Finding Unauthorized Faith in Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone (Page 4) eBook online read

transformed you or can transform you if you are willing to accept his love. Commit to putting the needs of others above your own, whether they are friend or foe.

  Maybe a co-worker who kept you from a promotion is having car trouble and you have an extra vehicle: lend it to them. Maybe you haven’t spoken to your mother in months because of a disagreement and you learn she has had a cold: bring her soup and drive her to the doctor. Maybe an annoying neighbor is struggling to make ends meet and hasn’t mowed the lawn in weeks: mow it for them. Commit to showing what Jesus said was the ultimate form of love, sacrificial love, to someone everyday.

  Jot down three ways you can show love to three different people whom you wouldn’t call friends. Pick people who get on your nerves, who you would rather not be around, who have done something to personally wrong you. And then, follow through. Love your enemies into friends.

  Verse: “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

  “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

  “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” – Luke 6:27-36 (NLT)

  Prayer: Lord, show me ways to love not only my friends, but to love my enemies. Help me to act like Hermione does, to love my enemies into friends. Help me love like you loved on the cross. Help me to care more for others than for myself. Give me perceptive insight into ways I can show love to everyone, everyday, everywhere so they may see your love for them through me and turn to you. I love you. Amen.

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  The Mirror

  “It [the Mirror of Erised] shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts. You, who have never known your family, see them standing around you. Ronald Weasley, who has always been overshadowed by his brothers, sees himself standing alone, the best of all of them. However, this mirror will give us neither knowledge or truth. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible.

  “The Mirror will be moved to a new home tomorrow, Harry, and I ask you not to go looking for it again. If you ever do run across it, you will now be prepared. It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that. Now, why don’t you put that admirable Cloak back on and get off to bed?”

  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (p. 213)

  In an interview, J.K. Rowling said that the quote, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live,” is a philosophy she believes in.

  Rowling should know. If she had spent her life dreaming of writing a book, but never uncapped a pen or powered up a computer, she would never have become one of the best selling authors of all time.

  We can’t pray, “God give me this or grant me that. Open this door, or open that door,” if we are not willing to get up and go to work. Why should God open a door if we won’t lift our hand to knock?

  In Luke 11:9-10 (GNT) [emphasis is mine] Jesus says, “Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For those who ask will receive, and those who seek will find, and the door will be opened to anyone who knocks.”

  Our prayers and petitions must be backed by action. James 2:26 says, “...as the body without the spirit is dead, also faith without actions is dead.” J.K. Rowling couldn’t pray, “Lord give me a publishing deal,” never write a word, and then become a best selling author. She had to pick up her pen and put it to paper, she had to back up her prayer with action.

  Question: What are you praying for? Are you backing your prayers with action? Or, are you sitting in front of the mirror dreaming your days away?

  Challenge: Make a list of what you are praying for. Next to each item write down what actions you are taking to see the answer to that prayer manifested in your life. If it is to get healthy, are you making healthy lifestyle choices? Are you seeking knowledge on diet and exercise? Are you eating the carrot or are you eating the French fry?

  If it is a dream of writing, are you picking up your pen? Are you reading books on how to become a better writer? Are you seeking out groups to connect with other writers? Are you reading and learning from your favorite authors?

  If it is opening your own cupcake shop, are you baking everyday? Are you scouring cookbooks to come up with new recipes? Are you volunteering to bake cupcakes for parties and events? Have you researched business cards? Are you going to other successful cupcake shops to ask how they started and are running their business?

  Your dreams won’t come true until let them.

  Work your prayers and your prayers will work for you.

  Verse: “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” - James 2:26 (ESV)

  Prayer: Father, I pray for miracles in my life. I pray for you to fulfill my needs and desires. But more so I pray for your guidance so that I can act and act efficiently. I pray for your strength to back my faith with works. I pray for your guidance so that all I do will be good and pleasing to you and bring honor and glory to your name. I pray Father, but more so I vow to back those prayers with actions. I love you. In your Son’s precious name. Amen.

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  Firenze in the Forest

  “Do you not see that unicorn?” Firenze bellowed at Bane. “Do you not understand why it was killed? Or have the planets not let you in on that secret? I set myself against what is lurking in this forest, Bane, yes, with humans alongside me if I must.”

  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (p. 257)

  Firenze is a centaur, and centaurs do not help humans. Their kinds do not mix. Similarly, the Jews and Samaritans did not mix because of their highly different and opposing beliefs—the Samaritans believed they were from the lost tribes of Israel, and the Jews disagreed. In fact, there were often violent outbreaks between the two groups.

  When Bane, a centaur ruler, finds Firenze with Harry—a wizard—on his back, he is disgusted. Centaurs are not to be mules to humans. However, Firenze, like the Good Samaritan, sees the bigger picture. He sees that the world is bigger than centaurs and humans; it is filled with evil and hatred and the only way to fight the evil and hatred is to love one another.

  When Jesus was asked by a teacher of the Law, a Jew, who he meant when he said, “Love your neighbor,” Jesus responded with the parable of the Good Samaritan: three men passed a man who had been attacked by robbers. Two were considered holy men of God, but they did not stop to help the man. The third was a Samaritan, a pagan by Jewish standards, an enemy, yet he not only stopped to help the beaten man, he paid for his medical treatment.

  Jesus then asked the teacher who he thought acted most like a neighbor to the beaten stranger. The teacher answered that the man who was kind to the beaten man acted most like the neighbor. (Luke 10:25-37.)

  Jesus, God, calls us to love everyone, everyday, everywhere. Soren Kierkegaard, a 19th century philosopher, added that Jesus means we are to love without distinction. We are all neighbors in this world. Whether we like each other or not does not change the fact that God loves each of us.

  Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity are dedicated to the verse, “Whatever you do for t
he least of these, you do for me.” They are not helping people but helping “Christ in his distressing disguise.” How we treat each other is how we treat God (Matthew 25:40).

  Everyday people present opportunities for us to go against the grain, to take the narrow path and to show love. Sometimes they are the people closest to us, sometimes they are strangers, and sometimes they are enemies, but they are all God’s children.

  Question: How are you loving God? How are you loving those he loves? Who has been a Good Samaritan in your life? Who have you been a Good Samaritan to lately?

  Challenge: Choose to help someone today, not because of who they are, but because of who created and loves them. Maybe you can slow down to let someone in front of you in traffic, stand on the bus so a pregnant woman can sit, or help someone load groceries into their trunk, or just offer to take their cart to the drop off area for them. Try to integrate Good Samaritan acts into your everyday life.

  If we each did something nice for someone else everyday, world peace wouldn’t be such a lofty dream, would it?

  Verse: “Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.” – Matthew 25:40 (MSG)

  Prayer: Lord, Please give
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