Objects in mirror are closer than they appear

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.

Is Jesus waiting for you?

In John 4:4,6 we find that the Bible said that Jesus needed to go through Samaria and tgat His body was tired from the long journey so He sat on a well. There to His disciples it looked like He was waiting for them to return with lunch but in reality He was waiting for a certain woman. She had no claim to Him as that she was a Samaritan woman, a half breed at best (part Jewish and part Gentile). 

This woman was coming to the well at the weong time of day because even in her own community she was an outcast, a sinner’s sinner. A five time divorcee and currently shacked up with a fellow who she wasn’t married to. Everyone in her village knew all about her. By the way so did this Jew! To make matter stranger He asked her for a drink of water, something no self respecting Jew would do. Good thing He wasn’t into His self like so many humans are. 

Jesus was there waiting for her because He loves every human being who has ever lived, is currently living, and is yet to be born. The plan that God has was for Jesus to come and die on the cross so that anyone who was willing to come to where He is waiting for them can be saved. 

Saved from what? In a word death and not our physical death. Nor is it our spiritual death either because we were all born spiritually dead. No, I am talking about eternal death where a person will suffer body, soul, and spirit for eternity. Our sins guarantee us this death (Romans 6:23). No one was ever good enough nor will no one ever be good enough (Romans 3:10,23) to escape the sin debt we owe God. There is only one way to avoid eternal death and that is by accepting Jesus as our Saviour (Romans 10:9,10) while there is still breath in our lungs. Yes, Jesus is waiting for you and all tou have to do is ask Him and He’ll do it (Romans 10:13).

It should have already been done

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.

Getting along

I heard a preacher say one time that we had best learn to get along with our co-workers because if we don’t God will make sure you two get stuck together. With that in mind I must confess that there is a group of men where I work that I don’t see eye to eye with. For the record I am a union member, where I work is a union business, my local is in need of more members, and I was always taught that if you work at a union shop you must be a union member. Long story short this group of guys are not union member, which puts me at odds with them.

However over the past few months I have had to deal directly with them more than normal. Yes they are just as human as I am, which is no surprise, but they are still non-union workers in a union shop but I am getting over that. I can’t change what they are but I can work with them, even dare I say work a little with them. As part of my transition back to my normal job I have had my hours changed to where I come in earlier and help our shippers ship the product to the drivers. Part of this new responsibility includes shipping some of their product. For me that is a little weird, bad enough I am shipping but also shipping to these guys!?! We do have a common goal though. All of us want to make a living to support our families.

This got me to thinking about who in the Bible were some “opposites” who had to learn to work together? David and Jonathan come to mind. Jonathan is the crown prince yet he knew David had been choosen by God Himself to be the nect king, 1 Samuel 23:17. These two agreed to work together even though Jonathan knew he was getting the short end of the stick. The over all goal was more important, they knew they had to follow God’s will for their lives and for their nation. 

Still though they didn’t have that difference of opinion like me and the non-union guys. That lead me to think about to of Jesus’ disciples. Matthew the publican and Simon Zealotes. Simon Zealotes was as pro-Israel as you can get while Matthew the publican had “betrayed” Israel by going to work for the Roman’s as one of their tax collector’s. Early on it must have been somewhat uncomfortable for these two to work together. Not even much of a stretch to think that they did their best to be as far apart as possible but still they hung in there. Personally I kinda picture it taking Jesus at the last supper washing everybody’s feet before it really started to click for them. The idea that they have a common goal and a common employer (God). Their past was in the past and now a day would soon come for them when they would work together, Pentecost, both giving out the good news that Jesus saves. Then one day coming to understand that salvation was not just for the Jews but for all mankind, so long as they would accept the free gift. Yeah even those two could get along, they needed common ground and that was found at the foot of the cross.

Writer’s block

Admittedly I haven’t been writing these blogs as often as I should be or as often as I would like to write them. I have learned three things over the last year and a half or so. One is that whenever I can’t sit down and write the ideas and thoughts flow like a wide open faucet. The second is that those times when I have the time I tend to not even think about the concept of writing. It just skips my mind. Of course the third thing is that dreaded writer’s block. That moment when the desire to write is there and yet the part about what to write is no where in sight.

There are times when as I am working a thought comes to mind but it doesn’t, for various reasons, seem like a good idea to write them down. Often times those moments are when I really need to see someone and talk face to face with them. To me this is more of the Holy Spirit inducing writer’s block in my opinion. I say that because what I am wanting to say at the moment is not something that should be put out there for the masses. Other times He does it because I am not in the correct frame of mind. Those things I would love to say are not coming from a heart of love or perhaps their foundation is second-hand knowledge, which I couldn’t verify but want to act upon. 

Still there are those moments He gives me writer’s block because it will do the most good if an actual conversation can be had. Too much can get lost in written form. Words while written down for all to see are subject to interpretation based solely on the reader. That person can read anger, doubt, joy, or any other emotion into written words and thus alter the very meaning of the message. Now that is not to say that all written messages are doomed to be miscommunicated; no, I am thinking of those times when emotion plays a very significant role in the message or has the potential to be implied.

Maybe that is why we see the Apostle John closing out Second John and Third John by saying he had more to say to those who would be receiving his letters but at that point it was best for him to hold off on saying it until they were face to face. Perhaps the Holy Spirit suddenly gave him writer’s block simply because the rest of what John had to say was solely between them. Third John does strike me as being somewhat fiery so perhaps it was simply for the best to stop where he did so as not to arouse too much emotion that could get out of control.

At any rate, instead of looking at writer’s block only as a draw back I think we should keep in mind that it can be helpful. We just need to try and look at it from all the angles and not just from our own frustrations.   🙂

Get up and go done left

You know those times when you got all the energy and desire in the world to do something that you need to accomplish but you lack that fateful third component of Time? Happens all the time doesn’t it? Personally I hate when that happens, which is all too often for me. It doesn’t seem to matter what it is that thing, that goal, that opportunity just somehow always manages to get placed on the back burner.

Of course history teaches us that as soon as we get that precious time to spend on that project one or both of the other things has gone. It is late in the day and we are just plain worn down by the events of the day. Those same events that kept us from reaching our goal before like some solid brick wall now are doing it again, only this time like iron chains attached to our legs. Perhaps it is a matter of that all important desire has burned out. Earlier in the day it burned so hot we just couldn’t wait for the moment when we could and dare I say would get it done! However something else changed, and we may no longer feel the pull, the drive to finish what we told ourselves we would get done.

To be blunt, our get and go got up and left without us. Those three things (time, energy, and desire) are so interlocking that without the one the rest become a chore, a burden, a project for another day. Our focus gets lost in the haze of our running from place to place. As a result we sacrifice things that we feel we can do without for a little while, with the greatest of intentions to make up it up.

Can we? Sure, there are some things that we pass on that we honestly can do without, no harm no foul. Yet there are other things that are a part of us that we view as being okay to neglect, for the time being of course, yet they are not. Truth is that once we get into the habit of letting those things slide by the way side eventually we come to the point that without giving it a second thought we just let it go and that leads to us forgetting it altogether. In the back of our minds it turns out we really didn’t need it anyhow. At least that is what this new habit tells us. Next thing you know years have passed and a great deal has been missed out on.

For the Christian I am thinking about very specifically two things. The first is our Bible reading and the second is our prayer life. Both require those same three elements: time, energy, and desire. How often do we get up late and rush out the door without those two things? Or head off to bed early and not make an honest effort to get caught up just a little? I am guilty. In fact I will even go so far as to say that the disciples were guilty of much the same thing and they even did it with Jesus present!

In Mark 14:37-40 we read And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?  Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.  And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words.  And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him.” These boys had the time but their energy was spent and I believe Jesus was also trying to make a point to them and us about desire. You see of those three elements desire is the most powerful. Desire will help you over come where those others come short. We though have a bad tendency to allow our desire to become a weak flabby muscle, mentally speaking. Without desire we will never have enough time or energy to get to it. The disciples didn’t even know how to answer Jesus when He approached them about falling asleep again instead of praying, and I believe it was because they allowed their physical side to over come their mental side, the spirit truly is ready but the flesh is weak.

So what difference does it make if we don’t read our Bible enough or pray more often? To start with these two are halves of a conversation. Praying is our half of the conversation that we hold with God and reading our Bible is God’s half of the conversation with God. If a couple never speaks to one another their marriage won’t last. A teacher who never says anything to the students will never teach the students and if the students don’t speak up about the lack of education they will never learn. Secondly prayer and Bible reading show dedication on our part. They tell God that He is more important and that we want to spend time with Him. Which is good because He wants to spend time with us, it’s written in His book.

A quick take away: How?

Philippians 2:12b work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

Not to work it into our lives, Ephesians 2:9, but to work it out by our lives, by our obedience, by our daily behavior, or to show what is on the inside. The Christian life is a working concern. We should have an eagerness to show it off like a child would do with a new toy. In other words displaying fruit, Galatians 5:22,23. Just like one would a gold mine operating, exploiting, and getting top value for what is securely your possession.