Category Archives: Faith issues today

faith in relationships, it is all about relationship with God through Jesus and holy spirit

Good Friday, review the movie Risen

Today is Good Friday. This is a Western calendar anomaly. Those of you know anything about Easter, that needs to occur after Passover. Passover in 2016 is at the end of April. Without getting into a long conversation about calendars let me assure you that the early church in the original Easter happened after Passover. This is one thing that the Orthodox Church has correct, Greek included. The story of the communion is about the last supper with Jesus and the disciples so if you cannot get them together on the calendar it is a bit off.

But I digress my purpose today is to review the movie Risen. What a good visual to celebrate Good Friday on 2016.
The stark terrain and the brutal life that Jesus chose to appear in was a backdrop for the impact of the culture on the Story of Jesus.
The brutality of the times and the continuation of such in our world today is a motivator of looking into what this Man that Rose is all about. He came and He touched so many, then He died and before He returned to his father He touched many still. He had so much power in His love that the followers of Him continued to do miracles and we see that the true followers are still part of the signs and wonders and miracles of Jesus.
The part of the movie that spoke to me the most was the way they portrayed a personal savior, one of real relationship. He hugged and comforted the men and the truth was that He knew their needs before they asked including the newest believer. The human politic aside and the details of how we get most things off is that God’s son came to proclaim His love and take on the retribution for our lives to become righteous through Christ. A simple yet complex idea. In the movie they said you have seen Him but what faith of those that have not seen Him. I tell you today if you ask and wait and pray you can see Him today. He is really there. If you want more information contact me. bellbecker55@yahoo.com
Good movie Risen.
Celebrate Easter two times this year to get the idea of the Gift of Jesus.

War Room Movie Review

War Room , the movies

hands clasped in prayer
praying

Yesterday , we went to the 11:30 movie on a Monday morning. At the AMC theatre in Kennesaw, GA are cheaper before noon, I did not know that, so for the great price of $5.65 we got to go see an amazing movie.

Christians have been asking for better movies that appeal to them and their families. We need to support movies like this and am happy to say that this movie beat out some other less noble over two weekends. Maybe the movie makers will get the message. There has been prophecies spoken about God infiltrating all the areas of culture including entertainment, His message will remain. At least the growth of Christian themed movies has begun. Today film is a major way to influence culture.
The story was good. The subject was valid and timely. We need to know how to pray. The great good news of Prayer is that we get results. Much of the doom and gloom in the news and even in the eschatology circles have only one solution to the noise. In the book of Acts they asked in chapter 2 what must we do? Why do I know this (God is allowing me to be aware) and what does God want me to do with this knowledge. This is a valid question for a follower of Jesus today. In relationship with Jesus it requires a deep connection to believe you can hear instructions. The Bible says we need to be obedient but if we don’t have assignments what are we obeying. The scriptures have measures for success in this but the true daily walk requires Him to be a lamp unto your feet. (Psalm 119:105 , John1:14 ) showing you the next step. Most frequently my instructions include prayer.
I read voraciously about what others are hearing and understanding from God and in this day of great sharing we can learn from others. It is confirming to me when the Lord is speaking similar things to other people. Not that our assignments should be the same but it seems He does have many in the army working toward the same goal and many different operatives doing similar things.
Prayer is a weapon in our warfare and if you don’t know we are in a war I will address that later in another post. The story is told through the eyes of a small family. Not only do they capture your interest because they are not perfect., but we see that there is an answer to their struggles. It is good that the expectation of the individual was not always what God was doing and we need to ask for a hint at Gods vies. Graham Cook teaches that understanding how Jesus is interceding (Romans 8:34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. NIV)
for us helps us know how to pray within God will.
In two hours they touch on many common Christian issues and give some beginning direction to start.

The Bible is full of instructions on prayer. This movie brings to a new generation the concept that success is more likely with a strategy.
The story is realistic and the point of many things are well made with shallow but humorous jokes. The acting has improved from earlier films by the same group as some of the Christian movie makers are getting better.

The slip of the husband is shown with spiritual adultery where he almost touches the friends hand, and then he gets sick. Meanwhile back “at the ranch” His wife is praying. Maybe that would happen. Sometimes when we need it we are allowed to sin and consequences help correct. The point was that a praying spouse (praying the way Jesus is praying) can make an impact. The wife did not pray for God to fix her husband, but support him and help him be more like Jesus. She repents and learns to fight in prayer the real enemy that we have. It also about praying blessing and extending grace. The movie focused on the message that Jesus came for the world. He is about love and grace when it is not deserved. As we are called to walk after Him we need to have prayer to even come close.
I do know that a room for the act of prayer can be a great way to be sure that prayer is happening. I know distractions are so many that this closet concept is a great one for us to separate ourselves and have that intense connection. For me prayer is that but also an ongoing conversations with my best friend and complete counselor. I find He will correct me when I temper my emotions enough to listen. The other day I was a bit angry at my husband for not fixing my Sunday breakfast. For a while my husband made a tradition to fix Sunday breakfast meal and we went to church at night. When we switched to am services on Sunday the breakfast thing quit and my husband in our busyness quit fixing any meal. Talking with Jesus as I entertained self pity, I heard Him say for me to fix toast for my husband that morning (what he prefers when in a hurray). So my prayer was not for my husband, but I got an assignment. I have learned the hard way that it is much easier long term obey. So I did. My rebellious spirit though had to tell my husband that he would not have toast if Jesus hadn’t told me to do it and that I was angry not having him cook anymore. Pretty sure that was not part of my assignment from Jesus but I added my own idea. God is a redeemer and I think He will use my blessing my husband and my stupidity both to work His plans. So I repent a lot, and Jesus keeps giving me assignments . Sometimes I see great results with them and other times He stays hidden and builds my faith that I know He is working and answering prayers.
Open up to the best connection in this life, and that is making prayer a real part of your life. You will not be sorry. Let Jesus guide you in how and what to pray, and the ride will not stop satisfying .

May you learn the gift pray will become to your existence forever. God bless you with the connection that is real and enjoyable and funny and ever satisfying.

Grandchildren and the Word of God

Psalm 119:15Amplified Bible (AMP)
15 I will meditate on your precepts and have respect to your ways [the paths of life marked out by your law].

Meditate is a word for ponder. It means to think about. There are several scriptures referring to meditate and almost synonymous with prayer. Gen 24:62-64, Joshua 1:8, 1chronicles 16:9,, psalm 1:2, 2:1, 27:4 , lots of other words about studying or thinking, pondering the word of God. As a child I learned the 23rd psalm so young that I do not remember not knowing it. Memorization sometimes seems like works and often takes scriptures to drudgery. I was praying about a way to make learning and meditating on the word of God in a new way for my grandchildren. (two boys 9 and 7) Our pastor had taught us to learn one verse at a time and ponder it long enough that you are truly ready for more. He actually referred to each verse as an adopted child. That each one became as special as one of your children in the way you “know” the verse. Graham Cooke (prophetic teacher brilliantperspectives.com) had an experience where the Lord wanted him to spend six months on one psalm until he truly had understood the words. Early Christians meditated on words from the Bible differently than we do in our fast paced world of digital and instant everything.(see lectio divina)
The Lord gave me an idea through one of my prayer minister friends. We were meeting with Jesus and we both had the revelation to write each verse on a card and we made the verses into a scavenger hunt by hiding them all through the house. Then they had to trade and swap until each have the six verses they needed. I started with the new living translation because I felt like it was easy to understand in common language. learning the psalm So each day during Christmas break the boys learn one more verse. I also let them have a dollar for each verse learned that way they could have holiday money for buying presents for others. I heard a teaching about us giving ways to earn money to our children or just giving them money to buy presents for others and it suggested that God gave those inclinations to us because that is how He is to us. He gives us gifts that we cultivate and give back to Him. One is the gift of worship or dance , music and singing. What ever gifts he has given us he allows us to have them to give back to Him in serving others. I find that as I do what we do in prayer ministry, when God heals someone, being present in that moment He always gives me a revelation about who He is that is a gift for me as well as what He is doing for someone else.
Another really exciting thing that I have learned is how to teach kids how to pray for their enemies. My husband had a coworker that had such anger issues at work that people were trying to avoid him. As we prayed for him God somehow made a teaching on the tongue sink into that man’s head and as he became aware of how he sounded he started to change. Only God can do that.
That is the way He is. Continue reading Grandchildren and the Word of God

Scars and cars

My car was injured a couple of years ago and it really turned out to be a good thing in a way.(another post).
So as I drive around the northern suburbs of Atlanta I am always impressed about the unusual volume of flashy and expensive cars. Since the down turn in the economy we have more of the not so new cars around but because the traffic dodgem cars is so prevalent here even some of the beautiful cars have scars. My car has a long bent bumped part on the passenger side that went from the front tire to the back bumper. A garbage truck backed down our street for trash and miss judged my car that was parked in the street that day. I am partially disabled so it was to keep me from the major stairs in my garage.
So it is less dented thanks to my husband and we managed to spray some similar color paint over the rust and nicks. So the car has a scar, no one was hurt and since I get in the driver side I often forget the scar.
The Lord showed me that the scars on people, internal ones are not so easy to see. One car is dented in the corner, someone clipped it, the person that was ran over or sideswiped at work, does not show. It could be the lady you are standing behind in the grocery line.
When I wait in a line the Lord told me He could show me the scars. I worried, and asked what would I do with that information? He said I could pray for them. I agreed.
I am no one special, you can do this too.

new Movie and Mercy guest post

Posted by Rusty Wright on Wednesday, December 19, 2012

By Rusty Wright

Could receiving a healthy dose of kindness and mercy help transform a person’s life?

Victor Hugo thought so. The 19th Century French social reformer wove his classic novel Les Misérables around the theme of grace trumping legalism. A new film based on the successful musical opens Christmas Day across the US and Canada, soon in many other nations.

Until recently, I was one of the few in the western world unfamiliar with this powerful saga, somehow having missed it through formal education and beyond. I now understand why it continues to attract audiences 150 years after it was written.

Kindness and Mercy Shine

Spoiler alert for Les Mis novices: this article encapsulates the essential story. But understanding the plot and characters can help you appreciate the film.

A kindly bishop provides dinner and lodging for paroled convict Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman). In return, while the priest sleeps, Valjean steals his silver.

The next day, approached by constables who’ve apprehended Valjean, the bishop tells them that the silver was a gift. He then privately counsels Valjean to see this as part of God’s plan for him and to use the silver to become honest. The priest’s heartwarming mercy evokes a biblical admonition: “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

Rescuing the Needy

The bishop’s benevolence cascades through time. Actor Jackman notes: “Valjean is the recipient of one of the most beautiful and touching moments of grace from the bishop…. He decides to mend his ways and dedicate his life and his soul to God and to being of service to the community. He is constantly striving to be a better person, to live up to what he thinks God wants from him.”

Using an alias, Valjean becomes a generous factory owner whose grateful townspeople elect him mayor. He inspires us by rescuing the needy.

Valjean rescues Fantine (Anne Hathaway), an ailing single mother turned prostitute to support her daughter, Cosette. Before Fantine dies, Valjean promises to care for Cosette.

Freeing the Innocent

When an innocent man nearly is convicted of being parole-violator Jean Valjean, the real Valjean agonizes: Should he retain his comfortable anonymity or reveal his true identity and risk prosecution? He comes clean, thereby rescuing the wrongly charged. Valjean’s altruism is stirring. He credits God with giving him hope and strength for life’s challenges.

True to his promise, Valjean rescues the now-orphaned Cosette from cruel foster parents, raising her as his own daughter. As a young woman, Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) becomes enamored of Marius (Eddie Redmayne), a youthful revolutionary in the 1832 anti-governmental French student uprising.

Driven by love for Cosette, Valjean rescues Marius from death during a harrowing excursion through the Paris sewers.

Most Gripping Rescue

Perhaps Valjean’s most gripping rescue involves Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe), a policeman dedicated to the law and obsessed with tracking and bringing Valjean to justice. Remember The Fugitive? Think Tommy Lee Jones’ relentless US Marshall character on steroids.

When students discover Javert has infiltrated their rebellion, Valjean volunteers as executioner, then surreptitiously releases Javert, who is stunned. Mercy has no place in his law, and he cannot fathom Valjean’s compassion.

When Javert later reciprocates, releasing Valjean, the inner turmoil is more than Javert can bear; he kills himself. In Victor Hugo’s world, mercy indeed trumps legalism (unhealthy devotion to or emphasis on law), a lesson Valjean exemplifies but which evades poor Javert.

Tempering Justice with Mercy

Of course, any properly functioning society needs justice. Knowing when to temper it with mercy can be a challenge for societies and individuals. The proper balance helps make civilizations civilized. Which world would you rather inhabit: one tilting toward Valjean’s mercy or Javert’s legalism?

Les Misérables touches other important themes: romance, unrequited love, care for orphans and the poor, even prison reform. Bring a handkerchief, and someone you love.

Rated PG-13 for “Suggestive and Sexual Material, Violence and Thematic Elements.”

Rusty Wright is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents. He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively. www.RustyWright.com

Copyright © 2012 Rusty Wright

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New beginnings so important

Jan 7th

So we begin to see a new year. Soon it will be time for Chinese New Year. It is always mentally refreshing to have a do over or start over. The cool thing about The Lord that His mercies are new every morning, so we can have a new day or new year every day. With the internet we can have a very world view of all the different cultural holidays. When I had a grand child ask about culture we were trying to understand how to explain difference. Over and over again talking to others that around the world no matter what cultural difference there is a big difference in lives based on rural versus city. The more civilized and the more heat, hot water available the more the world changes in what one is able to do. Staying in a big old cold house in the Ohio river valley on Jan 6 it is clear that if it is a lot of work to keep warm and clean. The basics are taken care of instead of the extras of mental acuity and creative endeavors. Who had time to read and write when major time and effort are about shelter, and keeping warm. I so understand how a pioneer may not want to bathe all winter, the thought of taking off your clothes and climbing into water when the ambient temperature is 45 degrees inside. So why would I get wet when it is all about staying warm. A modern shower with hot running water is such a delight under these conditions.

Most people don’t know that in the middle of rural America is a third world country.

I am most grateful for conveniences that most take for granted and I love that I live in the south east where there are often breaks in the long cold winter.

Life is Messy

I was looking for Bible commentaries, trying to tap into another’s mind about some of the mysteries of scripture. I know that in my relationship with Jesus I can tap into what He says about His own words, but sometimes I like a human person to show me how others may think, and go astray or process. I feel the work I do with ministering is to understand how to lead people to their own relationship with Jesus. I am always searching for understanding of other’s thinking process. He never leaves us or forsakes us. He is the Source for life and truth.
As I researched I ran across an article about mental illness. The story was about a person that is a cutter or self harming individual. I do know the power of the Holy Spirit to invade our minds and transform our ways of thinking but often it does not come easily or quite in the way we would think or like to see. In this story the young woman ended up in a mental health facility but in the process of healing she had an experience that fully equipped her to reach out to the next person that God brought into her life. She was able to reach out with personal revelation, and hang out with the student as she walked her own path into mental health treatment. Our processes are never quite as efficient as the creator. As we wait on God and follow the path He gives us to reach out to each person with their own uniqueness, I am reminded that life is messy. Situations often take time. Our time is not God’s. He has a plan and I find it usually does not look like the one I envisioned. Mostly that is good because as I look back I know that His plan was perfect and I did not have all perspectives.
Relationship is the key to all things. I have heard that if we master marriage we can develop a relationship with God. I have come to understand that the relationship with Jesus that is based on unconditional love is the pattern that we must learn in order to have any relationships.

Happy New Year, happy Yom Kuppur

Happy New year again.
This is the time of year to celebrate Jewish New Year and then to begin again with repenting on Yom Kippur. Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi so I so want to understand and participate in Jewish holidays and traditions. Often these help us see more richness in the Bible.
Yes, I know it may seem crazy but we celebrate Jan and a new year, Feb we celebrate Chinese New Year (we have many culturally different friends from our church,) in the spring we have an Iranian New Year (I worked with a doctor from Iran.).We have a corporate new year in the summer and then the fall we celebrate and reset again. So I purpose to restart anything that is not going well five times a year.

21 But in my mind I keep returning to something,
something that gives me hope —
22 that the grace of ADONAI is not exhausted,
that his compassion has not ended.
23 [On the contrary,] they are new every morning!
How great your faithfulness!
24 “ADONAI is all I have,” I say;
“therefore I will put my hope in him.
Lamentations3:21-24
from the complete Jewish Bible.
This is my favorite verse on God renewing us with His compassion and grace, daily.

This has been a crazy year with lots of work at my ministry. Been busy and reworking the call on my life. I have been in a battle for my health and in most ways I am winning. So the shorting of my blogging. Still unable to work I am three days working at prayer ministry, and my continued studying. In my faith we believe that God’s mercies are new everyday. So forgiveness and mercy are ongoing with the renewal of our soul through our Savior, Jesus. Happy New Year , joyful new day.

Grief and Loss

It came like smoke that fills the top of the room. It flows through the ceiling and covers the eight foot ceiling above you. It fills the room slowly, steadily and then all of a sudden every cubic inch of air is suffocating with this evil presence. It is Grief. It is loss and it is pain. The whole room is filled and all of a sudden you cannot move and your arms do not want to move. You are looking at something trying to remember what it was you were doing.(oh, that could be old age..hehe). “Oh, where am I ?”  you ask in your mind, or maybe out loud, because it can make you lonely and you talk to yourself. You look around and you see people but at the same time you are alone. YOU are the one that cannot reach out. Because the grief has wrapped you as a thin layer of skin of pain, numbness and tingling all at once you cannot feel the presence of another.

 

It is grief. It is loss. When did it happen?. How did it happen? Why did it happen? There are no answers. You have not understood how it came upon you but you are like engulfed as if an octopus with the tentacles are wrapped around you and consider that the suction cups on you are sucking the life blood out of you. A serious layer of sorrow and indescribable tiredness overwhelms you. It can fall off the cliff and become full blown depression. But maybe not. There is a glimmer of light on the horizon. You hear a voice that reaches through the fog or smoke surrounding. You hear another person asking if they can make you some food. You stumble to the kitchen and sit and try to eat. It is not enticing. You can go through the motions but when you put food in your mouth you feel too tired to chew. You think if you could sleep you may be able to wake up and it will be gone. But then, you do it and when you wake, it is still there. You don’t know exactly what to do about it. Again a phone call. Someone says they are sorry. You wonder why they are sorry because they cannot possibly understand what you feel. You certainly do not. It is Grief, it is loss.

 

How do I get rid of it? Will it ever go away?. It seems it may not. Everyone in the house is touched and the pain continues. The dog even tiptoes around. She has understood. It was her sister, that she had never been away from for over thirty minutes. It is hers too. And the others in the house feel it although it was not their loved one that is gone.

From Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem In Memoriam:27, 1850:

I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

When grief or loss pays a visit, this does not seem so true. As time will make a wound into a scar, we can almost believe this until we have a new love. As time changes the scar, we can massage it to help it heal. In spiritual ways there are things to talk out with God. When you have grief or loss you must go through it. I heard once it said if you are going through hell, do not stop. I think grief is like that. Do not plan to stay there but it is different for each one of us. Check out the http://www.petloss.com/rainbowbridge.htm if you have lost a pet. If you have a family member you may read Heaven is for Real., Or The Boy Who Went to Heaven.( Go through my Amazon.com Link and help us out) There are lots of tales of those that have died and have returned and have seen heaven. My most reliable story is the one about Jesus Christ and what he says about getting to heaven. There is one road.

I have lost both my parents, and many of my close pets. Grief does get more tolerable but the missing doesn’t go away. For me I focus on the good memories of the loss and that helps me handle what never leaves. Again, it is a process and my biggest grief is loosing much of my health. I may recover some of it, but aging often reduces it. That one just frustrates me and I need more prayer. Consider that another entry at another day.

Nana