Category Archives: Relationships

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

#

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

 

 

 

 

Tim Tebow and the comments

Tim Tebow is having criticism for giving God credit through Jesus every time a good thing happens in a game. One of the commentators is complaining because he is tired of hearing the name of Jesus. Another football Christian suggests that bringing credit to Jesus may be overstating things or building walls with some. I do not think you can say the name of Jesus too much. Everytime His name is mentioned something is different in the spirit. That is why Satan in Hollywood loves to take the name of the Lord in vain and the name bothers so many to hear it repeated. There is power in the Name, the name that there is none like. Jesus the Son of God.

 

Giving God glory is part of a process and when it happens others are claimed for Christ because the sound of His name will bring those that are chosen to come to Him. What non- believers do not understand that there is power in the name and there is release in the spirit when He gets the glory. Our purpose is to glorify God and the point of our creation was to accomplish that. As we do that the heart of God is satisfied. and  He loves everyone and the mention of His name is  an opportunity to bring more to Him.

 

Complete exchange that our salvation is a glorifying moment for God. Truth is a very good deal for us. The purpose of our existence is in the accomplishment of giving glory to God that makes others come to know Him. That is a result of our love for God. It is all about His love for us.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING

November 22, 2011
HAPPY THANKSGIVING

This is a most intentional time that we have in the United States to give thanks. For those of you that do not know Whom we give thanks to, let me share the truth that there is one true God. He sent His son Jesus to earth to be human, die on a cross so we could be freed from the slavery of sin. You could say we become slaves to Christ. I would suggest you read my other blog on what it means in the Bible days to be a slave.
This week a lot of people will spend a lot of time and money gathering food and people to one place to become a thanksgiving celebration. For many the celebrating with family is painful and a lot of alcohol is mixed with the food and an incredibly difficult time is had by all.
To me the attitude of gratitude is the goal this week. Really this is practice to learn to live a life filled with gratitude. It is only in this place that the peace of the living God can move in our lives. He can teach us how to be grateful. The very first way is to recognize we need a savior. For those of you that don’t need one you may want to check out some of the modern books about hell. Consider, the most recent one about a little boy that visited heaven and met his sister that he did not know existed . She was a miscarriage and when the boy told his parents they were amazed because this child had never been told by them about her. There is heaven, there may be hell. For some of you it is faith to believe, but you have been given enough faith by God to believe, so tap into it.
I am most gratefiul, thankful and appreciative for a true relationship, friendship, and dynamic experiential time with Jesus. The Bible talks about us seeing Jesus and personal time with Him, as well as having the opportunity to hear from the Holy Spirit anytime we have a question.
The next richest thing I have to be grateful for is the friends I have. I am blessed beyond measure because my adopted family of God has some of the richest relationships on the planet. I am also blessed to have friendship amongst my immediate family. Those take work and investment of time, all of them, but I believe God created us to be in relationship with Him and through our relationships with others is how He heals our brokenness.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, and thanks for visiting Nanaswordsofwisdom.com/blog

LOL

 

 

I was reading about the expression, “More than one way to skin a cat,” in reference to how our words may appear to slander another’s ideas of proper, or cat lovers abound and how would that expression fly in the face of someone you were trying to make peace with, or inspire to have a relationship with Jesus. So one reference said that the skin a cat actually referred to skinning catfish where the skin is pulled off the animal as it is turned inside out.

So the natural process in my investigation takes me to the language is changing website and it occurred to me that I had frequently heard some younger people actually saying LOL instead of laughing in a particular situation. Now I know they say technology has helped us but as I learn that my smart phone does not accurately predict the words I am typing, and even will not let me call a rug shampooer a rugger, as my five year old grandson so aptly named it (my immediate family knows what that is) it hit me that spelling laughter may be the ultimate insult to the gift of laughter (I believe given by God)   Ok, so our creator has made a thing that when we laugh causes our positive emotions to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and the cardiac benefits are equal to exercise. So what has technology done when some think our friends on facebook are true human encounters and instead of the emotion of laughter we abbreviate the most important  benefit and say LOL. Come on now, we need to laugh at the irony of life , the complexity of problems, not at the expense of others but with others.Watch a comedy with a friend today or go bowling, nothing is funnier.  Try and have fun tackling anything new to boost your brain cells and improve your health. I vote to take away LOL in conversation, laugh for heavens sake… and for your sake. Jesus laughed, and He frequently  corrected with mirth.

And what if they studied the effect that the Joy of the Lord  has on us, consider the joy that in all circumstances gives us strength, the joy knowing how much He loves us.  I know that has health benefits.