Painted Horses

Painted Horses

Painted Horses: Hunting for Treasure Within

Teaching is a noble profession. Learning is not only confined to the lectures discussed within the four walls of a classroom. There are several nuggets of wisdom derived in this tale of encouragement and hope.

Main character Pam came to a town called Paris to apply as a teacher of US History. The principal forewarned her that the teens have a knack of spitting a teacher out.

She was desperate for the job so insurance can cover her baby’s surgery. The boy has club feet, and the young mom wanted to support his medical-related expenses. Pam sets an example of how a determined mom carries the weight of her responsibility towards her son in spite of an impending challenge presented to her.

On her first day in class, Pam’s nerves were immediately put to the test as a cold Zoey tells her she does what she wants. To spite her further, Zoey walks out of class, hid her lesson plan and car keys. She even lied to make Pam come to the principal’s office. Upon her return, AJ and Rex almost had a brawl if not for Dillon’s entrance. Dillon’s big frame and silence made his classmates wary of him. Later on, Pam learned that each student behaved for a reason. The students’ personalities were no different from those people we get to meet in our lives. They touch our lives for a reason too. Differences make us unique and capable to relate to one another if we so will it.

Intending to keep the students’ attention during class, Pam invited ex-Marines officer Clay to tell them a story related to treasure hunting and the history of Tennessee. Then Pam orchestrated a plan to search for the lost union bank coins. These scenes remind us of how important it is for us to appreciate stories about our ancestors. The possible fortune they will discover, and their adventures tell us how they valued the land they once fought.

There are several takeaways from this film. Pam’s initiative to reach out to AJ and Dillon encouraged both to face their doubts instead of just going with the flow. AJ turned a new leaf after Pam saved him from the cops and fed him with a home-cooked meal. Dillon, though not speaking, takes the books Pam offers him to read out loud to his horse. This way, he can practice doing away with his stuttering problem.

An unexpected climactic twist happens to Pam towards the end of this tale. When they accused her of malicious intent to boot her out from the school. Her revelation will astound you. On the other hand, Dillon’s final act to save his teacher comes as a surprise.

The core message of this film is to not judge a book by its cover.

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Remember

Remember

Remember: Choosing Truth

This film, released in 2012 transports us into a futuristic society under totalitarian rule. In the year 2050, the economy suffered from overpopulation. As a result, the state created a plan which resulted in panic in all the member of the community.

First, they decided to take away all newborn babies from their families. Second,  they imposed that parents intake tablets to erase anxiety and trauma brought about by the separation. Finally, the state taught all the children to remove painful memories. The state believes that inner peace makes for a productive, peaceful citizenry. The unique concept of this story gives us viewers a glimpse of what, why and how it can happen to a technologically advanced society.

Captain Carl works as an enforcer at the Federal Child Protection Agency. His job is to make sure that adults remain compliant with taking memory relief pills and unable to recall having children. Otherwise, his device will prompt him to raid couples who were trying to search the identities of their children.

The conflict started to appear when Carl and his wife Wendy missed their daily dose. Carl goes into a trance where a shadow reminds him to turn the hearts of the father to their children and vice versa. The saying disturbed his thoughts and loyalty to his role at the agency. However, Wendy intentionally missed taking pills in trying to recall her children they stole from her after birth. Seeing a mother’s pain is unsettling. No mother would want to forget her children or having them forget her in the process.

There are several thought-provoking scenes in this film. The first was when Carl was haunted by guilt as a result of shooting Tom, his friend. His trauma, the shadow, Wendy’s persistence at tugging his conscience and the gap in skipping the pills. Pushed Carl to act on reuniting the detained parents and their kids at the agency. The shadow reminded him that only by changing, he could make a difference. And then his action validated his choice to do the right thing, much like we too choose logic, emotions and conscience as deciding factors when we face life-changing situations.

The sneaky way of Carl playing a dual role and alternating his pills intake led to climactic scenes worth looking out. His confrontation scenes with a colleague turned traitor, and unexpected allies will give us an afterthought on those we consider friends and antagonist in our lives.

This film’s core message points out that God has given us The Bible to serve as our guide. A guide to contradict the ideals of Plato and other philosophers that people may use to convince us. Idealism may change, and technology will continue to advance. But we were given a conscience that makes a difference with the way we believe in logic and understands our emotions.

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The Colors of Emily

Colors of Emily

The Colors of Emily: A Reflection of Hope

An artwork is an expression of one’s soul.

This story, The Colors of Emily, is about how an art finder and artist have affected each other’s lives in one way or another. Kate was a hard-headed art dealer. She undergoes therapy so she can get her life in order but decided to run away from the therapist. On a lookout for new art pieces, she drove to reach a small town called New Harmony. Kate’s behaviour holds to a typical adult with a troubled past.

This reminds us to not judge a person, but we need to understand where she is coming.

Kate meets café owner Nadia. She took notice of the artwork on display and offered to purchase it. To her dismay, Nadia refused to say it was a special gift from a blind girl named Emily. Kate went to Emily’s house, and there, she found herself amazed at the other pieces that she crafted beautifully. In each section, Emily tells her inspiration. Each had a back story.

As Kate’s friendship with Emily develops, so is her knowledge about Emily’s tragic family history, the murder of her mom and the conspiracy underneath.

Kate learns much about the town and its people through Emily’s paintings before she lost her sight. In a twist of fate, the café exploded, killing Nadia in the process. Kate’s shock upon Nadia’s passing has transformed her to become strong-willed. Nadia’s husband Sam believed what happened was not an accident.

A lawyer named Thomas tried to intimidate her. Good thing there’s police officer Jacob that looks after her and Emily. The trio was out to solve a mystery involving Emily’s family and their land.

The twists and turns in the plot tell a lot about how a back story affects the present lives of the characters. Kate experienced abuse when she was young. She carried her pain to adulthood that it haunts her, even resulting in nightmares.

This film showed how Kate was able to conquer her fears. Her realisation scenes teach us not to allow old wounds to scar us for the rest of our lives.

Emily reveals that their land holds a reservoir of oil that’s worth a fortune. The lease was the reason they killed her mom. She knew the perpetrator which became that is why she translated her fears into colours, a piece called Reflection. She protected herself and her property in her way. Exposing this man led to a climactic ending and revelations.

This scene is a thought-provoking part of the film. Elders may explain to a young viewer why they need to value their heir.

Ultimately, this film depicted blindness in both conscious and subconscious form in each and every one of us. We choose to see what is visible or go blind over matters we thought we could escape. It is up to us to decide which to see.

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Simple Guideline on Making Decisions

Guideline on making decisions

A Simple Guideline on Making Decisions

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. -Micah 6:8

All the course of your life, you will go through countless crossroads where you’ll get torn to choose between two (sometimes more) options.

There are times when taking a path is simple. Other times, however, picking is not as easy. Things become too complex, and coming up with a decision becomes quite difficult.

In such circumstances, the prophet Micah is clear about what God desires you to do. It is to (1) do justice; (2) love kindness, (3) walk humbly with God.

In all you do, therefore, you must ponder on these questions before you go ahead:

Am I being just?

This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. – Jeremiah 22:3

When making decisions, the Lord asks you to consider the interest of the people around you. Contemplate how your actions might affect the people you love, your workmates, your friends, and even the strangers you encounter on the streets.

If what you’re planning to do, in a way, treat others unfairly, then go the other way.

Do not let the Lord’s justice be upon you by oppressing or taking advantage of others, especially the weak (Deuteronomy 10:18).

Am I being kind?

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. – 2 Timothy 2:24

We are always taught to be kind to others, but how are we really to do this? You can name countless traits on how to be kind – hospitality, gentleness, patience, loyalty, forgiveness.

If you need to sum this all up and learn a practical way to practice kindness, just keep in mind Jesus’ command in Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

How do you know if an action or speech is kind? If it’s something you won’t mind others do to you.

Am I being humble before God?

Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord. “These are the ones I look on with favour: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word. – Isaiah 66:2

Most importantly, before taking on a decision, make sure that it is in line with God’s will for you as His child. More than pleasing others, our primary goal as Christians is to honour God in all our thoughts, actions and speech.

For I desire steadfast love[a] and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. – Hosea 6:6

The Lord favours those who humble themselves before Him and walk according to the standards He has set before them. Our Christian walk is not just about practising spiritual disciplines. It is about intentionally offering our hearts to God, seeking to love Him and honour Him in every moment of our lives.

In what aspects of your life can you follow this simple guideline on making decisions? Ask God today to transform your heart and help you to always do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with Him.

Read more of Crossflix’s Devotional article here.

Breakthrough: A Mother’s Unwavering Love

Breakthrough

Breakthrough: A Mother’s Unwavering Love

The depth of a mother’s love is beyond measure. Based on true events, this film takes us to a roller coaster ride of emotions of a mother. The story opens with 14-year-old John intentionally doing and undoing things like a typical teenager. He gives his breakfast to the dog. Then he calls his dad by the first name and didn’t do his assignment on family history. These scenes show how a concerned mother makes an effort to connect to her teenage son.

After winning a basketball game in school, John went to a sleepover. The next morning, the three boys played over the frozen Missouri Lake despite knowing it’s not safe there. The plot took a turn when the ice suddenly cracks and the three boys fell on cold water. The two managed to emerge but John fell deeper.  Rescuers came to get John’s body. These scenes leave us to thinking that the boy could have avoided the accident if he heeded to the man’s warning. Stubbornness leads to a reckless tragedy.

Upon reaching the hospital, Joyce got confronted by the Doctor who explained their efforts to revive him and yet, John has no pulse for several minutes now.  She enters the room and cries out to God to send the Holy Spirit to breathe life into John. She touched his feet and miraculously, his pulse starts ticking again. The Doctor says John may become severely impaired once he wakens. Joyce showed us that no matter what the Doctor says, she keeps her faith in prayer that God listens to a mother’s plea.

There are reflective moments in this story. Joyce didn’t approve of the new pastor Jason and the changes he’s done at church service especially including rap music during praise and worship. Even so, Jason was the first person to comfort her in times of distress. He was by her side when she needed a friend the most. Sometimes, we too misjudge persons in our lives because we do not favor their ways. Later on, we find ourselves accepting them for who they are. The best part is when we realize that the one we used to frown upon turns out as a compassionate soul after all like Jason to Joyce.

John’s rescuer claims himself as an unbeliever. However, he believes he heard a voice when he plunged in the cold lake that led him to find the boy’s body. When they meet again, he told John that if God has plans for him, it may be something pretty special. The accident turned out as a life-changing experience both for the man who erstwhile thought there was no God and the boy who saw how many people have extended their help and prayers for a miracle.

While a mother’s love is a powerful force on Earth, God’s love for us makes a miracle possible.

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Same Kind of Different as Me

Same Kind of Different as Me

Same Kind of Different as Me: Breaking Barriers to Personal Healing

This faith-centric drama film Same Kind of Different as Me tells us that we are all homeless just working our way home. The story was based on true events that happened in the lives of couple Ron and Debbie. What made their story inspiring was how amending a marriage strain has helped them form an unconventional friendship with a broken homeless man.

The story began with Ron narrating about having a big house with a broken home. On their 19th year in marriage, he got enamored over another woman. Like any wife, Debbie was angry and hurt upon knowing that her husband betrayed her. In a heartbreaking confrontation scene, she asked Ron to call the girl. Debbie tells her she doesn’t blame her and that she forgives her. While most of us find it difficult to forgive those who wronged us, Debbie’s action reminds us of the meaning of forgiveness both to the offender and offended. Debbie freed Ron’s girl from guilt and herself from the emotional pain it entails.

As a way of making up to her, Ron went with Debbie to a kitchen where she volunteers to cook and feed homeless people. He was adamant to join her but eventually conceded in helping serve free meals.

At one time, an enraged man came hitting the glass wall panel. Debbie coaxed Ron to give him food on the table. The small talk led to a friendship that goes beyond social status, race or color. Denver opened up to Ron past events in his life where he was treated like a slave. The African-American boy became a man who behaved badly because of the cruelty his circumstances had him go through.

There are many kinds of Denver around us that look rough and tough on the outside but harboring deep-seated wounds on the inside. Compassion is a way for us to show God’s love so we can lead them to cross their bridges towards redemption. As Denver says, the journey of the homeless may often begin in a hopeless case but it doesn’t have to end there.

There are several thought-provoking scenes throughout this film. Ron harbored ill-feelings against his dad. Both father and son misjudged each other due to lack of communication. Debbie became vulnerable to her emotions after finding out she has Cancer and Ron’s dad was insensitive to her feelings at one point. These scenes teach us about understanding the feelings that comes between spoken words.

Ron, Debbie and Denver’s story showed us their individual struggles and having to connect one’s life to another. We may make life-changing decisions that create a ripple effect in the lives of those we touch. Denver’s outlook in life changed before Debbie passed away. Ron continued her dream of having a place for the homeless.

Everybody may be different but the same kind of different as me.

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Into His Arms

Into His Arms

Into His Arms: Letting Go and Letting God

This drama film released in 1999 revolves around a 7-year-old girl named Jennifer and her mom Sharla. A well-off family in a community surrounded by friends. Until one day, the two went shopping to find a nice dress Jennifer can wear at her first piano recital. Sharla coaxed her daughter to try out a dress while she gets busy choosing other dresses for her. After a few minutes, her daughter was not there anymore. Fear surged Sharla knowing that Jennifer wouldn’t leave the shop without her. This story is a reminder to every parent to always be watchful of your child even as you go to the same old shop.

Sharla was remorseful to the point of having nightmares about the incident. Her husband Jim blamed her. Her sorrow was beyond words. Neighbours reached out to her but she became reclusive. She attempted to resist her friend Bren who bought some groceries to ease her chores. She offered to pay knowing she’s more financially able than her but Bren was quick to remind her that she’s willing to lend a hand because she was her friend. Later on, we learned Bren lost her husband on a road accident. Sharla asked how she managed to cope and her reply was that she asked God for comfort. Their conversation scene showed us how good it was to have an understanding and encouraging friend especially in times when our heart gets troubled.

They found the body of Jennifer in the woods. However, Gary cannot just accept what happened. He believes that Jennifer can’t simply run away and die like that. A police officer told him to close the case since they know enough. What triggered Gary was this guy’s statement that if he is going to chase phantoms, it will just hurt everyone. Gary was persistent to pursue his investigations further. Instinct and conscience was his guide for running after the truth. And sometimes, it is the gut feeling that tells us that something’s wrong. Gary’s persistence leads him to track Sharla’s neighbour and family friend Bill. His capture revealed the real story behind the untimely death of the girl.

This film is an eye-opener. Some pain never goes away like losing a loved one. We learned that forgiveness for the offender allows her to rebuild her faith. Sharla may not have granted her forgiveness to Bill at this time. Just maybe, she’ll come around to it once she becomes ready to forgive herself and heal her wounded soul thereafter.

We question God for tragedies that come our way. The message is for us to acknowledge that by submitting Into His Hands our lives, we let go of the pain and we let God unfold a new us as we move on.

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Runaway Hearts

Runaway Hearts

Runaway Hearts: The Courage to Live

This film tells a compelling story about two kids who ran away from home and came across two adults who ran away from their past circumstances. An 11-year-old Tevin and 5-year-old Angel have the same mom Maze but different fathers who they haven’t met.

The story took a turn when one day, Maze overdose on drugs. On impulse, Tevin drags Angel out of the house until the ambulance took their mom’s body away. Tevin takes his mom’s boyfriend Dill’s drug money. He thought he needed a bike so they can go farther. The kids went to Gabe’s yard, and Tevin took one of his bikes, but Angel prodded to return it.

As viewers, we think they were too young to experience this kind of messy ordeal. But it happens in real life. Tevin showed us the survival instincts of an elder brother who was out to save and protect his little sister from the odds they face.

Meanwhile, Gabe was attending a counselling session after his release from jail. He was hard on himself after a trauma he experienced when he was a teenager. His dad frequently hits his mom. He was coming home from school when his parents died from a car crash. His younger brother Jerry sustained severe injuries.

Unfortunately, social services separated them. Jerry ended up with abusive foster parents. Gabe became an architect but resorted to alcohol to ease his pain. He was drunk-driving when he crashed into a bus resulting in multiple injuries on the passengers, which is why he was in jail. Gabe’s pain runs deep into his soul. Issues we face like cruelty from people who are supposed to care for us takes a long time to heal. Only God’s mercy can save our soul from self-incrimination.

After being away from their town for a long time, Gabe returns to his former home. Emma was his love interest when they were young. She would catch him looking at her from afar. Emma and Gabe were both lonely souls who yearn to love and love in return. They tell us that their separation from each other no matter how long a time it was cannot erase the love that they hold in their hearts.

The kids used Gabe’s treehouse as their shelter. Gabe kept mum to the authorities even when they knew about the kids’ whereabouts. Meanwhile, Dill trailed them and took the chance to retrieve his money. The culminating scene will leave you to the edge of your seats. The ending implied that Gabe and Emma could become adoptive parents to Tevin and Angel soon.

Ultimately, the film’s message is for us to use courage as a means of living a life that is better than our past. Gabe’s conversation with the counsellor taught us we can’t change what was, but we can change what will be. Our past experiences may influence our present and future self but not defined by it.

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Lion of Judah

Lion of Judah

Lion of Judah: A Lamb with a Lion’s Heart

This animated Christian film takes us to a tale of courage represented by a lamb named Judah.  The story opened with a crate brought to a stable near Jerusalem. The playful Judah meets Slink the rat, Horace the pig, Drake the rooster, Mighty the horse and Esme the cow. Each character displayed distinct traits that will surely amuse young audiences.

In particular, Mighty the horse always faints at the slightest fear over anything to think that he is the tallest animal in the pack. His character relates to us who seem to stand tall and yet, have fears over something at some point in our lives.

You can be great not by the stature of authority. But in being able to contribute something good for the welfare of others like these animals that look out for each other.

The story turned when Judah’s attempt to escape the stable failed. This time, Drake accidentally fell into the crate with him. The other animals set out a journey to Jerusalem to save them both. On their way, they meet Jack the donkey who goes the other way. However, the rope tied to his neck tangled into the pig’s snout. He was being rude to each of them that Esme demanded he should apologize. One heartwarming scene was when Jesus touched him and removed the rope from his neck. It was his sign of knowing freedom from slavery.

The raven’s dream needs further explaining to the youngsters. We need to explain that the crucifixion of Jesus did not only save the wages of mankind’s sins but the classification between clean and unclean animals as well.

They took Judah from the herd and made him believe that he is the chosen one.  That he will free other animals from captivity. He did not know that he will be a sacrificial lamb in the temple during Passover. The death of Jesus on the cross has shaken the earth and split the temple into two that saved Judah from being killed at the altar table.

The King’s death saddened the animals except for Judah who believes that He will come again. The lamb patiently waited to see The King outside the tomb. These scenes reminded us when Jesus showed Himself to the disciples and then to doubting Thomas. Blessed is he who has not seen but believed.

The film Lion of Judah is a delightful treat to watch for kids and the young at heart. It depicts courage for the faint-hearted and walking with faith for the believer. And a message of hope for everyone that Jesus overcame death to redeem us all.