Sunday, October 9, 2011

Vampires, Doctor Who and Eve

When my oldest son was a child, I made the mistake of letting him watch one of my all-time favorite movies, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry battling vampires…what could be so wrong with that? He was so frightened he started sleeping with a blanket wrapped around his neck.

With son number two, I tried to be smarter. When he wanted to see his first scary movie, I decided to let him only on the condition that he covered his head with a blanket during the scary parts. He was under that blanket so long that he finally fell asleep and missed the entire movie. 

Yes, I made some dumb young-mother mistakes. But at some point in their lives, both my boys reached an age where we collectively decided they were old enough to watch such movies without worries. After all, if it didn’t frighten them then it must be okay, right?

Wrong again.

As good parents, we try to monitor what our children see. We want to protect their little minds from the violence and sex and inappropriate behaviors that permeate our culture. Yet at some point in our own lives we too made the decision that we were old enough to see and handle such things. Censoring ourselves seemed unnecessary and childish. But lately God has been convicting me about the images and influence I allow into my life, and as I studied Eve, one of the things that jumped out at me was that her fall into sin began with what she saw.

Genesis 3:6 says “when the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.” She saw the fruit. Seeing led to desiring and desiring led to sinning.

One of my favorite shows now is Doctor Who. I enjoy watching the Doctor and his companions travel through time and space finding trouble and adventures, and while I can’t see any overtly inappropriate things wrong with the show, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t have an effect on me. At first, I wasn’t even aware of it, but when I found myself overusing the word “proper”—which they use on the show surprisingly often—I could no longer deny it. I had been influenced by this show without even realizing it. And if a fairly tame production like Doctor Who can have such an influence over me then how can I ever rationalize that other, more graphic shows with all their sex, violence and language have none?

So I challenge you this week to meditate on what you see. Do the shows you watch sway you towards sin of any kind? Envy? Lust? Discontent? Do you shun the culture or do you embrace it? Or do you leave the door cracked just enough to let the world seep in all in the name of entertainment? Guarding what we see and hear should not end when we reach a certain age. It should never end. Because we live in a world and culture that strives to pull us away from God, we must constantly be on alert and aware of the influences we allow into our lives. Guard what you see. To do otherwise is opening the door for the pull of the culture to drag us away from the Lord.  

Serving Him,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

And The Walls Came Crumbling Down

I recently reached the six year mark at my current job. It’s significant because this is the place God provided for me when he pulled me away from a lucrative position with the state in order to focus on my writing. Now I work at a job where I make less money, have a degree I don’t use, and from a worldly perspective have made little notable progress in my writing endeavor. I confess it’s hard to see God at work sometimes when I look at those facts.

How appropriate then that God has led me this week to the book of Joshua and the story about the fall of Jericho. In it, God commanded Joshua to march once around the city with armed men for six days. On the seventh day, they were to march around the city seven times, then blow the trumpets and give a loud shout. If they followed these instructions, God promised the walls of Jericho would collapse. But what if Joshua hadn’t continued to the seventh day? What if he’d given up after the sixth day? Or the sixth circle around the city? If he hadn’t followed God to the very end, he would not have seen the victory.

So as I was preparing this morning to leave for my annual writing conference, some things occurred to me. It’s no coincidence God led me to this passage this week. I hadn’t been studying Joshua—I’ve been focusing my studies lately on women of the bible—but this six thing has gotten my attention because I do feel as if I’ve been circling for the past six years, waiting and searching for a crack in the defense of the publishing world, a way to break through the wall that at times seems so large and impenetrable. But I know God’s plan for me. He wants me on the other side of that wall. So armed with scripture and prayer, I’ve been quietly marching towards that goal. Now I’m into my seventh year. Is it time to blow the trumpets and shout to the Lord? Is this the year I’ll finally see the walls crumble?

I hope so.

“When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when these people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged in, and they took the city.” Joshua 6:20


Saturday, September 17, 2011

It all started with a choice.

As Eve stood in the garden eying the fruit from the forbidden tree, do you think she had any idea how far-reaching the consequences of her choice would be? That her disobedience would separate her from God? Or how difficult life would be for her and her husband? Did she realize her children would know sorrow and pain and death? It’s doubtful such thoughts crossed her mind. Who would make such a choice knowing the outcome would be so severe? But the more I study Eve, the more I realize we are the same. Although I will never be the first to plunge humanity into sin, each day I awake to choices and decisions that must be made, and I face the same choice she faced—obey or disobey.

We all live with the results of bad choices—debt, excess weight, strained relationships—but every choice we make has an outcome, good or bad. Becoming a woman on consequence means striving to make decisions that result in consequences that benefit instead of harm, that cause us to move forward instead of being chained to the past. But how can we make this happen when often we’re not even aware of why we do what we do? As with all things, the bible provides the answer. God has given us a wonderful source of lessons from women who’ve made decisions, some good and some bad, that have affected generaations. By studying them and understanding the logic, emotions and outcomes of the choices they made, we can become more aware of our own decisions and the reasons behind them. And, hopefully, the more aware we become, the better choices we will make.

So join me on this journey as we delve into the lives of women of the bible and through their lessons, hopefully become women of consequence.


Because you can’t move forward when you’re chained to the past.