As I was sitting in the passenger seat of our car waiting for my wife to return from a store I noticed our side mirror. On it was printed these words “OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR” and it caught my attention. I have been driving for over twenty years professionally and even longer on a regular basis but it has been a while sense I have paid close attention to those words. When I am driving by habit I incorporate those words into my decisions but nothing more. Their warning is clear and all, but long ago I stopped reading them.
It got me to thinking about James 1:23,24 and the clear warning the apostle is giving us. Those verses say this “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. That word glass can also be translated mirror. We look into the mirror and see what needs to be seen. What do we do with that information though? I fear far too many Christians are on autopilot, we hear the sermon or do our Bible reading and yet instead of applying what information the mirror of God’s word gives us we just keep on doing as we please. And that is the trouble. Even if we recognize that the potential exists for problems to arise we are on autopilot, stuck in our habit, or what not and fail to realize just how close to a wreck, to sin, we are until it is too late. The mirror told us it was closer than we thought but we thought better of our human self. For example, we see that sin and we can handle it or God tells us to do something and we think we have plenty of time to do it. Turns out the mirror was right and we were wrong.
The mirror also makes no bones about it’s message either. In bold letters it declares OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR. Aside from the possibility of sin I can think of two other things that message can allude to for us the reader. One is that of the destination. In that mirror I can see part of the store my wife went into and when she returns I can see her. Jesus said He will return for us (John 14:3). The mirror of His word tells us this clearly. Secondly because I am close enough to read the message I must be close enough to use it. Which reminds me of a promise made back in Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” No matter how far away a child of God gets away from Him we are still closer to Him than we think! Just a prayer away. It’s just a matter of remembering Jesus will always take us back.
So after several days of below normal cold weather that basically guaranteed Northwest Indiana a white Christmas, the temperature has risen above freezing. That or course means the compacted snow and ice are starting to melt a little. The resulting slush is heavy but it can be moved if necessary.
At our depot the snow removal crew did a lousy job of keeping up with the snow before our cars started showing up. That lead to everything still being covered with that same compacted snow. Now with the warmer temp my boss decided to go out and try to shovel some of it himself. Soon as I could I went out and took over, he has a heart condition. While I was out there I could actually see the guys playing around with their equipment and yeah it burned me a little because I was now doing what should have already been done.
It got me to thinking about the Apostle Paul and the church at Corinth. When one reads these two letters you kind of get the impression he was a little steamed himself at this bunch. There is a great deal of doctrine in those two letters but also a great deal of correction for those folks. In fact as you read 1st & 2nd Corinthians you come to realize this is more likely 2nd & 4th Corinthians with possibly a little bit of 3rd Corinthians added in. Paul was time and time again dealing with stuff at this church that should have been done already. People were on sight who shpuld have known better but it just wasn’t happening. They all had a heart condition, their hearts wanted to act worldly and not saintly so Paul had to step in yet again.
How many of us act that exact same way? Far too many I am afraid. God sends messengers to correct us and we straighten up for a couple of minutes. Then boom! Back to our “normal” whixh is no good. Let’s try to get ourselves right with God before He has to deal with us again on the same matter.
Recently we had a weekend filled with snow. As the weather allowed I did my best to keep up. With my daughter being in a wheelchair it is all the more important that we keep the walkways clear. However it came to the point on Sunday afternoon where I had to go to bed, this meant there would be more snow to shovel when I got up around midnight for work. Sure enough there was about an inch of heavy weight snow. As quickly as I could I cleared a path to our cars and headed off for work.
When I got home though things were different. That heavy weight snow had frozen up due to the drop in temperature. The good news was that everything I had shoveled before work was still clean. While the bad news was the snow plow had come through and pushed some snow back over the section of road that had been cleared dor my daughter to get on and off the bus in her chair. Cars had driven through and the neighbor had also backed over the freezing snow turning it to hardened ice. There was no time to try using salt to melt the ice. Experience had taught me that at this point I need my ice breaker and shovel. That ice breaker would chip away at the ice and the shovel would move the broken off pieces put of the way.
I would love to say I cleared the area of ice by the time my daughter came home, but that wouldn’t be the truth. Still though I did bust up some ice which opened up a little of needed area. Those parts where the ice was too hard I worked on chopping grooves into it to allow our boots a means of gripping the ice instead of only dealing with that super slick surface.
While I was working away I got to thinking about John the Baptist. Over in Mark 1:3 he was described as the “voice of one crying in the wilderness” his call was to “prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” He wasn’t the voice of all nor were multitudes gathered saying the same thing as he was, he was just one voice doing what he could. His task was similar to mine in a way, we both had to prepare the way for the arrival of someone important, it’s just that his person was vastly more important than mine. For the brief amount of time he had John did what he could with what little he had. We actually have more than him as that we have the complete Bible and that Jesus has already come the first time. Whixh brings me to my next point, that being Jesus is coming again soon. It is our duty to prepare the way for Him into people’s hearts. Because the next time He comes for those who are not saved it will be too late. Chip away at the cold hearts with what you got about eternal salvation, it might make all the difference and keeping them from falling into Hell one day.
You know how people get heavy? They don’t eat right, don’t get enough exercise or both. I am guilty, I admit it.
Did you know that applies spiritually as well? It’s true. Spiritually people don’t eat right, work out, or a combination of both. Again I am guilty.
I am not looking at neglecting a proper spiritual diet here. Nope, I am thinking about how so many Christians attend church on a regular basis and feast on the Word while there. “It sure is good stuff the preacher brought out today” they think to themselves. Some even go up to the altar and pray about it. Once they walk through those doors their spiritual body might as well go into hibernation. That good message is not put into practice, it just sits there and turns into spiritual fat.
Same can be said for when we pray and read the Bible. We take it all in, either “I have told God all about it” or “I did my daily Bible reading”. If that is all there is for us then it is becoming spiritual fat. Fat is stored energy that the body has to do one of three things with. Use it, evacuate it, or store that energy as fat. Some fat is good to have because it is insulation for the body and reserves of energy. Too much fat is hard on the body especially the heart and that goes spiritually as well. An unhealthy heart due to spiritual fat and no exercise is a bad thing. Maybe early grave type bad thing.
How do we keep it all from becoming spiritual fat? Paul said in Philippians 2:12 “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” We don’t save ourselves but we are to take what we are bringing in and put it to work instead of just collecting it. James said in James 2:18 “…shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” Having faith isn’t enough, both of these apostles said so. If the doctor can tell us to lose weight by exercising how much more should we be doing by spiritually exercising? As Christians we should be, at least spiritually, lean soul winning machines! Get started by walking with the Lord each day and start telling and showing people what God has done for you and what He can do for them.
I got up the other morning and got ready for work. The next to the last thing I do before I walk out that door is fill my pockets with everything I need for the day. All the common everyday items, at least for me, wallet, pen, phone, utility knife, and money. Well all but that last one this time. In my mind I still should have had at least 5 dollars in the basket but in reality I had forgotten that I put that $5 in the offering plate thinking I had more at home.
So what did I do? A quick search for any hidden money and then resignation that I was broke. What God did though was remind me of a verse over in Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Admittedly I questioned how that verse could apply. Was I gonna suddenly need that $5 today??? No, sometimes the need is to have nothing. To be reminded that God is all we need. It is nice carrying a couple of dollars in your pocket just in case you want to spend them or need them but that gets our eyes off of God.
Such crutches like that get us leaning away from God and lead us off into trouble. Our true need is complete dependence on GOD!!! When God brings an uncomfortable position on you it is what you need. Maybe not right now but for future reference. Perhaps it is to help teach someone else or maybe God needs to teach us a humbling lesson.
Since I am on light duty one of the things I get to do is occasionally clean the toilets. Our last supply order was wrong and we received no toilet bowl cleaner. This time we got it.
The big deal about that is that in between deliveries the women started complaining that their toilet had black stuff in it. Without the proper cleaning supplies I admitI made a very weak effort to get to the root of the problem. In all honesty I expected it just needed a good cleaning, one it would get when the right stuff came in. Well it did and I got to cleaning. Then I took off the lid to see if there was anything there.
This actually is from the men’s room and after I had already started to deep clean it, the women’s was far worse- very black. I scrubbed sprayed different cleaners and flushed the system often in an effort to get those tanks as clean as possible. It wasn’t glorious but it was needed.
It reminded me of Psalms 51:2 “Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” That word “throughly” is an interesting word. The word could be used in regards to abundance, have more, or completely but there is one other meaning. It can also mean be in authority. Yeah David wanted to be completely cleaned but in order to do so a deeper, more thorough cleaning was required. One that only God can do. For God though such a cleaning is glorious because it means we have brought it all to Him and turned over that complete authority to Him.
How clean do we really want to be with Him?
Would you believe me if I said I had just mopped this floor? I suppose that word “just” does cause some confussion. At any rate I had mopped the floor and while it was still wet a fellow came in needing to use the restroom. I couldn’t deny him that but I also knew it meant the floor would be dirty all over again.
We do the samething to ourselves spirituallly speaking all the time. Sin enters our life and we confess it. Jesus cleans us up and before the floor of our heart is even dry again we trample right through it again with our sin. Should we do so with the same callous attitude rhis guy had after seeing me put the mop away? No. In fact Paul even spoke about it in Romans 5:20 & 6:1,2 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:…What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid.
Sin is that dirt being tracked all over while God’s grace is the mop that removes it. At no point will God get tired of it and throw the tiles away (us) He just keeps cleaning when we ask Him to.