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DVD Review



I apologize for not being more active, but not having other reviewers or books to review, it's been a little difficult. However I want to let you know about this wonderful DVD "God's Not Dead." Working at the library I found it on our shelves and took it home. When I brought it back I raved about it. I wanted to take it out again, but it seems word gets around. It's always on hold for someone else. That's great.

The opening scene is in a freshman college philosophy class. The professor states he is an atheist, and asks that if everyone will sign a paper with 3 little words on it he can dispense of the dust and get to the subject. Those 3 words are "God Is Dead." One student cannot sign that. He is given 3 chances to argue the case of the existence of God before the class.

Fueled by hate on one side and a determined love of God on the other this is not your simple movie. The poor kid researches and goes off on a journey of his own to state his case. The end is nothing short of amazing. I guess telling people stuff like this is one of the reasons I can't get a hold of it a second time. It's really that good.

For more you can go here:
http://godsnotdeadthemovie.com/synopsis

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May our Lord be with you now and always. Remember, God is in control, even when things look like they're crashing all around you. David

Saturday, August 08, 2009

NOT FAR FROM THE TREE, by Ruth Smith Meyer


Saturday - God is always faithful. We end our tour of NOT FAR FROM THE TREE, by Ruth Smith Meyer with the final message that God is always faithful. Rina sees herself as she truly is when she looks over her past. She realizes that as a child everything had to revolve around her. She was constantly insisting on her own way. After she was married to David she began to mature. The guidance her mother gave she held as a precious gem, and it saw her through many rough times. That precious gem was to learn to trust in God in all things. Now nearing the end of her life she looks back with content and joy knowing that God is always faithful. She knows because she has lived it. Her life is a testimony to the faithfulness of God.

There were plenty of people in Rina's life; her parents, Rina herself of course, Bart, David, her children, her relatives and friends. No matter how noble they might have been, no matter how hard they may have tried none of them could say that they were always faithful. This was something only God could claim. While she knew it now she must have mused at how long it took for her to learn to trust in the only person deserving of her trust.

The same can be said today with any of us. We can point to people we really admire, but at some point in time they have let us down. Their fallen humanity showed through and we saw that we couldn't trust them the way we may have thought we could. As trustworthy, as faithful as God is He is also a gentleman. He isn't pushy. If you say you don't want to have anything to do with Him or talk to Him, then He will try to gently change your mind, but God will never force Himself on you. Doing so would also be an act of unfaithfulness, and God is always faithful. So He stands there, like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, waiting for us to come to our sense and return to Him. Day in and day out He looks down the road hoping to see us coming home to Him. When we do He restores us into the family. If we do not return, well, that must be the greatest heartbreak of all.

Let me go off on a tangent here for a second. I have heard a lot of people claiming that God sends people to Hell, and that doesn't sit right with them. "Isn't He supposed to be a loving God?" they ask. Well, yes He is a loving God, but that faithfulness cuts both ways. If you call upon the name of the Lord you shall be saved. (Romans 10:13) So this means that God will be faithful if the reverse is true. Whoever does NOT call upon the Lord shall NOT be saved. He leaves the choice up to us. It's like the illustration God gave me of a couple of parachutists. When they get over the jump site the jump master reminds them, "Once you clear the door, count to 10 and pull your rip cord." One man jumps and pulls the rip cord and lands safely on the ground. The other man becomes distracted with all the sites and feelings around him and does not pull the rip cord. Whose fault is it that he dies when he hits the ground? Surely you wouldn't blame the jump master or the parachute. The fault belongs to the man who didn't do as he was told. The same thing is true here in Romans 10:13. You see, calling upon the name of the Lord is our spiritual parachute. If we don't call upon Him then where we end up is our own fault not His. You see, even then God is faithful. He keeps His Word, even when it breaks His heart to do so.


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Friday, August 07, 2009

NOT FAR FROM THE TREE, by Ruth Smith Meyer


Friday - Love is enough, that is if it is true love. You can even live on love when it is that kind of love, but don't go getting cocky about it. Do you know what true love really is? Rina had the wisdom to question if she really loved David or if she was acting impulsively. When you have the guts to ask the question and face the honest answers you get that's when you can find a truly loving relationship worthy of marriage. As we see the life Rina and David share we are forced to realize that love is much more than some feeling. This is where many couples really mess up their lives. They get that special tingly feeling or that feeling of being able to walk on air, and they think that is what love is. When the feelings wear off and the constant demands of life press in they often say they have fallen out of love with their marital partner and get divorced. Rina knew that love had to be more than just a feeling. She saw that it took a commitment on her part to choose, daily, to love David. In doing so she probably taught David how to love her the same way. (Note to you guys out there, we are supposed to teach our wives how to love, not have them teach us how to love. Learn to be an example)

Is that what love is then, a choice, not a feeling? Mostly, yes. There is a statement I heard somewhere where a person tells another person to "Learn to lead your emotions, not led by them." There's nothing wrong with that warm feeling you had when you embraced your wife or husband early in your marriage, just don't let those feelings dictate how you should live. Instead, live in a way that will pull those kinds of feelings in with it, and if they don't come, well so what? You still have love, real love.

Of course a better and clearer example of what true love is would be simply this, "God is love" (1st John 4:8) From His point of view is there anything in us worthy of His love? Of course not. Are we so beautiful or intelligent that He just can't help Himself? That's almost too ridiculous to put in this blog. God is God all by Himself. He doesn't need us to feel complete. There really is no reason for Him to love us other than that is His nature. He is love itself in its purest form. All love is patterned and comes from Him. My favorite Scripture verse is this, "For God commendeth His love towards us in this, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) So not only is love a choice, but it is a choice that is made on the part of the other which moves us into action for the other. "For God so loved the world that He gave..." (John 3:16) If you think you have a truly loving relationship with your spouse or your girlfriend or boyfriend, then check to see if this is true or not in that relationship. Are you choosing for them rather than for yourself? Are you doing things that may be uncomfortable for you, but it pleases the other? If you can say "Yes" to those questions then you are letting God love through you. There were many times when Rina could have up and left and I doubt that anyone would have blamed her. All that David put her through with his bouncing around from place to place, the long hours away from her and the kid, that was draining. Yet she did what David needed because she chose to love him. In the end the only regret she had was that David was slow at learning this where the kids were involved. That's not to say he didn't love them, but he didn't love them as he should, and because of that he missed them as they grew up.

Oh yes, love is not just enough when it is that Godly kind of love. In fact, love is more than enough.


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Thursday, August 06, 2009

NOT FAR FROM THE TREE, by Ruth Smith Meyer


Thursday - Some marriages are made in Heaven. While that statement may sound a bit cliche' it is true nonetheless. The thing is, even though marriages, at least some, are made in Heaven, they need to be worked out here on Earth. Just because a marriage is made in Heaven doesn't mean that there will never be hardships, sickness, even death. What it does mean is that, if we are obedient, we will find a way of working through all of that. We'll learn to let love rule our lives, not our egos. As Rina looks back over her life she undeniably married the man of her dreams. David was exactly who God wanted her to marry, but such a marriage came with its own unique set of difficulties. While he was a hard worker he sometimes took foolish chances. There were times when Rina and the kids spent a lot of time away from their father because his job took him so far away. If Rina hadn't learned to reign in her own ego and begin to trust the Lord in all things their marriage may not have survived some of the hardships they went through. Yet she learned to lean on the Lord and found that extra portion of love that made her go the second mile. I don't want to say much more here because it's a lot more fun finding these things for yourself as you read this lovely story.

There is one marriage that we know has been made in Heaven, and it too is burdened with many things. It's interesting when I think about it now, but due to contact with a writer online we are writing a book about "the Bride and the Bridegroom". The Church and Jesus are the two that are united in marriage to become one. I'm not saying everyone who steps inside church doors, but everyone who sincerely made a choice to make Jesus their Lord and Savior. When we did this it was like accepting His engagement ring of marriage. Now if getting down on one's knee to propose marriage is romantic, how much more so it is to allow people to nail you to a cross. Romans 5:8 says, "For God commendeth His love towards us in this, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." Wow. What a proposal of marriage. What greater display of love could there be? The answer is, none. Now all that Jesus offers us brings us to those hardships in this relationship. You see, part of us is at war with God. The fleshly nature or carnal mind just doesn't want to give up its throne to any other. Our spiritual nature, however, longs to let God have control in every area of our lives. This takes a lifetime to learn, but we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, if we have accepted this offer of God, and because of this Jesus clothes us in His own righteousness until such time as we are made righteous in Him by the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead. What I'm saying is, just as with Rina and David, there are going to be many times that will cause some friction and make us prove our love for our King. We must work this out moment by moment, just as Rina did. If we do then the seal, the "engagement ring" set upon us by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13,14) will be replaced with the wedding ring of His Eternal Glory.

For guys it's a little disconcerting when we think about becoming a "bride", but remember God is so far above our ideas of gender that we don't have to be held to this earthly confine. Jesus, whether you call the Eternal King male or female, is our Bridegroom, and we, whether male or female, for there is no such thing in eternity, are the Bride of Christ. So whether male or female it matters not. What matters is that we accept His marriage proposal and work to keep ourselves pure until that day when we are joined with Him in Glory. One of the many things we will do in Eternity is attend our own wedding feast. Won't it be awesome to put aside this mortal body that causes us so much pain and frustration and be clothed in immortality and sit at the right hand of our Husband, our Savior and Lord, our Jesus? I can think of nothing I would rather do that be there in Him and at His side, seated with all my brothers and sisters for all eternity. If there is anything to praise God for it is this, because apart from this there is only death. Yet we are not dead, but have been raised from death unto life if we have believed. Let us rejoice. Let us work to prove our love for our Beloved.


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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

NOT FAR FROM THE TREE, by Ruth Smith Meyer


Wednesday - Looking towards the future. Time as we know it consists of 3 parts, the past, the present and the future. The past is growing ever larger, the present is, as the name implies, a gift, and yet it is fleeting. The future is largely an unknown. Oh we can know some things about the future, especially as Christians, but the specifics we will never know until it slips into our present and out of the future. Rina seems to have grasped all three aspects of time and their importance. We have covered looking back at the past, the importance of now, today we will cover looking towards the future.

In the beginning of the book Rina had her own expectations of what she wanted out of the future. This complicated things for her and her family. Yet as she matured she realized that the most important thing was to live in the present in such a way that the future would bear much fruit. (For more on that see yesterday's post). Most people look at the future as a series of goals to be reached, or moving towards a particular goal. Rina understood the future much clearer than that. For while there are certain goals, and particularly one great and wonderful goal, that lies in the future, possibly the most important lesson we can learn from NOT FAR FROM THE TREE in this regard is that the future is not so much a series of goals, which speak of an end, but of new beginnings. As she looks back over her life she sees the joys and sorrows that have made her into the strong woman she is today. This is a legacy she will always have for it is found in her children. David may seem like an unfit father, admittedly he is unorthodox, but he too realizes that life is full of new beginnings. Perhaps it is one of the things Rina loves about the man, despite the hardship it sometimes brings them. As she nears the end of her life she realizes that she is just getting ready to begin another life, one that is eternal. She also sees and enjoys her children and grand children as they experience their new beginnings, because these are new beginnings for her as well.

Rina is not bound to any specific period of time, but is able to find her fulfillment in embracing all 3 facets of time. The apostle John writes, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. " (1st John 3:2) The apostle Paul puts it this way, "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (1st Corinthians 13:12) We press on for that blessed Hope, the completion of our salvation in Christ Jesus, in whom we were chosen before the foundations of the world. Yet this is not the end, it is only the beginning. May we live our lives that we may not be ashamed when that day comes, but rejoice in those beautiful words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." (Matthew 25:21)


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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

NOT FAR FROM THE TREE, by Ruth Smith Meyer


Tuesday - The Importance of Now. Throughout NOT FAR FROM THE TREE, by Ruth Smith Meyer, you are drawn to the importance of now, that is living in the now rather than in the past or the future. Rina's past gives her much to be joyful for, but it is that rejoicing that she does now that is important. She looks back over her past, especially over each of the children she and David raised, but it is her focus on who these children have become that brings her the most joy. She learns that while each of them is so very different, there are still ways in which "the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree", just as she realized much of her strength she learned and modeled after her mother, Ellie Kurtz. The past is important in its own way, but there is nothing we can do about it. It's what we do in the present that is most important, because it directs our future and will one day be what we look upon as our past.

There was a farmer who went out to plant good seeds. This farmer lived a long time ago, so he didn't plow and arrange things in nice little rows like farmers do today. After the fashion of his day he would scatter the seeds across his fields and hope for a good harvest. Because he used this method of planting he found that some of the seeds landed on hard soil, paths and such that had been packed down by the repetitious walking of people. Other seeds fell among rocky places where he had fashioned stone walls out of the rocks he removed from his fields. Other seeds fell among the edges of the fields where briers and thorns grew up. Yet there were those seeds that fell on the soft, prepared soil. Doe's this story sound familiar to you? Let's look at it some more. The seeds that fell on the hard ground barely had time to do anything before birds came and snatched it up. The seeds that fell among the rocky places shot up quickly, but died as soon as the sun beat down on them because they had no roots. The seeds that fell among the edges of the fields where thorns grew could not compete with these sturdy weeds and eventually were choked out. Yet the seeds that fell upon the good soil produced a good crop. At harvest time the farmer reaped a harvest among these and found some had produced 30 times as much as the original seed, others 60 times as much and still others 100 times as much. Still not sure about this story? Look it up in Mark chapter 4.

Why am I including this here? Because what we put into life in the present is what we will reap benefits on in the future. It's something we will be able to look back on and say, "Remember the time when...?" Now take this and apply it to Rina. During her married life and beyond she went about planting love in all she did. It wasn't always easy, sometimes made more difficult by David's crazy moods or jobs, but she never answered him harshly. She responded in love. She cared for her children as much as she could, and wished that some of the older ones did not have to help her with this. Indeed there are times she felt sad about the way Jessie seemed to have been thrust into the role of substitute mom at times. Yet, looking back and gathering the children to herself, or they to her, she finds that she has been blessed many times over and her children have also been blessed. They have learned to plant love and benefit by reaping love. That is the importance of now. So, what are you planting in your life today? What kind of seeds are you tossing down into the soil of the lives of those around you, particularly your children? Will you be able to look back and be content one day, or will you be filled with regret? The choice is yours, right now. You can change the bad ways you have been doing things and begin doing good things, but as we find out so many times in NOT FAR FROM THE TREE, you have to have the Lord in your life to make those good choices.


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