How many times have you been driving down the road, respecting the speed limit and the other vehicles around you, and found a car bearing down on you, seemingly attaching itself to your bumper? I wouldn’t be able to tell you how many times it has happened to me. It is a daily occurrence. It is frustrating. And, the sad thing is, I have come to expect it. These drivers are overly aggressive, obnoxious, dangerous, and incredibly selfish; they drive as though the road is theirs alone, and everyone else is an obstacle to be overrun. These drivers are bullies who try to force others to either speed up to their liking or to move aside. I, however, refuse to allow these drivers to change the way I drive. I will not speed up for them; If anything, I will slow down. I am responsible for the way I drive and I will be held accountable for it, just as they will be held accountable for their actions on the road.
In life, just as there are selfish drivers on the road, there will be domineering, self-seeking people who will try to guide and direct your steps; they will try to alter your course to their liking, but we are not to allow them to dictate how we live. Our journey is ours alone, and we will be held accountable for how we live—for how we use the precious life God has blessed us with. Don’t live your life for anyone else but God; don’t live in such a way as to please man (Galatians 1:10). Live the one life you have been given to glorify and honor God; anyone who doesn’t like that can simply pass on by.
With the winter weather as of late, my car had become quite dirty and encrusted with ice and densely packed snow. The areas in and around the tires were also thick with built up, frozen sludge—so much so that I could hear the tires pressing against it whenever I turned them. Though I tried to chip away at the built-up snow and ice on the car and around the tires, some of it simply would not budge. To combat this, I drove the car through a car wash yesterday, and what a difference it made! My grimy, ice and snow covered car came out clean! The densely packed ice around the tires was gone, as was every other trace of dirt and snow. It was wonderful. The view through the windshield was clear, and the exterior of the car glistened. However, it didn’t remain that way for long. Already there are traces of salt stains on the doors. The effects of the car wash, though fairly thorough, were rather short lived; as soon as the car was back on the road, it was susceptible to the dirt once again.
The illustration of our dirty cars is reflective of our hearts. Everyday we struggle against our fleshly human nature and we thus are susceptible to sin against God. We are in constant need of cleansing. But thanks be to God for sending His one and only Son to die on the cross for us and save us from our sins. Unlike the temporary effect of the car wash, the effect of Jesus’ sacrifice is forever, complete, and eternal.
Did many of you venture out into the snow yesterday? If so, what did you wear to protect yourself from the elements? A jacket and boots most likely, probably a pair of gloves, perhaps a hat? But did any of you think of getting out an umbrella? We don’t usually see umbrellas in the snow and I find that fascinating because, though snow is different from rain, it has a similar effect. Snow is precipitation which melts into water as it hits various surfaces; it is wet and it leaves dampness in its wake. Because it isn’t rain, we view it differently, and thus we don’t usually prepare ourselves for it accordingly. Yes, many of us wear hats or hoods but, depending on the fabric, those often become compromised as they become saturated with melted snow. Why not use what is at our disposal to better protect ourselves from the elements? Why not pull out an umbrella the next time it snows?
Often our first reaction in various situations is to rely on our own human strength and wisdom. If a problem arises, we tend to initially try to solve it on our own. We operate on auto pilot and do what we know to do, we pull on our gloves, hats,and coats, and just end up getting wet. Let’s save ourselves the frustration, be quick to admit our need for God’s help and intervention, and allow Him to protect and shield us from the elements. When it snows, why not be quick to pop up an umbrella and allow it to keep you dry? When life happens and situations arise, let God be God in your life and allow Him to effectively protect you, strengthen you, and shield you from the element through His Spirit-quickened Word.
This past weekend, while Timothy was away at a youth retreat, I ended up staying at my mom and dad’s house. Rather than staying in an empty and quiet apartment by myself, I was blessed to be able to spend that time with family. How comforting it is to know that, no matter how old we may become, we will always be our parent’s children. And no matter how mature, independent, or wise we may be, we long for and crave the reassurance, wisdom, advice, and comfort they provide. Though we may outgrow much from our childhood, we never outgrow our need for our parents.
How true this is of our relationship with our Heavenly Father. No matter how old we may become, if we have accepted His gift of salvation, we will always be His children. And no matter how mature, independent, or wise we may be, we long for and need the reassurance, wisdom, and comfort only He can provide. We never outgrow our need for the Lord, if anything our needs grows stronger and stronger all the time.
How blessed we are to have a Heavenly Father we can always turn to and in His presence we are always home.
We are a blessed people. If you are able to read this post, it means you have access to internet, and you most likely have shelter, food, clothing, etc. Yet we often forget how very blessed we are. How many times are we guilty of looking into our refrigerators and cupboards and thinking we have nothing to eat. Though our provisions may be getting scant and it may be nearing time to go to the grocery store, if we are creative, we can usually make something delicious from the remaining items at our disposal; very rarely do we actually have nothing left to eat. Yet, because we do not see a finished meal in the form of leftovers or the ingredients to prepare a typical snack we enjoy, we are blind to the possibilities of what is available to us with the items we do have.
This is very true of our walk with the Lord. We know, because the Bible tells us, that we have everything we need, in Christ, to do the works which God has prepared for us to do; In Christ we lack nothing for He has fully equipped us for the calling He has on our lives. Yet although we know this to be true, when we are in situations that seem overwhelming and daunting and humanly impossible for us to accomplish, we tend to forget that God is not only with us in those very moments, but that He is also strengthening us and empowering us to do that which we could never do on our own. When we can’t see the end from the beginning and all we see are our human weaknesses (the scant provisions left in the fridge), we count ourselves out and declare we have nothing left. But this isn’t true. With God we can do so much more than we could ever imagine. He is able to use our weaknesses (our scant provisions in the fridge) and transform them by His strength and power into something incredible. Allow God to take what you have and transform it into something beautiful and meaningful for His Kingdom.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made and this beautiful truth is evident in so many ways, one of which we will focus on today—that of bowel movements 😉
Do you realize that, each time you ‘eliminate waste,’ your body is ridding itself of harmful toxins? Our bodies have been created to absorb what is good, detect what is harmful and unneeded, and then purge itself of what is not beneficial.
I pray that our hearts and minds would be as discerning as our bodies—that we would absorb what is good, detect what is harmful and unneeded, and purge from our lives what is not beneficial. Life is too short and too important to be polluted and poisoned with the things of this world. Our eternity hinges on how we live our lives on earth.
Bowel movements are an incredible blessing. Though they may be uncomfortable at times, they bring about a sweet sense of relief. Walking the narrow way may be uncomfortable at times, but with it comes the sweetest relief of all, that of eternal hope and salvation.
With the Christmas season behind us, as well as the New Year’s festivities, and as we settle back into the rhythm of routine, there is somewhat of an empty hollowness that is difficult to shake. I love Christmas and the anticipation and lead-up to the holidays. I love the decorations and setting up the tree. I love listening to carols and festive music, and I love the slow paced rhythm the holidays bring. There is such beauty that the Christmas season brings and it fills my heart with happiness. However, when it is over, which inevitably happens every single year, and as the decorations are put away along with the tree, I cannot help but feel a pang of sadness and a sense of loss. Where the tree once stood, is now empty space, and where the lights once shone, is now dark and unwelcoming.
As I reflect on the end of the Christmas season, I am reminded that we cannot find true joy or lasting happiness in our surroundings and earthly circumstances because everything in this world is temporary. We may enjoy things for a time, but all things, like the Christmas holidays, come to an end. It is when we mistakenly place our hope in that which is temporary and fading away that we end up disappointed, empty, and frustrated. This is a pandemic in the lives of those around us who do not have the eternal hope of salvation. Though circumstances and situations may leave us bereft, our hope, joy, and peace are not birthed out of them. Our hope, joy, and peace stem from our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. And for that we can be truly thankful.