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Today's post was written by Rusty Wright.
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October Baby movie: Do you feel wanted?

Almost everyone wants to be wanted … by their spouse, lover, friends, parents. How would you feel if a person whose love you craved not only didn’t want you but also tried to eliminate you?

For nineteen-year-old Hannah Lawson, that feeling drives a quest to discover her real identity. You see, she’s just learned the likely cause of her mysterious lifelong health problems: She’s the product of a failed abortion attempt.

October Baby traces Hannah’s journey of bewilderment, anger and anguish as she searches for her birth mother and wrestles with family secrets. Romance, laughter, faith and forgiveness mix with pain and turmoil on this attractive teen’s odyssey.

Choices and Consequences; Caring, not Condemning

Abortion, of course, is a thematic powder keg, and this film – inspired by a true story – may generate some provocative headlines. But its screenplay is caring – not condemning – in fleshing out the human consequences of choices and reconciliation.

Actress Rachel Hendrix says playing Hannah affected her deeply: “I … was able to emotionally dive into the reality of this story, and feel it. And something shifted in me, and I got it, I got it.”

Hannah’s adoptive parents (John Schneider, Smallville, The Dukes of Hazzard; Jennifer Price) struggle wondering what their daughter can handle about her past. But Hannah’s determined search for answers becomes an entertaining and gripping saga that blends sleuthing with tender young love and sweet forgiveness.

How to Let Go

In a particularly touching scene, she wanders into a lovely cathedral. “I can’t figure out how to let go of the fact that I feel hatred for myself and others,” she explains to the kindly priest.

“I’m angry at my real mom for not wanting me. Why didn’t she want me? What’s so wrong with me?”

This wise cleric is a good listener. He sensitively mentions that the cathedral was named for the biblical Paul who, he says, once wrote, “Because we have been forgiven by God, we should forgive each other.” (Ephesians 4:32)

The parson’s application for Hannah? “In Christ you are forgiven. And because you are forgiven, you have the power to forgive, to choose to forgive. Let it go. Hatred is a burden you no longer need to carry. Only in forgiveness can you be free, Hannah. A forgiveness that is well beyond your grasp, or mine. … ‘But if the Son shall set you free, you will be free indeed’.” (John 8:36)

Intriguing Backstories

The movie has powerfully influenced some participants. Gianna Jessen – whose personal story inspired the film, and whose singing graces it – says she has “the gift of cerebral palsy, which was caused by a lack of oxygen to my brain while I was surviving an abortion.” Of October Baby: “I laughed so hard, cried so hard, and healed. Thank you!”

Life imitates art in some eerie ways. Shari Rigby, who plays Hannah’s birth mother, actually had had her own abortion 20 years earlier. She had kept it a guarded secret and felt stunned when approached for the part.

During a climactic cinematic moment, her character collapses in tears as she faces the significance of Hannah’s life. Rigby admits she wasn’t acting then; the tears were genuine as she experienced personal emotional and spiritual healing.

Beautiful Lives

Sony’s Provident Films says the producers have assigned ten percent of the profits “to the Every Life is Beautiful Fund” for “frontline organizations helping women face crisis pregnancies, life-affirming adoption agencies, and those caring for orphans.”

I highly recommend this stimulating and entertaining film, regardless of your views on abortion. Even if it doesn’t touch you emotionally as it did me, I predict it will get you thinking.

Rated PG-13 for “Mature Thematic Elements.” Opens March 23. US Theaters
Check here to find a theatre in Canada.
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Rusty Wright is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents. He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively. www.RustyWright.com

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Paul spends much of Ephesians telling us how to live in a way that is pleasing to God. In Ephesians 4, he calls us to unity and holiness, and to the understanding that even though we are all different and have different purposes, we are all part of one body under Christ. Ephesians 5 continues the theme of holiness and living as children of light. In the last verses of Ephesians 5 (Ephesians 5:22-33) and the first verses of Ephesians 6, (Ephesians 6:1-9) Paul gives us advice for our family relationships, and for our work relationships. He also tells us what our attitude towards our jobs should be, including if we are the employer and not just the employee. But Paul knows that it is not as easy as all that! Paul understands very clearly that we are in a constant spiritual battle. Since creation, God has provided us with a choice, to choose Him or the world, and He has been very gentlemanly about letting us make that choice.(Revelation 3:20) Satan, on the other hand, is working very hard at winning us over to his side, and he will use any means available. (II Corinthians 11:14, I Peter 5:8) We need to realize that our struggles on this earth are not with things, or circumstances or with each other. They are all part of a battle in the spiritual realm. (Ephesians 6:12)

The good news is that we don’t have to fight this battle alone. Hallelujah! We can rely on the strength of God’s power and His armour. Just as a Roman soldier was clothed in a suit of armour, we can be clothed with God’s spiritual armour. If we put on the full armour of God we will be able to stand against our enemy’s schemes and attacks, and to be left standing when all is said and done. What does God’s armour consist of?

1. The Belt of Truth: A Roman soldier used a belt to hold his garments together and to attach his armour. It made it easier for him to be able to move without tripping over his tunic. Wearing the belt of truth represents not only knowing and believing God’s truth, but also living a truthful life, thus allowing us easier movement without tripping over our words. Knowing and practicing the truth will give us protection against the father of lies. (John 8:44)

2. The Breastplate of Righteousness: We were declared righteous when we accepted Christ’s sacrifice as the substitution for our sins, (Romans 4:5, Romans 10:10) but again, Paul is referring here to the practical, daily actions of believers. We need to act in a way that no one can make an accusation against us, a way that protects our hearts.

3. Preparation That Comes From the Good News of Peace: You can be ready for whatever comes your way if you place your trust in the all-powerful God of peace. The Greek word translated as preparation here indicates to be on a firm footing. It refers to the stability that you get from the gospel of peace that allows you to stand steadfast in the face of battle.

4. The Shield of Faith: Roman soldiers had large shields that would interlock together so that they could advance with a wall of protection before them. They were coated in leather that was soaked in water so that flaming arrows would be extinguished. Satan is certainly attacking us with fiery arrows, and it is our faith that will protect us from them. Since we cannot know when or how these fiery arrows will come, constant faith is absolutely essential.

5. The Helmet of Salvation: The helmet of salvation is a gift from God that protects our heads and our minds. God does not require our faith to be blind. We are encouraged to question and to understand. We need to protect our minds from Satan’s schemes, by growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. (II Peter 3:18)

6. The Sword of the Spirit: The sword used by Roman soldiers was double-edged so that it could cut in both directions and sharp enough to pierce armour. But the Word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword, and able to judge the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) It is by being very familiar with the Word of God that we will be able to discern what is right and defend ourselves from Satan’s attacks. Satan also knows the Word of God, and he uses it to his advantage--not fully and out of context. (Matthew 4:5-7) If we are to defend ourselves as Jesus did, we must know the Word of God as Jesus did.

Add to all of these prayer for all the saints. If we are praying for each other, we will be alert to the needs and struggles of our fellow warriors. This is not a battle that we can fight ourselves. Remember that Paul’s words here come at the end of a passage about unity, and being one body. Working together as one body, with God’s strength, we can win the battle in the spiritual realm.

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United we stand; divided we fall.  Is that really true?  I think it depends on who you are standing with.

Imagine this.  Setting: the poor side of town.  A lot of boarded up businesses and homes.  People gave everything they had to keep their businesses alive and to keep their homes, but the job loss from plant closures was just too hard on them.  Since there are now more buildings than people, there are not as many eyes on the activities of the remaining few to keep them accountable.  Two rival gangs have emerged:  the Angels of Light and the Candles.  Both gangs see the desperation and hopelessness around them.

The members of the Angels of Light (they call themselves Angels for short), meet mostly at night.  They search the empty houses for anything that might be valuable.  They use whatever they can find to buy drugs and booze for their parties.  When they are done with a building they tag it with graffiti. This lets their members know that it has already been searched  and lets everyone else know that the Angels have claimed it for their territory.  They vandalize and steal, and they intimidate the remaining residents.  The Angels want you to know that they are in charge.  They are working to become the only gang in town.  So far, they have managed to swallow up all the other gangs except the Candles.

The Candles have a different reaction to the changes around them.  They spend their time helping out the people who are left by doing odd jobs for them—painting houses, weeding gardens, running errands.  They know that if they are going to save what’s left of their neighbourhood, they have to help the people who are still here.  They have a vision for the future, and realize that if they don’t help, there will be nothing left for any of them.  Deep down in their hearts they know that, but it’s hard.  The Angels have been laughing at them and giving them a hard time.  The Angels have tried to break the Candles up by telling members lies about the others.  “Did you know that Joe has been secretly hanging with us at night?”  “Did you hear what Rosa said about you the other day?”  “You know that what you’re doing won’t do any good, right?  This town is doomed, and you know it.”  The Angels have also tried to convince some of the Candles to join the Angels.  “At least we have some fun.  We don’t have to put up with all those do-gooders, who think they are so right about everything.  They believe in something that will never happen.”  The Angels have even, occasionally, pretended to help the Candles out with their good deeds, but then… sabotage.  Whatever will help them reach their goal of being in control, the Angels will do.

The Candles know that they have to stick together.  If they let the Angels get to them with their ridicule and lies, they will break apart and the future will be hopeless.  They've chosen not to believe the rumours or the lies.  They have made a pact to be there for each other and to continue to work together for a better tomorrow.

I have readers from all over the world so I don’t know if you have a poor side of town where you live, or if your city has been affected by the economic challenges of recent years, or if you live in a place that never knew wealth in the first place.  But this I do know.  All of us are caught in the middle between these two gangs in the spiritual realm.  Satan masquerades as an Angel of Light (II Corinthians 11:14), and his goal is to destroy any good work that we, as children of light, (Philippians 2:14-16) might do.  God wants us to stand in unity despite any disagreements or misunderstandings. (Ephesians 4:1-3)  Yes, this might take work, but if we are willing, we will be able to do it through Him.  God has equipped us to grow together in love, to become one body, His body. (Ephesians 4:11-16) Through His strength, we will be able to show His love to the rest of the world.  Do not be deceived by those who masquerade as Angels of Light, and do not hide the light from your candle.  It is needed to dispel the darkness.

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When I was in my first year of university, I had the very good fortune to meet a friend who encouraged me to memorize scripture.  We would choose a passage, and then one week later recite it to each other.  One of the first passages we chose was Ephesians 3:14-19.  It is a prayer that the Apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesians, but that we could, and should, pray for our Christian brothers and sisters.

Paul begins this passage with the words, “For this reason”.  He has returned to what he started to say in Ephesians 3:1, after a lengthy parenthetical discourse in which he elaborated on the point he had made in Ephesians 2:11-22.  That is, that Gentiles were also welcome into God’s family, and that they, together with the Jews, were being built into a dwelling place for God’s Spirit.  On that basis, Paul begins his prayer for all believers in Ephesians 3:16-19.

Paul prays for three things, but they are not material things, and they are not separate and distinct.  Each request builds upon the one that preceded it.  First he prays that, according to the wealth of God’s glory, not according to our merit or what we have to offer, but according to what God has to offer, that we may be strengthened in our inner being, that we may become mature and more like Christ.  Second, Paul prays that Christ may dwell in our hearts.  The word translated dwell does not simply mean that Christ has entered our hearts.  He has done that through the Holy Spirit the moment that we accept the gift of His sacrifice for us.  Paul was speaking to those who had already taken that step.  What the word dwell more accurately means is that Christ will feel at home in our hearts, that there would be nothing within us, no thought, or word or deed, that would make Christ feel uncomfortable, disheartened or grieved. Third, because we have been rooted and grounded in the love of God—it is our anchor and our foundation—Paul prays that, although it is beyond what we could truly understand, we might still grasp how great God’s love is, that we would know God’s love, and that we may be filled with it until it overflows from us.

What Paul has prayed for is more than our minds can truly conceive, and certainly beyond what we have the capability to accomplish in our own strength.  Paul turns from petition to praise in Ephesians 3:20-21.  It is God’s power working within us that will accomplish this, and He is able to do far beyond anything that we could ever ask or imagine.  May God be glorified and praised through all generations.

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  • We are not asked to obey our parents simply to make our lives more challenging or less fun, but so that we may have a long, good life.  This is the first commandment with a promise.  (Ephesians 6:1-3)
  • Parents, don't just try to make your kids go crazy with rules, but bring them up to be like Jesus.  (Ephesians 6:4)
  • Work as though you were working for Christ.  Do your best no matter who is watching because God always is.  God will reward those who do the right thing, even if the circumstances are less than ideal.  (Ephesians 6:5-8)
  • Masters, employers, need to keep the same principle in mind and treat their slaves, employees, the way Christ would.  (Ephesians 6:9)
  • We live in a world that is a battlefield between good and evil.  God has provided resources for us to fight this battle, if we are willing to make use of them.  (Ephesians 6:10-17)
  • Pray.  All the time.  About everything.  (Ephesians 6:18-20)

Please share your thoughts on Ephesians 6 in the comment section.

I believe that the grace of God is much more amazing than we as humans can comprehend, and yet it is available to each one of us. Ephesians 2:1-3 describes the dire situation that the human race was left in because of Adam’s sin. Then verse 4 starts with “But God”. It begins the explanation we find in Ephesians 2:4-7 of God’s mercy and grace. Mercy means that we are not given the punishment that we deserve. Grace means that we are given the salvation that we don’t deserve. Both are given to us because of Christ, a fact that is repeated three times in these four verses, and they are gifts that are available to anyone, even the thief who was minutes from death on the cross beside Jesus. Because of Christ we have been transformed from spiritual death to spiritual life. We have been raised up in Him, and when this life is over we will be with Him in the heavenly realms. Spiritually, we are already there. This was made possible only because He loved us enough to die as a sacrifice in our place. Can you even begin to imagine this?!

I am also encouraged by Ephesians 2:7 which tells us that the surpassing wealth of His grace will be demonstrated to us in the coming ages. It is only going to get better and better. We will continue to know God more and more, but what I find most uplifting is that we are not expected to know it all right now. God’s love and grace is beyond what we can fathom, but there is a lot that He has already made known to us as well. He has given us the gift of the scriptures, His Holy Word, so that we might learn more about Him and His great love at our own pace. No pressure. It’s a gift.

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  • God loves us so much, and He gave (and gives) of Himself for us.  He wants us to follow His example.  (Ephesians 5:1-2)
  • God wants us to be pure and holy.  This takes discipline and self-control.  (Ephesians 5:3)
  • Our words should be gracious, uplifting and grateful.  (Ephesians 5:4)
  • We all make mistakes, but a person who has accepted Christ has accepted Him as Lord and wants to be like Him.  (Ephesians 5:5)
  • Don't bow to peer pressure.  (Ephesians 5:6-7)
  • Live as children of light--full of goodness, righteousness and truth.  Find out what pleases the Lord, and then do it.  (Ephesians 5:8-10)
  • Darkness cannot overpower light, but light can overpower darkness.  (Ephesians 5:13)
  • Make conscious decisions about how you live based on God's will. (Ephesians 5:17)
  • Don't get drunk, because you will lose your self-control.  (Ephesians 5:18)
  • Let your joy come from the Spirit rather than from drink. (Ephesians 5:19)
  • Always be filled with gratitude to God.  (Ephesians 5:20)
  • The way we treat each other should reflect our reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:21)
  • God has roles for husbands and wives, but neither is expected to submit to abuse of any kind from the other.  If both do their parts, and follow Christ's example, what a team they would be!  (Ephesians 5:22-33)

Please share your thoughts on Ephesians 5 in the comment section.

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  • In Ephesians 4 Paul gives us a lot of practical advice on how to behave and how to treat others in a way that lives up to our calling in Christ.  We were meant for better things than the petty situations that we sometimes find ourselves in. (Ephesians 4:1)
  • We need to realize that no one is perfect, and people won't always live up to our expectations.  Rather than take it personally, or react in a similar fashion, we need to take the high road--be patient and loving. (Ephesians 4:2)
  • What will it take from you to keep the peace? (Ephesians 4:3)
  • If we have accepted Christ we are all one with Him, part of His body.  His purpose is to for us to be built up, to mature, in unity and faith.  (Ephesians 4:4-6, Ephesians 4:11-13)
  • When we reach maturity in Christ, we will be less vulnerable to the ways of the world, the cunning and deceitful ways of Satan.  (Ephesians 4: 14-15)
  • We all have a part to play, but we do it together as one body. (Ephesians 4:16)
  • Do not live a life that is focused only on your own desires and ignores God. (Ephesians 4:17-24)
  • Paul's practical advice for living a better life, one of righteousness and holiness, pleasing to God.  Take time to read these verses again, slowly.  (Ephesians 4:25-32)

Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

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In honour of Ephesians week, I am reposting an entry that I shared with you a couple of months ago.  Some of you may have missed it, and some of you may be encouraged by reading this again.

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Some people are insensitive. I’d like to believe that they aren’t that way intentionally, but on the other hand, it would be nice if they intentionally tried not to be. Unfortunately, sometimes, because of their own expectations of how things should be, they say hurtful things to people who aren’t meeting their expectations. Now, I’m not talking about reproving someone in love because they have done something unbiblical; I’m talking about things like criticizing people for being single or not having children. Somehow we are all expected to grow up, get a job, get married and have a family, in that order. It doesn’t happen that way for everyone, and so, hurtful, insensitive comments make us think that we’re doing something wrong or that we are in some way not good enough. Satan loves to plant the seed of worthlessness in us and then water and fertilize it to make it grow. This is far from the way God sees us.

Ephesians 1:4 tells us that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, and that His purpose for us is to become holy. The larger context (Ephesians 1:3-14) tells us that in Christ we are blessed with every spiritual blessing. (Ephesians 1:3) We are predestined and adopted according to the pleasure of His will. (Ephesians 1:5) He has freely bestowed His grace on us. (Ephesians 1:6) We have been redeemed and forgiven through Christ’s willing sacrifice for us. (Ephesians 1:7) Because of this we belong to God. (Ephesians 1:11) We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit who gives us the assurance of our redemption and inheritance and will be with us until the time when all of this is completely fulfilled.

There are many other places in scripture that tell us of the value we have in Christ.

We are:
- the salt of the earth and the light of the world. (Matthew 5:13-14)
- more valuable than the birds that God cares for. (Luke 12:24)
- heirs of the prophets and of the covenant. (Acts 3:25)
- called. (Romans 1:6-7)
- co-heirs with Christ. (Romans 8: 17)
- God’s co-workers. (I Corinthians 3:9)
- God’s temple and bought at a price. (I Corinthians 3:16-17, I Corinthians 6:19-20)
- part of the body of Christ. (I Corinthians 12:27)
- a letter from Christ. (II Corinthians 5:20)
- children of God. (Galatians 3:26)
- heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:28-29, Galatians 4:6-7)
- children of promise. (Galatians 4:28)
- members of God’s household. (Ephesians 2:19-20)
- children of light. (Ephesians 5:8-10)
- chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, and we are called out of darkness into His wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9)

Don’t let Satan keep you in the darkness. The next time someone says something hurtful to you, focus on what God thinks of you instead.

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  • Until the time of Christ, Israel was known as God's chosen people.  Others were essentially left out of the plan.  Samaritans for example, were regarded even less than that.  Now, Paul is saying that Christ came for everyone, and that we can all share in the blessings of God. (Ephesians 3:2-6)
  • Paul understood God's grace and power, because he had lived it firsthand.  He realized that he wasn't worthy of the position, but knew that he had a job to do to share the "mystery of Christ". (Ephesians 3:7-9)
  • Because of Christ, we may now approach God with freedom and confidence.  !!! (Ephesians 3:12)
  • Paul prays for the Ephesians, and his prayer applies to us too.  Take a minute to read it again, slowly.   (Ephesians 3:14-19)
  • Paul had complete confidence that God was able to do more than he asked in that prayer, and more than we could ever ask or imagine.  It is God who deserves the glory. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Please share your thoughts on Ephesians 3 in the comment section.