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Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolutions


Welcome to the last day of 2012. Are you ready to put an old year to bed and awaken to a brand new one? I know I am.
It’s become custom somewhere along the way to make resolutions on New Year’s Eve for improving the self in the new year. Do you do that?
Ever wonder why there are so many jokes about why they don’t stick? Why they don’t, in fact, stick?
Here’s my theory, based on some things I’ve been reading lately.
We are under the assumption that Free Will, the gift of choice, is power, when it’s really simply opening the door to power.
Let me explain.
So, you make a ‘resolution’ – you make a choice to improve something about yourself over the course of a year. Something revolutionary and life-changing and positive.
Good. You have the Free Will to make that choice – to decide to improve.
However, the reason we so often fail is that after making the choice, we believe that we can accomplish this resolution in our own power. And that is impossible according to the nature of self.
Don’t mistake me. The choice is important. Very, crucially, vitally important to reaching goals.
But it is not in and of itself power. The proverbial will-power is actually no power at all.
Power comes from an actual power-source – the only One that can do anything to improve our fleshly selves. And that Power only starts working when the door is opened by your choice.
See the difference?
We, especially we Americans, hate to depend on anyone. We have a heritage that is taught as being self-won. Nothing could be further from the Truth. It is actually dependence on the Power Source – the One True God – that accomplishes any resolution, personal or universal.
Therefore, making a choice is a good step, but it’s just the first step. The second step is depend upon the right power source to fulfill that resolution – depend on God, and God alone.
Yep – it’s scary. No doubt about it. And without question, His methods will take you far beyond your comfort zone. However, if you really want to succeed in those resolutions, His way will be the only guarantee.
And if your resolutions are not guaranteed – what’s the point of making them in the first place?
Be encouraged, Dry Ground friends! 2013 is the Lord’s, if you make the choice to give it to Him. Happy New Year!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Quiet Man


Whenever the Biblical Joseph comes up in conversation – and you know he does all the time – I immediately think of the son of Jacob who was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, falsely accused of rape, forgotten in a dungeon and then finally appointed as second in command of all of Egypt. Great life application throughout that story for sure!
But… there’s another prominent Joseph in Scripture that consistently, in my opinion, gets the short end of the shepherd staff. And round about this time of year may be just the right time to bring him up.
Joseph, as in Mary’s Joseph, as in Jesus’ legal earthly father – you know, Joseph.
He lived in incredible times, the most incredible time in history. He had a front row seat. But he was no bystander, no simple observer, no mere member of the peanut gallery. No, Joseph’s role was critical. And it wasn’t easy.
To begin with, he was but a poor carpenter. The only thing he had going for him was his heritage – the line of King David himself. I imagine his expectations for life were humble – set up shop, marry a local gal, have children. Nothing outrageous or lofty. In fact, his engagement to Mary was probably a highlight – whether arranged or not, I’d like to think he was looking forward to becoming a husband.
Imagine, then, especially in light of their culture, when he found out that his Mary was pregnant – long before their wedding, long before he ever gave a thought to ‘being’ with her in the Biblical sense. Devastation doesn’t even begin to describe it. Ruined just scratches the surface. Crushed, pulverized, heartbroken – He had the ‘right’ of the culture to stone her. But Joseph must have been deeply kind-hearted because in the midst of humiliation and grief, he chose to ‘divorce her quietly.’
If that hadn’t been excruciating enough, God asked more of him. He asked Joseph to marry her anyway.
Take a second to think on that. You think Joseph just shrugged and said, “Yea, sure, whatever you say”? I’m thinking not! I’m thinking he agonized over this.
But he obeyed.
But he didn’t just obey. He believed and cared for his Mary responsibly, dare I hope tenderly?
Still, it wasn’t easy. Of course there would be a call for census just when the baby was about to come. What a harrowing journey that must have been. We’re not talking a walk around the block. We’re talking at least four days but probably more to go 80 miles, and traveling those days was always dangerous for one reason or another. Any of you 8-month-plus pregnant gals out there want to give that a shot? Any of you men want to be responsible for that trip? Yea, me neither.
And then not to have a place to stay. Did Joseph lament over his station that couldn’t ‘buy’ a room – *wink*wink* - and that the King of his people would be born in a stable not a palace? I’m also thinking he didn’t have access to a doctor or a midwife during this all-too-human birthing. How solid of a man did this Joseph have to be to get through all of this?
Using what little we know of Joseph, who it says in the Bible was ‘known as the father of Jesus’ (not a bad rep in my opinion), plus a healthy but steeped in reality imagination, I’ve decided that I really, really admire him. Shoot, I like him. A lot.
Here’s this guy who stands just outside the limelight. He’s suffered for his faith and his kindness. And yet he’s legally and spiritually responsible for the King of the Universe, GOD in human flesh, God’s Son. He wisely listens and obeys when via dreams and visions God helps him with this responsibility, including moving his entire family to Egypt to protect Jesus from King Herod’s maniac, greed-infested slaughter of innocent baby boys under the age of two.
Just think, what would have happened had Joseph not been the good and faithful man he was? He had free will. He wasn’t super-human or God’s robot. But he was God’s called, for a specific and crucial purpose, and he knew it.
Do you feel like you’ve spent your life just shy of the limelight? Have you suffered in seemingly needless fashion – a broken heart, a senseless loss, an unfair twist of circumstances or outright betrayal of evil people? Do you feel insignificant or forgotten?
Listen here… Joseph, Mary’s Joseph, had more reason than most to turn bitter, rant at God, chose himself for once. But… he didn’t. And thank God for that! After all, he enabled God’s plan of salvation for you and me to manifest and come to fruition. He did what God, in all His wisdom and knowledge and perfection, asked of him.
And we should too. You never know what part of history you play by humble obedience, devotion, and service.
Hope you all had a blessed Christmas, Dry Ground friends!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Monsters in the Bathtub


 A few weeks back, I encountered a massive spider in my shower. This monster was big enough to look me in the eye at my first, frozen frightened gawk when I discovered him – disrobed, water warmed up, about to dunk my head underneath the steaming stream.
After that split-second, arrested moment, adrenaline kicked in and I booked it from the shower. In my reserved way of exclaiming any emotion, I say, “Oh, oh. That’s a big one,” as I search for means to remedy my dilemma. I have few tools at my disposal because I’m in the bathroom ready to take a shower!
Thankfully, my Daniel knows me well enough to recognize the alarm in my tone and came to the rescue. My apologies to all the creatures-large-and-small-creepy-or-crawly advocates out there, but my personal monster met his end drowning in a watery grave down the drain.
For days after, I diligently searched the entire tub/shower area before starting the water each morning… just in case another monster showed up or in case the one I saw pulled a Freddie or Jason on me. It could have been a fluke, but better safe than sorry, right? I kept a weather eye out.
Until…
Time passed.
Every day, I get less and less vigilant. Until I’m usually half way through my shower before I remember that I should have checked for monsters first.
Evil is like that spider. It lurks, hides, surprises, frightens, and harms. It’s there whether we see it or not. It shows its face without warning, usually after we’ve had time to sink back into a comfort zone of false security. It can strike us personally or in our community, leaving us reeling and wondering where it came from.
We employ a few resources to prevent or vanquish this evil when it pops up, or in the days after when our vigilance remains on guard – methods of control that seem to work but are actually mere Band-Aids for fatal wounds.
What makes us think that we, mortal sons and daughters of Adam, have any authority over the cosmic force of evil?
The only solution to evil is holiness.
The only road to holiness is relationship with The Holy One, the only sinless, omniscient, eternal God. Through the Good News of the Gospel, the account of all that Jesus has done for us, we are miraculously and mercifully placed on that road to holiness. Not because of anything we can do for ourselves but because of the Gift of God. The gift He gave us for Christmas on the first Christmas a little over 2000 years ago.
The road of holiness is not void of obstacles or enemy combatants. We are pursued even more because our enemy, and we do have an enemy – an insanely determined and vicious one in fact – will do anything to get us off this road, to keep us from reaching the Holy City and eternal life with our King of Kings. For this reason, vigilance is essential. And we are not left defenseless. The Holy One has given us tools, armor and weapons, and the best of all – His Presence. He’s got our backs. If we let Him.
I urge you to allow the message of Christmas and all that it entails and promises into your hearts this Season. If you have allowed that message to transform your hearts, take the time to rejoice in it as you celebrate the incredible moment God’s Gift stepped foot on Earth.
Merry Christmas, Dry Ground friends!

Friday, December 21, 2012

End of the World?


 So, if you’re reading this, I guess we’re safe – fire and brimstone are not coming today. Unless Australia has been wiped off the globe and we are yet to hear of it.
I kind of figured. The Bible says in Matthew that no one knows the day or the hour the Lord will return and make a few changes around here.
Still, today is the last day for some of us, whether we know it at this moment or not. Because the Bible also says that it is appointed for man to die once, and then the judgment (Heb. 9:26-28). All our minutes, including the final ones, are written in heavenly realms and known intimately by the Perfect Lover, so really, we have no cause to fear – if we know Him.
This world isn’t our home anyway. If it were, if this was all we had, then there would be every reason to fear as well as no opportunity for hope. Reality is, however, that life far greater and in an incredibly better place awaits us who have faith in Jesus.
It’s no secret, as I’ve expressed here many times and in many ways, that one view I have of Jesus is that of betrothed beloved – the Perfect Lover. So, the end of the world would mean that our wedding is nigh! And I would want to make sure I was dressed appropriately – spotless white – eagerly looking for the face of my groom standing at the end of that aisle of light, welcoming me into His eternal home.
Since that day could literally be any day for any one of us, wouldn’t it be wise to think on it every day? Be ready every day? Anticipate every day? Live for His glory every day? Love more every day? If we did, wouldn’t living in this fallen world be just a little bit better?
I think so anyway.
This is how Jesus put it… Matthew 25:1-13. (CLICK to read.)
Happy Friday before Christmas, Dry Ground friends! Only four more days!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Good Shepherd


In the Bible, people are often referred to as sheep. Several analogies and parables speak to the comparisons, intent on helping us understand our relationship with the Shepherd.
Well, in today’s urban society, with little to no knowledge on shepherding, we relate poorly to this analogy. But it isn’t just our cultural situation that impedes us. I think our pride has lots to do with it. Throw it out there that we act like sheep – a.k.a. dumb and blind followers – well, we take it as an insult. And there ends the analogy. We toss it out – baby, bathwater and all. The modern human cannot abide being so thoughtlessly degraded.
But so much can be gained from properly viewing this comparison of people and sheep. If we can lay aside our offenses for a moment – we might just find some insight, and quite possibly comfort and guidance as well. (Imagine that!)
The recent awfulness in CT got me thinking on this – all the questions and outrage over the appearance of evil in such an innocent setting – an elementary school – a kindergarten class no less. Truly horrifying and wrong. And I don’t pretend to know causes or presume to assign blame. I’m not trying to do that here. I’m just saying that it got me thinking.
There are many logical reasons why sheep need a shepherd. I would trade the word ‘dumb’ for ‘sensitive’ and propose that their limited perspective on the world – mainly the tiny patch of grass under their noses - keeps them from seeing clearly or fully. A shepherd stands heads above the flock, and therefore able to see much further and wider and more inclusively.
But it isn’t just the perspective of the sheep that makes them vulnerable. It is their value that requires constant guarding. A nasty, ferocious, determined enemy – usually a lion or wolf – passionately desires to devour as many sheep as possible. This craving is base, violent, and devoid of any moral save that of satiating its bloodlust. He values each sheep based on his consumption.
Unfortunately, a sheep has no resources whatsoever to defend itself from an attack of this nature. None. Zero. By nature, they are absolutely, 100% defenseless. Literal sitting ducks. Without the watchful care of a shepherd, the sheep have no chance of survival, let alone a peaceful life.
Thankfully, the Shepherd also values his flock. They are his prized possessions, his wealth, his livelihood. His desire for each one of them is born from genuine love and a heart-deep responsibility to care for and preserve life. He values his flock so much, he is willing to stand between it and any attacker, even die defending them.
Why, then, would a sheep ever wander from the flock, out from the watchful (not to mention necessary) eye of the Shepherd?
Call it stupid if you want, but I guess there are thousands of reasons. The grass looks better in that other meadow, it isn’t really that far outside the protection of the flock so surely it is close enough to be safe, perhaps lambs have adventurous spirits and simply follow tantalizing scents on the wind… who knows. But they do – they wander. And therefore, expose themselves to unspeakable dangers.
Now, the shepherd values each sheep so highly, and the danger of a solitary sheep far outweighs that of the collective flock, that he will leave the others to find this one wanderer. His grace extends way beyond our comprehension.
Here’s what I’ve never heard of before, though – a wandering sheep, encountering the evils of solitude, in grave danger and in need of rescue – I’ve never heard of that sheep refusing to be rescued when the shepherd shows up. Nor have I heard of the sheep accusing the shepherd of allowing it to wander, or ignoring it, or not coming to the rescue sooner. And I’ve never heard of a sheep encountering a wolf or a lion shouting at the shepherd, “Stay back! I’ve got this! I’m going to conquer this villain on my own!” while the monster gnaws on the sheep’s hind leg.
Nope. You won’t hear of those things happening.
So why do we, as humans, do it? In light of being compared to sheep, why do we think that in our defenseless condition, we can possibly vanquish evil on our own? Only under the care of God’s shepherding hand are we ever to be safe, secure, content, provided for, loved. But we’ve wandered – individually and as a group – away from the shepherd’s watchful eye. We’ve made excuses and chased our own importance in the name of ‘rights’ or ‘freedom’ without regard to His principles and commands that are only there to keep us safe in the first place – safe from what awaits us outside of His holiness.
When will we remember that we are valued beyond imagination – even to the extent that our shepherd, even though we’ve wandered again and again, has and continues to stand between us and our vicious enemy – even unto death.
I’m brimming with much more, but this is already getting too long for one day. I encourage you, though, to think on it and also to read 1Peter. Much of what he says in that letter/book speak to this issue, giving insightful reasons why, in the grand scheme of things, I am proud – overjoyed, really – to be… a sheep.
Are you?
Less than a week until Christmas! Wahoo!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Emmanuel, God with Us

Prayers and sympathies to the families affected in Newtown, CT this past Friday.
I don't like re-inventing the wheel, so to speak. So when I heard this clip, instead of writing my thoughts that were so very similar, I figured sharing this would be more efficient. I hope you take a few minutes to listen. Thanks, Dry Ground friends. Be blessed, love more, hug some necks!
(If no video is shown, CLICK HERE to go to link.)


Monday, December 10, 2012

Smiling's My Favorite



I love this commercial. No matter how I feel when I see it, I have to smile. In my opinion, that makes it brilliant. Smiles, laughter, lightheartedness are all contagious! If we allow it to catch on, if we pass it along, maybe the effects will spread. I wish you this kind of day!  Don't sweat the Christmas preparations or the Monday morning blues or the workplace deadline. Find something to smile about. I bet you'll see something if you just take a second to look. Happy Monday, Dry Ground friends! Emphasis on the HAPPY!



Proverbs 17:22 - A cheerful heart is good medicine...
(photo by photobucket.com)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Whew! What a week. I hope you've had a good one. Now it's time for Happy Weekending! Take my chinny's lead and get some rest.
Gen. 2:2 - By the seventh day, God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day, He rested from all His work.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Taste and See


I have probably mentioned it before – I’m not what is known as a ‘good’ cook. Over the years, I’ve gotten better, and I’m even enjoying it a little more now. But if we’re having company, I leave the kitchen reins in my Daniel’s hands for sure!
Good food is especially on my mind around Christmas. I imagine a long, traditional dining room table full of scrumptious fare, the ‘good’ china, a seasonal table cloth and candelabras encircled with pinecones and holly. Sort of Norman Rockwell-esque, right? Sitting down to savor each lovely morsel of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, biscuits, vegetables, and pie sounds super good right now. Of course, it’s all the better with every high-backed chair occupied with loved ones.
I’d say most of us will experience something of the sort in a couple weeks – probably even multiple times. I hope so!
But as I picture that scene, a verse comes to mind that leads me to a question…
The verse is pretty well known – Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the Lord is good…”
The question is – do I? Do I taste each morsel the Lord gives me from His Word with as much savor as I would a Christmas feast? Does my mouth water with longing and anticipation at the thought of hearing His Word? Do I internalize and digest it, allowing it to nourish and sustain me?
Just some food for thought. *smile*
Hope your week goes well, Dry Ground friends! Be blessed!
Oh, hey – 20 days until Christmas!!! Wow!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Heart Condition


I wasn’t going to say anything. Some things spark an angry flare in me, and I have to vent. My Daniel listens, usually agrees, and then that’s the end of it. But this time…
Here’s the spark – during Sunday Night Football last night at the end of half time show, Bob Costas commented on the tragic murder/suicide incident endured by the Kansas City Chiefs this past weekend. I was appalled when he ended up blaming our ‘current gun culture.’
I don’t usually comment on issues that are considered ‘political’ as I know that a multitude of opinions out there exist and I’d rather search for uniting concepts. Plus, I’m a terrible debater and don’t wish to engage in one. But Bob’s comments made me too mad. Not because I’m so attached to my ‘right’ to bear arms in this country, which is still hanging on by a thread, but because blaming something like this on access to guns ignores the real, much more important issue in this case. The same issue plaguing so many other tragic events we hear about, read about, maybe even experience.
Is it not true that, murders are committed with a variety of weapons – knives, poisons, water in bathtubs, electricity, steep stairwells, blunt objects like tire irons and crystal vases, arson, car ‘accidents,’ even bare hands?
The issue here is not the instrument of violence. There are far too many such instruments to completely sterilize our society from hurting ourselves and each other. If the individual is so inclined, the act will ensure. Therefore, the issue here is the condition of the heart.
The Bible mentions the heart nearly 1000 times. It talks of pure and upright hearts, it warns against hardened and evil hearts. It talks about writing the law of the Lord on the heart, and harboring bitterness in the heart. The condition of the heart is very, VERY important. It provides ‘life’ in far more ways than simply pumping blood through our veins.
I’m not judging this NFL player who died. I cannot say that he was evil to have committed this crime. In fact, it sounds like he was more troubled and lost than anything. When is this Nation going to wake up and see that God’s peace is the only healing factor that could have done anything to persuade this unfortunate man toward peace?
Perhaps not having access to a gun would have prevented or just postponed this tragedy, or ones like it – Aurora movie theatre for example. Or perhaps a sick heart will find a way to act out no matter what instrument is in hand.
So let’s start addressing the heart of the issue. Let’s start loving, caring, giving up a little time to be genuine friends, form sincere relationships – even with people seeming to rebuff our attempts. Let’s stop getting offended or standing behind religious traditions that divide rather than unite and start basing our liberties on Jesus Christ. And for God’s sake, let’s stop blaming inanimate, moral-less objects, using tragedies to advance a ‘political’ platform, and start taking responsibility for the condition of the heart. 
Thank you, Dry Ground friends, for letting me express these thoughts that well up in my own heart. Don’t worry – I don’t plan on renaming this blog “Lori’s Soapbox Hour.”
Have a great week. And please consider investing in the life of those you have contact with this week.
Proverbs 4:23 – Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Phil 4:7 – The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Col 3:1, 15 - …set your hearts on things above… Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body we were called to be peace.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Rise of the Guardians


Much more than just another holiday movie, Rise of the Guardians paints a beautiful, entertaining, symbolic picture of faith verses fear that impressed me very much.
The focal character of the story is Jack Frost. He awakes from what he can only explain as ‘darkness’ sporting special abilities given him by the moon. But Mr. Moon will not verbalize his intentions or Jack’s purpose. So, for 300 years, he causes mischief, but not all the bad kind. He has an uncanny way of helping kids smile.
One day, due to some sinister doings of the Boogy Man himself, Pitch Black, Jack is called on to become a Guardian, joining a team of like legends including – Santa Claus (they call him ‘North’), the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, and the Tooth Fairy. Jack is unconvinced that he has anything in common with such company, and is still a bit miffed at the Man in the Moon for telling the Guardians about his purpose instead of just telling him. However, he sticks around long enough to discover more about himself and his calling in life than he could ever imagined or hoped for.
While the story is not groundbreaking or completely original, two things stand out and make this film masterful. First, clever characterization of well-known and well-loved holiday icons brings them to life in a whole new way. I mean, who can resist an Easter bunny voiced by Hugh Jackman, more jack rabbit than Peter Cottontail, who has serious ninja moves with those magic boomerangs? Oh yeah… that’s what I’m talking about!
The second thing is its animation, especially seen as intended in digital. Crisp, sparkling, perfection. It is dazzling to watch, to experience.
What I like most, though, is the message. Faith eclipses fear – simple as that, but demonstrated in a clear, tangible, magical way. And before you get too hung up on the ‘magical’ part or the concern that this story glorifies secular representations of a couple sacred holidays, I see the band of Guardians more as characters each representing an aspect or trait of the One True God. Taken as a whole, taken symbolically, the Truth is present. Vivid, even.
So… truly a film the whole family can enjoy, I suggest you make a date to see Rise of the Guardians.
Happy Weekending, Dry Ground friends! Be blessed!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Oldie but a Goodie


The Road Not Taken – by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.

(photo by yours truly)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Musing I Hope’s Not Confusing


I love that God created us with so many different personalities and expressions thereof. And that our relationships with Him are so individual and personalized. And that our standing with Him does not depend on us having a certain personality or the diversity of our personalities, but depends completely on His character and love and unchanging holiness.
Let’s take the subject of Thanksgiving, since we are coming off the annual weekend of gratitude. How do you express thanks to God? Are you loud and demonstrative? Or reserved yet sincere? Does thanks come in the form of tears perhaps? Or shouts? Or maybe just a smile of true contentment?
Here are two historical occurrences, recorded in the Bible, about two different but equally thankful people whom Jesus touched in a profound way.
First is the story of the tenth leper found in Luke chapter 17. (CLICK to read the whole story) Basically, ten lepers were standing on the side of the road, far enough away to comply with the laws of the day concerning those suffering from this highly contagious and debilitating disease. All ten were calling out to Jesus as He passed, begging for mercy. Jesus healed them and they went on their way rejoicing. Of the ten, only one went back to Jesus after being cleared by the priest (the official ‘proof’ or seal of being healed) and demonstrated his thankfulness by falling at Jesus’ feet and shouting in a loud voice His praises to God. If we had any concept of the magnitude of his healing, we could understand why this man made such an outward show of his thanks.
Second story is of the woman with the alabaster jar found in Luke 7. (CLICK to read the whole story) Though still a public display, this woman, who had led a sinful life, anointed Jesus feet and head with very expensive oil then shed tears of gratitude over Him and dried them away with her own hair. Overcome by the love Jesus had shown her in forgiving a life she had always known was unforgivable, her heartfelt demonstration of thanks involved tears, not shouts.
I believe both of these people were equally thankful. Their expressions, though different, showed the depths of their gratitude, the sincerity of their changed hearts. Neither expression impressed Jesus more or less. Each touched Him on the individual basis of His relationship with them.
I guess what I’m trying to say is people are different and God is holy. There’s one true God who is the same yesterday, today and forever. He doesn’t change. But we are all different, as designed by this one true God, and our expressions of love and thanks will be as unique as our own fingerprints and heartbeats. We get mixed up sometimes, placing ourselves in the center, having everyone else, including God, revolve around us and how we see things. This not only skews our perspective of God and temps us to mold Him into our image (totally backwards) but also puts us at odds with people.
I am not trying erase right and wrong here. The opposite actually. I’m trying to say that God has right and wrong in His possession. We have the freedom to celebrate Him and commune with Him on an individual, intimate basis.
When we grasp this, we might just start to love people as God wishes we would.
Happy Monday, Dry Ground friends! Be blessed!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving


The Bible uses the words ‘thank,’ ‘thanks,’ ‘thanksgiving,’ and ‘praise’ hundreds of times. Why do you think that is?
Well, the easy answer is that it is because God wants us to be thankful – all the time no matter what.
That’s true.
But from a human perspective, that seems as unobtainable as the command that we be ‘perfect’ as Christ is perfect.
Funny thing I learned – that’s true too.
The unobtainable part. It is impossible to be perfect without Jesus, which is the point. I wonder why humanity’s quest from the beginning of time has been to be perfect alone?
That’s a different subject. My question is why does the Bible implore us so much to be thankful? Is it just another bar set too high that we wave up at from flat on our backs?
Nope. I don’t think so.
God tells us to thank and praise in all things because He knows that life is going to hit us hard, throw up roadblocks, demolish our house of cards. He knows. And so… He lovingly and mercifully equips us to combat the blues that accompany the hard knocks of life. In telling us to thank and praise in all things, He’s telling us how to survive and be victorious over the rough patches, the sad moments, even the unthinkably catastrophic.
Because we are humans with limited perspective and intense emotions, giving thanks is often the very last thing we think of doing or want to do. It is hard to give thanks. I can think of some situations different people I know are going through, and boy oh boy, giving thanks is definitely not on the agenda if I were them.
However, God’s Word tells us to do it because it works. Thanksgiving, gratitude, and praise are the only remedy for a broken heart. How intimately loving of the Father to give us such a tool.
While it is lovely to gather with family and friends during the Thanksgiving Holiday, eat, lounge, play, nap, and list off the things you are thankful for, resolve to maintain an attitude of gratitude all year long. It is the best way to ensure life, and life more abundant.
Happy Thanksgiving, Dry Ground friends!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Breaking Dawn part 2 Movie Review


(CLICK HERE for the previous chapter of How Reading a Vampire Book Gave Me a Picture of the Holy Spirit)
The theatrical conclusion to the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn 2, comes in a gift-wrapped box with a tidy bow. But that’s just a disguise for the jack-in-the-box surprise. The result signs, seals and delivers an exciting finale for not only die-hard Twi-fans but also movie-goers in general, providing much more action and better effects than anyone expected.
Perhaps the reason this film works has something to do with the camaraderie of the cast. It looked like a family reunion – just not of all the obscure, awkward relatives. Here we have all the beautiful people, used to each other, fond of each other, and aware that this is the last one. They have proven all that’s needed, relaxing them into better versions of themselves. It’s much easier to watch and it presents the story in a purer way. Of course, it helps that the new additions are cut from the same cloth.
Fans of the book will see key scenes, including Bella’s arm wrestling match with Emmett. The pace has a Goldilocks doing the tango feel – sometimes too slow (too much standing around), sometimes too fast (skipping or condensing elements that would have been nice to see), but much of the time just right (covering all the bases perfectly).
The ‘twist’ everyone is talking about isn’t really what I’d call a twist. I hope I’m not spoiling anything to define it more as an ‘interpretation.’ And it works. Gasps sound collectively across the theatre, the intended reaction I’m sure, and I must admit I admire its cleverness. Not only for its shock value, but because it translated a story that occurs chiefly in Bella’s head into the visible world of action.
I had a few favorite moments. Carter Burwell returns to score, adding familiar melodies that lace each of the movies together to embody the true sense of the word ‘saga.’ Billy Burke, who plays Bella’s father Charlie Swan, has little screen time, but his moments are classic Charlie and add well-timed smiles. I love how they did the final scene during which, as those who read the book know, Edward reads Bella’s mind for the first time. It serves as a surprisingly non-cheesy recap of the entire saga, leaving the audience with the appropriate warm-fuzzy, lovey feeling. And then the credits impressed me as they showed picture and name of all the cast members in each of the five films. I thought that was classy.
Well, that’s a wrap! Thanks for taking this journey with me, Dry Ground friends. It has truly meant a lot to me.

Friday, November 16, 2012

As surprising as it may be to you, Dry Ground friends, there are a few things I consider more valuable than catching the first showing of a Twilight movie. *smile* See, we've been battling a bug in our household for the past week. It is so close to being gone, that I did not want to jeopardize health and consequently an event scheduled for Sunday that I'm very much looking forward to. Therefore, I did not stay up all night to watch Breaking Dawn 2 last night. I will see it soon, though, and I expect an review to be posted here by Monday morning.

In the meantime, and I wanted a chance to share this anyway so in my POV it works out just right, listen to this Mercy Me song from their latest album. Keeping in mind the Twilight Saga and the blog posts here about it and the real story we're invited to live with our Perfect Lover Jesus, I felt strongly that this song summed it up perfectly. "Just when I I'd seen it all, new mercy breaks the dawn...with my eyes open wide..." Well, you'll hear, and the lyrics are included. I hope you enjoy. And then listen again and take it to heart.




Happy Weekending, DG Friends! Be blessed!
(photo by photobucket.com)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How Reading a Vampire Book Showed Me a Picture of the Holy Spirit - Made New


(CLICK HERE for previous chapter.)
Up to this point, the Breaking Dawn story has been wrought with pain and suffering. While reading, you wonder if the beloved and the lover will ever have peace, a happily ever after, the dawning of a day that leave all storms behind. In such a story, I have garnered a picture of the Holy Spirit, and thus perhaps also given the impression that pain and suffering is all you get when you allow Him into your life.

Because in that darkest hour, when the unbearable fire rages on and you experience a misery that is beyond comprehension or explanation, you cry out to a God you used to think was Great and Good. And yet here you burn. Unmercifully. At that moment, where is the evidence that God is Love, that He cares, that His Word – like when He says all things work together for your good – is true? What proof can you point to, in that agonizing moment, that God isn’t dead, or if He isn’t that he hasn’t abandoned you? That, in His sovereignty, He’s allowed this fiery ordeal, this heinous trial, this catastrophic calamity and yet still desires for you to Praise Him? How can you trust a God like that?
I can answer that by pointing to the Breaking Dawn story.
Consider Edward’s motives for injecting his searing, painful, fiery venom into Bella’s veins. #1 - to save her life. #2 - something she willingly desired, to transform her into his likeness. So it is with our Perfect Lover Jesus.
You see, Bella wakes up from this death. And when she does, she’s perfect, whole, improved, transformed. In a manner of speaking, she’s ‘sanctified.’ Her old self has been burnt up and all that remains is her new, indestructible, immortal self.
The first thing she says is, “Everything was so clear.” What she means is that every sense has improved a million percent. She hears everything all at once but distinctly, near and far. She smells fragrances in the air including the essences of her family members surrounding her. She tastes everything she smells which just enhances its impact. She feels every fiber and texture to its individual cell, its precise temperature. And she sees every detail down to the dust motes floating in shafts of sunshine. Although she marvels at the fact that there is so much to look at, she knows that “Edward’s face was the most important thing…” Here’s how she describes it:
The greater part of my senses and my mind were still focused on Edward’s face. I had never seen it before this second. … I may as well have been blind. For the first time, with the dimming shadows and limiting weakness of humanity taken off my eyes, I saw his face. I gasped… I needed better words.” (BD, pg. 390)
It reminded me of… 1 Corinthians 13:12 – “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” This verse talks about the moment we wake up in Heaven, having passed through literal death into the eternal life He’s promised, and being able to see clearly. Without the encumbrances of this fallen world and our sinful selves, we’ll be able to see our Perfect Lover as He’s always been – perfect in love. And like Bella, our first words to Him will undoubtedly be – I love You.
But the hope of Heaven is not the only hope we have. We also awaken in this life to newness within the process of sanctification. From each trial we face, we emerge stronger, wiser, connected on a deeper level with our Perfect Lover, equipped with gifts to benefit the fellowship of believers and witness to the lost. While the pain of our experiences never fully subsides, perhaps like Bella’s scorching bloodlust thirst that constantly burns in her throat, our new selves are improved and capable of much more than we ever thought possible. While we still face barriers and resistance, like Bella having to defend her family and the Truth of Renesmee to the Volturi, we are better equipped to stand in the power of our Perfect Lover having been filled with His Holy Spirit. Without having experienced the fire, we would be defenseless against life’s oppositions, just as Bella would have been in the battle at the end of Breaking Dawn without having first been transformed into a vampire – if she hadn’t become ‘like’ her perfect lover.
The dual illustration in this story allows us a perspective on our process of sanctification that begins the moment we accept our Perfect Lover’s hand in covenant union and lasts into and throughout eternity. It’s the picture of the reality we experience as we are transformed from mortal to immortal, destructible to indestructible, sin-full to purified by holy fire – all because of the perfect love our Perfect Lover has for us.
Let me conclude with this – please take the time to read it because it says it all:
“There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory.
It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.
The Scriptures tell us, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living person.’ But the last Adam – that is, Christ – is a life-giving Spirit. What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. Adam, the first man, was made form the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man.
What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.
But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.
Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” 1 Corinthians 15:40-58
Well, one thing remains – review of the final Twilight Saga movie – Breaking Dawn part 2, which I hope to have here on Friday. See you then! Be blessed, Dry Ground friends!
CLICK HERE for my review of the movie!
(photos by photobucket.com)

Monday, November 12, 2012

How Reading a Vampire Book Showed Me a Picture of the Holy Spirit - ...and Then Comes Death in the Land of the Living


CLICK HERE for previous chapter.
1 Peter 4:12-13 – Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.

 If you’ve never experienced a ‘fiery ordeal’ (I call it ‘death in the land of the living’), it will be difficult to comprehend this section. More than a wilderness experience, more than a simple test of faith or commitment, this purification process is like metamorphosis. A complete and forever change resulting in becoming ‘like’ the Perfect Lover.  
Bella has just delivered Renesmee, quite unconventionally, leaving her split open, broken and dying. Edward, however, has injected his venom – a.k.a. Agent Change and, might I add, a physical part of himself that is also the essence or ‘spirit’ of what makes him who he is– into Bella’s heart. He also has administered a massive dose of morphine in hopes that the fire of his venom making the change will not agonize her as much as is expected.
But, as we find out, that just makes matters worse because it paralyzes and forces her to suffer everything without an outlet, completely silent and still. Note, in the case of Agent Change, any attempt to lessen pain usually makes it worse.
Anyway, at this point in the story, we switch back to Bella’s perspective. So, even though her family only sees an unmoving and unresponsive Bella lying on a hospital bed, we get a first hand look at how she is feeling during this process transforming her from human to vampire, from mortal to immortal, to become ‘like’ her perfect lover.
Her first thoughts – “The pain was bewildering.”
Though she tries to divorce herself from it, she describes reality as feeling like, “…being sawed in half, hit by a bus, punched by a prize-fighter, trampled by bulls, and submerged in acid… all at the same time.” (BD, p369) While attempting to make sense of what she calls ‘torture,’ she can’t remember the importance of enduring it.
Oh… but right at that moment, she visualizes an image of Renesmee. The gift of life she fought for. The thought doesn’t ease her suffering, but the memory gives her hope.
Still, misery rages on. To her, it feels like blackness, a crushing weight, a fire so hot that ripping her heart out seemed preferable – anything to stop the pain. She lamented the immobilizing morphine, because “If I couldn’t scream, how could I tell them to kill me? All I wanted was to die.” (BD, p377) This continues for what to Bella seems like eternity. The only change comes when agony increases, doubled she says.
Oh… but right at that moment, she feels “some broken connection had been healed – knitted together by the scorching fingers in the flame.” (BD p378) She might not realize it just then, but her mortal injuries (i.e. broken spine) have just been mended. Painful as it is, the process is leading her toward restored, whole life.
However, all she feels is continuous, raging fire searing her insides.
Oh… but then she makes a discovery – she feels stronger. This is how she describes it:
Though the fire had not decreased one tiny degree – in fact I began to develop a new capacity for experiencing it, new sensitivity to appreciate, separately, each blistering tongue of flame that licked through my veins – I discovered that I could think around it… I could remember the reason why I’d committed to enduring this unendurable agony. I could remember that, though it felt impossible now, there was something that might be worth the torture… This happened just in time to hold on…”  (BD, p378)
The change is significant, because, she says, “…it felt like I’d gone from being tied to the stake as I burned, to gripping that stake to hold myself in the fire.” Though more difficult than anything she’d experienced, and more painful than anything she’d ever faced – even evil vampire James breaking her leg with his bare hands back in book one – Bella finds determination to complete the process, to desire any and all pain necessary to accomplish becoming ‘like’ her perfect lover.
The other significant difference is now that she has regained some of her senses, allowing her to reach a little outside herself for the first time since the process began, she hears Edward next to her. She realizes and is comforted by the fact that he is present and has been the whole time. His love has never wavered, and he’s been watching over her during each agonizing second.
I get so emotional at this point in the story because I know exactly how Bella feels. No, I’ve never had vampire venom coursing through my veins, but I have experienced fiery ordeals that left me identifying too closely with her. From the intensity to the never-ending duration, I’ve experienced that overwhelming load and darkness and searing pain that left me wishing for death, begging for anything short of ripping out my heart for relief. Not physical pain, I am so thankful to report (though some people do suffer physical maladies as part of their refining). But emotional, mental, spiritual – oh, yea, I’ve felt the flames. And just when I thought trouble was about to stop, or should stop, that I deserved for it to stop, hardship intensified, doubled in weight, felt like despair was about to crush my spirit if not my entire life.
During those fiery ordeals, the last thing I wanted to remember was 1 Peter 4. In fact, I am surprised to be feeling so forlorn and attacked. I’m not rejoicing for being singled out for trials I didn’t request or initiate. And I’m certainly not looking forward to nor am I interested at all in sharing in God’s glory. At the time, in the midst of misery, all I want is rescue from suffering. Adding insult to injury, I felt isolated, alone, forgotten, paralyzed, like no one understood what I was going through, nor did they care. I know now, of course, that’s not necessarily true, but in the heat of agony, I doubted everything and everyone. Including my Perfect Lover.
However, I experienced occasional moments of respite – anything from a kind word from the Taco Bell cashier to a surprise letter in the mail with a restaurant gift card tucked in – evidence of mercy like Bella remembering Renesmee, urging me along with glimpses of hope. Then, in the midst of the flames, I’d learn something – inspired from a sermon or a book or a movie - that healed wounds from my past, like the venom mending Bella’s spine. And after a long, long while, I learned I had a much deeper capacity for pain than I ever imagined. I realized I possessed God’s strength to weather these storms, even find bits of joy, like Bella discovered capacity to cope as well as appreciation for the fire.
Like Bella, each of these mercies happened for me ‘just in time to hold on.’ Just in time not to give up. Just in time to know God hadn’t abandoned me. He’d been watching over me every second, ensuring I survive the process.
No one boasts about suffering. The pain is indeed too bewildering to conjure up pride. And yet, the Bible tells us, “And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame [or in NLV – hope does not disappoint us], because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:2-5)
Please tell me you are seeing this! No matter how many times I visit this, I get goose bumps. Whew. There’s a purpose to this painful process and we can cling to His hope of eternal life because His Spirit does the work in us. According to Romans 8:18, the result promises to be worth the wait and the agony.
Okay, but when does the pain end?
Well, the end is imminent (closer than we can comprehend when we are in the midst of it), but here’s another heads up – Bella heard her family saying things like ‘It’s almost over,’ and ‘Soon,’ but instead of receding pain as she neared the process’s end, the pain intensifies to an almost unbearable degree.
Well, they don’t say “It’s darkest before the dawn” for nothing. Get it? Breaking Dawn. Yea. You get it.
See you Wednesday for more How Reading a Vampire Book Showed Me a Picture of the Holy Spirit. Only four more days until the movie opens! Do you have your midnight tickets yet?
CLICK HERE for the next chapter!

Friday, November 9, 2012

How Reading a Vampire Book Showed Me a Picture of the Holy Spirit - ...Then Comes Dying...



CLICK HERE for previous chapter.
Edward and Bella experience a few isolated moments of joy during her pregnancy, such as the first time Edward – using his mind-reading gift – ‘hears’ his child’s thoughts from Bella’s womb. But the trauma quotient skyrockets a little earlier than they planned. And of course, under the worst possible circumstances.

Simple math tallies the odds that stack up against them.
On the plus side, Bella has stabilized thanks to Jacob. Though disgusted by the entire circumstance, he can’t leave because of a powerful attraction he still has to his best friend (we find out why soon) and because he defected from his werewolf pack since they are bent on killing Bella and whatever it is she carries. Still, he jokingly guesses the reason, and thus the remedy, behind Bella’s starvation. I’ll spare the gory details, but since the baby is half-vampire, you can figure it out. As a result, everyone breathes easier. (Except the vampires who, in fact, don’t breathe. But you get my drift and hopefully my little attempt at vampire humor.)
But that’s where the positive column ends. Since the crisis began, the vampires had been sequestered to the house, not only by worry over Bella but also because of the angry werewolves surrounding the house bent on destroying anything that comes out of it. This prevented the vampires from hunting, and thus they were getting dangerously thirsty. When Bella stabilizes, three of them, including the only doctor among them, decide it wise to make a run for it so that when Bella’s time does come Dr. Cullen is physically prepared – a.k.a. not distracted (in a vampirely sense) by all the blood inevitable to childbirth.
Of course, it is when they are gone that Bella drops the cup from which she is drinking, reflexively jerks to catch it, and… S*N*A*P … the awkward motion shifts her living burden so violently that her spine breaks.Well, you can imagine what a critical set of events that induces.
And It Is Messy.
Panic launches Edward, Jacob, Rosalie, and Alice into immediate action. Bella is whisked into the pre-prepared delivery room. She shivers with convulsions, more bones crack, and she vomits blood. (Like I said… meeeesssssy.) The baby must be delivered within minutes or risk suffocation, but the embryo sack is supernaturally thick and impervious to normal medical tools. Edward wants to inject morphine into Bella to spare her the excruciating pain, but time doesn’t permit. Rosalie looses focus for half a second and almost goes full-blown vampire on Bella (which would have killed her) but Jacob stops her with one tackle. Bella wavers in and out of consciousness, frantic about her child’s life.
Chaos. Laced with panic and pain. And blood. Lots and lots of blood.
Just in time, and again I’ll spare some of the details, Edward delivers his daughter. Renesmee.
After regaining control, Rosalie appears and takes charge of the newborn, then leaves the room. Edward’s attention turns back to Bella – his beloved, his young bride, mother of his child – who now lie broken and lifeless, torn apart, drained of a significant amount of blood. He can hear her heart… barely… beating. Her eyes stare vacantly past his, unfocused, blank.
Dying.
This part of the story is told from Jacob’s perspective. The horrific scene he’s just witnessed does not compute with him, especially since he’s certain now that Bella will die. He’s hopeless, angry, and void of understanding – what was all the suffering for?
I’ve likened Jacob to the World before, and just like Jacob, the World questions us when we make decisions to protect the life our Perfect Lover has promised only to suffer gravely for doing so. The world’s perspective urges ease, comfort, path of least resistance, and anything at all that offers ‘happiness.’ From where they sit (outside the relationship with our Perfect Lover), suffering for love or life or principle is senseless, counter-productive and worthless. All they see is death.
Sometimes, as Christians, our circumstances cause such intense suffering, we are tempted to agree with them.
Been there?
Christians are neither impervious nor exempt from hardships. Being in a relationship with Jesus does not magically bubble us off from #1 – the fact that we are still flawed humans, and #2 – the world is still fallen, sinful and therefore full of the consequences of such. In fact, we can expect more than average hardships because #1 – the world does not understand us or in many cases hates us, so they persecute us, #2 – we are called to live by a holy standard that requires separation from the world’s philosophies and behaviors (Rom. 6), and #3 – the sanctification process is in nature a transformation from unholy to holy - like purifying silver or gold, it requires refining fire to accomplish, and that’s guaranteed to hurt. Just ask Job. (Job 1:6-12)
Imagine a seed. After being planted, it must die before it sprouts, grows and produces fruit. Forget the fertilizer, time, rains, and pruning a plant also must endure to develop life, it all starts with dying. (1 Cor. 15:36, 37; Jn 12:24-26)
So it is in the sanctification process. Dying to the old self. (Eph. 4: 22-24)
But remember the goal, what we’ve wanted all along – to become ‘like’ Him, our Perfect Lover. To experience life in Him, eternally, immortally.
Brokenness is the perfect, and I might even wager only, circumstance under which Agent Change operates because it is the only circumstance we are willing to accept the process of sanctification. The process that saves our lives.
That’s where Bella is post-delivery – the perfect moment for the change agent to be introduced not only to transform her into his likeness but to save her life. Edward doesn’t hesitate. He has a massive syringe ready, and stabs it directly into her heart.
Jacob, amidst the horror, asks, “What’s that?”
Edward responds, “My venom.”
Hope to see you Monday for the continuation of How Reading a Vampire Book Showed Me a Picture of the Holy Spirit. Have a good weekend, Dry Ground friends!
CLICK HERE for the next chapter.
(photos by photobucket.com)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How Reading a Vampire Book Showed Me a Picture of the Holy Spirit - First Comes Brokenness...


CLICK HERE for previous chapter.

Bella begins to reconsider her desire to become a vampire during her honeymoon. Maybe not the whole idea, but certainly the timing. She’s enjoying her ‘human’ experiences with her new husband far too much to think about the suffering she knows accompanies the transformation from human to vampire. It’s much easier to be with her Perfect Lover than to even think about becoming like him.
Like any other anticipation of discomfort, if we can find ways to delay it, we will. But in times of smooth sailing, we rarely have the capacity to choose such a transformation, especially if it in any way involves pain. Therefore, we first must be broken.
That opportunity crops up pretty quickly for the newlyweds. Edward and Bella enjoy precious little bliss after their wedding and into the honeymoon before crisis strikes. The unthinkable occurs, something none of the Cullens and certainly not Bella ever believed possible. Bella finds out that she is pregnant with her husband’s – a.ka. Edward the Vampire’s - child.
I must take two short rabbit holes before continuing – sort of ‘on the record’ thoughts. First, at this point in the story, I was disappointed in Edward for the first time. I totally get his protective nature over Bella and the horrors of what this creature could do to his new beloved bride, however his lack of concern for the child’s life irritated me. I guess, however, since I have worked in a crisis pregnancy center and have seen first hand – this isn’t an altogether unheard of response from a baby’s daddy. Oh, and the movie version (Breaking Dawn part 1) during which Edward is yelling at Bella about it! Ha! Sorry, but that was a screenwriter oops if you ask me. No matter what Edward is feeling, he’d NEVER yell at Bella like that. Sure, he apologized, but, eh… I digress. What I must make clear is that this part of the analogous Edward has nothing whatsoever to do with our Perfect Lover Jesus. He’s always and every time for life no matter what you have to do to fight for it. He’s the one who put it there in the first place – He’s the life-giver. And He knows/sees the bigger picture, which in Bella’s case leads her down the path of becoming like her beloved.
Second rabbit trail, and on a similar note, Bella’s fierce defense of her unborn child is admirable. The overtones make for a decided and pointed pro-life message that is refreshing and needed in today’s culture.
Alrighty then, moving on!
For those of you who don’t know the story, discovering the pregnancy cuts the honeymoon short and they rush home so the whole family, and particularly Dr. Cullen, can determine what exactly Bella carries. Their concern is that if the child is more vampire, he or she would not have the willpower to be a ‘veggie’ vampire like the Cullens, and therefore be an uncontrollable monster instead of cute little half-breed baby. In deciding what should be done, the majority vote is to destroy ‘it’ as soon as possible because of the catastrophic ‘what if’s. Bella, along with her new advocate buddy Rosalie, ward off the well-intentioned (which now that they are home from the honeymoon also includes best friend/werewolf Jacob) with fierce determination, set on carrying the child to term.
Despite the fears of what he or she could become once born, the immediate problem is as superhuman as the child is in at least half of its DNA, the baby grows at an exponential rate that wrecks havoc on Bella’s mortal body. In short, it is (unintentionally) killing her from the inside out. Besides breaking Bella’s ribs with every turn, the baby also drains Bella of all and any nutrients, starving her. Mere weeks from the discovery, Bella has become a hollowed out shell, living purely on the purpose to ensure her child lives.
Far from the paradise she envisioned when she wed her Perfect Lover, Bella’s unyielding commitment to life ironically leaves her broken.
Do you know how she feels?
The Bible never ever tells us that accepting our Perfect Lover Jesus will result in a perfect life. First of all, what does ‘perfect life’ even mean? But that’s neither here nor there. The point is, the Bible actually tells us to expect troubles. Sounds like a raw deal when you put it that way, eh?
But what we forget sometimes is that in marrying our Perfect Lover Jesus, we’re set on the path to birth life. And just like a normal human pregnancy, pain precedes that birth. We don’t get the life without the pain.
How determined are we to hold on to the life our Perfect Lover Jesus offers? Even if it is just the promise, before we can hold anything in our hands?
Do well-intentioned nay-sayers sway your determination? Are you ready to give up over a few broken bones? Will starvation convince you to throw in the towel?
Or do we do what Bella did – focus so completely on the outcome of life – that we accept any suffering necessary to make it reality?
Even if it means our death?
Keep your eye on the prize, Dry Ground friends! See you Friday for more How Reading a Vampire Book Showed Me a Picture of the Holy Spirit!
CLICK HERE for the next chapter.