11/19/2005

Dakota and Faith

I saw a very wonderful movie last night called "Dreamer" with my new favorite actress: Dakota Fanning. It's gotten to the point where I'll watch a movie just because she's in it. I think I've seen them all! She, or her manager (parents?), really know how to pick the movies. But I think she may be getting too mature for some parts where she's suppose to be a normal little kid. Who cares! She's still my favorite actress right now. Who's my favorite actor....hmmmm. I'd have to say Johnny Depp these days. Not because he's hot, but because of the movies he's been picking. It's funny, we think that the actor is what leaves us inspired after a flick, when really it's the writers. Contrarywise, if you have bad writers and super-gifted actors you won't even notice the script. Some people can deliver ANYTHING that's put in front of them. Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts...they all have distinct delivery that makes it difficult for us to see them as anyone but themselves. How did I get off on this subject anyways? Like I know anything about acting...but I do know about 27 years worth of audience-ing. However, I think it's time to put this train back on the tracks I originally intended for it...

If anyone hasn't seen "Dreamer" and they like inspiring horse movies....DUDE! Go see it. It has a really great metaphor for faith. Sure, it's your typical believe-in-your-dreams message if you want to see it that way. But to me, they could have called that movie, "Faith Like a Child" and made it all about God. In fact, it saddens me that no one has the huevos to make a blockbuster movie with a blockbuster story, only the underlying message is faith in Jesus Christ! All these big, famous actors who can make anything happen and who can sell a "ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves", don't ever seem to make a well-written/well-made movie about faith in Christ. The Passion is the closest thing we have, and what a beautiful movie. But "Dreamer" could have so easily been about faith in God. They do mention God a few times by one of the characters, so it makes the movie extra special. Ultimately, however, one can't deny that the universal message was "Believe as a child believes and things will happen for you." That's fine, but believe in WHAT? The voice of New Age manifestation by concentration, truth-is-relative, make your own reality? The one that says smoothly, "You are all gods and if you believe, you can move that pencil across the desk. If you squint and believe like a child believes in Santa Claus, without a doubt...and imitate Far Eastern mouth noises... that pencil will move across the desk.... Ooooohmmmmmm."

I think it matters the most what you believe in. Truth is not relative and faith doesn't operate outside of truth. God's word is truth that will last as long as He does (see: eternally). Faith isn't projecting your own will into the universe and making it happen of your own resources. That's silly! Anything mankind has ever had to do, he's had to use his mind to reason and his hands to build. You want the impossible to happen? That's God's department. And He has given each of us the faith apportioned to us according to His perfect plan.

I keep hearing that demon in Acts 19-ish. The one dudes were trying to cast out demons by saying, "In the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches, come out!" One time a demon answered them saying, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul. But who are you?" Then the man with the demon proceeded to beat the crap out of them. They ran away naked and bleeding and undoubtedly, with a changed mind about the unseen world.

Once I read a story about a man who was driving by a Fortune Teller's shop and got the whim to cast out the darkness in the place. So in the name of Jesus he pointed his hand towards it as he was merely driving by and cast out the demons. Not too long after, his fingertips started to bleed and this man was a guitar player. His fingertips bled for months with some rare disease, only on the hand that he pointed toward the Fortune Teller's shop. He writes that it was a warning against invoking the Lord's name frivolously. Belief and faith must come with waiting, praying, and sometimes fasting. The mind must be taken captive to the Bible's truth and the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ's Spirit within me. "You do not have because you do not ask." No, we don't ask but sometimes we think we can order God or demand from Him. What spoiled children we can be, trying to manipulate our Papa like every spoiled kid does. Only God loves us with a perfect love that reminds us of His authority. He wants us to partake in His will, but only on His terms and with his permission.

So, I want faith like a child. But I don't want to believe simply for belief's sake. The difference between faith in God and believing the impossible outside of God is merely this: DELUSION. Believing in the illusion is delusion. Believing in God and the power of His might through the sanctified work of Jesus Christ who's Spirit lives within me is faith. Resting and trusting in His open arms to catch me, is like a child being thrown into the air by her Father.

11/17/2005

Soap Box: On Murder

Right when I log on to AOL there is this little news window with world updates and the like. I see this exasperated picture of Saddam Hussein in court. Maybe part of his punishment is having to deal with the U.S. legal system of justice. He is probably praying for death, but instead he is being pushed around the media getting used as an icon of American hatred. Why is he still alive?!? That's the question I have. He is being tried for murder and he is a dictator who instilled fear into his people. We have conquered his country, why is he still alive?!?!

Am I being cold and shallow for wanting this man to die already? I don't think so. I don't think Saddam would think it was a bad idea for him to die, especially after seeing the look on his face. Let God judge him, send him to his Maker. Instead we are milking the image of his face like putting a scent in front of hound dogs and saying, "Sick 'em!" The media is saying, "Americans! This is what your foe looks like!" Great. I feel sorry for any middle eastern/hispanic/italian man who looks like Saddam "puppet" Hussein.

Last night the message was about capital punishment and I see why Christians believe in capital punishment. Simply put, there are worse things than death. But death is the punishment for murder, period. Otherwise disease falls upon the land, as it has. Why is there no room for more prisoners? If a man murders another person, he gets a good lawyer by the rich uncle and then it's "three hots and a cot" for fifteen or so years. No problem. We wonder why there is so much murder in the world. Nobody takes the law seriously when you can hire someone to lie and pull strings for you. Nobody takes authority seriously when judges wrist-slap convicted killers and stick them in a closed community of men for twenty years.

On the radio two days ago I heard a woman with a sweet voice talking about how abortion is a life saving act for women! So, killing that life saves her life from what, exactly? From the God-given gift of child-bearing and child-rearing? How is being a mother suddenly a life-threatening problem that we must save women from? Cold-blooded murder of a defenseless child is suddenly an act of valor... it's all messed up.

The scary thing is that people buy this stuff. The buy it, hook line and sinker and swallow it down with their morning lattes. Personally, I am baffled to the point of severe depression if I think about it too long. The people that run and fuel the machine that slowly puts out blinding darkness over the world have chosen whom they will serve. But they can change their mind right up until the last moment of their lives here, after that they are committed. My prayer is that when God grants me my hilltop upon which I will shine His light, He will guide a lot of those people to His light and strengthen the Kingdom for the end times.

By the way, my tests came back normal and negative...and Psalm 30 is my new Psalm.

May Jesus Christ grant you grace and peace from the Father. Hallelujah.

11/08/2005

Get Up Soldier!

So I ended up in this legal office pushing paper and answering phones. It is bringing out the pushy side in me. I don't give defendants a whole lot of chances. When they show their ignorance or they try to play it sweet and manipulate the system, I get cold and short and transfer their call to the woman they pay to be the jerk to them.

This woman is my boss and she is funny and childlike when she's not dealing with people who have judgments against them. I hear her yelling at those people and I want to tell her, "You get more flies with honey or whatever." But she's been doing this job for eighteen years and the office gets plenty of flies the way she catches them.

I was praying to God about quitting early and just using my time for music and prayer. I prayed about it and I feel like God is telling me to suck it up and stick it out. I don't have to be as big of a jerk as I have been being. On my PMS days I could burn an icy hole in people just by looking at them. I'm ashamed of that. The city is hard-edged and unrelenting and sometimes it presses me into its corners and I get like a rabid dog who's been trapped and wounded. But today I feel different. I feel calm and ready for whatever life should bring.

Night before last life brought me a huge sore on my face right next to my mouth. I look like I got punched and it ain't pretty. It's not a little happy pimple, it's a BOIL. I am about to go lance it with a heated needle so the swelling will go down and people don't think I got beat up. I feel a tiny bit like Job...a teeny tiny bit. But this life isn't about peaches and cream powdered beauty. It is about going through the sharpening and polishing of the Lord so we become assets to His Kindgom and not just fat grace-hogs. I realized I am still in spiritual bootcamp but I have been arrogantly thinking I was a higher rank than simply a private. I've never seen what goes down on the front lines; I've never been so close to death that the smell lingers on my clothes. I have heard action in the distance and seen soldiers coming back broken and in pieces, but only in books. I mean spiritually, I have read Dietrich Bonheoffer, C.S. Lewis, and watched the amazing account of Mama Heidi. All of them tell of battles where they were captains of the Lord's platoon. Bonheoffer vs. Hitler, Lewis vs. grief, and Heidi vs. African destitution. What will my life's battle be? It certainly won't be Diana vs. face-sore! Or Diana vs. cigarettes! Those battles are small, but Jesus teaches me how to be strong in Him through them.

11/01/2005

My Pretty Pollup

I finally got an inside look at my girl parts. The ob/gyn was kind enough to relay the info about them to me. I have a pretty little pollup hanging out in my cervix. Of course, given my previous history of cervical dysplasia and a strip surgery of cervical cells resulting from it, this pretty pollup could be nasty cancer. Either way, it is super enlightening to know my insides. Surgery would mean anesthetic and recoup time and that could be the end of it. Or I could have to go through chemo or a hysterectomy or even check out and buy the farm! I am amazingly calm. Why am I taking this so lightly? Am I in shock. Impossible. I know perspective and paradigm can change in an instant for any of us and I am not exempt. Until the labwork comes back and I go in for the ultrasound (standard for this office) of my uterus, I'm not going to know what is necessary. Still, the only thing I dread is quitting smoking. Nothing could be physically worse in my opinion, at least we know pain will pass. There is no guarantee that addiction will be gone forever.

I am trusting in God that He will prepare me for whatever. I have neglected my body and neglected gyno appointments for years so I am not surprised I have a happy little growth in there. The cool thing about disease is that it's God opportunity to miraculously heal or else strengthen a person's soul to handle dying. Nothing but good can come out of what God gives me.

But as far as ignorance goes, I am still healthy until the lab tests come back. I am just fascinated that I get to know what is going on in there. It makes me want to vist the doctor more often. They take my blood and put it under a microscope and stuff. That's rad! We are fearfully and wonderfully made and doctor's really have a COOL job, ya know?

Counterfeit Dream

It was the end of the world. We could all feel it. The sky was calm but the ocean was getting bigger. I gathered all the people I could find who would listen and told them to follow me. I said to teenagers and old folks, "Don't you want to go to Heaven? Don't you want to see what it's like?!" So I led them into the ocean and the swells started rising ten and twenty feet. Somebody yelled, "If God wants us to walk here in the ocean, why are the waves threatening to kill us?" I pressed on and dove through waves popping up and yelled, "Perseverence!"

But we found ourselves in someone's backyard near where the ocean beat against skyscrapers that had been covered in mud and barnacles. I gazed out into the blue watching people in fine evening gowns and top hats run to caves to hide from the feeling of the end of the world. I looked across a dusty table at a fellow Christian sitting there and said, "Jesus will be coming back. He won't let us drown, He'll be back." I walked outside and looked up at the sky, I squinted and saw a speck floating there. Everyone started shouting, "It's Jesus!" He was coasting on the wind like He was on cables from Heaven and He had someone with Him.

A typical Jesus came floating to our little backyard group of people. Only this jesus had buggy eyes and his hair was greasy. I looked at him and my heart wasn't filled with joy or worship. I thought, "He's kinda fugly...or wierd looking." But I did believe it was Jesus, that's the bummer. Anyway this dream-jesus looked back at me, able to read my thoughts and said, "Do growths bother you?" I was like, "Excuse me?" He opened his mouth to show me an imperfection in his teeth and I shrugged, "I have a wire," and pointed to the inside of my bottom teeth, "See?" He smiled and nodded and I thought I saw his teeth move in a circle in his mouth, but it didn't freak me out for some reason.

Suddenly when I realized we would be going back to heaven with him I started to panic. The only thing I could think of was, "Where's my brother?!" I asked dream-jesus, "Where is my brother?" He replied, "Probably at home playing video games with his friends. He'll meet us up there soon enough." When he said that I knew he was talking about the tribulation and how my brother David would have to go through that and die. I was sad and needed a smoke. Dream-jesus knew my thoughts and lifted his own cigarette to his mouth. He then turned it around and handed it to me to smoke. This was his way of approving of my habit. I thought to myself, yeah...I will be getting a renewed body in no time anyway, right? But I couldn't shake the sadness of my brother behind left behind to suffer. It didn't seem right.

When I woke up I realized none of the dream seemed right, though I believed it was in the dream itself. I was disappointed when I woke up that it wasn't the end of the world and I had to go to work this morning. But I know that the second coming of Jesus won't be like that. He's not going to have buggy eyes and greasy hair and He's not going to come to any one particular group huddled in a backyard. He will come in power and glory and it will be so huge that it will make nations mourn. He will be more majestic than any king and it will send us to our knees in worship and reverence. My Spirit will cry out within me at the coming of the Head of the Body of Christ. And we will rise to meet Him in the air, not sit smoking in some backyard. Sheesh.

What is the most disturbing is that sometimes I want Jesus to return so badly I would almost sell myself short for a counterfeit. Because I want Him to come back I have to be careful that the enemy doesn't use that strong desire against me. I also want Jesus to condone my smoking habit so I don't have to suffer quitting. The greasy dream-jesus did approve and supplied the cig. The enemy had me fooled, but thank the Lord it was only a dream. Imagine if I had followed greasy dream-jesus to what he called 'heaven'. I would have had quite the rude awakening. Something like weeping and gnashing of teeth. There is a reason I never left earth with the guy. My heart was with my brother...

I suppose 'my brother' could be symbolic of the true Jesus even though I was really worried about my earthly brother, David. But Paul says that Jesus is the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. In my dream the only person I wanted to see was my brother. I think that shows that the Holy Spirit will keep my focus on the right things even if my body and mind are swept up in the lie.

I learned a lot from that dream...
1. People will follow me into the ocean if I lead them, don't forget to be humble and listen to the Lord. Teachers and leaders will be judged more harshly.
2. Don't be so eager for the return of the King that you fall for a counterfeit in your desperation.
3. If the liar is ok with smoking and will even supply the smoke, how do you think the true Jesus feels about it?