PIG!!

I once read a story of a policeman who was heading home after a long, hard day on patrol. He had dealt with a whole succession of difficult people, and a mountain of frustrating paperwork. All he wanted at this point was to kick back, unwind, enjoy some peace and quiet, and maybe watch a few innings of baseball on TV. But, as he neared home, he was startled by a vehicle that came careening around a sharp curve and narrowly missed his squad car. As the car passed within a few inches of him, the other driver shouted “Pig!” The police officer was suddenly energized. He slammed on brakes, all set to turn his squad car around and head off in hot pursuit. But as he rounded the curve, … he ran head-on into a large pig that was standing in the middle of the road!

It’s a lesson we all should learn early in life : DON’T ASSUME! No matter how confident we are in our understanding of an issue. No matter how certain of another’s reasoning or motives. No matter how obvious the point may be to us.

 Effective communication is far more complicated and difficult than we think. With barriers like cultural differences, personal “filters,” different definitions, etc., its amazing that any of us EVER understand one another. But these aren’t the most difficult obstacles. The biggest reason we aren’t able to hear/understand what another is saying to us is simply… “fear!”

Oh, we may camouflage it behind anger, self-importance or any number of other false fronts, but at the root is fear.  It’s a powerful and many times crippling motivator. And most of us can summon up plenty of reasons why we shouldn’t take another at face value.  Honest communication requires trust, and taking a risk.  For many of us we’ve been burned too many times. So we settle for safety, make the natural assumption, and run head-on into our own version of that pig as we journey down life’s highway!

There is a better way. A way that recognizes our similarities. That sees others as a source of community and healing. That looks past our own frustration and previous disappointments to explore the possibility that even a “stranger” may have something positive to say.

The Apostle Paul described it in I Corinthians, chapter 13. It’s the “higher way” of love. I almost hesitate to use that term these days because of the way our culture misuses it. But when you read Paul’s description, try substituting “maturity.” It’s a perfect fit. The risks are higher for this way of living, but so are the rewards.

That doesn’t mean we should be naive. It does mean we should be careful what we assume. Check it out. Give others the benefit of the doubt. And if someone shouts something unexpected at us, at least entertain the possibility that perhaps it may be more than a personal insult.

Who knows, that approach could change our life.

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Just Keep Going

These lyrics to an ole’ spiritual came to mind this morning as I sat down during my time of reflection.

“Trials dark on every hand, and we cannot understand All the ways that God could lead us to that blessèd promised land; But He guides us with His eye, and we’ll follow till we die, For we’ll understand it better by and by.”

We don’t always understand everything that is going on around us. There are some days we glide through effortlessly, while other days require effort just to make it minute to minute. If you are going through one of those seasons where you are having difficulty putting one foot in front of the other, “just keep going.”

Look at it this way: Suppose you left home on a bicycle and several miles down the road you ran over a rock and fell to the ground. There would be no need to get up, return home, and start all over again. What would be the purpose? All you would need to do is get up, clean yourself off, get back on your bike, and continue your journey.

So it is with our journey with the Lord. If we stumble and fall, or have a bad day, we don’t need to start our spiritual journey over. Just allow the blood of Jesus to cleanse, let His arms lift us back up, and continue on with all that He has purposed for our lives.

Thats right…repeat after me: Just Keep Going!!!!!

Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 KJV

Boomerang

Breathing encouragement….what a refreshing image that calls to mind. If encouragement is like good, clean, fresh oxygen to the soul, then words of discouragement are like the exhaust from a car that choke our ability to breathe. We can’t get too much of the first, but too much of the latter makes one sick-literally.

Never pass up on the opportunity to make someone’s day. Doing so will boomerang blessings back to you. Make time for encouragement and rest assure it will make time for you.

A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
Proverbs 15:23

Its Not A Guessing Game

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NKJV

We don’t learn about the things of God with our natural mind, but we learn them through spiritual insight and understanding. We have two sets of ears: physical ears that hear sound, and spiritual ears that hear the soft voice of Holy Spirit.

To understand the Christian life and how it works isn’t a guessing game. Father God didn’t leave it up to us to try to figure it out on our own. It isn’t some hidden secret that He is keeping from us His children.

All that God has for us, all that He wants to be to us, and all that He can be in us is revealed to us through Jesus Christ, His Word, and the ministry of Holy Spirit. Staying connected to Jesus ensures that spiritual life will continually flow within and through us.

Colored Glasses

We don’t need to be an optometrist to know that God’s eyes are not the same as ours.  They witnessed the creation of the world.  They watched us as we were formed in our mother’s womb.  They looked into the future, and saw the beginning and the end.

That’s where faith comes in.  To begin to see things through God’s eyes, we first have to grow to trust His heart.  Like any relationship, trust builds over time.  But it’s put to the test when we believe God loves us, yet circumstances seem to scream the exact opposite.   That’s when we need to remember we don’t have the ability to see every situation through God-colored glasses.  We can only see the present and the past, while God can look ahead to the future.

All I have seen teaches me to trust our Creator for all I have not seen…….

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Hebrews 11:1

Wiped Clean

What does justification in Christ mean? Glad that you asked! Justification in Christ means; that we have been counted innocent, just as though we had never sinned.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24

Are you shouting yet?

Yes, justification is better than being paroled. To be paroled simply means that we are free from prison, but the record remains on file. Justification means that we are not only FREE from the guilt of the past, but our records that once stood against us has been wiped clean.

Hallelujah! God remembers our sin NO MORE!

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12