Created For True Faith

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Photo: “Shedding some light on the subject…”

Today I have two different themes to share. Each which do not immediately seem to be related, but do actually dovetail into one another.

Last night I watched a movie that was advertised by a TV station as uplifting and family-friendly. In some small measure that was true, as portions of the movie were inspiring, but in a hollow way. The overall effect was anything but honoring to God.

The plot centered around a non-believer (a self-proclaimed atheist) who was endowed by God with the gift of healing, a gift that followed down his family line. That I could swallow, but in Harry Potter-like fashion, it took a mystical turn when he was shown a secret basement and told that he had to accept the gift by midnight on his 30th birthday. Even after inadvertently healing some folks in the small town, he selfishly and angrily chooses to reject the gift. So the gift disappears. Later he meets a terminally ill girl, and changes his tune about wanting the gift, but by then it’s too late.

At this point I’m thinking he should fall on his knees before God, admit he is heartbroken but powerless, and humbly ask that he be given a second chance. (Even a secular TV station could afford to show some humility, but somehow I suspected that wasn’t going to happen.) Yet my already low expectations were shattered by what he did instead: He stalked into the empty sanctuary of the local church and railed at God, calling Him out for letting people have diseases and dying. He then asked if his dead brother could hear him, and asked him to “punch this idiot” (meaning God) for him! Then he arrogantly walked out. Wow. Beyond that, the truly appalling thing is that in this movie, this approach actually worked! Not long after, he apparently regains the gift and all was well.

This so-called uplifting, positive movie left a bad taste in my mouth, for two reasons: First of all, throughout the movie, the main character has an inflated sense of anger and pride, and barely shows love, let alone Christ-like love, to others. Secondly, this movie presents an overall picture of God as being mystical (in a dark way), vindictive and fickle. Unfortunately, this is the way culture is steering people.

Our sermon this morning was about counterfeit Christianity: folks who believe God exists and even know a bit about Him, but either do not have a personal relationship with Him or don’t know Him very well. The character in the movie at first denied God’s existence, then only reluctantly accepted it, only insofar as it got him what he wanted. He not only fought a pseudo god, but thumbed his nose at him and then was actually rewarded for his insolence! He did not surrender his life or heart to God, nor show an ounce of humility. In my opinion, the healing powers as shown in that movie were of the devil! The God I know is holy, righteous and loving. While He does work through imperfect people to accomplish His will, He will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7) as was played out on screen. (I half-expected a bolt of lightning to strike the man down! Apparently the writers chose to focus on God’s mercy instead of justice.)

Remember Job? He was a righteous man, but even when he complained and began to question why God allowed all he cared about to be taken away, the Lord basically says ‘who do you think you are? Where were you when I created the earth?’ (Job 38:2-4)

Which brings me to the second theme: the message tonight at Simonka was “Why did God create us?” In part, He created us to do good works, which He prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). Most of us aren’t given a “gift of healing”, but as Christ followers, we are each given unique gifts that ultimately work together to spread the Good News and further His kingdom on earth. Serving others with humble yet joyful hearts, knowing that the power to do these things comes from Him and not within ourselves.

Faith isn’t about getting our own way, being comfortable, treating God like a vending machine and His Word as quaint anecdotes we can cherry-pick to suit our preferences and twist to support our selfish intentions (or story lines). I myself struggle with the desire to be comfortable, and although I serve others in many ways, I confess that my focus is too often distracted by my own wants in my own little world, and not enough on Him. Every day I must recommit my selfish ways to His perfect will, because that’s how and why He created me.

We are here for God’s good pleasure, made for fellowship with Him and with each other. We were created ON PURPOSE, and FOR purposes we can only discover by humbling ourselves in full surrender to our loving Creator.

Here’s a new poem I wrote and shared tonight about why God created us:

“Created to Love”

God, You created me to love You,
to fellowship with You and others.
Made for good works You’ve planned
alongside many sisters and brothers.
Knitted together so carefully
for a precious life here on earth.
God, You knew me in the womb
before my mother gave birth!
I was put here on purpose,
for a purpose of grand design.
Daily Your perfect will works out
as I humbly surrender mine.
Existing for Your good pleasure;
Serving You gives me joy and peace.
Here to offer my gifts and prayers
so that Your kingdom may increase.
With the power to move mountains,
living and breathing as You speak,
May I always remember who I am
is because of Who it is that I seek.
For in You I am a masterpiece
regardless of what I feel or see;
Lord, I thank You that in Your wisdom,
You thought the world needed one of me!

8-18-19

©Ladeena Ashley

We were made in God’s image, for His glory and pleasure. Created with a huge capacity to love Him and serve others. Who would want to follow the “god” that popular culture portrays? Unfortunately, many are taken in by one version or another of an appearance of faith. The enemy is truly masquerading as an angel of light in so-called “uplifting” media, portraying very skewed images of God and how He views and interacts with us. It’s no wonder many leaders in the church are stepping down and renouncing their faith. They’ve been fed candy-coated Christianity (not just in movies and media, but by other well-meaning folks, as well) and developed a hollow faith that stumbles over the most basic tenets of Christian faith and collapses in the face of even small hardships.

The message I’m hearing from the Lord today is:
Diligently seek His face through prayer and studying His Word!
(Psalm 105:4, 2 Timothy 2:15)
Hold tightly to the truth! (Philippians 2:14-16)

Pray that God’s truth and will would prevail in your own heart and life, and in the media!

{By the way, if you’re curious, the movie is entitled “The Healer”, and aired on UP TV.}

Blessings to you, this day and always!

©Ladeena Ashley
All rights reserved (blog content and photos)

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