This morning I woke up with a different perspective on life. I have often heard people say that life is a gift. But this morning, for the first time, it really seemed that way. God has created us as eternal beings, then he gave us this existence on earth as a temporary gift to see what we will do with it. It’s a little bit like we just got married, and God gave us a trip to Fiji as a wedding present. Someday He will ask us “How was the trip?” and we will all answer to Him. Perhaps when we meet others in Heaven, our story of how we used the gift of this earthly existence will be the conversation starter… just before we move on to the real discussion of the wonder of all that God has in store for us.
Sometimes on pretty days I like to take my lunch and go to the park. Yesterday was such a day. I sat in my car with the windows down, munching on lunch and enjoying the view out the front windshield. My peaceful gaze at nature was suddenly interrupted by an intruding wasp that flew in the open driver’ side window, then insisted on trying to escape out the front windshield. In the past, such an intrusion by a potentially painful perpetrator would have caused panick and urgent desire to escape from the vehicle. Now that I am more “experienced,” I tried to remain calm and figure a plan of action.
My first reaction was to look around for something to swat it with. Then I thought that might just make it mad, so I looked for somehting to smoosh it with. But I needed sometthing thick enough that the stinger couldn’t exact dying revenge for the doomed wasp. As the wasp kept bumping his head against the windshield, trying what it perceived was the most obviousd route of escape, I spied a small blanket within reach in the back seat. I could smoosh it dead with that but. . .
Then a thought occured to me. I got out of the car, and threw the blanket over the outside of the windshield, blocking the view for the wasp. He promptly flew out the side window. I snatched the blanket off the windshield and got back in the car with a grin on my face. I had outsmarted a wasp, and saved him from destruction in the process.
Now I have no special love for wasps. Best I can tell, they have caused me more pain in life than blessing. But I confess that I don’t know all the waspy ways of God’s creation. What I do know is that in this specific instance, I felt some small tinge of joy in the act of setting a wasp rightly on his way. And if I can do that for a simple minded wasp, perhaps I should trust that God can do that for me.
There are times in my life when, just like that wasp, I am doing my best to go in what appears to be the right direction but I keep bumping my head against an invisible wall. As the difficulties mount, I redouble my efforts and keep trying to do what is right, even while wondering, is this really the right direction? Is the devil trying to discourage me? Or does God want me to go another way? Only recently am I starting to rest in the truth that God really is in control and He loves me too much to let a humble submissive heart go in the wrong direction. He is way smarter than me. And if I can figure out how to redirect a poor little wasp who is desperately trying to go the right direction, surely the God of all creation, knowing my heart, can and will get me redirected and moving in the way I should go.
They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been prevented by the Holy Spirit from speaking the message in the province of Asia. When they came to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to do this, so they passed through Mysia and went down to Troas.
Acts 16:6-8 NET
There is a saying about how the early bird catches the worm. But if that is true, what does the early worm catch? His last meal before the early bird shows up? I was thinking about this today while driving in to work after a cold night. Winter decided to show its frosty head one more time this year. And it caught some “early birds” by surprise.
It’s been a pretty mild winter in Georgia. By the end of February we were getting warm days and comfortable nights. Spring seemed to be coming early. Some of the trees were getting a head start. Flowering pear trees, red buds, wisteria and azalias were popping out their beautiful flowers, beconing the sun and pollinators to give them full attention. They were the “early birds” of the plant world, and this year, they were thoroughly trounced by old man Winter. Last night’s 25 degree frost shrivaled leaves and flowers like a styrofoam cup in a camp fire.
All this demonstrates one thing to me. Being the early bird is not always a good thing. While there can be benifit in being the early bird, there is also risk. We may think we will get ahead by being the first, but it’s not always the case. Sometimes, we wind up being the worm.
I was reading some news headlines the other day and saw a clip from the Washington Post. It said:
“For the first time, scientists have grown an embryo that is part-pig, part-human. The experiment, described Thursday in the journal Cell, involves injecting human stem cells into the embryo of a pig, then implanting the embryo in the uterus of a sow …”
Is it just me, or does that sound ominous to anybody else?
I have been thinking about worship lately. If you lump it all together and define it as love / devotion / adoration, then it just might be the only thing we can give to God that he cannot take or get without us. Everything else is under God’s sovereign control. He owns everything. He even ultimately owns me. He can take my life whenever he pleases. But one thing he can not take is my worship of him. Because he gave us free will, my love, devotion, and adoration are the only real thing I can bring to the relationship. Everything else, he can get himself.
All of this reminds me a little bit of the new puppy we have at home. Gracie is a 12 week old German Shepherd and she has firmly established a relationship with our family. She depends on us to provide for her needs. She causes trouble, pees on the floor, doesn’t buy her own food, chews things she shouldn’t, tracks mud on the floor. . . She really doesn’t bring much at all to the relationship except trouble . . . and love, devotion, and adoration.
When I come home from work, she greets me at the door like I am some long lost friend. She jumps, licks, nips, whines, and generally makes a big scene until I reach down and give her some love. When we are home together, she is happy. When we are apart, she is sad. When I praise her, she wags her tail. When I rebuke her sternly, she grovels, licking my hand and begging for forgiveness, which I can’t help but willingly give.
I won’t say she worships me, but it does remind me a whole lot of what worship might be. So, I decided to look up worship in the Bible. I was reminded of the scripture where Jesus said we must worship God in spirit and in truth. I read the scripture then looked up the definition of the Greek word for worship that was used there. Wouldn’t you know, it’s probably derived from another word which means “. . . to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand.”
So, maybe there is a little bit of a picture of worship in a puppy’s relationship to his master. If so, then I suppose I’m the puppy and God is the master. But that’s OK with me, because I know how much this master loves his puppy.
Dear Father, help us to love completely, give freely, and rejoice abundantly.
It is supposed to rain tomorrow. After 42 days of dry weather and warm sunshine, I am looking forward to the rain. Tomorrow there is a near 100% chance of gray skies, rain drops, mud, soggy shoes, and humid damp basements… and it will be wonderful. I’m tempted to plan a picnic lunch tomorrow just so I can get rained on, all the while reminding myself life was never meant to be all blue skies and sunshine.
This past Saturday, my son brought home a little puppy who is quickly wagging and nipping her way into our hearts. Last night we elected a new president. It’s bizare to think about, but I wonder which of the two events that happened this week will effect my life more? Of course I know the presidential choice is a much bigger decision than our decision to adopt a puppy. The president of the USA affects the whole world. But that’s not really the question I asked. My question is which will effect me personally more? I really don’t know. But I’m trying not to underestimate the power of the close by, everyday little things; how they effect me, and the effects I can have on others. I probably will never make even a small impact on the world… But I can make a big impact on my neighbor.
My hero of the Fall is the Spider Lilly. They shoot up from the ground, bursting forth with color and life when everything else is drying up and hiding from the coming winter. As I get older, I notice a tendency to want to sink in my cocoon and hide from the world at times. I don’t want to be like that. I want to be like the Spider Lily, bursting out with life, being a blessing to others even as winter approaches. While the tree leaves are turning their muted colors of drying death, the Spider Lily explodes with the vibrant color of life. He is not afraid of the coming cold. With his fiery red voice he simply tells Winter, “Not yet. Life is still here!”. And what a beautiful life it is, made all the more special because of the time of its blooming.
I’m sitting on a plane, waiting on a guy to finish making a repair, so we can take off. He’s “fixing” the problem with . . . tape. It doesn’t even look like duct tape. It looks more like packing tape. Is it just me, or would it make you nervous to fly on a plane that was just repaired with packing tape?
For some strange reason, it reminds me of the pregnancy test I saw for sale at the Dollar Store. I don’t trust million dollar airliner repairs done with packing tape any more than I would a pregnancy test I bought at the Dollar Store.
Some things just don’t fit well in the philosophy of the-cheaper-the-better. I want my doctor to be the one people pay a lot to get. I want my airline mechanic to use the best, not the quickest or cheapest method to repair the plane, and if my girl feels she needs to take a pregnancy test, I certainly want her to pay more than a dollar for it.
Some things are too important to take the easiest or cheapest route. I can’t tell you how to know what those things are, but I can tell you to be on the look out for them.
“Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. But the gate is narrow and the way is difficult that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Matthew 7:13-14 NET http://bible.com/107/mat.7.13-14.NET