LICKING ASHES

Licking Ashes

Licking Ashes

LICKING ASHES

“How about a nice greasy pork sandwich, served in a dirty ash tray?”

Sound pretty tasty?

Can you name that movie?

—I I LOVE movies and this used to be my favorite movie quote. (A quote from Gladiator now holds that place in my heart.)

Back to the quote–

Anyone?  Anyone? Buehler?(Hint: not that movie!)

Hint: An 80’s classic

Hint: Starred Kelly LeBrock, Anthony Michael Hall, Bill Paxton…

Remember “Weird Science?”

When I was in Jr. High, (and high school and college)my friends and I would often spend entire weekends catching a movie at the mall and/or being holed up in my parent’s basement with a supply of movies to get us through the weekend, only arising to pee or grab a snack.

One day, my Jr. High best friend Kelly and I spoke to each other only in movie quotes.

The whole day.

Totally awesome.  ;)—(It was  the 80’s)

I love the smell when you walk in the theater. I love the dumb quizzes they have if you arrive very early. I get excited and start planning my calendar watching the previews. I love movies so much that I stand in lines for premiers, pay ridiculous ticket prices, splurge the $20+ in movie snacks (P.S.- HARKINS Theater’s popcorn is the very best!) I love an interesting character, a plot twist, a poignant scene. I debate about them, blog about them and, like I said earlier, I speak “movie.”

Most people who know me, know my love of movies. It‘s contained on every one of my profiles on Twitter, both Facebook pages and my blog (www.juleseddy1.wordpress.com)

But do people know I love Jesus more?

Do my words, actions and thoughts honor this love?

Would I stand in line for hours to go to church; sacrificially give to further His kingdom? Would I discuss and debate the intricacies of this relationship with friends and with strangers? Will I raise my hands in praise at worship of THE MOST HIGH?

“He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, ‘Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?’”

–Can you name this quote?

Hint: The Bible

Hint: A prophet spoke it

Hint: Old Testament

It is found in Isaiah

Beth Moore’s book “Breaking Free” discusses this passage and reminds us that anything we place higher than God is idolatry or misplaced worship.

It is a lie.

It is like licking a dirty ashtray.

I thought about the greasy pork sandwich quote as I read the Isaiah verse. We often sustain ourselves on lesser things; on empty, unsatisfying, non-satiating remnants that are dropped from the world’s table.

I admit it.

God created some pretty terrific things and He created us, so He knew we would have these tendencies to put these pretty great things before Him.–He saw it over and over and throughout the ages. Time and time again, people worship empty idols; placing things (and people, and success, and pride, and comforts and movies, etc.,) over Him.

But God also loves us so much that He pursues us; tracks us down in our misguided paths and shows us a different way.

Relentlessly, He does this by reminding us of John 3:16–

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son”

And:

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. His mercies are new each day” (Lamentations 3:22)

And:

“Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love” (Joel 2:13)

And:

“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6)

Just a few of my new favorite quotes. 8)

Turn from what it is that has “that place” above The Most High and return Him to the place of Honor.

And, guess what?!—They also made a movie of it all—Check out THE BIBLE mini-series now available on DVD! 😉

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ZOMBIES AND JESUS

loving moment of holding hands via www.rocklej.com

ZOMBIES AND JESUS
Stick with me on this…The “un-dead” and “overcoming the grave”—It’s not that far off…

I LOVE RED BOX! Recent movies for cheap! Yay!

Last week we rented (from RB!) the movie “Warm Bodies.” It’s a zombie movie from the voice of “R,” one of the un-dead who misses the world the way it was before “the infection.”
It is based on the novel by Isaac Marion (and I love when a good movie is developed from a book!) I would’ve seen it in the theater but the week it was there I must’ve been zombified ;)**wink**wink**

Anyhow, the zombies who can’t sleep or speak, simply “live” just to maintain the slow process toward eternal torment and on the constant search for humans to eat in order to subsist. They mosey about zombie-style (pale, grunting, slow and disheartened) in an airport terminal (very clever imagery of their transitory state.)

One of my favorite parts is a scene where R is lamenting about missing the way it was before the infection. He truly misses how people used to connect. –His memory flashes back to a crowded mall bustling with people all very busy and focused on their cell phones, texting, and listening to headphones.

R has an ironic sense of humor.

The only sense of peace or joy they achieve is through eating the humans’ brains, whereby they vicariously re-live that person’s memories. Apparently there is a progression of “zombie dead-ness” and at the end of the “dead continuum,” one becomes a “boney.”

The zombies’ goal is to not lose everything and become even worse off like the boneys– completely devoid of any hope and ravaging anything with a heartbeat.

The remaining uninfected humans are holed up in a safe zone and leave only to search for food and medical supplies.

Also this last week in church, (YES–Zombie movie-goers also go to church—-well, least two people do,) the pastor reminded us that “In the beginning…” God was “US.” He was and is (and always will be) the God who is three; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us…”

God is a relational God.

Back to the Zombies.

R misses relationships with others so much that he “rescues” and takes back a human named Julie (great movie name!) to his area–an airplane that he calls “home.” As he eats the brains of her boyfriend (unbeknownst to her at the time), he resurrects the memories the boyfriend had of her and falls further for Julie through this experience.

His heart begins to beat.

Several times she tries to escape, yet she realizes she cannot do it without R’s help. Both the boneys and the zombies sense her beating heart.

She needs him.

Skipping ahead.

Other zombies see the change in R and several of them long for the connection they witness in them.
Their hearts further awaken through the prompting of a picture (a movie poster) of two people holding hands; it resurrects the memories of their prior connections and relationships. (Check out a great original image created from the movie visit the “Weekly Movie Poster No 2: Warm Bodies” at http://www.52shadesof zj.wordpress.com.)

Even though they managed to coexist before, as the zombies begin to show signs of life, the evil boneys are threatened. They desire to ruthlessly kill and ravage all who show heart.

Sometimes returning to life threatens those without hope.

This is when it gets really good 8)

A movie worth watching so I won’t give any more away.

God sent His son Jesus to rescue and redeem our world from the infections of sin and death. And just as Jesus reached out to the sick, the broken, the outcasts; each of us is called to reach out to rescue one another.

“Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil with doing good.” (Romans 12:21)

For all who have accepted the “free” gift of God’s grace, you have access to a power (and heart!) dwelling in you that is stronger than what the world will throw at you.

Extending a hand to someone you wouldn’t normally reach out to might be just what it takes.

In our disconnected world, you might be the only “Jesus” in someone’s day.

In the movie, the act of simply reaching out for another changed the circumstance.

In The Book, a pure heart seeing beyond the sin and death and willing to overcome evil with doing good can actually change the future; it changed the world.

See the movie: “Warm Bodies”

Read the story: The Holy Bible

WHO DO YOU WORK FOR?

Totally Awesome Floor Cleaner (available at dollar tree)
WHO DO YOU WORK FOR?

A year and ½ ago, I was working at an apothecary, at the police crime lab, as a landlord over rental properties and working on my first novel. At that same time, I was meeting lots of friends and family of my boyfriend. It became our joke; he introduced me as his “drug-dealing, C.S.I., slumlord, writer girl-friend.”

We ask it all the time. It’s always in the top five questions as people get to know one another. It appears to define and reveal much about a person. We become defined by what we do.
I would argue that more important than what we do is WHO we work for…

In this midst of his cancer treatments, my father ended up with pneumonia and a fractured back (in seven places!) Much to his dismay, he had to admit he needed help. I was able to take time off from the crime lab and flew to Colorado to stay with him and help him in any way he needed.

Finally, something I could do! A form of power over this power-less and uncontrollable cancer. I envisioned making him pancakes, organizing his pantry, running errands for him and, of course, praying for his recovery with him.

My father was a life-long packrat with his very own style of organized chaos. It drove me nuts, but it worked for him.
I arrived ready to go through all the piles.

But that wasn’t what he wanted me to do.

My father prided himself on his clean floor. With the fractured back, he no longer could attend to his sparkling clean linoleum. He was a perfectionist when it came to his floor. Despite the dishes in the sink, stacks of bills, piles of laundry and everything else; his floor got special attention; it required a very special cleaning agent and no spot or speck of dust made it to his floor.

It was his number one priority. It mattered to him.

He gave me the daunting task of cleaning his floor to his satisfaction. I didn’t see it as important. I didn’t want to do it.
Like it was yesterday, I recall it:
I hunted down that “totally awesome” cleaner at the Dollar Tree and “hit the floor.” I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the linoleum beneath his wooden kitchen table. My back was aching and my eyes watered as I inhaled the fumes of that “special” cleaning agent. In my fervor, I banged my head hard on the paper and piled-laden table above me. I began crumbling under the pressure to perform to his satisfaction. As hot tears stung my eyes, I set aside what I was doing and I remembered who I was doing it for.

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17)

My attitude, my posture, my breathing all changed. The pounding in my head was replaced with the ability to endure. When my father later (and the rest of the week) pointed out all the spots and specks I missed, it was with a different heart that I returned to my knees and worked for Him.

A friend of mine is caring for her daughter in the end stages of rare and horrific cancer. (Aren’t they all??) Along with caring for her daughter’s household, pets, and every medical need, my friend attempts to balance working full-time, caring for herself, her own household and her pets. The treatments and pain, resentments and “chemo-brain,” years of buried mistakes and regrets surfacing make daunting the task of that care and her ability to endure it.

So I asked her, “Who are you working for?”
She looked at me like I was crazy, but I explained with my “floor story.”

Returning to the care of her daughter; visit after visit, doctor appointment after appointment, through the cancer treatments, laundry loads, groceries, cleaning, caring and carrying the burden of the breakdowns, unloaded anger and harsh words spoken from a tortured heart, she remembers Who she works for.

“…I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!…when you refused to help the least of these my brother and sisters, you were refusing to help me.” (Matthew 25:37,45)

The next time you DO something that you don’t want to do and you are doing it for someone who might be less than grateful for what you have DONE; I hope you are able to return to your knees, feel the change in your heart, and remember that Who we work for is far more important.

MAGNUM-SIZED TEMPTATION

What is your "Magnum?"

What is your “Magnum?”

MAGNUM-SIZED TEMPTATION

Have you had these little packages of heaven? Magnum–A creamy vanilla bean ice cream covered in silky chocolate, dabbled with goodies like caramel, almonds or toffee. OMG. Absolute deliciousness. Such a treat when it’s110 degrees out (and the commercials are ridiculously funny.)
I bought four packages when I was expecting company (and they were on sale two-for-one)! I devoured one as soon as I got home and then totally forgot about them. Even forgot when my company came! (What can I say—I am over 40 now.)

It has been two months since I brought those Magnums home. In the freezer they sit, all intact, save the one I ate that day.

Now that summer is over and I failed once again to lose “those ten pounds;” I have decided to get serious about my swimsuit body for next summer.—Small changes over time will produce big results. Right?

So, I am giving up cheese and dairy.

Actually, this is a BIG HUGE CHANGE for me—I have pizza easily 3-7 times a week and have been known to eat a cheese and fruit plate for dinner many a night. And then there is the coffee creamer—Seriously??!! Do they put drugs in it?–It sometimes is the only reason I get out of bed! Especially the Cinnabon creamer. Mmmm…

I digress.

So, I have given up cheese and dairy during the week (Let’s be realistic). Ever since this decision, I swear to you those Magnum ice cream bars have been taunting me. Despite the fact those little gold minions of chocolate beauty sat in there for two months without my even giving them a second thought; post “no-dairy decision,” I cannot open the freezer door to get ice without their sparkly, beautiful gold wrapping blinding me. One even jumped out to me—like it wanted me to save it from its lonely existence next to the frozen peas and neglected pizza! I cannot watch TV without thinking about them. If the temperature’s over 100, they are on my mind.—So…EVERY DAY!

God knew we would struggle and has us pray: “Lead us not into temptation…” (Matthew 6:13)

Temptation taunts in many ways.

My subconscious even struggles. Last week I dreamed I was face deep in a lasagna and cheesy pasta buffet and gorging on the saucy deliciousness. I awoke from this dream with a smile spread across my face as I could taste the garlic cheese bread…THEN BAM!—my smile was instantly wiped clear when I remembered the decision; (Seinfeld’s soup-Nazi style):

NO CHEESE FOR YOU!

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…” (23rd Psalm)

This table of temptation is different for everyone.

Whether your table contains heftier tempters like alcohol and drugs, sex/lust, the greed for money; or more subtle ones such as pride, gossip, selfishness, cheese…

“…You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows” (23rd Psalm)

With Christ, there is a way out.

“He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

With Christ there is a power beyond your own that you can tap into:

“…the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” (1 John 4:5)
And when you rely on Christ working in you, He will strengthen you in those areas.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

So, as I close the freezer door (sans-Magnum,) and I sip my black coffee, I pray your day is filled with the power of Christ to overcome whatever “Magnum” is seated at your table.