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.

The Details Are a Little Etch-a-Sketchy

September 25, 2022 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Rhonda Rhea –

I was working on a book in a wild fury. My fingers had been flying across the keyboard for the better part of an afternoon. I was in “the zone,” man. The zone is a very happy place for a writer to be—especially when a deadline is inching nearer. And by “inching” I actually mean barreling down like a locomotive.

Procrastination, however, just seems to be my way. I think it’s because I work so much better with that good, panic-driven rush of adrenaline. I’m pretty sure I do my best writing when I’m just this side of hyperventilation.

My computer had been misbehaving for days, and as the deadline loomed and I was rounding the corner of Chapter 21, my computer did something very evil. It swallowed an entire afternoon’s work. No recovery options. Gone. All that adrenaline down the drain! I felt like I’d been run over by The Little Engine That Couldn’t. I’m still considering typing my next manuscript on an Etch-a-Sketch.

There was no way to replace what I’d written. It’s not even that the details I’d put in there were sketchy. They were completely gone from my head. With any creative thought that might crop up in my little brain, the words slowly ooze out of the brain cells, track down the arms and through the fingers, then roll into the computer. But it’s a one-way track. Just trying to remember little tidbits of the book parts I’d lost, I was working myself into a good cry and a whole new level of hyperventilation.

Those times of tears and hyperventilation have a distinctive way of snapping me around to the most basic reality: God is in control. He wasn’t freaking out about those couple of chapters I’d lost. He didn’t have a hand on each of His cheeks with an “Oh no! Never saw that coming. How can I make any ministry happen here now?”

He is in control—and He’s the one I should run to and rest in. When I’m in the midst of a train wreck, and just as enthusiastically when life is clicking along on the smoothest tracks. Even when I’m in “the zone.”

He tells us in Isaiah 46:10, “I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will,” (HCSB). Beginning, end and everything in between. He’s already written the story. Every chapter.

The psalmist speaks of “the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples,” (Psalm 65:6-7, ESV). A paraphrase of His name here is “Earth-Tamer, Ocean-Pourer, Mountain-Maker, Hill-Dresser, Muzzler of sea storm and wave crash” (MSG).

The God who can muzzle the wave crash is certainly not undone by a computer crash. He is the sovereign all-powerful One. The Most High. He is the Redeemer. To say He’s more powerful than a locomotive is the ultimate in understatement. He’s just…MORE.

As you might guess, He was more than powerful enough to redeem the chapters I lost. I even liked the new ones better. Makes me wonder why I ever hyperventilate. Trusting in His power is so much better than breathing into a brown paper bag. And it’s for sure, He’s the only one who can put my loco in any kind of motion.

Popping, Snapping, Clicking, Whoosh!

September 21, 2022 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Liz Cowen Furman –

Our little motel near Yellowstone in Wyoming finally joined the 21st century. Armed with a grant to cover the cost, the telephone and power companies joined forces and installed new fiber optics and updated power cables.

When the men came to visit with me about their plan and how they would have to trash my big flower bed, they seemed so afraid to tell me. They were scared of my reaction. It was early August and my flower beds gush flowers during August.

What they didn’t know is that even though I was able to coax and cajole that particular flower bed to produce beautiful blooms, it had been quite difficult to do. Rocks, rocks and more rocks, an old tree stump and old water and power lines made it nearly impossible to turn over the dirt. When I heard they would be coming to dig it up I was so excited! Their shocked faces were priceless when I asked “How soon can you get here to begin?”

Finally, our day came. The men arrived early in the morning to warn me so I could transfer the perennials to holding crates until they were finished. I watched them as they began the process of gouging across the bed and through the drive.

Standing near the edge of the 5 foot-deep hole, I discovered that the old stump was actually an old telephone pole that had been sawed off. It was three feet long. No wonder I couldn’t dig it up.

The man running the back hoe was coaxing giant rocks out of the opening. Just as I was about to say how close he looked to the wires, we heard a popping-snapping-clicking sound, and then “WHOOSH”.

Black smoke and big flames sprang from the line as it snapped. The man standing in the hole with a shovel jumped out in one terrified leap.

We looked up just in time to see the same flames and black smoke enveloping the side of our motel. And then nothing. The power was out. Not just on our property but all over town.

I had guests arriving in a few hours and no electricity. Our motel is not posh, but we at least have electricity. We waited for the electricians to come check it out. It took several hours and what they discovered was that the old telephone box, the one that is no longer in use, took the hit for the entire motel. I couldn’t believe it. (Secretly, I had hoped for new wiring…ha ha).

The electricity was knocked out clear to the substation but in just a few hours they had us back online. Before the guests even arrived.

I couldn’t help but think how amazing it was that the box took the hit for the entire motel. It kind of reminded me of how Jesus took the hit for the entire human race. I am ever thankful for that fact, and ever amazed that he would die for my sins, before I ever committed them. He died for you, too.

Stepping on a Crunchy Leaf

September 15, 2022 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kim Stokely –

There are two types of people in this world. Those who can simply walk down a sidewalk of fallen leaves, and those who must step on the crunchy ones.

I fall in the second category. I anticipate the opportunity each autumn brings to scuffle through the brightly colored foliage and listen to the rustle every step makes. Nothing makes me happier than spying a particularly puffy dried leaf and going out of my way to step on it. I love listening to its satisfying pop as I help it make its way back to the earth a little quicker. I refuse to be labeled a sadist, I am simply helping to complete the circle of life.

I know there are others like me. A friend of my daughter’s shared that her best and worst fall experience happened at the same time. Walking across the college campus on a particularly bright and brisk autumn day, she spied a huge pile of leaves. Overcome by their siren call, she raced toward the pile and jumped. Her happiness was quickly snuffed when she pulled herself out of the mass of foliage, only to spy a groundskeeper with a leaf blower, glowering down at her.

Alas, some people do not have a sense of humor.

Fall, more than any other season, brings out the kid in me. I long for hot apple cider and soft hooded sweatshirts. Pumpkin muffins and corn stalks. Warm blankets on chilly afternoons. I don’t know why this season, more than any other, speaks to my inner child, but it does. And for that I’m grateful.

Maybe it’s because the days are shorter that I seem to treasure them more. I pay attention to the color of the leaves and the sky, when at other times of the year, I am simply too wrapped up in my own thoughts to notice God’s creation.

Maybe it’s because I know I’ll soon be cocooned inside my house for the long winter, that I now find time to take an afternoon walk and thank Him for the gift of this world.

Perhaps it’s because, each autumn, I’m reminded of God’s unlimited grace. We live in a fallen world. One where our lives can often feel as bleak and gray as a rainy September day. But there is always the promise of the coming spring, just as there is always hope for our futures in God’s love.

So today, I shall walk outside and step on a crunchy leaf. And when I do, I will rejoice that I serve a merciful, loving, and gracious God.

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.

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