shesharestruth

Christ Crucified (#SheReadsTruth v.6)

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 is so simple, so open. He expresses his weakness, and in his weakness we see a great strength demonstrated. Even though he “did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God” (v.1), he is determined to do God’s will.

My bible, the MacArthur Study Bible, references verse two, stating “Until someone understands and believes the gospel, there is nothing more to say to them.”

How powerful! Until you know and believe Christ died for your sins, everything else is irrelevant. The Bible is a love letter to us, and what greater declaration than Christ’s crucifixion? Verse five reiterates MacArthur statement: “Your faith should not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”

These few verses, whilst riddled with historical evidence of Paul’s situation, I think also prove another point. Paul’s imprisonment aside, I think these verses state we do not have to be the most eloquent to share the gospel. Instead, we should rely solely on the power of God.

There will come a time when we are all asked to speak The Truth, to share The Gospel. We may even be asked to explain or defend our faith. It can be a daunting task, especially if those inquiring are dear to us. Their salvation, their understanding of what Christ did for them, can be a heavy burden to bear. It can feel just as heavy when we are being ridiculed or hated for our beliefs. There is good news: The Holy Spirit resides in each of us who believe, and we are never alone. Cast your fears aside, and be like Paul. Come to them broken, thick-tongued, and trust in the Lord. His conviction alone can change their hearts, and our job is to be a good and faithful servant by sharing the good news.

[This is the last official #SheSharesTruth post. I have thoroughly enjoyed this exercise, and hope to continue blogging. A special thanks to my sweet husband for his support this entire time.]

The Lord’s Commission (#SheReadsTruth v.5)

Image

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

- Joshua 1:8-9

It’s funny, you know, how The Lord has His way of calling you back to Him.  Whether you’ve been gone years, or just a few days, it never ceases to amaze me. I haven’t posted the past two weeks because my beautiful husband took me on a long, much needed anniversary vacation.  A Disney cruise and resort stay that left us utterly relaxed.  Yet somehow, when I was in the process of relaxing my thoughts always came back to God.  I’d left my Bible in error, and my phone version wouldn’t pull up without an internet connection – something we were both relieved and distressed to be missing.  Nevertheless, when we came home, I felt pulled back to His Word.  Something had been missing on our trip; not a lack of discussion about our Heavenly Father, or our trust in Him, but my daily quiet time.  Something I’ve come to need badly. 

It’s a good addiction to have, my friends.  But I have to ask: how much time to we devote to His Word? How much time does the most important person in our lives, Jesus Christ, get? Doesn’t the Creator of Heaven and Earth deserve more than the hour I try to put in every day? Should I really be worried about the laundry or the dust bunnies that have once again returned no matter how many times I vacuum daily?  Do my earthly responsibilities outweigh my heavenly ones?

I know the answer to that, and honestly, I’m still learning.  It’s taken me years to figure out devoting my morning to my Bible reading and devotional time, and my evening to prayer and journaling.  I fear when I have children I’ll have to learn all over again, even though I believe it will be a joy to do so. 

This passage may have originally been The Lord’s commission to Joshua, but it speaks right to my heart.  God knows that if I’m reading His Word daily, meditating and researching and lingering on each lesson then it will change my life.  It will make sin uglier and Christ more beautiful day by day.  It will make decisions that are difficult easier, because I know what I’m supposed to do.  It will remind me to love first, not judge.  Most importantly, it will remind me to “be strong and of good courage…not [to] be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (v.9)

Psalm 38: Prayer in a Time of Chastening (#SheReadsTruth v.2)

shesharestruth

“Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!”  – Psalm 38: 21-22

 Poor David. Bless his heart, he was going through a time when he wrote this, wasn’t he? I think we’ve all been there. Done something we shouldn’t have done, and felt like the word was against us while we faced the consequences alone.

Truth is, though, we’re never alone.  God is always with us, and He always knows our troubles.  I remember feeling this way a lot as a teenager – probably because I was a teenager, and teens seem to feel angst and drama on a whole other level.  Looking back at prayer journal passages from college, I can’t help but smile.  The issues I was going through then seem like nothing now, but at the time I grieved over them deeply.  Every single time I came to The Lord with a problem, He had an amazing way of answering my prayer.  Most of the time the answer I received wasn’t the one I was looking for, but His way is always better, and I am so glad I didn’t get the things I asked for back then.  My life would look very, very different if I had. 

During my quiet time this week I read 2 Chronicles 7 – 12.  It is amazing how God uses His Word to speak to His children.  After reading David’s plea for mercy it was so reassuring to see The Lord’s answer through David’s son, Solomon.  Verse after verse reminded me of what David already knew.  While he was on his knees, pleading with God over his sin and the difficulties that faced him, he must have felt these verses, even though they had yet to be written:

  • “‘For He is good, for His mercy endures forever.'” – 2 Chronicles 7:3
  • “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray to seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14
  • “When he humbled himself, the wrath of The Lord turned from him, so as not to destroy him completely.” – 2 Chronicles 12:13

Sin has a cost, and there are consequences, but how blessed are we to have a Father who forgives? The Lord uses these hard times to strengthen our bond with Him, and I am so grateful for those times of learning.  My prayer journals have taught me one very valuable lesson: The issues you have now will pass, and The Lord will be faithful to see you through.

Psalm 130: Waiting for the Redemption of the Lord (#SheReadsTruth v.1)

shesharestruth

“But there is forgiveness with You, that you may be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord.”  – Psalm 130:4-6

I have never been a patient woman.

Seriously. Ask my mother. Patience is a virtue I was born without, and to be fair, it is one I got honest.  The women in our family are not a patient lot, but we are learning. 

Not too long ago I used to lie awake at night, constantly pleading with God.  I was ensnared with sin, a specific sin, and it kept me awake at night.  During church services I would feel unworthy to sit in His House, and the desire to run to the alter was sometimes overwhelming.  It took years to overcome that sin.  Years of prayer, restless nights, and too many tears to count.  I felt the weight of my sin pressing down on my chest, and sometimes it was difficult to breath.  Satan loved it, I’m sure.  I was completely miserable, and I felt so far away from my Savior.

Today, I love Him all the more for putting me through that trial.  During that time He taught me humility and patience.  Through two incredibly wise sisters in Christ, I began to grow closer to my Father and learn what it is to really give Him your trial.  I’d like to tell you the change happened quickly – an epiphany after wise words, and my struggle was no more.

Wrong.

It took time.  A LOT of time.  But during that transition, as I sought His will, He began to change my heart.  I grew to understand sin, and the abhorance it truly is.  I am still a sinner; of course I am.  But I’m so much more now.  I am the writer of Psalm 130. I am Isreal.  I know what it’s like to wait on His redemption.  

It’s HARD.

But it is so rewarding. 

I wish I’d known what the author of Psalm 130 knew.  I wish I knew I’d have to be patient; that The Lord’s timing is perfect, and my time table has no place in this tale.  I wish I’d heard Laura Story’s sweet song, “Blessings” then, and understood this trial was “a mercy in disguise.” But there are some things you must learn on your own, and The Lord is faithful.  He took the aching in my soul and used it to draw me closer to Him, to seek and love Him more.  

Psalm 130 echoes of my sorrow all those years ago.  The plea and trust of someone so devastated with sin, clinging to The Lord’s promises.  Knowing that “if You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (v.3), and the blessed relief of knowing He forgives.  He loves. He is merciful. And sometimes, he makes us wait.

 

Site Update

Oh. My. Goodness!

It has been so long since I last posted here!  Let’s see, where to begin…

Well, as a previous post mentioned, I finished my thesis, and received my Masters degree.  After that, I began looking for work within my field.  I was so frustrated, spending hours on end looking for work, but continued to only see postings for people with eight to ten years of experience.  The frustration lies therein that without someone giving me a chance I cannot acquire said experience.  It’s funny, though, how things work out.  During that time I took a job in a field I had absolutely no experience in, joined a local Bible Study, and eventually met the man I would marry.  We recently celebrated our one year anniversary, and I have never been so happy!

I have missed writing, though.  The Lord took these past several years to really mold me, and draw me closer to him.  I have learned so much about Him, His timing, and His incredible grace.  I have learned I am still passionate about fairy tales, that they bring me a kind of peace other stories seem to lack.  I’ve learned about loss and forgiveness, patience and pure frustration, and I am thankful for it all.

My original intention for this site was unclear; I later thought I’d focus solely of fairy tales.  I guess it can be hard to narrow things down when you have so many interests! However, I’ve recently been posed a challenge, if you will.  An amazing website I follow, #SheReadsTruth, has come up with a clever experiment:

“People say that one of the best ways to learn is to teach. We’ve certainly found this to be true for ourselves. Whether you consider yourself a writer or not, whether you have a blog with 10 or 10,000 readers – or don’t have a blog at all – we want to give you the opportunity to teach truth! Every Friday during Lent, YOU will be our writers. We will assign your scriptures on Monday, and you’ll have five days to study, prepare and write. And then the fun. On Friday, come to the SheReadsTruth site and share the link to the devotional you’ve written – a hundred different takes on the same passage!”

Until Lent comes to an end, this will be my focus.  I have NEVER done anything like this before, and honestly, it’s a little nerve wracking.  But good writers challenge themselves, and I’ve not done enough of that lately.  So, here goes…

The Princess and the Frog Review

 

 

(Author’s Note: Because of my thesis, graduation, and job hunting, I didn’t have the spare time to write a review on The Princess and the Frog.  To make up for that, please see below.)

Reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Frog has a rich palette of color, vibrance, and pizazz.  The movie is so visually stunning, I was instantly captivated.  The storyline was
sweet–nothing too complex, as I was already familiar with E. D. Baker’s The Frog Princess and that little plot twist.  The soundtrack wasn’t quite as powerful as the veteran team, Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, but it fit the story with the jazzy feel and each song left audiences tapping their toes .

Tiana and Prince Naveen were both were fantastic leads.  Despite his arrogance, Naveen (the charming Bruce Campos) is quickly working his way up my “Favorite Prince” list, and his playful banter with Tiana is delightful.  It was wonderful watching two lead characters connecting like that, as many Disney romances are instantaneous.  Naveen’s charm connected to Tiana’s playful, clever side and that translated very well on screen.  Anika Nani Rose did a fantastic job of bringing Tiana to life, especially with her stunning voice, instantly shaping Tiana into a Disney leading ladies.  Smaller characters like Charlotte and Big Daddy were both great supporting roles, and while Charlotte is a spoiled little brat, she obviously cares about Tiana.  The more I watch the movie, the more endearing she becomes, despite her flakiness.

Last, but not least, I’d like to credit Disney’s veteran voice actors, Jim Cummings and Keith David.  Jim Cummings (Darkwing Duck, Don Karnage, Tigger) has always, always done a stellar job for Disney and I was thrilled
to see he finally got a big silver screen role instead of bit parts and fillers.  His portrayal of Ray was adorable and the end of the movie had me chocking back tears.  Likewise, Keith David (Goliath, Hercules’ Apollo) did a phenomenal job as the sinister Dr. Facilier.  I loved his song, “Friends on the other Side,” despite how short it was.  I also thought the bitterness and desperation came across perfectly.  He actually had to answer for his misdeeds, although I know many parents with young children felt the scenes with his “friends” were a bit too scary for young children.

The Princess and the Frog  was not just a dazzling animated film, but it also carried some important messages.  Tiana’s father advised her to wish on the star, but also to remember that hard work will get you where you
want to go.  A nice combination of destiny and logic, I thought.  Tiana does take the advice a bit too far, but her heart is in the right place. She and Naveen even each other out  to a happy medium with the help of
their ice-breaking friends, Louie and Ray.  Another fantastic feature about this movie is that magic is not what solves every problem.  Mama Odie’s advice to “dig a little deeper” is valid and essential.  While magic does
play a role, Mama Odie doesn’t have to use any for the characters to get a happy ending.  Instead, it is their own revelations that help them find their way.

Blog Update

I realize it has been quite awhile since I have updated my blog, so allow me to explain.

For those who don’t know, I spent all of 2009 finishing my thesis.  It was a long, strenuous process that finally came to a close in December, when I earned my Masters in English.  I’ve never worked so hard on anything before, and there were times where I was sure I wouldn’t be able to finish.  However, with the guidance of two wonderful professors, I turned a paper into a lifelong achievement that I will forever be proud of.  Since then I have taken a much needed rest, visiting old friends, reading whatever my little heart desired, and beginning my job search.  Like many out there, it hasn’t been easy, but I’m sure the right job is out there. Until then, I’ve taken up temporary work, which I’m really loving.  I’m also freelancing on Suite101, so stop by and check out my fairy tale and author book reviews, as well as Disney related information.

In the meantime, I fully intend to keep this blog up.  I love the topic and I’m passionate about it – I just don’t have the time I once did.  Because I didn’t review “The Princess and the Frog” like I wanted to, I’ll be reviewing it in honor of the DVD that came out Tuesday.

Words of wisdom…by Terry Pratchett

“Stories, great flapping ribbons of shaped space-time, have been blowing and uncoiling around the universe since the beginning of time.  And they have evolved.  The weakest have died and the strongest have survived and they have grown fat on retellings…”

            -Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad

Note: If you haven’t read Witches Abroad go, run now to a book store, and pick it up.  Pratchett is always delightful and in his parodic take on fairy tales, readers will be delighted.

The Art of Disney Exhibit Opening in New Orleans

Just in time for Walt Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, a new exhibit will be opening in New Orleans, displaying original art from the Walt Disney Studio.  The New Orleans Museum of Art will display images from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and the highly anticipated, The Princess and the Frog.  According to the Dailycomet.com, the “Disney exhibit, called “Dreams Come True: Art of the Classic Fairy Tales from the Walt Disney Studio,” will remain at NOMA through March 14. In all, the exhibit includes more than 600 original artworks that brought legendary fairy tales to the screen.”

Site Update

Apologies to all for the lack of updates.  I’m working hard to graduate and obviously that takes precedence over this blog.  However, I’ll be updating when I can and appreciate your patience. 

On another, more site friendly note: has everyone noticed all the Princess and the Frog merchandise that’s become available lately?  I am so excited for the new film!