Raise them up Lord, raise them up

A teenager recently wrote me to ask about a certain television series to see what I thought. The teenager sent me a summary of the plot that was set in the far east and included using supernatural powers using the mind.

I suggested the teenager look at the terms mentioned and examine whether this is something that should be watched and if God has anything to say in His Word about these issues. That is when the teenager revealed she had already seen the series and while the plot and character development were good, there were things like witchcraft, spirits and use of elements which she knew were wrong. However, she wasn’t sure if it was still “good to watch”.

What she related made me rather sad. Many series and movies, in recent years especially, have introduced children to the spiritual world in the cover of action movies and superheroes, presenting it as something which not only is cool and fun, but also good. This reminds me of the verse “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20). Some might say, “well, what’s the problem? We can’t isolate ourselves, if we examine everything we won’t watch anything at all”. Or, some might say, “all is permissible”.

Is it so bad if we don’t watch anything? If there is nothing good to eat, if all that is presented to us on the table is poison, do we still eat for the sake of eating? If all that is presented to us on television (or video games) is death, witchcraft, profanity and sex, do we still watch because there is nothing else to watch? 

Is it really “all permissible”? We are called to be a light in this dark and evil world. Sadly, there is little to no difference anymore between the body of Messiah and the world. When people in the world look at us, do they see we are different or do they accept us gladly into their company because we are just like them? 

I know not many will agree with this. Some will view this as being legalistic or overreacting. But if Paul was “deeply disturbed in his spirit” (Acts 17:16) when he saw the city full of idols in Athens, why aren’t we deeply disturbed when we see witchcraft and presentations of the spiritual world on the screen, calling that which is evil in God’s sight, good? How is that any different from seeing actual idols on the street? Have our senses become numbed? Have we become lukewarm in our behaviour? Have we compromised on the truth of God’s Word? 

Some simply don’t realise how great the spiritual struggle is for our children. The world is fighting for our children, the enemy is fighting to dull their senses and ours, to pull us all away from the Lord Yeshua. We need to fight for our children as well as for ourselves.

In studying the Life of Yeshua the Messiah, this verse had a great impact on me and perhaps we can pray this for our youth. “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). Let’s pray they find favor in God’s eyes as well as man’s. But let’s pray this as well “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

“Lord, we need a generation of believers who are not ashamed of the gospel. We need an army of believers who hate to be lukewarm and will stand on Your Word above all else. Raise ’em up, Lord. Raise them up.” (War Room Movie)

© Hannah Kramer

Oh be careful little eyes what you see

“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify” (1st Corinthians 10:23)

Have you ever heard this song? “Oh be care little eyes what you see, oh be careful little eyes what you see, for your Father up above is watching down with love, oh be careful little eyes what you see”.

We warn children about what they watch and what they do. We are very careful not to let them watch scary movies or movies with “dirty” words, and we avoid discussing or watching certain things when “little ears” are around. We are concerned that no “junk” or “harmful” matter would enter their eyes or ears.

Why do we warn children, but when we are “all grown up”, it is suddenly okay to watch horror movies or play games that have murder with blood and body parts splatting all over the screen? Are we now less affected because we are “all grown up”?

What we see and hear enters our minds and gets mulled over in our thoughts. Same thing with what we read. I remember reading books that would suck me into the story in such a way that I would try to analyse every thing that happened and I would think about it for days afterwards. Regarding movies. I would think about them and play the scenes through my mind over and over again. If I watched a scary movie, or one that had a lot of violence, I would have a difficult time sleeping. That is why I am very careful now about what I watch.

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman” (Job 31:1). This verse can apply to both men and women. It is not just about staying away from pornography, but can also mean to be careful about what we watch. It is difficult today to find a movie that does not have profanity, negative connotations about Bible and spiritual matters, violence and sexual content, none of which are honouring to God. We probably would not gaze at a half naked man or woman on the street, but if they are undressed on the screen, somehow it becomes “socially acceptable”. Why? We wouldn’t allow vulgar and coarse language in our home, but when it appears on the t.v., we willingly invite it into our living room. Somehow this, too, becomes an “acceptable norm”. I recall one occasion when my brother and I took our youngest brother and some of his friends to the cinema to watch a “kid’s” movie. I felt uncomfortable almost from the beginning when the actors were mocking God. Within minutes, we decided to leave and to take our youngest brother out with us. We explained to our brother and to his friends why we were leaving, particularly that by remaining and exposing ourselves to the garbage on the screen, we would not be honouring God. We gave his friends the option to stay or leave. They paid for their own tickets and were old enough to decide for themselves. In less than five minutes, they all followed us out. We knew we did the right thing and regretted going to the movie in the first place. Our youngest brother learned from that experience and did the same on his own initiative when he went to a different movie with someone else.

Making “a covenant with our eyes” also has to do with not only how we look at other people, but how we look to other people. Men have a tendency to look where they shouldn’t, while women have a tendency to dress to be seen. Both of these can also apply to the opposite sex. Are we looking lustfully at our brothers or sisters in Christ or are we causing them to look lustfully at us? Each of us is responsible for how we dress, but we all have a responsibility for keeping our eyes pure. We can inadvertently cause our brother to stumble by how we dress. We should try to make sure that our eyes don’t wander off to places they shouldn’t be going.

If we acknowledge that our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit and we dedicate our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy to God, we need to remember that our eyes are part of the package. I’ve heard some argue, “There is nothing else to watch, because all the movies are like that!”. I believe there are some clean movies that are fun and good. But, if we can’t find any, then maybe we should look for something else to do with our time that will be more honouring to the Lord. Job made a covenant with his eyes! How amazing is that? Are we ready to do the same?

May God help us keep our eyes, our thoughts and our hearts pure, so that our speech and behaviour will follow accordingly.

© Hannah Kramer