Monday, July 21, 2008

What were they thinking??????

Well, since it's pretty much official that I'm the world's biggest fuddy duddy, I might as well add fuel to the fire.

This topic has been on my mind for a while. What were they thinking? No, I'm not talking about the movie The Dark Knight...although the question does apply. I'm talking about the way we approach life. What are we thinking might be a better title.

If I base my life on the Word of God and follow the admonition that whatever is good, pure, honest, of a good report - to think on these things, (Phillipians 4:8), then my way of doing things will understandably change. For as a man thinks, so is he. (Proverbs 23: 7). The question is, am I thinking on things that are good, pure, honest, of a good report? Do I choose my movies, my tv shows, my music based on this or do I simple go with the flow...downstream.

Do I spend my time finding the good in others, or do I lean toward seeing their faults? Do I look for the good in each day, or spend my moments complaining about what didn't go right? Do I fill my thoughts with garbage or do I fill them with the things that fit Phil. 4:8? I don't even have to answer that...basic human tendency is to gravitate toward the negative....but I guess that's the point. I'm striving not to be more human, but more like Christ in all that I say and do. Not that I'm holy or anything...I'm as flawed as anyone you will ever meet - more than most I'd say. No, it's not about having achieved, it's about wanting to be more like Christ so that the world sees HIM, not me. Christ found the good in people, even the vilest of sinners and forgave those that hurt Him. He did not condone the behavior and say "Well, that's just the way things are today." AND - He didn't pick up their ways of doing things as we often do. (Kind of makes me wonder who the rap stars of His day were...and how he'd have reached out to them.) Yes, Christ is the model, but do I follow Him?

What did Christ fill His mind with? What I fill my mind with will usually determine how I act, or re-act to the world around me. If I fill my mind with fluff - you know the stuff that's neither good nor bad - then I probably will react in ways that make no difference to the world around me...or worse, in ways that harm. If I fill my mind with things that are evil, I find myself gravitating toward reactions of fear, hate, etc. and we know where thoughts like that can lead. But on those weeks when I have really spent time with God in His word allowing Him to teach me, then I don't react, but I act and even I can see the difference it makes.

I'm tempted to go off on what I see has become the mental diet of teenagers, but I won't. This isn't about preaching to teens, it's about examining my own life. I did overhear one teen tell another that it's just the way they think...God understands. I have to believe that God does understand and it breaks His heart....that they have been duped by the devil and his lies. They have taken the bait that they have to be just like the world. I hope that someone will be able to speak into their lives and help them see the truth.

Seeing the Dark Knight made me realize how as a society we fill our minds with violence, evil, and every manner of wickedness and because it's packaged the way it is, we call it entertainment. We listen to music that glorifies infidelity, and hatred and don't even realize we've allowed the thoughts access to our head. Am I willing to look at what I am allowing into my life for what it is and truly question it? Is anyone? Am I willing to ask myself would I allow a garbage truck to back up to my house and drop every manner of filth into it and never question the way I allow tv, music, and movies to do? Or, am I willing to say "create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me?"

I can't change the world...but I can allow God to change me.

For those who have seen, or plan to see The Dark Knight, this is a great site....don't worry, it doesn't tell you not to see it:

For a really good study on Phil. 4:8, I found this blog. Thank you to Susan Godfrey for putting in the work to find the original meaning of the words true, honest, and of a good report.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

An unpopular opinion on The Dark Knight movie

Well, be forewarned, many will not like my opinion about the new Batman movie. That's okay.

I went with my daughter and friend to see the new Batman movie...not that I had any real desire to see it, but my young teenager wanted to see it and I'm of the belief that I need to be aware of what she's watching and what is popular in the culture. So I went. Within the first few minutes of this movie, I knew this wasn't the Batman I grew up with...or even the Batman of previous movies. This movie was far more evil. There, I said it...evil. Sorry. It wasn't the scary factor that got to me, it was the sick evil that prevaded the character of the Joker. It made me sad to realize that the horror portrayed was in some ways reality. It was real enough that the young actor who played the Joker tried to escape it and lost his life in the process.

Now I realize I'm sensitive to this kind of thing. I make no apologies for that. I don't really want to get to the place where that kind of thing DOESN'T bother me. What bothers me even more was that in this theater, there were small children...being exposed to this kind of darkness. I'm not shaking a finger at any parents. I assume they had no idea it would be this way...but still, they saw images of evil in a large format. I leave any conclusion as to what effect that might have on them to your imagination. And my child was there - along with friends. Of course, I'm sure they figure my opinion is just that of a mom...a fuddy duddy in the highest form. Again, I'm okay with that. I did what I could. I spent the entire movie in that "tunnel" that leads up to the theater, praying for the minds, hearts and souls of my child, her friends, and those small little ones in the theater. Yes, I know that's weird...I'm okay with that, too.

So, in my unpopular opinion, this is a movie you really do not need to see. Of course, that won't stop most people.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Why we have to tell you we got it on sale

Okay, this one will be a short post.
Have you ever noticed that when a woman is complimented on something she is wearing or a decoration in her house that often she will volunteer to the complimenter the following information...."I got it on sale!" Sort of like those T.J. Maxx commercials where the woman goes on and on about her designer clothes that she got at such a great price. I bet you guys wonder why we do that, don't you.
The explanation is quite simple. We tell you about the sale for the same reason you feel the need to tell us how many points were on that buck you killed. Or how long you fought that fish to reel him in! Or how .... well, I've run out of comparisons. Simply put - it's all about the hunt. We're just hunting different things....and it's our right to brag!

You're not from around here, are you...

This Sunday, my family and I went out to eat at a local restaurant. When our waitress came to take our order, with her first sentence I could tell that she wasn't from around here! Sure enough, she was from South Dakota and her husband was stationed at the nearby National Guard base. Since meeting her, the phrase "You're not from around here" had been turning in my random thoughts.

We've all met people that immediately we pegged as to what group they were a part of or what area of the country they were from simply by their mannerisms and way of talking. Some people are harder to peg than others, but some simply stand out. I got to wondering, do I stand out?

When I first moved to Mississippi from Alabama (yeah, I know that's not that big of a difference), people told me the phrase "Once you get that Mississippi mud on you, you never get it off." In my naive way of thinking, I simply commented I'd use Tide - cause it got everything out! Now, of course, I realize they meant once you've lived in Mississippi, you show signs of it no matter where you the way, I happen to think of that as a compliment.

There are many things we use to identify things and where they are from. One of the more distinct ways I notice things is by their smell. Everyone knows certain smells go with certain things. For example, no one can mistake the smell of wet dog with anything else, and we can tell when we're around someone who has been smoking or drinking. Growing up, I worked at the local burger place and I could hardly wait to get home each night and wash away that "grease" smell. However, more pleasant smells are identifiable to us as well: the smell of a puppy, or of a little baby (sans dirty diaper of course), the smell of biscuits baking or of cake in the oven, the smell of rain, the smell of gardenias and magnolias, the smell of that store in the mall where they periodically spray the clothes with their signature scent, the smell of Daddy's shirt or Mama's perfume. Some smells simply make us want to linger, close our eyes and just experience them.

Therein lies the point of this blog.

In the Bible, it says that when Moses came down from the mountain after being with God he absolutely glowed, (paraphrased). We've all been around people who are like that....there is something about them that absolutely draws us to them. We want to linger. It's as if they carry the "scent" of being with the Father. Just by meeting them, you know - "they're not from around here." I'm not talking about words or phrases they use - anyone can mimic that. I'm talking about that indescribable something that draws us to them.

I've heard the quote, "they will know we are Christians by our love." What I wonder is, will they know Christ loves them by my life? Does my life bear the marks of being with the Father? Will they be drawn to Christ because of the unmistakeable scent in my life that only comes because I've spent time with Him. Will they want to linger and find out how to have that same aroma of love in their lives? Will they discover that our Father God isn't someone to run from, but to run to?

Will I stand out from the moment they come in contact with me? Will something in my life say that this is not my home....that I "ain't from around here"? If not, then I guess I need to spend more time with Him.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cleaning for company

Okay, it's been a while since I've blogged, but I try not to write unless the "muse" really strikes and obviously, it hasn't struck in a while! Must be summer.

Today, I finished up a wonderful weekend at our church with friends at a Loving Well Weekend. The guest speaker (via tape of course) was Beth Moore. Anyone who has heard her teaching can tell you she has quite a way of relating truth through stories....maybe that's what helped stir my "Random thoughts" again.

In our small group, we were discussing that as women we tend to beat ourselves up sometimes over words we've spoken, or things we've done or left undone....the list goes on and on. Of course, if anyone asks us how we are doing we'll just say "fine". We don't let anyone get too close or see what's really going on inside. We play it safe....everything is just "fine". Of course, as many emails will tell you (mostly those attempting to interpret the difference in male and female speak), fine is anything but. That's where the picture started to form in my head. The picture of my daughter's cleaning.

Now, let me begin by saying that my daughter has really grown in her cleaning since her early attempts, and I'm very thankful for the wonderful help that she is! (Have I sufficiently covered myself so that she won't stop cleaning? I sure hope so.) However, in her early attempts at cleaning, there was more "hiding" than real cleaning going on. You know what I mean. The counters in the kitchen would be spotless! Everything was magazine perfect. Anyone would be so happy to call that kitchen their own. Things got kind of interesting however when I started looking for things.

"Honey, where are those bills I had on the counter? I need to pay them." Or, "Where is the can opener? It was right here and now I can't find it." You get the picture. You see, in the early days of cleaning, she would simply take whatever was there and stuff it long as you couldn't see it, it was okay. I have found some of the strangest things in the strangest places after one of her cleaning sessions. Sometimes the cupboards would be packed so tight, when I opened them, all manner of things fell out on my head.

Right there is where the word picture REALLY hits home. Her cleaning isn't all that different from the way I sometimes deal with life. How many times have I simply stuffed the garbage in my life into some "cupboard" so that everything on the outside looked picture perfect? Instead of really dealing with anger, hurts, whatever - I find ways to put it away, presumably to deal with later. Only I don't deal with it later. I just stuff some more stuff in there the next time I need to look "perfect" and the next time and the next time until some poor unsuspecting soul (usually my husband) opens up the "cabinet" looking for something only to have all my garbage pour down upon his head. I hope you can see this picture as clearly as I do right now. My poor loving husband standing there with piles of emotional garbage falling around him and all he really wanted was a cup of coffee.

I think that for many of us, it's time to start cleaning out the garbage. Whatever the past has dealt, or just left lying around on our counters, it's time to either use it, or get rid of it. It is no longer acceptable to stuff it into the cabinet of our hearts and minds like a ticking time bomb or loaded cabinet waiting to spill out onto those around me. There is no need to hide the hurt or rehearse the hurt or frame it and look at it each day. It's time to toss it. It's time to accept my less than magazine perfect life and realize I have been blessed beyond what I could ever hope or imagine...and garbage stuffed into the corners doesn't fit who I am called to be.

If this somehow spoke to someone, I pray your day be blessed with an abundance of sunshine in the dark corners and joy as you allow God to help you "toss out the garbage". It's a decision that we have to make everyday. The good news is, after a while it gets easier to do. Garbage thoughts don't have a chance to build up cause we get rid of them when they hit the door....not store them away for later.

So that's my Random thought for the week. Next time I'll try and write about something lighter - like why women get so excited about a sale!