Thursday, September 30, 2010

Abide in Me

 A couple of nights ago I found out that I can sit on the screened-in front porch and stare up at the moon. My mother put a bed out there so that she could nap in the sunshine. I used it to lay under the stars and enjoy some good ole quiet time.  That's when I got to thinking about life and death and heaven and all that. Obviously, or I wouldn't be writing any of this.

It's really tough to figure out exactly what salvation is and how it works. As I lay there the words "abide in me" came to mind. I know that when we accept Jesus into our hearts, He comes in. I never really understood what that meant. I always pictured him reclining in a chair or something when he said 'I am always with you'. Lately I had this realization that maybe He's inside us, just like He said He would be. I think that's because it's always easier for us to picture an imaginary friend than to know that something other than us is inside. If you tried to explain that to someone who didn't believe, they'd think it's like possession, which I suppose is correct. 

So what happens when you die, then? If we abide in Christ, then maybe He literally carries us with Him, like a kind of oneness, since He also said He lives in us. Interesting, no?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

He Had Compassion on Them

11:48pm - Lately I've been really disturbed with the level of hate and criticism coming from people I know. It seems to reach to about anyone around who is different in some way. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not always accepting and loving like I should be. I was afraid of Muslim people until I got to know some. They're just like every other American I know in so many ways and--believe it or not--really nice. When I'm with people of different races and cultures I actually feel privileged to have the experience. It's not worth being afraid of what you don't know. Unfortunately this has left me feeling rather judgmental myself toward people who judge someone without even knowing them. This notion that Muslims are all terrorists has to cease. It's a perversion of Islam. Period. The worst mistake Christians can make is thinking we're better than other people because we have the umbrella of salvation. Remember Jesus hung out with people like these. We can't love if we don't look past our differences and try to see the similarities.

For example, I was looking at art on DeviantArt yesterday and I found this piece of digital art by a Muslim artist. It had a castle in the clouds and it struck me that it looked very much like one of my own pieces. It was even mostly pink! It was then that I realized we aren't so different. We both have dreams of eternity and paradise. We both want to be pure someday; no longer hopeless sinners.

Now I'm not saying we should be tolerant exactly. But it needs to be a balance of acceptance and truth spoken in love. Not harassment or hate; truth in word and deed. It simply breaks my heart to hear people saying bad things about others who are lost and struggling while they sit in their little Christian bubble like they're not also made up of evil as well as good.

There's a song I like to listen to while pondering this one scene I'm planning. It's called "Unable to Stay, Unwilling to Leave" by James Horner. Yes, it's from Titanic and its one of the saddest songs imaginable. For the scene I picture my characters going up to heaven with Jesus, then looking back to see people being pulled down through the ground Morlock-style. Put those together and see if it doesn't make you a little more compassionate. Christians should consider any such loss an absolute tragedy, for lack of a stronger word. That's an eternity of living in the darkest dungeon; with pure evil at every turn; nothing but pain and misery that never, ever ends. Instead of scoffing at people who we believe are headed there, we should have a heart that hurts for them, like Jesus does. Every life is inconceivably precious, no matter the life. This story is about God wanting to be with us forever, and Jesus died to offer that for everyone, not just people we deem acceptable. </end rant>

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Know the Plans I Have for You

12:32pm - The list of 'coincidences' keeps growing. Just yesterday my brother's fiancĂ© met someone from Georgia working at Salvation Army. Seriously, what are the odds? To let you in on a little secret, the person my Georgian boy is based on, got lost in a foreign city and met someone from Georgia. That was a pretty impressive incident, and gets me really stoked about maybe going over and meeting this lady. I just never thought there would be someone to study so close to home. It's really hard to write about a place I've never been to, and I never considered that the culture of Georgia could be studied in my own hometown. At least, in part. The possibilities and opportunities from this are endless. I wonder how God can use us for his purposes. I really believe God has a plan in this story...I just don't know what it is yet. 

3:15pm - It's amazing that when you ask for God's help and guidance, He really delivers! I knew I hadn't prayed yet today so I decided to read a little of Our Daily Bread before getting into the shower. Somehow I'm most active mentally in the shower and I thought it would be good to have a fresh dose of God's word in there first. This is an amazing testament of God's perfect timing as well because I'd been asking Him to help me with the story. If you're going to write about someone's city or country, it's best to talk to a resident, right? Why would you dare to write a story about heaven without asking God all about it? The portion I read today was Acts 1:1-11, which talks about Jesus' resurrection and ascension into heaven. I'd been reading a lot of great stuff lately, but nothing directly related to heaven. So I thought that was pretty exciting. It's also worth noting that I've been experiencing some spiritual warfare in the form of dreams and that can only mean I'm doing the right thing. It's fun to make the evil side displeased. ;-) 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Heaven Is In My Heart

We made our second trip to the food bank today. If you've never been, there's no way for me to explain to you how it feels to be in that position. You can only go so long before money starts really running dry--a fact I've done nothing but try to hide from--and today I was forced to face it alongside my mother.

For the last six months I've been living in a dreamworld. Perhaps I got sucked into it just to survive emotionally through a trying time. This story was never an artsy fartsy good time though; it's literally the one place I have left where no matter how bad life is, there's the promise of something much better. Everyone needs something to look forward to and when life yields nothing in the distance, I will look up. I sincerely wish others join me.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Star

I was dragged out of bed at 6:30 this morning by a hungry cat. Its typical for me to wake up sometime around sunrise anyway, and I like to get up and soak in the sunset for a few minutes before going back to bed. On this particular day I looked out a window facing west, instead of going out on our front porch. I saw one very bright star, probably a planet judging by the size of it. For some reason my creative juices flow the most right before bed and very early in the morning. I was so inspired by this scene that I had to go write some thoughts down. I had second thoughts about spilling the beans on this, but maybe it will help light that fire in you that I have.

"People say heaven can't be seen from earth, but you didn't know that you could see it all along. Its like a star in the sky; a distant point in space; a light that's so far away, but shines so brightly." 

This actually reminds me of a problem I'm having.Who is going to tell this story? What is the purpose of it from the point of view of the characters? Is it a story to tell people on earth about heaven? It is in reality, but what about in the story? Telling it like a discovered 'book of secrets' would keep the enchantment factor up for sure. I'm not quite certain about it all. It could be told from Nikki's point of view, I suppose. That would be easiest to write because I love writing journals. Obviously--look where you are. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lost and Found

Not much to post about today, except to share a picture I discovered. Hmmm...David in heaven? =D

Lost and Found by Greg Olsen: