• Coming Christmas 2019

Wonder Woman and Me-Part 2

Movies can be great! I do think a very large majority of them are horrible; either bad plots and acting or filled with unnecessary bad language and sexuality or violence. But, I have my favorites that I will watch more than once.

Most musicals I have seen enough times to have the music and the lines memorized. These are great for housework and laundry. I put the movie on and go around the house cleaning and staying completely in sync with the movie. Happy RainIt’s kind of fun to turn off the vacuum and find that I am right on que with Julie Andrews or Shirley Jones or Doris Day though maybe not quite in tune with them! (I know, I’m old!)

And I have plenty of non-musicals that are favorites that I will watch more than once. Classics like Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments and most of John Wayne’s movies. The Illusionist and The Prestige are two that I had to watch about 3 times to get all the nuances. Really too many to mention especially when I add in all the Sci-Fi/Fantasy favorites. I just like well-done movies. They are good entertainment even if it is a serious or tragic story.

But only a bushel of movies out of the hundreds I have watched in my almost 60 years have challenged my own behavior or thoughts or encouraged me that I might be doing something right. The recent movie, The War Room, was full of challenges concerning my spiritual habits or lack thereof. The Lord of the Rings Saga reminds me every time to never give up on God’s mission for my life and that this mission is important or else I wouldn’t still be on this Earth.

And Wonder Woman…Diana defiantly confronted me with things I could do better and encouraged me that I am doing some things okay. I didn’t go into the movie theater expecting either of those. But I’m glad I came out of the theater pondering them and all at once. Here are two more…

What Wonder Woman and I have in Common

  1. People are the Mission!

Trevor: “We have a mission! We can’t save everyone in this war! It’s not what we are here to do.”

Diana and Trevor 2

Diana: “You’re right. But it’s what I am here to do!”

In her very long life, Diana never lost sight of her one true mission; individual people. She was sent to save those who could not help themselves. Yes, she had all the tools of warfare to defeat the god of war. Yes, her eye was set to meet Ares face to face and kill him. But her heart was tender toward those in need; one person, one group, one village impoverished and imprisoned by the war. She could not go around that fact. She had to fight her way straight through it and save whom she could.

It was the one point of contention between Diana and her mother. Diana wanted to fight the god of war and more importantly fight for the oppressed and her mother wanted to protect her from that fight. What mother wants to see their daughter go into one hopeless battle after another? Even an Amazon has that mother bear instinct!

Her human soulmate, Trevor, could only see the war and his mission to try and end it, by any means. Diana saw the people trapped in the war and wanted to save even just one. Diana & TrevorHer compassion undergirded her mission to kill Ares and drove her to action in spite of all the odds against her.

In the end, Diana realized that people were her true mission. Ares was simply a distraction; a powerful distraction, but just a distraction. She devoted her life to save the poor and the outcast from future oppressors.

Satan: “You are just one little itty bitty person! You can’t help this world! It is beyond saving!”

Elaine: “You’re right. But it is not my job to save the world. Jesus has already done that! It is my job to obey Jesus and serve people. That is what I am here to do.”

I have a true eternal life with Jesus which started the day He became Lord of my life! I also have a mission given to me on that very same day! (Matthew 28:18-20)Gods_Hand_left But how many times in these 50+ years of walking with Jesus have I let the enormity of the battles raging around me eclipse the reality that God has already won the war!!

How many times have I created my own missions, many of them good ones, but not The Best One? How many times have I let distractions, some of them monstrous, keep me from the one true mission given to me; one compassionate action at a time for one person at a time, making one disciple at a time?

James 1:18 says…Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

2. Leaders Fight in the Battles!

Diana: “Where I come from generals don’t hide in their offices. They stand beside their soldiers. They die with their soldiers.”

Diana was never an armchair player or coach. Even as a child she wanted to be in the action, ready for anything. She learned to fight and to lead and to do this on the front lines. As a leader, she could quickly assess the battle field and plan accordingly. As a fighter, she ran straight for the hottest part of the battle and fought beside those she inspired by her courage and tenacity.Diana 2

At the same time, it was ingrained in Diana to submit to leadership. She followed with grace and submission; to her mother and to Trevor as her conscious permitted. But when those she followed tried to distract her from her one true mission, then she became the leader and with grace and fortitude carried out her mission.

She even followed Sir Patrick for a time until the truth of his real evil self was revealed. Then her mission of “Kill Ares” went into full throttle even when he tempted her to follow him as co-rulers over mankind. Diana rejected his lies for the truth of her mission to lead and to fight alongside mankind to save those who could not save themselves.

Elaine: “I do not wrestle against flesh and blood. I fight the good fight with the whole armor of God, and above all I am strong and courageous!”

 There is no place in God’s eternal plan for anyone to sit back and be an armchair quarterback or to be a spectator in the stands.

Ephesians 6:12-13 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”

II Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the lightstock_150291_medium_user_3915942faith;”

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

The Bible says I am either for Jesus or against Him. (Matthew 12:30)

I am for Him!! And because I am for Him, I have a personalized battle plan set before me each and every day which cannot be carried out from the ease of the Great American Dream. It can only be carried out in the trenches of the shattered lives disposed of by the lies of that dream.

The Great American Dream is in reality, The Great American Lie!! Thousands, if not millions of people lay waste in the aftermath of their quest for this elusive and empty hallucination. Just search the headlines and read the Tweets of those who think they have “made it”! Drugs, alcohol, broken relationships and abandoned mansions litter their lives.

As a daughter of the King of Kings, I cannot live a life of ease and comfort and expect to be used by God for His front line purposes! I must lay aside my earthly hopes and dreams and get in the only battle that matters; the battle for the human soul!!

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. II Peter 3:9

Wonder Woman and Me-Part 1

Wonder Woman and I have several things in common! Honest! I’m not being arrogant or delusional or even “I am woman hear me roar!WW Symbol

I simply want to share several of the nuances of Diana and her world view that remind me of some things crucial to who I am. It all started with a date…

Thanks to yet another 100 plus degree and smoky (from distant fires) day in my hometown, Hubby and I opted to see Wonder Woman again for our Friday date night, which was really in the late afternoon.

(So thankful we are old enough to not worry about whether it is “cool” to date in the middle of the day. Matinee prices and no wait at local restaurants on a Friday trump any attempt for “coolness”.)

Anyway, usually we wait to see a movie a second time until we can see it again for free, but weather altered our normal routine on this particular Friday for recliner seats in a cool, smoke free theater with buttered popcorn. Second and even third time viewings are a necessary practice for us because we never catch all the bits and pieces with the first viewing of these adventurous fantasy/sci-fi movies. And though we are not die-hard fans of DC or Marvel comics, we do enjoy some of their movies and heroes, Wonder Woman among them.

I didn’t go on this date with the love of my life intending to return home and write a blog post; the first in almost two years! I just wanted to hang out with this guy I’ve been married to for 37 years!! But, sitting through this second viewing of Wonder Woman, I paid closer attention to the details of this movie and this character, and I was challenged by Diana in unexpected ways.

Up front, you can be assured that I fully understand and recognize that Diana/Wonder Woman is portrayed as a feminist demi-god. A made up little “g” god from the imagination of William Moulton Marston; wrapped in Greek and Roman mythology. All of which is a total antithesis to the One True God-Jehovah, Whom I worship. But, I can still glean something from her characterization; stuff Wonder Woman and I have in common and very important distinctions between the two of us.

What Wonder Woman and I have in Common

 Ancestry is Everything!Diana with Horse

Diana: “I am Diana of Themyscira, daughter of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons…”

This was Diana’s ancestry; her heritage. All that she was came from this pivotal foundation; and nothing that ever happened to her, either from fellow Amazons or from the world ever changed her perspective of the authority she possessed based on this royal ancestry.

Everything she did, everything she said, everything she thought was filtered through this single “truth” of who she was. Her very purpose for existence was wrapped up in this declaration. She didn’t think twice about invoking the power and the authority of her royal position and she did so with extraordinary determination wrapped in noble grace.

Those around her could hardly argue their own case or their own misconceived notions when confronted with Diana’s regal presence, though they had no idea (until the end of the movie) who they were really dealing with. She was simply and matter-of-factly who she was even when they tried to tone down and dress down her royal ancestry.

But when it came time to fight the bad guys and evil itself, Diana literally ran head on into those battles fully confident of her royal authority and power to defeat the faces of evil and the god of war. She let nothing distract her, for very long, from her sworn authority to defeat Ares.

Elaine: “I am Elaine, disciple of Jesus Christ, daughter of the King of Kings, Jehovah God, Creator of the Universe.”

I, too, have a pretty amazing ancestry! In fact, it is the only ancestry that matters! My heritage is not made up by man to try and explain away our rebellion against the One True God.  The lineage offered by Jesus Christ is the only ancestry, the only identity that is Truth…that is Real…that is Eternal! Through God’s precious gift of Salvation (John 3:16) CrownI and many other “whosoevers” are adopted into God’s royal family with the full rights and authority and power that royal position affords!

Ephesians chapter one explains this beautiful eternal, legally binding act of God’s Grace! I encourage you to read the whole chapter. But, in part it reads…

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” (vs. 3-5)

So, the question for me is not if I am royal, because I am! The question is, do I act like nobility?

Do I live up to and claim the authority of my lineage the way Diana did? Or do I flounder in worry and fear and hopelessness wondering how I am ever going to get through my life?cropped-dsc02767.jpg

Do I filter my life, my actions, words and my deepest thoughts through the eternal lens of who I am in Christ Jesus? Do I claim the title that was bought with the precious blood of Christ and live within the power of that title? Or do I retreat into my personal handmade idols for comfort and ease?

In Christ, I am already victorious over evil and sin and the cares of this world! But do I act like it? And if I do understand my royal heritage, am I a royal brat!? Or do I carry my nobility with grace and humility; two of the most powerful weapons I have as a disciple of Jesus Christ?

Oswald Chambers wrote: “The great wonder of Jesus Christ’s salvation is that He changes our heredity. He does not change human nature-He changes its source, and thereby its motives as well.”

Plenty of Needs…Not So Plenty Help

By Elaine Baldwin | @elainehbaldwin

Not only is November the month of Thanks, it is also…

American and National Diabetes Month

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

National Adoption Month

National Family Caregivers Month

And we know there are many more voices crying out for our awareness and our resources. What is a lone one another to do when the needs are so many and so overwhelming? The answer is two-fold and really quite simple.

First: Do Only What God Is Telling You To Do.

And guess what? God is telling each of us to do something…very specific somethings to assist and aid the very specific someones He brings along our way. That doesn’t mean He expects us to help with every person we know who has a need. What it does mean, when we are aware of a need we must ask God specifically…”Am I to help?” AND “How am I to help?” If the answer is “Yes” AND “Here’s how” then we must act upon what God is telling us to do.

Problems arise and needs go unmet because of two extremes.

A) We don’t ask God how we should respond to the need before us. So, we either dive in helter-skelter, trying all kinds of different ways to help and none of them are effective.  Or we try to help everyone with everything, which of course, is impossible and we eventually burn out and so do the people we tried to assist. Or…worse yet… we do nothing for no one.

B) We do ask God, but we don’t like His answer. The results are the pretty much the same as point “A”.

Bottom line is…Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17

Second: Do Not Expect Others To Do Exactly What You Are Doing.

God is not obligated nor inclined to have everyone help the same people He tells you to help or in the same way He tells you to give that help. This means that the people you are helping are not more important than the people someone else is helping. It also means that the way you are helping is not “God-breathed.” In other words, the way in which you provide assistance to someone is not the only method or ultimate, best method.

So often we judge each other because we aren’t serving and meeting needs in the same way. Or worse yet, we make judgements that someone isn’t helping anyone, anywhere, or in anyway just because we can’t see them doing anything. Some people are called to do “behind the scenes”. Others are asked to do “more open.” Neither is wrong if done with God’s prompting and direction. And neither is better than the other if done in love and humbleness of spirit.

Here’s Jesus’ Take…And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins. And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.” Luke 21:1-3

This week’s One Another Living Challenge:

Meet the need God shows you in the way God shows you to meet it!

photo credit: Dark Botxy via photopin cc