Category Archives: New Life

A Shocking Truth

This is a poem I wrote a few months ago. I wrote this poem just after I had a revelation that nothing I have ever done, could ever do, and will ever do, will change how the Lord loves and accepts me.

I have turned it into a short clip, please watch it until the end.

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The Hedgehog

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I’d like to start this post by saying a big thank you to Jamal Jivanjee for encouraging not only me, but also all of his blog readers, to watch this film. I’d definitely suggest that, if you have not yet done so already, you check out his blog here. Jamal recently asked me to review this film on his blog, which was a wonderful experience. I have also written a review below. I’d love for you to watch this film and share your insights below.

The Hedgehog is a French film that follows the story of eleven-year-old Paloma (Garance Le Guillermic). She is no ordinary eleven year old either. She sees the world for what it truly is – a giant fish bowl. We are born here, we grow up here, and we fend for ourselves here and eventually we end up belly turned up in the same mundane fish bowl.

Although Paloma came from a rich family she refused to let that define who she was. She made the decision that she was going end her life on her twelfth birthday. Death was a choice for Paloma not an inevitability. She was not afraid of dying. She welcomed it. To Paloma, the choice to die meant defying the world system. It meant that her background, her experiences, her knowledge and her family would play no role in shaping who she would eventually become one day.

Paloma is fascinated with art and philosophy and as her final project she decides to document the world around her using her fathers camcorder. She makes obvious observations about those in her direct circle. Some so blatantly point out the hypocrisy in the adults around her that one can’t help but smile and laugh.

However, when Paloma begins to document the life of her superintendent Renee Michel (Josiane Balasko) and her growing relationship with the new neighbour Kakuro Ozu (Togo Igawa) Paloma is challenged to re-think her pessimistic outlook towards the world.

I’d highly encourage that you to watch the film before you read further. The trailer can be seen here.

*******SPOILER ALERT********

The world is a dark, treacherous system and whether we like it or not we are born into it.  Paloma draws a strong similarity between our lives and the life of a goldfish in a bowl. Both are on show for those around to see, both have the ability to become mundane and boring, and whether you’re a human or a goldfish, you face a certain death. Paloma decides that she isn’t going to live her life in a fishbowl like everyone else; instead, she is going to take her life into her own hands and end it at the ripe age of twelve.

The world system represented in this film is also a parallel of the harsh religious system we see in so many of today’s churches. We have to act a certain way, we have to do certain works, and we have to meet certain expectations in order to even be acknowledged as a fish in the fishbowl. Interestingly, the only way out of either one of these systems is death.

The beautiful connection between Paloma and Madame Renee Michel is the fact that they both see the system for what it is. They recognize the façade that is played out in front of them daily. They also see that they don’t belong in this cookie cutter world. They are seen as “outcasts” and it is this connection that acts as the foundation for a quirky unique friendship. This is seen beautifully in the scene where Madame Michel takes the dress that she borrowed back to the drycleaner – except it had a stain on it. The lady at the drycleaner yelled at her for making a stain on the expensive dress. Paloma turns to Madame Michel and says “so, you also get into trouble for making stains.” This is such a picture of how we are so far from perfect, yet the world and religious system place these high expectations over our lives that we are set up just to fail.

The fishbowl theory is illustrated beautifully in the description Paloma gives to her father regarding differences between the game of Chess and the Japanese game of Go. Chess is a game where you fight to survive through the death of your opponent. Go, on the other hand, is an elegant and organic game and the focus is on producing life rather than killing to survive. Throughout the film we see different characters playing either one of the two games. In one scene, we see Paloma and Mr Ozu playing Go (a game that produces life) and in the very next scene we see a homeless man on the street playing Chess – the game of survival. We can fight to survive, or we can fight for life, however… according to Christ if we want to save our life, we need to lose it first. Ahh the paradoxes!!

There is an interesting scene where Paloma flips a flipbook illustrating her mother’s addiction to anti-depressant pills. I saw this as a beautiful picture of what we decide to sew into our lives that’s what we will reap. The flipbook shows a pill being planted, watered and eventually a plant full of pills growing. It’s a picture that her mother was feeding her depression by constantly consuming these pills. Christ calls us to partake of him; he is the grain of wheat that fell to the ground so that we could live. He died so that we could live. I’ll speak more about this later on…

I just love Paloma’s documentary that we see of the beginning of the relationship between Madame Michel and Mr Ozu. Madame Michel sees herself as being extremely low class and she is constantly putting herself down.

“I am a widow, I am short, ugly, and plump…I live alone with my cat, a big, lazy tom…neither he nor I make any effort to take part in the social doings of our respective species. Because I am rarely friendly – though always polite – I am not liked, but am tolerated nonetheless…”

When she said the above, I thought to myself, when I was involved in a religious relationship with Christ I saw myself as below perfect, just tolerated by Christ. However, when Mr Ozu enters her life, he treats her as an equal. He invites her into his home, he takes her out to dinner, he speaks to her like a human being – he sees her for who she really is, not how she perceives herself.

I just love how when Mr Oku invites Madame Michel out to dinner she politely declines by saying something along the lines of “I am your superintendent, not your neighbour” and Mr Oku replies, with a smile on his face, “Why can’t you have both qualities at once.” We are fallen human beings, yet Christ calls us to dine with him, as equals. WOW!

Their relationship is something extremely special, he admires her for who she is, not for what she does or says. She appreciates the fact that although Mr Oku comes from a rich family, he is different, he is normal, he also does not fit into the cookie cutter mould of the system. He abundantly gives gifts to Madame Michel expecting nothing in return. What a picture of our Christ and how he pours his life into us abundantly, yet he has no expectation for us work for his love and attention, he expects nothing in return, this is a selfless love. Mr Oku never forces himself towards Madame Michel, although it is clear that he desires to take their relationship to the next level. He makes this known by saying to Michel that “we can be friends and whatever we want” he repeats this twice. Our Lord doesn’t force himself on us. He is the perfect gentleman, longing for our love, but never forcing us into a relationship.

The morning after Mr Oku said this to Madame Michel, she wakes up in a strangely good mood. She is happy, maybe there is more to life than the mundane. She goes outside to remove the trash, and the homeless man from earlier is in the street. Madame Michel walks into the road to help move him off, and we are shocked when the dry-cleaning van hits Michel resulting in her death.

At one point in the film, Paloma feeds the goldfish one of her mothers anti-depressents. Within seconds, the fish is floating belly upwards. Paloma is planning on over-dosing on her mothers pills when she ends her life on her twelfth birthday. The death of the fish is extremely symbolic as it acts a shadow of what is to come. She flushes the fish down the toilet and forgets about him.

After Madame Michel’s death Paloma finds that her goldfish actually survived the anti-depressant. Madame Michel found the fish in her toilet and kept him in a different bowl. This is a really nice picture of the fact that a common goldfish who also seemed bored by the mundane, managed to hold onto his life and survive the inevitable.

Now for the most profound and astounding line of the entire film – this line has changed the way I feel about Christ and the way I see how he feel about me forever. This line gave me an astounding revelation of the 100% pure, raw love that Christ has for us and that we should have for him.

“What matters isn’t the fact of dying or when you die. It’s what you’re doing at that precise moment. So Renee, what where you doing at the time of your death?

…………You were ready to love”

WOW! Now think about the precise moment on the bloody cross that Christ is hanging, the moment just as he passes from life into death, what was he doing? He was ready to love. He was ready to love his PERFECT bride. He died to be with her, my pathetic use of words fails me as I try to convey this type of love that I have seen.

I also saw the fact that before we can love Christ, he commands us to lose our lives, to die. I have never thought of it in this way before:

“Lord Jesus, I am ready to love you, I am ready to love you the way that you love me, unfailing, never-ending and whole-heartedly. I am ready to die, I am willing to die, to lose everything that I “think” I hold dear for the sole purpose of loving you” These are not just words any more to me, this is a profound reality. I have never felt more ready to love to Christ, more happy to lose my life so that I can love him without hindrance or distraction.”

“We love because he first loved us” – 1 John 4:19

Megan x

Argo

Argo

I’m not a fan of politics in real life or in movies. I’m also not a fan of movies that get my heart racing too much. Argo, therefore, was not a movie that I would normally be interested in. But a friend suggested it, so we watched it. Whilst I was watching it, I was so engrossed in the story and how I didn’t like it – that I didn’t see Christ at all. It was only when I got home and said to the Lord, man where were you amongst all of that? Boy, did he show me.

As usual, a bit of context about the story…

On November 4 1979 Iranian militants storm the US embassy in Iran. Over 50 people are taken hostage, however six Americans managed to escape and hide in the home of Canadian Ambassador, Ken Taylor (Victor Garber). Their escape was kept a secret and the American CIA explored several options for their rescue. Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) is brought onto the case. He was inspired with an extraction idea when he was watching a sci-fi film with his son. He plans to create a cover story that the escapees are Canadian filmmakers, scouting “exotic” locations in Iran for the making of a sci-fi film.

The film follows Tony as he goes to Hollywood, devises a fake film and then poses as a producer for Argo when he enters Iran, putting himself in dangers way, to save the six Americans. The Iranian people discover that there are six people missing, and the price on their heads is certain death. This creates even more danger as almost every hostile Iranian was on the lookout for “Americans.” Being a part of a Canadian film crew, the six Americans need to quickly learn their new identities in order to successfully get through airport security. The trailer for this film can be seen here.

Now for the sighting…

Okay, so this was based on a true story; but I’m not talking about the one that happened over 30 years ago. I’m talking about the one that happened roughly 2000 years ago – Christ’s story.

As you know, there were six American hostages. The number six represents man – as man was created on the sixth day. The six Americans were trapped in Iran. Iran in this film is a picture of the world system. The evil one has dominion over the world just as the Iranian people were calling the shots in Iran at that time. We aren’t welcome in this world – especially being partakers of the Lord’s divine nature. The enemy greatly opposes us for being in His world – yet citizens of another. We, just like the Americans, are hostages in this world, and just like the six Americans, our penalty that awaits us is certain death.

The Americans were hiding in the Canadian Ambassador’s house. The Canadian Ambassador, Ken Taylor, is a picture of the church (not a physical building!) I say this, because we can take refuge in Her, and in her (the Church and the Body) Christ is found and Christ is our true refuge and safety. We can abide in Him in this dark, evil world.

The American CIA decided to send one of their own into Iran. Tony Mendez went into Iran and put himself in danger purely to save the lives of the six Americans.  He left everything behind, his family, his house, his country and his safety just so he could save the lives of the Americans. This is a picture of how the Lord left His home to come to the world and pay the price to return us back to Him.

Tony is a picture of Christ (the head). He had a plan to get the Americans out of Iran, or should I say the World and the Old Man, and return them to America. This plan was called Argo. To America, the six hostages were precious. They wanted them back, returned to their real home. This is a picture of how we are not from this world. It is also a picture of how our Lord is desperate for us to return to our real “home” which is Himself.

Tony went to Iran with a plan. The only way this plan was going to work was if the six hostages completely lost their old identity. There could be no trace of who they really were. The reason for this is that their old identities meant certain death. We were born into the Adamic race. This means that we were born sinners. Even if we never to sinned a day in our lives, we would still be deemed sinners. The fact that we sin is a reminder that we ARE ALREADY sinners. Not the other way around. These hostages had done nothing wrong (they were innocent human beings). Yet, there was a hefty price on all of their heads – death. Tony came to redeem them.

The hostages had to accept their new identity that Tony (Christ) gave them. We have been given a new identity in Christ, but the only way we can obtain it is if we completely lose our old identity. Our old man needs to die whole-heartedly. What is interesting is that Tony also lost his identity. He changed his name to Kevin and he became the seventh man. Seven is God’s number – it is a holy number. He completed them. Christ looks different today than he did when we walked the earth. He too, lost his old identity and took up a new one – a bigger one. One that included us! The Americans had to work together for their new identities to work. The plan would only work if each member functioned in his or her new identity. Our wonderful Lord has a plan, but it will only work if we completely drown ourselves in our new identity, which is found in Him.

Tony’s plan was risky. The Americans had to have faith in him that he would do what he said he came to do. To follow Christ is extremely risky. To give up everything such as your hopes, your dreams, your desires and your (old) IDENTITY. To follow Christ can be extremely daunting. Yet just like the hostages, if we don’t have the faith and follow him, we will surely be executed.

Tony prepared the six Americans so that they would know who they really were. The reason for this was because on the way home, there would be people who were going to attack their identity. They had to have grounding and a foundation in their new identity in order to withstand the enemy. The opposer will surely attack us from every angle. But if we have a strong foundation of our true identity, which is found in Christ, we will walk through unharmed. We are hidden in Christ.

Tony was in Iran for three days. Just like the Lord was dead for three days. Christ entered into death so that he could bring forth life. Tony also walked into death (Iran) and saved the lives of the six American hostages.

Now for my favorite part, this film was based on a true story. BUT this story was classified information until 1981 when it was declassified. What the Lord really did for us when he entered into death was a mystery kept for ages past. But, He has revealed to us his mystery. We now know exactly what he did for us when he gave up his life for us.

It wasn’t purely for redemption.

Yes, it included our forgiveness, but is also included the complete destruction of the old man and the enemy.

He triumphed over the law, rulers and authorities when he died.

His death included completely destroying the world system that holds us captive.

And through the triumph of all of the above, there is now NOTHING standing in between his perfect bride and Him. He can now have a body to express Him, a bride to love Him, a house to lay His head and rest and a family for Him to enjoy.

“And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ…” – Ephesians 1:9

What a knight in shining armor!

Megan x