Saturday, August 28, 2021

Everybody’s Looking for Something


In this dream I have a behind-the-scenes look at an elaborate stage production. The Mistress of Ceremonies wants the costume designer to make her an “original” gown, but she wants him to copy a fashion she saw on Project Runway. It is an Erte style, Art Deco black dress, with a bandeau bra top, straps leading to a halter neck and choker, long crepe skirt, bare midriff with fabric strips connecting the top and skirt, and long black gloves with vertical slits allowing the skin to show through.

The final result is chic and dramatic, but she doesn’t want the audience to know she has stolen someone else’s design. She asks me to find her makeup tray, so I look inside a 1920’s style vanity, but it is filled only with cassette tapes and a recorder. I accidentally start the recorder playing and can’t shut it off. The song is a 1920’s tune that apparently accompanied the model on Project Runway when she showed the original design. The MC is furious because she thinks the audience will make the connection to her gown’s true origins.  

The dream then fast forwards to the final scene of the play, which is set like the Victorian drawing room in the Nutcracker ballet, ready for a lavish Christmas celebration. After the characters parade around and exchange not-so-pleasantries, the MC announces that the world is about to end, and this is their last chance to hold onto what is most important to them.

The final tableau shows each character worshipping their god, pledging their allegiance to what they hold most dear. A middle-aged woman who has parlayed her physical charms into a wealthy but loveless marriage and equally empty affairs draws close to her reflection in a full-length mirror. Her husband reaches lustfully for the young maid, who has her hands in the silver drawer.

The learned professor gets on one knee in a courtly pose and extends his arms to the bookshelf, as if he could encompass all the science, poetry, and philosophy contained in its volumes. While the athlete contorts his muscular frame into a manly expression of physical prowess, the obese glutton stuffs his face at the buffet, and the addict snorts his stash of cocaine. The children grab as many presents as they can, shoving each other aside, and run to the fireplace, peering up into the chimney and hoping they can get more from Santa.

A priest, who was invited to pray before the meal, piously holds his rosary in one hand and his censer in the other, looking upward to heaven yet hoping a crowd will kneel at his feet. Meanwhile, a beggar out in the cold, nearing the threshold in hopes of a few scraps discarded from the sumptuous dinner, flings himself prostrate on the ground and begs God for mercy and forgiveness.

I awoke with the realization that only the beggar, who realized he was a sinner in need of a Savior, would spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus Christ, and that the idol worshippers would all be cast into the lake of fire (Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 20:15;21:8)..

The pattern of the black dress reminded me of a “map” Todd Friel drew on an episode of the Wretched TV show, with the skirt representing the lake of fire, the top representing the “Devil’s Pond,” and the slits on the gloves, straps, and fabric pieces representing the tributaries feeding into the pond and ultimately into the lake of fire. He explained that Satan lures souls to follow the current into these various tributaries and rivers of worldly thought leading to destruction, including sexual immorality, substance abuse, humanism, atheism, pagan worship, and works-based religions.

In the dream, the dress design was stolen but masqueraded as an original creation. Satan is the great deceiver and the father of all lies (John 8:44), and in his desire to be God he imitates Him, from the unholy trinity to his distortion of God’s Word, seen first in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-5) and not ending permanently until he is cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10) . But all evil deeds are recorded and made known (Mark 4:22; Luke 8:17; (Ephesians 5:11-13), and those who rejected God and His Son will answer to Christ when He reads their sins from the books He keeps (Revelation 20:12).

Except for the beggar, all of the characters in this dream staked their eternal destiny on something other than faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the only way to Heaven (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; John 14:6). The “Christmas” celebration failed to honor Christ, Who came in the flesh (John 1:14) to reconcile sinful man to Holy God (2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Hebrews 2:17). Instead, it glorified the false gods of this world as the celebrants stumbled into Satan’s traps of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).

Falling prey to the lust of the flesh were the drug abuser and the glutton. The middle-aged beauty succumbed to the lust of the eyes as well as the lust of the flesh, worshipping her own image while seeking confirmation of her desirability in meaningless sexual encounters. Her husband, who should have been the spiritual leader of the household (Ephesians 5:23-26), was no better. Small wonder that they had neglected their parental responsibilities of spiritual guidance, and that their greedy children were following in their parents’ footsteps !

Also attempting to satisfy the lust of the eyes and the pride of life was the maid, as those who crave wealth do so for the lovely things it buys as well as for the power linked to prestige and worldly success (1 Timothy 6:10). And the athlete placed his faith in his physical strength and accomplishments to win the respect of others (1 Corinthians 9:25). But we are saved by God’s grace alone, and not by our own works, no matter how impressive (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Thinking himself to be wise by embracing all the world’s writings, the professor proved himself to be a fool, as the world’s “wisdom” is no match for God’s Word. Trusting in evolution and humanism as absolute truth deceives men from realizing their own sinful nature and leads them to deny God’s very existence (Romans 1:21-25; Psalm 14:1; 53:1).

One would hope that the priest would be a better role model than the other characters in this morality play, but he too counted on his own works and self-righteousness (Luke 18:10-14) Vain repetitions in prayer, without speaking to God as a child approaches their Father (Matthew 6:7-9) for wisdom, advice, and loving guidance and provision, are meaningless works. Even worse, he pretended to be worshipping God while seeking only admiration and reverence from others (Matthew 6:1-5), which made him a false prophet and teacher whose only god was himself ((Matthew 7:15;:2 Peter 2:1).

Far outnumbered by those who tried to enter eternity by the broad gate leading to destruction was the beggar. Sadly, those who have been born again (John 3:3-8) and accept Jesus Christ as the only Way, Truth and Life (John 14:6) are in the minority, and even Jesus said that His way is narrow (Matthew 7:13-14). May we renounce our false gods, repent of our sins, and trust in Him to lead us to eternal life!

Everyone is looking for something, but even in this life, nothing satisfies other than a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Only He brings joy, peace and abundant life here and now, and unimaginable, everlasting joy and peace in His presence in Heaven. May we tell all we encounter of His goodness and of the satisfaction only He can give!

© 2013 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives

Saturday, August 21, 2021


Wellcome Images 2018


A few nights ago I awoke from a sound sleep and got out of bed, when I suddenly fell backward, as if a tsunami had flooded over me, swept me away in its whirling fury, and pinned me helpless against the mattress.

Thankfully, it subsided in about 30 seconds, but when I cautiously struggled to my feet and began to walk, I found myself veering off to the left. That also soon resolved but left me feeling shaken and unsteady.

As a retired neurologist, I began to diagnose myself and realized I had no other symptoms of stroke, was too old for new onset multiple sclerosis (MS), and had no fever or other symptoms of viral infection. However, the left side of my head was congested, which I sometimes experience in the morning because of allergies, and the left side of my neck was sore, also not unusual as my husband and I have been strenuously rehearsing our latest Theatre Arts dance with overhead lifts and drops.

So I reasoned that sinus pressure and neck muscle spasm had brought on the vertigo by sending faulty signals to the system that maintains balance and equilibrium. I used an herbal nasal spray and anti-inflammatory medication with some relief of the head and neck symptoms. We went to morning practice as usual, but when I attempted to get up after lying down on the floor to stretch, the tsunami returned, again rendering me helpless in its swirling current.

Discouraged and unable to practice, we returned home. I realized that I must have benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, a common and seldom serious condition in which a calcium deposit, called an otolith, dislodges from its usual position in the innermost canal of the inner ear and escapes to the outermost canal, where it causes a false sense of movement. The vertigo usually comes on suddenly after a period of lying down, particularly when turning the head to the affected side and arising quickly, or from any sudden movement or positional change.

Vertigo is a curse for anyone. For a female Theatre Arts dancer, it is the kiss of death, as this dance form involves spins, lifts, drops, and sudden changes of position from standing to being suspended horizontally over the partner’s head or even held upside down – often while spinning. Any momentary lapse in balance or spatial awareness could result in a disastrous fall from overhead and cause serious injury.

I prayed that the symptoms would just disappear, but in case they didn’t, I planned to try a maneuver known as the Epley maneuver, designed to guide the otolith back into the innermost canal of the inner ear. The next morning, a repeat bout of vertigo upon arising led me to test this plan. With my husband’s help, I went through a series of rapid position changes, which brought on more dizziness, alternating with rest periods on the bed.

When the maneuver was completed, I had no more vertigo, but I felt uneasy, unsettled, and dissociated from my surroundings. After breakfast, coffee, and much prayer, we decided to attempt rehearsing again. I found that by focusing out in the distance and being hypervigilant about my balance, there was no vertigo, despite the spins, drops, lifts, and position changes. Apparently these all happened too quickly to give the otolith sufficient time to dislodge from its normal position. The following day, I had no symptoms, nor have I had any since. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness (Psalm 89:8) and for answered prayer!

Unexpected blessings from this harrowing encounter were the knowledge of how to deal with this in the future if it were ever to recur, perhaps closer to a performance setting when I might not have the luxury of being able to rest or take a break, or the time or Internet access to research how to do the Epley maneuver.

An even greater blessing was the new-found gratitude in being able to do what I sometimes take for granted – not just complex, challenging dance moves, but even simple actions like getting out of bed or walking without literally bouncing off the wall. It reminded me of recovering from the pneumonia I had several years ago, and being thankful just to be able to breathe freely, sleep quietly without coughing, and walk across a room without getting short of breath.

Sometimes God allows incidents like these into our lives to remind us of our total dependence on Him (John 15:5) and thankfulness for every move we make and every breath we take (Acts 17:28). As Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest, “It is the sick person who really knows what health is.” The logical extension is that it is only the person who knows he is a sinner deserving eternal punishment in hell who can receive God’s free gift of eternal life in Heaven (Romans 3:23; 6:23).

Minimizing the vertigo by directing my gaze upward and outward reminded me to always keep my focus on Jesus and His kingdom, particularly when encountering the turbulence of life, and to look up (Luke 21:28), for our redemption through the Rapture is close at hand!

This episode of vertigo also reminded me that sometimes He even allows our lives to be turned upside down or set spinning, all for our ultimate good and His glory (Romans 8:28).

Before we can be saved by trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6), we must come to the end of ourselves, which may feel like a total upheaval of all we know and believe.

The early church, first known as Christians, or ‘the Way,” turned the world upside down by spreading the truth and Word of their Savior Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26; 22:4). His crucifixion was marked by extraordinary events, including the sky turning black at midday, a great earthquake, the dead arising from their graves, and the thick, impenetrable veil of the temple tearing from top to bottom (Matthew 27:45-54; 28:2), symbolizing God in the flesh coming from Heaven to earth (John 1:1-14) to end the separation of Holy God from sinful man (Romans 5:10). His resurrection was the single most significant, paradigm-shifting event of all time.

Even His teachings seem filled with paradox that set conventional wisdom on its head. We must lose our life to save it (Matthew 16:25). He who is first will be last, and he who is last will be first (Matthew 20:16). The meek shall inherit the earth, and the poor shall inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3-5).

With God’s infinite power (Genesis 35:11), far exceeding that of any tsunami, whether real or perceived, the blind shall see, the lame shall leap, and the dead shall live again (John 3:16) in Him! Every molecule in our earthly body shall be rearranged in the twinkling of an eye as He transforms us into our glorified body (1 Corinthians 15:52) that will never age, die, or experience pain, sorrow or sin! Even the earth will be burned with heat so intense (2 Peter 3:10) that it transforms its molecular structure into the New Jerusalem!

Praise God that only He can turn things completely around and upside down and make them completely new (2 Corinthians 5:17), and that He even gives us earthly reminders of what is to come when He returns for His children!  

© 2021 Laurie Collett