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Archive for the month “November, 2018”

Days Of The Living Dead

In 1978 I got a call from my sister.  Apparently my cousin had two tickets she wasn’t going to use for a movie called Dawn Of The Dead.  My girlfriend and future wife ended up going to the movie which proved to be a chilling experience.  This was actually a continuation of a story that was written in 1968 called Night Of The Living Dead.  Anyway they are both movies about dead people coming back to life and becoming flesh eating Zombies.  Apparently the only way these Zombies could keep living was to eat living people or to put it simply people who were not Zombies.  Of course these Zombies were hard to kill probably because they were already dead.  They moved around slowly in a very deliberate and snail like zombie walk shuffling in a forward path.  They had no purpose except to find people who were alive and eat them.

Painted theatrical release that includes various credits, an ominous zombie looking over the horizon, and the words "Dawn of the Dead" in military print below.

These movies were stories of surviving created by George A. Romero.  The first one Night Of The Living Dead followed living people taking refuge in an old farmhouse trying to stay safe from the blood thirsty Zombies that had caused panic throughout the nation.  The one we saw Dawn Of The Dead had the same theme except we followed people who took refuge in a mall that had been abandoned probably because of the Zombie dilemma.  So we are placed in the middle of the Zombie invasion.  We don’t really know why it is happening we just see the results.  There is plenty of time to speculate as we are taking refuge in these buildings.  Let’s make no mistake about it.  When watching these movies we become the living characters in the movie.  What would we do in these situations they find themselves in?  This is the intended feeling that Romero wants to portray.  This is why they are called horror films.  They don’t really have to make sense.  There is really no explanation needed for why the Zombies exist.  Although there is a lot of speculation the fact is they are there and they are threatening our lives and our survival.

Dawn of the Dead original VHS box cover art.

In each of the films the Zombie invasion is a growing enemy.  You see when the Zombie bites a living person that person eventually dies and in a little while becomes one of the Zombies.  I’m not really sure how long it takes.  We see people getting attacked by Zombies and later those same people are Zombies themselves.  So obviously it is a growing problem.  If the Zombie invasion was a few random Zombies they could be destroyed and the movie would end.  However with this growing problem it is almost hard to keep track of if we saw a person die first before they became a Zombie.

It’s interesting to analyze the characteristics of the Zombies in each of the first two movies.  The Zombies have no purpose other than to eat living people.  They move slowly but are able to keep moving and never tire out.  They are devoid of any real personality although they can think.  They can keep going even after being gravely injured as long as their brain remains intact.  They never quit in their pursuit of the living.  They have learning experiences similar to that of a toddler.  They only show emotions after a long period of experience and training.  The other thing about Zombies in the first two movies was that they feared fire.  It was never really explained why they feared the flame but it was a way to make them retreat.  Most of all they could only live at the expense of others.  By tearing living people down they got stronger as they destroyed the living and converted them into Zombies like them.  The movie ends with the two main living characters escaping in a partially fueled helicopter to an uncertain future.

George A. Romero

Did you know that most people in the world today are Zombies?  Oh you might think I have jumped off the deep end but let me explain.  Of course we don’t see them moving in the Zombie walk physically but what about spiritually?  John 10:10 states (and this is Jesus talking) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  I John 5:12 tells us Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.  Jesus said in John 7:37 “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”  but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14

The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 2 verses 1-10 states  As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But 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. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

So what can we learn from the Bible verses above?  We see that Jesus is the giver of life and apart from him we are dead.  We see that if we drink of the living water (Jesus) we will thirst no more.  That thirst he is talking about is something in every person.  It is a desire to have purpose in life and a reason to exist.  Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”  John 18:12.  John 3:19 tells us that “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.  The same is true today.  Like the Zombies fear of fire many don’t want anything to do with the light of the world that Jesus is.  They would rather reject the light and walk in darkness.  Instead of living in the darkness there is a way to escape.  Unlike the helicopter escape the characters in the movie did this escape instantly transforms us from dead to living.  This escape gives us peace and takes us to a certain future.  That future is eventually a heavenly home full of love!

If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior you are literally spiritually dead.  You are walking around with no deep purpose in life.   If you would be honest you would admit that you are totally empty.  You would admit that spiritually you are dead and are a walking Zombie.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Jesus came to give life and give it more abundantly.  Accept him into your heart today with this simple prayer.

Lord Jesus, Come into my heart and save me.  Forgive me of my sins and be my Lord and Savior.   Amen  It’s a simple prayer but if you are sincere he will come into your being and give you life and purpose!  Your escape from a dead meaningless life will be propelled by the God of the Universe who has the power to set you free and give you victory and peace forever and ever!

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How To Prevent A Heart Attack

Every year about this time I go in for my annual health assessment.  It is a program at work where someone checks my blood pressure, finds my cholesterol levels, and measures my oxygen intake.  I also get weighed and measured to find out what my body mass index is. All of these tests are very important measurements in determining how healthy I am and what changes I need to make.  The results are compared to the previous year and I find out if my numbers are getting better or worse.  Life choices are talked about and healthy life choices are encouraged.  What foods am I putting into my body?  How much exercise am I getting?  Without these tests I might feel that I’m getting away with something.  I might get into the habit of eating the wrong foods and not getting adequate exercise.  Whatever I am doing the numbers don’t lie.  The cholesterol test intrigues me.  Originally I thought all cholesterol was bad.  I thought my cholesterol levels should always be low.  The fact that there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol surprised me.  Our good cholesterol level should be high and our bad cholesterol level should be low.  Basically in non medical terms the good cholesterol protects our heart and the bad cholesterol hinders our heart.  The bad blocks things up around our heart and the good protects that from happening.   Anyway I’m no doctor and if the explanation gets too complicated it leaves my head spinning.  However, I think that I have that concept right.

Image result for man getting his blood pressure checked photo

After my assessment advisor measures all of my results she talks to me about healthy eating habits.  The foods that I put into my body can reduce the bad cholesterol levels and increase the good ones.  Vegetable intake is encouraged and fast food is discouraged.  Eating too much salt or sugar in my diet is discouraged and having fiber is encouraged.  Although I’m not expected to be a perfect eater I am made aware of the problem and it is in my mind even if I sometimes get off track.  The fact that this test was coming up inspired me to do a little bit more exercising. It is good to be accountable to someone and the health assessment offers that someone.

Just as letting good foods into our bodies and keeping bad foods out is important it is also important in our spiritual life to let good things in and keep bad things out.  Proverbs 4:23 tells us to “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”  So what does it mean to guard your heart?  It means that just like the cholesterol thing in our physical bodies we need to prevent things from dwelling in our spirit.  We need to identify what is good and what is bad and let the good in and dismiss the bad.  So what is the good that we should let in?  Paul in Philippians 4 verse 8 puts it this way  “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things and the God of peace will be with you.”  Wow, the God of peace will be with us.  That would be the Holy Spirit who gives us peace in our heart.  That is like going to the doctor and knowing that you have been doing all of the right things and the doctor confirming that because he sees  we are in good shape!

Much like the bad food we are tempted with we are also tempted spiritually by bad spirits.  Let me list some of the spirits to stay away from.

the spirit of fear
the spirit of anger
the spirit of depression
the spirit of doubt
the spirit of hate
the spirit of doom and gloom
the spirit of burden
the spirit of gossip
the spirit of offending
the spirit of getting even
the spirit of rebellion
the spirit of arguing

Notice that all of these are spirits.  Most people don’t think of them as spirits.  We have to realize that we are in a spiritual world.  Yes we have bodies and most people when they think of us think of what our bodies look like.  Actually though it is the unseen spirit that controls our actions and what we do and how spiritually healthy we are.  If you doubt this consider a funeral.  When we go to a funeral the body is there but it has no life because the spirit is gone.

So how do we keep these spirits from entering our bodies and controlling what we do, say, and how we feel?  The first thing we need to do is accept Jesus Christ into our lives.  That is a simple thing but is oh so powerful.  When we ask Jesus to come into our hearts he gives us his Holy Spirit which is the spirit of peace we talked about earlier.  The Holy Spirit is like all of the good vegetables and fiber we are encouraged to eat.  He is good for our well being and he gives us assurance with peace that we are going in the right direction.  Most people don’t realize however that even with the Holy Spirit in our lives we can and do let in spirits that shouldn’t be there.

Since God is a God of love he always gives us a choice.  We can choose which spiritual food we let in even after we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior.  So how can we stop these spirits from entering?  Some people might point out that they couldn’t help it, they were just overcome with a spirit.  Sometimes that spirit comes in when we have been hit by tragedy.  The spirit of grief is actually a good thing.  It is like the good cholesterol that helps us.  At the same time if we stay in that spirit over a period of time it turns into a bad thing.  It goes from a spirit of grief to a spirit of depression.

Image result for picture of cake

We have to realize that these bad spirits that we let in are a choice.  They are much like that cake or fast food burger we are not supposed to eat.  Let’s analyze that situation.  We are trying to watch what we eat but someone at work brings a cake in.  Or we happen to have a cake at home and decide that one piece won’t hurt anything.  This is the time that we are making a choice.  In the same way we are making spiritual choices.  So something happens and we have a choice.  Without God people usually let these spirits take control.  But with God the same thing can occur.  Remember that Bible verse that said to guard your heart?  There are times when our heart is unguarded.  Let me give you an example in the spirit of depression.  Before we get depressed we have a limited time to think about it.  We have a choice of being depressed or turning to the Spirit of God, much like when we have the choice of eating that cake or walking away.  In order to make the right choice we need to realize what is happening.  We need to be accountable much like the health assessment example.

There are times we have our spiritual health assessment exam and find out that we have let in things we shouldn’t have.  We have ate the wrong things and the results are showing.  As Christians we can ask Jesus to take these bad things out of there.  We can ask him to give us a pure heart free from things that will clog it up.  Once these things are purged it is important to be on the alert for situations where these impurities try to get back in.  That depression scenario can be nipped in the bud with this prayer.  Lord, I feel this spirit there but I’m not going to accept it.  I affirm that you love me and that my happiness and well being is what you want for me!

When I was done with the health assessment I felt better.  Not because my results were great but because I was in a plan.  I knew what I should and shouldn’t do.  I knew that things I let in my body affected how healthy I would be.  That is how it is in the health of our spirit too.  It is far more important than our bodies health because our body will eventually die, but our spirit lives forever.  Letting the good in and leaving out the bad will keep our spirits strong and peaceful.  My health assessment advisor said something very interesting that I took with me.  In her own life and food intake she said “I’ve learned that everything is a choice.”  To be happy I conclude we should always choose the good and leave out the bad.

My Spiritual Exam

by Lewis Hamilton
from the book “The Gardener and My Garden” c1997

Just like I need a physical
to find out how I am
It’s time for me to ask my Lord
for a spiritual exam

He’ll ask me many questions
Can I be honest with myself?
Thinking that I’ve got it made
could be harmful to my health

Is my gear shifted into drive
or is it stuck in park?
Does my light shine on others
or do I leave them in the dark?

Is my salt being poured out
or is it all for waste?
Does it flavor when it’s poured
or has it lost its taste?

When he gives me the vision
to see how I can be
will I make excuses
or let the Lord use me?

Will my spirit be broken
so my life he then can mold?
Or have I pushed the button
to put the Lord on hold?

When I leave the great physician’s room
will I be better than I came?
Or have I made my mind up
to keep my life the same?

“…I desire to do your will, O my God,
your law is within my heart.”

Psalm 40:8

In The Silence

With Christmas coming soon I’m reminded of one of a songs lyrics we will hear often.  Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Image result for silent night picture

When Jesus first made his appearance in human form there was not a lot of fanfare.  Jesus came in a very humble way.  In fact as the song states it was a silent night.  In our hectic world today the last thing we usually get is silence.  Cell phones ringing or buzzing, the TV blaring, traffic making noise all around, these are the sounds of “busy” people.  We’ve grown so accustomed to the noise that when we don’t have it we turn the radio on in the car or the TV at home.  It seems to be the first thing we think about doing when we enter the house.  Have you ever had the experience of you or someone else being so involved on what is being said on their TV that they or you don’t hear anything someone else is saying?  It is very hard in our world today to put our minds on two or more things at once.  We sometimes make our attention choices on what is the loudest tone in our ears.  Have you ever been on a car trip with a few people?  Sometimes on those trips I have been on there is dead silence.  People can get lost in their thoughts and that’s OK.  However it seems that one person usually tries to break the silence by saying something to fill the air.  There is an old saying that goes “silence is golden” and very often it is so true!

You have probably heard of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.  They were the astronauts who first walked on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission.  Did you know the mission had another astronaut?  His mission might have been even more important than the other two.  His name was Michael Collins and his job was to navigate the command module around the surface of the moon three times during the 22 hours Armstrong and Aldrin were jumping around on the moon.  Three times for 47 minutes each Collins found himself on the dark side of the moon with no contact between earth or his fellow astronauts.  The news outlet described his dilemma.  “Not since Adam has any human known such solitude as Mike Collins is experiencing during this 47 minutes of each lunar revolution when he’s behind the Moon with no one to talk to except his tape recorder aboard Columbia.”  Upon returning to the earth Collins described the feeling that he had as he was literally all alone.  I don’t mean to deny a feeling of solitude. It is there, reinforced by the fact that radio contact with the Earth abruptly cuts off at the instant I disappear behind the moon, I am alone now, truly alone, and absolutely isolated from any known life. I am it. If a count were taken, the score would be three billion plus two over on the other side of the moon, and one plus God knows what on this side.”

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With most cars today they have a GPS tracker.  It tells when to make a turn and when to get off of an exit etc.  For most of the time especially on longer trips the GPS is silent.  How many times do we think “am I still going the right way?”  Wouldn’t it be nice if the GPS voice would encourage us.  You are on the right road, don’t worry just keep driving.  Wouldn’t that be comforting when we have that fear that somehow we have gotten off of the path?

Image result for gps car photo

God works in the same way as that GPS tracker.  Many times we panic when we don’t hear from him.  When he tells us what to do we need to have faith to carry out that mission unless he tells us differently.  We as humans would like to have the Moses experience where God is speaking audibly in a loud voice.  That is not how God usually works in our world today.  It is with a still small voice in the quiet times that he can talk to us.  Those are the times that he can tell us exactly what we should be doing!  It is like getting instructions from our boss.  If you or I were getting special instructions on doing a job would we have our headphones on?  Would we be playing with our phone or have our TV on so loud that we couldn’t possibly hear?  Or would we cut all of the competing noise off so that we could hear exactly what to do?  The answer is obvious but the next question is Why don’t we give God the same kind of attention so he can instruct us?

Collins had already received his instructions before his mission.  He knew precisely what he was supposed to do.  If he wasn’t prepared the silence would have brought fear and doubt.  Many of us are not like Michael Collins the astronaut.  We have not been in front of God with closed mouth and open ears.  It is in these times that God can and will talk to us.  It is in these times that the silent night will have a still small voice breaking the silence. When we decide to silence the world’s activities and seek him God will talk to us and give us his instructions.  Then with his help we can execute our mission while we are here.  Christians everywhere question what their purpose in life is.  “What is God’s plan for me?”, they will ask.  The answer can be found but it won’t be with countless voices talking to us.  In the silence we find our mission and in the silence many times we carry it out.  That is what faith is.  Like the GPS we are to assume that if we are given a mission and we are carrying it out God will break in if we have gotten off track.

Image result for Apollo 8

Somehow Collins was able to stay focused and keep his module on course through the enormous silence.  Three times he had to endure the blackout and each time he put his faith over his fear.  After the third trip around the other astronauts docked with his module and they were shortly on their way home.  Some day our missions will be over too and the silence of faith will be replaced by joy, love, peace, and jubilation!

 

 

Pretty Amazing Grace

This song really moved me this morning and I wanted to share it with all my readers!  It’s by one of my all time favorite singers Neil Diamond!

 

https://lightenload.wordpress.com/2013/04/20/the-diamond-image/

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