American Sniper movie – Forever changed – Ruined for Anything else

Taken from google images

Taken from google images

Dear brother or sister,

Firstly, let me say, in this post I am not condoning war, killing, murder, racism, other religions and I am not in any way glorifying war. I am not pro any country over another.

Having said that – American Sniper, what a movie. What a story. What a spectacle of the reality for the believer who has seen the Eternal Purpose of God and is ruined for anything else.

In a nutshell and be it right or wrong, the true story goes that Chris Kyle signed up to serve his country with a deep heart conviction that he was called to protect his fellow-Americans in this way. This led him to the war zones as a sniper where he served four Tours of Duty, saved many American soldiers’ lives, killed 160 enemies as a sniper, became a legend in the eyes of many of his countrymen and comrades and returned home a tormented man, damaged and changed, trying to re-connect with family and society. He was never the same again.

It is common knowledge that young men in particular, can be taken up with some fantasy of war and being solders, being convinced there is much glory and honour in serving country.  For the young soldier there can be a sense of calling, duty, pride, bravery, excitement, hope, destiny, purpose and meaning. There is generally an expectation of victory, glory, wonder, certainly comradery and even adventure and sight-seeing. However, one thing is true of any I have heard speak after the event of being at war, and that is, that except for the comradery, it was none of those things. And this is my point.

Those to whom the Lord has given a glimpse of His Eternal Purpose, can be likened to such a young person. We leave the safety and familiarity of the traditional or institutional church environment and habits and we walk into this ‘organic’ church life expecting some hard times and challenges for sure. You know, we’ve read the books, we’ve heard the testimonies, we know it’s not going to be easy. However, we have heard the call and we can’t help ourselves now. We are compelled to go!

We ‘enter in’ so to speak, this ‘organic’ body life, in order to seek this glorious experience of the Lord’s Bride expressing Christ in all His wonder and love, power and light – to fellowship with brothers and sisters who have also heard the call and who have given their lives up for Him – and we intend to walk this path together with that same sense of calling, duty, courage,  excitement, hope and purpose, believing we will see glory, wonder, adventure and experience a similar type of comradery.

What does such a one find? Just like the young soldier, this one finds the journey into organic life in Christ, is more about death than anything else!! – pain, suffering, loss – losing ones’ life (self-life) in the sense that he is no longer an individual accountable only to self but now moves as part of a corporate body, loses his individual status or spiritual reputation, risks his life (self-life) for the corporate body and its purpose (to let Jesus win!). This one risks his life all day every day in community life of the body.  He thought training was hard! – like Chris Kyle training to be a navy seal on the beaches, even that didn’t compare with what faced him. But now that he’s living it, he’s on the front, he’s on the ground, he’s functioning with other soldiers alongside him who are also functioning, he is getting used to death. Death is now becoming a way of life. So it is for those in true organic body-life, under the headship of Jesus Christ. It was the way of Jesus, why wouldn’t it be the way of His followers? 

If we’ve seen the Lord’s Eternal Purpose, we have no alternative but to keep dying and giving up our lives. We know it’s worth it. We have no life of our own, no personal status or value. We are members of a corporate body and live only for the purpose of that corporate body, which is to let Jesus win on every occasion so He is seen in the earth. Our personal lives have no individual value. We risk our lives every day and die new deaths every day for the sake of the purpose of this body. Even though we may live physically, still have jobs, families and regular every day commitments, we are ruined for this life (self-life). We are never going to be the same. We can’t return to who we used to be.   People might look at us from the outside and think we’re the same person we used to be but we are not. Not ever. And there is no going back.

The young soldier deployed for war doesn’t have a clue what he is signing up for.  When we enter into ‘organic’ church life, neither do we.

But!!  The glory! Yes! There is glory there! A far greater glory than what any young soldier might be hoping for. A richer glory than we have ever experienced before. The glory of the Lord Jesus truly freely functioning as the Head of His Church, that He is. It is the sweetest and most consuming wonderous glory that ever there can be here on earth – to see and know with our spiritual senses, the wonders of the Lord Jesus getting what He wants.

Having been given a glimpse of this purpose, a glimpse of this glory, what choice is there? It’s like when Simon Peter said to Jesus “Lord, to whom shall we go? For You hold the words of life”. 

We have no-where else to go Jesus. Just a glimpse of You in Your bride has ruined us for anything else.

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The Script Writer – The Unsung Hero

My sister is a writer – a beautiful screenwriter – a story teller. We were talking of how nice it was to see credits on a new Aussie movie for “Written by….” which doesn’t often occur. In this conversation she told me there’s a saying in the film industry that goes like this:

The director gets the money, the actor gets the fame and the writer gets the blame.

She spoke of the writer for films as being the unsung hero and when I heard this it reminded me of God – the greatest story teller of all and the one most often blamed if things don’t come across as we like it on the big screen of one’s life – and in our first world culture, especially if it doesn’t bring in the dollars!.

God is the greatest script writer and Jesus is the Word of God. Everything that has been created, has been created through, by, for, and in Christ. God’s story is magnificent. It’s the story of love, the greatest love story that ever was and it continues this minute and for all eternity. Frank Viola’s book From Eternity to Here gives a beautiful insight into this love story of Jesus Christ and His beloved bride.

Of-course God’s story is the overarching story of all our stories, since He is our creator of all that has been created. We are each characters with our own story within the bigger script, a little like in a Woody Allen movie. We are the actors, per say.

And don’t some of us just love the fame and glory? Some of us get the glory whether we want it or not but mostly we are all disillusioned into believing that we are the most important part of the picture. We can’t help ourselves. It’s our human nature. Me, myself and I. You, yourself and you!

When things are going as we hoped or expected they would, we are so happy and grateful. When things happen that we can’t understand and find difficult to accept what do we do? “God? Why didn’t you do this, why did you do that? I don’t understand You!’ and then our faith wavers. We simply don’t like the script.

Did we expect the story to be predictable? Have we been too focussed on the actors and not the overall story? Didn’t we see the twist coming?

Apparently, a well written script for film, sees the chief characters go through change. Apparently, they start the story with a certain outlook or perspective and through the twists, tragedies, let-downs, all the highs and lows written into the script, they wind up at the end having changed their outlook and perspective….they themselves, are in fact changed. Sound familiar?

When I reflect on my life, its ups and downs, the unforseen circumstances, the tragedies, losses and twists that turned me on my feet, the emotion, the drama, the rom/com, the horror and suspense – I see God is a very good writer. I think He is especially excellent because He has already told the audience how our story will end while yet at the same time, keeps us all in suspense so that we are never really knowing what will happen next.

Now, that’s great writing.

 

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Into The Storm

http://www.driverlayer.com - taken from google images

http://www.driverlayer.com – taken from google images

A few months back, a movie came out in the cinemas called ‘Into The Storm’, written by John Swetnam, and starring Richard Armitage.  I couldn’t wait to see it on the big screen rather than on the television set at home. I didn’t expect it to be a Hollywood Blockbuster but I was really hoping the special effects would blow me away (no pun intended folks!).  And I wasn’t disappointed!! For me, it was on par with ‘Twister’ that came out in the 90’s starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton.  In fact it was the film ‘Twister’ that got me all gaga about storms, great howling winds and rolling thunderous skies.

Wikepedia on Google Images

Wikepedia on Google Images

These two movies have delivered such hope and comfort to me – of-course it is the spiritual reality that Jesus is in the eye of the storm, that I’m talking about.  Yes, all the sayings about being in the eye of the storm might now have become a clichè but to use another one, clichè’s become clichè’s because they’re true!

Have you taken a look on youtube at someone flying a plane into the eye of a storm? (Click on the link at the end of this post to watch one). I’ve only ever imagined how it would sound and look but to watch some clips gives a little glimpse into the awe of the quietness that is in there.

Since seeing “Into the Storm” I have experienced a growing sense of comfort that Jesus as the Prince of Peace is in the eye of the storm and because we are in Christ, we are in His peace in the eye of the storm.  It’s kind of like being asleep in the bottom of the boat when all the storms are raging and waves are crashing all over the deck and all the other passengers are fearing for their lives (Matthew 8:24)  –  there was our Jesus……asleep. His peace, confidence and calm speaks volumes to me and makes Him even more of a hero in my eyes.

What I’ve come to see is that so much of what I, the world and the devil, try to turn my attention to, is actually simply the debris of the tornado. Thoughts, feelings, anxieties, pestering issues and earthly matters, cares and woes – these are all just debris! But I’m in the eye of the storm! Because I’m in Christ! And He is The Prince of Peace! He is ALWAYS in the eye of the storm. He is unperturbed and so I can be unperturbed too.

So now when things are spinning around in my head (the battleground), sooner or later I am coming to discern that these things are simply the debris. If I see myself as on the outside of the hurricane wall I might feel overwhelmed but I am on the other side of the wall.  I don’t need to give these things my attention because I’m safe and sound in the quiet, serene and cosy eye of the storm, in my Jesus. And if you are a brother or sister in Christ, that’s where you are too!

Isn’t this gospel, this incredible Christ, just crazy awesome?! 🙂

Click on the link and enjoy being in the eye of the storm!

( http://youtu.be/a-SnxC-BkPo )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karate Kid – “Not Everything Is As It Seems”

What a classic movie.  Karate Kid is a story of a unique relationship. The relationship of Christ and His church. What a great lesson in putting our trust in the Lord. Trusting Him to fulfill what He said He would do. Trusting His expertise. Loving just being with Him. Walking with Him.

Two main characters – Daniel-son and Mr. Miagi.

Daniel-son, a young boy, is like the church, the believer. Daniel-son needs to learn karate in order to defend himself.  In order to do so, he is mentored by Mr. Miagi, a karate expert, an unassuming, older, wiser man, who respects the craft and loves Daniel-son as his own son. Mr. Miagi is like the Lord.

Mr. Miagi finds Daniel-son, not the other way round. Although Daniel-son goes looking to find this ‘maintenance man’ who has mysteriously fixed his bike, to thank him, it is Mr. Miagi who has opened the door for their meeting by this hidden gesture of love and care.  Just as it is the Lord who first loved us. We love Him because He first loved us – His love drew us to Him, in gratitude. But in addition to this, we were unable to love the Lord until His love was poured out into us first. Then, it is with the same love He has given us, that we can love Him in return.

We see this in the relationship between Daniel-son and Mr. Miagi. Daniel-son begins to imitate Mr. Miagi’s love and respect and we see him become wise, humble, self-controlled and a young man of dignity, in the characteristics of his master. Like the church, with her Master.

My favourite scene is when Mr. Miagi has agreed to train Daniel-son, and has subsequently had Daniel-son sanding and painting Mr. Miagi’s Japanese garden walk-ways and fencing, and polishing his collection of cars.

Daniel-son has taken seriously the lessons from Mr. Miagi on how to do these tasks – wax on, wax off, circle left, circle right, up and down, up and down….. After hours of this, Daniel-son gets sick of this and starts resenting the tedious work he has been asked to do, feeling he’s being taken advantage of and ripped off because he’s not being taught karate how he thinks he should be. He only sees that he has been waxing, polishing, sanding and painting. That’s all his eyes can see. He is seeing through his eyes, not through Mr. Miagi’s eyes.

Mr. Miagi, at the end of the day and seeing Daniel-son’s frustration, gets Daniel-son to show him his moves he has learned. Daniel-son lifts his arms up to demonstrate the newly acquired skill of moving his arms in a certain fashion. Instantly, Mr. Miagi lifts up his own arms interacting with Daniel-son’s movement to attempt a karate move against Daniel-son and Daniel-son discovers that his own movement he has just learnt is in fact blocking Mr. Miagi from being able to hurt him. With each demonstration of each different movement, the same thing occurs. Daniel-son is now demonstrating a trained skill in karate, without even knowing he had acquired this skill.  He thought he had only been waxing, polishing, sanding and painting. Now he was adequately sparring with Mr. Miagi.

Daniel-son begins to see through Mr. Miagi’s eyes.

So it is with us. The Lord takes us through learning processes that take time and in our eyes, look totally unrelated to anything of any value. It might not be until years later that we see through the Lord’s eyes, the value of all that we have been through – the tedious hours of a mundane job, the struggle with certain personalities, being faced with opposition and trials, loss, seemingly not gaining anything at all.

Mr. Miagi like the Lord, displays no frustration with Daniel-son’s immaturity. He understands why Daniel-son is feeling resentful, he is gracious and patient with him. He understands the way of youth. The Lord understands our humanity and bears with us.

As Daniel-son and Mr. Miagi spend many hours together, their relationship forms a unique bond. There is a certain intimacy in our relationship with the Lord, that is just between us. And it is through this time spent together, that we become like Him. We watch Him, listen to Him, share with Him, hang out with Him. We let Him be our Master. We become the Lord’s friend, like Abraham. Of-course, Daniel-son becomes a karate expert and knocks out his opponents in the competition which we can relate to, as the Lord equips us, His church, but more importantly by Karate Kid III, Daniel-son introduces Mr. Miagi to his new girlfriend as his ‘best friend’.

The Edge of Tomorrow starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt..

I just love it when the Lord shows me Himself or something of Himself in movies.  My husband and I enjoy this experience alot. Many saints I know (I call fellow-believers saints because that’s what they are, that’s what I am! By the grace of God) enjoy this too.  There’s sooooo many movies out there that give us a real picture of the Lord and His Bride and His Eternal Purpose (* a post for another time).

Anyhoo, in The Edge of Tomorrow, here’s just a few things that stood out to me that related to the individual believer in the body of Christ.  If you see more in the film than what I’ve written here, please feel free to ad it in a comment so we can all see more of Christ!

So here goes…………..

1. Tom Cruise when he realises the REAL enemy he is facing, asks “How do we overcome this evil?” “Die” says Emily Blunt’s character. “Die daily!”. So are we called to die daily, take up our cross daily and follow Christ, laying down our lives for one another, no longer us who live but Christ who lives in us, having been crucified with Christ.

2. The more practised at this ‘dying daily’ that Tom Cruise became, the more his discernment grew in knowing where the enemy was, and how to fight the enemy.  – The same applies to us, in that the more practised we are at dying daily, dying to self and bearing the cross, the closer we will walk with the Lord and therefore grow in discernment, more able to discern between what is soul, flesh, the world, and what is Spirit!

3. Tom Cruise’s character had a hidden life that no-one else of the world knew about, although there was something about him that they believed in.  The only others who shared this hidden life with him, were those who also lived a hidden life, as those who had received true revelation.  So it is with us, we who have been given the revelation of Jesus Christ, are hidden in Him, (“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God -Colossians 3:3).

4. We may start off alone in our christian walk, as Tom Cruise did, being a bit of a lone ranger at times but ultimately the Lord will lead us to function as part of a body – as Tom Cruise had to call on the help of the whole team to finally defeat the enemy, so we are part of an army, part of a body, part of One New Man, corporate!

I may ad more to this in the future, please feel free to ad any more in ‘comments’. 🙂