Monkey Business

For the past three weeks I have not watched television. Okay that’s not entirely true. I’ve watched Fixer Upper on HGTV on Tuesday nights. But that’s it. All weather and news updates I’ve read on the Internet.

What I’ve found is that my husband and I don’t miss it. We’ve been watching series and documentaries on Netflix and YouTube. We’ve been going to bed almost an hour earlier and reading a half hour longer. This revelation has prompted us to consider removing our cable all together.

A friend recently said “You still will see the same junk on Netflix that you see on cable”. Well, yes and no. What we have both found is that without watching TV you don’t channel surf. You consciously choose what you are going to watch. If it has nudity, sex, foul language you forward through it.

Twenty seven years ago (as a wedding gift) we received three porcelain Japanese monkeys. Each of the figurines represents the principal “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. The gift giver enclosed a card:  “see no evil, listen to no evil, and speak no evil . Your marriage will be prosperous and free of monkey business.” Pretty clever. Actually there is a considerable amount of wisdom in those words.

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior our slate is wiped clean. The bible tells us:

“Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”-2 Corinthians 5:17 

All of our “junk” is forgiven and forgotten. The garbage is disposed of. We are made brand new in His image. So, if we are all clean and shiny on the inside? Why in the world would we subject our eyes, ears, and mouth to the filth of the world?

Think about it another way. You total a brand new car. It’s your fault. Your Dad forgives you no questions asked. He then turns around and buys you another brand new car. You do not deserve it. You learned your lesson and you promise your dad to drive responsibly. And you do. However you don’t wash the car. It is filthy. But you haven’t wrecked it so you think you are doing just fine. Your Dad repeatedly asks you when you are going to clean the vehicle. “I will! Dad I promise! I’m doing great though, aren’t I? The car is dirty but No traffic violations”.

Jesus provides us with this remarkable gift of new life. He wants what we hear, see, say, and do to reflect all that He has bestowed us. It doesn’t matter that we are just following the “rules”. If we are still living in the muck we have missed the point. God calls us to live righteously.

After three weeks of clean watching? I have noticed more of the beauty in and around my home and neighborhood. I am acutely aware of not only my words and actions but those around me. My heart is lighter, brighter, and more optimistic. I feel renewed. Without all the noise and messiness of the day to day influences of life? I clearly see what He wants me to see. Strive to be who He wants me to be.

Paul puts it this way “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”-Romans 12:2

Turn the television off. Turn off the radio in your car. Read, study, pray, praise. It’s an amazing world He has given us!

“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”-Philippians 4:8

This Ain’t No Dress Rehearsal 

Recently I cornered my husband and made him engage in an unpleasant conversation. My funeral. Morbid? To me, the I have to plan everything girl, it was a normal conversation. He did not want to participate. “Elizabeth, that’s ridiculous. We both know I’ll go first. And when I do make sure it’s on the way to work”. Confused I said “Huh?” With a chuckle he replied “My life insurance will be worth more if it’s work related”. I was the one not amused.

The facts are indisputable: (1)we are all going to die (2) our earthly bodies have to be put somewhere. Like I said I’m a planner. I want to make sure that my family has planned for my home going. My husband plans estates for a living. I plan our lives. This only seems fitting to me.

I explained to my husband what I had in mind. In fact, a friend of ours came up with a fabulous idea. It’s so good that I asked her permission to share it. I do not want a large church service. I want a private family graveside service. I’ll leave the details up to my family. The rest I want to plan.

I want to throw a party. I want you to show up ready to celebrate! To throw down! I want everyone who has had the pleasure or displeasure of knowing me to come. There will be a band. (Liquid Pleasure would be perfect!) I want you to dance, laugh loudly, and love on every familiar and unfamiliar face that you see.

I want you to indulge in good ole’ eastern North Carolina barbecue, chicken salad, shrimp, fried chicken, biscuits, caramel cake, lemon squares, 12 layered chocolate cake, sweet tea and the adult beverages of your choice. I want there to be blue and white ginger jars and silver vases full of roses, tulips, hydrangeas and peonies.

If it’s warm I want you to see a room full of seersucker, bow ties, sundresses, pearls, sandals, and little girls barefoot in smocked dresses. Little boys in monogrammed John Johns. Am I painting a picture for you? Does this sound like a combination of Easter and a wedding reception? Because that is the point!

When this diseased body finally goes? I will be resurrected out of this temporal life up to heaven to be with my Bridegroom forever. It is a reason to have the largest party eastern North Carolina has ever seen. Not because of who I am (believe me I’m no one ) but because of where I will be going. Does that sound like the most phenomenal day ever?! It will be! No more tears no more sorrow. Healed, whole, and in our eternal home with our Savior.

You don’t think I’m serious do you? Neither did my husband. But I can assure you I have thought this through. And just to keep it exciting I want my family to play a video that I’ll prerecord. I will explain in no uncertain terms: (a) where I am (b) Why I am there (c)How I got there.  And I’ll give the invitation to anyone present to give their lives to Christ right there at the country club. Heck, on the dance floor if that suits your fancy! I live in a small town. People will be talking about it for years to come as a spectacle  or a miracle. “Did you hear about that Wooten funeral? Yes, the tacky one! I heard  they held a revival at the country club” or “Did you go to the Wooten reception? Oh my gosh, greatest day ever!”

I’ve buried two parents, walked a child through addiction, another through illness and been told my life expectancy is 10 years tops. This  ain’t no dress rehearsal. The only “do over” we get? A new life in Jesus Christ. It’s too important to miss! Who cares if your neighbors think you are nuts. Who cares if it’s not politically correct. It’s the right thing to do. It is securing your eternal place in heaven. It’s the most important thing you will ever do.

As we prepare for the Easter season prepare your heart for Him!  Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again so that you may have eternal life with Him.

The parties just getting started what are you waiting for?

“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.”-1 Peter 3:15