Archive for Movies

Did You Forget Something?

The animated movie,“Chicken Run”, is a story about a bunch of chickens trying to escape from a chicken farm, where their destiny is a chicken potpie. After many unsuccessful attempts to escape, two hens stand inside a coop having a discussion. One hen looks at the other and says, “Let’s face it, our chances of escaping are a million to one”.  The other hen replies, “Then we still have a chance.”

Do you want change, or feel dissatisfied with the way things are going in your life? Are you afraid of the peril you must face in the future? When you look at your chances to see anything positive happen, does it seem almost impossible? Which one of those two hens do you relate to most?

Christ never told us to take the gospel to chickens. They don’t know there is a great God to listen to and trust in. The animals are doing just fine trying to live by instinct. You on the other hand, are not expected to live without the help of Jesus in your life. If you feel you have a chance at a thing, is it because of your own creativity, or by the power of Christ?

Hosea warns of the consequences for those who forget God. You may forget God without realizing you are even doing so. The people of Israel had all their needs met, and in result, they became independent.

Hosea 13:4-6
“But I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me. I cared for you in the desert, in the land of burning heat. When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.

Do you see the process of forgetting here? You may have forgotten God if you become independent enough to rely upon yourself to take care of your daily needs.

Proverbs 30:8-9
Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

You may have forgotten God if you have become dependant upon an employer, the government, or any other person or thing. Those things will all pass, but the peace and government of God will experience no end.

Isaiah 9:6-7
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.

Have you noticed how much the trials in life tend to increase your attention toward God? God wants to have a deep relationship with you, and if something gets in the way of that relationship, it must be extracted. When we forget God, He has ways to remind us. We are warned not to forget the things of God.

Deuteronomy 4:9
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

If we are to take hold of the relationship and benefits of Christ, there are also things we should forget, however difficult that may be. When we do not, we become an enemy to the God who called us, each one without exemption, to a higher purpose.

Deuteronomy 6:12
be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

2 Kings 17:38-39
Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods.  Rather, worship the LORD your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.”

Philippians 3:12-21
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.  Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

God does not see things the way we do, and we must desire from Him to see things more in the light of His word. I trust you know how that must come about, or you would not still be reading this.

Isaiah 55:8-9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”  declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

When you think about which of the hens in my first story you are most like, don’t forget you have hope, even when all the odds are against you. God can work with less than a one in a million chance. You are the most valuable thing to God, and he wants you to feel the same way about Him.

Luke 12:24-26
Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

The easier said than done lesson in this is, if you forget the power of Christ, you will stumble. If you remain in Him, there is a rich relationship and a full life ahead of you.

Hosea 14:9
Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.

There is nothing you can do to impress God to save you, or to receive something you may need. It is all in the power of Christ, and your trust in Him. The actions of your obedience demonstrate you believe what you heard.

Galatians 3: 2-5
I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

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Living in the Shadow of Knowledge

In the 1947 movie, “It Happened On Fifth Avenue”, Victor Moore stars as Aloyisius T. McKeever, (sounds like a name from the book of Acts, doesn’t it?) a hobo, who finds winter lodging by waiting for millionaire families to lock up mansions and migrate south for the winter.

The hobo moves into a mansion and soon begins taking in homeless WWII veterans, the first played by Alan Hale Jr., you may remember as “The Skipper” on Gilligan’s Island. Eventually the millionaire’s daughter comes home, and the hobo mistakes her for an impoverished runaway from an abusive father, so he offers to take her in. She goes along with the masquerade and falls in love with one of the displaced war vets living in her father’s home. There are now nine people living in the shelter of the Fifth Avenue mansion, and the daughter gets her father to meet the “squatters” incognito, in hope that he’ll take to the man she likes. Things get pretty funny when the hobo agrees to be generous enough to take in the real owner of the mansion as a benevolent tenant.

In 1947, Americans for the first time since the Great Depression had an optimistic approach to life. This movie is a funny look at the people and the feeling of renewal and hope that was in the air in the immediate post-World War II era. I think this movie also parallels the story in the book of Acts, as an example of someone trying to do the right thing, living as though he knows someone he does not.

The book of Acts is a record of the early church and it is filled with some of my favorite stories. There are several lessons the church today can learn from this story in Acts. I want to focus on the one lesson in my mind that is the most important. Living a life in the light of a real relationship with Jesus Christ, not in the shadow of the knowledge of Christ.

Ephesus was a city filled with people practicing magic and witchcraft. It was a city full of wayward, well meaning priest, living in the shadow of a knowledge of Christ, but not in the light of a relationship with Christ. Traveling Jewish exorcists were common in the ancient world, and many would invoke the names of a false god or an accepted god of the region when they performed magic or cast spells. Here we see a family of vagabond Jews composed of Sceva, a priest, and his seven sons, who had been watching Paul, do miracles. Listening to the name of Jesus, which Paul used to command evil spirits to come out of people, they attempted to use the same name as a sort of magical charm. The knowledge of Jesus did not help them because the evil spirit knew there was no relationship to stand on.

The contrast of ministry through the light of a real relationship with Christ, and the shadow of the knowledge of Christ, is seen here. Paul was in that region for two years serving God while he was tent making. The tent maker would wear a handkerchief around his head for a sweatband and an apron, which also would get very sweat soaked. God was working through Paul in such a way that his sweat soaked handkerchiefs and aprons would bring healing and drive out demons when they touched people. God wanted to make it clear to this deceived region; they needed to have a relationship with Christ, not just knowledge.

Acts 19:11-12
God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

The city was in an uproar over the power of God as opposed to the power of sorcery and many people were being saved. They brought stacks of very expensive scrolls they owned that taught them how to cast spells and perform magic and they burned them publicly. If you have ungodly literature of any kind in your home, you should destroy it also. (Don’t start a fire downtown, you will be arrested.) Regardless of what you paid for it, it may be costing you more than you think. After I came into a real relationship with Christ, I destroyed my Mormon literature and the freedom I experienced took my spiritual walk to the next level. (That’s another lesson for latter.)

Many of the people in that day were well meaning people who thought they were doing things for God. Others were in it for the money, yet still many had two reasons for being upset with the light of a relationship with Christ. In any case, they were each and all, well deceived.

Acts 19:23-27
About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in no little business for the craftsmen. He called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and said: “Men, you know we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all. There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.”

Most of the psychics and witches I have talked to, believe the power they get is a gift from God. It is not. The power comes from elsewhere. God’s word is very clear about such things.

Acts 16:16-18
Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her

Acts 8:9-13
Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is the divine power known as the Great Power.” They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.

Movies like “The Wizard of Oz” show the power of a good witch and the power of a bad witch, but there is no such contrast in scripture. The deception of good without God will take people where they do not want to go. It is because the knowledge of Christ is not enough, there needs to be a true relationship with Christ. Most people I share Christ with think as I used to. They think to get into heaven, you have to be a good and decent person. Compared to what? Are you good and decent because of the knowledge of Christ, or are you trying to be good and decent because you want to have a true relationship with Christ?

Matthew 7:21-23
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Living in the shadow of the knowledge of Jesus Christ does not pertain only to salvation. Many Christian people live in that shadow in certain parts of life. Deception does not reserve itself for those without a relationship to Jesus. Don’t just take time to read Gods word and pray. Do you believe what you read, or is it just knowledge? If you believe it, then you should try living in the light of your relationship with Jesus and not be satisfied with the comfort and deception of the shadow of knowledge. If you are not consistently in the word of truth, you should know, ignorance is not a safe alternative either.

James 1:22
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Knowledge without a relationship will disappoint you in the end. It is empty and unfulfilling because something is missing. How about you? Are you living like the hobo in that movie, pretending everything is fine because you have some knowledge? At the end of the movie as the hobo walks down the sidewalk away from the mansion, the millionaire says to his wife, “Next year when he comes back, he will come in through the front door.” Have you been living as an unauthorized party in Gods house? Use the front door that is provided for those with a relationship. You are the one who opens that door, not Jesus.

Revelation 3:19-22
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Which one of the characters in the Bible verses above are you most like? All the characters living strictly in the knowledge of Christ, are not reaping the benefits of those living in the light of a true relationship with Christ. Do you live like God is able to change your life, or have you deceived yourself through religion? That can all change right now, it is up to you. Open the door of your heart, Jesus is always there.

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Jailhouse Rock

In November of 1957 the movie Jailhouse Rock was released. In addition to Elvis Presley, the film cast a young Dean Jones as a radio disc jockey. (Dean Jones was the guest star in our Christmas presentation a few years ago at Idlewild Baptist Church.) Leading Lady Judy Tyler was killed in a car wreck just three days after the filming was completed. That is a sobering thought about the uncertainty of life.

Jailhouse Rock is a story of a man (Elvis) who has a change of character. While he is in jail for manslaughter, he performs in the prison show. Elvis decides to make a career of music after his release, but success goes to his head. Through bad decisions and circumstances, he learns about relationships and what is really important.

This is not a movie review of Jailhouse Rock, but a story of the original “Jailhouse Rock”. Paul did some of his best work while he was in prison. Though he previously was responsible for the death of many Christians, he committed no crime until he began to preach the gospel. The strength Paul experienced while he was in jail came from Jesus Christ, the “Rock”. The Lord was Paul’s jailhouse Rock.

Isaiah 26:4

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.

God doesn’t protect His servants from trouble, but it is His character to preserve them through trouble. Sufferings or troubles are not always the chastening of God or the result of sin or bad decisions. Look at the attitude of Paul while he writes to Timothy while he is in jail for preaching the gospel. He wanted his jail time to encourage others to believe on Jesus, and he wanted those who already believe, to be inspired by his trials.

2 Timothy 2:8-10

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

Paul wrote that even though he was in chains, God’s word is not chained. Even though he was in chains, Paul’s tongue was not chained either. He led the jailhouse guards to Christ every chance he got. Sometimes, I confess my tongue is in chains, and that I don’t speak up for Jesus Christ, as I should. Even though I am faithless, He is still faithful because that is His character.

Are you suffering from being chained by finances? Are you in chains because of a health issue? Are you in prison, hurting over relationship problems? These can all leave you feeling like you are locked in a jail. These will tend to make your tongue act as though it were also in chains when it comes to sharing Christ’s love. Do your circumstances need to change or does your character need to experience a change?

We miss out on many blessings because of our lack of faith, but I have discovered many times, when I do not believe–God is still faithful. He will not change His character based upon my own.

2 Timothy 2:13

if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

The word of Rick Robinson depends upon my character. The word of you, dear reader, depends upon your character. The word of God then, depends upon the character of God. How many times are you guilty of not knowing the character of God? Not knowing the character of God will lead to uncertainty in your prayer life, fear to take action, abuse of your freedom in Christ, and a host of other failures. Your character may change, but the Lord’s character will remain faithful.

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

You might do your best work while you are in that prison if you trust in the character of God instead of your own. The word of God is with you, but not in chains with you. Even when your character fails to shine in your circumstances, the character of God is to bring peace, and grace to sustain us when we trust Him. Is Jesus Christ your jailhouse Rock?

Psalm 18:2

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Deuteronomy 32:4

He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.

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