The Power Of Love

“I Can Do Bad All By Myself” is a story about the power of love.  April, the main character, is living a life less than what she deserves; and she is ok with that.  She is in a relationship with a married man to keep from being committed.  She would rather be by herself than take a chance to fall in love and have to suffer the pain of losing it.  Sandino (Adam Rodrigez), the border who takes a room in her basement, comes along, and is not afraid to show vulnerability.  He is strong and macho; yet sensitive and caring at the same time.  At one point in the movie, when April found out her mother died alone on a bus, Sandino held her and when she asked why, he simply stated, because you needed to be held. 

Can you think of a time in your life when you needed that: a human touch with no strings attached; but you felt you had no one to fit the bill?  I know it is the “Christian thing” to say “Jesus is all I need”.  But that is not God’s desire for us.  We were created to not only have a relationship with Him; but also to have fellowship with one another.  Unfortunately, we do not always want to obey the word.  We would rather be alone, than appear before another human naked.  We would rather hide our hurts; conceal the pain of broken promises; and disguise our wounds of despair.  We would rather cover up who we really are – than reach out and let the Lord heal us.  And contrary to popular belief, His preferred method is to use someone close by.  My pastor always says “favor comes on two feet”.  Meaning, God uses people.  And that is absolutely true about healing those obscure, mutilated internal wounds inside of you. 

Did you ever consider volunteering or visiting a loved one in a rest home may be the cure for your broken heart?  What about helping out at the children’s hospital?  The healing power of giving love is stronger than you think. 

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. (John 15:12-13)

So can you do bad all by yourself?  Yes, when you take the lyrics to the title song to heart:

“Yeah
Since everybody knows what it is that I need to do.
Well do me a favor, let me worry bout me and you worry bout you.

[Chorus]
I don’t need no one to put me down,
I’m on the ground, can’t get no lower.
And I don’t need no one to hang around and make me frown just makes me look older.
And I don’t need no one to black my eye and tell me lies
Don’t wanna cry over nobody else
No no no no I can do bad all by myself.”

But when we sacrifice ourselves, our wishes, and our preferences for a friend, we give the greatest of all gifts and prove our love beyond any doubt.  And the hose that waters has to get wet.  Simply put, the love you give has to come back.

Dear Dad,

As I prepared this week’s blog on our latest movie “Daddy’s Little Girls” by Tyler Perry starring Gabrielle Union as Julia Rossmore and Idris Elba as Monty James, inspired by our live discussion group, I determined I should begin it with some famous quote about dads.  When I went to look one up, I found some delightful notes to dads and decided to share. I also want to give you an invitation to do the same.  Some of you may find it hard to think of anything good.  But if you let it, love can cover a multitude of sins.  I Corinthians 13:11-13 reminded me that all the hurt, pain and disappointment will vanish away when you grow up.  When you look in the mirror and see the best you-you could be; if you are honest and take the blinders off, you will know your father was too.  And if he wasn’t, God our Father has been.

1 Corinthians 13:11-13

(TNIV)

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

The Message (MSG)

 12We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

 13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

  

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.

- Jim Valvano

They say that from the instant he lays eyes on her, a father adores his daughter. Whoever she grows up to be, she is always to him that little girl in pigtails. She makes him feel like Christmas. In exchange, he makes a secret promise not to see the awkwardness of her teenage years, the mistakes she makes or the secrets she keeps.

- Unknown

who is the one person who can always make me smile?
Even when I’m mad at him?
Even when he makes me cry?
Even when he makes fun of me or laughs at me.
He is one of the people who has always been there for me, one who has always loved, cared, and provided for me.
He is one of the two most important people in the world to me. Someone I LOVE with all my heart.
He is my friend,my hero, but most importantly he is my…

Daddy!!!!

I Love you dad!   (to my father, who is in the hospital right now.)

- M

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.

- Sigmund Freud

I’ve had a hard life, but my hardships are nothing against the hardships that my father went through in order to get me to where I started.

- Bartrand Hubbard

Everyone can be a father, but it takes a lot to be a daddy

- ?

 A father is someone who carries pictures in his wallet where his money used to be

- unknown

 

A “daddys little girl” is the one who would rather get her hands covered in engine oil with dad, than stay in the house and bake buns with her mother!

- Mishelly

 

 A dad is someone who

-is a daughter’s first love
-will be there for you no matter how bad of a mistake you’ve made
-will stand up for you when you need him
-will give you their hugs and shoulders to cry on
-promises you that you will always be his little girl
-loves you so much and will sacrifice whatever it is to make you happy again

A father is supposed to be the one man who will never give up on you …

- -A Broken Hearted Daughter

Eat

So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.”
— 2 Samuel 9:13

In the movie Eat, Pray, Love, Liz realized she needed to reconnect with herself and the simple things in life. First she had to disconnect from all the politically correct rules people had imposed on her, and encourages others to do the same. On the first stop on her yr. long journey, she persuades Sophie, her new friend to also be true to herself (and promises they will buy bigger jeans for themselves the next day) – So they eat all the carbs and ice cream they wanted – guilt free!! Later she reflects on a new Italian word she learned thanks to Luca, about enjoying the pleasure of the moment. This triggers a flash back to an argument with her boyfriend David, where he says they both should just agree to be happy by being unhappy together. Liz emails him about what she learned in Italy and how she cares about him but that it’s wrong to be unhappy.

Like Liz, many of us have experienced bad nursing in our spiritual infancy which often causes converts to fall into a despondency from which they may never recover without assistance. Here is where the similarities end. Because we do not have to search for the answer: God comes to whatever broken place we may find ourselves. On a bar stool, in a crack house, in a corporate office stealing; He does not wait for us to come find him; but like Adam, He comes down looking for us. He’s like a stalker who won’t let you go because you are just that valuable to him and his love supersedes all boundaries.

Reminiscent of Mephibosheth, we may not understand why the King of Glory loves us the way he does, “What is thy servant that thou shouldst look upon such a dead dog as I am?” But the Lord sees his dearly-beloved Jesus in our countenance. It is because of the Lord’s love for His son, that he raises his lowly brethren from poverty and banishment, to courtly companionship, noble rank, and royal provision.

Lameness is no bar to sonship; the cripple is as much the heir as if he could run like Asahel. A king’s table is a noble hiding-place for lame legs, and at the gospel feast we learn to glory in infirmities, because the power of Christ rests upon us.

We may not deserve it, but God’s loves for us through His beloved Son, set us free from bondage, and reconciled us back to the Father. Now we are free to run; free to dance, free to live with Christ.

My prayer for you this week Lord, help the lame to leap, run and dance; and satisfy all thy people with the bread from thy table!

P.S. You still have time to give your thoughts on Liz’s Pray and Love “moments”; or your own “aha moments” that changed your life. Remember answering qualifies you for a chance to receive two movie tickets.

EAT, PRAY, LOVE

Note: Since we will not be meeting next month because of Bethany’s Power of God Convocation, all those who take the time to answer the questions below will be entered into a drawing for dinner & a movie
(for 2)

There is a guest we see at most celebrations. The very special ones like weddings, funerals, and birthdays. And little private ones like a new job or a dance recital. It’s a pleasant companion at baby showers with the anticipation of birth, and oddly enough, it’s also around just before prisoners take their last breath.
Food – it is a part of every aspect of our lives. We like food because it brings comfort. It is the one thing that can bring every part of us subject at the same time as good and bad cuisine appeals to our sense of sight, smell, touch, taste and even hearing with just the smallest morsel. Relationships revolve around it; even our relationship with God.

The Fall of man happened by eating the forbidden fruit; and so our restoration had to revolve around food too. God instructed them to EAT grain, wine and oil with the sacrificial lamb.
38 “This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old. 39 Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight. 40 With the first lamb offer a tenth of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil from pressed olives, and a quarter of a hin of wine as a drink offering. 41 Sacrifice the other lamb at twilight with the same grain offering and its drink offering as in the morning—a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the LORD.
42 “For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance to the tent of meeting, before the LORD. There I will meet you and speak to you; 43 there also I will meet with the Israelites, and the place will be consecrated by my glory. (Ex 29:38-43)

It was this same meal that God used to respond to the PRAYER of backslidden Israel in Hosea 2:8-23.

• It was also these same ingredients present when Jesus shared his last meal where he instructed us to memorize how much He LOVED us by remembering what He was about to sacrifice. Luke 22:10-20

So God established a pattern we could follow if we ever felt disconnected or distant. He said taste & see that He was good.

Ps 33:22 Love us, GOD, with all you’ve got—that’s what we’re depending on.
34:1 I bless GOD every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise.
2I live and breathe GOD; if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy: 3Join me in spreading the news; together let’s get the word out.
4GOD met me more than halfway; he freed me from my anxious fears. 5Look at him; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him.
6When I was desperate, I called out, and GOD got me out of a tight spot. 7GOD’s angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray.
8Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good GOD is. Blessed are you who run to him.
9Worship GOD if you want the best: worship opens doors to all his goodness.
10Young lions on the prowl get hungry, but GOD-seekers are full of God.

In other words, He wanted us to EAT, PRAY, LOVE. This is also the title of the next movie we will explore.

The film opens with our heroine Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) riding her bike along a grassy roadside in Bali. She reflects on a friend of hers who was called to offer help at a refugee camp; the friend was so uncertain of how she could possibly relate to the tragic background of the people. Yet she quickly discovered the ongoing topic of conversation was not their physical despair, but Love and broken relationships.
Liz proceeds to have many moments of reflection throughout the film. So I would like to know what they were.

1. Define the different levels of awareness on her journey/ her moments
(example) What relationships were void of fellowship? (When did she feel alone with people around her)
Which ones were void of love?
Which ones were void of happiness?
In other words, when did she recognize the problem and when did the breakthrough come.

2. Share a moment on your journey of life that if you could, you would take a moment, come aside and figure things out. And share when you broke through. Or if you haven’t, share that too, and let’s see if we can’t help you EAT, PRAY, LOVE.

We will be answering this question and others like it during our live discussion at the Girls Night Out at Bethany Baptist Church tonight, Friday, May 20th at 7:30pm. Join us for food, fellowship and fun!

As always, feel free to bring your favorite dessert and friend.

Looking forward to your answers,
Minister Charmette E. Brown

Inception: Pistol Packin’ Power

The movie Inception starts with Dom Cobb washed up on a beach. He is injured and seems delirious. He opens his eyes once and sees two kids playing on the beach. Some men with guns (they appear to be guards) take him to an old man, telling the man that Cobb was alone and carried only a pistol and a small brass top. The old man tells Cobb that he recognizes the top, saying, “You remind me of someone… a man I met in a half-remembered dream. He was possessed of some radical notions.”

I don’t need to go any further than that. Because if you have not lived long enough to experience it, I am a witness that sometimes life can leave you feeling all washed up. How about you? Maybe when the last child left home, you felt empty because your reason for living had just walked out the door. Or Lordy, Lordy, you hit forty and think the child and husband dream are but a hallucination best left half-remembered. If we are not careful, we will wake up one day, and the only thing left is some fire power and a token of our past stubborn sins. You started out with HOPE: And then you ran into the same old dream killers from your past whose mission it is to steal, kill, and to destroy any bit of faith you have for a drama free life!

Again, I don’t know about you, but sometimes life has a way of killing dreams through its web of deception. Like Cobb came as an angel of light, the enemy comes, using situations and circumstances to knock you off your game. And he realizes the only time he can get to you is when you are already vulnerable, lonely or hurt. It is the only way he can attack your thoughts. Oh, did you really think he was after your car or your job? He is after your mind, because it is with your mind that you serve God.

I know you thought it was your mother, or your boss, but not so. Your sister is not your enemy. Your children and your spouse are not your adversaries. Yet, so many times, we blame them. Even when they let the devil use them, they are not your problem. But we have to have someone to blame. There are people mad at God right now because their mother died when they were a child. They can’t blame the doctor, and they can’t blame her, so it must be God’s fault. And if you do not blame him for where you are, you think He’s forgotten about you. Quiet as you keep it, there is a secret desire in the recesses of your heart that you don’t even bother sharing with yourself any more.

Why? Because at this stage in life, it, whatever your “it” is, seems impossible. It must not be God’s will for me. It has caused you to lose your zest for life. You lost your smile; you lost your dance; and there is no song left in your heart. And no matter how many bar stools you have sat on trying to drown out the pain; no matter how many beds you have laid in; and no matter how many church services you have gone to trying to hear a word to set you free! – You are still lost. But there is HOPE!

You have HELP on the journey;

Psalm 18:1-6 (The Message)
1-2 I love you, GOD— you make me strong. GOD is the bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight. My God—the high crag where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout. 3 I sing to GOD, the Praise-Lofty, and find myself safe and saved. 4-5 The hangman’s noose was tight at my throat; devil waters rushed over me. Hell’s ropes cinched me tight; death traps barred every exit. 6 A hostile world! I call to GOD, I cry to God to help me. From his palace he hears my call; my cry brings me right into his presence

You have OPPORTUNITIES to change your world;
Galatians 6:10 (King James Version)
10As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Do you need God to change some things for you? Do you need Him to open some doors? Have secret desires met? Or perhaps you just need him to heal your mind? Well, every chance you get, do good unto others – treat them like you want to be treated – EVEN WHEN IT HURTS!!!! That does not mean if you like apples, give them a basket of apples. That means, if their thing is oranges, get them oranges so they will be as content as you. I declare, when you make things happen for someone else, your dreams will start becoming reality

You have the POTENTIAL to do anything you set your mind to, all you need to do is get out of the boat! How? By seeing God in inordinate places: Peter did not walk on water because Jesus told him he could, he took on the water because he saw Jesus turn water into wine; and then he saw the woman at the well get delivered, and then be filled enough to deliver everybody who rejected her in the past. Peter walked because he saw the man who had been sick 38 years have enough faith to get up and walk (John 5:1-9) What have you seen God do for your sister lately: Celebrate because you are next in line for a miracle. If God did it for them, and He is no respecter of persons….

And most of all, you have an EXPECTATION

Philippians 1:19-21 (King James Version)
19For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. 21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

The Message bible says it like this: I’m going to keep that celebration going because I know how it’s going to turn out. Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.

When you have the pistol packin’ Power of the Spirit backing up your prayer, you have no other choice, but to come out a victorious over-coming champion! So dream on my Sista!!!

Your faithful servant,
Minister Charmette E Brown

If you had some hope deferred or a dream denied; but have over-come by the Blood of the Lamb – please share that testimony on the blog site. Or as always, feel free to share your thoughts and comments there.

Inception – The Overview

Quite honestly, I wracked my brain to think of which dream sequence to start with. But decided that might be a bit much, especially if you have not viewed the movie. So instead of diving right into the details and levels of the movie, I wanted to do a short overview of the movie Inception to help familiarize you with our next feature film.
In the simplest of terms, Inception is a heist film about dream-stealers. A heist film is a film that has an intricate plot woven around a group of people trying to steal something. Typically, there are many plot twists, and film focuses on the characters’ attempts to formulate a plan, carry it out, and escape with the goods. There is often a nemesis who must be thwarted: either a figure of authority or a former partner who turned on the group or one of its members.
Christopher Nolan, writer and director, worked on the script for nine to ten years, and says it is influenced by that era of movies that were based on the principles that the world around you might not be real. (The Matrix, The Dark City, etc)
When you’re talking about dreams, the potential of the human mind is infinite. It has to feel like you could go anywhere by the end of the film. The key to completing the script was wondering what would happen if several people shared the same dream. “Once you remove the privacy, you’ve created an infinite number of alternative universes in which people can meaningfully interact, with validity, with weight, with dramatic consequences.”

Similarly, the bible is a book about dream stealers. God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, assisted by the angels, need to take man back from the grip of death, hell and the grave.
The plan was formulated in Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

The nemesis who caused the original extraction was satan. Typical of a heist, he used to be a part of the group, but got kicked out by God. He planted the idea in Eve’s head that they ‘would not surely die’ (dream within a dream sequence)
The team worked for 1500 years through various dispensations to win us back.
I will not go as far to say this world is not real, but I will say it is not our ultimate reality/our ultimate home.

The key to the bible is that everyone shares the same dream. God desires man to be reconciled back into a right relationship with him. Once we remove the thing that separates us, we can be united. So once we remove sin, we now have restored fellowship with our Creator. We now have a valid right to pray, worship and serve God. And all of heaven is backing us up when we face situations that seem too hard to bear. (With weight) and of course, the most dramatic consequences we could encounter is not spending eternity with him.

45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:44-58 (KJV)

SALT: What’s in a Name

Some of you are old enough to remember the TV series Roots. One of the memorable scenes was the naming ceremony where Kunta Kinte lifts his new born to the heavens and under a mesmerizing, star filled sky, names his daughter Kizzy. While many cultures have such rituals, most of us had never seen one up to that point. But no matter what your background, you can agree, names are important and should not be chosen lightly. Because the name you choose can brand your child for life.

Take Mystery & Chance for instance. Those were the names of two small children I happen to meet many years ago. While our paths crossed just that once, they will forever remain in my thoughts. I often wonder how they turned out. Did they make it to adulthood? Did they marry, go to school and lead productive lives? Even now, I often say a small prayer for them and so many like them. I still remember how they looked: their slightly dirty faces, hair that needed cutting, and clothes that were a size too small. But I mostly remember the innocence that was still in their eyes. I remember as we sat in the restaurant, curiously asking their mother what their names meant. She said it was a mystery who the daddy was; and she had taken a chance being with this guy and it didn’t work out. I was dumb founded. Who does that! As a college student, it still made me stop and think. What legacy did that thrust them into? What would be their destiny? I really felt for them. And let’s face it, whether we like them or not, we don’t get to choose our own names. We have to live 2, 20, 75 years with a choice based on the emotional state of our parents; or how much they admired some famous person/relative; or some quirky thing we did when we were born. Names are chosen in many different ways and for many different reasons.

As you may know, this month’s discussion featured the movie “SALT,” starring Angelina Jolie. In choosing this film for our first endeavor, so many things came to mind to make it an easy choice. One was its name, and all the biblical references that tied the whole ‘first’ theme together. I liked the fact that Evelyn’s name was a derivative of Eve, which means life. Eve, the first woman: wife of Adam and progenitor of mankind. (Gen. 3:20). When we think of destinies and legacies, it was interesting what she named her children: Cain, which means possession; Abel, which means breath; and Seth, which means compensation. Because when Cain killed Abel, it took Eve’s breath away and she was waiting to exhale. It was such a devastating loss that it took her 130 years to recover from it; but in the end, she was compensated for all the possessions she had involuntarily given up.

In the movie the character Evelyn Salt, also experienced a devastating loss when the Russians killed her husband. She exacted justice on many of the men who took her most prize possession from her. But the end of the film not only has you thirsting for more, but you know she has just begun to show them just how important Mike was to her. He sacrificed his life, but you can see she is not riding off into the sunset to go underground to be buried with him. As the new day dawns, as promised to Peabody, she will resurface. And like the first Eve, she plans to be paid back for everything they took.

Now, since we are talking about names this week, I would also be remiss if I did not explore the word which makes up the title of the movie, Salt. We all spent the first months of our lives in a sac of salt water, so we are all dependent on this humble compound. It is one of the most abundant minerals on the face of the earth. (And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so Gen. 1:9) It primarily comes from rocks that formed underground. But it can also be found dissolved in oceans and in some lakes. The elements that make up salt are chlorine and sodium.

For humans, salt is as essential as water. We can perish from too little salt as we can of thirst. Salt regulates the exchange of water between our cells and their surrounding fluids. One component of salt, sodium (Na), is involved in muscle contraction including heartbeat, nerve impulses, and the digestion of body-building protein. Humans contain about eight ounces of salt. The amount of salt is regulated in our bodies by our kidneys and by perspiration.

So, we can see just how much we need it naturally. and spiritually, it’s no less. God showed the children of Israel just how important salt was in the Old Testament by requiring it for sacrifices.
12As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the LORD: but they shall not be burnt on the altar for a sweet savour. 13And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt. Leviticus 2:12-14 (KJV)

Jesus also mentioned how essential it was. He used it as an analogy to the kind of witnesses He wanted us to be in the earth. And if we are not doing our job then what good are we?
13“You are salt for the earth. But if salt loses its taste, how will it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people. (Matthew 5:12-13 GWT)

We can apply it’s characteristics to help us live peaceably with all men – the original desire of God with the OT sacrifices. In other words, if we have the life sustainer on the inside of us, we will have what it takes to have peace. 48In hell worms that eat the body never die, and the fire is never put out. 49Everyone will be salted with fire. 50Salt is good. But if salt loses its taste, how will you restore its flavor? Have salt within you, and live in peace with one another.” (Mark 9:48-50 GWT)

Let’s be honest. It is not always the easiest thing to be kind, and to let our words be seasoned with grace. As women, we feel it is our duty to fix things and people. We just have to give them a piece of our mind. Many can consider themselves professional gossipers, talebearers, and the like. But evil communication corrupts good manners. How? Because, whatever you practice, will become a habit. And your habits eventually become your destiny. And while we cannot control the surface stuff, like what our name is, and how people respond to it; we can contribute to how people see us based on what we allow to grow on the inside. Will people remember you for adding some ‘spice’ to their life? A century from now, how will you be viewed? What will be the caption under your photo say? This point really hit home when I consider the most interesting small tid bit I just learned about salt. In Leonardo da Vinci’s famous “Last Supper” portrait, he has a spilled salt shaker in front of Judas. So it made me think, when it comes to the marriage supper of the Lamb, will you be shakin’ or bakin’?

SHERO – Can We Really Have It All

As women, we are expected to fill many different roles: daughter, mother, sister, wife, and CEO. Doctor to sick loved ones; lawyer and counselor to our friends – all at the same time! There is this expectation we are supposed to be the Proverbs 31 woman, Susie homemaker, Mother Theresa and superwoman all rolled up into one. In many households, you have to ‘man up’ and be both Eve and Adam. And if you are over forty and stuff has started to dry up – wow, I get tired just thinking about where the strength is supposed to come from to get it all done. We see so many images on television, movies and magazines, and now cyberspace of what the ultimate woman should be like , and the movie SALT is no exception. But something most of you may not know, Angelina was asked to step into a role originally written for a male protagonist named Edwin Salt. They had initially secured Tom Cruise for the lead, but the script was ultimately rewritten for Jolie. In the original script, he was married and they had a child. And like most heroes, of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities, he ends up rescuing them. [If you have not had a chance to see the movie Salt yet, skip to the next paragraph] So does that make Evelyn less of a hero because she could not make it there in time to save her husband? As with many movies today, there was also an alternate scene they did not use, where she arrived on the ship and Mike her husband was still alive. And in order to get the information she needed to save the president, she had to stand by & watch them drown him. And the changes were made by Angelina Jolie herself. She said she did not see her character having a child. And it was not that she could not save Mike, but she had to make the ultimate sacrifice. But do we have to sacrifice what we love in order to get what we want? I thought about some men who saved the day, got what they wanted, and the not so conventional means they used to do so.

In the movie Man on Fire, Criesy, played by Denzel Washington, believed ‘Revenge: is a meal best served cold’. And his fierce, calculated killing spree of all his enemies was excused because he was rescuing a damsel in distress. As stated in the movie, Creasy’s art was death, but he was a drunk. Yet, we never questioned his ability or whether he was still the good guy. Why? Because despite his flaws, we knew his motivation: Love.

And what about God? In Genesis, God came out the gate on a mission to get the devil back for influencing 1/3 of the angels to turn against him, and for trying to take all of us to hell with him. God said he was going to crush him. And when Jesus beat death like a drum by dying on the cross and rising from the dead, he did just that! God also ordered Saul to destroy all the Amalekites just because they would not let the Israelites pass through their land during their wilderness experience. He said kill everybody: men, women, children, cattle – everything. But here is my dilemma: how come He tells me to turn the other cheek? He tells me to forgive 70 times 7; and He tells me to love my neighbor as myself. He commands me to love, but does he practice what He preaches?
What do you think? What is He doing when He is showing us his schizophrenic/bad boy side? He is of course, just being the Ultimate Hero!

Remember, a hero is one with distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities; one who rescues – I would say – a deliverer. And the thing I really love about heroes, when others are running to safety, they do the opposite. He/she will run into a burning house to rescue a cat! They are attracted to danger. And it is not that they have a death wish; it’s just that danger attracts heroes/sheroes! A burning house attracts firefighters. A sinking ship attracts the Coast Guard. And it’s the same with God. Famine attracts His provision, prison attracts freedom, sickness attracts miracles, and God’s judgment of one attracts his love for another.

He is watching over us, but that does not mean we won’t have to fight some time. There are seasons He wants to teach our hands to war. So, life may not always be easy, but remember the following: He promised that nothing would ever separate us from his love. He also promised never to leave or forsake us. And if you have been through a few things with God on your side, you know if He brought you out last time, He will do it again. When I think about all the things He brought me out of, and all the tough spots He rescued me from, I have to admit I am glad He keeps me safe from harm. I am glad He is a battle ax in the time of storm (a Glock 9 for my Southside crew). He’s a healer, kinsmen redeemer, my salvation, and lover of my soul. I am glad ‘He holds my world in His Hands’ – (Israel Houghton- You Hold My World) and He will never let me go. What an awesome assurance. I am safe in his arms.
So if I ask myself the question again, Can I? The answer has to be – yes, with Jesus, I CAN HAVE IT ALL!!!

Who’s Your Daddy?

Thanks for joining us as we begin this new journey.  Over the next few weeks, we will discuss various aspects of the movie SALT and how it relates to our everyday life. Today we will start with a an intro into the movie by asking a very familiar, yet for some, a very haunting question, “who’s your daddy”?

Remember when you were a little girl and somebody called you bucktooth, short stop, tree top, Olive Oil or some other derogatory name.  What would you tell them?  Stick & stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me!  And then you ran home and your mom or dad would scoop you up in their arms and tell you everything was going to be alright.  You learned to shake things off.  But who do you turn to when it’s your parents saying horrible things to you?  How do we pick up the pieces then?

 In the movie SALT, starring Angelina Jolie, there is one phrase that changes her life forever: You are Evelyn Salt.  It seems crazy for that to rattle her since she has always known that was her name; but suddenly hearing Orlov, a supposed Russian defector, say it as he accuses her of being a double agent shifts her perspective forever.  How can the only father figure she has ever known, now come back into her life after all these years and turn it upside down?  On today of all days: her second anniversary with Mike!        

This reminds me of a character in the bible:  Saul.  In Acts 9:1-9 we find a man who believes he is honoring God by killing what he thinks is the enemy: Christians.  His life is suddenly thrown into a whirlwind when he too encounters his Master. 

Acts 9:1-31 (The Message Bible)

 1-2 All this time Saul was breathing down the necks of the Master’s disciples, out for the kill. He went to the Chief Priest and got arrest warrants to take to the meeting places in Damascus so that if he found anyone there belonging to the Way, whether men or women, he could arrest them and bring them to Jerusalem.  3-4He set off. When he got to the outskirts of Damascus, he was suddenly dazed by a blinding flash of light. As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice: “Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?”  5-6He said, “Who are you, Master?”  I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. I want you to get up and enter the city. In the city you’ll be told what to do next.”    7-9His companions stood there dumbstruck—they could hear the sound, but couldn’t see anyone—while Saul, picking himself up off the ground, found himself stone-blind. They had to take him by the hand and lead him into Damascus. He continued blind for three days. He ate nothing, drank nothing.

What would you do if you found out that you’ve been living a lie for the last 20 years?  Everything you had been taught was wrong.  The enemy you were trained to hate & kill was really your friend?  And it is not that far of a stretch because that is exactly what we did before we were saved.  We too spent all that time in the dark – until one day – we saw the light.  That day you had an encounter with your heavenly Father and He says you have been going in the wrong direction.  In that moment, where do you run when you hear a voice that changes your course?  What’s your response?  How do you pick up the pieces with everybody watching? 

In the movie, Evelyn found herself trying to explain this nightmare to her colleagues.   In verse 7 of Acts, Saul is also surrounded by companions who hear the same thing, but can’t see what he sees.  Even though they are all on the same journey together, they do not all encounter the same experience.  And that is where your Father has you.  He’s taking you to a place designed just for you.  Others may not understand, but you do not have to go it alone.  Even when you cannot see him, he is preparing the way.  He is running interference, and killing anybody who would get in your way.  He is working feverishly to provide you with a way of escape.  And He is willing to sacrifice himself to make sure you reach your destination.  And like Evelyn & Saul, you may be fearful, but love casts out all fear.  So take the leap of faith and trust God on this lonely, hard and narrow way.  And like Evelyn, who we will call Eve for short, you may get battered & bruised, pierced in the side with a bullet as you cross that bridge and take the plunge to reach the one who loves you, the one who saved you;  but don’t stop.  Because quiet as it’s kept, you need him more now, than you have ever needed him before.  If you can just get to him, if you can just hear His voice, you know what you cannot make sense out of – he will.  And like this SHERO depended on Mike, we have one to lean on that will make it all right for us too. 

I dare you to reach out for your Abba Father like you have never done before.  Take time to pray, praise and even lay prostrate before him, because He truly has the master plan for your life and he won’t leave you hanging.  So if things are crazy around you – stop, drop & roll – your chariot awaits!      

Meet us here next week as we begin to dig deeper into the life of Eve as she goes through an identity crisis on her quest for freedom and as she embarks on a journey to discover who she was always created to be.

Also, you are invited to join us for a live discussion tonight, Friday 3/18/11 at7p.m., at Bethany Baptist church in Lindenwold, NJ.  

 Lovingly Submitted,

Minister Charmette E. Brown

Welcome to Women Discovering God

Welcome to Women Discovering God (WDG), a new segment of the Women at the Well Intercessory Prayer Ministry of Bethany Baptist Church, Lindenwold, New Jersey.  From a Christian perspective, we will blog & host a live discussion group that will explore various genres of art – films, plays, literature, etc.  – that briefly carry us off to other places and worlds: the realities we would love to have.  Why?  Because our actual life situations & circumstances can sometimes leave us broken & scarred and in need of a retreat.  Through our discussions, we hope to take you on a journey: from a position of anxious introspection, to a place of relaxed contemplation in God where your load is lifted not just for a moment, but for a lifetime!   

This month’s discussion will feature the movie “SALT,” starring Angelina Jolie.  We will use this female action hero to traverse through various subjects such as “What’s in a Name” where we explore the characters.  Originally written with a male protagonist, the film had initially secured Tom Cruise for the lead, but the script was ultimately rewritten for Jolie. What did the writer Kurt Wimmer have in mind when he renamed his leading character Evelyn Salt?  Which will lead us to explore another question, what did our Creator have in mind when he created His 2nd leading man, a female named Eve.  Who is she in the very essence of her being?  And we cannot ask who is she without considering the matter: who am I?  Am I a relevant Christian woman living in the 21st century? 

 Other topics will include “The Many Faces of Eve”, “Who’s Your Daddy?”, and SHERO: Can We Really Have It All”   

 

We invite you to view the movie and then join us on Fridays for new blog posts.  Feel free to leave comments. 

We will also be gathering for a “Girls Night Out” at Bethany Baptist Church on Friday, March 18th at 7pm for a live discussion group.  (Babysitting Available)

 

Come join us for food, fun and fellowship & You are welcome to bring your favorite dessert

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