Sunday, December 14, 2014

While She Was Out

Some will say, "Difficult times develop character."

Others say, "Difficult times reveal character."

I have to say I prefer the latter. True character is always bubbling beneath the surface. Some people just need an extra push to show it. Such is the case with housewife Della Myers. Beneath the surface she is a strong mother who would absolutely anything for her children. Beneath the surface she is an educated, intelligent and hard working woman. Beneath the surface she cannot tolerate threats and abuse. Beneath the surface she is an advocate for justice. Above the surface she is an insecure battered housewife incapable of making decisions.

Christmas Eve in a desperate attempt to escape her husband's rage she takes an unwise trip to the mall. Of course, the mall is crowded and noisy, and parking is a nightmare. In a single heated moment she provokes a group of selfish hooligans, which escalates into a battle for her life. Those four hooligan chase her into the woods with the intend to kill her.

All she has to protect herself is a toolbox and her mama bear instincts. Her desire to see her children again what drives her to survive. She not only protects herself, but also she fights to protect her children. At any time the hooligan could drive her her home and murder her family, meaning there is no room for failure. 

In a moment of panic and rage, she screams to God, "Where are you?"

That is a question we all ask at one point or another.

"Where are you, God?"
"How could you let this happen?"
"Why have you forsaken me?"

It the number one question nonbelievers throw in the face of Christians.
"If God is real, why would he let this happen to me?"

However, I believe God was with Della. He was inside of her driving her to fight, to survive, and to discover her self worth.

Della embarks on a remarkable journey filled with danger, violence, and temptation. In doing so, she discovers the survivor inside of her, the same survivor she takes home and uses to put an end to her husband's abuse and achieves her independence. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

I've heard quite a bit of outcry over this incredible film, because of the lack of war and violence. It's true that this film does not return the viewers to the arena. However, the time for arenas is over. The story progresses to the cry for an uprising. That's what the story is all about. The cry for war, not the war itself. If you want a war so badly, then wait for the next film.

People seem to have lost touch with Katniss' character. It should be evident that Katniss never was a violent person, which she directly expresses in her talk with President Snow. All she ever wants out of her trials in life is to keep her loved ones safe. This includes her current efforts to rescue Peeta and the other victors held captive in the capital.

Everything she does that inspires those around her is done out of love, not violence.

The weapon emphasized in Mockingjay is information. District 13 uses Katniss and Finnick to discredit the Capital's propaganda and reveal the true nature of the tyrant, President Snow. This information is enough to drive the people to fight for themselves. Of course, a revolution is inevitable. District 13 merely provides an effective form of motivation.

As Katniss embraces peaceful resolutions, so did Christ. The Christ of the Gospels is Christ, the Humble. He too was a messenger. His people were expecting Christ, the Conqueror. They were more interested seeing in a war against the Romans than to accept the deliverance he had to offer, deliverance from sin. His message involved hope, peace, and love. Not war. War, though justifiable in the context of Mockingjay, should never be a first resort.

Information can be just as powerful a weapon as a bow and arrow. It is unfortunately an underestimated weapon, but it is one I feel more compelled to embrace. Therefore, I urge you to listen and learn as much as possible throughout life. Embrace facts. Embrace knowledge. Embrace peaceful resolution. It can greatly improve your quality of life.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Far From Home

One hit wonder author and struggling associate professor Nicholas Boyd is suddenly called back to his childhood home when his uncle Charles dies. We learn very early in the film that he spends his youth with a great passion for writing. However, somewhere along the way that passion completely extinguishes.

With no direction and family bridges burned, fifteen years pass without a single trip home until he receives an invitation to his uncle’s funeral. Instead of a simple funeral he finds himself plunged in a campaign to save the small, idyllic island from developers. Charles knew even before he died that Nicholas could finish that campaign.

Above all, we learn of a falling out between Charles and Nicholas that causes him to leave home and motivates him to write his one famous novel. Whatever the incident (they don’t say until near the end), he struggles to forgive.

It isn’t until he opens up about this incident does he finally let go of his anger enough to take a good look at his uncle’s work and figure out his plan to save the island from a serious threat.

Letting go is hard. Forgiving is hard. However, I never heard of an instance where the choice to forgive hasn’t been beneficial health and welfare of one’s quality of life. It opens our eyes the real threats around us. Keep your vision clear from the clutter of frivolous issues. Keep your life’s passions alive.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Town that Came A-Courtin’

This is a film that takes meddling friends and neighbors to a whole new level. Though I cannot imagine the event in Bliss, Mississippi anything close to reality, there is a certain level of entertainment involved, not to mention a feeling of comfort for the hero, Mayor Spencer Alexander. Bliss is a town that truly loves their mayor, and it knows a genuine lady when they see one.

When independent author Abby Houston passes through Bliss during a book tour, she doesn't stand a chance resisting the pleas of Bliss’ citizens. All they want is to go on a date with their tragically lonely mayor. However, a series of hysterical misconceptions and disasters cause the failure of three attempted dates.

Despite it all, not a soul can deny the spark between them, except, of course, for Abby’s obsessive fan. With everyone in town focusing their attention on hooking up the couple, no one noticed an awkward, little man following Abby around town making it easy for him to abduct her from a public parking lot.

Fortunately, Spencer is able to accept his feelings for Abby enough to sense something amiss and begin a campaign to save her.

Of all the Uplifting Entertainment films I've reviewed, I can honestly say that Town That Came A-Courtin’ is my favorite so far. It contains humor, drama, adventure, romance, and tragedy. Most importantly, it contains unconditional love. As infuriating and meddling as that town behaves, it is a comfort to see how much they love. 

Love Finds You in Sugarcreek

 Our experiences affect our ability to trust others. They even shape who we are as people.

In the film Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, such is the case for Rachel Troyer, a young single policewoman, who lost her parents at a very young age. Her experiences made her easily suspicious and very protective of her adopted family.

All she wants for her aunts is for them to be safe and healthy. However, her aunts are devoted Amish inn keepers who believe very firmly in hospitality. So, they naturally agree to take in the mysterious stranger Joe and his sick son when misfortune leaves them stranded in Sugarcreek. They go as far as offering him work around their property (much to Rachel’s objections) as a way of paying for his room and board.

Both Rachel and Joe’s experiences teach them to be mistrusting of others. Thus, their acquaintance becomes tense and shaky. It is not until they open up to each other do they fall in love. Once Joe tells Rachel his story and she finds her suspicions were wrong, she devotes herself to helping him with his problem.

It doesn't take long for her to discover how serious and violent his problem is, especially when his obsessive manager hunts him down. Yet, Rachel stands by Joe despite his baggage.

Some of the most important things that keep a healthy relationship are honesty and devotion. Once Joe and Rachel break through the barrier of mistrust, they were able to achieve a healthy relationship and finally find healing from their tragic pasts. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Ineffective Election Campaigns

Have you ever noticed how Christmas songs and advertisements begin the day after Halloween. Stores even put out Christmas decorations before Halloween. I know people who find that extremely annoying. Personally I don't mind Christmas tunes in November, because there is one thing I find more annoying.

November 4th is also over, which mean all of those awful, hateful campaign ads are gone. They were so bad I couldn't play the radio at work, because I didn't want my customers to hear the unreasonable amount of inappropriate allegations. It's embarrassing. And ineffective. The thing I look for in a candidate is good sportsmanship. The more candidates focus on attacking their opponents, the less I feel inclined to vote for them.

If that isn't bad enough I couldn't help but notice the night of November 3rd was particularly aggressive. Not only was the television saturated with commercials, but also the house received several phone calls from campaigns representatives reminding us for whom to vote.

Now, the air waves are clear of hateful accusation, and I can enjoy listening to the radio again. I would much rather listen to the songs of my favorite holiday.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Apple Mortgage Cake

“I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” - Philippians 4:13

Angela Logan is a struggling woman with three sons, a crippling mortgage, and her grandmother’s recipe. She is so far behind on her mortgage that she cannot even afford a cell phone or to fix her car. Despite it all, she still prefers to volunteer to help people over working herself to death for a salary. And she refuses to lets her sons drop out of school to get jobs.

That is until she gets the foreclosure notice that gives her ten days to pay $4000. However, she refuses to give up on her dream.

“You gotta have faith,” she tells a homeless lady under her tutelage.

Too stubborn for her own good she continues in her refusal to ask for help, even from her best friend or her old flame who desperately want to help her. However, she settles for “bake sale.” One apple cake for $40 to save her home. One hundred cakes are all she needs.
                                                           
Apple Mortgage Cake is an inspirational true story with the ability to strike the heart of any struggling American. In today’s world, most everyone has wound up in Angela’s shoes. We all go through times of unemployment. We all get behind on our bills. “Rough patch” seems like a gross understatement.

It takes a highly motivated, hard-working person to make an opportunity out of so little. In Angela’s case, it was her grandmother’s recipe, some devoted friends, and a prayer that eventually turned into an enterprise. All you need to do is ask yourself what you have to offer, and you can find a way to rise above your circumstances.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

End the Silence

Phones have become a vital part of our everyday lives. With every passing year the technology industry surprises us with amazing, useful upgrades. I wouldn't be surprised if laptops and tablet become obsolete in a few years. We love upgrading our phones.

In the meantime, I'm sure a majority of you have a few (or maybe a lot) of outdated, usable phones lying around, and it presents a wonderful opportunity to made a nice profit. In fact, ebay made an impressive offer of a $100 coupon if your cell phone doesn't sell. That's an amazing offer. It's hard to resist an offer like that.

On the other hand, there is something much more noble to do with your used phones.

DONATE.

Several co-operations, including Verizon and Dr. Phil's End the Silence, collect old cell phones to give to victims of domestic violence.

There are few things I find more noble than efforts to end domestic violence. There are fewer things that boil my blood more than a "man" who thinks he can bully and beat those weaker than he. Therefore, I urge my readers, believers and unbelievers alike, to do everything within their abilities to join forces against domestic violence.

Psalm 11:5 states, "The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence."

Also, chapter 3 in 1 Peter says, "In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered."

I have been married to an amazing Christian man for three years, and I wouldn't trade those three years for anything. I have a husband who uplifts and respects me. I would never have married a man with whom I could not be a true equal partner. I can't even imagine having a relationship any other way.

My wish is that all women can understand and experience my marital joy.

Donate your phone. Save a life.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Back in Action

Praise be to God. The website  is back in action with no harm done. On the other hand, I expect not every website that has fallen victim to these ruthless hackers had the same pleasing experience. As I have mentioned before, I do not require credit card numbers from my readers. Few websites can make that claim. Therefore, I URGE you to be very cautious about your online activity. It is dangerous out there. This kind of thing happens all the time, and it won't be the last.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

HACKED

It would appear that the website among millions of others has been hacked by the Russians. The original URL: www.christinculture.com no longer functions. Fortunately, none of my readers' information is compromised, because my services are free. Fortunately, I keep a back up of my posts on this blog. However, other sites from small businesses to top companies have also been hacked putting millions of credit cards and identities at risk.

In a day and age where the internet is such a vital part our everyday lives, we must be careful about our security. YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO CAREFUL, especially when it comes to your financial security. I personally believe that privacy is a right, and no one should ever make you feel otherwise. You must do everything you can to stay safe.

For further information on how to keep yourself secure online, you may check my husband's blog: http://checkthecable.blogspot.com/

As a writer I have learned to back up everything. I have several memory sticks. I email documents to myself at least once a week. In this case, I have my backup blog. These hackers may have taken down my website, but my work remains available. I will continue to write. I will persevere.

I will not let this string of events take me down. Neither should you. Stay safe, my friends.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Maleficent

Maleficent is an incredible twist on Sleeping Beauty told from the side of the “wicked fairy.” She begins as a pure hearted child whose soul goal in life is to care for and protect her forest, but she descends into a hateful existence when her wings are stolen from her. Her angry sends her down a path of darkness. Her anger is what drives her to curse Princess Aurora, daughter of the man who stole her wings.

However, over time, Maleficent discovers something of far greater value than her wings. She grows to love Aurora as her own daughter. It is a love so strong it is the only thing that can break her own curse upon the girl. Even after she tries to remove the curse another way, she fails. Only “true love’s first kiss” was able to break it.

What is true love?

John 15 says, “There is greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

The Bible defines many forms of love, but the greatest love is sacrificial. Maleficent had already lost her wings before Aurora enters her life. That loss is what drives Maleficent’s rage against King Stefan, a man driven mad with guilt and fear after stealing her wings. He is also a man willing to give up his only daughter to the hands of three incompetent fairies for sixteen years.

Without Maleficent’s secret care, Aurora would have starved to death in that first year. Without Maleficent’s watchful eye, Aurora would have fallen off a cliff. Without Maleficent’s protective magic, Stephan’s guards might have slain her. Without Maleficent’s willingness to venture to her possible death, Aurora would have died in her sleep.


Most of all, Maleficent finally accepts the possibility to never claim her wings. Instead, she devotes herself to saving Aurora from both the curse and the wicked King Stefan, who knows her greatest weakness. She risks her life to save Aurora, and there is no greater love than sacrificial love. It is the love God showed for us and the love we are expected to show each other. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Coffee Shop

Premiering September 14 on Uplifting Entertainment is the new romance film, Coffee Shop.

Scripture says in Proverbs 18:13, “Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.” (NLT)

In these days it is hardly surprising to see a small business shut down, whether it be a small customer base, unbeatable competition, or a crippling mortgage. It breaks my heart to see it, especially for business owners who work so hard.

Among these hard working business owners is Donovan Turner, a small town Batista who prides herself in guiding her customers to their perfect drink. It is unfortunate for her that her talent is not enough to keep her coffee shop open. It is more unfortunate that what she has in terms of coffee match-making, she lacks in social grace.

Throughout the film, I found it very difficult to sympathize with her character, because of her inability to properly communicate with others. She judges people’s actions and relationships without asking clarification. She guesses the entire plot of a script after reading a couple pages. Her financial trouble nearly causes her shop to close, and she bears the burden in complete silence. Most of all, she refuses to stand up to the people who wrong her, especially her manipulative sister.

Such is the case when struggling playwright Ben Carson walks into her shop in search of inspiration. Instead, he finds himself the victim of a terrible misunderstanding. Instead of clarifying her suspicions about him, she acted on her assumptions. One would think she would learn the importance of communication after one misunderstanding, but she doesn't. It nearly costs her a very meaningful relationship with Ben Carson.

If this film teaches anything, it is about how IMPERATIVE it is to effectively communicate with others. Often times, people do not understand how hurtful assumptions can be. I know first-hand how hurtful they are. They burn bridges and ruin people’s lives.

However, we must also learn to forgive those who assume about us as Christ was able to forgive those who put him on the cross. Coffee Shop is an effective illustration of these repercussions, but also how people can learn, recover, forgive, and move on.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Christ, the Forgiver

In Matthew 6 Christ says, “If you forgive those who sinned against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive other, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (NLT)

There are several more like it. It is a running theme in the Bible. You MUST forgive others if you have any hope to find forgiveness from God. Period. Not only is it a necessity in the faith, but also a necessity in a person's way of being. I have seen first-hand what the refusal to forgive does to one's mind. In fact, I struggled with it myself. 

  • It consumes the mind like a cancer.
  • It creates unhealthy obsession.
  • It creates unnecessary mistrust. 
  • It causes physical and emotion pain.
  • It destroys relationships.
  • It makes a person ugly.
  • Above all, it hinders one's faith.

Forgiveness sets you free. I can personally attest that my choice to embrace forgiveness was difficult, but it was also the best thing I ever did for myself. Looking back to that dark area in my life, I realize just how trapped and unhappy I was. Forgiveness set me free. It allowed me to move forward in my life.

I know it is hard. Believe me, I know, but it doesn't matter what the situation is. Forgiveness is vital. Every time, I find myself struggling, I remind myself of one thing:

"Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing," Christ called out from his place on the cross in Luke 23.

Christ was willing to look down at the people who put him up on the cross and beg God to forgive them. He was willing to forgive the men who tortured and executed Him.is willing to forgive you. You owe it to Him and yourself to be willing to do the same. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

What Would Jesus Do?

Matthew 7:1 says, "Do not judge others, and you will not be judged." (NLT)

The other day I was faced with a serious question. It was a question intend to make me doubt my beliefs, my relationships, my loyalty and my very self. 

What does it mean to be a Christian?

The most tragic part is that this person is a fellow "Christian." I find very difficult to believe that a Christian could so easily condone the shunning and judgment of other person when Christ so clearly called to do the opposite. 

Did Christ not define the two greatest commandments in Matthew 22?

"You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments." (NLT)

This fellow "Christian" then (rather humorously) asked me if I had a website, to what I, as a Christian, would devote it. Conveniently, I already have a website, and I have made its mission very clear. 

Here at Christ In Culture, it is my mission to use today's culture, art, and events to teach both

(A) the love of Christ to those have not yet experienced it.

and

(B) how to better reach the lost through Christ's love and acceptance.

It was because of people like him that inspired to start this website. Now, I am more motivated than ever to continue in my ministry.

Let us begin first by answering the question so boldly thrown in my face. The technical definition of "Christian" is one who follows Christ. 

That begs this question: Who was Jesus Christ? 

One thing I can say with absolute certainty radiating through every bone in my body. Christ was not a man to judge and condemn. Above all, he was a forgiver. It is the entire reason God sent Him to us. It is the foundation of the faith. If we cannot learn to forgive, how can we possibly be effective members of ministry?

Christ The Forgiver will the first post of my new series examining in great detail the man of Christ. Let us all take this journey together. 

Where do my loyalties lie? With Christ and Christ alone. 

Where do your loyalties lie?

Stay tuned and God bless all of us.