Friday, February 24, 2012

And the Oscar Goes To…

This weekend is one of my favorites because the Oscars air Sunday. This year, I get to watch it on my birthday, which is a special treat.

I know, they’re political. They’ve stopped representing the actual best pictures of the year, in many opinions. However, the beauty of the film medium is its subjectivity, and I like to be witness to what ‘they’ consider reward-worthy movie-making. Disagreeing and agreeing is part of the fun… for me.

Also I like to rate the glamorous dresses worn on the red carpet.

Anyway, chances are you haven’t heard of much less seen many of the nine Best Picture nominations. Here they are…

Hugo – Seen, LOVED, would love to see it win but it probably won’t

The Artist – Seen, LOVED, has a chance of winning but may be bumped by…

The Descendents – Seen, not a fan, don’t see why it would win but has a good chance to

War Horse – Didn’t see, strangely don’t want to though I’ve heard good things, probably will eventually

The Help – Seen, LOVED, a fan fave but I don’t think it has a chance at Best Pic

The Tree of Life – Saw part of, need to be in a different mood to watch all, it’s…eclectic, artsy

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close –Didn’t see, would love to just haven’t had the time.

Moneyball – Seen, LOVED, no chance at Best Pic but a great movie nonetheless

Midnight in Paris – Seen, LOVED, more kudos for writing than anything, way to go Woody Allen.

So I guess we’ll find out Sunday. Well, I will anyway. For the record, I’d like to request Hugo to win big as a birthday present to me. OK? Thanks.

Have an enjoyable weekend, Dry Ground friends! Love ya’ll!

(photo by

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The “Holiness” Law

We all know the Law of Gravity. Simple. What goes up, must come down. Right?

In this universe, the all-respected and adhered-to ‘religion’ of science tells us that there are certain ‘laws’ that have been proven to exist and that’s just the way it is. Like Gravity.

Keeping that in mind, I’ve been reading the Old Testament lately. Started from the beginning and reading through, even the genealogy chapters and such. I want to know what’s in there and explore why. I read a chapter, then write down questions or observations I have, and sometimes even some revelations.

So I’ve been reading about God’s covenant with Moses and the people of Israel, specifically about the building of the Tabernacle, the place God would meet with His people.

It’s quite the specific blueprint God gives. From measurements and materials to design and décor, Moses is told exactly how to build this sacred house and who would be allowed in it and how they would be allowed to enter it and what they were to enter it for and what would happen if they didn’t follow His instructions.

Death. Usually. Death was the penalty for not following the instructions.

Geesh, you might exclaim under your breath. So many hoops to jump through. Perfection is required or lights out forever? Really? Isn’t that a little… extreme?

From our worldview where nothing is sacred and breaking the rules is deemed funny or heroic, I guess we would label it extreme.


God did not give the Tabernacle blueprint as a test to His people to see if they could follow rules, obtain perfection or entertain Him with all their hoop jumping. He gave the instructions because they were necessary if God was ever going to dwell among His chosen people, His beloved, His bride.

Why necessary? Because of His holiness.

God’s Holiness is like the Law of Gravity. It isn’t something He decides to do or be in order to make our lives difficult. It is what He is. And the fact is that Holiness has no choice but to kill sin and anything sinful. That’s just the Law of Holiness. That’s what Holiness does. It’s the effect of Holiness on sin.

Instead of thinking of God as a rule-wielding brut in the sky, try thinking of Him as the Perfect Lover. He loves His beloved so much, but as things stand, He is unable to dwell with her because of His holiness and her sin. He’d actually kill her if He got anywhere near her. But instead of shrugging His shoulders and giving up, He makes a way where there seems to be no way. In the Old Testament, that meant giving strenuous and specific instructions for the Tabernacle and all that took place there. This, however, only gives Him access to some of His beloved. So He forges a new covenant in Jesus, whose sacrificial actions bridged the cosmic chasm allowing the Lover to be one with His Beloved. It’s not that the Law of Holiness went away or changed, or that the beloved stopped being sinful. But Jesus gifts us His righteousness so that our sin’s atoned for, and therefore we do not die in the presence of Holiness.

Thank God for His blueprints. We’d do well for ourselves to follow them.

(photo by

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Label of Love

Last week, I wrote about letting love fix ‘it’ – it being everything in life we encounter that is broken, including ourselves.

But what does that look like? What is ‘love’ exactly?

Many acts are committed in the name of love, but not all of those acts are love or even define it accurately. Some wear the label of love but are the proverbial wolves in sheep clothing with the direct intention of leading us far from actual love.

To show it, or receive it for that matter, we need to know what love is, don’t we?

Well, aside from showing us in incredible ways, God also wrote down the definition so we can be sure of what He meant when He created and gave to us – Love.

Love is…



Not jealous

Not boastful

Not proud (aka haughty)

Not rude

Not demanding of its own way (aka forbearing, unselfish)

Not irritable (aka short-tempered)

Forgiving (aka keeps no record of wrong)

Dismayed with injustice (aka sin, evil)

Jubilant in Truth

Enduring (aka does not give up)



Steadfast (aka loyal despite circumstances)

If any act of ‘love’ lies outside these parameters, then the chances are that it is not love or loving at all.

This definition (found in 1 Corinthians 13) is not only there for us to know love when we see it, but also to show us how to give love to others.

Are our actions worthy of the label of love?

Another litmus test would be to compare actions to those of the Perfect Lover, Jesus Christ. His becoming human, dying on the cross and resurrecting from the grave are all actions of LOVE, a perfect example embodying every attribute of love listed above. He is the fulfillment of Love, the essence, the quintessence… that is why the Bible says He is Love.

If I were you, I wouldn’t settle for anything less.

(photo by

Friday, February 17, 2012

RIP Whitney

My favorite Whitney Houston song. RIP Whitney. I pray that you are indeed hastening to His throne even as we speak.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Let Love Fix It

Ever feel like someone’s trying to ‘fix’ you?

Or are you one of those talented in the art of ‘fixing’ others?

I spend lots of inside worry-time trying to fix people, myself at the top of the list. I hardly ever do anything about it because the other part of my personality keeps me minding my own business, to a fault really. But I wonder A LOT – what’s the right thing to do in this circumstance – whether it has to do with a personal choice or a rocky relationship or an implied duty… the situations are endless.

Recently during such a worry-time, like a lightning strike from Heaven, the Holy Spirit whispered – let Love fix it.

As revelation should, this phrase expounded every Bible verse I’d ever read, all in a matter of seconds. It explained why I’m like I am, why I perceive people the way I do, why I worry so much about righteousness, and what my purpose really is.

I’ll try to explain a little of what I mean…

Throughout the ages, people have been trying to ‘fix’ others, often according to their own narrow worldview. We can call it ‘convert’ or ‘correct’ or ‘influence’ or ‘help’ or ‘discipline’ or ‘teach a lesson to’ or… well, you get my point.

It’s not that ‘fixing’ isn’t necessary. According to God’s Word, we’re all broken – we’ve all fallen short of His perfect design, and therefore must be ‘fixed’ before meeting His standards of holiness.

I don’t know about you, but when someone else attempts to ‘fix’ me when I am behaving less than holy, I react like sweaty jeans on sensitive skin – it rubs me the wrong way – which tends to turn my ears deaf to their suggestions or commands.

Why is that?

Because anything done without LOVE falls short.

God spends His whole Word trying to tell us this. That though we are broken, fixing won’t work without love.

He demonstrates it to us through proclamations like John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…

He explains how it works in us toward or fellow man through statements like 1 Cor. 13 - If I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing… the greatest of these is Love…

I couldn’t begin to list the hundreds of other times ‘love’ is mentioned in the Bible.

It seems backward to us because our society is so performance based. Fickle, in other words. We don’t feel worthy of anything, least of all love, until we fix what everyone else, even ourselves, feels is wrong with us. Thing is, nothing short of love fixes any problem we have.

The absolute freaking amazing thing is that Love itself fixes every problem we could ever encounter. How? Because God is Love. (1 Jn 4:8)

So… it’s not fix it then love it. It’s not love it but don’t fix it. It’s not even love it then fix it.

It’s let Love fix it. That works every time!

I hope you all had a nice Valentine’s Day – but more than that, I hope you celebrate every day this amazing gift of LOVE the Creator of the Universe has bestowed upon us by living it out.

(photo by

Monday, February 13, 2012

No Extra Parts

One of my favorite movies of 2011 is Martin Scorsese’s Hugo. I’d love to see it win Best Picture, one of the 11 Oscars it’s nominated for, on February 26th but that would be an unexpected surprise. It’s a stunning visual journey with memorable characters learning valuable life lessons in a relatable story that cuts to the quick of every heart watching.

Hugo is a fixer, a clockmaker, a trade he inherited from his deceased father. At the time of his father’s passing, they were together working on restoring an automaton, a robot of sorts, that holds a message. It is able to write and Hugo believes that if he can get it working, he’ll discover a message from his father. As an orphan in early 1900 Paris, he’s alone and searching for his purpose.

Because of his background in clock making, Hugo visualizes life as a grand machine, with millions of essential moving parts. He figures that in a machine, there are no extra parts. Each part has a function, therefore, he has a function. He matters. He is valuable. He has a place. He has a purpose.

As a Christian, the machine theory works to an extent, but of course we focus on the Maker of the machine more than the machine itself. The Maker is the One giving each part its purpose. Walking in close communion with Him, we the parts can observe and learn and discover the purpose He intended for our lives.

Though our talents are all as unique as our DNA as well as our personalities and sum total of experiences good and bad, our overall purpose in life is to love. Love God our Maker with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor (fellow parts) as ourselves. There are many avenues by which to demonstrate this love, thus our individuality. One body, many parts. Not one part is more or less valuable than another. It all works differently, but together, for the glory of the Maker.

Beware parts, however, that you don’t start telling the Maker His business, trying to take over the impossible feat of acting the maker. The Maker has a design, a plan that dictates what works and what doesn’t. One part going his own way apart from the design disrupts the machine. It is possible for a part to break. Then the only rescue is to have the Maker fix it.

How wonderful that the Maker fixes us broken parts with love.

Thanks for your patience and support, Dry Ground friends! Be blessed this week!

(photo by

Friday, February 3, 2012

Chin Up

Every morning and every evening, I get Fiona, my fluffy faced Ninja chinchilla, out of her cage and let her hop around a properly chin-proofed room, like the bathroom, so she can get some exercise since her exercise wheel doesn’t fit in her current habitat.

I enjoy these times so much for many reasons. One of them is that by observing her, I learn lessons. She’s like a whisper from God, and during these times I have little to do but listen.

Lately, the message has been clear and constant – look up.

See, Fi likes to climb. Any horizontal surface that is higher than wherever she is sitting, she will try to get there. She’s always looking up. And to me, it seems like she’s calculating her chances of making it to whatever flat ledge she’s eyeing.

As amazing as she is, able to vertical jump from floor to average-height sink vanity in one leap, sometimes the ledge she desires is too high and she doesn’t make it on the first jump.

Seeing her wipe out makes my heart skip a beat, but every time she just gets up, shakes it off, and eyes the very same ledge recalculating for the next try.

This amazes me about her. She is determined. I do my best to deter her if I think it is unsafe for her to try again, but that doesn’t always work. If she’s decided she can do it, she finds a way.

Whether we’ve missed the ledge in life we were shooting for or we find out the ledge wasn’t a ledge at all but just an illusion, we’ve all had some tough wipeouts. When (seemingly) every attempt results in a failure, circumstances bog us down and we get used to staring into the mire that sucks us further into its sticky, dirty, dark, depressing depths.

Watching Fi try and try again, continuing her journey up as high as she can get, inspires me to do the same. Look up. Get up. Reach up. Keep going up.

He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. Psalm 40:2

Blessings, Dry Ground friends!