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May 6, 2021
Today is the National Day of Prayer. Our nation is part of a world gone crazy, a world ravaged by COVID-19, racial strife, political turmoil, the desecration of all things good. There's hatred for those different than us and hatred for Christians. We live in a world where humanism is the order of the day, where groups that are on opposite ends of the political and religious spectrum work together to abolish Christianity from the world scene.
Ironic in that Jesus says boldly- He alone is the only way to God the Father. He is the Truth, and He is the Life. Jesus said no one would get to an eternal life in heaven without believing in Him and that He alone died on the cross for the sins of man and was resurrected to life.
Jesus was that direct and simple- not because He hated people. But because He loved them and wanted to make the way to forgiveness and heaven clear. He's more than a prophet, more than a good man. He alone is God incarnate- God in the flesh. All who oppose Him will be lost for eternity. That includes you. That includes me. Wake up, America! We've lost our way.
Pray today for a fresh start with God- pray for our nation and pray for yourself, won't you? No one should be left out from this opportunity to join a nation in prayer.
May 5, 2021
Although the very charming, dignified, and mysterious El Rio del Tiempo attraction has now been replaced by the escapades of three fowl friends on their Gran Fiesta Tour, the pavilion is still a cause for celebration. Another margarita, anyone? How about we go back in time for a boat ride through Mexican history and and her cultures both ancient and modern instead?
Let's look at a few pieces of concept art and photos of the splendid Mexico pavillion circa opening year.
The boat cruise was designed to be much more grand, closer on the scale of Pirates of the Caribbean in length and immersion. Imagine! However, the budgets were blown and time was short before opening day. Adjustments had to be made, and the signature attraction was truncated. Such is the life of an Imagineer!
Once aboard, our departure onto the river is at once peaceful and mysterious and suspenseful. As we enter a smaller temple, our adventure begins with a dose of Disney magic: Encountering a statue of a high priest who comes to life, dancers soon surround, moving to ancient rhythms. In its original form, this section was the showpiece of the attraction. The history of the indigenous peoples makes for a stunning story- thankfully a depiction of human sacrifices spared- but here, everything was told in an equally artistic and beautiful presentation. From ancient days, we head on.
The doll filled celebration of the Day of the Dead startles in contrast with the flavors of It's a Small World, but it's only a small segment of the ride. The new and colorful style used to tell this potion of the story is almost jarring, but it does keep the guests from getting bored! This is also where the theme song comes to life and gets stuck in your head.
We continue into other regions depicting the Mexico of the Travel Channel: Beaches, parties, and tourist sites. In other words, perpetual Cinco de Mayo. It's a step down from the elegance of what we saw earlier, but it is very playful and thoroughly enjoyable. The music is memorable, and any EPCOT Center lover worth his title as fan can hum the song even while reading this post!
The Imagineers did an excellent job capturing the culture of our friends south of the border. The end result reflected a true labor of love even if doused with a shot of economic reality. It was a beloved attraction that only needed a tune up. However, the suits at Disney were looking for a new way to make a buck once sponsorship had ended, so in came the movie tie-in. This was one of the first steps into turning the park into something that also promoted Disney Intellectual Properties. Done well, Coco would fit in quite easily here.
The past is the past, but what a glorious time it was back at EPCOT Center's opening...
Vaya con Dios (Go with God)!
(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company. Photos by Mark Taft aside from the top photo copyright Disney.)
May 4, 2021
The Biblical teachings on living an abundant life are having an impact on me. God has been speaking to me about risk-taking being part of living a faith-filled life. I am trying to figure out how that applies to me. Being obedient to what we know God to be telling is integrity.
The entire Bible is filled with accounts of risk takers for God. In the book of Acts, (Chapter 20:7-12,) Paul is once again used dramatically. While listening to him preach a very lengthy sermon, a young man named Eutychus dozed off around midnight and fell down. Other than embarrassment, this usually wouldn’t be too much of an issue. Except Eutychus was sitting in a window on the third story. His friends pronounce him dead. Paul rushes to the ground, throws his arms around Eutychus and tells everyone present that he is alive- which is now true thanks to God, and to Paul’s obedience. In being so bold, Paul took a great risk that he heard God correctly. Certainly, Paul was a gifted speaker, but imagine how those listening even more so considered the truth of his words after this resurrection! (And like some preachers, Paul then continued talking until daylight!) Point being, Paul’s risk brought God glory. Not only were people more willing to believe, you can bet Paul’s own faith was deepened.
Not every risk brings such spectacular results. What about my hand? Hadn’t I prayed for safety? God was faithful to me. No cut tendons, no nerve damage, no loss of mobility. But no one was raised from the dead, either.
The truth is that sometimes risk brings results we didn’t plan for- tough circumstances or even anger from others. (Overseas missionaries get this all the time!) What did I learn or accomplish? Haven’t a clue. But this I do know: when God leads, I would rather risk then let my fear keep me from obedience. To me, that is the biggest part of living an abundant life-obedience.
What about you? What does risk taking look like in your life? Are you listening or watching for God to challenge you in a new way? What would obedience bring? Don't be mistaken into thinking a comfortable life is a sign of God's presence. No risk means no reward in watching God work.
Can you live with the chance of failure? Can you make that leap of faith? Ask God to lead you and give you the strength to jump. You can be sure the abundant life - with all its bumps and bruises- is what He has waiting for you.