June 18, 2019
Another beautiful day in Northwest Ohio! This morning when I got up early for my run and workout, I was surprised to see that the sun was about to rise. As the slight reddish hue was on the horizon and the birds were singing, I was reminded that each day is truly a new day. When it was time for my run at the park I thought “I can’t do this today”. I wanted to be lazy and sit and do nothing. Then I thought about the fact that all desired ends start with a current action. My desire for weight loss and a healthy heart constituted that I needed to run. I muttered to myself for the first mile about how much work it was. It’s not fair that I have to worry about my weight and heart. Then I replayed that over in my mind and thought about how much of a complainer I was. Every person deals with something. Nothing is fair and when we get into the mindset that everything should be fair, we need to look in the mirror and realize how unfairly we have been treated by our creator. He has given us clear directions, promises, gifted us with the Holy Spirit to guide, lead and direct us. He has given us his written word that we can read and clearly know what he desires from us, and we routinely mess that up. The definition of sin is missing the mark. That’s us. In turn he loves on us, not because of what we do or say, but because of who we are, his sons and daughters created in his image. So back to my run, I was reminded how lucky I am that I have a place to run and have running attire. I’m blessed beyond measure.
This past Sunday we talked about the freedoms we have in Christ. Those freedoms came at extreme cost, God’s one and only son. It says in Philippians that he, being in very nature God, didn’t consider equality with God something to be grasped and he took on the nature of human. That’s the nature of you and I. At the same time that he had the nature of you and I, he maintained the perfection of the nature of God. He carried those two together to the cross, to the grave, and to the resurrection so that we might be set free. It doesn’t take away our sinful nature, but it gives us the ability to deal with our sinful nature.
This week I have the privilege to travel to Iowa to spend a few days with my siblings going through my parents’ things. After 80 years they aren’t sure of the things they need to keep, and they are thinking we might want some of those things. As I prepare to go it makes me reflect on my own life and all I have accumulated in my life and how much I’ll take with me when I leave this life. The answer is only a couple of things; the freedom I have in Christ being set free of the sinful nature tells me that I’m only taking with me those persons that have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It’s not the ram I shot in Alaska, it’s not the things I have locked in the safe, none of furniture I’ve made, it’s not the wonderful trips I’ve been on. It’s summed up in one thing; those that I’ve shared Christ with. So, the encouragement for all of us is to not let the stuff possess us. Divest yourself from those things that hold you back. You’re not taking them with you. They collect dust, give us stories to hear and laugh about, but they are only temporary. When Jesus hung on the cross and said “forgive them, they know not what they do”, he was reminding us of what we need to acquire, love for God and love for our brothers and sisters (Mark 12) Which is the call of the greatest command.
Yesterday evening I took the time to go on a bike ride. As I was riding, I noticed planted fields and not planted fields. Yards that were mowed, and yards that weren’t. There were the yards that had nice clean lines and those that weren’t. I was reminded that often times we are like the people driving lawn mowers, sometimes our direction is clear and has a distinct pattern. It’s aesthetically beautiful and pleasing to look at. There are times we are like the other drivers and our patterns are random and serve one purpose, to get the grass shorter. It doesn’t seem to have symmetry, pattern, or a sense of purpose. Only get the grass shorter. It’s the same with our lives as we interact with others. Do we have purpose? Do we have direction? Or do we wander aimlessly trying to get from point A to point B? The freedom we have in Christ allows us to have a clear sense of direction and purpose, and puts a beautiful pattern in our life. It doesn’t always look like a straight line; it doesn’t have a striping kit. It always has beauty and meaning. As we traverse the stream of life instead of floundering around in uncertainty and difficulty, it’s time we learn to stand up in the rushing river of life. Often times the water isn’t as deep as we think it is. And when we stand up, we find that the bottom is rock solid. Jesus is our cornerstone. Though the water may rush towards us and seems to overtake us we can stand firm. So today as you’re dealing with life and the challenges of life, be bold, strong, and courageous for the Lord your God is with you. Life can feel like it’s rushing at us and over us but stand firm. Jesus’ promise to us is the same, he will never leave us or forsake us.
Have an amazing day.