Auto Pilot

Auto Pilot

I’m not really big on automated things.  For instance I really don’t like using cruise control when I’m driving.  I’d rather just put my foot on the pedal and drive, braking under my own speed when necessary.   I can’t even imagine being in an automated hands free car.  Truthfully I think I’d have a heart attack in one of those vehicles.

But one automated feature that I do like on my car is the automatic lights turning on at dawn or dusk.  I’ve really gotten very accustomed to this feature, so much so that I don’t even think about it.  I’ve got it turned on and I rely on it.  It’s there for me right?

Well, it was until a few weeks ago when I was returning from an evening event that my husband and I attended. My husband left first in his car and I followed.  He quickly pulled over to tell me my lights were off.

I looked at the steering wheel console and sure enough!  They were off!   Well you can bet I hadn’t been the one to turn the off!  Over the past couple of weeks both my husband and son had driven my car.

I had assumed they wouldn’t touch my settings beyond that of the seat position.  Turns out I was wrong.  I assumed something that was inaccurate.  Now I have no idea why anyone would want to disable the automatic feature for the headlights, but apparently one of them did.

But there I was driving with a false sense of security.   Eventually, I guess I would have noticed my lights weren’t on, but it may have been after I received a ticket!

It showed me that I really do need to check everything and make sure my security systems are in place whenever I get in my car and not take anything for granted.

It’s that way with life too.  I take a lot of things for granted.  For instance just this morning I expected first, that I would wake up, secondly that I would get to work safely and later today that I will get home safely as well.  Of course I take for granted that I will be safe in my workplace all day today.

But you know, none of this is guaranteed.  I could be here one minute and gone the next.  Just in the news of the past several days we’ve seen this happen to unsuspecting folks.  We assume what our day will be but we never assume the worst case scenario.

Now I’m not saying we should assume the worst case scenario.  Although I have on occasion calculated the risks in various situations, and chosen alternatives in those situations.  I think that’s just being prudent.

I remember the best advice my father ever gave me when I was learning to drive.  “Always drive defensively, because you never know what the other guy is going to do, expect the unexpected.” My dad said.   And to this day I still drive that way.

I think in life we need to have a defensive line, a way to protect ourselves when it is within our ability to do so.  But of course we can’t protect against everything because everything is not under our control.  Not too much really is under our control, or not as much as we may think it is.

For instance I do need to plan my day.  Since I work a very long day I also generally need to plan what I’m having for dinner, in the morning and make preparations.  That’s a good plan as long as everything else works out and I actually make it home in the evening.

So that’s when I have to delegate the minutes of my day to the one who knows where I will be at the end of it.   And that’s where trust comes in, trusting that whatever happens during my day is exactly in line with the plan God has for me.

Life has its twists and turns and sometimes somebody may even turn the lights off.  This happens a lot to me when I’m in the basement of our house.  Someone will walk by the door, turn the light off and slam the door and I’m left fumbling my way through the dark to the nearest light switch.

But you know there is one who will never turn the light off.  He offers His light to everyone.  And when you walk on his path. even though darkness may push in from many sides, the path directly in front of you is always illuminated and the darkness cannot touch you.   He gives you just what you need, when you need it.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  John 1:5

So make your preparations when you can, but trust that God prepares the road ahead of you if you put your faith and trust in Him.

When Jesus spoke to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12

 

 

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Do you believe in that?

I didn’t write this but it was so funny when I came upon it that I just had to share!

There was a religious woman Samantha who had to do a lot of traveling for her business. Air travel made her very nervous, so she always took her Bible along with her.

One day on a trip, she was sitting next to a man. When the guy saw Samantha pull out her Bible, he gave a little chuckle and smirk and went back to what he was doing.

After a few minutes, he turned to religious woman and asked, “You don’t really believe all that stuff in there do you?”

Samantha answered, “Of course I do. It is the Bible.”

He said, “Well, what about that guy that was swallowed by that whale?”

She replied, “Jonah. Yes, I believe that, it is in the Bible.”

He asked, “Well, how do you suppose he survived all that time inside the whale?”

Samantha said, “Well, I don’t really know. When I get to heaven, I will ask him.”

“What if he isn’t in heaven?” the man asked sarcastically.

Samantha calmly answered; “Then you can ask him.”

Good Friday and Easter

 

Easter, a joyful celebration of life and resurrection is preceded two days earlier by a day of mourning and often self, reflection, Good Friday.

When I was a child I wondered “Why do they call it Good Friday?”  “What’s good about it?”

What’s good about an execution?   What’s good about suffering?  What’s good about the innocent suffering?

Seems like these questions are the same questions that can be asked today, in the light of the atrocities committed in this world against innocent people in the name of religion.

Religion, a belief system based upon, what others have taught us, or what we have chosen to believe that “fits” with our thinking and understanding of the world.

Religion may be what we choose to fit our beliefs.   But what if it wasn’t?  What if instead of following a religion we chose to see others in the light of Christ’s teachings?   That would present a completely different picture to us because instead of starting from a basis of different opinions we would simple start from the basis of love for others.

That’s what Jesus did.  He started with love and ended with love.

That’s what the cross is all about.  Love.  When Jesus stretched out his arms, he didn’t do it under duress, he did it out of love.   Everything Jesus did was out of love.  He sought out the unloved and brought love to them.

He wasn’t interested in sitting in the best seat at the banquet looking for honor and recognition.  He sat by a well and when a woman tired and outcast came to draw water, he spoke to her.   He knew her past.  Five husbands and now living with a man who had taken her in but was not her husband.  Still Jesus did not judge her.  Instead he told her the way to receive living water that would sustain her forever, and she in turn ran to the village to share this good news with others.

“Come she said, and see a man who told me everything I ever did and then she

decided, to follow Jesus….

I have decided, to follow Jesus….  Image result for music notes images

Then there were the two Jewish leaders of the Sanhedrin.  They were not looking for interpretation of Jewish law, for they knew the interpretation.  They studied it daily, and just as the other scholars of the time, they sought to write more laws to interpret God’s law for the people.  They simply wanted to know God’s plan.  So, Jesus told them.  He told Nicodemus that he must be “born again” not of the will of a man and a woman, but a spiritual rebirth through faith and confession before God and they too followed Jesus.

I have decided to follow Jesus…..Image result for music notes images

 

And the woman who was abhorred by society for her acts of prostitution.  Jesus reached out to her too.  She felt his love, and compassion.  He cared for her as no one before had ever cared and she too refrained the words.

I have decided to follow Jesus……Image result for music notes images

 

Then his adopted family of sorts.  The family of  Lazarus, Martha and Mary who offered him a home, a place to rest from his journeys.  They welcomed him not as a stranger but as a beloved teacher and friend.  And Martha declared that she believed in the last days there would be a resurrection of life, only to see it first hand in the resurrection of her dead brother, Lazarus brought back to life.

And the refrain went on; I have decided to follow Jesus…….Image result for music notes images

 

Why did these people follow Jesus?  Because he showed them love.   Did he know they were sinners?  Of course!  But it didn’t matter because that was his mission, to save sinners.

But back to Good Friday.  What’s good about an innocent man dying in the most horrible manner of that time.  Brutally beaten, nailed to a cross and stabbed with a spear by a Roman soldier?  Why was that necessary?  Wasn’t the cross enough?

The cross was enough, but God sought to show the depravity of man throughout.  The suffering of Jesus at the hands of those who chose to be ruthless.  It was their choice to be ruthless, and to lack compassion.  It was their choice to have hardened hearts.

But not all chose this route.  There was the Roman soldier who looked at how Jesus died, how Jesus asked for forgiveness for those who knew not what they were doing, and this soldier said, “Surely, this man was the son of God!”

There was the thief on the cross who asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom, and Jesus in his dying moments reached out to the thief in love and said, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.”

JESUS BODY MAY HAVE DIED, BUT HIS LOVE NEVER DID!

His love remains, so if today you hear his voice, harden not your heart against the love he offers.

Easter is the celebration of his love, but Good Friday is the demonstration of his love.

That’s what’s good about Good Friday.

 

Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13  Image result for music notes images

 

 

This entry was posted on March 30, 2018. 2 Comments

Looking in the Rearview Mirror

Looking in the Rearview Mirror

Why am I always looking in the rearview mirror, I wondered as I drove down the road?  Routinely I would check my rearview mirror to see how closely I was being followed.

And the result of this constant checking was that it altered my driving behavior.  If I was being followed too closely I would speed up to accommodate the person behind me.  Sometimes this worked to put distance between that car and mine, while other times the person would just speed up along with me.

But, why I thought was I allowing this to happen?

I thought about the purpose of the rearview mirror.  Hmm….I thought.  The rearview mirror serves a purpose when backing up, changing lanes or merging into traffic.  It is not however, intended to be used during routine driving, I told myself.

Still, it had become a habit for me to routinely check my rearview mirror and in checking the mirror it caused anxiety to grow within me.

Such a foolish anxiety, that resulted in my accommodating the person behind me who wanted to travel over the speed limit.

Then I thought, how often do I go through life looking in the rearview mirror?

How often do I revisit past thoughts and circumstances and allow them to create anxiety in me?

How often and to what purpose?

What is checking the rearview mirror accomplishing?

Really, nothing.

If I’m moving forward then I should be looking forward.  Whether it is traveling in my car or walking through life.

Walking backwards takes so much more agility than walking forward.

Go ahead, try it.  You can’t see where you are going.  Your balance is often affected, resulting in moving more slowly and awkwardly.

Looking backward too is a dangerous pastime.  When we’re looking backward it takes our attention away from where we should actually be focusing, which is looking at what is coming toward us.

I’m reminded of the characters from the Lion King movie.

Rafiki is telling Simba that he shouldn’t live in the past, or think about the past because it’s not productive.

To emphasize his point Rafiki takes his big stick and smacks Simba on the head, to which Simba responds,  “Ouch, why’d you do that?”

And Raficki’s response is priceless.

He simple says,  “It doesn’t matter, it’s in the past.”

Even that moment before the smack on the head, has now become a thing of the past.

Think about that.  Sometimes we can’t even change our present circumstances.  Health issues, family dynamics, job situations, finances, daily trials and often tribulations that we can’t control but come upon us unexpectedly.

So what do we do?

Cast those burdens to the one who can carry them better than you and keep moving forward in the light of his glorious love, one day at a time.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

 

 

 

Lesson Learned from a Copy Machine

Lesson Learned from a Copy Machine

You all know how much I like learning lessons from everyday circumstances.

Well today was no different when I headed to the copy machine to print a copy.  Upon touching the button, the machine ground to a halt,  while the screen flashed not one, but NINE, places within the machine that were potentially jammed!

Yikes!  I had students waiting!  UGH!  I thought, why me?

I was not familiar with this machine but it had a screen that once touched would guide you through the tedious process of removing the jam.

So, I began by opening the first door.  Nothing was there.  Moved to the paper draw but still didn’t see anything.  However, I heard a paper scraping sound when I closed the drawer, so I opened the drawer wide and peered inside.  A tiny sliver of torn paper was lodged in the drawer so I removed it.

Thought by chance that maybe that was the only blockage so I tried to hit, PRINT, again, but no such luck.  Seven more doors to open.

Now I must tell you that the buttons for accessing these ports are very well hidden.  Push here, push there, eventually something pops open and Voila!  Again, nothing!

Proceeding to open door number four, SUCCESS!  I found a jammed paper!

Perhaps now I can print, I thought.

Nope.  Keep going the machine tells me as it highlights the other areas to check.

Eventually after opening all but one of the error doors, the machine informed me that the printing error was no longer a concern.

Then it proceeded to clean itself, while I waited.

Finally I received the all clear from the machine and was able to print my copies with the machine running with clockwork precision!

Isn’t that the way it is with us too?   We think we’re functioning just fine until something brings us to a grinding halt.   We adjust our lives a little, perhaps try to do as little as possible so that we can keep on going, only to find that we jam again.

Only our lives are more complicated than a machine that only has a paper jam.  We may have a relationship jam, or a knowledge jam, or even a health jam which we continue to push against, only to find that we continue to have a blocked path.

Eventually if we don’t clean out our little jams, they become big jams that stop us in our tracks.

The copy machine didn’t let me push forward until I had opened every door and every drawer and cleaned it thoroughly.

Why?  Because just one little bit of paper left in one of the moving parts will stop a full sheet of paper from rolling through, and actually crumples or tears that paper as it attempts to make its journey through the machine.

It’s that way with life too.  We remove only one obstacle thinking we’re good to go, but we encounter another obstacle quickly afterward that may be worse than the first.  It may deplete us, or eventually disable us.

So what needs to be cleared in us so that we function like a well- oiled machine?

For me, first I need to examine my thoughts.  Oh how the cogs in my brain start interpreting, judging, and making decisions before I have all the facts.

Secondly I need to examine my motives.  My motives determine my thoughts.  Then I need to determine my actions which are influenced by my motives, which are influenced by my thoughts.

Lastly I need to examine my heart and determine what I will allow to influence my heart.

When my heart is pure, then my actions are kind and loving, my motives are guided by wisdom, and my thoughts align with my heart.  Then I am in perfect balance.  Then I can judge rightly, choose to wisely walk securely, and move forward.

Just as I needed to check each drawer and door of the copy machine; I too, need to do a daily spiritual check to keep my thoughts in proper perspective so that I can function according to God’s design for me.

And just as the machine took the time to clean itself after the jams were cleared,  I too, can be cleansed by the sanctifying spirit that lives within me.

For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on March 8, 2018. 1 Comment

Are you in Forward or Reverse?

Are You in Forward or Reverse?

A few weeks ago I noticed that in the morning my car did not readily engage when I shifted to reverse to pull out of the garage.   In fact I had to give it some gas to move and then the car reluctantly moved with a slight jerk.

Then one morning after my car had sat for the weekend it jerked significantly when put in reverse, so much so that I thought I had better have the transmission checked to make sure nothing was seriously wrong.

The car sat at the mechanics for an entire day, during which time he could find nothing wrong with it.

When I arrived to pick the car up and again told the mechanic when the jerking action occurred, he mentioned that I should wait before putting the car in gear, and in fact it might be better to shift to drive first, and then back to reverse.

He told me that there is fluid in the transmission that drains out when the car sits.  This fluid needs to fill up the torque converter before the car can engage the reverse drive.

This was news to me, but very welcome news!  Really, all I had to do was wait a few seconds before shifting?

I told the mechanic that since the car had started jerking more harshly I had begun to back into parking spots, and into my garage in the evening.  This allowed me to pull out of the garage going forward instead of backward and actually alleviated the problem up to that point.

He said, “That’ll work too.”

Interestingly the view when pulling out forward from a parked position allows the driver to better see and navigate.  In reverse our view tends to be more limited increasing the risk of a potential accident.

This new perspective I have from pulling forward rather than backing up has given me more confidence that I won’t run into something.

I see an application here to my everyday life as well.

I need to start the day clearly focused on what is in front of me not what is behind me.   I need to have a clear vision of where I am headed.

I want to be moving forward, not backward.

This means I need to put the past behind me, even if it’s just the past of yesterday with its trials and temptations.

Each day needs to be started fresh with clear direction.

Looking behind, I may see indecision, or things left undone, perhaps even some regrets.

But looking forward changes my perspective. Just as I have better central and peripheral vision when my car is aimed in the forward direction, I also have better central and peripheral vision when my life is moving forward with clear direction.

I can base my decision not on what I think or feel but on what the best choice is for myself and those around me.   I can see clearly when obstacles are removed, and seeing clearly is the first step to acting in a right manner.

I also need to be filled.  Just as my car needs to have the torque converter refilled before shifting, I too need to be filled with the Holy Spirit before moving.  If the car is forced to move too quickly it will jerk because it lacks the lubrication of the transmission fluid.

If I move before being filled, I move on the power of my own strength rather than under the power of the strength of the one who sustains me.  I want to be driven by God’s power and not my own.  I want to ask for God’s blessing each morning and be sanctified by Holy Spirit daily.

Yes, I like this new position of driving forward.  Sure it means I have to back into the garage at the end of the day.  But it’s so much better to back in for the evening and retire from a spirit filled day, than to back into the beginning of a new day without God’s direction.

So my thoughts will mirror my driving.  I will start each day facing forward, lifting my eyes to the heavens and embracing God’s will and direction for my life; filled with the spirit, one day at a time!

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Proverbs 4:25

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on March 5, 2018. 2 Comments

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

Names are important.  Even if you don’t like the name that you were given at birth, still a name serves as an identifier.   A name defines who you are, and in that way we come to be associated with our name.

In our family my mother chose to give us “Christian” names to be recognized by the church and then “nicknames” by which we were called.  I found this very confusing when I was growing up.

My baptism name was Veronica, however from day one I was called Lynn.

Imagine my confusion as a child when on the first day of school the teacher was doing role call and she was looking for a Veronica to answer!  At age four, which was when I started school, I didn’t answer.

The teacher finally asked me, “What’s your name?”  “Lynn”, I replied.

She then informed me that my name was “Veronica Lynn” and that I needed to answer to “Veronica.”

Well, this was news to me!

Actually this was the name my mother registered me under when she registered me for school.  However, years later I found out that “Veronica” was only on the church records, while on my actual birth certificate I was simply “Lynn”.

My brother was called “Jay” but needed to answer to “John” at school.

Only my sister had the same name at school as at home.  However, she learned years later that originally her name had been “Joy”, and mother had legally changed it to “Joyce” a few weeks after she was born.

So what’s in a name anyway?

Well when someone calls us by name it shows that they recognize us.

That’s why this morning I was so surprised to receive a text message in response to a message I had sent earlier, addressed to the wrong person.

I’ve been corresponding with a lady from church, and we have been praying for each other because we have both had health issues, but now I realize that she may actually have been praying for someone else and thought I was that someone else!

The other named person, also has health issues.  Here I had been praying for this person, who actually I have never met, and she has thought that I have been someone else!

So, it bothered me a lot.  I desperately wanted to clarify my identity.

But then I thought.  Why is this so important to you?

The other lady is a member of our prayer group as well, what’s the big deal?

Well the big deal seemed to be that I wasn’t being recognized.

I wasn’t being recognized for who I was or “ouch”, what I did, which was pray.

Then I saw it.  I saw the pride.  Yep, it was me that prayed that pray for you, not that other gal!

Yikes!   Pride rearing its ugly head.

The lady had been prayed for and she was encouraged.  It didn’t require recognition.  We don’t need to be recognized for blessing others because we aren’t the one who does the blessing, God is!

What a revelation!

So, the only place I need to be truly called by my name is in the book of Life when the roll in heaven is called.

Hopefully the name that is called on that day will be my familiar one, “Lynn”.

But just in case, I think I’ll answer to “Veronica Lynn” too!

Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”Luke 10:20