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Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A New Hope

There are two things I have been thinking about this past week. One is Star Wars - given how the new film has smashed box office records and is a great Star Wars film (a favourite franchise of mine) - and the other is the Miss Universe contest. The second is because of the controversy which 'stripped' Miss Colombia of a crown that was never hers to begin with.

What do these two topics have in common? They're stories of hope or hopelessness. In the case of Miss Universe, when I watched the footage of how Miss Phillipines was correctly announced following the ever more infamous blunder of crowning Miss Colombia I noticed how her happiness at placing second was then replaced with shock and joy of being crowned truly. I also saw how every woman rushed to commiserate Miss Colombia, robbing Miss Phillipines of her true victory celebration. It was a scene where no one really won for the two ladies were robbed of their moment of proper celebration and the announcer will never be able to truly live down such a great blunder (although I am glad he had the courage to do the honourable thing and announce his mistake himself rather than send someone else to do this). There was a mixture of hopelessness and hope in how this whole scenario clumsily played out.

Then there is how Star Wars VII is smashing the box office. People complain that the new film mirrors the originals too closely - despite incredibly great performances by the actors and stellar visuals. But that's the thing, no Star Wars film has ever had a jawbreaking plot of twists and turns (save potentially Episode V with it's big 'I am your father' reveal). So what is it that makes Star Wars such a massive franchise? I know Jeanille and some other friends find it silly and a touch ridiculous and I don't really mind that, because as a film series and merchandising giant it is. A story of aliens and mystic warriors in space is odd and weird. But what truly seems to set it apart is the battle of good versus evil seen in the light side versus the dark side. A thing which is appealing to a large audience. Essentially there is hope seen in these films that good can triumph over evil, no matter how far gone evil may be. And without spoiling anything I will say that the new film is all about hope: hope for a better film in the franchise, hope that good will triumph, hope that a new future can exist. And I believe it's because of this theme of hope that this film is breaking records.

We live in a dark time of war and violence. It seems that every news report is a negative story. As we celebrate Christmas is important to remember what Christmas stands for. And I'm not talking about the pagan celebrations that the date was stolen from. I'm talking about  celebration of a new hope for mankind. A hope that lives on for all who believe in Jesus and his promise that one day this world will be made anew and that the darkness in the world will be vanquished so that peace may reign. I want anyone reading this to feel that hope and remind themselves to celebrate that hope this Christmas as a reminder that joy has been brought to the world despite anything. Four weeks ago I was feeling a touch hopeless about a job situation, now I have some hope founded in Christ. Two weeks ago I had a moment of hopelessness before I proposed to Jeanille. Again Christ brought me hope. What more can Jesus Christ do for you in this season and on into eternity?

Luke 1: 30-38

30And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. 31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

For nothing will be impossible with God. Let that be your new hope this Christmas and into the new year. Have a great holiday celebrating this great new hope!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Why Did I Ever Doubt You God?

A few days ago I had a moment where I was hurting, in pain and doubting God's promises. At one point I yelled out, attacking the enemy who would try and bring such emotions against me. I was trying to build my faith in my own strength in some ways but God was already working behind the scene to build up my faith again.

You see, my faith was low because I doubted that God had really put into my heart the date that I had chosen to propose to my girlfriend. In short, because she had been a little mad at me for something and was busy ignoring me. But despite the doubt that plagued me, God was giving me a faith despite my circumstances. 

And when, finally she contacted me again to find out where I was and I had to tell her that I was at her apartment with a surprise I knew that God's plan was working its way into effect. Especially when she opened the door to candles and my small attempt at intimate romance and chose to run to my arms for a long hug for the first thing. And when I showed her the room all decorated with little details, and read through two journals of photos and words about our journey together I was reminded again of what a promise from God she is. And then finally I asked her to marry me and she said 'yes with all my heart' and I knew that truly no weapon of doubt or anything formed against me can stand because my God is for me and not against me.

And then today following a whirlwind, romantic weekend of informing everyone about the news, I finally received an email asking me to my first interview. The location might not be where I expected, but I know that this first interview is where God planned it to be and if it becomes something more then He is good. If it does not then He is good anyway.

At the moment I am wiping away tears of joy because truly my God has just shown me his power and greatness of His timing in my life. He has surprised me this year with more than I could have dreamed or hoped. It's been a stormy journey like the one Chris Hemsworth's character goes on in In the Heart of the Sea, but like that character I have come to realise that there are some things so much bigger than me and my own journey. Because ultimately God is the one who charts my journey and He is the one I will hold onto. I know the answer to why I ever doubted God - I am just a man. But again I, in awesome wonder, stop and consider how great He is...

Psalm 18:2 - The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold