Lesson from a Zombie

September 30, 2022 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Dawn Wilson –

I’m not a zombie fan, but a TV commercial by Sprint Unlimited about an “undead” zombie made me laugh. In the commercial, a creepy-looking zombie asks a Sprint representative whether their “unlimited for life guarantee” also applies to someone who is “technically” not alive: “Like, maybe you were … undead”?

The Sprint rep replies, “Sure, like a zombie.” The slightly offended zombie suggests she not put “labels” on people. But when his ear falls off, he has to confess, “… I’m a zombie.”
Busted!

We never try to pretend to be something other than we’re not, do we?

I’m reminded that the Pharisees strutted around, proud of their good works. They thought they were fooling people with their self-righteousness. But Jesus saw inside their hearts to where their lives were falling apart.

He called them “white-washed tombs” (Matthew 23:27-28) full of dead men’s bones. Hypocrites.

Before we get all judgmental with the Pharisees, we need to check our own hearts.
• Are we filled with pride?
• Do we spend more time looking “spiritual” while our inner life—intimacy with God—would make us blush if others knew?
• Do we want people to think we’re better than we are?
• Do we modify our actions to appear “holier than thou”?
• Do we quickly condemn others, but get defensive when others point out our own failings?
• Do we get upset when people don’t notice our spiritual accomplishments?

When the zombie’s ear fell off, the obvious exposure made me laugh.

But I don’t laugh when others discover my façades.

The cure for all of this, of course, is to know God and to get real with Him so we can be real with others. It’s recognizing we don’t need to impress anyone. We certainly don’t need to appease or impress the Lord. When we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive; and He can certainly handle our everyday mistakes.

This is a call for authenticity. Honesty. Knowing who we are and Whose we are, and living in light of that truth. In Christ, we are accepted and secure, and we have dignity.

Once we know who we are in Christ, we certainly don’t need to pretend (like that zombie in the commercial) that we’re something other than what God says we are: sinners rescued by God’s grace on an incredible journey of transformation to become like His Son. Our greatest goal now is to live for the praise of His glory (1 Peter 4:11), not our own.

Eye of the Beholder

September 12, 2022 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Dawn Wilson –

A dear old saint was sleeping, coming out of anesthesia after some tests in the hospital. His sweet wife sat close by his bed.

Suddenly, his eyes opened and he spoke to her in slightly slurred speech, “Oh, you are so beautiful, so lovely.”

His wife smiled, deeply flattered, and stroked his hand with love as he drifted back to sleep. Sometime later, he woke up and turned to look at his doting wife.

“Hi Cutie,” he said.

“Cutie?” she said. “What happened to ‘beautiful’ and ‘lovely’?”

“I guess the drugs must be wearing off,” he said.

“Oh, you,” she said, slapping his hand, and turning away with a grin.

Ever heard the maxim: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”?

In every culture, people tend to measure themselves against unfair standards of “perfection,” defining beauty in narrow terms. Our vision of ourselves is subjective and limited; and some people grow up never recognizing or appreciating their own God-given beauty.

Just as our experiences of God’s creations are varied—consider a fragrant rose vs. a perky daisy, or enjoying majestic mountains vs. a sunset at the beach—human beings are also varied and unique. To appreciate the way God created us is to appreciate the artistry and wisdom of the Creator Himself.

I once knew a woman who was partially blind and “ordinary-looking,” according to some, but I felt she glowed with an inner strength that I so desired as a young girl. I often sat next to her, trying to capture her winsomeness and joy or learn from her vast store of wisdom. I saw beauty in her that went far deeper than appearance.

Certainly, a person can be beautiful on the outside and not so beautiful inside. The TV character Fred G. Sanford once said, “Beauty is only skin deep but ugly is to the bone.” I think his words define the core ugliness that comes from sin—a heart that turns from God, marred character and immoral conduct.

Though we are all “wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14 NIV), no one is completely beautiful this side of heaven. We all sin and are slowly falling apart until we die. We are marred images until God transforms us into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).

All true, lasting beauty comes from God. “Beauty is fleeting,” the Bible says, “but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30 NIV). No one escapes the signs of sin and aging, but true inner beauty thrives, including character, gifts, purpose, faith and all of the spiritual graces.

When the Father sees the redeemed, He sees His Son (Colossians 3:3-4; Romans 8:1; 1 Peter 1:3; Ephesians 2:13). And make no mistake, Jesus is beautiful. God declares us chosen, special, loved, free and so many other lovely blessings of being rooted in Christ (1 Peter 2:9, 1 John 3:1; Ephesians 1:3; John 8:36).

The faithful Christian’s desire will be to reflect Christ now and throughout eternity. “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2 ESV). Though declared righteous in Christ, someday we will be perfected in Him, just as our Creator intended.

Truly, “in the eye of the beholder”—as we gaze on Jesus—we will be changed.

Stating the Obvious

August 13, 2022 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Dawn Wilson –

I’m inclined to make obvious points. As a young wife, complaining about my body image one day, I told my husband, “I’d be a lot taller if my legs were longer.”

“You think?” he said, grinning.

I get a kick out of obvious statements like this one in a survey report: “Three out of four people make up 75 percent of the world’s population.”

No kidding.

Or how about this exchange in the crime novel Red Harvest:

“‘Who shot him?’ I asked.

“The grey man scratched the back of his neck and said, ‘Somebody with a gun.’” LOL!

This quirky malady—which I call status obviousitis—shows up in advertising a lot. A package of airline peanuts reads: “Eat after opening.” An umbrella stroller comes with these directions: “Remove baby before folding.”

Wordsmiths aren’t exempt either. One journalist’s headline declared, “Death Is Nation’s Top Killer!”

But stating the obvious can be useful; sometimes it’s part of a message God may want us to hear. I recall a pastor who said, “You can’t read your Bible unless you open it.” The congregation snickered, but got his point.

My husband says something similar. “You can’t put your Bible under your pillow at night,” Bob jokes, “and expect to learn God’s Word by osmosis.”

So I wondered whether Jesus ever stated the obvious, and I discovered He did.

In Luke 8:16, Jesus said, “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed”—an obvious conclusion. A listener would say, “That makes sense.”

Jesus continued, explaining how a person puts the lamp on a stand, “that those who enter may see the light” (Luke 8:16 NKJV). It was a lesson about how we can light up our world.

Sometimes Jesus asked an obvious question.

Remember the man by the pool of Bethesda in John 5? Many of the Jews believed an angel stirred up the waters of that pool to bring healing to people. But when a man saw Jesus, he cried out for help from the Healer Himself. Jesus responded in verse 6: “Do you want to be made well?” (NKJV).

Why did Jesus ask that? Wasn’t it obvious? Maybe Jesus just wanted the man to express the cry in his heart. Or maybe He wanted the man to become part of the healing event—a willing participant; and Jesus did heal him (5:8-9).

Sometimes, drawing attention to the obvious can open the door for us to help others hear a deeper truth. For example: “When you stop breathing, you die; and then what?” or “God created this world and He best understands how it works.”

Keep in mind, obvious statements may not be welcome, especially with one who rejects the existence or intervention of God. But for most people, we can start with simple, well-reasoned-but-obvious statements to create a climate for them to consider biblical truth.

Christianity is based on faith, but it requires us to think.

We can invite people to consider the world’s design, simple moral and ethical principles that people seem to instinctively understand and other “first” thoughts—thoughts that should be obvious.

In this crazy, mixed-up culture, we need to be brave and speak up, especially when declaring the obvious might help the world understand more about the God who loves us.

Relative Thinking

July 17, 2022 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Dawn Wilson –

No matter how bad our economy gets, I’m still wealthy at my local dollar store. I can buy everything I need: food and spices, dishes, personal and home care items, cleaners, school supplies, greeting cards, socks and underwear, toys and even holiday decorations. OK, maybe I need a few more things—I can’t live without coconut milk. Or my organic almond shampoo. Or a little bling. The truth is, I’m wealthy compared to most people in the world.

This is called “relative thinking.” It’s considering one thing in relation or proportion to something else. We are experts at relative thinking when it comes to our income.

A brain scan study by Professor Christian Elger and Professor Armin Falk at the University of Bonn in 2007 showed that no matter a person’s wealth, money is “most rewarding” when the person has poor friends, peers or colleagues. In other words, the region of the brain where the “reward system” is located responded when people felt they had more than others. This “keeping up with the Joneses” (and passing them) in order to stay happy and content traps us on a “hedonic treadmill,” one sociologist says. We become the ultimate consumers.

You’ve no doubt heard “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Most of the hungry, needy people in the world would love to sift through our trash or what we ditch in garage sales. Wealth is relative because of our attitudes.

We’re also experts at relative thinking in regard to our time. Think about it. Five minutes of a preschooler’s tantrum feels like infinity compared to the 10 minutes of peace that follows in “time out”. When we’re children, we can’t wait to be driving, married or in a career. Then, when we’re hobbling on a cane, we wish we could run with our grandkids. Watch the clock’s minute hand crawl by as you wait in a doctor’s office. But go to an amusement park and you’ll wonder where the hours flew. Time is relative because of our attitudes toward it. And so is our appearance. Fat is beautiful in Africa, but in Europe, trim is in.

Unfortunately for many people, spiritual life is also relative. Some chat with a giant in the faith and come away feeling like spiritual wimps. Others swell up with theological arrogance around those who are “new in the faith” and spiritually ignorant. Again, comparison at work.

My personal prescription to cure “relative thinking” is embracing God’s wisdom. It’s His perspective I want, not my own faulty, relative thinking. God says we are unwise to compare (2 Corinthians 10:12). He is more concerned about our hearts than our bank account or new wardrobe. God looks at our choices to see if we are focused on eternity.

Proverbs 4:7 counsels, “wisdom is the principal thing” (NKJV). Wisdom is learning to see life from God’s point of view, and that “life” includes our attitudes, finances, marriage, parenting, spiritual growth—everything!

The next time you pass a dollar store, remember how wealthy you are. Glance at your watch and ask God to help you redeem the time. Look in a mirror and remind yourself that God sees the heart. But most of all, thank God for transforming your thoughts and giving you wisdom’s perspective.

My “Bacon” Blunder

June 26, 2022 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Dawn Wilson –

Some things just make me go “Huh?”

I mean, I love bacon, but I wouldn’t buy the “Bacon-shaped Christmas ornaments” I saw online, or use a bacon-scented candle, or place a bacon-printed floor mat in front of my sink, or frost my cake with bacon-flavored frosting. I’m a wee bit tempted to create some “bacon roses” for a party, though. They just look so yummy!

My earliest recollection of the word “bacon”—other than the kind my mom fried up in a pan—was hearing Mom say it was Dad’s job to “bring home the bacon.” Years later I heard a commercial for Charles of the Ritz’s Enjoli perfume: “I can bring home the bacon! Fry it up in a pan! And never, never, never let you forget you’re a man. ‘Cause I’m a woman.”

The song was a parody of “I’m a Woman,” one of Peggy Lee’s signature tunes, and I embraced the philosophy. Her original lyrics explained she could scoop up lard “from a drippins can.” Then this awesome “W-O-M-A-N” would take that fat, throw it in the skillet, go out and do her shopping, and be back before it melted in the pan! Wow!

I thought, “Yes! I can do and be everything too. I’m tough. I’ll be a ‘bring home the bacon’ woman. I don’t need anyone. And when I get married, I’ll do my best to make a man feel he’s strong too (hopefully, stronger than me)!”

As I matured into womanhood in the Superwoman culture of the 60s, I felt driven to be all-powerful and self-sufficient. My goal was to read every self-help book I could put my hands on and achieve, achieve, achieve!

It took me years to understand that much of my self-confidence was founded in a proud heart and focused on performance. I was “wise” in my own eyes (Proverbs 3:7) and trusting in empty works (1 Corinthians 3:12-13).

God broke my heart in a revival meeting as I realized my self-confidence was getting in the way of “God-confidence.”

I was living independent of God, functioning like an atheist. I wasn’t seeking Him for advice and wisdom (Isaiah 30:1-3; James 1:5). I was trusting in my “strong flesh,” which was actually weak, limited, temporal and untrustworthy. I sadly realized flesh could only take me so far; ultimately it would fail me. And it was sinful. I was doing what came naturally instead of living supernaturally in Christ.

God wants so much more for us than “bringing home the bacon.” He has a great work for us to do for His kingdom, but He wants us to recognize that He is our Source. The more we seek Him and allow His Spirit to transform us (2 Corinthians 3:18), the more we will fulfill His purposes and find true satisfaction.

God is up to something beautiful, investing in our lives and shaping us for ministry. In His presence, we find peace, protection, provision, power—everything we need. HE is the one bringing home the bacon and so much more!

Maybe I need to buy and wear a bacon necklace I saw, to remind me of this great truth.

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