Dead Wisdom

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I am not a big zombie movie lover. I like vampire movies and werewolf movies but zombies…no. My sister kept posting about a show called “The Walking Dead” so I decided to give it a try. I was hooked from the very first show. Here we are seven seasons later and I love the show and the characters.

One of the first things you pick up on in the show is…hello! there are dead people everywhere wanting to eat your guts out…literally! As the show progresses you find that the zombies are only part of the characters worries. Not only do they have to contend with lack of food, water, medical supplies, but they also have other living people who want what they have. As a matter of fact, they have run into many, many who try to steal from them or kill them just to get their supplies.

(Spoiler Alert)
In season 3 the group encounters The Governor. He is a ruthless man who kills anyone who has what he wants and keeps his dead daughter in a closet in hopes the town doctor can find a “cure.” He is bad and one of those guys you love to hate.

In season 7 the group encounters Negan. He is much worse than the governor and kills two beloved characters. Not only does he kill them, he beats them until there is nothing left of their heads. He kills the first one as an act of power. The second he kills because one of the members tried to oppose him. And he laughs and makes fun every time he kills. What is odd is that when one of his men tries to rape one of the females in the compound, Negan kills him. He says no raping will be tolerated.

As I watched this horrible character do absolutely horrendous things causing me to hate him and cry for those whom he killed, I realized that we live in the world of The Walking Dead.

The zombies are those in the world without Christ. Those people who walk and eat but are dead and are only trying to satisfy their basic needs. Their lives will end in the ultimate final death if they do not turn to God.

The ones still alive are Christians. They are not only looking to survive but to live. Rick and his group try to help where they can. They take in others. And they hold life precious, not only to their loved ones who are still alive but their loved ones who die not wanting to burn their bodies but bury them.

Negan is one of the living. Negan is one of the examples (albeit poor) of Christians in the world today. Negan has his community that is based upon who has more to give. And if you have more to give then you get more. He gets whatever he wants including as many wives as he wants no matter whose wife they are. And he has no problem eliminating those who oppose him or that he has not need for. He kills them laughing all the while. But when someone else kills (without his permission) or commits another offense Negan thinks is bad, they are punished. Severely.

There are so many Christians in the world today who are like Negan. These are Christians who think they are above God’s Law not needing to repent for their sins. Christians who take what they want not caring who they hurt to get it. Christians who think they deserve more or better because they are in positions of power. Christians who commit heinous crimes and excuse them but then turn around and condemn others for their sins.

If you think I am being harsh I’m not. I say this having been yelled at by Christians in my home congregation. Knowing other Christians who have also been yelled at or spoken ugly to because someone else didn’t like the way they were doing things. Christians who commit terrible sins but condemn others for not being at church on Sunday.

You start to watch this show thinking the zombies are bad when they are not the worst to be on the look out for. You go through this life thinking it is non-Christians we need to watch out for when it’s those who you have your back to that you need to watch. Those who say they love you to your face and then stab you in the back the second you turn.

We need to help those lost in need of Christ, but we need to be wary of those we worship with.

That’s not the way it should be, but that is the way it is.

Shake the Dust Off…

Matthew 10:14
Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.

I have posted a few times about a dear friend of mine who was making some really bad decisions. She went from living with one man to living with another within a month of each other. When I called her to confront her about it, we got into an argument. I thought the decisions she was making were detrimental to her relationship with God. She didn’t see it that way. To her, as long as she wasn’t committing any “big” sins, she thought she was okay. I tried to talk to her but all she did was justify her sins. It was truly heartbreaking. By the time we finished talking, I think we both knew she was going to continue to do what she wanted, and it had a profound effect on our friendship. As I suspected, since that conversation, she has not responded to my texts nor FB instant messages. I will give her some time to respond before removing her as a friend.

You may think this sounds harsh, removing her as my friend simply because she didn’t take my advice. But clearly she doesn’t want to have anything to do with me anymore, and I am sure that is most likely coming from her current boyfriend.

Jesus told the apostles in Matthew 10 that if the city or household they stayed in did not heed their words, they were to shake the dust off their feet. He said it would be better for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that city. Talk about scary. That also sounds kind of harsh to not have anything to do with someone just because they didn’t heed what you said. But if you speak truth for their own good and they choose not to listen, who do you think they will come running to when their choices turn sour? You, of course. And just like my friend, will they learn? Maybe. But most likely not. Until they learn, shake the dust off your feet. Have nothing to do with them.

I am certainly not saying, unfriend everyone who doesn’t listen to you. We would lose most of our friends. But if they refuse to talk to you after you provide them with sound advice, then why stick around? Why try to be friends with someone who doesn’t want to be friends with you? And that is where I am at right now. She hasn’t responded to me in two weeks, but she hasn’t removed me from her FB either. I know exactly what she is thinking. She doesn’t want to let me go, just in case she is allowed to talk to me, again. But I have learned, life is too short to throw my pearls before swine.

You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink. She doesn’t want to talk to me, that is her choice. But I refuse to sit around and wait. I have chosen to shake the dust from my feet.

A Better Parent

Matthew 7:11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

I saw a FB post of a conversation between a mother and daughter. The daughter asked why she couldn’t buy something at the sales event they were at and the mother said they make the money so they can buy. This implying that the daughter can buy when she makes the money. One of her friends posted a picture showing a light switch, the cooktop burner, a water faucet, and food, all with gift bows on them. It amazes me how we think. Our children ask for something and we point to the things we give them that they need, when our children are asking for things they want. One of my friends had her child working for her in her shop, but when the time came to pay him, she pointed to the food in the refrigerator as his payment. I got onto her for that because he cannot learn about earning money if he is not getting paid. By not paying him, they are just frustrating him, and he will learn no work ethics.

What would happen if God did the same to us?

When we pray and ask God for a better car because ours is having problems. What would you do if God put a gift bow on your feet and told you to walk. Or when we pray and ask God for a new job and you woke up the next morning to find gift bows on the sun, atmosphere, and the earth. How would you feel as a child of God if you asked for something you want and God told you that He already gives you what you need. Or what about the preacher who works and works and when he asked God to be paid, God pointed him in the direction of the church’s food pantry.

Sometimes we forget that when God gave us the gift of our children that it was an unwritten agreement that we would care for them, cloth them, provide for them. We promised we would give our children the things they need. That is called being a parent. Being a better parent is sometimes giving to your child what they want. Not because we should spoil them, but because it gives our heart joy to see our children happy. I know that we give to our children at Christmas, but that only comes around once a year. And let me tell you, having the love language of gift giving and only getting a gift once a year…it sucks.

My point to all this is to provide for your children but don’t throw it in their face when they ask for something more. God doesn’t do that. And when they do ask for more than you can give, make them earn it by paying them for chores. I know some parents give their children chores to do around the house, but with the amount of school work the teachers expected, my daughters didn’t have time for chores. When they were too young to work, and they wanted something more, I gave them a list of chores to do to earn money.

We are our children’s first authority figure in their lives. We should teach them about rules and the consequence of breaking them. We should teach them about money and using it wisely. We should teach them about responsibility and what happens when it is put into the hands of the wrong people. We should teach them about love and what happens when it is misdirected. We should teach them about honesty and the consequence of lying. We should teach them about community and the benefits of helping others.

Think about what God has done for you and how He has handled His children. And then model His example.

Pearls Before…

Matthew 7:6
Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

If you will recall a few weeks ago, I wrote a post about a girlfriend of mine who was trying to stay with a boyfriend who didn’t love nor respect her. The good news is that she is out of that situation. The bad news is that she is back into a similar situation with another man. When she called and cried about the boyfriend kicking her out, I gave her advice about what to do. 1) Don’t go back into another relationship too soon. Let yourself heal, 2) Remember God is willing to help you heal and help you find someone He desires for you if you wait on Him, 3) Get back into church where she could be surrounded by people who will help her to grow in God, and 4) When she does meet someone else, make sure he is a strong Christian. She is weak, she needs someone strong. A week later she called to tell me she met someone. I told her that wasn’t a good idea. She said they were taking it slow. I asked her if he was a Christian. She said, “He said he believes in God.” Isn’t that what the ex said, too? By the next week, they had already started sleeping together. He lives on the opposite side of the metroplex and she drives there to give him what he wants. When I heard this I was in shock. Not only did she not follow my advice, but she is back in the same situation she was just three weeks earlier. When I confronted her about the bad decisions she was making, she defended her actions and then said, “It’s not like I’m murdering someone or robbing someone. I’m a good person, and I believe I am in a better situation than I was before.”

Lies that she believes and that we all tend to fall victim to.

1. Getting into a new relationship after just getting out of another one is good. FALSE. When you give yourself intimately to someone you are make yourself one with them. When that is torn apart, it tears at your soul. That is one of the reasons why it is so important to only have sexual relations with your spouse. (I Cor. 6:16). Being in a relationship so soon after coming out of a serious one is just a band aid for a hemorrhage of pain you are suffering.

2. Why do we have to wait? No one waits anymore. DECEPTION. Although we live in the 21st Century, as Christians our values, morals, and beliefs are rooted in God’s Word that goes back to the beginning of time. Living as the world lives is never good, especially for a Christian. As Christians, we should strive to be Christ-like. Not in step with the world. In step with God (John 17:16).

3. I am in a much better place than I was before. FALSE. Making the same bad decisions leads to the same bad results. Albert Einstein said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” When God cleans our house and we do not put the Holy Spirit in there to fill the void, evil comes back seven fold (Matt. 12:45). We must fill ourselves with God or we are worse off than before, no matter what we think.

4. At least I’m not a murderer. YES, YOU ARE. James 2:10 says, “Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point he has become guilty of all.” When you break one part of the law, you break all of the law. We are all guilty of breaking all of the law. We are all sinners.

5. I’m a good person. FALSE. We all like to think we are “good.” But Jesus said in Luke 18:19 that “No one is good except God alone.” Jesus didn’t even call himself good. Don’t compare yourself with people. Compare yourself with Jesus. When we do that, none of us are good. In Isaiah 64:6, it says our good deeds are like filthy rags. When trying to measure up your deeds, compare them with what Jesus did, not what other people do or don’t do.

As I sat and listened to my friend go on and on lying to herself that she is in a better place than she was before, it irritated me that she didn’t listen to me. At all. It gave me a fractional taste of what God goes through every single day. How many times have I asked Him for advice or for truth only to not listen to him? How many times have I sought His council only to turn a deaf ear to it just so I can do what my flesh desires? I can tell you, too many times to count.

There is an old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” Such a true statement. My friend will get hurt again. And my friend will call wanting a shoulder to cry on. And she will be in this vicious cycle until she opens her eyes to see her own self worth and the value God has placed upon her. I will be here for her as a sounding board, a soggy shoulder, and a friend. But my prayers will be for her eyes to be opened. So that when that day comes, when she puts the needs of her spirit over the wants of her flesh, I will rejoice with her.

Just Say No

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A friend of mine was recently released from a relationship. That’s a nice way to say she was dumped. It wasn’t a good relationship, but it was a long one. It lasted five years and I have known her for half of that time. During that time I never heard anything good about it. He was always flirting with other girls, always making her angry, always threatening to leave, and there was never any commitment. They lived together but he never wanted to talk about marriage. So when he dumped her, he immediately hooked up with another girl. We speculated that he had her waiting on the side and was just waiting for the right moment to dump my friend and go hook up with his new victim. It was sad and my friend is hurting.

What she said next shocked me. She said she still wanted to have dinner with him, show him she can change, and hope to win him back. One, why do you have to change for him? He has known you for five years and knows you, why are you changing for him? And, two, why are you still going to see him? Why do you still want to be part of his life? As long as you are a part of his life, you will never heal. I understand she is hurting. I do. I’ve been through it. I know the routine. I know the desire to try to win someone back. But in groveling, you have no self-respect and the other person will not only not have respect for you, but it will fuel their pride that they think they should be won back.

I say all this to explain what I told her next. Right now…while you are not around him…while you are still hurting…while you still have some of your strength…Just Say No! Tell yourself that you will not see him. Tell yourself you will not answer his call. Erase his number. Unfriend him on FB. Do not have anything else to do with him. Cut him from your life. If you say, “I probably won’t see him” or “I’ll try not to call him”, you are allowing that little bit of weakness. Don’t. Decide now that the answer is No. By doing this, you make a promise to yourself.

Matthew 4:41 says, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Our spirit wants to do the right thing. It wants to stay strong. It wants to heal and move on. But our flesh is weak. Feed the spirit. Pray. Read God’s Word. Surround yourself with strong Christians. And never, under any circumstances find yourself alone with that person at night. We are weakest when we are hungry, sleepy, and at night. Set boundaries and do not allow yourself to breach them.

This rule of Just Say No was instituted by Nancy Reagan in a campaign against drugs but it works in every area of our lives. And when you find yourself starting to fail, speak it out loud…NO! Tell that temptation NO! Trust me, you may have to say it several times, but God always gives us a way of escape (I Corinthians 10:13).

Yoga Pose

Yoga Mats

I am not a fan of Yoga. First of all, I’m not good at it. Second, it is difficult. And third, there is very little movement. It is all about standing still and balancing and holding different poses. I love moving and doing those hard core, high intensity, work outs where you are jumping and punching and moving. I like to be moving.

This morning’s workout was called Isometrix. It is all about holding Yoga poses. It was only 30 minutes so I went ahead and did the workout. But I really wasn’t enjoying it because my mind was wondering what I was going to do for the evening workout because it was scheduled to be Yoga. And I’m not talking about just a 30, 45, or 60 minute Yoga workout. I am talking about a 1 hour and 36 minute workout. I was not looking forward to it. So when my son asked me if I was going to do Yoga, I said, “nope.” He tried to talk me into it but I kept turning him down.

After the morning working and the time grew closer for the evening workout I realized something. This 1.5 hour Yoga workout is hard! It has been years since I’ve done it but I remember it being very hard. But God told me that sometimes we need to stop moving and stand still. Sometimes some of the most difficult times is in standing still. Not because we are lazy or just don’t want to move but because God tells us to stand still. He maybe telling us to wait or He may be testing our patience or our faith in Him. Whatever the reason, when God says to stand still or stay in one place or rest, He tells us that for a reason.

As someone who likes to always be moving, it is difficult to keep still and rest. The world tells us that keeping still and resting is being lazy. It tells us that we are not productive unless we are moving. But when God tells us to keep still and rest, we are being more productive than if we defy Him and move. We are obeying Him and that is better than sacrifice, right?

When the time comes, and it will come, to keep still and rest, enjoy the rest. Enjoy the respite knowing that you are resting in God.

Talents

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My daughter introduced me to a very talented author by the name of Maggie Stiefvater. I have only read one of her books but it was an amazing book. Okay. She is a good author. I’ve read books written by lots of good authors. Then I found out this author draws, and draws very well. Then I found out that she writes music and plays instruments. She is multi-talented. And she does them all very well. I made a comment on one of my daughter’s posts about her saying “It’s not fair. You only get one talent!” But we all know that isn’t true. I know it’s not true. 

In chapter 25 of Matthew, Jesus gives us the parable of the talents. We all know this parable, right? A landowner goes away on a trip and gives talents to his workers. He gives five to one of the workers, three to another, and one to another. While he is away the guys who got five and three put their talents to good use and made the landowner more money. The guy who was given the one talent took it and hid it in the ground and when his master came back he was so proud of what he did. He took the talent that was given him and he buried it. His master was very upset by the fact that the worker didn’t even put the talent in the bank so that it would earn interest while he was gone. The servant said he knew his master, and the master said “if you had known me” then you would have done this.

See where I’m going with this? Some people are given many talents and some are given few. I look at the talent that was given to me and I buried it for a long time. I took this gift that was given to me and I hid it so that no one knew about it. It has only been in the last few years that I have taken this talent out of hiding, brushed off all the dust, and have started using it again. It’s sad really. All those years wasted on frivolous pursuits when I could have been earning wages for my Master.

And it’s not about the money. It’s about trusting in God and using the talents He has given us for His glory. There are people out there who have been given many talents. I have a good friend who can sing, play an instrument, teach small children, and write. And do you know why God gave her more talents and He gave to me? Because He knew she would be more responsible with hers than I was with mine. I am not saying she is better than me; she is just a better steward of her talents than I have been. I am the servant with the one talent.

Thankfully, I realized what I had done and I unearthed my talent and am using it to glorify God. Thankfully, He saw that my soul was deserving of another chance. It’s truly scary to think that God has given each of us a talent and when we do not put it to good use we are wasting our lives.

I am very thankful for my talent and I pray that God allows me to earn wages for the Kingdom before He returns.

 

The Matrix

“There’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.”

This will be one of my next tattoos. This is a quote from the movie “The Matrix” when Neo tells Morpheus that he isn’t the one. But Morpheus tells him “there’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.” He tells him this because Neo does not believe he is the one and Morpheus does. As we find out, Neo is the one and only discovers it when he walks the path set before him. The only way he gets past his doubt is to start believing he can do something no one else can do.

We know the path a Christian should walk. But as we all know, there is a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path. It is much harder to walk it than to know it. Anyone can know it. But it takes a strong believer to walk the path God has set before them. As scripture says, “not turning to the right nor to the left.” It can be a lonely path. It can be a difficult path. It can be a deadly path. But it is the path that leads to God so no matter what happens, we know where we will end up and it is worth all the pain and turmoil.

Know what path you should take and then take it.

I plan to put this one on the inside of my left bicep. Because it is just a few words, and the location, it will be very painful. But the path that leads to God is also painful.

Ship Mates

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This is my fifth tattoo and the last one I had done. It isn’t the last one, just the last one I have had done.

One of my adopted daughters and I love to cruise. We are cruise fanatics. If we could stay on a cruise ship, I think we would.  We just don’t have the financial independence to do that. Every chance we get, we are sailing. We finally decided that we wanted to get matching tattoos. As we were searching for what we wanted that would go along with the cruising theme, I thought about ship anchors. Then I found the ship wheel and I loved it. So we decided that we should each get one. She got the anchor and I got the wheel, because you cannot have a ship without both an anchor and a wheel. So we went together and had these done.

This one is located on the inside wrist of my right arm. Recently, my husband and I took a cruise without our daughter and although we still had fun, it just wasn’t the same without her. Every time I saw something new I thought “I wish Katie was here to see this.” We have a lot of fun together and I miss her when she is not there.

This tattoo is for her because she is my cruising buddy.

LOTR

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This was my fourth tattoo. This also has a long backstory.

I am a big LOTR fan. I love watching the extended versions of the movies and I am currently going through and reading the series for the first time in my life. One of the reasons I am such a huge fan is because God spoke to me through this movie so many times! I wish I we had the time for me to share with you everything God has taught me but then this post would be extremely lengthy.

The Tree – This is the Tree of Gondor from the LOTR. I have always loved the Tree of Life and the fact that God put it in the garden of Eden for Adam and Eve. He gave them a choice to choose between the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They chose wrong. Every day of my life, every moment of my life, is filled with choices and I need to strive to always choose life. I have also seen many versions of the tree of life with some of them where the roots and branches encircle the tree. I don’t like these even though they are pretty because it makes it seem like the tree is self-sustaining and it isn’t. A tree cannot sustain itself just as we cannot sustain ourselves. We need God. Without Him we are nothing.

The Words – If you have watched the extended version of the The Two Towers there is the scene where Boromir comes back from a battle and his brother, Faramir, meets him. They share a brotherly moment when Boromir says “Remember today, little brother. Today life is good.” Then their father, Denethor interrupts them. Denethor loves Boromir and chides and belittles Faramir every chance he gets. Boromir knows this and does what he can to encourage and lift Faramir’s countenance. Those words…”Today life is good” reminds me that no matter what is happening in my life, no matter how bad it gets, today life is good because God is still on His throne and He is still in control and I am still in His care.

The Location – This tattoo is on the inside wrist of my left arm. It just seemed like a beautiful place for it. While I was getting the tattoo, my son-in-law was watching Danielle and he would ask her questions about what she was doing. At one point she got to the cartilage in my wrist and it was extremely painful when she hit that spot. When she moved on I was able to breath. Then my son-in-law said, “Are you going to correct that? It looks like you missed a spot.” Danielle said, “Yeah, I’m going back to that.” The spot he was talking about was right on that cartilage. She went back and I had to keep myself from pulling my arm away. Isn’t that like life sometimes? When we are in the midst of pain we can’t see the big picture, all we can feel is the pain and we want it to stop. But God sees the big picture and He knows what needs to be corrected. I’m glad now that she made the correction because I love the tattoo, but it was painful going through it.

“Life is pain. Anyone that tells you differently is trying to sell you something.” The Princess Bride