Sunday, November 29, 2009

Are vampire movies really harmless?

Playing with Darkness
the danger of taking evil lightly

"A pure heart is one to which all that is not of God is strange and jarring." -Tauler

Everybody is aware of the recent fascination with the movie, Twilight, mostly among young girls. But, even guys and older women are seemingly obsessed with it. But, is there really even such a thing as a wholesome, God-honoring, harmless vampire movie? There is lots of speculation and debate over the movie, even among Christians. There are also multiple shows, books, and other movies about vampires. It is an extremely popular movement right now. I even saw something on 20/20 a couple nights ago about people that truly think they are vampires! The real question we need to ask though, is what does God think about it? It truly doesn't matter what we think in light of that. Is it worth it to separate ourselves from Him for a couple of hours of entertainment? It is so easy to be sucked into the culture's agenda and be bamboozled by whatever it tells us. Something about the dark and dangerours vampire figure attracts us. But, Proverbs 4:23 instructs us: "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." This Scripture has been embedded upon my heart and mind this past week. When engaging in the movies, music, books, magazines, and other sources of entertainment, are we guarding our hearts? It is so crucial because it is the most delicate part of us...It is the wellspring of life! And it is the hardest thing to heal and restore. That's why the Lord wants to protect us and tells us to guard our hearts. He knows what He's talking about, so let's listen to Him!

I have been pondering and thinking about this movie quite a lot lately, as well as other entertainment choices in my own life. It's hard not to think about this movie, considering it comes up in practically every other sentence in nearly every conversation. So, take some time to read the following excerpt from Leslie Ludy's online magazine and let me know what you think about the topic. I recommend reading the entire article, but I've included the parts that talk about
Twilight specifically. I definitely think it's something that deserves to be thought about and discussed, especially for those that are claiming to want to live for Christ. Everything we allow into our eyegates and eargates will impact us. So, let's put aside our own thoughts about it and get down to what Twilight really is and whether or not it's God honoring. That's all that matters...

Leslie Ludy's Online Magazine
"I believe the majority of American Christians today are far too careless toward darkness and evil. Pop-culture floods our minds and senses with things that are not of God. But for most of us, the glamorized sin that surrounds us is not strange and jarring. It’s normal and accepted. In fact, we go out of our way to enjoy and participate in it. We spend a huge amount of our time and money on it. We allow it to capture our mind, emotions, and attention; then we wonder why our lives are filled with fear, anxiety, defeat, and depression.
Take, for instance, the recent vampire movie, Twilight.
Countless Christian young women have claimed this movie as a healthy, God-honoring form of entertainment. “It’s such a pure and beautiful love story!” proclaim the throngs of Christ-professing girls who flocked to the movie on opening night and snatched up the DVD as soon as it hit the video stores.
Loads of Christian movie review websites praise Twilight as a wholesome love story. Youth pastors and Christian influencers alike have lauded it as a harmless and even edifying flick. Twilight (from all I’ve heard) is a sweet and artistically portrayed love story that doesn’t show graphic images of the vampires “doing their vampire thing.” So it doesn’t surprise me that Christian young women are falling for it left and right.
But here is the question that no one seems to be asking. . .is there really such a thing as a pure, wholesome and God-honoring vampire movie? Pop-culture has been obsessed with vampire movies for the past decade or so. Some are bloody and gory, some, like Twilight, are far more subtle. Movies like Twilight make the idea of vampires seem hip and harmless. But are vampire movies really harmless?
I recently got a little history lesson on the origin of vampires. What I found out was nothing short of utterly repulsive.
The very first vampire story (Dracula) was originally inspired by the real-life demonic antics of a man named Vlad the Impaler – a Romanian ruler in the 1400’s.
Wikipedia says,
The atrocities commited by Vlad in the German stories include impaling, torturing, burning, skinning, roasting, and boiling people, feeding people the flesh of their friends or relatives, cutting off limbs, drowning, and nailing people's hats to their heads. Also in these stories, his victims included men and women of all ages, religions, and social classes, children and babies. One German account includes the following sentence: "He caused so much pain and suffering that even the most bloodthirstiest persecutors of Christianity like Herodes, Nero, Diocletian and all other pagans combined hadn't even thought of."
The article goes on to describe Vlad’s preferred means of torture and execution (impalement) in shocking and deeply disturbing detail. Vlad’s Romanian surname "Drăculea" means "Son of the Dragon" and is derived from his father's title, Vlad the Devil. The word "Dracul" means "the Devil" in modern Romanian and the suffix "-lea" can be translated as "son of".
In other words, Vlad, the original vampire, in name and in deed, was “the son of the devil.”
Fiction writers and Hollywood have morphed and modified vampire stories to include all kinds of variations from the original Dracula. But the bottom line is that vampires stories glorify evil and darkness. They originated from something horribly perverse and demonic. And no matter how a movie like Twilight might try to gloss over the demonic side – it’s still there. No matter how pure the love story may be, a vampire movie cannot be God-honoring.
Most of us who have grown up in church don’t consider ourselves vulnerable to witchcraft or Satan-worship. But sometimes we overlook things that seem “harmless” but are, in reality, associated with the kingdom of darkness. Anything that we allow into our lives that is associated with witchcraft or the occult opens a wide door for the enemy to gain access to our hearts, minds, and bodies, and to block the spiritual blessings Christ has for us. Something as seemingly innocent as reading your horoscope in the newspaper is actually not innocent at all – it is participating in the occult practice of fortune telling. Movies about séances, vampires, or communicating with dead people might seem like no big deal – especially if you “don’t really believe in it”. But watching those movies is, in essence, participating in the occult practice of “calling up the dead” or the demonic practice of brutal torture and blood-drinking.
The Bible makes it clear that there can be no fellowship between light and darkness. (see 2 Cor 6:14) In the book of Acts when the Gospel of Christ was preached, those who believed “came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly.” (Acts 19:18-19 NKJV)
If there is any object or activity in our life that is associated with darkness, the appropriate way to deal with it is to destroy it completely, as they did in Acts. Here’s the rule of thumb that works best for me: “when in doubt, don’t mess with it.”
God provides amazing strength, blessings, and freedom for each of us. But in order for us to walk in His light, He requires His sons and daughters to live by a sacred decorum; to come out from the world and be separate, and touch not the unclean thing. We are to ruthlessly remove all uncleanness, all darkness (no matter how small) from our lives. As set-apart young women, there is not even to be a hint of these things in our daily existence.
How do we live this kind of holy, upright, God-honoring life? Not by instigating rules and formulas for ourselves. Not by joining a nunnery or becoming a back-woods hermit. Rather, by yielding to the transforming, supernaturally enabling power of Christ in us. By allowing Him to completely re-make us from the inside out. By submitting ourselves fully and completely to His transforming work. By taking every thought captive and meditating upon the things of light rather than the things of darkness.
When we yield our bodies to become the holy, undefiled dwelling place of the Most High God, He comes and makes His home within us. When we allow Him to remove everything carnal, dark, sinful and selfish that stands in the way, that’s when He enables us to live a strong, fortified, victorious life; unharmed and unhampered by the enemy."


"He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly.. who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes from seeing evil, he will dwell on high; his place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; bread will be given him, his water will be sure." -Isaiah 33:15-16
"Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you." -Luke 10:19

"Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things." -Philippians 4:8

  • "By filling her mind with darkness, she was leaving herself wide open for the prince of darkness to wreak havoc upon her soul and subconscious."
  • "And when we bathe our thoughts in evil instead of good, we might as well hang a sign over the door of our mind that says, “Darkness welcome here!”
  • "I asked God to overtake my mind and govern my thought life, granting me the grace to “take every thought captive.” And I made a focused effort to fill my mind with light instead of darkness every moment of the day moment of the day or night. This meant a purification process of the music I listened to, the movies I watched, the conversations I participated in, and the books I read. Anything that caused my mind to think about evil, darkness, tragedy or death – no matter how “mild” it seemed – was to be ruthlessly removed from my life."
  • "I discovered the secret to fearless, peaceful, victorious living when I learned how to meditate upon light rather than darkness.

I also recommend reading the blog Vampire Craze-True Woman. It's worth the read, so go check it out! We need to be aware of and ready to discuss this with others. Let me know your thoughts on it!!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

I am a garden enclosed.

Garden by
by Misty Edwards

I am a garden enclosed.
A locked garden.
A fountain sealed.
I am Your resting place...
I am Your resting place.
Here, O Lord, have I prepared
A place for You to dwell.
Here in the reservoir of me.
That You would dwell in my heart.
That I would be in You and You would be in me.
That I could fellowship with God.
Here where it's You and me alone.
The very glory of God on the inside of me.
I want to fellowship with You.
Here it's You and me alone, God.
You and me, alone.
I am Your resting place.
For You said that You would be in me.
That I would abide in the vine.
Christ in me.
The hope of my glory.
You hedge me in with skin all around me.
I'm a garden enclosed.
A locked garden.
Life takes place behind the face.
Come into Your garden.
I'm no longer my own.
I'm Your garden.
I don't wanna waste my life living on the outside.
I'm gonna live from the inside out.
I don't wanna waste my time living from the outside.
I'm gonna live from the inside out.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Life, what a beautiful choice.

Little One
by Rebecca St. James

Hush, my Baby. Be still inside me.
Rest my Child. All is well.
Hush, my Baby. Grow inside me.
You are safe there, my little girl.

I can't believe that I would ever think that you were not to be.
But, darling, mommy feels like a child herself.
And I will give my life to love you, little one.
And I will give my life to protect you, darling. Always.

Hush my Baby. I'm dreaming of you.
And wondering just who you'll become.
Hush my Baby. Smile inside me.
Warmed by knowing you are loved.

I can't believe that I could ever think of life without you.
But, darling, mommy sometimes feels afraid.
And I will give my life to love you, little one.
And I will give my life to protect you, darling. Always.

Hush my Baby, smile inside me.
Warmed by knowing you are loved.

my precious Lily at 17 weeks and 5 days old
(the day I found out she's Lily, not Linden!)

I first heard this song yesterday during the ending credits of the new movie, 'Sarah's Choice,' starring Rebecca St. James. I had been eagerly anticipating the release of this movie that portrays a single woman who must make the decision whether she is going to choose life or death for her unborn child. My expecations for this movie were definitely met! In fact, more movies like it need to be made. The story really struck a chord in my own heart because in the story of my own real life, I am dealing with a situation very much like this one. The story is raw and it is powerful and I feel like I understood everything "Sarah" was experiencing.

Over the past few months, I have had to make the decision about what "choice" to make with my own unborn child. Then, I realized I really don't have much of a choice. The choice was never mine to make. God gives and God takes away. I feel like the words to this song truly echo the words that my heart longs to express. How could I have ever lived my whole life without knowing my precious daughter? How could I have gone without ever holding her, kissing her, knowing her? I can't fully explain the joy and peace I feel these days and months that I'm carrying my baby. Feeling her kick and move is unbelievably exciting and amazing! It seems like whenever I try to let someone feel, she always stops! But, my little sister finally felt her kicking last night! Just knowing what is going on inside my body is enough to keep me thinking and pondering forever about God's goodness and awesomeness.

What once seemed to be the thing that would end my life is now the very reason that I live. Sure, my life is going to be different now than what I had originally dreamed or anticipated. But, God has so much planned for this little life growing inside me. And so much planned for me! He is already giving me a new vision and new dreams for my life! I now see that being unmarried and pregnant is not a sin in itself, but what got me here was the sin. My baby is not a sin. She is still a blessing and nothing to be ashamed of! I have turned from my sin and walked away, and God is blessing me for that. He is taking a situation the world would look at as horrible and impossible and bringing Himself glory and changing my heart for the better.

My sweet Lily almost never got the chance to live. But, my God saved her! (there will be another blog with more details about this at a later date.) Praise you, Jesus, for breaking my heart and saving my child! And God saved me. He is truly an awesome, amazing God with a heart full of love and compassion. God, teach me how to love this baby. Teach me how to be a mother. Give me your heart, patience, guidance, strength, wisdom, love, and peace. I feel so inadequate to be entrusted with such a great responsibility! But, I know you alone will give me what I need to get through each new challenge and each new day. And when that day comes, which is soon
, that this lily-white princess is born, I will truly be looking into a face showcasing Jesus' love, forgiveness, and redemption. I long for the day I can gaze into her blue and curious eyes and know that I made the right choice. Life. And what a beautiful choice it is!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Faith Like Potatoes

The Lord has really been laying something on my heart this week. He is challenging me in such a new, exciting, refreshing way! I hope I can encourage you in whatever place you are in life.

Why do we have such little faith in the God that created the entire universe? The God that raised men from the dead, made the blind see, and saved the world from an eternity spent without the Lover of our souls...Sure, we believe that He can do big things, but we never actually think that He will do anything big in our everyday, normal lives. I mean, after all, the God of all the Heavens and earth has better stuff to do than fret over us, right? As Leslie Ludy put it in her most recent online magazine article, 'Wrestling Prayer,' for November/December 2009,

"Why is it we can believe the Bible and believe God can do anything He wants, but we for some reason become sheepish and hesitant whenever the idea of God doing something huge is applied to our personal situations or circumstances?"

It is so easy to become extremely discouraged in a world filled with such pain, heartbreak, and discouragment. A world without Jesus is a sad, scary, lonely place. This past week, my heart has been heavy, and the weight of the world has been resting on my shoulders. My heart and soul have been experiencing such deep grief and despair. I have been reminded of some of my deepest hurts, doubts, and sadnesses. I was almost to the point where I couldn't take it anymore. It's so easy to feel so alone and like nobody understands my heart. Why do people treat each other so poorly? Why are people so heartless, so mean, so insensitive? How can mothers abort their own children? How is it so easy for people to give up friendships and relationships as if they never were? Why are people so wrapped up in their own selfishness that they overlook the pain they cause others? Why are people so afraid of Jesus? Are they afraid of Him, or are they afraid of giving up their own pursuits in order to live for Him? Why do people so utterly detest the Lover of my soul, Jesus? Why can't I save these young girls in my life from a life that will only bring them heartache? I want to tell them so badly, "I have been down this road and you don't want to face the consequences!" But, what can mere words do if their heart isn't ready to listen? Perhaps that's how my sweet Jesus feels about me...and about all of us. He doesn't want to take away these fleeting pleasures because He is a mean God and wants to keep us from having's because He wants to protect us from the hurt He knows is to come from our poor decisions. These are just some of the questions and sadnesses I have been carrying around in my heart. For so long, I keep them locked up inside me. But, the tears have come to the surface and I can't hold it in any longer.

My sweet Jesus has been tugging at my heart, asking me to trust Him more. He is reminding me what a BIG God He is! Yes, this world is a sad place to live. We were never meant to live in such a broken place. That's the result of what our sin does. We have free will and because of our sinful natures, heartbreak is sure to ensue. This world wants us to believe that we shouldn't have such big expectations of God because we will only be left dissapointed. We are supposed to believe that He doesn't care about being involved in our lives. He's just sitting back in a Lazy-Boy recliner, watching us all make a mess of our lonely lives.

These things are simply not true! A couple months ago, I read Leslie Ludy's book, Set-Apart Femininity (which I highly recommend!). She discusses how God wants us to have big faith in all He will do in our lives. He desires to showcase His supernatural strength and power through us. He is ready to show us His complete faithfulness to fulfill His promises. 

Jeremiah 29:13 says, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Perhaps what we are lacking is truly laying everything down and SEEKING Him. Are we giving everything else up in order to know Him more? Philippians 3:8 says, "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ." Do we even believe that our prayers can and will be answered?! Martin Luther said, No one can believe how powerful prayer is and what it can effect, except those who have learned it by experience. Whenever I have prayed earnestly, I have been heard and have obtained more than I prayed for. God sometimes delays, but He always comes."

After reading Leslie's book, a seed was planted in my soul. Am I willing to trust the Lord and lay everything down to know His heart more? Then, today, I came across her latest blog and magazine article, both further pressing this challenge on my life. The Lord wants me to trust that He will provide for anything and everything I could possibly need. He is asking me to trust that He will work miracles, both big and small, in my very normal life. But, first He is asking me to lay everything at His feet. He wants me to get out of my comfort zone and learn to lean on Him more.

After reading the online magazine article, I realize that I need to only fill my heart, soul, and mind with things that are going to strengthen my faith and build it up, rather than bring doubts and fears into my heart and life. I need to read about and listen to testimonies that glorify the faithfulness of God and disregard all messages that speak anything else. There is a process of getting rid of any negative in my life and only bringing in the positive. Philippians 4:8 instructs, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

The Lord is also showing me that he wants me to get specific in my prayers and to pray without ceasing. He wants me to ask for specific things and wait patiently for His answer. It is sure to come! I am going to keep a prayer journal with even the smallest prayers in it, so when I look back in months or even years, I will be amazed at the faithfulness of a God who loves me very, very much. The Lord wants us to trust, without a doubt, that He is going to come through for us and never let us down! Psalm 62 says, “In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge is in God. Trust in him at all times; you people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.

Leslie wraps up her blog stating, "Whether the crisis is a swarm of bees, an attack of fear, struggles with sin, or any other problem, we have a strong, ready Rescuer, just waiting to deliver us when we call upon His name. Let us never cease to have the confidence and faith of a little child – and believe that our God is ready and able to save."

Now, the title of my blog. Ironically, after reading these blogs today, I rented the movie, Faith Like Potatoes, (great movie, by the way! And based on a true story) which goes along with this very message. A farmer in South Africa is affected and used by God in a big way. Through numerous trials and tribulations, God never ceases to come through for him. We should all have faith like potatoes, so to speak. When potatoes are growing, you can't see them, but they are still there. And they are very real. That's what our faith in God should be. The potatoes in the movie show God's faithfulness. And I believe God wants to show all of us His faithfulness. So, let's all start trusting and believing that He will do what he says He will and always remain faithful to His beloved.

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