Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Book of Eli Review: Warning contains spoilers*

I was hesitant to see this movie because I'm no longer a fan or rated R or violence. I like to keep it PG and under. But after reading a fellow Christian blogger talk about it and how it has a great message. I felt compelled to check it out.

For the record, sorry it has taken so long to post this, but I have had tons of stuff going on.

My husband and I went to see it on our date night and we were in agreement that if it got to be too much we would leave. Well I'm so glad we saw this movie! There was a little more violence than I would have liked, but it was fantastic.

Quick synopsis: Eli (Denzel Washington) has been traveling for 30 years to the "west" in order to bring a specific set of people the book he carries. He comes across a town where Carnegie is in charge (Gary Oldman) who has been looking for the book since the great war. Every copy of the book had been destroyed because it was considered powerful. Carnegie finds out Eli has the book and tries to take it from him.

Spoilers start here:
Most people already know that the book Eli is carrying is the Bible. It was so amazing to see the devotion and care he took to protect it. I also took note that it was the only book that was destroyed completely. They had made mention of its power, its message, and that it started the war. It really felt like more of a glimpse of the future than a movie. How many people in the last days will be so threatened by the Word of God that they will go to great lengths to destroy the message of hope?

Another part of the movie that spoke to me was when Eli was describing how he found the book. He said he heard a voice telling him where to go that was coming from inside him not around him. Wow! The Holy Spirit speaks to us in this manner and I really think they (filmmakers, screenwriters, and actors) did a great job of portraying the communication with God that Christians feel in a respectable manner. Basically they didn't make us out to be crazy people that "hear voices".

I almost cried at the end when he could recite the whole bible from memory. I want that kind of devotion to the Word to where I can recite what the Lord has written. This movie more affirmed my faith than tore it down like most movies these days do. It really inspired me to go home and read my Bible.

I will not endorse this as a family movie in anyway. There are plenty of parts they could have done without in my opinion, but I thought it was great for couples and for those that like action and love the Lord.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Love vs. Lust

Something I left out of my previous post was the study about lust. I read a Facebook Status update from Doug Stringer who quoted Edwin Louis Cole - "Love desires to give at the expense of self, while lust desires to get at the expense of others." Powerful statement, no? It got me thinking about lust.

Is lust purely sexual? I did some digging and how we define lust in our human understanding is predominantly sexual. But in the Concordance and the Biblical definition lust is anything that causes us to obsess to the point of sin.
Colossians 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. As you can see in this passage, sexual immorality is seperate from lust.

That is alot of stuff covered under one word. Addictions, hobbies, sports, impure thoughts... The list can go on. What do I have in my life that causes me to obsess to the point of sin? Definitely food. Food to me is comfort, but it causes me to sin by eating things that are bad for me and to obsess about what I'm going to have at my next meal.

Doing crafts can become a sin if I don't give God all the glory and credit. If I am solely thinking about what project I want to do next, there is no room for God. I try to ask God what He would want me work on, then work on that while praying and praising. It's a slippery slope because it's easy to fall into the trap of "look at me" or "I don't have time for reading my Bible, I have too much to do."

When you think about it in these terms, lust sets up idols in our lives.
1 John 2:16
For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.

The difference between love and lust is Spirit vs flesh, Godly vs wordly. I know I need to submit to the Lord for freedom from my lusts of this world and be solely focused on Him and His commandments.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

True Love

My husband is the leader of our Altar Builders (church small group) and we were discussing what to talk about tomorrow. I suggested a study on the Fruit of the Spirit. He is going to let me take the reins tomorrow and teach which makes me a little nervous.

Of course I love the Fruit of the Spirit and what it represents. Hence the name of the blog. Once I went in depth into each aspect, I never would have imagined what I would find. I started with love which will be our focus tomorrow.

Love is basically the entry level position of the Fruit of the Spirit and by far the most important. If you do not love how can the others grow?

I looked up what love means on, in the Strong's Concordance, and of course in the Bible. In our limited human understanding of love, alot of the definitions mean feelings and emotions. I found one definition that really stuck out to me: A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.

How interesting. We love our spouse because of the underlying oneness and commitment we share, the underlying oneness we have with our friends is that we share things in common, the underlying oneness we share with family is blood and background. What about others in the body of Christ, we share the Holy Spirit. Even those we may think rub us the wrong way, we are to love them because of that oneness. Let's go a little further, what about the unsaved. Our oneness is that we are all sinners and we are created by a loving God. Christ died for them as well as us. We are called to love everyone, even people we don't feel are worthy of our love, but I'm skipping ahead, more on that in a moment.

When I looked up love in the Concordance, it is translated from the Greek word #26, Agape (uh-gah-pay). I love the word agape. In greek it means: love, benevolence, affection. When you just look up the word agape (uh-gay-p) it means wide open. Funny how the Greek meaning and the English meaning have a similar correlation. Benevolence means desire to do good for others while affection means fond attachement or devotion. Agape as the English term means wide open as in a gate, but just look at the wide open portion for just a moment. When we love how should we act and what should our heart condition be? We should be wide open to recieve and to give. Freely I recieve, freely I give.

The Greek Agape type of love does not have any physical conotation to it. It's not lustful, self seeking, or does not try to exploit. It speaks of a love that you give to everyone despite their willingness to accept it or the fact that they deserve it or not. Agape is more about the person doing the loving rather than the person being loved. This is how God loves us and how he wants us to love others. It's seeing everyone through His eyes.

A friend of mine really inspired me to study love because she said that love is neither a feeling nor an emotion. She asked me to read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Yep, not a mention of feeling or emotion in there.

So if we are supposed to love everyone that we feel an underlying oneness with an agape love what does that mean? Being patient with them, being kind to them, not envying them, not boasting or proud, not being rude to them, not being self-seeking, etc. Whoa that is a tall order! But God wouldn't command us to do that if He didn't think we could do it. I know I fall short everday with everyone. Do I show love to the waitress who gets my order wrong, do I show love to the friend who is late, do I show love to the person who cut me off in traffic, do I show love to God when His plans and my plans don't match up? My poor husband alone has to deal with me being selfish, impatient, rude, score-keeping and so on.

All I know now after researching love is that I want to do all these things. I want to be a better lover to everyone, especially God.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Not the end of the story, pt. 2

So I had my surgery. I have been super busy and have wanted to share this story in its entirety. I wanted to have all the facts and figures before I shared. This will be a long post, so bear with me.

I will start at the beginning:

I was a "sick person" since I was a child. I got sick very easy. I have had stomach issues for as long as I can remember. I found out a year ago that it was due to my scoliosis. Scoliosis is an unnatural curvature of the spine that basically pinches off nerves and kills them. When the nerves cannot communicate with the rest of the body those areas tend to become weak, ill, or completely die. I have been going to a wellness chiropractor for help with basically jump starting my body. A wellness chiropractor focuses on treating the main reason why you are sick which is your body not being able to function properly due to subluxations in the spine and neck.

Fast forward to Tuesday Feb. 2,

The day before I was to go into my surgery, a woman at my church emailed me and asked if I could come into church that evening so they could pray for me. I agreed wholeheartedly. I love to be prayed for before something major happens. Well to put it lightly something major did happen!

I got there and three women started praying for me. They began praying for healing and restoration. For the surgeons to be blessed. Then one of the women said "I pray for Alex's body to be lined up with the word of God and that her nervous system is able to function properly." I stopped them and said I have scoliosis.

So they began to focus on my back. They laid hands on my spine and prayed. I felt a shifting taking place. I felt muscles begin to pull. It burned and it was painful. I told them and they had me stand up. One woman told me she heard the Lord saying that He wanted to put me to sleep like Adam when He took his rib to make Eve. So she prayed that over me and my back went numb. It was as if the Lord had given me a local anesthetic. I was trembling and they sat me back down. The Lord gave me a vision of a rose, but I didn't mention it at that moment to the others.

They prayed for the spirit of death to be broken off of me and I felt something leave my torso. It was very surreal. They then walked me into the santuary where the Tuesday night Intercessory Worship team was playing so I could soak in the Word. I laid on some chairs at the back while I felt my back shifting and lengthening. I opened my eyes at one point and looked up and I saw an angel standing over me. He was looking into my eyes. It was a split second and then I could not see him anymore, even though I knew he was still there. I felt so peaceful.

They continued to pray over me as I sat, laid, or stood while the Lord adjusted my back. At one point it felt like my neck was in traction at the chiropractors office. I could not move it while the Lord was working on my healing. Close to the end, I felt a burning in the cyst on my right ovary. It felt like fire.

After two hours of prayer and healing I was able to walk around freely. I felt GREAT! I have never felt that good in my whole life. I had always had pain walking and standing because of my back. I did not have pain from the cyst pressing on organs. It was awesome!

I was able to tell a few people what had happened and I was in hopeful anticipation of the next day! I asked the women that prayed for me, what the vision of the rose meant and they said it is life. The Lord was giving me life.

Feb 3 (It's no coincidence that this happened on my husbands and my two year "re-birth" day. We were saved two years ago on Feb. 3, 2008.)
I went in for my surgery and I asked if they could do an ultrasound before cutting me open and they said no. My mother asked why I wanted one and I said that the Lord had healed me and I didn't think they needed to do a cystectomy. My mother, how I love her, did not believe me.

So they went in anyway. When I woke up and my husband said, "Hey guess what? The cyst shriveled up, collapsed on itself and was basically empty!" I just laughed. THE LORD IS GOOD! A week later at my post op appointment, even my doctor was amazed. She said that cysts don't do that. That it takes a long time for them to go away on their own. Woooohoooo! Praise the Lord!

As for my back, I went in for my 1 year x-rays at my chiropractor. I wanted the results right away. I looked at them and although my back was not completely straight, it was significantly straighter. I will tell you right now, that it was not the result of the chiropractic adjustments because I had only gone to get adjustments 4 or 5 times since my last x-rays two months ago. It was all the LORD!

My chiropractor, who is an awesome man of God was even amazed. He said I basically had two years worth of adjustments since my last x-rays. My neck is strong and the muscles are being restored. My posture is greatly improved. My husband measured me and I am a whole inch taller. I went from 5'3" to 5'4"! And boy what a difference an inch makes!

So for anyone who says, the Lord does not work in miracles, I am here to say YES HE DOES! I have copies of my x-rays and pictures of my empty cyst as proof. I am so humbled and honored that the Lord chose me for this testimony. That He trusts me enough to give me something that will encourage many.

So when I said in my last post that there was more the Lord wanted to teach me through my miscarriage, this is it! He had to prepare my heart to recieve this amazing blessing and testimony to share with others. Freely I recieve and freely I give.

I'm standing on the promise that my spine will be straight, that I will walk in 100% health very soon. I walk in freedom from the spirit of death and of fear. I am so blessed!

Is there something you need healing for? Health issues, heart break, loss? Please feel free to comment. I want to pray in agreement with you.

There is more to share that I will share over the next few weeks.