Why the Devil LOVES the Popular Song Entitled “My Nigga” and the Website “WorldstarHipHop”

Very rarely do I attempt to write on a societal issue that is directed toward a certain culture or can be interpreted as toward a particular race. There is never any registering in my mind to do so. God has always led my passion to mainly focus on my universal family of believers, as well as future eternal matters and even having lovely talks with the atheists of this world.

With that said, there is a very popular hip-hop song that came out fairly recent entitled “My Nigga”. Ummm, really??? Catchy beat + great hook = SUCCESS! 50 million Youtube views, in the Billboards. Also, the popularity of the website “WorldstarHipHop” has boomed. This is a Youtube-like website that recommends daily videos to watch. While a few videos are positive – a great majority consist of publicly uploaded videos of brawls, visually/lyrically explicit music videos, embracing thug life, twerking, and other things of the like. This is sad. While this has always been around, the troubling feeling is the current “efficient ease of access”. There is now a structured website that hands out this crushingly negative information. This, in turn, quickens the psychological game that is ultimately being played by the powers of Satan.

(Note: I am NOT referencing ALL hip-hop music as bad; NOR am I depicting the African American race/subculture as negative in any way. My goal is not to derogate those two topics, but to gently and carefully increase our awareness of what Satan is twisting in this domain of urban culture)

What used to be a slow and tedious process of injecting misogyny, encouraging violence, thwarting education, inspiring jail time, and praising egotism in numerous ways over time… can now be found in a single musical song. Or, more efficiently, in a quintessential website.

May the dark underworld rejoice at this profound time! They worked long and hard for moments like these. May they take a lunch break from their quest to further the universal acceptance of all evils – they are dancing as they triumph over this current victory. A victory of domino effects.

What is extra devastating is that it is hard for a person inside that lifestyle to see flaws. Sometimes things can be seen dimly but it is very tough to see the sinfulness inside a bubble if what you have always seen is inside that bubble. There is no standard to relate to. The sinfulness becomes normalized and looses its evil stench. Now that God has graciously taken me out from that paradigm I can see the scary flaws inside the bubble most clearly. However, before I went to college, I was in that bubble almost everything seemed normal. Just as a kid in the slums of India plays in the mud and finds it fun … so did I find that music and culture as a way of life. If someone would have came up to me and told me otherwise, I would have classified them as weird. And I was in the AP and honors classes! So you know some miscues social miscues are at play here. How do we fix this when it is so rampant and deeply in the urban ethos? Where is the hope and mercy? It overwhelms me at times.

Firstly, the sin is not in the music. It is in our hearts (Matthew 15:19). The origin of music can be explained by the usage of it in heaven (Revelation 5:8-9, 14:2-3). Because there is music in heaven (and because God is to be praised, Psalm 95-105), we have an inherent earthly desire for it. Which is why the scriptures continually push us to sing and make joyful music for the Lord. Something is us is longing to be satisfied. When we hear a song that we like there is a strong sense of a celestial experience. The Avett Brothers, Kanye West, Brad Paisley, and Coldplay do that for me … wow, my ears fell in love at first soundwave. My emotions would physically stir within me, as my brain would soak in the lyrics and random combination of instruments. Funny, it doesn’t take long for a new song to grow “old” on me.  In heaven, to the contrary, there will be no humdrum of hearing. We will never get tired of the His music because His infinite glory will cause the extinction of “dullness” as we know it.

Satan has slowly and steadily been working on our culture and society to develop what we currently accept as music. His slow artwork on the American ethos has been ever-so progressing closer and closer to a larger “collective” acceptance of sin. We need to be better aware of his plots in music, TV shows, movies, online, marriages, political systems, etc. Oddly enough, Satan doesn’t have to do much anymore. He used to have to drive the wheel for us. Lately, it seems we have been in a state where Satan can be more inclined to sit back and relax and let the sinfulness of man (i.e, Total Depravity) take the wheel of the bus as it uncontrollably heads toward a ditch.

Anyone that is in or around that culture, please hear this: You are not stuck. Keep.Getting.Up. With our Savior Jesus by our side, we know that the outcome of it all is secure. The cross is where love and mercy meet. How long will it take for us to accept what is freely given to us? Again, the sin is in our hearts. But Ephesians 1:19-20 is going to say that the same great immeasurable power that God worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead is also in those of US that believe!!! Now let’s grab that … let’s grab it, think it out and eat it. For those who believe, the same power that raised a beaten/torn Jesus from the dead is now at work in us. In the deepest sector of our being…the power of God is working and chiseling away the sinfulness and making us more and more holy. This gives our sin-filled society, a much-needed glimpse of holiness and joy. This is why we do not celebrate us, we celebrate Him. Faith heals and trusting God empowers in a way that has historically changed entire cultures. You lose, Satan.

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Satan vs Toy Story 2

Toy Story 2 Characters HD wallpaper for Wide 16:10 5:3 Widescreen WHXGA WQXGA WUXGA WXGA WGA ; HD 16:9 High Definition WQHD QWXGA 1080p 900p 720p QHD nHD ; Other 3:2 DVGA HVGA HQVGA devices ( Apple PowerBook G4 iPhone 4 3G 3GS iPod Touch ) ; Mobile WVGA iPhone PSP - WVGA WQVGA Smartphone ( HTC Samsung Sony Ericsson LG Vertu MIO ) HVGA Smartphone ( Apple iPhone iPod BlackBerry HTC Samsung Nokia ) Sony PSP Zune HD Zen ;

Toy Story came out in 1995 and completely revolutionized my view of movies.  As a kid, that was the first time I had seen a movie with such meaningful depth that still kept me laughing. My parents bought the VHS for my two brothers and I and we wore that tape out. To this very day, I can still feel the chills from the scene where Buzz Lightyear sadly realizes that he is only a toy. I still cringe at the sight of Sid, who is quite analogous of a young Adolf Hitler.  However, at the end of the movie… youthful joy wins. We can ALL admit that after watching that movie we believed our toys could secretly talk. Honestly, a small part of me still believes to this day. Weird.

Cutting back to the story – To the beloved surprise of my brothers and I, in November of 1999 Toy Story 2 was set to come out in theaters. Needless to say, we were beyond ecstatic. At that age we had no idea that there were possibilities of “movie sequels.” The only certainties we Imageknew were that Kel loved orange soda and that Are You Afraid of the Dark was based on true stories. Therefore, with our apparent limited scope, we knew nothing of Toy Story 2 until the day before it came out. My brothers and I ran to our father and told him this once-in-a-lifetime news. Surely he’d be as excited as us. I remember it as if it were yesterday. Our dad was sitting on the old blue sofa reading the newspaper. We jumped onto his lap and interrupted everything to ask if he could take us to the movie theater to see Toy Story 2 the next day. He paused for about 3 seconds……and said yes. A yes!! We asked again to make sure we heard correctly. And again, yes! We freaked out, haha. Freaked out is an understatement. We then went into another room and watched Toy Story 1 for preparation work.

The next morning we were still rampantly on fire, being extra “good boys” that day. As the evening drew near, we approached our newspaper-reading papa again.  We asked him what time we’re leaving…our eyes gleaming of excitement…but what happened next I have never forgotten to this day. He looked at us with the confused look and told us no. Stunned and taken back for a few seconds, we pleadingly asked him again, but his facial expression this time made it very clear that we were not going. To our utter dismay, our father had completely changed his mind. The hurtful feeling in that instant was piercing. It is a funny thing, ya know, how we can remember the most random occurrences from our childhood. For some reason they stick with us. For some reason, I never quite shook that residue one off.

To make one thing clear, my dad was and still is a great father. He has happily done numerous things for us and I love him. However, that particular clip in my life has stuck with me and I can see glimpses of how it has affected my walk with Christ. Many times I will come to God with the feeling of, “Oh, he doesn’t want to be bothered with me. He doesn’t care that much.” It has negatively affected my intimate walk with Christ and at times tremendously hindered my prayer life.

We need to understand that Satan is extremely crafty and sneaky. His craftiness is beyond human ability. Back in 1999, what Satan did in that instant was grab hold of a short clip of my life and he turned it into a fundamental negative way of thought of how I view a father. Something as quick and innocent as my father changing his mind, Satan has used to skew my view of the nature and character of the loving, triune God. Scripture claims that God wants for us to pray to him unceasingly (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Ephesians 6:18, Colossians 4:2). Therefore, somewhere within His numinous character and nature, He has a will for wanting prayer that it runs contrary to how my earthly dad reacted to us that very day. This is why Satan would find it opportune to make sure that I always remember what my father did. Touche Satan, touché.

This is not the first time in history that this has ever happened. We all seem to still remember the simplest things from our childhood. Things that still affect us to this day – both positive and negative. If we focus, we can trace many of our insecurities and weaknesses today back to a single experience or something said to us in the past. For instance, if I were one of Satan’s demons, it would be ineffective for me to outright tell a girl that she should have image issues and not trust God. But it would be effective to have her stumble upon a revealing Cover Girl commercial at an early age. Then the next day when a boy jokingly picks on her class I would have all her classmates laugh at her… longer than usual. That way, she’ll subconsciously remember that piercing feeling. Not exactly what the boy said…but just how it felt. She will never want to feel that way ever again. The rest is history. Eventually, when she is older she wouldn’t want anything to do with God because, come on, what man would want a girl like her. Do you see all the subtle lies there? That voice would whisper in her ears for years. That is what Satan and the powers of darkness would whisper to her for many years to come.

Luckily we have Truth that combats those lies. Truth that tells me that I have a heavenly Father that wants me to come to him and talk about “Toy Story 2”. We all have a Father who cares. Hebrews 4:13 describes Him as a Father that knows us. Nothing is hidden from Him. He knew that I would like Toy Story 2 before I was born. Because he wired me for it. Isaiah 62:6-7 claims that God is so serious about wanting us to bother him in prayer that he has appointed people to do exactly that. To pester him and keep knocking on his door. He says to GIVE HIM NO REST. This is foreign to me because not only is He saying that I can ask him about Toy Story…but that he also delights in my asking. #MindBlown

We must be watchful of Satan’s schemes. It would be wise to notice what memories that he grabs hold on to in our lives. How blessed are we that we have a Father who thoroughly knows each of us and offers freedom. Who cares about You. His glory and majesty outweighs all things. May we not neglect such a great salvation that is offered to us.

Other verses used: Luke 11:9-12, James 4:2, Hebrews 2:1-4, Romans 12:12

My Latest Fear (A Spiritual Warfare Tale)

Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

2 Corinthians 10:3,4  For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

Scripture similar to these two verses have been resonating in my mind over and over for the past week now. The mystery and wonder of spiritual warfare is something that is plainly & naturally spoken of throughout the Bible. I’ve been in Raleigh for two weeks now and currently have a temporary roommate. He’s a real cool guy, just not a believer. We talk about sports, movies, our hometowns, share life stories, etc. A few minutes into meeting him, I called him a hippie and said he should propose to his girlfriend. His face kinda turned red, haha. It was enjoyable.

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For the past week I have been wrestling with why I have yet to talk to him about Jesus Christ. I’ve been to 3 different churches and 2 different small groups, but have yet to invite him to either. The fear overcomes me every time. It’s so odd. On the other hand, I can talk to him about anything else and even direct the conversation wherever I want it to go and however deep I want it to go, without any fear…..unless it has to do with the God. How the heck is this possible???? Why do I get nervous anytime I speak to an unbeliever??

Now those of you who know me, know that “fear of people” is NOT a part of my make-up. When I was born, I did not get that gene. I’ve said some random, spontaneous, outlandish & nonsensical things to people (i.e people I just meet, family, other Christians, friends, professors, bosses, random elderly people, etc..). Without regret. As a side-note, it is never anything bad or demeaning.

Here’s my point, the root cause of this fear in me  in proclaiming the Gospel truth to my new friend is spiritual warfare. It is not chemicals in my body that have evolved from natural selection, as some atheists would say. Neither is it my insecurity (unless I’m talking to a girl that I believe is terribly cute, but that’s an entirely different type of nervousness).Image In 2 months I may never see him again, so no need for insecurity, right.

In the moments I spend thinking about talking to a certain unbeliever about Jesus, can mentally/emotionally feel a pull within myself that causes me to sometimes give up on the matter. There ARE “rulers and authorities and cosmic powers” not of this world that give me this fear and the Holy Spirit in me is fighting against them. If my flesh were to try to do what the Spirit is actually doing, my flesh would loose the war, in some form or fashion, every time. My roommate knows I’m a Christian. And I’m sure I’ve set a good example for him. And I can speak theology and say “God saves and does his will despite the failures and insecurities of man.” But that would be a cop-out for me right now. To simply put it, I care deeply for the guy already. There is a duty to be done. At the end of the day God has a call on me that is to Himself & for Himself for the building of the body of Christ…which will be for my good, my spiritual growth, and my friend’s eternal joy. Obedience is tough though. But with more and more practice, it becomes easier. It then creates a lifestyle in us that automatically becomes more missional in all that we do. With more obedience comes more freedom.

I’ll end with a personal story I experienced this year.

By far the scariest, most horrific night of my life was one that occurred late last Spring Semester. It was around 12:45am on a Saturday night, the weekend before the new Avengers movie came out. I was in my bed listening to the snippet of a Matt Chandler sermon. My roommates, Ed and Matt, were out of town and my other roommate Jon had just gotten back. My door was closed shut. I turned my lights & laptop off and laid down for bed with my head sideways on my pillow. With only about 30 seconds of trying to sleep, I feel…..I repeat, I feel a hand press down on my face and slowly drag itself towards my ear. I can still vividly remember how his hand was positioned. I intimately felt the texture & pressure of it. It was not a pleasant, angel-like feeling. It was cold and felt dark. This Imageoccurred for about 3 long seconds. The 3 seconds after that, the following thoughts quickly went through my head:

1) What the crap is Matt doing in my room playing around? Wait Matt wouldn’t do this at this time of night. Wait…Matt’s not even here.

2) Ed is out of town….

3) Jon, with his personality, would never do this to me.

4) Wait, my door has been closed and it’s pitch dark still. I heard no one enter my room.

At this point I leaped up and THREW the covers completely off the bed. I pleaded ‘who is it.’  I began yelling ‘what are you doing’ and hoping someone would just answer. I expected a random dude or burglar to attack me so I positioned for a fight. I still couldn’t see anything with it being totally dark. But after 6 long seconds I got no answer and frantically ran out my bedroom door and started banging on Jon’s door. His light was on so I knew he was still awake. But I was frickin’ banging the bolts off of his door and yelling for him to come out. He opened it and he immediately saw something was wrong. I was so out of breath. I told him someone is in my room. Without thinking, he pulls a shotgun out of his room (the dude is from Sumter, SC….nuff said) and we quickly went back to my room.

But deep inside of me I knew I had lied to him. I knew no physical person was in there. It was practically impossible. But I thought if I convinced Jon there was, then hopefully there actually was. Jon and I checked everywhere in my room and called for the guy to come out. I was still bending over out of breath. I can’t remember who admitted it first, but we soon knew it had been a demon. I’d heard many stories about demons but never experienced it, which made me a skeptic. We prayed and prayed and prayed that in Jesus’ name it would leave. I could barely think straight. Everything of our physical world that I’ve always known of became drastically small. It was crumbling down before my eyes within a 3-mintue time frame. I became aware, firsthand, to the realities of the spiritual world. Not just some verses we skip over in the Bible.

Quite frankly, I felt helpless. Sleeping that night was the hardest I’ve ever had it. I felt the weight (mental, physical, emotional) on myself. The only thing that helped was the fact that I kept thinking if the spiritual world were true, then that makes Christ even more true. All things are mine according to scripture because I am on Christ and Christ is of God. And my faith was strengthened and was growing by the second. What the Satan’s buddies intended for bad, God used for good. The demonic-world aspect of spiritual warfare is a very rampant occurrence in places like Africa, China, and many 3rd-world countries where Christianity tires to flourish. It’s not really in America because we have Youtube, iPads, Lindsay Lohan, the prosperity gospel, and football games that can take our focus away from Christ. The devil just loves that; makes his life a breeze.

Even as YOU read this very very true story I just told….of course, there is a part of you that does not want to believe it. If you keen in on that feeling, you’ll realize that that same wrestling feeling you’re having within yourself is just like mine with my roommate. It’s all a wrestle. The powers of darkness do not want you to have faith. Period.

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So we’re going to need the Holy Spirit’s power in this or we’ll fall short every time. He does not practice witchcraft. He is God and luckily we’ve got Him (The Spirit) within us. So proclaim the gospel and live it well around nonbelievers. There is no need to be nervous because the war is not between us and people, but with spirits not of this world. The Triune God is contending FOR us. And God wins, as always.

 1 Peter 5:8,9  Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.