Bright Lights

My son is learning to drive with his learners permit in his pocket.  A piece of plastic that gives him the right to drive on the road with an adult in the car with him.  I have always believed that permit was to learn to drive.  Now I’m seeing that it is there for his protection by forcing an adult to be in the car with him to teach him how to deal with impatient adults on the road.  (He is now the 4th child I’ve ridden with.  I don’t recall seeing so many impatient adults with the previous 3 children).

What have we become as a society?  It’s hurry here and there.  It’s hurry, hurry, hurry!  But, you know, mistakes occur when we hurry.  When you think of a hurried time in your life what comes to mind?

  • A scheduled appointment you are late for?
  • Impatient about finding a job?
  • Someone breathing down your neck to get something done… a deadline?
  • Finding that perfect relationship you will spend the rest of your life with?

We get in a hurry over a lot of things.  These four points are just from observations in life. (I could have written more…. but I’m in a hurry. Ha!… Sorry!) At some time in life we have all been in a hurry for one of those reasons or something else.  I can just about bet you that when life-decisions get hurried mistakes are made and accidents happen.

While riding down the road with my son, there was this car with bright lights on his tail.  He was going just over the speed limit.  He kept referring to the lights in his mirror and getting frustrated.  I encouraged him to focus on the road ahead and let the person deal with whatever they have going on by themselves.  We can’t control what they have going on. We can only focus on what we can see ahead of us.

Sometimes when others are in a hurry it can affect our own performance.

This conversation lead to more talk about the past.  We can’t do anything about the past in our lives.  Just like those bright lights, if we focus on the bright lights of the past we will be blinded and lose sight of what is up ahead.  Sometimes you have to reposition yourself, while in the driver seat, so that those things behind you don’t interfere with your future.

Who is sitting in your drivers seat?  Are you letting the guy behind you push you into a hurried state?  Are you getting your eyes off of the road in front of you all because you are focused on what’s behind you?

In Hebrews 12 we read,

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.  Study how he did it.  Because he never lost sight of where he was headed- that exhilarating finish in and with God- he could put up with anything along the way:  Cross, shame, whatever.  And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. (The Message).

If you are wanting to look back, then look back to the life of Jesus.  See how he dealt with life.  The encouragement for the day is to look to Jesus… keep your eyes on him.  As we approach the final days leading up the celebration of his birth, look back over his story.  See how his story from the past can lead you on into a great future.

It all boils down to one thing…

We are entering a season where people are more apt to care more about germs, colds, and the flu than at any other time of the year.  Anyone of us has the potential to carry any one of these and spread it to someone else.  In a sense, we are, potentially, couriers picking up sickness and delivering it to others.

If you think about it, we all have the potential to be “couriers” of so much more than the common cold and flu.  Individually, we all have ideas, thoughts, goals, dream, and aspirations that we carry with us each day.  Some of these will be accomplished and lived out because of the internal drive that exists that will push it into being.

I keep thinking about all the ways God can or could use me for His purposes.  Some of the ways that come to the surface the most are in the realm of writing and pastoring.  I meditate on His Word and think on those things.  I know he has gifted me.  No matter the vehicle He uses through me – it all boils down to one thing…. love.  We are all to be couriers of His love to the world we live in.  No matter the arena – love is the central theme He wants to share with those in which we come in contact.

I’m reminded of a time when I was a courier for FedEx.  It was Christmas Eve and there had been a lot of snow in key locations around the country.  This meant late deliveries and in many cases no deliveries.  It was late in the afternoon.  I was sick and it was very cold that day.  We were all messaged that there was a late plane landing in Atlanta and packages would be shuttled out to us for afternoon delivery.  Despite how I felt I was excited to be able to help spread a little Christmas cheer with a few more deliveries.  I just had no idea how one delivery was going to impact my life.

It was literally the last delivery of the day.  I pulled up to the front of the house and I could see two children peering through the curtain in the window.  As I put my truck in park, I could see them begin to jump and down with excitement.  I retrieved the package from the back of the truck as I wiped a little moisture from my eye – I was moved by the excitement I could see.  The children, along with their dad, greeted me halfway in between their house and my FedEx truck.  I handed the dad my clip board for him to sign for the package.  He told me that it was a package from their grandparents and they had been waiting all day for this box.

Some 10 years later, I still recall that moment as a courier for FedEx.  Why?  Why recall a delivery to a family whose name I can’t recall?  Why, get a little misty-eyed over this delivery?  I believe we are all couriers with the potential to impact the lives of others for the glory of God.  What I delivered was a box that contained items that have probably long been forgotten.  More than the contents of that package I couldn’t see – I realized I was really a courier delivering love from grandparents to their grandchildren for Christmas.  I am glad to have had the pleasure of being the one to have that experience that day.  For a moment, I had the opportunity to forget about “the job” or the fact that I was cold and sick.  In that moment, being a courier had great meaning and purpose.

How much more the joy we are to share the love of our heavenly Father with those He loves so much.  “For God so loved the world, he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal live.”  (John 3:16, NIV).

How is it God has gifted you to carry His Message of love? Who is it that needs to hear this Message of love from you today?  Go and deliver it in a manner He has gifted you!

What would life be like if…

Have you ever wondered what life be like without Jesus?  Think about it for a moment… What would life be like if the birth of Jesus had not taken place 2000 years ago?

The world would be an unbelievably different place today had the birth of Jesus not taken place.  I can’t imagine what life would be like without hope.  When Jesus came to this earth he brought hope… filled our hearts and lives with joy that can only come from Him.  This is a kind of hope and joy that nothing in this life can offer.

The words of Jesus in John 15:5, “without me you can do nothing.”  I think about this verse in relation to what it would be like if God had not come to earth in flesh.  Oswald Chambers states, “That is why the underlying foundation of Christianity is personal, passionate devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ.” (My Utmost for His Highest, December 23).

The amazing thing about His birth is that there is no other way we can experience a relationship with God that is real and personal.  It was by God becoming personal with us (in flesh) that we are able to be personal with Him. 

To find examples of how it would be to live life without Jesus – we don’t have to look to far… we don’t have to use our imaginations.  All we have to do is to look back into our own past for starters.  We can see our neighbors, co-workers, family, and friends who still live without the real hope and real joy that has come to this world through the birth of Jesus Christ.

As you celebrate, remember He has come to be with us.  His coming is real and personal.  He knows our names… He knows how many hairs are own our heads.  He intimately cares for all of us!

If you believe in Jesus, recall the joy experienced in coming to Him.  There’s a purpose in getting to know that joy.  That joy is to lead us to a personal relationship with God. 

Oswald Chambers goes on to say,

We mistake the joy of our first introduction into God’s kingdom as His purpose for getting us there. Yet God’s purpose in getting us into His kingdom is that we may realize all that identification with Jesus Christ means. (My Utmost for His Highest, December 23).

His birth, hope, and joy is to lead us to a place of total identification with the Savior.  Total identification is the giving of our entire lives for His purpose… to carry the marks and to be identified with Him no matter the cost. 

This is where I am today… how serious am I at being identified with Christ?  Is it just something to be written about in a blog or is it to be lived in compassion and humility serving others.  If you have done it unto the least of these you have done it unto me.  See Matthew 25:35-40.

Let Love In (updated)

The message of love permeates the world at this time every year.  Can you hear it?  Do you hear the message?  Or are you lost in the packages, parties, and pressures? 

The message is this… God came to this world wrapped up in flesh.  He is Emmanuel “God with us”.  He lived and walked this earth as a man.  Now we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  He came so that we could be made right with God… he came as a Savior to set us free from our sin and death.

In the midst of the Season, do you hear Him calling?  Speaking?  Do you hear Him calling you to Himself? 

I struggle with forgiveness.  I want to be a forgiving person… one that can let the past remain in the past.  Today I want to forgive and let love in.  Whatever you find yourself struggling with – let the love of Jesus Christ in – he will forgive and the Holy Spirit will fill you.

It’s finally arrived!

mythree_bw1No it’s not the latest package in the mail… no it’s definitely NOT a baby.  But rather the last day of school before Christmas break. 

For me, that means my kids will be here for almost a week.  Which means more to me than anything else that will transpire over the next week.  Well, I do look forward to Lori’s birthday… it’s on Christmas Eve.  What a day to have a birthday!  Who can compete with the birth of Jesus and Santa Claus?I guess we’ll have to celebrate it next month… that’s terrible I know.  We’ll have cake and sing… the gift will have to wait until January.

This is the toughest time of year for many!  And this year probably tops off as the toughest of a lifetime for even more.  I wish all the pressure that goes with the season would not be associated with it… We celebrate Christmas because of Jesus’ birth… the great joy that is associated with his life and the promise his life offers.

I’m thankful to celebrate His birth, to spend some time with my children, and Lori’s birthday!