoy all that the Lord has revealed to me through the show. I hope at least some of these lessons encourage you on your own walk.