Monday, August 28, 2006

I Am Barabbas

Over the past two Sundays, Mom and I have shown the Japanese kids videos based on the life of Christ. Yesterday, we showed them "The Miracle Maker," a wonderful claymation film that portrays Christ's life, death and resurrection in unique and captivating way. The week before, we showed them The Jesus Film for Children. During watching these movies, different things have hit me, but one of the things that jumped out at me is how much the character of Barabbas totally symbolizes those for whom Christ died. Barabbas was a convicted murderer, as Matthew puts it, "a notorious prisoner." Jesus was (and is) completely innocent and sinless. The one person released from death was Barabbas, not Jesus. Instead, Jesus went to the cross.

The story of Barabbas can be found in the following passages:
Matthew 27:15-26, Acts 3:14-15

Friday, August 11, 2006

Can You Categorize It?

Warning: This post may have some sort of theological incorrectness in it. But I've been thinking about this and just have to post about it. If there are errors, however, please point them out by providing some scriptural basis. Thank you! Here we go...

I've been thinking a lot lately about how much people categorize sin. I know that I tend toward this, thinking that one sin isn't as bad as another. But lately, a lot of things have come to light, and I've realized that this way of thought is sinful in and of itself. It is setting up my own standard of righteousness and unrighteousness, and ignoring the Biblical standards that God has set up. Instead of thinking judgmentally about one thing and not another, we should think of every sin in the same way, as a heinous offense against a holy, perfect, pure God. In case you're mystified as to what I'm talking about, I'll give you an example.

Lately, I've heard so many people talking about homosexuality in a way that makes it sound like homosexuals are worse than any other person could possibly be. I understand that the homosexual lifestyle is absolutely sin, and I don't condone or support it at all, but I think it is wrong to think about it in the way they have spoken of it. One woman said that an actor playing the part of a believer in a certain movie is a homosexual. She thought this was appalling. I had already heard about this, and had read a RixMix about this movie, that really put the actor thing into right perspective--even thought I'm not in complete agreement about his views on this movie! :). Anyway, I asked her why it was so appalling for him to play this part, when any other sinner might have been cast in his place. She brushed off my comment, and continued to berate the movie. Another circumstance was when a man spoke about his apprehension in greeting a lesbian couple. I didn't really get this, either, because greeting any couple who are living in sin, gay or straight, should be the same.

In 1 Corinthians 6:9, it says plainly that "the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God." It goes on to expound upon the unrighteous, and the list includes homosexuals. Yet, it also lists the covetous in verse 10. Now, I don't know about you, but when I think about sin, I know coveting is a sin, but I figure, everyone does it, so it's more understandable. Wrong! It's sin as much as any other in that list. Further on in verse 11, it says "Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God."

1 Timothy 1:8-11 is another excellent passage speaking of the law not being "made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane..." In the following list of specific lawless, rebellious, ungodly, unholy, profane sinners in verses 9-10, homosexuals are included. But so are liars. Now, I'm not in the habit of lying (except now that I've found how much I categorize sin, I guess I do lie to myself about how bad my sin is!), but when I was little, I do know that I told a lie. I can't remember what it was, but I know that I learned that nobody could trust a liar. My parents made that very clear to me, and since I valued trust and found out how bad lying was, I stopped lying. But that one lie would make me a liar. So I am included in both of those lists of ungodly people. I have been a covetous liar (among many other things!).

Just yesterday, Pastor SK said in his message that while he hadn't lied to anyone that day, or slandered anybody that day, he hadn't loved God with all his heart, mind, soul and strength all the time that day, and therefore he had sinned. How right on! Maybe I haven't stolen anything today, but I have not given all the glory to God that I possibly could today. That is stealing from the Divine!

Now I know that it's not an easy thing to change, but I really want to change this thought process of sin-categorizing. It's really an awful thing! James 2:10 says "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all." That verse definitely shows what sinners we are. We mentally glare upon certain lifestyles and types of sin, but if we have been proud even once or done anything that we might try to justify away, we're guilty of all those things we've looked down on too! It just goes to show how much grace God has given each of us who trust in Him. I am guilty of every possible sin, and yet He still had an abundant love for me that reached beyond that. To quote a choir song, "What a love, what a cost! We stand forgiven at the cross!"

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Wheatless in Seattle

Okay, so after watching my Mom find results by cutting wheat from her diet, I've decided I'm going to try it too. I don't know for how long (with my affection for all things carb-related, it probably won't last!), but I'm going to attempt this as long as I can. I picture it being maybe a month. :) We'll see.

Mom is down six pounds since she began. She started it because she thought she might have a sensitivity/allergy to wheat, but after a few days, told me that it also really kept her from snacking without thinking. I find this a very good selling feature for this "diet" so I'm starting too. I never knew how much I loved wheat until now. I used to think it was funny when people said bread was their big dietary vice, because I've always thought ice cream and all things sweet were my big thing. But I've found that this diet limits me greatly. Last night, we had chicken parmesan, and I couldn't eat the pasta or the toasty french bread. And tonight, we had fajitas. Mom and I had the goodies on top of brown rice instead of using lovely tortillas. I've been eating a massive amount of rice, in fact. We have lots of sticky rice made up when we have Japanese girls in the house, and I am taking advantage of that. It seems like each morning, breakfast includes rice. However, I just found out this morning that Cocoa Pebbles contain no wheat. Score! The other morning, though, I was in great distress when Mom made chocolate chip pancakes for the kids and forgot that I was on the diet. She began handing me a nice, warm, chocolatey pancake, and then said, "Oops! I'm so sorry! I'll see if Gary wants it." I went and got a bowl of rice and tried to enjoy the process.

But tonight I was reading about William Carey and his wife Dorothy. Apparently, they had some co-worker missionaries who didn't handle their finances too well and lived very well on money they didn't have. As the book says, though, "Unable to afford anything better, the Careys were forced to live in a marshy malarial area, where gangs of robbers roamed." Anyway, the excerpt that I found interesting relates to this diet:

"They were now eating curry and rice, day in and day out--a far cry from what those in the European quarter were enjoying, and probably a far cry from what the Thomases themselves were eating. Carey scribbled in his diary: 'My wife and sister too who do not see the importance of the mission as I do, are continuing exclaiming against me, and as for Mr. T., they think it very hard indeed that he should live in a city, in an affluent manner, and they be forced to go into a wilderness and live without many of what they call the necessaries of life, bread in particular.'"

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

You, Me, and Nanny McPhee

Today we saw Nanny McPhee. I know, I'm really going to sound like a movie hater, but I had some thoughts about this movie.

What I didn't like:
Even while I was watching it, the recurring thought in my head was, "This movie totally promotes the message that the end justifies the means." The promoting of magic as a wonderful and changing power, to the minds of children watching, is not a favorable aspect of this movie. The special effects at the end were dreadful. They should've left them with cake on their faces, and no virtual wedding veil to be found. Nanny McPhee reminded me of Mary Poppins crossed with Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. You need to either have the nanny use magic to make them behave, or teach them lessons and have them behave out of their desire. It can't be a mix. It just didn't work for me.

What I did like:
It was a cute movie. I really loved the kids and how totally real they were. I felt like I knew them. Emma Thompson and Colin Firth are always amazing. I enjoyed the bit of Angela Lansbury, too. Lots of whimsy, lots of fun along the way. Showed sinful little hearts for what they were, at least at the beginning. By the end, though, they seemed so sanctified that I halfway expected a heaven scene. :)

So there's my critic review. Not very professional, I know. I just wanted to write one, really.