Once Upon A Time

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With the new season of Once Upon A Time starting up in a month, I felt that it was necessary to recap what our characters have gone through.

Captain Swan.

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*deep breaths* THIS POOR SHIP (AND LET’S BE REAL, EVERY OTHER SHIP ON OUAT SEEMS DESTINED FOR MORE PAIN AND AGONY, IF NOT RIPPED APART *ahem*).

Both Emma and Hook have been through…less than ideal circumstances. Ya know, like becoming the Dark One.

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Growing up without parents in one way or another (sadly, I couldn’t find a decent picture to go with this one)…

Losing the ex-loves of their life….

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AND THEN HOOK’S STATEMENT HERE, JUST MY HEART OK? </3

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DYING MULTIPLE TIMES.

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SERIOUSLY. THE POOR CINNAMON ROLLS HAVE TIME TRAVELED, GONE THROUGH PORTALS, AND TO HELL. #PetitionforHooktostayALIVEthisseason

Personally, I’m rooting for a Captain Swan engagement and/or wedding this season. Anyone with me?

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Belle.

This is literally the most forgiving, believes-the-best-about-everyone, and is CONTINUALLY giving people second chances (I’M LOOKING AT YOU RUMPLE). And the poor thing thought that her husband – with receiving a new heart – was now a hero…was actually changed.

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And then she learns he’s still the Dark One.

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Rumple. Is. Such. An. Idiot. (who’s with me?) Like, she’s literally the BEST thing that ever happened to him and he still chooses power over her.

Not to mention that he sold their unborn child. #waytobreakthenews

And then there’s Regina.

This season there was a LOT of closure and resolved family conflict with her, which I loved. Henry finally got to ‘meet’ his grandfather…

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Zelena and Regina learned of their shared past, peace is made with Cora, and the growing relationship is demonstrated between the two sisters.

And at the very end, when she was separated into two beings – Regina and the Evil Queen, and she (Regina) destroyed the Evil Queen, I was hopeful that she could finally be happy and content.

PLOT TWIST. THE EVIL QUEEN DIDN’T DIE.

Well. That shocked me when I saw it. I can only imagine how Regina will react once she realizes it, along with her very new loss of Robin Hood (which, btw, was literally the most heart-breaking death. Ever).

To sum up everything, Belle’s stuck in a teeny, tiny box while being pregnant, the Evil Queen is back, Hyde has taken over Storybrooke (not totally sure how he did that…since, ya know, at least three people in Storybrooke have magic), and Hook came back from the dead while Robin Hood ceased to exist.

Once again (xD pun not intended), our heroes are stacked against unimaginable odds. I can’t wait for the next season of Once Upon A Time to start up in September. Comment below if you watch OUAT, and let me know what you think about the past season and what happened!

~ Southern Dreamer

 

Questions

Many times, we as Christians can fall into the legalistic or Pharisaical trap. The trap of believing that we cannot ask questions or have doubts.

Yet…that is not true.

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I know, I know, I sense the appalling shock radiating across the web 😉 But it’s the truth. There is nothing wrong or sinful about having questions or doubts. It does not make you less of a Christian if or when you have them.

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Some of you are probably doubting (hee hee, had to put that pun there xD) that. So, here’s the actual definition of what it means to doubt from Merriam Webster.

Doubt: “a lack of confidence,” “uncertainty of belief or opinion,” “to consider unlikely.”

Nowhere in this definition does it say anything about not believing. Sure, it says, “an uncertainty of belief,” but that only means you aren’t 100% sure in what you believe – not that you don’t believe.

Thomas, a disciple of Jesus, doubted that he had risen from the dead when the other disciples told him. He said that unless he put his own hands where the nails were in Jesus’ hands and on his side, he would not believe.

John 20:26-29 says, “Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

What I find interesting about this (and actually just noticed xD), is the fact that Jesus does not condemn Thomas for doubting. I mean, you would think, he would be angry or annoyed by it – He just died for him! But instead, He says, “Peace be with you.”

That is the last thing I would expect. After all of the miracles Jesus had done in front of the disciples and the suffering He had gone through – peace, would be the last thing I would expect Jesus to tell him.

I think that tells us something though. God is not going to condemn us or punish us for having doubts. I’ve had my own doubts – and they weren’t fun at all. It caused me to have a lot of anxiety. Maybe, that’s why, Jesus – before he said anything else – said, “Peace be with you.”

Further, when doubts come, questions often arrive hand-in-hand with it. Similarly, many times people believe that we should not have questions about God, faith, or suffering.

Matthew 27:45 says, “About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).”

Jesus, who was without sin and completely perfect, questioned God. Now, I don’t think it can be any clearer than that. If the Son of God, asked Him questions, then why shouldn’t we?

~ Southern Dreamer

 

 

 

No Condemnation

Me being myself and a natural perfectionist, I’m always trying to be perfect. Even though that’s not actually possible and the logical part of my mind knows that, I still find myself in that perfectionistic goal.

Just this morning, I was starting to feel guilty (whether false or true) about something I had been thinking about. And it was sort of like an epiphany when I realized that I don’t have to be “perfect” or think all the “right” things all the time with God. That might sound like something I should have realized a long time ago, but my mentality can often be so perfectionistic that it’s difficult for me to see past that.

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Of course, that doesn’t mean I should stop trying to do the right thing – it’s not giving a free pass to ‘do whatever you want.’ It’s more of in the sense, that when I do something wrong, yes I shouldn’t have done it, but I don’t have to panic (*ahemlikeIusuallydoahem*) about, oh my gosh I’m such a horrible person, I can’t believe I just thought/did that.

Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary says that the definition of condemn is: “to say in a strong and definite way that someone or something is bad or wrong, to give (someone) a usually severe punishment, to cause (someone) to suffer or live in difficult or unpleasant circumstances.” And for those who are Christians, we are no longer under condemnation. Sometimes that’s easy to forget at least for me, and go into the mentality of, ‘what kind of punishment I’m going to receive’ when I mess up.

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Hebrews 9:12, “He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

I love that phrase “eternal redemption.” For those who are believers, we are redeemed for all of eternity. In the Bible, there is a term – “kinsman-redeemer” – that connects the Old Testament to the New Testament. A kinsman redeemer was someone who delivers or rescues, redeems property or person, avenges the murder of a relative as a guiltless executioner, and receives restitution for wrong done to a relative who has since died (biblestudytools.com).

Jesus is our ‘kinsman-redeemer.’ He delivered us from an eternity apart from Him and redeemed us from sin so that we can be made righteous.

~ Southern Dreamer

Prison of Fear

Everyone has fears. Some are small, others are big, and then, there are those that completely and totally overwhelm us.

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Fear is a tricky thing. It can creep up slowly and over time; perhaps subconsciously, until it rears its ugly head in our face. In other cases, it can come suddenly and without announcement. Maybe you’ve been through something traumatic and suddenly things that you did not fear before, are now quite terrifying.

I think, sometimes, we visualize fear in a one dimensional picture: snakes, the dark, experiencing change. But fear can also be the root cause of other issues in our life. Perfectionism (I fall into this category :p): fearing that you must be perfect, fearing the punishment or reaction if you are not. Being a people-pleaser: fearing that you have to make everyone happy, fearing the reaction of others if you say something that contradicts their own beliefs.

In the Bible, there are over a 100 references where it says, “fear not” or “do not be afraid” (http://www.openbible.info/topics/living_life_to_the_fullest). By that sheer number, it’s apparent that Jesus knew we were going to have fear – BUT, that we do not have to be afraid.

John 10:10 says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

God wants us to live life in the freedom of our salvation. He does not want fear to keep us from experiencing the blessings He offers. Of course, this is easier said than done. I know in my own life, its very easy to say, ‘oh, I’m not going to be afraid. I’m going to give this to the Lord,’ but quite another to actually follow through with it.

2 Timothy 1:7 states, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Yet as the verse above says, God has given us a spirit full of power, love, and self-control. All components that help to combat fear.

Power is the Holy Spirit. If you really desire to be free from fear, this is where everything starts. The others are important too, but without the Holy Spirit, we’re trying to drive a car without gas.

The Bible says in 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” Think of a time when you felt completely safe and secure. Was it when you were wrapped in the arms of your father or mother? Watching a movie in bed with your brother or sister? Similarly, God’s love is our security. We do not have to worry whether or not He will love us one moment and stop the next. His love is perfect, unfailing, and encompassing. Jesus demonstrated the greatest form of love there is: dying for us when we were still stuck in the mud of sin and unrighteousness. His love overcomes fear

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Jeremiah 31:3 and Proverbs 8:35

 

Self-control is the last one mentioned in 2 Timothy. This is where our ‘homework’ comes into play. You have to want to be free from fear and be willing to do the necessary work. Self-control does not include only physical actions, but the discipline of the mind – which can be harder in many ways since it is not a tangible thing.

And Jesus does not expect us to fight our fears or anxiety alone! Sometimes I completely forget that I can ask Him to help me to not be afraid; I’m so set on how can I solve this or how I can work through this, that I neglect the one being who can help me through anything.

Being willing to ask for help – tell a close family member or friend. Expose light onto the fear so it cannot continue to ravage around in your mind, rely on God, and put in the effort are all important parts of overcoming fear. Fear doesn’t go away on its own. It must be a conscious decision to defeat it.

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Matthew 6:34 says, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

~ Southern Dreamer