Camping & the Apocalypse

I am a fan of the apocalyptic genre. I don’t read or watch it exclusively, but this has been a summer of reading and watching rather a lot of it. Need proof? Over these short summer months, I have binge-watched The Last ShipContainmentSurvivors, Fringe, 12 Monkeys, Primeval: New World, and Zoo. I recently began reading Station Eleven since one of my friends suggested it based on my like of the aforementioned binged show Survivors. And if that isn’t enough to convince you, our family read-aloud has been Battlefield Earth, a quasi post-apocalyptic gem. Needless to say, it’s been a rough summer of near-annihilation for the human race all within the confines of my own head!

I share this about myself to help you understand my doomsday mindset while we were recently on our annual Labor Day Weekend Campout with our youngest kids in the breathtaking panhandle canyons of northwest Texas.

This naturally made crevice in the rock was much explored by the other members of my family during our recent visit to Palo Duro Canyons State Park. Climbing to, in, through, and on it was a highlight of our trip!
This naturally made crevice in the rock was much explored during our recent visit to Palo Duro Canyons State Park. Climbing to, in, through, and on it was a highlight of our trip!
I ventured about this close to it. My cowardice won and I stayed behind while the family explored the nooks and crannies with other brave hikers that day.
The family explored the nooks and crannies of this magnificent fortress in the cliffs.
Simon and the kids couldn't resist climbing down into a ravine and then through this natural "tunnel" under our hiking trail. If you look closely, you can see Simon's head in the center for scale.
Simon and the kids couldn’t resist climbing down into a ravine and then through this natural “tunnel” under our hiking trail. If you look closely, you can see Simon’s head in the center for scale. While they were exploring, they talked about making a Western in which the hero used a place such as this as his hideout.

With a mixture of both imagined images (due to my favored genre of late) and real images (due to my current locale) floating through my mind, I was primed with a mental slideshow as I read these Words early one morning –

Enter into the rock
    and hide in the dust
from before the terror of the Lord,
    and from the splendor of his majesty.” Is 2:10

“And people shall enter the caves of the rocks
    and the holes of the ground,[b]
from before the terror of the Lord,
    and from the splendor of his majesty,
    when he rises to terrify the earth.” Is 2:19

“to enter the caverns of the rocks
    and the clefts of the cliffs,
from before the terror of the Lord,
    and from the splendor of his majesty,
    when he rises to terrify the earth.” Is 2:21

As you can imagine, these words & images reverberated through my apocalyptic mind all day long as we hiked and explored the caverns! Later, I went back and reread Isaiah 2, which I admit was rather discouraging the first time through, and that time God illuminated the {more encouraging} beginning of the chapter –

“and many peoples shall come, and say:                                             Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
    to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
    and that we may walk in his paths.’ ” Is 2:3

Where am I going with this? Too many times I stumble on the negative. My mind dwells on the half-empty glass. I focus on the fears. I cry out in despair when the Lord doesn’t move the mountains I want Him to move or part the waters I wish I could walk through. And yet, His purpose for me isn’t to make my journey easy or smooth, but worth the effort, worth the struggle. As I go to Him each time I face a mountain or have to cross a sea, He teaches me more of His ways and I learn to walk in His paths.

What about you? What obstacles is the Lord eagerly waiting to teach you His ways as you walk His path with Him?

Netflix, Slavery & Pharoah – My Public Confession


Simon and I ditched our cable this year. We only had it a few years, but it was long enough to feel the acute absence of it now.

During our detox period, we turned increasingly more to Netflix.  There are a plethora of great shows to watch on Netflix.  During my “alone” time (husband traveling; insomnia; convalescing from a back problem), I unfortunately did not choose one.

Instead, I chose (Am I really going to admit this publicly?!) The Vampire Diaries. Yes, you read that correctly. The Vampire Diaries. In two short weeks I had worked my way into season 3 of this lame teenage drama.

From the first episode, I was appalled. There was rampant teenage drug use, teenager sex, more blood than a blood bank, violence to women, witchcraft, communing with the dead, and absolutely NO STORY LINE. I didn’t like this show, but for some reason, I kept watching it anyway.

For two straight weeks I watched countless bloody murders and various crimes committed. For two straight weeks I voyeured the practice of witchcraft, allowing those heinous exercises into my home via the television screen under the guise of entertainment. For two straight weeks I binged on imagery that was unglorifying to God and, to be honest, harmful to me. For two straight weeks, with each episode, I felt the weight of my guilt heavier and heavier on my shoulders until, thankfully…

God intervened.

I started noticing more and more in my quiet time that what I was reading in Exodus (yep, Exodus!) applied to me with regards to this wretched show I was watching.

I confess that I resisted God’s reprimands. I dug my heels in over whose will I would follow – His, or mine.

God is persistent. He loves His children and wants His best for each of us. He chased me through the pages of Scripture, no matter where my Bible reading plan took me.

Here are some of my actual journal entries as I wrestled with God:

Exodus 6:9 – Moses told this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and hard labor.

How often have I not listened to the voice of the Lord for any number of reasons? Today I am struggling with not wanting to listen to Him regarding the show The Vampire Diaries. I’m embarrassed that I started watching it a couple of weeks ago. I do not like that my kids see that I watch it every time we open Netflix. It is vile. It is some of the worst t.v. I have ever watched. To add insult to injury, they recently added witches, spells and seances! This is evil stuff made into entertainment & I am knowingly partaking in it. I know I need to stop. I feel God prompting me to stop watching. I feel His reprimand with every click of the remote when I turn to it, but I’m unwilling to give it up! WHY?! What is holding me back? God wants to free me from my bondage, but I am like the Israelites in Egypt preferring my slavery to being FREE just because it may be rough going as I walk away from it.

Exodus 13:14b – By a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery.

I feel like the Lord my God wants to deliver me from the yoke of slavery I feel to this wretched show I’ve been binge watching on Netflix in my free time. I am resisting – even though I do not like the show! I’ve gotten to the place in my heart where I truly do not intend to watch it again, but I feel like God wants me to bind & seal the deal with a promise/vow. And I am resisting doing that because I know elsewhere in Scripture we are told it is better to not make a vow to God than to make one and break it.

Exodus 13:15a – Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go…

I. Am. Pharaoh. I am stubbornly refusing to let this show go! I am like Pharaoh when he agreed to let some of the people go, but not all of them. I feel God wants full compliance from me, but I am “bargaining” with Him for partial compliance – only offering something I am willing to give (“I don’t intend to watch it” is what I am willing to promise God, just in case I later don’t follow through and return to it. I’m bargaining a loophole – with God, of all people!). I’m trying to please God by naming my own sacrifice instead of obeying His leading when He is the One that determines what is acceptable or not. How foolish I am!

(I thought the Psalms would give me reprieve…)

Psalm 26:4-5 – I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites.  I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.

Could this be applied to what I watch on Netflix? Could I boast of doing the same if I included the characters on the screen in my list of people I sit or consort with? I am spending a lot of my time with them.

(And this from the New Testament…)

Romans 8:5-6 – Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.  If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death.  But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace.

I am not feeling the peace! I think my flesh is vying for a coup with the enemy’s support. I am even looking for ways to bargain with Him, to stop watching this show without technically vowing to do so (so that I’m not bound by it if I fail).

(He didn’t go for that.)

2 Corinthians 10:5 – We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Woah. (That was my actual journaled response.)

A few days after that last entry, I repented in the truest sense of the word – I turned from my sin of disobeying Him, of sitting myself on the throne of my life, of running from the freedom He offered. I turned from the show, to God.

I made my promise/vow. And I found peace again.

What about you? What has you enslaved from which the Lord wants to set you free? Of what are you stubbornly refusing to let go? 

Ps 101-3