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

The A, B, Cs of Loving One Another, “U”

By Elaine Baldwin | @elainehbaldwin

Understand the will of the Lord. Ephesians 5:17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Recently I had an enlightening conversation with a friend. The topic is irrelevant to this post, but the theme is most applicable. The gest of our conversation was the hurdles and struggles of understanding people and trying to figure out our relationships with them.

My friend quoted a section of a prayer attributed to Saint Francis.

“O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love.”

I think this prayer is in the will of the Lord as stated in Ephesians five and is a fine objective for anyone to attain. It is basically asking God to help us put others above ourselves. Jesus taught this principle throughout His earthly ministry. We are exhorted that it is better to serve than to be served. We are commanded that if someone asks us to walk a mile with their burden, to actually go two miles.

But I have to ask if any human being is truly capable of accomplishing the feat of putting someone else’s welfare above their own. The young ruler in Matthew 19 and Mark 10 was “almost complete.” He had kept “all these” commandments but lacked one thing. He could not put others welfare above his own; at least not to the extent Jesus asked of him. Jesus asked him to sell all he had and give to the poor.

The Bible tells us he couldn’t do it and went away grieving. Jesus then tells His disciples who had been eavesdropping that it is very hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 19:23-24)

This passage is not about the evils of money and of being rich, though some teach it is. If it is about the evils of being rich, why do the disciples ask, “Who then can be saved?” (Matthew 19:25) This question is inclusive. They were worried. Why? They weren’t rich.

Could it be that Peter understood that he also had trouble putting others first even though he had little? Did the disciples understand that they too were basically selfish and wanted their own needs met before worrying about others even though they had left all? There are numerous examples of the disciples displaying attitudes of, “Me first.” Were they truly saved?

But, Jesus answers their sincere question in verse 26.

And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible,

but with God all things are possible.”

What exactly is impossible with people…Salvation!

And what exactly is possible with God…All Things; Including Salvation!

The problem for the young ruler wasn’t his riches. It was his lack of faith…faith that if he put others’ welfare above his own, Jesus would take care of him. He didn’t understand that Jesus could and was very willing to take care of all his needs and more. The young ruler didn’t understand that Jesus could take much better care of him than he could take care of himself. He didn’t understand that true abundance was found only in Jesus.

This is the difference between the disciples and the rich young ruler. It wasn’t the money. It was the lack of a faith understanding. The disciples put their faith in Jesus. They believed He was the Messiah; the Lamb of God. And Jesus commends them for this in verse 28

Did the Twelve always understand what the will of the Lord was? Not always in the specifics.  Just like us they often allowed their selfish desires to override their daily faith. But, except for one (Judas), they always kept the understanding faith of their First Love and through His power they were able to love others even unto death.

Jesus finished this lesson on faith with the admonition in verse 30.

But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

Photo By: Margaret Richards | http://richardsandcompany.smugmug.com/

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