Should You Obey a Law That Forbids Worshipping God?

“I would rather die than to obey a law that prohibits worshipping God,” says Sarah, age 8. “I love God with all my heart. You should do what’s right. Obey what’s right, and you will be fine.”

Thank you for your incredible statement, Sarah. I’m amazed and challenged by your love and devotion.

“I would pray three times a day in the morning, at lunch and at suppertime,” says Lindsay, 11. “I would have a quiet time in the morning and at night.”

You’re in good company, Lindsay. The prophet Daniel prayed three times a day. His custom became the focus of a plot hatched by people who were jealous of his position in the court of King Darius.

The king signed a decree that guaranteed a luncheon with the royal lions if you prayed to any god or man other than the king. In other words, whoever violated the decree would become lion lunchmeat.

Daniel’s custom was to pray with his window open toward Jerusalem. It would have been very easy to justify closing the window during the 30 days of the decree. Daniel could have said: “Can you please shut the window? It’s kind of breezy in here today.” Not Daniel. His pattern never changed.

The rest of the story is well known. Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den, but the lions suddenly lost their appetites. This miracle apparently impressed the king, who issued another order: “I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom, men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.”

Sara, 10, is on target when she says, “You should set a good example for other people to know God, and not worship something else.” Amy, 11, adds, “It is better to die for a true God than living and worshipping a false god.”

Yes, Daniel is an example. Do you suppose he knew God would shut the lions’ mouths? Nothing in the Bible indicates he knew anything of God’s plan to turn the lions into house cats during his overnight stay in their den.

“If you believe in the real God, no matter what happens to you, you will not get hurt at all because God and his angels are always with you. That is having faith in God,” says Salar, 10.

Uh, excuse me, Salar. How do you explain the death of first-century Christians who were devoured by lions in the Roman Coliseum?

Obviously, it was God’s purpose to show unbelievers the courage and peace of Christians as they looked past death into the glories of heaven. As Stephen the evangelist was being stoned to death, he said: “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56).

The Scripture records that there was a young man named Saul who consented to Stephen’s death. Later, that young man’s name was changed to Paul — the Apostle Paul. At the time of Stephen’s martyrdom, who would have ever guessed that one of the men consenting to his death would become God’s chief agent for spreading the gospel throughout the world?

“I think that if Jesus was able to give his life and die for us, we should be able to stand up and say that we will not obey a law that forbids us from worshipping him,” says Alyssa, 12.

Point to ponder: Laws that coerce people to worship false gods or the true God should not be obeyed.

Scripture to remember: “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men'” (Acts 5:29).

Question to consider: If a law were passed forbidding the worship of God, would you obey it?

Family Films at the 2017 Florida Film Festival

Though focused primarily on programming for adults, in keeping with its annual tradition, the Florida Film Festival also offers a family programing sidebar with intriguing new independently produced movies that you probably won’t find at the local cineplex. In addition, the Spotlight Films category contains two kid-friendly offerings that take a look at children in diverse ethnic settings.

Family Programming at 2017 Florida Film Festival

Albion: The Enchanted Stallion

In its Florida Premiere, this adventure features a 12-year-old girl (Avery Arendes) who encounters a mysterious black stallion that leads her to the magical world of Albion. Only she can bring peace to those who live there and save the entire race of people from the evil General Eeder (John Cleese). Filmed in Bulgaria, Florida, and Michigan, this movie features exotic locales and kid-friendly comedy in an imaginative coming-of-age story suitable for the entire family. Directed by Castille Landon (who also plays the part of a young warrior), Albion: The Enchanted Stallion stars Jennifer Morrison, Debra Messing, Stephen Dorff, Daniel Sharman, Liam McIntyre, and Richard Kind. Run Time: 103 minutes. This film is unrated.

Big Booom

This claymation short gives a brief history of humanity and the world as seen through the eyes of Russian director and writer Marat Narimanov. Told in just four minutes using one single shot, viewers can see this eco-friendly film (one of three related shorts by Narimanov) making its Southeast Premiere when it screens before the full-length feature Supergirl. This film is unrated.

Supergirl

This documentary introduces audiences to 12-year-old Naomi Kutin, an Orthodox Jewish girl from New Jersey who is breaking worldwide records in powerlifting. Although she seems to be a normal girl, going to school, studying the Torah, and spending time with friends, she’s simultaneously struggling to maintain her title as the strongest girl in the world who can lift three times her body weight. Her ever-present mismatched knee socks and sweet smile belie the determination and courage of this one extraordinary supergirl. Directed by Jessie Auritt. Run Time: 80 Minutes. This film is unrated.

Family Friendly Spotlight Films at 2017 Florida Film Festival

Menashe

Based largely on the true story of the film’s star, Menashe Lustig, this drama explores family life in the heart of New York’s Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn. Within this ultra-Orthodox community, a mother is required to be present in every home with children. So when Menashe’s wife dies, tradition demands his young son be removed from his home to live with a married relative. The film looks at the final week before the wife’s memorial service, when father and son spend their last few days together. The movie was shot secretly within the Hasidic community that it depicts. Directed by Joshua Z. Weinstein. Run time: 81 minutes. This film is unrated; in Yiddish with English subtitles.

Step

This documentary chronicles three inner-city Baltimore girls in their senior year of high school at The Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women. Members of the Lethal Ladies dance team, Blessin Giraldo, Tayla Solomon, and Cori Grainger look ahead to next year in college (where each will be the first in her family to receive a higher education) while currently working on the Bowie State step competition. Directed by Amanda Lipitz. Run time: 83 minutes. This film is rated PG (for thematic elements and some language).

For more information about the Florida Film Festival, visit the official website.