Don’t Rent Out Your Grey Matter

June 14, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Dawn Wilson –

Back in the 1990s, I read some words by Lee Ezell that gave me a new perspective on forgiveness. “When you do not forgive,” Ezell said, “you permit your enemies to live rent free in your head. Evict them today.”

A few years later, while teaching a women’s Sunday school class, I realized that I was renting out my grey matter to my big-time enemy—the Devil himself—and over a lot more issues than forgiveness! Whenever I believed the lies that he whispered in my ears, I gave him space to do his dastardly work.

Some of the dumbest lies I ever believed were regarding my call to ministry. The Lord called me to encourage, energize, and edify women. I heard the call clearly, and I studied to prepare my heart and mind to share biblical truth at every opportunity the Lord would give me. I said a big “yes” to God … but then the lies began.

“You’ve seen those lady speakers, haven’t you? Those pretty young things? Who do you think is going to listen to you, Grammy Wilson?” Ah, the age lie.

“How can you speak to people?” the enemy continued. “You’ve got a big gap between your front teeth, and have you seen your fat ankles lately? People won’t listen to what you say because they’ll be too busy staring at your messed up bod!” Ugh… the appearance lie.

“And who do you think you are?” the enemy hissed. “You’re no brainiac, you know; and speakers and authors have to know technical stuff today. Remember? You’re such a techno-blonde!” The final, crushing blow—the abilities lie.

For a while, I allowed the enemy to move in and make himself comfortable. In no time, defeated, fearful thoughts took over and I decided that maybe God hadn’t called me after all.

Then I heard a pastor say words that continue to challenge my thinking today: “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2, HCSB).

Serving God isn’t about age, appearance, abilities, or anything else so self-focused. It’s all about God—discerning what He has called us to do, trusting Him to work, and obeying Him joyfully and without delay.

I’ve found everything I need—provision, protection, power, peace and more—in my Father’s mighty presence and enabling. He simply asks me to submit my thoughts to His control, allowing them to be transformed through the truth of the Word, and to actively resist my sneaky, deceitful enemy (James 4:7).

How about you? Do you have a brain tenant who wants to destroy you with his lies? Evict him and make more room for the Living Word. Ask God’s Spirit to speak truth to you and through you.

Honeymoon Hazard

June 10, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Stephanie Prichard –

On the last day of our honeymoon, Don and I went to the beach within walking distance of our hotel. Neither of us was big on swimming, but, c’mon, we were in Hawaii! Besides, we’d be making footprints on the very sand where they’d filmed the movie “From Here to Eternity.”

Wouldn’t you know it—I’d barely entered the water when I stepped on coral. It cut right into the tender flesh of my sole and hurt like crazy. I tried to staunch the steady dribble of blood with my towel, but my Marine Corps husband declared we had to return to the hotel and get medical attention. So, hanging onto my man, I hobbled what seemed like from here to eternity down the long, long sidewalk to our hotel. My progress was marked by a trail of faint but bloody footprints.

The air in the hotel lobby was cool against my skin after the long march in the sun. Yet perspiration beaded my body and trickled down my forehead. And the lobby seemed awful dim. I thought about removing my sunglasses, but the elevator doors opened and Don all but hauled me inside. Suddenly, my knees went rubbery; the walls spun.

The last thing I remember was Don punching the button for our floor. The elevator lurched upward, but I lurched downward. Don grabbed me with both arms and glanced at my face. My sunglasses, he told me later, were pushed to the side and hung from one ear. My eyes were open in a blank stare. My arms and legs were limp noodles. He struggled to hold me upright.

Ding. The elevator doors slid open. Five people stepped forward, but stopped halfway. Their eyes widened and their mouths went slack. No one said anything. They literally froze.

My husband stared back, equally frozen, seeing himself with their eyes—a man standing in a pool of blood, a young woman limp in his arms, her head thrown back, eyes open but not seeing, mouth drooling, sunglasses swaying from one ear.

Ding. The doors shut out his audience.

Belatedly, he realized the gawkers were standing in the hotel lobby. The elevator must have gone to our floor while he was distracted with me, then returned to the lobby for its new load of passengers. Quickly, he punched the button for our floor again. This time when the doors opened, he picked me up and carried me to our room.

Within an hour, we were at a hospital to have the gash cleaned. The doctor didn’t anesthetize my foot, evidently confusing me as the Marine instead of my husband. Big mistake. Not only were the bottoms of my feet ticklish, but inserting a probe into my wound and poking it around was asking too much of me. Without thinking—honestly, it was purely a reflex action—I kicked him in the face.

Fortunately, I only grazed his nose, but my husband was ordered to hold down my legs for the rest of the procedure. My wound was being cleansed for my benefit, but my body interpreted it as an attack and wanted to respond with its own aggression.

Isaiah 53 tells us about Jesus’ wound.

His wound was fatal—He died “for our transgressions” (v. 5). Why? To cleanse us—“by His stripes we are healed” (v. 5) And because His wound was voluntary, indeed purposed, He bore it meekly—“as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7b, NKJV).

Jesus took our wounds for His.

Did you know we’re on a honeymoon now? Yep, from here to eternity.

Half and Half and Half

June 4, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Rhonda Rhea –

Glass half full. Glass half empty. Doesn’t really matter so much to me. As long as mine is the full half. And also the glass should be a mug. Large. And also it should have coffee in it. And also both halves should be full. And it should all be mine.

I think I like my coffee with half and half. And at least another half. I might also need another side of math.

I saw a bumper sticker recently that said, “I want my coffee and I want it now.” I thought, “I want your coffee, too. And then after that, I’ll want my own coffee.” Judging from this alone, it’s obvious I can be pretty selfish when it comes to coffee.

When it comes to judgment, most of the time, we really don’t know the half of it. Or the other half. God’s love for us is perfect, complete. It’s a greater love than we can even comprehend. At the same time, God judges sin and evil. And just as His love is perfect, His judgment is also perfect. Glass half-full of judgment? No, God doesn’t do things halfway. He hates sin with as much passion as He loves people.

We need to understand that God’s judgment is also a part of who our God is. Merciful? Yes. But also holy and just. Without His judgment of sin, would He really be holy? Would He really be just?

If God didn’t judge sin and evil, just imagine what this world would be like. Evil would be the status quo and heaven would eventually be full of the sin that’s gotten our world into the ugly mess it’s in. We need a God who judges sin.

Since we’re not sinless, God’s holiness is a difficult concept for us. It’s the shining, brilliant, without-a-speck-of-sin kind of holiness. Our God also knows everything. He knows sin destroys us. Balanced with His hatred of sin is His great compassion and mercy in sending Christ. “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love,” (Psalm 145:8).

I wonder if we could even truly appreciate His mercy without taking into account His judgment. Paul said in Ephesians 2:4-5 that “because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” God’s was anything but a half-baked plan. It was a judgment plan and a mercy plan all rolled into one. That One being Jesus Christ.

As believers, our response should be to respect God the judge in every way. And then to appreciate the God of mercy all the more. Contemplating His hatred of sin should remind us to stay on our toes, not letting worldly ideas and philosophies sneak into our thinking and our behavior. God wants our wholehearted devotion. Wholehearted.

For those of us who aren’t that great at math, that probably means all three halves.

Mistaken Identity

May 31, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kim Stokely –

Almost everyone who calls the home of a friend with teenagers has experienced something like the following:

(Sound of phone ringing)

Voice on the other end: Hello?

You: Hi Mary (or Alice or Karen…) Have you heard about the sale Kohl’s is having on bras? Buy two get one free. I remembered you saying yours are shot—your bras, not your—

Voice: Let me get my mom.

You: (Loud groan as you realize you’ve been talking to her thirteen-year-old daughter.)

My kids try and pick up the phones in our house that have caller ID so they can prep the person on the other end as soon as they answer. My son even goes to the extreme of sounding like we’re a mortuary or rehab center, “Hello, this is Ian of the Stokely House. How may I direct your call?”

The funniest mix-up happened a couple of years ago when we arranged to reunite with friends we hadn’t seen in over ten years. The restaurant we were meeting at was crowded so my husband and I saved a table while our kids, 14 and 16, went to place their order. My friends walked up to my son exclaiming, “John! You haven’t changed a bit since college.”

My son, with eyes like a deer in the headlights, stared at these strangers a moment before pointing behind him, “I think you want my dad.”

It’s been a fun journey, watching my children grow up into adults. They may not like being mistaken for their parents, but my husband and I take a certain pleasure in thinking at least our voices still sound young! Physically, the resemblances between us are becoming more prominent too. My son, fortunately, has inherited my thick hair. I’m sure he’ll thank me when he’s fifty and nowhere near balding. My daughter has my husband’s metabolism. She’ll never have to worry about gaining weight. (I’ll try not to hold it against her.)

It occurred to me the other day as I watched my son pass the phone to my husband after another case of mistaken identity, that I too, hope to be mistaken for my Father—my heavenly Father, that is. I hope that the words I say, and the things I do, might always be such a reflection of His truth that people see Him in me. It would be awesome to come to the end of my life and have God exclaim, “Welcome to heaven! I’d know you anywhere! You look just like me!”

Wicked Witch of the West

May 29, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Liz Cowen Furman –

If our little family motel by Yellowstone that we run each summer has done nothing else, it has given me much fodder for my articles. The other day was a doozy.

Rich (the bucket man) came with his “cherry picker” truck to help me fix up and light our sign, 30 or so feet off the ground in the Wyoming wind. Since it is $70 per hour, I was trying to hurry and I didn’t notice that I was down wind of the forest green spray paint we were painting the pole with.

When I said my face felt funny Rich looked at me and said “Oh Liz, I think you must have been down wind.” We finished the sign and Rich said he would come back later so I could pay him. I think he wanted out of there before I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. When I looked in the mirror I about died.

Can you say Wizard of Oz? I looked just like the wicked witch of the west…hair and all. My face, neck, ears hair—even teeth were a lovely shade of forest green. (I must have been smiling the whole time because I love the bucket truck.) Any exposed body parts were covered. It was hysterical! All I needed was a wart on my nose with hair growing out of it.

While I was figuring out what to do I took pictures of myself and am ever so thankful that we can’t include them here. How would I wait on my guests that would be arriving soon? How long would it take to wear off?

I was going to use mineral spirits but the smell about killed me so I decided to try coconut oil. Amazing, but it worked like a charm and in no time I was good as new. It only took me three times to lather up with oil and wipe it off with a paper towel, then shower. I was washed clean but not before I shocked the movie producer in Room 21 who has a new concussion from falling on the trail on the way to his shoot the previous day. I think he must have thought he was hallucinating. He looked at me funny and said, “You look a little green, Liz.” Must have affected his vision as I was much more than a little green.

Started me thinking about how sometimes our sin is out there for all to see. When we are walking in obvious sin instead of the Spirit, our witness takes a hit. Our credibility is lost. But the most amazing analogy for me was that in 1 John it says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NIV).

And He does it faster than coconut oil. He will restore us to purity if we will confess and ask Him to. Thinking I am going to do that every time I find myself in sin, immediately, lest I begin to grow a wart with hair. That is such a bad witness. My dear friend always says, “You might be the only Jesus someone sees.” Oh how I long to represent Him well.

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