VIDEO ‘I Can Only Imagine’ Movie Review

I can Only Imagine main

“I CAN ONLY IMAGINE” –  The most successful Christian song in history

The film: a labor of love

Movie Review

Rarely are we treated to a transcendent experience: a film so moving and spellbinding, it becomes a deep spiritual experience, one directed at the most important, and difficult questions. Five stars to the producers, the director, the screenwriters and the cast.

Do not deprive yourself.  This true story will give you hope for today, and fresh excitement about the future, showing God is with us, and He specializes in bringing beauty from the ashes, inspiring music, faith and perseverance.

The filmmakers prove that nothing compares to a true story told so exquisitely. This film brings people to tears, not by contrivance or syrup, but by deep, genuine emotion and pain, conflict and victory. Like all classic works of art I Can Only Imagine explores hate and love, meaning and eternity, good and evil, forgiveness and grace, all without preaching, without predictability, without superficiality. Prepare yourself for a gritty, gut-wrenching trek.

This is the story of a boy beaten by his father and abandoned by his mother, the story of a boy who becomes a man through a series of miraculous events that many people would miss if enmeshed in the cares of the world, or crippled by resentment and despair.  One of many miracles: a faithful grandmother who speaks prophecies and encouragement in the depths of tragedy.  The boy has a gift that others help him discover and develop, both the gift and his helpers special deliveries from on high.  This is a story about heroes know the real Hero is alive and always working for our highest good.

The cast is wonderful—-starring lead, Broadway’s J. Michael Finley as Bart Millard, Dennis Quaid the father, Madeline Carroll as Bart’s girlfriend, Priscilla Shirer the teacher (War Room fame), the invincible Cloris Leachman as grandma, and Trace Adkins the agent. Adkins is superb. (Angel of Death! “American Carol”)  Finley is masterful. But it must be said, if riveting emotion, desperation, rage and the joy of redemption mark out a stellar performance, Quaid is Oscar bound.  His performance is so thoroughly convincing, you become more than an observer. You become a participant, moving from rage to choking back tears, to celebration.

This is the latest in a series of high quality, contemporary Christian films that are rallying Christians and reaching out to the lost. I Can Only Imagine inspires everyone, giving us a huge view of what is possible if we will only have a little faith.

 

by Allan Erickson

https://barbwire.com/2018/04/03/i-can-only-imagine-movie-review/

Through the Cross

[Nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39

My coworker Tom keeps an 8″ by 12″ glass cross on his desk. His friend Phil, who like Tom is a cancer survivor, gave it to him to help him look at everything “through the cross.” The glass cross is a constant reminder of God’s love and good purposes for him.

That’s a challenging idea for all believers in Jesus, especially during difficult times. It’s much easier to focus on our problems than on God’s love.

The apostle Paul’s life was certainly an example of having a cross-shaped perspective. He described himself in times of suffering as being “persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:9). He believed that in the hard times, God is at work, “achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen” (vv. 17–18).

To “fix our eyes . . . on what is unseen” doesn’t mean we minimize the problems. Paul Barnett, in his commentary on this passage, explains, “There is to be confidence, based on the certainty of God’s purposes for [us] . . . . On the other hand, there is the sober recognition that we groan with hope mingled with pain.”

Jesus gave His life for us. His love is deep and sacrificial. As we look at life “through the cross,” we see His love and faithfulness. And our trust in Him grows.

Father, teach us who You are. Increase our trust in You. Fill our minds with Your perspective.

Look at everything through the cross.

By Anne Cetas 

INSIGHT

Through the cross we see God’s loving payment for our sin. But it teaches us more. Jesus’s suffering also exposed the nature and cruelty of our sin against Him and against humanity. He endured the worst we could do to Him to expose Satan’s lie that our Creator isn’t as good as He says He is. He even suffered unimaginable wrongs to show us how to love those who hurt us.

What else does God want to teach us about cross-shaped love and what it can do in us and for others?

Mart DeHaan

Jesus A Servant

Matthew 20:20-28

Believers like to talk about Jesus as Lord, Master, and especially Savior, but rarely is He mentioned as Servant. Yet describing His own mission, Christ said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). He entered the world to offer Himself for the Father’s purpose and mankind’s need.

Because every human being is born enslaved to sin, Jesus came to set us free. He voluntarily exchanged His glory for flesh because only as a human could He die in our place to pay the penalty for our sin. The greatest service He offered was His sacrifice on the cross. He allowed His purity to be violated by our transgressions. In fact, God made Jesus “who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf” so that we could gain His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Our sinless Savior suddenly and painfully felt the burden of guilt, the vileness of sin, the weight of a tarnished soul, and a wretched separation from His Father. He suffered the injustice of dying for our sins in order that God’s holiness and our imperfection could be reconciled, and we could be shown mercy.

Jesus was the Father’s servant, agreeing to an atonement plan that made Him a sacrifice. And He is your servant as well—He humbly endured the punishment you deserved. To receive the benefit of His sacrifice, you need only believe and call on Him for the forgiveness of your sins. When you receive Him into your life, then you too will know the Servant, Jesus Christ, as Savior and Lord.

They Who Wait upon the Lord

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

This is one of the best-loved promises of the Bible, for it is easy to grow weary and faint in our mortal bodies, even when doing the work of the Lord. The answer, we are told, is to “wait upon the LORD.”

But what does this mean? The Hebrew word (gavah) does not mean “serve” but rather to “wait for” or “look for.” It is translated “waited for” the second time it is used in the Bible, when the dying patriarch Jacob cried out: “I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD” (Genesis 49:18).

The first time it is used, surprisingly, is in connection with the third day of creation, when God said: “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place” (Genesis 1:9). That is, the all-pervasive waters of the original creation, divided on the second day of creation, now are told to wait patiently, as it were, while God formed the geosphere, the biosphere, and the astrosphere, before dealing again with the waters.

Perhaps the clearest insight into its meaning is its use in the picture of Christ foreshadowed in the 40th Psalm. “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1).

“The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary” (Isaiah 40:28), and His gracious promise is that we can “renew our strength” (literally, “exchange our strength,” our weakness for His strength!) by “waiting upon [Him].” We wait patiently for Him, we gather together unto Him, we look for Him, we cry unto Him, we trust Him, and He renews our strength! HMM

Yes, I have glorified thee on the earth

John 17:1-12

We have listened to our Lord’s farewell sermon, let us now attend to his farewell prayer. Melancthon says of it, “There is no voice which has ever been heard either in heaven or on earth, more exalted, more holy, more fruitful, more sublime than this prayer offered by the Son of God himself” Beyond all other forms of supplication it deserves to be known as “the Lord’s Prayer.” Our time will only permit us to read one half of it on this occasion, but we will meditate upon the remainder when next we gather at the family altar.

John 17:1

Our Lord, with holy calmness, looked into the face of the Father, and John, who seldom records the gestures of his beloved Lord, saw the upward glancing of his eye, and never forgot that impressive look. As Jesus looked up he prayed

John 17:1

This the Father knew, but Jesus loved to have fellowship with his Father in that knowledge. Prayer is not only the asking for favours, it is the intercourse of the soul with God, the drawing near of the heart to the Lord. Our Lord went on to cry

John 17:2

All men are in the hands of the Mediator—here is the universality of his redemption; he will, however, save only his own people—here is the speciality of it.

John 17:3

Do we know by experience what this eternal life is? Do we know the only true God and Jesus Christ the sent one? Let conscience answer. It is worthy of note that this is the only place in which our Lord applies to himself the compound name of Jesus Christ the Anointed Saviour.

John 17:9

The special blessings sought for by our Lord would not be prized by the ungodly world even could they obtain them, hence our Lord does Hot ask his Father to give such boons to any but his own disciples. He specially pleads that his beloved ones may be kept from the evil of the world, a prayer which evidently could not be offered for those who are themselves the cause of the evil and are living in it.

John 17:11

This is, as it were, a prayer from within the veil. The Saviour pleads as if he were already entered into the heavens.

John 17:12

The Redeemer’s petition is, that his people may be kept from sin. How carefully ought we to behave ourselves lest we go astray into that which would grieve his heart. If he pleaded with God that we might be kept from sin, God forbid that we should take pleasure in it.

 

There is a Shepherd kind and strong,

Still watchful for his sheep;

Nor shall the infernal lion rend

Whom he vouchsafes to keep.

 

Blest Jesus, intercede for us,

That we may fall no more;

Oh, raise us, when we prostrate lie,

And comfort lost restore.

 

Thy sacred energy impart,

That faith may never fail:

But under showers of fiery darts,

That temper’d shield prevail.

 

Obedience Is Much Better

Leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection. (Hebrews 6:1)

The writer to the Hebrews long ago pointed out that some professed Christians were marking time and getting nowhere! They had had opportunity to grow—but they had not grown. They had had sufficient time to mature, yet they were still babes.

So, he plainly exhorted them to leave their meaningless religious round and press on to perfection.

It is possible to have motion without progress, and this describes much of the activity among Christians today. It is simply lost motion! It boils down to this—it is possible that we may attend church for a lifetime and be none the better for it. I think we can say that most Christians have no clear end toward which they are striving. On the endless religious merry-go-round they continue to waste time and energy.

A Christian cannot hope for the true manifestation of God while he lives in a state of disobedience. Let a man refuse to obey God on some clear point, and the rest of his religious activity will be wasted. The instructed and obedient Christian will yield to God as the clay yields to the potter, and will relish every moment in church!

 

Heavy Duty Shoes

“Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.” Deut. 33:25

Here are two things provided for the pilgrim: shoes and strength.

As for the shoes: they are very needful for traveling along rough ways, and for trampling upon deadly foes. We shall not go barefoot — this would not be suitable for princes of the blood royal. Our shoes shall not be at all of the common sort, for they shall have soles of durable metal, which will not wear out even if the journey be long and difficult. We shall have protection proportionate to the necessities of the road and the battle. Wherefore let us march boldly on, fearing no harm even though we tread on serpents, or set our foot upon the dragon himself.

As for the strength: it shall be continued as long as our days shall continue, and it shall be proportioned to the stress and burden of those days. The words are few, “as thy days thy strength,” but the meaning is full. This day we may look for trial, and for work which will require energy, but we may just as confidently look for equal strength. This word given to Asher is given to us also who have faith wherewith to appropriate it. Let us rise to the holy boldness which it is calculated to create within the believing heart.

 

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