A Whole New World Awaits

A close-up of far-away space displaying orange and white nebula and many stars


Disney has done it again. Perfect casting and memorable songs brought to life in the newest of live-action reboots, Aladdin. I wasn’t much into the animated version, but with real people on-screen, I felt the emotion.


During the magic carpet ride, the central theme of the movie hit me. It’s a tale of identity – truly discovering who you are and becoming that person.


[There are no movie spoilers in this post and this is not a movie review, but I do give Aladdin a thumbs up.]


Silhouette of magic carpet to indicate that a thought is complete and a new though is being introduced



Each of the main characters struggled in their unique ways to live out their truest of identities. I think it's the same for us. We sometimes feel out of place or we feel the urge to go against the flow. The person we are deep inside points us to a place that is often different enough from the norm that becoming that person is an uphill climb. But I’m writing to say be brave. Be that person.

I’m not saying to be that doctor, or be that philanthropist. I’m not talking about vocations or even greater pursuits. I’m writing about something deeper. Deeper, yet simple.

God gave us an emptiness in our hearts that He wants to fill. We may not recognize it as such, but He gave each of us the sense that there is a future after life on earth.

I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.
He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the human heart;
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes 3:10-11


Do you feel your heart confirm the reality of eternity?


We long for meaning and purpose and answers, and we fill our longing with many things: accomplishments, popularity, things that money can buy, things that money can’t buy… But deep down inside, we realize that none of these things satisfy perfectly. Deep down inside we know that eternity begs for our attention.


Silhouette of magic carpet to indicate that a thought is complete and a new though is being introduced

  
While the on-screen Aladdin romance flourished during that magic carpet ride, I fancied the promise of new life for the young couple. But during that scene, God reminded me that He, Himself, can show us the world, as the feature song repeats, but He’s more interested in giving us a whole new world instead.

So, let’s ride the magic carpet for a moment, and look at our world from a different vantage point. Look around at what we’ve accomplished. Look at where we’ve been. See the journey we’ve planned in our hearts. Consider life and the future. See it all with eternity in mind.

Deep in our hearts, there is an emptiness. King Solomon, the wisest and richest man of his day, wrote the verses above about eternity. He also wrote this:

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless,
a chasing of the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.

Ecclesiasts 2:10-11


“All vanity and striving after wind? Nothing to be gained? Those are some heavy words. But it gets worse! Solomon continued in verse 17, ‘So I hated life…”1 Solomon had it all and he sought to satisfy himself in many ways, yet he hated life. His pursuits came up empty.



Silhouette of magic carpet to indicate that a thought is complete and a new though is being introduced


If you recognize this void in your heart, let God fill it. He reserved that empty spot for Himself. If you’re tired of searching, look closer. He’s just a reach away. Find yourself in Him. Be who He made you to be.

God can show us the world, though He probably won’t. But He can show us who He made us to be. He can fill the void and give us purpose. He knows us better than anyone can, and He sent His Son, Jesus, to reconnect us to Himself.

In the Garden of Eden, God walked and talked with Adam and Eve. He enjoyed spending time with them. Everything was good. But Adam’s bite of the forbidden fruit separated all generations from God (Romans 5:12). So, God sent His Son to pay for Adam’s sin, and every sin each of us would ever commit. Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins, but He rose from His grave and conquered death (1 Corinthians 15:20-22).

When we believe this, God sees us as sinless and we can share eternity with Him. Our emptiness is filled with His forever love, and we enjoy a whole new world today and forever.

A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view…

A whole new world
A dazzling place I never knew…

(partial lyrics to A Whole New World by Brad Kane and Lea Salonga, Aladdin: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, 1992)


God is reaching down to us to fill our hearts and give us a whole new world. Open your heart to receive Him.

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Psalm 34:8


  
1(Only God Can Fill the Void, from Hunger & Thirst Devotional by Dr. Tim Clinton, November 28, 2016, https://www.drjamesdobson.org).



Silhouette of magic carpet to indicate that a thought is complete and a new though is being introduced



If you want to know more about God’s love and how to have a relationship with Him, please email me at authordlv@att.net.

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Comments

  1. Amen. Let us fill our hearts with Him today and everyday. :-)

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    1. Yes, amen. God has filled our hearts with so much and has more in abundance to offer. Heaven is going to be wonderful.

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  2. Hey Stephen, love how God spoke to you during the movie. Such great takeaways. And our hearts were created to confirm the reality of eternity. But this struck a cord,

    'We long for meaning and purpose and answers, and we fill our longing with many things: accomplishments, popularity, things that money can buy, things that money can’t buy… But deep down inside, we realize that none of these things satisfy perfectly. Deep down inside we know that eternity begs for our attention." Amen!

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    1. Hi Karen. I truly believe that many of us feel like this is true but something is holding them back from accepting it. I hope and pray that many will take that next step in faith. God is waiting with open arms, ready to fill us to satisfaction. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  3. Okay, now I have to see this movie! (Ha ha ha... ) love how you saw a "bigger picture" than what Disney filled that screen with—an eternal perspective. That is awesome! I spend much time thinking about what our eternal destination will be like. It fascinates me and captivates my imagination. From reading your post, I can see it captivates your thoughts, too. After all, as you said, God has put eternity in our hearts.

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    1. The live-action version is better than the animated one, in my opinion, and I also noticed an interesting relationship between fear, love, and worship/servitude. But that's for another post. I don't think we will ever get the the bottom of eternity. It will take forever for us to figure it out. But, yes, I think it will captivate us for that long as well, and that's no joke! Thanks for reading.

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  4. A love how you used the movie to help make your point. Very well done Stephen. God can speak to us at such unsuspecting times if we are willing to listen and I am so glad you did. We do all need to keep our eye focused on the bigger picture with eternity in our hearts

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    1. The movie has a lot of great messages but, of course, muddied by faulty life perspectives. I pray that those who read this post that are seeking truth can understand that God cares about their eternity and He wants to give them a whole new world. Thanks, Yvonne.

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  5. Yes, I certainly feel the pull of eternity on my heart! But that pull can wane from the distractions of this world. Thank you for the reminder that God desires to fill my life (and my eternity!) with Him!

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    1. I'm in the same boat, Emily. It's so much more natural to think of the here and now at the expense of the eternal. Less of me, more of Him. And more of Him to those who do not yet know Him.

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  6. The wonderful magic of Disney. And the more wonderful power of God--who has a plan for our lives--a whole new world for us here and now and another, better one later on.

    Thanks and God bless!

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    1. Yes, Nancy. The all powerful God and Creator of the universe cares about each one of us, and to those who will call Him Lord, He gives the hope of Heaven and a forever relationship with Him. We praise Him.

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  7. This is just beautiful, Stephen. I love how we can see God in all things -- from a sunrise to a Disney movie. His love and His reminders are all around us. And He does give us a WHOLE NEW WORLD. I am so grateful for this.

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    1. Thank you and glad this was meaningful for you. The more we get to know Him, the more we see Him and hear Him. He is surely speaking and working.

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  8. I enjoyed the whole post but my mind is still back here: "We sometimes feel out of place or we feel the urge to go against the flow. The person we are deep inside points us to a place that is often different enough from the norm that becoming that person is an uphill climb."
    Be brave and be that person is such great encouragement! Thanks

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    1. So glad there was a nugget in here for you, Beth. I hope and pray that there are also those who are brave enough to follow that nudge to accept God's free gift of salvation and an eternal relationship in His arms.

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  9. Love this: "Deep down inside we know that eternity begs for our attention."
    So good!

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    1. Thank you, Ava. Our hearts long for an eternal relationship with God, but it gets cloudy and the heart is deceitful. I'm praying for open hearts that will hear God's call.

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  10. Stephen, I love this post! I like how you took a modern day song and translated that to a spiritual lesson. Jesus did that when He taught the people using parables. Now when I hear that song, I will remember your post. One aspect of this post that I want to hang onto is this:

    “All vanity and striving after wind? Nothing to be gained? Those are some heavy words. But it gets worse! Solomon continued in verse 17, ‘So I hated life…”1 Solomon had it all and he sought to satisfy himself in many ways, yet he hated life. His pursuits came up empty.

    Seeking satisfaction and our identity from this side of heaven does indeed end up being empty. But the new world of Christ and His wealth of love, mercy, and grace lives on and on and fills us with a peace that we can hardly explain.

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  11. That's very cool about the parables, Marcie. I hadn't thought about that. That song has been going through my head so much over the past week that I'll probably think of the song every time I think about eternity and how God gives us new life with new purpose, meaning, and relationship. I love how you describe our new life: wealth of love, mercy, and grace, along with peace. That is our riches beyond compare. Thank you for this encouragement.

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  12. Stephen, I love the Disney movies and musicals and you took this one to a whole new level for me! It is a great skill to take a pop culture movie and help us see such deep spiritual applications. Excellent job! I believe seeing these kinds of connections from everyday life to eternal life, can really help people in the world see Jesus and the gospel message in a whole new way. Thank you for this inspiring post! I'll be singing these songs today!

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    1. Yes, Melissa. This is my hope and prayer for this post: that readers will see Jesus and those who are reluctant to receive God's free gift of salvation would, with eternity as a priority, take that step of faith. We don't need to fit in. We can enjoy a whole new world.

      And, be careful. Once you start singing those Disney songs, it's hard to stop!

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  13. Excellent points! Aladdin also points out the importance of both truth and forgiveness. I really want to see the new one!

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    1. Yes, I can see those points, Candice. I prefer live-action over animation, so to me the new one is better. I could relate to and feel for the characters much more. Thank you for reading. Enjoy the movie.

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  14. Replies
    1. Thanks Stephen. I pray that some will be one step closer to receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord.

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  15. I wanted to see the movie before but now for sure I want to see this movie!

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    1. Hi Julie. There is a demand for fear-based worship in the character of Jafar that is interesting to watch which reminded me about how perfect love casts out fear and that our worship of the true God is not out of fear that we will lose our lives if we don't worship. It is a response to God's love for us and we worship because we want to. Striking similarities to the Nebuchadnezzar story. But all this is for another post! Enjoy the movie.

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  16. What a beautiful post contrasting Aladdin with our real life world and eternity. The idea of looking at our world through the lens of eternity is one I need to be more intentional with. And, like so many others have said, I wanted to see this movie before reading your excellent post, but I want to see it even more now. :)

    Well written, Stephen!

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    1. Thank you so much, Jeanne. Being eternity-minded sure doesn't come naturally. The here and now really vies for our attention and consumption. But I'm thankful for the many reminders, big and small, from God as He tells us He is still here and personally involved in our lives. Thank you for reading and commenting and I hope you enjoy the show!

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  17. This is a winsome gospel presentation, Stephen. He has certainly set eternity in our hearts, causing us to yearn for him.

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    1. Yes, Melinda. We yearn for Him whether we realize it or not. May we respond to the tugging in our hearts. Thank you for visiting.

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