First Pair of Glasses

I just got my first pair of glasses.  Do I recognize myself in the mirror yet?  Almost.

I did not want to get glasses for the same reason that many men my age don’t want glasses:  My eyes are good enough.  Just a little strain.  I would rather go blind than admit my weakness.  

Here is the phrase we use:  “I am fine.”  Three little words that kill excellence in our lives every day.

I remember the first time I put them on.  Everything seemed a little more in focus and a little bigger.  I wore them most of the day before I took them off again.  Wow!  It took me a while to refocus my glasses-less vision.  I did not realize how much of a big difference a little adjustment would make.

It is amazing what a little focus will do for your eyes.

Reminds me of the time I met Jesus.

I didn’t think I needed a Savior.  Do you?

Here is the phrase we like to use:  “I am fine.”  Three little words that kill excellence in our spiritual lives every day.

I remember my first few experiences with Jesus.  Everything seemed to be more in focus – more tied to a bigger picture.  More life everywhere I looked.    Suddenly I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror as much. (By the way, that was a good thing.)

It is amazing what the Savior will do with your life.

Want to see if I am telling the truth?  Try reading the Bible every day this week.  Try listening only to Christian radio this week.  Try doing a Bible study.  Try talking to someone about who Jesus is to them.  Try reading every Psalm (there are 150 of them).  Try praying this prayer every day this week:  “God, please show me who You are.”

Take one step closer to Jesus and see if He doesn’t change the way you see the world.

Jesus, help me stop beliving the “I am fine” lie.  Let me see!  Amen.

The Pleasing Choice

I have three ticklish children and only two hands (you do the math).

Anna is ticklish on her knees.
Joshua on his back.
Daniel on his neck.

On rare occasions I can position them all correctly and tickle all three at the same time. Sometimes, I tickle one and the other two fill the place with laughter.  Most of the time I will choose to tickle one, Anna for instance, and Joshua will be a little sad that I did not choose him, and Daniel will be mad because I am “attacking” his sister (the kid is pretty protective of his siblings).

I am a Christian, an introvert, and a people pleaser (you do the math).

A Christian follows Jesus and makes choices that please God.
An introvert loves being alone because he is emotionally pleased in solitude.
A people pleaser is happy when serving others, even at the detriment of his personal needs.

On rare occasions, I make a decision that pleases all three (God, the crowd, and me) but most of the time I have to choose only one to please.

Today (and tomorrow, and the next…) I will be forced to make a choice.  You will have to make this choice today as well.  

Will we choose to please God?  The crowd?  Self?

Jesus, I choose You today.  Let me be thankful for the complaints that come from others because of my choice to please You.

What do you do?

Are we addicted to being busy?

When the voices pop up in you head, do you default to “I’m going to go to work…”?

How much time do you spend being quiet and alone? 

How many jobs do you work so your kids can have a better xbox?

When you meet someone on the street, is your first question, “What do you do?”

Do you find yourself with less and less time to spend on, well, anything?  Being busy is like a drug – the more we give to it, the more it demands of us.

What has “being busy” taken from you?

This is the world of human doings – not human beings (That is not my quote, but I am too busy right now to look up the person that said it first.)

Psalm 46:10 tells us to “Be still and know that I am God…”  But those that are addicted to busy cannot be still long enough to KNOW.  The rest of verse 10 gives us a promise that I am looking forward to seeing fulfilled:  “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Jesus, calm this storm.

Straight Lines

I could not drive a tractor in a straight line to save my life.

I tried.  At the end of every row, I would look back and see these giant curves.  My dad would drive from one end of the field to the other to get me started…  Perfect straight lines!  Then I would ruin the art with my scribbles.

The rule for driving a tractor in a straight line is this:  Focus on a fence post at the end of the field.  As you focus on the post, you will be able to line up your front tire correctly.
Faith is just like driving the tractor in a straight line.

You MUST look at the future in order to line up the present.

This is why Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is proof of the unseen.  Where you are now is evidence of where you are going.  My life today tells you all you need to know about my life in Heaven.

Which is why faith can be frustrating sometimes.  Trying to look here and there at the same time often leaves us wondering if we are looking at the right place at the right time.  What if I am looking too much at the fence?  Too much at the wheel?  

The prayer I pray today is simple.  It is the prayer of a crooked driver who wishes to leave behind a path that can be imitated and followed:

Jesus, please let me see where You are so I can see where I need to be.  Amen.

Dimmer Switch

…Then there was the time that my jeep had a short in the dimmer switch.  The dimmer switch was on the floor (the place that God intended them to be,) and I must have switched from high beam to low beam too many times.  Every time I would switch to or from brights, a couple of minutes would pass and then…  Lights out.

It took me the longest time to figure out that it was a short.
Yes, I did drive quite a few country roads by moonlight.
I also learned my way around a jeep’s electrical system.

Some lessons are learned in the dark and under pressure.

Those lessons are hard to forget.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…”

I can still rewire a jeep with my eyes closed.  I am thankful for those late night drives though they did not go according to plan.

I am also thankful for times of affliction, crushing, and persecution.  Those times did not go according to plan (at least, not my plan) but they have taught me some lessons I will not forget.

When the world says, “Lights out, Tree!” I will answer, “Thank you.  I can follow Jesus with my eyes closed.”  (John 10:27)

Jesus, give me ears to hear, a life resilient in the dark, and a heart forged by pressure.  Amen.