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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.

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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, September 12, 2009

MOHAMED'S MOON, by Keith Clemons

Saturday - (CAUTION: SPOILER ALERT) Our greatest weapon, besides Jesus, is love. In Mohamed's Moon we find that love seems to cut through any problem there is. Sure it can cause its own set of problems, but if our love comes from God and our hearts then we will find things turning out just as they do in Mohamed's Moon, maybe even greater. In Mohamed's Moon it is his love for Layla that springs back to life when he meets her again after so many years, but this is not a true Godly love. Even so it is enough to allow God's love to touch him as Layla shares her love of God with him. He even begins to understand why she might wish to stay with Matthew over him. One thing he cannot allow, however, is to have her in the area that the great plot to kill most members of our government takes place. He wishes to separate her from that, to spare her that kind of pain. Matthew loves Layla too, perhaps a little too much. It's hard for him to think about Layla and Mohamed together. This stirs up a lot of turmoil in him, things he needs to bring before the Lord. Layla is confused by the love of these two men. In her heart she has promised herself to Matthew, but she also remembers that as a child she promised herself (conditionally) to Mohamed. Yes, our love can be so restricting, so painful, so confusing that we might not call it love at all.

Yet consider God's love. Because of his love for Layla, Mohamed opens his heart just a little. As he does he begins to question everything he has learn about Allah. He realizes that for all he has been taught about Allah he cannot justify the actions of this god. Perhaps he has misunderstood what he read. So he studies some more, contemplates those things he has learned, and places them against what Layla has been telling him about her God. Slowly Allah doesn't seem to be much of a god, or at least the kind of god he would want to follow, while this Jesus, the God of Layla seems to be a truly loving God. He still has some questions about this "loving God" too though. Why would He abandon hm and his mother when he was a child? Why would this loving God allow all the pain in the world. Again he slowly comes to realize that we bring our own pain into the world, not God, not even Allah. How could he blame Jesus for deserting him when he refused to listen to anyone tell him anything about this Jesus? The fault was his and his alone. With this new revelation Mohamed opens his heart to God's love. What happens next may seem extraordinary if you are not a Christian, but for those of us who are we know that the miracle that took place there was something to be expected.

Jesus tells us to walk in love. He tells us to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your might." He also tells us to "love your neighbor as yourself." He tells us to "love one another." He tells us to "love your enemies." Jesus was always talking about love. Did you ever wonder why? In 1st John 4:7,8 we read, "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God. Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He that does not love, does not know God, for God is love." Did you catch those last three words? If God is love, and Scripture cannot lie, then Jesus was speaking about God. He couldn't help it. Because of that when Jesus spoke hard truths and the multitudes left His disciples stayed, "Where would we go. Only you speak the words of eternal life." We really cannot fully appreciate God's love if we gloss over the fact that He, the Almighty God, chose to come down and walk among us inside a human body, experiencing all the pains and anguishes of humans. Nor can we understand God's love if we don't realize that He did this so that He might die for our sin so that we might live. I know of no king, no monarch, no leader in all of history who would give up their seat of power to roam among the regular people and then give up his life for them. There simply hasn't been a single one. Yet Jesus came down from Heaven that we might raise him up on a cross to be crucified. This was one of the most agonizing deaths ever devised by the Roman Empire, and Jesus chose this way to die for our sins. Yet Jesus didn't leave it at that. To do so would have been a show of love without any reality, even with all I've just said. He had to not only take away our sin, but give us power to live. In order to do this He rose from the dead, something that has been witnessed not only by the followers of Jesus, but by many others. It's the first truth Satan attacks, because if he can get us to believe that Jesus never rose from the dead then His death is meaningless to us. Those of us who have found our relationship with God through Jesus realize that what the Gospels say is true, Jesus did rise from the dead. How can we prove this? Because it is His love that moves us to love others. Just as Layla was used by God, for it was His love in her that opened the heart of Mohamed, so also will His love in us open the eyes and hearts of those around us if we only dare to love them as Jesus loves them. Do you love your neighbor as yourself? Do you love your enemy? Let's make it simple. Do you love one another? If not how can you possibly know that Jesus lives? If you know that Jesus lives, then walk in His love, and love them as He has loved you. "God commends His love to us in this, in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us." Go and be His loving people.
For more information on KeithClemons and his writings go HERE

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Friday, September 11, 2009

MOHAMED'S MOON, by Keith Clemons

Friday - This story is about extremism, not just Islamic extremism, but Christian extremism as well. If you have some sacred cows in your life, then chances are you aren't going to like this book. If you have a relationship, one that has a growing fellowship with God through Jesus Christ, then you will love this book. What defines this extremism? Where do these extremist come from? Where do they get their following? These are some good questions. Extremism is when a person or group of people are telling other people what they must do and not do in order to gain God's favor. There are other terms for it, one of them being "religious". I am not, nor do I ever hope to be, a religious person. I point people to Christ, encourage those who are in Christ, but I am not God. I don't make the rules of relationship between God and man. The Bible says, "Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." That's it. Forget about "You have to give up _______ to become a Christian." The Bible never said that. In fact it says just the opposite, "For God commends His love to us in this, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." If God is so loving that He is willing to send His only Son to die for us when we are sinful, then shouldn't we be just as loving? I'm not saying we have to let sin come into our lives or even approve of it in others. What I am saying is that we all mature at different rates, and we are all different people. God, our Father, treats us according to who we are. Let Him speak to each of us individually. Let's stop playing God.

These extremist, these religious people, generally come for a group of people who have no relationship with God, but have been deceived into thinking they not only have a relationship with Him, but believe they have the only correct outline of how to get to God. Christianity is God's way of bringing us to Him. Religion is man's way of getting to God. Since man is sinful we should disregard these people. How can sinful man speak for God, unless it is the Holy Spirit speaking through them. That's one point where some people start name-dropping. "The Holy Spirit of God told me that you must give up ________." That's a lie. In Islam it's much the same. You have imans telling people how to get to Allah (God). What do they know? They point to the Qur'an, but this book does much the same thing. People will say "But the Qur'an is a holy book, given to us by God through His prophet Mohammad." Well, all I'm saying is you can't go by what is written as it is delivered. Even Christians should be wary of beating others over the head with the Bible. Jesus told us that we are to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength," and that we are to "Love your neighbor as yourself." A commitment to love is something that will turn these lies running.

People who follow these religious-minded people are frequently people who don't know what God says in His Word. We are to "Study to show ourselves approved unto God, workmen who are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." (or words to that affect.) We should study God's Word prayfully, because it is His way, primarily, of speaking to us on a personal and intimate basis. When we grow lazy in this the enemy comes in and we take the lazy way out, we start believing what others said about God's Word. This is dangerous. I remember listening to a sermon where the preacher talked about the army of Gidean. In his sermon he stated that the people God chose for this army were those who just stuck their head in the water, who plunged ahead without giving thought to the dangers that surrounded them. Those who were sent home, he said, were those who lifted the water to their mouths and lapped it up like dogs. Now, the point of his sermon was true, we are to push on and be bold in our walk with the Lord, but the illustration he used was just the reverse. Those who plunged their faces in the water were sent home and those who lifted the water to their mouths God selected for His army. When the sermon was over I said to this preacher, "You stated this because you wanted to see how many people knew this story or would check up on it themselves, right?" He nodded his head and smiled. This preacher switched things around, kept the point of his sermon in contact, to see if people were going to catch him on the way he misquoted Scripture. Sadly only myself and my pastor, who happened to be visiting, seemed to catch this. In other words the rest of the congregation while they received a great sermon probably wouldn't do anything about what they heard because they didn't even check him up to see if it matched what the Bible says. This is the way of many extremists and religious people. Remember Khalaf, Mohmed's father? He blew himself up because he believed it was the only way he could provide for his family and because it was the only way he could ensure his eternal destiny. He based this on what he was taught. Mohamed comes to question this in line with the teachings of the Qur'an. For this reason Mohamed is an individual to watch carefully in this novel. He has taken some lazy ways about things, but in others he has chosen to be just critical enough to question the authenticity of this or that teaching actually coming from Allah. We should follow his example.

For more information on KeithClemons and his writings go HERE

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

MOHAMED'S MOON, by Keith Clemons

Thursday - One of the more realistic characters, and more powerful, if not flawed, is Matthew Mulberry. We meet him in California with Layla. Both are Christian and it seems they are a mere breath away from being engaged. Something has been nagging at Layla about Matthew. He looks so much like someone she knew that she doubts his truthfulness. While Matthew has many flaws it would seem that lying about something like who he was just is so out of character that Layla should have believed him. Making matters worse is when Matthew's soccer team plays against another team and one of their players is almost an identical copy of Matthew. This leads her into all kinds of directions, leaving both men feeling like they are walking on unsteady ground.

While we may not have a twin out there we most certainly should be honest about who we are, and people should accept, without reservation, who we say we are. No relationship can be built on a foundation without trust. If anything, Layla shows that she did not have that quality to build a lasting foundation with Matthew. She further goes on to undermine her own attempts at honesty with Mohamed. We should learn from this. We should learn to be who we are and accept the mistakes others make. In other words it took both Layla and Matthew to erode their relationship, just as it took both Layla and Mohamed to damage the relationship they had.

Jesus claims to be God, to be the embodiment of God's mercy for our salvation, the very Lamb of God, and much more. Are we going to accept His claims or question them? I want you to think carefully about what I am saying. It is one thing to question whether or not what we are being taught is true or not, and quite another to question what Jesus says about Himself to our hearts. Once He has spoken personally to our hearts then the one with the power to break or erode our relationship with Him is us. We aren't talking dos and don'ts here. We are talking believing or doubting God at His Word. Look at the pain Layla's doubt brought into the story. This is the kind of pain we can bring into our lives by our disbelief, our doubts and lack of faith. So let us consider carefully what we hear in our hearts before we dismiss them out of hand.

For more information on KeithClemons and his writings go HERE

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

MOHAMED'S MOON, by Keith Clemos

Wednesday - While this book is about Mohamed and the interesting journey he took, there are key characters that we come across. The first of these is Layla, Mohamed's childhood friend. They shared those innocent, but intimate moments that only children share with each other. When Mohamed becomes a man he meets up with this same girl who has now turned into a lovely woman. Yet even when they were young Layla's faith in Jesus kept them from getting closer, then she and her family fled into hiding because of persecution. Seeing her once more he tries to rekindle that love she had for him, but there are some very interesting obstacles. Instead of putting up a wall or taking sides on this issue Layla tries to play the part of a peacemaker, which only causes her pain and anguish, or so she thinks.

Have you been placed in a situation where you find yourselves between two opposing views? Perhaps it is God giving you a chance to shine His light into that situation. I'm not saying that you break out the Bible or the Four Spiritual Laws or something like that. I'm saying that perhaps you are there so they can see His light shining through you. Perhaps you are being called to be a peacemaker, not a preacher. Let God's love do the preaching and simply see if, by His love, you can reconcile two opposing people to at least come to some agreement, to put down their battle with each other and accept each other as they are.

One of the tragic parts of all of this is that even within our churches we do not follow this law of love. We fight and argue and demand that others believe the way we believe or we look down on them. Is this the way Jesus taught us to act. It is one thing to take a stand for what we believe and quite another to demand that others, whose backgrounds are so different from us that coming to the same realizations we have is impossible, believe as we believe. Now I am not saying that basic truths should be overlooked. I am saying that sometimes the way we present ourselves keeps others from finding what we have. We are called to be "fishers of men" as Jesus put it. When was the last time you went out and cleaned the fish before you caught them? If your livelihood was fishing, as was a number of disciples, can you imagine how poor they would have been if they demanded that all the fish first be cleaned and then caught? They would have starved to death. The world needs to know Jesus, and they aren't going to find Him if we make demands on them they cannot understand. Romans 5:8 says, "For God commendeth His love towards us in this, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." We are to allow all people to find God on their own terms and let God do the cleanup. We are just supposed to put out the net and pull in the "fish", as it were. Take a good look at yourself. Without God can you stand before Him? Without the blood of Jesus making you righteous do you even dare enter into His presence? God received us because we simply cried out for Him. We realized that we needed Him and He accepted us, just as we were. We are to do the same. We are to accept every neighbor, friend and enemy with the same open arms. This does not mean we have to accept some of the things they do, but those things we should let God take care of, unless you are willing to play God. If that is the case I greatly fear for you. As it is written, "You are the Potter, I am the clay." The mental image of formless, pliable clay trying to create a vessel for any use is laughable. Let us be like Layla. Let us allow God's love to shine through us and let God do the work, not us.

For more information on KeithClemons and his writings go HERE

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

MOHAMED'S MOON, by Keith Clemos

Tuesday - Mohamed has been trained to fight for Islam, but not to walk into market places with explosives strapped to his chest. Because of his intellect and physical abilities he has been trained to infiltrate certain American social circles and be the conduit of an insidious strike against our nation. As such he is not only trained as a Muslim and in the cultures of Egypt, home of his birth, but in the ways of America. In doing so he faces himself in a very strange way. While still clinging to the need to eradicate the Infidels, as we are called, he comes to view open dialog and conscious change to their ways over violence. This puts him at odds with those over him. One aspect that drives him more and more in this direction is the "chance" meeting of a childhood friend. Her ways are kind and gentle and he does not wish to see her killed or even to see the killing that is to come. He sees himself as sort of her protector, if he cannot be more to her.

I think this is a beautiful way to show that people are people. All too often we oppose those of Arab nationalities, especially if they are also Muslims. Clemons is careful to portray Muslims as real people, not just terrorists. First there was Mohamed's father, Khalaf, who died not so much for Islam as he did to take care of his family. Now with Mohamed we see a person who wishes no grievous harm to anyone, and can even back this up with passages from the Qur'an. Like Americans we cannot say that all Islams are bad. We need to respect the fact that people have their own backgrounds, and that out of this they formulate certain opinions about the world around them. Whether they are right or wrong is beside the point.

I have met Americans who hate other Americans because of skin color, because of race, because of religious preferences, and even sexual preferences. Each of these has, in their minds, a reason to hate the other, but what does Jesus say? "Love your neighbor as yourself" and "Love your enemies". I think we have forgotten the power of love, how it can change a life, a culture, a people, a nation, even a world, if we will only give God the chance to love them as He loves us. I personally love this story for portraying people as they are, imperfect, unholy, unrighteous, people. People who make themselves enemies with each other because they are at war with themselves. And right there in the middle of all this unholy warfare the love of God shines through and changes lives. He makes the inner wars to cease and from there prejudices begin to fall away like stones. God wants all of us to receive the benefit of His love and come to Him. I can write more but I feel I am already giving away too much of the story. I want you to enjoy it yourself, for you most certainly will enjoy this book as you have enjoyed few others. This book has something I wish I could say about all Christian writing, it stays with you. I can't give a much better recommendation than that.

For more information on KeithClemons and his writings go HERE

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Monday, September 07, 2009

MOHAMED'S MOON, by Keith Clemons

Monday - A mother's love is the same the world over. Zainab would protect her son, even to the point of putting her own life in danger. Yet she has a love that is even greater than that. Oh, how she wished to be able to share that love with her husband. Now she finds herself widowed and at the mercy of her brother-in-law. As I read this story I was struck by two things about Sayyid. The first was the way he manipulated his own brother to gain a wife that should not have been his. The second was how maliciously he would portray himself as a righteous Muslim while leading younger people to their graves. He wasn't, in the proper sense, a follower of Islam. Sayyid was a profiteer.

You may be angry with me for saying that, but you will probably become more angry with the following statement. There are people calling themselves Christians who do so for their own profit, and care little for others. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors, our enemies, one another. He said "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you love one another." Still we find people who seem to have little knowledge of these commands, and even less knowledge of 1st Corinthians 13 which explains what love is and how it works out in our life. Nor do they acknowledge what John wrote in 1st John 4:8, "...for God is love."

Sayyids are not confined to any religion or denomination, but they will use them as a cloak to hide the evil they do. Khalaf's brother used Islam to hide his own coveteousness as well as his greed. Yet he isn't alone. There are those who would claim to be Christian and don't understand that Jesus died that their sins would be covered. They trample His blood for personal gain. So before we judge Sayyid too harshly, let us examine our own hearts to make sure that a Sayyid doesn't lurk in there, in the dark shadows where we don't want others to see. For I can assure you that nothing is hid from God. Unless we come to Him and repent of our own greed, our own selfishness, our own covetousness, we shall find ourselves truly without hope facing an eternity of regret and pain. God does not want this for us, but leaves the choice up to us. Khalaf at least died thinking he was serving his God. He actually has that in his favor, although it will do him little good in the end. Sayyid, however serves only himself. The first commandment has been broken and the mercy to cover those sins has been rejected. How terrible it must be for someone like that when they face God in judgment.

For more information on KeithClemons and his writings go HERE

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