If this happens to you

The good news is that I don’t look like Michael Jackson. The bad news is that I don’t exactly look like Christina Applegate. It’s been a little over a week since I had surgery to repair the damage done to my nose earlier this summer when my dog became embodied by a demon, thus, forever in my mind changing him to the Demon Dog.

To recap, the dog, our own docile dog, turned on me, snapped down on my nose and rearranged my face. The surgery was to rebuild the rim of my nose which was a jagged mess. I saw a plastic surgeon four days after the event. He laughed, so I found a different doctor.

There are things you should know if this happens to you:

– Don’t call Mama for solace. She’ll fill your head with statistics on brain infection.

-Shots of novocaine inside the nostril will make you wince.

-Even if you make your spouse go into the surgical room with you, they won’t watch the procedure. They will count floor tiles instead.

-You will not be put asleep for this procedure.

-It’s like having a root canal on the nose.

-Dogs never apologize, not even when they are wrong.

Tim and I had just sat down in the doctor’s office when Tim’s phone rang. It was Ashley. She was calling from the scene of a car wreck. Hers.

Thankfully, Ashley is a careful driver, a defensive one, so she was paying attention when the man with the big rig truck pulled out in front of her. She was driving a Honda Civic — a red one — so not sure how he missed seeing her but he did. She swerved but was still hit by the rig.

The air bag did NOT deploy.

My blood pressure did, however.

Ashley is doing okay. Car shopping. Thanks for your prayers.

Some of you have been emailing me with feedback about the switch to the new location. I appreciate the feedback. Here’s a couple of things you should know:

– you can bookmark the site so that you don’t have to look up the address every time you want to log into the blog.

-you can also sign up at the top of this page for the RSS feed. That’s a subscription to this blog. It will come to your email box whenever I post something. The RSS feed allows you to know when I make a new post.

-Those annoying political ads? I have complained about them. Please understand that any ad you see on this site ever is not something I am endorsing. I don’t have any say so about the ads. Google keeps an ad bank that puts up ads based upon key words taken from my writing. (I was hoping to throw them off course with the Porn post! HA!)  Just know that whatever ad you see is NOT my position on anything.  For the record, I don’t support political ads no matter what the position.

– Some of you have complained about the Retweet button. That issue can be and will be fixed.

Okay, folks, that’s it for the update.

Now I need something from you… I want to know what were you taught about End Times when you were growing up.  Was it talked about at home? At church? Among the lunch crowd at school? Have you ever read Revelation and if so, when did you first read it? What did you think about it?

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  • Re: the nose — how could anybody have hoped to improve on perfection?

    Re: The End Times — I was raised up Presbyterian and we were too busy memorizing our catechism to be thinking about that. I don’t recall any real teaching about it at all, in anything other than occasional references to Revelation and Jesus coming back some day.

    An an adult I have read Revelation and studied it with (thank goodness) people who are smarter than am I. Even then, it was with more of a heart for the over-arching message (God wins) and not for any insider information.

    But my breath does sort of catch in my throat when I see “666” anywhere, although whether that’s because it’s Biblical or “The Omen” I just don’t know.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      The 666 line cracked me up. Didn’t I hear somewhere recently that the number wasn’t really 666? We’ve been dialing up the wrong number this entire time.

  • Was taught in the 70’s that the End Times was gonna happen any day. I still think it could happen in my lifetime, but I’m not so paranoid about it, now. I have read Revelation. I think in hindsight that Hal Lindsey really started all the fearful thinking about the End Times. And Jesus specifically said, when talking about the End Times, to not be afraid (Matt 24). But as as as it is to dismiss people who believe the End Times will be tough to go through, the fact is that Jesus did talk about it. Spent an entire chapter on it, even.

    • But as as as it is to dismiss

      should be

      But as easy as it is to dismiss

      • Karen Spears Zacharias

        But James there was that movie “Thief in the Night” long before the Left Behind books. Did you see that?

  • As for the RSS options you gave readers, I will add one more: if you have a Google account (like for Gmail or Blogspot), you can sign up for the Google Reader. You tell Reader what your favorite blogs are, and it lets you know when they have been updated. It’s essentially RSS, but one more way to do it.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Good to know. Thanks.

  • Don’t know if you know much about Churches of Christ, but that is my church of origin. Churches of Christ were pretty much amillennial, that is they did not believe in a thousand year reign, but a one time return of Jesus to gather the saints and for the judgment to occur. I currently am a pastor in this denomination, but my views of end times have evolved over the years. When ask about end times, I generally respond with Paul’s view in 1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:11. Scripture seems to emphasize not so much what happens as the importance of being ready.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      So Steve, care to share how those views evolved and what may have contributed to that?

  • Diane

    I have a great deal of difficulty reading Revelation because I don’t like fantasy fiction or allegory. I was taught pre-trib in a Pentecostal church in my teens years. Jesus is coming back SOON…probably today..you’d better be ready or you’ll burn in hell—that was pretty much the Gospel message then. Now I’m not as as convinced about about the particulars. I still lean toward pre-trib but don’t feel like it’s a matter to fight over. The fact is He will return one day. I got about eight books into the Left Behind Series then quit because I thought it was only going to be six books total, and I thought it was dragging along. Haven’t really studied Revelation or heard much about it since the early 80’s.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Diane: If you read eight of the LB books you must have really been intrigued. What were your thoughts about it?

  • Kenton

    Like pretty much everyone else who grew up in the Assemblies of God, I was taught about the rapture followed by 7 years of tribulation, followed by the millenial reign of Jesus. (Very much the Scofield/DTS school of eschatology)

    Talked about at home and at church, probably also at school, but I don’t remember discussing it with my friends there. My mother was actively interested. Gordon Lindsay spoke at my church a time or two, and the pastor at my church was spoke about it several times from the pulpit.

    I have read through Revelation at least once per personal eschatological shift. (Pre-trib rapture -> mid-trib rapture -> partial preterist -> quasi-universalist) One thing I can say, each shift taught me something that has stayed with me and that I have been able to integrate into my current eschatology.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Kenton: Interested in your partial preterist stage. Care to share how that came about? And what moved you away from it?

      • Kenton

        Sorry for the slowness to reply.

        I don’t know that I really moved away from so much as I incorporated it into something else. I would say I still interpret Matt 24 as a partial preterist, and Revelation as the “something else.” 🙂

        Brian McLaren talks in his latest book about reading Revelation as a unique literary genre (“Jewish apocalyptic literature”) that’s less about predicting the future and more about imagining a world as it might be. I probably line up with his eschatology pretty closely.

        As for what moved me toward partial preterism, it was initially R. C. Sproul’s book “The Last Days according to Jesus.” I had never heard an interpretation like that before, and I found it “had fewer holes” than the dispensationalism I was raised in. I also read some of J. S. Russell’s “The Parousia” and found a few websites helpful.

        • Karen Spears Zacharias

          I’m fascinated by what people believe on this matter and how they reach those conclusions. It’s like the one area where Believers really feel freedom to pick-and-choose.

  • scotmcknight

    Salem Kirban’s Guide to Survival, and Hal Lindsay’s The Late Great Planet Earth. Not to ignore the Scofield Bible’s reference notes.

  • scotmcknight

    Google’s clever: they’ve got an ad on your site about cosmetic surgery.

  • scotmcknight

    And now cosmetics and Beauty, Simplified.

  • John in PDX

    I don’t think we ever went over it. Catholics have plenty else to be guilty about.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      John: Yeah, Well Baptists deal in guilt by the shovel but they still manage to work that fear angle pretty well, too.

  • In my upbringing, we did not use the term “end times”. We talked about Judgment Day instead. A passage that stuck in my head from my 8 years of Bible passage memorizing and Catechism instruction was from the KJV of 2 Peter 3:10: But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

    Those words terribly frightened me as a little boy, and they made me very sad. First, my teddy bear was going to go up in smoke. I had only one, not a room full. Second, my A.C. Gilbert Erector Set would disappear in that blast furnace. Positively nothing engaged and inspired my budding engineer’s mind like that toy. Third, what about all our sweet, innocent and adorable feeder pigs in the barn? The thought of their horriifying squeals as they burned to death gave me nightmares. What kind of God would do this? What kind of Creator God who endowed life with his own breath and saw that all was “very good” would do this kind of Jekyll/Hyde act? Be afraid. Be very afraid.

    Kinda flew in the face of John 3:16-17 in ways I could only now call schizophrenic, insane.

    Only decades later did I learn that perhaps the “Day of the Lord”, or “Day of Yahweh” as it is in the Old Testament, was a multi-faceted mega-concept that needed some careful examination and consideration. We might do well to spend more time on Day of Yahweh set alongside the righteousness-making of God (justification) per Paul in Romans and less time on “End Times” per se.

    What makes things difficult is that one wing of Christianity today seems to have a fixed view of End Times and Revelation as only a deterministic countdown checklist of events for the future, as though it had no implications whatsoever for Christians with the jackboots of Rome on their throats 1800 years ago.

    No bird can fly on only one wing. Funny how often we groups of Christians try to do exactly that. With our single-wing approach we become so sure we are right. And then both our hearing and our vision seem to fail us completely.

    And if this nuclear conflagration version of End Times is finally what fixes things, just exactly what happened back there at the cross? What was that for? Was/is the whole kingdom of God, the very heart and soul of Jesus’ teaching, a hoax? Did Jesus bring anything new to the table? If so, what? If not, why are we wasting our time with him?

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Judgment Day? Maybe the question ought to be do you believe in Judgment Day?

      • Yesterday afternoon I was called to the home of D., a WWII vet whose labored breaths were slowly surrendering to the effects of years of hazardous materials exposure in his post-war employment. His loving wife, daughters and their families were gathered in the small room. The hospice nurse had done her work well, and now it was time for the next chapter.

        We shared the Genesis miracle of having the breath of God placed in us at creation, the promise of Jesus as the Bread of Life, the hope of David who knew the Lord as personal caregiver in the 23rd Psalm. We anointed D. with the Oil of Gladness, making the sign of the cross on his forehead and his hands. We prayed the prayer of our Lord and others.

        There, on the very edge of days as we know them, we awaited the inclusion of yet another life in the miracle of God’s eternity. “Judgment Day” came for D. about 90 minutes later, an event every bit as miraculous as birth. It was a birth, a new birth, a rebirth. New creation. Love positively filled this room. The Spirit of God was there in tears, hugs, every breath.

        We hang so on the literalism and particulars of the metaphorical descriptions of fulfillment, forgetting that these descriptions, however vivid and powerful they are, can only be the palest hints of the wonder, mystery and magnitude of God’s promises fulfilled. In the same way that Jesus’ parables are mere scrapings and rubbings taken from the masterpiece of the kingdom of God, not the kingdom itself, so are all our time-bound attempts, even the Scriptural ones, to comprehend our eventual complete reunion with God. Yes, my whole life will be known, but it was already known to God before I was ever born. It is all resolved long ago by God through Christ. No surprises, at least not to God. A good policy might be: fewer words, more wonder; less insistence, more amazement. Just look at what Paul does in 1 Cor. 15 in trying to describe the resurrection of the body. He’s trying to open things up completely while we fight to nail them down.

        John, the latest of the four gospels, takes bold steps in moving us off the dime. John 5:19-24 is so joyously simple in its gift, especially the final phrase. Do we need to know more than this? Do we ever need to know more than this?

        Maybe that’s what Paul was talking about when he wrote “For freedom Christ has set us free.”

  • Tiffany Lucus

    The “End Times” still remain a terrifying subject for me. Seriously.
    See, my 4th grade teacher told our class that we would all have to go through the “tribulation” and that no matter what anyone would ever tell you (because there are multiple beliefs on this subject) they were wrong and we would all have to go through it. He stated that someone would want to put a mark on us (the mark of the beast) and if we would not take it we would be starved to death or, worse, shot, in front of our families. I went home from school in tears and terrified and my Grandma returned to school furious and yelling. “We” apparently were a “pre trib” family and she felt that his story not only contradicted our families belief’s but was horrifically inappropriate for 4th graders. He disagreed…it didn’t end well and she spent a lot of nights in my room making adding night lights and assuring me no one was going to shoot or starve me.
    However, despite her best efforts to calm me down, when my Grandma announced that she believed in her heart that Jesus would return in 1992 I. was. terrified. I waited every single day of that year to hear a trumpet, to see people just start dropping like flies or worse yet, to see someone chasing me with a rubber stamp with “the dreaded mark” on it (because in my head, at that time, it was a rubber stamp).
    When none of those things happened I felt like we were living on borrowed time. I was horrified.

    It honestly has taken me years to come to grips with “the end times”. I have refused to read Revelation in my adult years or watch any of those “Thief in the Night” movies because they really terrify me.

    Yet I finally had to just come to terms with it, for my sanity. Here is what I finally decided; I’m going to live for Jesus every day of my life, I’m going to try and do my very best to serve and love him and do things that bring him glory. In return I hope that when he does come back he chooses to take me with him. I figure that there is not much more than that I can do. 🙂

    • Tiffany: And the good news is that you don’t have to hope that Christ chooses to take you with him. That deal is done, already sealed. In faith, Paul says, we effectively have put on Christ. In baptism we have died and been raised to new life. Past tense.

      Many of us have experienced the terrors of conscience that Martin Luther did 500 years ago, and we think we are the only ones to feel this way. We find ourselves at the mercy of merciless “Christian” fictionalists rather than resting assured in the grace of God through faith in Christ.

      To many folks, I recommend finding a used copy of John Dillenberger’s 1962 book “Martin Luther”. You don’t need to read anything in the book but the 33-page introduction (the Roman numeral pages). Read it three times ’til it sinks in. This is not a denominational pitch. Not at all. But without that man’s terrors of conscience and rediscovery of the doctrine of grace, all of Christianity today would be much impoverished and know far less peace–even the church headquartered in Rome, I think.

      And while you’re having coffee or tea today, kick this statement around until it brings out laughter: “Hal Lindsay is not a prophet but a profiteer.” Then read Romans 8:31-39. Out loud. Know Jesus, know peace. Done deal.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Tiffany: I think a lot of people can relate to your experiences and your conclusions.

  • Debbie W

    I didn’t come to know Jesus through the church – I came from reading John in a hospital. Revelation was the next book I read and I found a comfort in it even though I could hardly understand any of it. Then I tripped into a Baptist Church and my Pastor hardly ever talked about it – I began my own research and got through six books of the Left Behind stuff and gave them away because they just didn’t sit right with me. I then looked into all the pre trib – post trib and other similiar stuff and none of that seemed to sit well in my soul either. So I began another reading of my own and the very first line of the book blew my mind and I just knew it was truth – a revelation of Jesus Christ. So I began reading the book with a heart set on ‘knowing Him’. I found it is not a book about destruction – it is more about healing and everything Jesus has done and will do because He is Love – it is an invitation to come. His sword is His words – He is not violent – He just speaks truth. He stand in a white garment covered in blood and the blood is His own – His Victory over sin and death. I see a beautiful angel being cast from Heaven down to earth and taking the stars with him – then I see the same angel being cast into an abyss and then the abyss cast away from earth altogether – the existence of this angel shows me why there is so much suffering in this earth and in grand contrast I see The Creator restoring all things by His Word and He asks me to come and drink and sit at a table while He serves the object of His affection – a Bride. So I guess I don’t read the book to try and seek out the end of ‘time’ and battles and which President is the antichrist etc anymore. I read it to draw closer to Our Lord and to ‘know’ Him in His Glory and in it I find the most wonderful Love Story. It also helps me to remember that Jesus doesn’t fight evil with brute force – He is very patient and seems very content to take the slow path of love to overcome His enemies. His patience leaves me in awe.