He put his faith in every god but the one True God. She almost died.

We saw an advance screening of Paul, the Apostle of Christ last night. I thought it was a thought-provoking, educational, evangelical film although there were times I wondered if a scene was found in early supplemental writings to the Bible or just creative license. It definitely wasn’t a botched Hollywood rendition, however, but rather a more descriptive biblical account.

That said, there was one scene that was very profound to me. My husband told me that my DVR has ruined me as I lamented that I couldn’t just pause the film at that moment and really soak in what the Lord was showing me.

I won’t give you spoilers (though, technically, there are no spoilers in a biblical film) but I do want to set the scene.

A Roman guard under Nero, in charge of the prison where Paul spent his last years, has a daughter who is dying of a mysterious illness. The closer she gets to death the more he prays to his gods. He prays to every god he can think of but would not dare anger these gods by turning to the God the Christians call Lord.

As the doctors tell him there’s nothing more they can do and that she will surely die, he enters again into the temple, sacrificing an animal, pouring its blood all over his body, crying and wailing and pleading with the gods to save her.

As I’m thinking how absurd this is, the Lord shows me that this is a picture of the world today.

Particularly in America.

Because while we think we’re okay because we don’t worship false gods and idols like they did then, or like the Eastern cultures still do, we miss that we’ve put our faith in other things.

We run to the psychics, or the psychiatrist.

At best, we turn to our family or friends and voice fears and misery instead of to the Lord offering praise to the One who can actually change our circumstances.

Some seek comfort and pleasure in sexual immorality, violent or horror films, or escape into a computer where you can create your own reality.

Many never reach the point of wailing and pleading because anti-anxiety medications allow them to cut off all feelings.

As I watched through the fingertips shielding my eyes as the blood ran down his body and he desperately did everything he knew to do to change his circumstances, I understood.

He wasn’t even denying the Truth; he was scared of it.

What if he trusted in this God of the Jews and angered the gods of the world?

What if we did?

Better yet, what will happen if we DON’T?

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What kind of RIDER have you given God?

When we get saved, we give everything to the Lord. We are just so grateful to be in His presence that we are completely surrendered.

But as time goes on we sometimes start to believe in the power of our own might. We forget the joy of our salvation, of completely laying everything down at the foot of the cross and letting go of everything that we once thought mattered.

Quite simply, we pick stuff back up.

Whether it’s people or things, we have a tendency to push God down on our list of priorities and elevate others.

We act as lost people do and give God conditions that He must meet for us to serve Him.

Celebrity singers are notorious for their ridiculous tour riders.

Once grateful to just have fans, they now have demands that must be met in order to perform.

Some highlights:

Beyoncé demands her dressing room be kept at 78 degrees and asks for chicken legs “HEAVILY SEASONED” with cayenne pepper and rose-scented candles.

Adele requires 1 Small plate of assorted freshly made, individually wrapped sandwiches, to include chicken salad. Sandwiches must NOT contain tomatoes, vinegar, chili or citrus fruit.

Rihanna  insists on adequate lighting for a “relaxed atmosphere.”

Katy Perry must have an arrangement of pink fresh flowers. White and purple hydrangeas, pink & white roses and peonies. If not available, seasonal white flowers to include white orchids–ABSOLUTELY NO CARNATIONS.

Madonna will not trvel unless she can bring a 200-person entourage, have access to 2o international phone lines, and her backstage room must look exactly like her own home.

This is just a line or two of lengthy riders from just a handful of performers. The lists are longer as are the singers who require them. While they might seem absurd, it is apparently a common practice in the music biz.

And sadly, in Christian walks as well.

Like Rihanna, we will only serve God if He maintains a relaxed atmosphere for us.

Like Adele, we have specific desires with limitations. I will go anywhere you want me to, Lord. Except another country, the Midwest, or a big city.

Or like Madonna, we will serve God but only if the entire family can have a place of equal importance in our lives.

And we sorrowfully turn away.

Because with God, there are no riders.

 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20


Molehills Don’t Become Mountains Without Help

Driving home from the store this morning I heard an old favorite on the radio. There are many things in life that take me back to childhood and this song was one of them.

“Good Ole Boys” was the theme song to The Dukes of Hazzard. I loved the song, hated the show. At least that’s what I thought.

I’ve spent all these years thinking I hated certain things BECAUSE my sister loved them. In addition to the Dukes, there was Flash Gordon, climbing trees, and hamburgers.

I assumed that some intense sibling rivalry led me to dislike those things as much as she despised pizza, musicals, and chocolate.

But the truth was, we just had different tastes.

I’ve never been a big fan of red meat, action films, and outdoor life though I have enjoyed all three at times. It is a preference and I don’t think that would’ve changed even if I’d been an only child.

Yet all these years I’d been convinced otherwise.

I’d unknowingly and unnecessarily made a rift wider than it should’ve been. I’d made a mountain out of a molehill.

The truth was, we had more common ground than differences. We liked a lot of the same things and even now we will call each other when something reminds us of our childhood. Just yesterday I sent her a picture of my microwaved sandwich with the slightly overcooked cheese because it looked like our after-school, latchkey grilled cheese snacks of the 80’s.

And we did compromise over our differences. I can still do the GO FLASH GO dance because I watched it with her so many times. I used to could do the Bo Duke slide across the hood of a car. She can still reenact my beautifully choreographed If Momma Was Married act from Gypsy if we drag out Mom’s old piano bench and imitate Ariel’s goofy scream from the dance scene at the end of Footloose.

So, why on earth have I believed for so many years that my tastes were solely vindictive ones?

Pride, I suppose. And jealousy.

She and my dad had similar interests as did my mom and I. Neither of them loved us any less than we loved either of them.

I’m not sure why that took almost 40 years to see.

What a waste of time!

Don’t make mountains out of molehills. (Allowing Satan to whisper lies about your siblings=dirt. Unforgiveness=dirt. Pride=dirt. Miscommunication=dirt.)

John 10:10 says, The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Abundant life starts at home!

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