Friday, June 15, 2012

Death and Life and Lies and Truth

We started out alive. Very much alive. We were in direct, perfect communion with God. We had no division or misunderstanding or selfishness in our relationships with each other. We were physically healthy. We were mentally sound. We were emotionally fulfilled and whole.

And then

God told us we would, if we did That; but we paid Him no heed.

Thought we knew best.

We tried so hard, we did.

We tried to pretend we were still alive.

We hid. Hid from the One with the Answer, from the One who sees all.

And we’re still dead and we still pretend.

Outside we look alive.

Inside we are naught but a corpse.

Rotting, shriveled, dry.

We plaster on a smile and we laugh and we talk loud and we DO. Frantically, we try to convince ourselves–or at least everyone else–that we aren’t really dead inside.

But we are.

And we all know it, no matter how hard we try to make it look otherwise, no matter how many people tell us we are beautiful and good, no matter how loud we laugh, no matter how much doing we pile on top of our deadness in an attempt to look alive.

Ugly, small, not-right.

This is us.

Correction: this is us without and before Christ…Before the Christ-life comes in and fills that hollow, dried up, dead spirit of ours. Before He comes and breaths His life into our breathless spirit. Before His Life-Blood begins flowing in our spiritual veins.

But oh, when it happens–what a glorious thing!

We who were

once dead,

who were

once far off–

are alive in Christ,

brought very near

by His precious life-blood.

Why, then, do we--who are alive in Christ--sometimes still feel dead? Why do we sometimes still see ourselves as ugly, shriveled, hopeless?

In a word:  


You see, Before, the lie was:  

You aren’t really dead;  

somehow, someway, 

you can beat it.  

You can cover it up.  

Hide, run  

and hide.  

Don’t let Him see.  

Just put on some more makeup,  

maybe buy some more expensive clothes.  

Make sure you do everything  


Keep doing all those good things; maybe 


will make you feel better.

Once we see through that lie and accept the Christ-life, however, the lie takes another twist.

He whispers the other side of his deceitful tale into your delicate new ears:  

You aren’t really alive.  

You’re still just as 


as you ever were.  

Look at you!  

Insignificant, putrid, hollow old you.  

Who do you think you are,  

claiming to be new, holy, cleansed, alive?  

You’re wrong.  

He doesn’t really care for you.  

Maybe the other people–look how beautiful they are.  

Not you. 

 Look at what you’ve done, who you are.  

No…you’re still dead.


Just as plain and simple as that.

It’s a lie.

Lies are nothing, nothing but the twisted fragments of nightmarish thoughts from the Enemy of your soul.

The one who tricked us into believing The Lie that brought death to our souls in the first place. The one who desperately tried to keep your soul dead. And the one who, now that your spirit lives because of Christ in you, wants nothing more than to keep you believing that you are still dead.

Don’t listen.


I know you don’t see, yet.

You don’t see what God saw when He had the idea for you. What He knows you’ll become at the end of the story. You don’t see, quite, the glow He had–has–in His eyes when He looked at you. You didn’t see His joy when your long-dead spirit finally accepted His life and became new.

But you have to trust.

Trust that He knows what He’s doing. Trust that He who has promised is faithful, and that He also will do it. Trust that He makes everything beautiful in its time. Trust that His life is in you, and that you aren’t dead inside any more.


You are alive, very alive.

Because The One

who is

The Life

is in 


Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Avengers


Yes, I’m reviewing a movie. Yes, I’m reviewing the Avengers. Yes, I watched it.

Yes, this is Carissa. :D

How did this happen?

Well, Hannah and I were home with just Papa and Josiah for a few days. They, being male, and having this opportunity, wanted to watch as many action movies as they could--including The Avengers.


 Being polite, they asked us if we wanted to go.

“Um.... I don’t know, maybe? Will we like it?”

“I don't know, probably... You don’t have to pay for your tickets...”

Well, if you put it that way... and, being that there wasn’t much else to do, and that we didn’t want to be boring and such, we went.

And... I was surprised, actually, by how well I liked it. I always talk myself into thinking I don’t like that sort of movie, but then I do. :P (I was all excited afterwards, and Josiah said I liked it too much.)

Now that I come to think of it, though... I guess this isn’t really properly a movie review, since I’m not going to talk about how they moved the cameras around (cinematography--I do know the terms, at least) or how good/bad the acting was and who played what part and so forth or how good the music was or the special effects or... well, I guess I do have a few things to say about that aspect of the movie...

Being a writer and a Word Person, I just have to comment on the script a bit--The dialog was brilliant. Very witty. And the humor was genuinely funny--not crude, or lame, or forced-- just funny.

Oh! And the clothes were good as well--I was pleasantly surprised and didn't feel bad for my brother and dad. (Though Natasha's zipper kept bothering me because... not that it was really awful, just, um, annoying. Zip it up a bit more, lady, it'll look less awkward... haha. :P)

As for family friendliness--it was literally action packed. There were only a few scenes that people weren't fighting or buildings weren't blowing up--and those scenes were full of tense dialog. So that might be overwhelming for little ones. However, the language was quite clean (a few words thrown in, but not anything horrid and it wasn't often or noticeable); it wasn't overly gory (there is some blood, but not a lot. The worst part was "the eye part".); most of the deaths are just implied, not really shown; the romance was minimal and appropriate (not even any kissing); and as I said, the clothes were pretty much modest. (you encounter worse at church. :P)

Alrighty, getting to the main point of this blog post... I’m going to talk about what I thought about it. What sort of lessons there were. (surprise surprise)

The biggest thing I took away from it was how powerful the True God is.

I got this from quite a few different parts in the movie, but particularly this one:
Loki: Enough! You are, all of you are beneath me! I am a god, you dull creature, and I shall not be bullied...

[Hulk flattens Loki with repeated smashes into the floor]
The Hulk: [Disdainfully] Puny god.

 Loki seemed pretty powerful, maybe even godlike--until a bigger guy came along and made it quite clear that he really wasn’t, by comparison. And I thought... wow. I’m so glad our God is not like that. No one will ever say “Puny God” about the One True God, when He comes back in judgement. No one will be able to stand, much less say anything.

Loki wasn't... ugly. He was almost... well, sort of girlishly good-looking. In a creepy sort of way. Made me think of Satan--we forget that he was--is an angel of light. He isn't some ugly monster type creature, not on the outside. He's beautiful, smooth, intelligent. He's got "charisma". (*wry/sarcastic* know anyone else known for that...?) And he's full of lies and hatred and treachery and pride. And, much like Loki, he IS powerful, and he DOES have a huge, evil force on his side, and he, too, would like to think he is a god.

You've probably heard this quote a few times if you've read anything else about the Avengers, but I have to put it in anyway...

Natasha Romanoff (The Black Widow): [discussing attacking Loki] But he's a god!

Steve Rogers (Captain America): Ma'am, there's only one God, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't dress like that.

My dad pointed out that it was great because not only did they have that line in the movie, but Captain America was the leader. He wasn't put down or made fun of for saying that at all. And he was good example of a leader, too, I thought. He was more of a servant/lead-by-example type than a boss people around type. He was humble, he knew what he was talking about (well, mostly.)... all that good stuff. 

I also liked... well, ahem... I'd been reading about Spiritual Warfare, and all the fighting got me more excited about it. I must say, I totally did not go into the movie expecting to be uplifted spiritually, but I was. :D

Self-sacrifice was also a strong theme--and one muchly needed in our self-centered culture.
Teamwork was a huge lesson--made me think of the body of Christ. We all have these tremendous gifts--and we also have a horrific enemy. And we aren't getting along very well, just like The Avengers. Once they learned to work together, though, they were an unstoppable force.

It is imperative that the body of Christ learn this lesson so clearly portrayed in the Avengers: the only way to win is to be united, humble, self-sacrificing, persevering and so on.

Well, there you have it. My very first attempt at a movie review. I have the nagging feeling that there's more I wanted to say, but I can't remember it right now... perhaps when I watch it again I'll do a part two. :)