a waity issue

no that is not a typo in the title – however it is another kind of weight, because waiting often weighs me down as I strive against it, wanting to make progress or to feel productive by whatever standards I have set for myself or those standards the culture has set for me.  In any case, for me, waiting becomes more than a minor inconvenience.  Instead, it grows as time passes into a heavy burden, weighing me down as I wait on answers to long prayed prayers.

During these waiting times I am called to continue walking in faith, carrying these burdens with me as I follow in obedience where God leads.  He will let me know when the time comes for me to lay them down.  He will let me know when my wait is over.  Until that time, my wait training continues.  (I must be training for a marathon)

Lamentations 3:25-26 says, “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

Well, that may be true – that it is good to wait on God, but it sure doesn’t feel good while I am doing it, not in the least.  Still Proverbs 8:34 tells me, “Blessed is the man who listens to Me, watching daily at My doors, waiting at My doorway.”

And Psalm 27:14 instructs me to, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”  While Psalm 37:7 says, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”

So even though things aren’t looking good for me, as good as they are for others, I am to wait for God.  Wait for Him to what?  to show up?  to act on my behalf? Hebrews 6:15 tells me, “When God made His promise to Abraham,  . . .   saying, ‘I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.’  And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.”

God keeps His promises.  But Abraham had to wait in faith for many years to see God’s promise to him fulfilled.  He had to trust God, not his current circumstances. Abraham had to trust and to wait.  God’s chosen people, the Israelites, spent a lot of time waiting.  They waited 430 years to be delivered from their slavery in Egypt into the land that God had promised to them.  Then, due to their disobedience, they spent another 40 years waiting (and wandering) in the desert, before they could actually enter their promised land.

The Israelites would then spend the next 1,400 years waiting for the Messiah whom God had promised them, the One who was to be their Deliverer, Savior, Redeemer and King forever.  The One the scriptures foretold, who would rescue them from their enemies and reign forever.  Their wait was ended with the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, the One who fulfilled every prophesy of scripture and every promise God had ever made to His people.  Their prayers were answered, Christ had come!  They were no longer waiting on God, trusting Him to do what He said He would do, hoping His answer would come quickly.  It had come (although not so quickly)  God had answered with Jesus’ birth.  The wait was over.

But not for long.  Just thirty-three short years later, they would find themselves waiting on God again.  With Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and ascension into heaven, waiting began again.  Now we are all waiting, waiting for Jesus’ return.

Jesus promises us in John 14:2-3,  “In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.”

I have Jesus’ promise He is coming back, and He is coming back for me.  But for now I have to wait on Him.  Revelation 22:20 says, “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ ”  I might wonder about the use of the word ‘soon’, seeing as how it’s been over two thousand years now and we are still waiting on Christ’s return to earth.

But 2 Peter 3:8-9 reminds me, ” . . .   With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  Definitely something worth waiting for!

As are God’s plans for me, worth waiting for.  His timing – not mine.  No one knows when He will return.  “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.”   (Matthew 24:44)

I want to wait well.  I want to wait with hope.  That requires that I trust the One who has promised to return.  I will trust Him with everything that I am waiting to see happen in my life.  Whether two thousand years or two days – I guess I can wait a little longer.  God give me the grace to wait on You as long as it takes for Your good purposes to come to pass in my life and in the lives of those I love   . . .

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope.  My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.”    (Psalm 130:5-6)

sincerely,       Grace Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a weighty issue

walking or working out with weights is good for you – it builds muscle, the extra weight you carry is making you stronger, even though it is not easy at the time

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”   (James 1:2-4)

walking through hardships, adversity, pain, loss, trials and troubles of any kind weighs us down in our walk with Christ – but the extra weight of the burdens we carry with us is making us stronger – building our spiritual muscle –

that we might indeed be, mature and complete, not lacking anything.

“But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”    (Job 23:10)

in other words, my Heavenly Father knows what heartaches, difficulties, and circumstances weigh me down each day, but He has promised to be with me through them all – and that I will emerge stronger, purified like gold . . .

sincerely,       Grace Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

queries, reveries & resolutions

it only happened because I was bored, well mostly bored but boredom born out of impatience that had given up.  Resignation turned to boredom.  So while I was busy being bored (I was sitting in stopped traffic) I read these words on the back of the truck directly in front of me, “wildlife removal and repair”.

As I had nothing better to do I began to ponder these words.  After all, inquiring minds really do want to know.  What kind of wildlife?  Removed from where to where?  And who or what gets the repair?  The removed wildlife or the home from which they were removed?  Can wildlife even be “repaired”?  At least the word “removal” implies relocation rather than extermination.  (meaning death)

I think the word “return” needs to be in the slogan as well.  It could read “wildlife removal, return and repair”.  The word return could, although ambiguous in that phrase, do double duty, implying two things at once.  First that the removed wildlife will be returned to their natural habitat and secondly that the people who did the removing will return and repair the home from which they removed the wildlife.

To me this slogan on the back of the truck appears to merge two very different fields of endeavor, wildlife management and construction/home repair.  The former are more likely to be biologists or naturalists, the latter to be carpenters or electricians, builders (and fixers) of buildings.  Do I really want a nature guy working on my roof or foundation or wiring or whatever the “wildlife” that invaded my home has messed up?

Maybe this slogan captured my attention because my mom could have used their services a few years ago.  In her old house she had some “wildlife” issues and she would have wanted “removal” that included “return” to a natural habitat and “repair” whether that applied to the wildlife or to her home.

Squirrels and raccoons were some of the most common culprits, taking up residence in her attic.  They can be noisy as well as destructive.  The moles in her yard were quite destructive, and there were opossums, bats and mice – but they stayed mainly in the barn next to the house.  (except for the mice who preferred her warmer basement)

But my favorite were the bees that took up residence in an unoccupied, upstairs corner bedroom from time to time.  Yes, they were seasonal bees, coming and going as they pleased.  When the bees were visiting, the door to that bedroom was kept shut, but the bees never seemed interested in leaving that warm, sunny room with all its windows anyway.  I think they, too, preferred the door shut so they would be left alone, undisturbed.

It was a relationship that worked, my mom and her bees.  Her house was a kind of B & B for bees if you will.  Too bad they never left her any honey.  My mom also acquired various stray cats and dogs over the years, not all at the same time but sequentially.  These, however, would not qualify as “wildlife”.

So I was deep into my reverie, when traffic started moving again.  None of my questions had been answered and I hadn’t thought to write down the number on the back of the truck.  I would certainly suggest they add the word “return” to their slogan and clarify who gets the repairs, the wildlife or the premises the wildlife has now vacated?

Historically speaking, I’m sure this is a relatively new kind of a business.  I can’t imagine the pioneers having a “service” to call to deal with the bears, wolves, foxes, squirrels, birds and other wild animals that ate their crops and threatened their livestock and chickens and such.  Even today, I wonder, who is invading whose territory?  I wonder if the “wildlife” wish they had a number to call for removal (of us humans) and repair of their beautiful habitats?

In Genesis 1:26 we read, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, (Hebrew – ‘all the wild animals’) and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ ”

Lord, help us to be good rulers, good caretakers of this earth and everything in it.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”   (Genesis 2:15)

sincerely,       Grace Day

 

 

 

 

a really random reflection

so I’ve been thinking   . . .

Cinderella had her glass slippers  –

Dorothy had her ruby slippers  –

And what do I have?   . . .    I have my house slippers  –

Somehow I don’t think my house slippers are going to change my life the way the glass slippers and the ruby slippers changed the lives of the women who wore them –  I say this, because I’m pretty sure it would have happened by now as much as I wear my house slippers  . . .

I wonder if Cinderella ever wore any other shoes after the glass slippers came into her life?  Why would she?  I guess glass goes with everything and the life of a princess is pretty much non-stop glamour anyway, right?

Dorothy didn’t have her ruby slippers when she woke up back in Kansas  – but she didn’t need them anymore  –  those slippers had served their purpose in bringing her home after she danced her way down the yellow brick road   . . .

So what kind of slippers would change my life?  I ask myself  –  or maybe the better question is –  what kind of slippers do I need to fulfill my purpose in life?

I consider my calling,  ”  . . .  let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”  (Hebrews 12:1)

So I need running slippers!   of course!     . . .

Because like Paul in Philippians 3:13-14; I, too, need to be “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

I need running slippers because I am in a race.  1 Corinthians 9:-24-27 makes that clear to me.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like a man (woman) running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

So my glass/ruby slippers aren’t actually slippers at all  –  they are running shoes! and like every good runner knows, I need shoes that fit my feet perfectly if I am to run my race successfully.

God will fit my feet as I wait on Him, like Cinderella waited for her prince.

“But those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”   (Isaiah 40:31)

my slippers are running shoes, they are the shoe that fits  –  may I wear them well

sincerely,     Grace Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

if the shoe fits . . .

buy it!!!  own it!!!  if the shoe fits  . . .  wear it,  walk down the aisle in it and live happily ever after with your prince charming.  After all, isn’t that what Cinderella did when the glass slipper fit her foot?     but   . . .

what if the shoe that fits your bare foot isn’t the glass slipper that slipped so easily onto Cinderella’s foot?  What if it’s a work boot?  What if it isn’t a designer creation?  What if it’s a sensible shoe?  What if it’s corrective shoes?  What if the shoe that fits your foot is out of date and out of fashion?  What if the shoe that fits costs more than your mortgage payment?  What then . . . ?

shoes can help us step into our true identity, just as Cinderella stepped into her role as princess when she slipped those glass slippers onto her feet and stepped into a whole new life.

And let’s not forget Dorothy and those ruby slippers she wore so well.  They made her a target but they also brought her safely home.  Glamorous, glitzy, dazzling ruby slippers turned out to be the “shoes that fit” in Dorothy’s case, and the shoes that she needed in order to walk the yellow brick road successfully.  Those were some special shoes, for a special purpose.

I fear I am still looking for that perfect shoe.  The shoe that will fit me perfectly, be glamorous and comfortable (aren’t those two mutually exclusive, forcing us to choose every time?)  The shoe that will go with every outfit I own.  A shoe to wear as I walk through this world on the many paths I must pass over, paths I unexpectedly find myself on; much like Dorothy found herself walking a very different path than she had ever planned on walking.

Cinderella and Dorothy had their perfect shoes with their perfect fits.  But Cinderella had a fairy godmother and Dorothy had Glinda, the magical good witch.  What do I have?  What would my ideal shoes be anyway?  Maybe the perfect pair of hiking boots that never wear out and never rub blisters.  (because they fit perfectly of course)  Actually, for me, maybe no shoes at all is the perfect fit – barefoot on the beach would be my preferred way to walk through life.

The saying goes, “you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.”  Well, I think that is also true for shoe shopping.  You have to try on a whole lotta shoes before you find the shoe that fits,  the shoe that fits – You.

We often hear the advice, “walk a mile in my shoes”.  While this can help us to understand someone else and what life is like for them, we are likely to come away with blisters from walking in someone else’s shoes because – the shoe doesn’t fit.

Another expression I often hear is “those are big shoes to fill”.  I find walking in shoes that are too big for me hard to do and dangerous too.   It is hard to keep the shoes on my feet.  My feet often slip out of the too big shoes.  I stumble and fall a lot when the shoes are too big.

Conversely, when my shoes are too small they are confining, even crippling to my feet.  Walking is uncomfortable, then becomes painful followed by impossible as blisters develop.

I guess I need to find the shoe that’s right for me.  Trying to fill someone else’s shoes or trying to cram my foot into someone else’s glass slipper will only result in pain and loss of purpose.  My purpose.  I won’t be able to walk on my own.  I won’t be able to walk into my purpose or to walk with purpose, until I find the shoe that fits – the shoe that fits me.

Now I may not have a fairy godmother but I have something better.  I have a Savior, Redeemer, Creator, Sustainer,  who will provide me the appropriate footwear with the perfect fit because He has things for me to do and He will equip me in order to enable me to do those things.  Kind of like when Cinderella’s fairy godmother totally equipped Cinderella to attend the ball and meet the prince.  I mean, she thought of and provided everything – from the ball gown and slippers to a tiara and transportation totally worthy of the event.

It says in Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’ ”   The feet of those who bring good news are described as beautiful, I wonder what kind of shoes they were wearing? They were mountain climbing, so perhaps my coveted hiking boots?

When Jesus sent His disciples out to share the gospel with surrounding villages He gave them these instructions, “Take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.  Wear sandals but not an extra tunic.”  (Mark 6:8)   So the shoe that fit for the disciples was a sandal.

In Ephesians 6:11-15 I read about getting ready, about being equipped, just like Cinderella for the ball.  Only this isn’t preparation for a ball but for a battle, a spiritual battle that I must fight every day.  My instructions are to “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.    . . . Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

For all this standing firm I am going to need the right footwear with the right fit or I will not be able to stand.  But what is it?  What does it look like?  I read on, “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”  

So God Himself will fit my feet, which ensures that the shoes will fit.  He will fit my feet with readiness that comes from His gospel of peace.  Is it ironic that I am to wear shoes of peace as part of God’s armor to protect and defend and to fight against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms?

It would appear that readiness is the new Nike of the footwear world.  Wearing shoes chosen for me and fitted for my feet, for the paths God knows I will be traveling – I am ready to follow wherever God leads.  Ready to help anyone in need.  Ready to share the words of life, which are the gospel, with anyone who will listen.  Ready to meet hurt with kindness, deceit with truth, hate with love.  Ready to meet war with peace, the gospel of peace.

In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus told His disciples,  “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Jesus also said, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  (Ephesians 4:32)

my marching orders, so to speak –  that is – if the shoe fits – if I want to wear the footwear of a follower of Jesus – He will fit my feet with the shoes He knows I will need for my life’s journey –

He knows every hair on my head – He knows my name – He has a pair of shoes with my name on them –  and they will be a perfect fit – enabling me to walk with Him  wherever He leads  . . .

“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.  He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the heights.”  (Psalm 18:33)

if the shoe fits?   thank You Lord that Your shoe for me does fit, perfectly!

I can stop searching, I never have to shoe shop again!

sincerely,       Grace Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

today’s trivia ? ? ?

Q.   back in the day, why didn’t people raise their hands up in the air while worshiping/singing in church?

A.   we were holding hymnals

(for full disclosure on this topic see the post “worshiping ways”,  archives Sept. 2018)

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.”   (Psalm 98:4)

sincerely,      Grace Day

Ladies of the Cul de Sac

Sounds like a very racy romance novel, doesn’t it?  Or maybe a reality TV show? Actually it is very real, it is my reality, it is my daily life.  I should know, I am one of them.  I am in fact (and have been for many years) a lady of the cul de sac.

You see, I’m fortunate enough to have some wonderful women as my neighbors on this cul de sac we all call home.  Now our lives may not be the stuff of TV primetime dramas, full of exciting, albeit questionable escapades and such.  No, our lives are something infinitely better – they are real lives.

And they are full lives.  They are full of the humor, the pain, the joy, the loss, the learning, sharing, striving, struggling, searching, persisting and prevailing that characterize our days.  (that’s a list just full of drama if you ask me)  No wonder we’re often exhausted, that’s a pretty intense list.

I think it all started with bible study.  We bonded over bible study, all sharing a common desire to know God more personally and more deeply.  We pray together and we pray for each other.  These deep bonds are the foundation of our friendships upon which we have built over the years.

We have added many things to that foundation.  One of us has a “fitness/yoga studio” in her home where she has us doing yoga or cardio on a regular basis.  She is looking out for our physical fitness and encourages each of us in this area.  We want to be physically fit as well as spiritually growing!  We have had/have a book club off and on, depending on our schedules.  Some of us are good cooks (we all benefit from that)  we share recipes and secrets as we share our daily lives.  (and sometimes secret recipes?)

We have parties to celebrate special occasions and parties for no reason other than to get together.  We have garage sales to get rid of stuff and we shop together to buy more stuff.  We encourage each other.  (like when we went shoe shopping and encouraged each other to “buy the shoes, you need them, they look fabulous on you, you’ll regret it if you don’t get them and (the clincher) besides, they’re on sale!”).

Life isn’t just parties though, not even for the ladies of the cul de sac.  We’ve shared funerals and the loss they represent in each of our lives, with each other as well. Truly we are living out, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”  (Romans 12:15)

We have prayed each other through surgeries and illnesses.  Actually, one very adventurous lady of the cul de sac is currently in a cast as I write this.  However, nothing keeps her down for long – she will rise again!  (really, it’s not slowing her down all that much even now)

We ladies of the cul de sac bear one another’s burdens.  And that is a wonderful thing, to have someone share in your pain, to know you are not alone in your sorrow or your heartache.  We pray for each other and we pray for each other’s husbands, children and grandchildren.  We pray knowing the legacy of eternal life through faith that we each long to leave our loved ones with when we are gone.  “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”  (Galatians 6:2)

For these sisters in Christ I am daily grateful even though I don’t say it often enough.  We pray together, study God’s word together, eat together, exercise together, shop together, party together, play cards together, laugh together, cry together,  . . .

Ladies of the Cul de Sac  —  so much more than a reality TV show —  it is real life!

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down, his friend can help him up.  But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”   (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

I love you ladies of the cul de sac,   grateful to be one of you  –

sincerely,           Grace Day

 

 

 

puffed -up, proud & over inflated

no, I’m not describing a person, I’m talking about my tires.  As it turns out, the reason my tire pressure light was on all this time, was because all my tires were over inflated.  Yes, I finally had them checked out and this fact was discovered. It was corrected by letting some of the air out of each of my tires, bringing them all down a notch or two, so to speak, to their correct operating pressure.  Apparently, it is not good to drive on tires that are over inflated or under inflated.  That’s why the warning light comes on, so I will know when my tires are not at their intended, best operating pressure.

The irony is, the time before this when my tire warning light was on, all four of my tires were under inflated – air needed to be added, not taken away.  What is going on with my tires anyway?  What got them so puffed up, proud and over inflated? Don’t they know that’s no way to roll in this life?  Apparently not, because all four tires had become over full (of hot air) and needed to have some wind taken out of their sails, so to speak.

My tires have been taking up a lot of my time lately but they’ve been teaching me, too.  What are my tires telling me?  Well, my puffy, proud tires remind me we are not to go through life that way, over inflated and full of self (self importance and self indulgence) – that is not how God wants me to roll.  Matthew 23:11-12 is pretty clear, “The greatest among you will be your servant.  For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”  (that was my tires’ problem, they had become too puffed up and needed to be humbled, taken down to where they were intended to be in order to function best)

Proverbs 29:23 reminds me, “A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.”  Paul’s words in Romans 12:3 ring true as he instructs me, ” . . . Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

I am warned (kind of like the warning light in my car telling me my tires were becoming over inflated) “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”   (Proverbs 16:18)

“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”  (1 Corinthians 10:12)

I may have ignored the warning light in my car a little too long this last time, allowing my tires to continue to grow in their overly inflated state, unchecked.  I do not want to continue in prideful ways, ignoring the warnings in God’s word.  I want to take to heart the instructions Paul gives in Philippians 2:3-5,

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Your attitude should be that of Christ Jesus:  . . .  He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name,”

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.”   (1 Peter 5:6)

Lord, help me not to be like my tires were;  puffed-up, proud and over inflated.  I am not useful to You when I am in that state.  Humble me, so that I can serve Your good purposes.

another time I will write about living under inflated, as my tires were before they became over inflated.  God does not want me to live under inflated either, as I cannot serve Him well in that condition anymore than I can serve Him in my over inflated condition –  but that’s for another post . . .   until then  . . .

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)

sincerely,         Grace Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the light of my life?

light is usually a good thing – there’s moonlight and starlight and candlelight and the spotlight and the light at the end of the tunnel and guiding light and light that shines in the darkness – all good things.  But the light in my life right now is a warning light, a harbinger of doom, a recurring nuisance that I have come to dread.  That’s right, the tire pressure light in my car is back on – AGAIN!  This is not the first “again” either.  This is the fourth time in the last month she has come on to warn me that all is not right with my tires.  Something is amiss.

But what?  She does not tell me that, just glows bright orange silently from the dashboard daring me to defy her and continue driving as usual.  The first time I heeded her warning and took the car in to have the tires checked.  It turned out to be a nail in one of the tires, which necessitated buying a new tire.  OK, problem solved.   (see post “I gave my car a tire”)  Or so I thought.

Then my tire light came on again. I waited a little bit longer this time, but I did take the car in.  This second time she came on, it turned out that one of the tires was over inflated, setting her off.  The problem was corrected, pressure equalized all around and my tire light was OFF, again.  Peace of mind was restored.

But not for long.  My tire light soon illuminated my dashboard again, quite unexpectedly.  So I ignored her for awhile and continued driving around as usual. She did not go away but continued to light up my dashboard. Finally, the stress of driving with this warning light on all the time got the better of me and I took my car in again to have the tires checked.  This time all the tires were under inflated. Go figure?  They told me it was due to a change in the temperature which was the weather’s fault for going from hot to cooler suddenly.

So the nice people at the car place restored my tires to their proper pressure once again and sent me on my way.  I was now driving tire light free!  I was ecstatic. But my joy was short lived.  Yes, dear readers, my tire light is on again and has been for several days now.  I am doing my best to ignore her but it isn’t easy.  This light is a constant reminder to me while I am driving, that something is not right with my tires yet AGAIN!

But I am tired of driving to the car place which is far from me and the journey is also perilous because of monumental road construction taking place on the very route I must take to get there.  So I am in the midst of a stand off.  I don’t like driving with my tire pressure warning light on and I don’t like taking the time to make the long trip through all the construction to the car place, just to set things right.  After all, I’m getting along ok, aren’t I?

What to do?  My car has cried wolf  way too many times.  or has she?  Each time I’ve taken her in there has been a real problem, something not quite right. Question is, ‘how long am I willing to continue driving around on tires that aren’t quite right?’  Apparently longer each time, because it’s now been over a week and I still haven’t made the trip back to the car place.

Am I being lulled into complacency because I’ve now driven so long and so often with my tire light on that I no longer think of her as the warning light that she actually is but simply as just another ever present presence on my car’s dashboard, such as the gas gauge or the speedometer?  My tire pressure warning light being on has definitely become my “new normal”.  I hardly notice her anymore.

Except when I do.  And it is then I remember,  this is NOT normal, this is a warning light, telling me that something is not right and that I should find out what it is and get it fixed!  But that is SO inconvenient.  It will require of me both my time and my money.  I don’t want to spend either one on my tires!

Now it occurs to me that I can be like this about other things in my life also.  I think about the words in Hebrews 3:15, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”  Do I ignore God’s voice when He’s trying to warn me that something’s not right and I need to find out what it is and fix it? (preferably before I end up with a flat tire, stranded on the side of a road somewhere, far from where I want to be)

I don’t want my tire light to be the light of my life – the only light I have.  I want more than just a warning light to guide me.  And that is just what God gives to me. Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”   That’s a light I can live with!

Psalm 27:1 reassures me, “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?”

I need a guiding light in my life and I have found one in God’s word.  “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  (Psalm 119:105)  I do not have to walk in darkness.

Though my tire light serves its’ purpose, it is not the “light of my life” – that role is reserved for my Heavenly Father alone.  ”   . . .  God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.”   (1 John 1:5)

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  (James 1:17)

thank You, God, for the warning lights You send my way to keep me safe – but most of all I thank You that You are the light of the world and of my life – I never have to walk in darkness.

“In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.”  (John 1:4)

sincerely,      Grace Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the paradox of Paul

Paul was a paradox.  He was the former Saul, now Paul.  He had been a persecutor of Christ followers, now he was persecuted because he had become a Christ follower.  Paul was now being persecuted for proclaiming the very truth that he had worked so hard to suppress once upon a time.  But now, Paul knew the truth and he could not keep silent.  Paul knew the true identity of Jesus. This was revealed to him as he traveled on the road to Damascus.  It was there Saul had an encounter with the Living God.

“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?’  ‘Who are You, Lord?’ Saul asked.  ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.’  He replied.”  (Acts 9:3-5)

Through this encounter Saul learned that Jesus is who He said He was all along. When Saul realized that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Deliverer, the Redeemer of Israel and of the world, the Son of God, Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Savior  . . . that Jesus was everything the Scriptures had foretold He would be . . .  everything changed for him.  This realization born of revelation changed Saul into Paul.  It changed him permanently.

God had plans for Saul, far beyond simply changing his name.  God would change his heart and make him a new person, with a new purpose in life.  Paul’s purpose was no longer to persecute those who knew who Jesus is but to proclaim the very truth of Jesus’ identity that he had worked so diligently to suppress before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus.

“But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go! This man is My chosen instrument to carry My name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.  I will show him how much he must suffer for My name.’ ”  (Acts 9:15-16)

Yes, God had a purpose and a plan for Paul all along.  And on God’s plan the path for Paul led straight to and through prison, not just once but multiple times.  God’s plan for Paul to carry His name to so many people and to so many places was actually accomplished because of, not in spite of, Paul’s time spent in prison.

This is counter intuitive to be sure, but true nonetheless.  Paul was traveling to visit churches in many places such as Rome and Philippi and Corinth.  But he was often prevented from visiting in person due to being detained in prison.  So Paul wrote letters to those believers he was longing to visit in person.  And because he did, we have many of the books that make up the New Testament.  Books such as Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Timothy, Titus – these were all letters written by Paul to the believers in these locations.  Had Paul been there in person, he would have had no need to write a letter.

Paul acknowledged this when he wrote in his letter to the Philippians (1:12-14), “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.  As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.  Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.”

When Paul wrote to the Ephesians he said, “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains.”  (Eph. 6:19-20)

Paul didn’t let “being in chains” stop him from his purpose of sharing the gospel with everyone and anyone.  He wrote letters to those he wanted to visit personally. He stated in Romans 1:11-13, “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong –  . . .  I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you,”.

Paul pours out his heart in his letters to these churches and to Timothy and Titus as he sits in prison, prevented from doing what he wanted to do, which was to preach the gospel in person to all these people.  As it turns out, Paul’s letters had a wider audience down through the ages, that is to say, they reached more people than his physical presence with them at that time ever would have done.

What Paul’s persecutor’s intended for his harm, (to detain him in prison, thereby preventing the spread of the gospel) God used for His good purposes – to actually advance the spread of the gospel and give us several books of the New Testament.

If Paul’s plans to visit these various churches had gone as scheduled, he would have had no reason to write letters to them because he would have been there in person preaching and teaching.  It is a good thing that God’s purposes are the ones that prevail, not ours.

The paradox of Paul is that the very thing that was meant to keep him from his God given calling of taking the gospel to the world, (imprisonment) was in fact the very thing God used to ensure that Paul would indeed proclaim (through his letters) Christ’s gospel, to all people for all ages.

As Joseph said to his brothers, “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)

Paul made his travel plans but God had a different plan for him, a path that led to and through prison.  Proverbs 19:21 says it clearly,  “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”   thank you Lord that You are Sovereign!

sincerely,       Grace Day