Dear Enemy

The evil that turns away the human heart
I have battled you before
That which destroys the souls of men
Which erodes to the core

Know that I see your smug face
Peaking behind their eyes
Laughing as if you have won
Whispering to them your lies

Don’t think you will have them for long
Your play time is almost through
Get the tantrums out of your system
Because your number is almost due

To be honest, I think you are scared
I think you are trembling with fright
You know you don’t have a prayer
In fact, you hide under the cover of night

You are merely a weak pest
That leads so many astray
If it were up to my strength
Your work would end today

So, be on our guard, dear dragon breath
Be on the look out for me
I have the winner on my side
And His name is Victory.

Look out behind you; enemy of souls
Put a chain on your gate
The church is about to mobilize
You are about to meet your fate

You have taken too many friends
Yet you are entitled to none
Have your fun now weak serpent
The battle has already been won.

-Landon DeCrastos

16 Almonds: 4 Lessons During My Journey

AlmondsIt has been 12 days since I have started my physical and spiritual journey. On June 29th I posted a blog called “Welcome to My Struggle”, where I recorded a very personal reflection on the state of, not only my waistline, but an idol that I worshipped. These days have contained discouragement, victory, and periods of waiting. Yes, I know 12 days is not a lot, but God has really spoken to me during this time. I would compare it to a different type of fasting in which God has been able to take control and lift the fog that was clouding my heart and mind.

So far, I have learned 4 things as I have been in this process.

1. Hunger doesn’t always mean I am hungry– We all know that sometimes it is easy to raid the pantry or give in to tempation because we may be bored or something just tastes good. Over time, as I innocently gave into the idol I worshipped, the control I thought I had was given over to something inanimate. An object that has no personality or thoughts was controling the way I thought and functioned. I believe God desires more from me.

2. It’s okay to want something and not get it– This is a hard lesson for many people to learn. I can’t tell you how many times I would have sold a kidney on the black market for a piece of cake or a doughnut, but each time I said no I felt like I was taking control away from the enemy and allowed the one who created my body to do what He intended for me. I believe God will provide.

3.  A serving size is enough– When I started making a plan for eating and snacking at work, I knew that almonds were going to be a good choice for me. They are a healthy snack, and quite tasty. The first few days, I missed somthing very important…16 almonds is a serving size. Did you know that? 16 measly almonds is how much one person is supposed to eat…then stop…in one sitting. I don’t like that…I want to keep eating until I feel completely full, but…16 almonds it is *sigh*. I think this teaches me a lesson. Sometimes I think more and more and more is barely enough…sometimes I think too much is almost lacking. I always want to fill the void with other things other than what I know the truth is. More almonds will be there later. So, I only eat 16 almonds. I have “almond time” 2 times a day. I have learned to be content with that, and I am loving it. I believe God can be trusted and His way is right.

4. Darkness makes me hungry– I have learned to not eat before I go to bed. This is because the hunger will never end if this beast is appeased. Traditionally, I have had massive cravings for sweets in the evening…the idol was worshipped more at night than any other time. There is something to think about here. In darkness sin multiples. This is because sin is easy to conceal when the lights are out…figuratively. The problem is sin doesn’t happen in darkness necessarily, but actually brings the darkness. Then the offender feels alone and a deeper hatred for oneself occurs. I believe God wants me to declare victory!

The first few days were very hard, because my habits kept begging me for a second chance. They have had their chance and they did not bring fulfillment. It is time to embrace enough, and continue to run after Jesus! More to come. Keep praying!

7 lbs down so far.

-Landon DeCrastos

Storming Hell

I have always been fascinated by fantasy movies. When I was young, my favorite movie was “The Neverending Story”. I liked the portrayal of good versus evil in these types of movies and the fact that the storylines are not bound by physics or known history. Sometimes, I feel as if it is easier to convey a larger message, in a metaphorical sense, when one can make up fictional characters and abilities. People watching these movies can also extrapolate personal messages that speak to them from the content of these films.

In the second Lord of the Rings movie, an interesting transition occurs when the heroic main characters are caught in a giant battle against the enemy. They were outnumbered and they lacked the necessary stoutness of weaponry needed to defeat the evil that was on the offensive. Earlier in the movie, the main characters had made friends with a tribe of creatures that resembled large trees. These trees rejected the idea that they could be of any help in this inevitable battle…they were a peaceful tribe and did not want to meddle in things that didn’t concern them.

Toward the end of the movie, the battle raged between good and evil, and it seemed as if the darkness had the upper hand. At that moment, these large tree-like creatures rushed in to add their strength to the battle, and that provided the force needed to overcome.

When I reflect on this general concept, I can’t help but think about the Church (body of Christ) within the last few decades. We have become spiritual pacifists, unwilling to lend our might to the battle raging directly in front of us. We are convinced that the deterioration of this world does not concern us, because we are simply waiting for Christ to return. The battle against evil (and we were reminded this week that evil does indeed exist) seems to be a fight we are losing.

When the churches wakes up (empowered by God) and finally lends her hand to the fight…the force will be so overwhelming that evil will not even have time to draw its sword.

I am looking forward to that day….the day when we will wake up and storm the gates of Hell together.

-Landon DeCrastos

Don’t Wait for Life

Does God want us to sin? It seems like an odd question, but if we really think about it there is some validity to this inquiry . We know that God gets great joy out of seeing someone who is far away from Him repent. The Church also benefits greatly from this action.

So, is it wrong to assume that God sets us up for destruction just so He can redeem us? And, is this redemption only temporary in hopes that the Christian will slip once again and come back to God?

These seem like uncomfortable questions and our brains know the right answers to these questions. Sometimes, however, our actions tell a different answer. If these things were true then the action of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross would have been a waste of time.

Jesus came and died so that we could be free from sin. His death on the cross defeated sin’s power, and gave humanity the ability to flee our slavery from it. What does this mean?

It means that we do not have to sin. We do not have to keep ourselves in a bondage that erodes our soul. We do not have to feel the emptiness that comes with insatiable desire. Most of all, we do not have fear a physical death.  If we have to sin in order to live, then this Christian life is obsolete.

Here is the catch…God is the only one who can give us the resources to conquer.

If the Bible is right when it says that the wages of sin is death, then that implies that our consequence (whether good of bad) begins here on earth. If eternal life, for instance, begins on earth then we can assume that this life doesn’t just “pause” every once in a while because it is under construction.

Eternal life doesn’t stop, and we can embrace it now and continue to live in it. Constant confession, a humble attitude, and a desire to be closer to God assure that we will be successful at this kind of life. Constant confession puts us back on track. A humble attitude eliminates pride. A desire to be closer to God keeps us on the right trajectory.

So, the point of this post is simple… We may mess up from time to time, and we may find periods of weakness. The hope comes when we realize that God has given us a way out of this cycle. We do not have to fall away from Him, but if we do, He will restore us.

-Landon DeCrastos

Battling

In the book of Genesis, the serpent tempts Eve to sin by asking a very important question. “Did God really say…? This phrase was said by the serpent in the Garden of Eden to make Eve question God’s word.

At the time, he was asking if God really said not to eat from any tree in the garden (knowing it was only one particular tree). Then, the serpent questions the severity of God’s consequences (surely you won’t die).

So, the first couple sinned not because they indulged in fruit but because they disobeyed God concerning this action. They missed the mark in this regard for many reasons, and these reasons had nothing to do with being hungry.

What causes sin to win battles in our hearts, minds, and actions? Understanding this may help us to avoid future pain, and even set us up for healing.

Sin gestates in our lives when we become prideful about our spiritual situation. “I can avoid temptation on my own”, we say to ourselves…or, “if I can just discipline myself, then I can resist.”

We also see this occur when we deceive ourselves into becoming entitled to the desired results of our sin. Finally, as implied earlier in this post, we subconsciously doubt God’s sufficiency and thus ignore His promises (His word).

There is hope in all of this. If we humbly approach God, give Him control, and rest in His promises, then we will find victory from sin and healing from pain.

Wait…did I just say victory from sin? Uh ohh……now we are getting into some controversial stuff……Well, at least with the next post we will.

-Landon DeCrastos