My son-in-law is a busy man. As well as being a husband and father of four active kids at home and one outside the home, he is a fireman / EMT. He also teaches courses in fire safety and is a volunteer on the local fire department.
On his days off he is working on home renovations. Somehow in the middle of all of this he made the time to earn a degree. This weekend is his convocation ceremony as he receives his Bachelor of Applied Business for Emergency Services.
My six year old granddaughter is especially proud of her daddy and is telling people she gets to go to his coronation this weekend! I know he wears a lot of hats, but I’m pretty sure that a crown is not one of them!
Her choice of words made me laugh. I love the way children can twist words and give the situation a whole new meaning.
As I thought about this, I realized how often I have looked at someone with admiration and elevated them to a higher position. They are smarter, wittier, better looking so I feel less than in comparison. In essence I have crowned them with authority and relegated myself to peasant status.
The truth is that God created us all equal. There is no need to feel inferior to anyone else. He has given each of us unique gifting and talents. God created us with a purpose in mind and has planted within us everything we need to fulfill that purpose. My role is to trust that he is able to accomplish his will in my life. I need only put my ego aside and let him work.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14 NIV)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV )
My husband and I were walking through a trade show when one of the exhibitors caught our attention. A young man handed my husband a ball that weighed twelve pounds and told us this was the approximate weight of an adult’s head. We each held the ball and were surprised that our head could weigh that much.
The point of this was to promote proper posture. They wanted to point out how important it is to have your head in alignment with your spine. What made the biggest impression on me was something written on the brochure we were handed. It said, Is your head in the right space?
Unfortunately for them, my thoughts had nothing to do with attending their posture clinic.
When I think of having my head on straight, it is clear, focused thinking that comes to mind. No matter how much I strive for this, it is something I don’t always achieve. Often I take on too much, get overwhelmed and loose my ability to function efficiently. Then there are the times that I am faced with several choices and seem unable to make a decision. In both of these cases I definitely feel the need to get my head on straight.
By starting each day in prayer, asking for God’s wisdom and guidance, my life will run much smoother. The quiet time I spend with God is just what I need to keep my head in the right space.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2 NLT)
It seemed like a strange thought as I walked along the beach. I’d had it for several days so finally acted on it. Finding a small stick, I picked it up, drew a line in the sand, and then stepped over it!
The only thing that changed was that I was now on the other side of the line. There was no guilt, no unmet expectations and no enlightenment. For years I have heard the phrases line in the sand and don’t cross the line. I’m sure they were said to keep me safe or out of trouble.
The problem was they also held me back. Many years ago I identified with a line in a song that said, “Somebody draw the line so I can blow right past.” This didn’t mean that I wanted to do anything illegal or immoral. I just longed to break out of the self-confining box I had placed myself in.
Living up to the expectations of others, whether real or imagined, is what had destroyed my freedom. True freedom comes from choosing to follow Jesus. He wants to give me a rich and satisfying life. The only way that can be accomplished is to forget about my line in the sand and cross over into the adventure with him.
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.( John 10:10 NLT)
My husband and I were driving and the warmth of the sun shining through the windows soon lulled me to sleep. As we travelled down a rural road Brian purposely drove across the rumble strips to see if the noise and vibration would wake me.
Rumble strips are grooves or rows of indents in the pavement designed to alert distracted or drowsy drivers that they are leaving their lane.
There are center-line rumble strips which are used on undivided highways to reduce cross-over incidents that could result in head-on collisions. Another type are shoulder rumble strips which are used to reduce run-off-road collisions. On a long stretch of rural highway I have also encountered rumble strips across the traffic lane to alert me to the fact an intersection is coming up.
Brian and I talked about how useful rumble strips would be as we travel the road of life. Wouldn’t it be nice to have something to alert us when we are straying of-course? How about a warning for when we are approaching a potentially dangerous situation? I could use something that tells me when to be alert and proceed with caution.
Actually, I have all of this and more. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would be with me to teach me all things. When I feel my conscience warning me about something, I know that this is the Holy Spirit working to keep me from harm.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26 NIV)
Be alert. Be firm in the Christian faith. Be courageous and strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13 GWT)
When my daughter and I were on our recent cruise we enjoyed browsing open air markets in the various ports. One item that captured our attention was sea glass and the items made from it. At first I just admired it but soon my resistance wore down and I bought a pendant that had silver wire wrapped around a piece of milky sea glass.
Once back home I did a little research on this previously unknown stone. I learned that sea glass is a reverse gem. Traditional gems are made by nature and refined by man. Sea glass is originally made by man, in the form of bottles and jars, but refined by nature to become smooth, frosty gems found on many beaches.
It was quite amazing to think that garbage thrown carelessly into the ocean changes so dramatically. The broken shards of glass spend years being tumbled by the water and sand until their edges are rounded off and the slickness of the glass has been worn into a frosted appearance. The characteristic texture and shape it takes on does not happen overnight.
This gives me new insight into my life. God has done exactly the same thing with me. He has taken my life and made something beautiful out of the broken shards I once presented him with. Through time and experiences, I have been tumbled until my rough edges are worn down. No matter what has happened God can use all of my experiences to accomplish his good, pleasing and perfect will for my life. I am excited to see what he has in store for me!
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (Genesis 50:20 NIV)
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)
One evening I pulled into our driveway and was surprised when my vehicle would no longer move forward. Before you ask, it wasn’t because I bumped into the building!
Eventually the vehicle did move but there was a resistance that felt like something was holding it back. The brake wasn’t engaged so the problem had to be with the transmission. Once it was serviced, everything was good again.
This made me think of times I’ve been moving full speed ahead in my life and suddenly felt a resistance that stopped me in my tracks. Looking back, I realize this was caused by a different kind of transmission problem. It had nothing to do with a motor, but with a message that was being transmitted to me.
Many times I have set my own course and not stopped to pray about it. God has been patient with me when I made mistakes that wouldn’t have occurred if I had been relying on him. When it feels like something is holding me back, I need to stop and evaluate if this is God’s way of letting me know I’m not heading in the right direction.
He is always willing to forgive my disobedience and set my life back on track. By being tuned into his transmission of love and guidance my journey of life will be much smoother.
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! (Psalm 32:1-2 NLT)
Alberta, the province I live in, has just gone through a Provincial election. On voting day I worked in a polling station. Most people were in good spirits during the day and I enjoyed the atmosphere. There were a few issues, though.
Many people who arrived to vote had not been previously registered. Perhaps they had just reached the legal age for voting. In some cases, people had recently moved so were not listed for their current area. In order to register new voters we needed identification with their current address on it. Many people had not brought identification with them. They were either upset or disappointed that they were not able to register and vote unless they returned with the needed information.
I came home feeling grateful that there are no elections in the kingdom of heaven. God doesn’t require us to provide documents to prove that we reside with him. There is no need to line up and vote to choose a leader. My leader remains constant, never changing. I have complete confidence that God has compassion for each of us and will take care of our needs.
The Lord is good to everyone and has compassion for everything that he has made. (Psalm 145:9 GWT)
“I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.” (Daniel 6:26 NIV)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 NIV)
My husband and I attended a gluten-free expo recently. The majority of the booths had samples of products for us to try. This gave us the opportunity to taste items before we made a decision to purchase them.
Some things, like Portobello mushroom jerky, were interesting but one bite was enough for me. Others, like the cinnamon sugar donuts were treats I could have eaten much more of.
The booths with the longest lineups were the one giving away sample packages to take home. We added pasta, crackers, chips, popcorn and bars to our tote bags. Coupons to receive a discount on some of our favourite products were also appreciated.
Attending this expo reminded me of life. Each day I am presented with new experiences to try. Some are sweet, some are nutty and others leave a bitter taste in my mouth. My task is to sample the experiences that are presented to me and to find value in all of them.
The gifts that God has given me are far more valuable than a box of pasta. Yet, they are freely given and I don’t have to stand in line to receive them. The investment I need to make is not like the money I need to spend in order to use coupons. What I need to do is to invest my faith in God. This not only pleases him but also produces benefits far greater than I deserve.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 NIV)