Monday, October 31, 2016

Does Fruit Come With a Warning?

Do you believe in fairytales?

The purpose of a fairytale is to teach a moral lesson through clever story-telling about the battle between good and evil, where good always wins.

One of my favorites includes cute little characters with funny names: Happy, Sleepy, Grumpy, Sneezy, Dopey, Bashful and Doc.

Evil is represented by a wicked Queen who is full of jealousy toward the good character, Snow White; all because she's young and beautiful.

A talking mirror is the queen's go-to for value, worth and purpose. But, when the mirror tells her she is no longer the most beautiful in the land, she becomes enraged and sets her evil scheme in motion.

Snow White, in the meantime, is totally unaware of the plot against her. She is out in the garden, singing, being her sweet, innocent and kind self, playing with the animals.

Once the evil plan is brought to her attention, Snow White retreats to the woods where she stumbles upon a small cottage. The seven little men with the funny names take her in to protect her from harm.

In the meantime, the queen discovers her whereabouts and disguises herself as a poor, old woman. She makes her way through the woods to the little cottage to deceive Snow White with a poisoned apple.

Because Snow White is naive and good-hearted, she bites what the old woman offers. To her detriment, Snow White falls into the state of a deep sleep, separated from her prince forever. The only cure for her is the kiss of the prince.

The poisoned apple didn't come with a warning, but don't you think Snow White should have had her guard up knowing the wicked queen's heart and desire to kill her?

Well, you know the rest of the story.

Hopefully this fictional scenario reminds you of a non-fictional encounter in Genesis 3?

Satan, one of heaven's most beautiful creatures, desired to be like God. There is only one true God and the Kingdom of God already had a King - Jesus Christ, so Satan was cast out of heaven, never to return. Since then, he has devoted his entire existence to deceiving and scheming to take as many people with him into a horrible, dark eternity where the presence of a perfect, loving God does not exist. (See John 10:10)

In Genesis chapter 3, disguised as a serpent, Satan enters the Garden of Eden to trick his first victim, Eve. By placing doubt in her mind and securing her trust, he entices her to bite from the forbidden fruit.

This fruit came with a warning.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" (Genesis 2:16-17 NKJV).  

BEWARE: IF YOU EAT OF THIS TREE, YOU SHALL SURELY DIE.

Not a Surgeon General's Warning, but a direct warning from God Himself.

Eve ignored the warning, choosing to believe the deceiver over the Deliverer. Death became a reality. And Adam, who should have been Eve's protector and spiritual leader, fell into the trap right along with her. Both chose not to heed God's warning.

Aren't we guilty of the same? We skirt God's warning about sin for just a moment of pleasure and then after, our eyes are open to what should have remained hidden.

God doesn't give warnings to keep us from pleasure, He gives them to protect us from destruction. 

But, for those who believe, there is hope! 

Our Prince, Jesus Christ has provided the cure for the stronghold of sin by taking our place through His death on the cross. This true kiss of love from the Savior allows us to bypass the deceitful kiss of death, raising us up to a new life with Him immediately through the power of the Holy Spirit, and a continued life forevermore in the glorious, eternal presence of God later.

Our good God defeated Satan, sin and the grave. God always wins!

When you compare the real people throughout the Word of God with the original intent of fairytales, fairytales are just another way to portray that good wins and evil doesn't pay with fictional characters.

So, to answer the first question, "Do you believe in fairytales?," my answer is, "Yes!" Along with believing in the truth of God's Word, I believe in the telling of fairytales when the goal is to reveal God's truth in fictional, creative ways.

I'd love to know what you think. Please leave a comment.

My Pleasure,
Melanie 
(picture credit, Pixabay.com)





Thursday, October 27, 2016

Stirring Coffee and Conversations



When the first crisp, cool nip in the air arrives, I know fall is almost in full swing. I love waking up in our 60-something degree house, slipping on a sweatshirt over my pjs and meandering into the kitchen to fix my morning cup of bliss. A mug of piping, hot coffee.

I love all the things fall brings:
football games, the State Fair, Halloween costumes, mums and pumpkins, scarecrows, the brilliance of color and marshmallow roasting over a toasty fire.


These simple pleasures of fall are as anticipated as my morning routine of coffee and Jesus.


Along with stirring up coffee, I'm looking forward to a new simple pleasure Living Real Magazine's Out & About events.

Our first one kicks off tonight with the sound of jazz flowing through the street along with the aroma of fresh brewed coffee, pumpkin bread, and other desserts wafting through the The Haven Coffee Shop in downtown Lexington, SC. The evening is designed to stir a sweet blend of grace and love into Jesus-centered conversations about how real faith affects real life.

The art of conversation is a simple pleasure quickly becoming a lost art. 

No matter how technology seems to better connect us, the fact is, it is disconnecting us from human contact. Since the creation of man, conversation has proven to be the best form of communication and relationship building. 

Isn't this what Jesus did? Didn't He engage people in conversation to reveal His Father's redemptive message? God knew face to face contact was imperative for His story of redemption to move forward, so before the beginning of time, He planned to send His Son into the world to unveil Himself in human form. He touched people. He healed people. He cried with people. He loved people. The plan to restore our broken relationship with God continued to unfold as He stepped down from heaven into a sin-full world to show His undying love for all people and break the stronghold of sin through His life, death, burial and resurrection.

Jesus used every opportunity while wrapped in flesh to engage people in the eternal conversation through large and intimate gatherings.

Those eternal conversations transformed many lives forever and are still changing lives today.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, every day should be about intentionally stirring up eternal conversations to impact lives for Jesus' sake. Conversations can ignite around the breakfast table, at work, over lunch, at school, in a check-out line, the car pool line, walking the dog, and at the dinner table.

Carving out space in our day to dialogue with people about what really matters is what we are called to do - make disciples and to be salt and light in the world.

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples... (Matthew 28:18-20). You are the salt of the earth; (Matthew 5:13a). You are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14a). 

This is why Living Real Magazine exists and why our Out & About events are so important. God is stirring a fire in the hearts of His people to ignite eternal conversations filled with the truth of Jesus Christ.

Personal stories of how real faith affects real life speak louder than most preachers on Sunday. 

Since discipleship is our calling, it just makes sense to talk to each other about our journeys, encouraging one another to stay the course, and hopefully bringing a non-believer along to begin their journey with Christ.

Conversations can lead to eternal transformation.

With whom will you start a conversation today?

My Pleasure,
Melanie