Take Off Your Hat

>> Sunday, November 25, 2012

My days are busy so I try to be organized. It seemed like a good plan to just go by the driver’s license place on my way home from exercise. … do some paperwork, pay them some money and be on my way. I would save time and not have to go back out.  

Did I mention I was on my way home from exercise … dressed in sweats and a baseball cap?

So imagine my surprise when they said, “Just step right over here and we’ll get your picture taken. You’ll need to take off your hat.”

No way.

“I’m on my way home from exercise and didn’t realize you were going to take a picture. You really don’t want me to take off my hat. Can I just do the paperwork, go home and clean up and then let you take the picture?’

The answer was no.

And so, for four years, my driver’s license has been a constant reminder to me that sometimes efficiency is not all that matters.

That concept is also true in my Christian life. I may have my day planned … a visit with someone in the middle of the schedule. But what happens when I hear a need behind all the spoken words? Do I say, “You know, I’m just not ready for this right now. Can I go home and come back later, when I have my Bible and scripture references ready?”

Or do I take off my baseball cap and reveal some of my faults and inadequacies? With my flaws showing, they are more willing to open up.

Sometimes they take off their hat too.

“If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” Luke 18:14b (MSG)


Headphones and Spotters

>> Thursday, November 15, 2012

From my seat in the grandstands I could see the entire racetrack. And I was ready … sun block, sunglasses, hat … and scanner headphones. I didn’t want to miss anything.

To my right, at the very top of the bleachers, stood a row of men. I could see their silhouette against the blue sky. Soon I would be hearing their voices. They were the spotters. It was their job to continually watch the action going on all around one car … the car and driver they worked for. Since there were 43 cars in the race, the row was comprised of 43 men.

The cars began to move and the voices in the headphones started their instructions. Some spotters talked a lot … others only when necessary. They gave information like the distance from the car in front of them … the car behind them … or who was coming up on the outside. Instructions were given for how many laps left before pitting … how much fuel they had left … and who would be pitting with them.

I was listening to the 2 car when the spotter gave his driver this warning. “The 24 is waiting for the 15 to come by so he can take him out. Try to avoid them.” And sure enough, the 24 slammed into the 15, with two more cars piling in. But the 2 car drove around on the inside and avoided the wreck.

As I sat there, it occurred to me that I have a Spotter … one whose focus is entirely on me and what is happening in my life. If I listen to Him, he will keep me informed of how I’m doing in this race of life.

And He will help me avoid the wrecks … if I just listen.

“Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.” Psalm 25:4 (NLT)


A Life of Integrity

>> Friday, November 9, 2012

Chuck Swindoll’s recent podcasts have been about Daniel. I’ve heard the story of Daniel my whole life, yet Chuck brought out a point new to me.

But first … the lion’s den.

Daniel was not thrown into the lion’s den because he did something wrong … but due to his unswerving belief in God. He made others in power nervous. So they investigated Daniel’s life … searching for an illegal transaction here or a secret addiction there.

They could find nothing.

They trapped him by instigating a decree that he bow down and worship someone other than the real God. If he were caught praying to his God, he would be killed. Yet Daniel continued his daily practice of kneeling by an open window and pouring out his heart in prayer … three times a day.

His spies caught him, took him to the king and arrangements were made for him to be thrown into a den of hungry lions.

Here’s the information I had never heard before. When this took place, Daniel was 80 years old! That’s like arresting Billy Graham (well he just turned 94) and throwing him to the lions.

So my ponderings turned to my own life. If I had spies watching me, what would they find? Am I living a life of high integrity … or just mediocre? And would I be willing to continue my worship of God so openly if I knew it meant my death?

What about you?

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” Proverbs 10:9 (ESV)


One In Every Crowd

>> Thursday, November 1, 2012

It seems there is at least one in every crowd … they need attention. When they show up, they change the whole dynamic of the group. Recently I’ve been part of a gathering that is experiencing some disturbance in our force. One of the group (who shall remain nameless) has expressed their feelings in an email. The following is what they wrote:

One might say she was annoying.  She came in like door busters with ideas and stories she was sure were of interest to everyone.  Conversations ceased as she started in and I swear her car was her home because if you needed something, out to the car she went and returned with just the right solution or at least so she thought. 

She was at home with everyone and no one was a stranger.  Oh she knew so and so who was a friend of what’s her name and they may even be related.  She could top every experience with one of her own and she did so in a loud voice that carried across the room.

After a time, the group became divided.  There were those who cringed as her car entered the parking lot.  Some went so far as to leave before she entered.  Some never came at all so as not to risk being in her presence.  There were those who turned their backs to her so she couldn’t join in their conversations.  She was not one to be ignored and became more animated and loud. 

If you were considerate of her feelings, you were now in her web and it became harder and harder to converse with others and the conversations ceased but silence only drove her on, filling the void with more of herself.

It wasn’t the same, the old coffee shop, with easy friendships and quiet moments.  An intruder has entered and taken over.  Funny, it wasn’t that long ago that many of these people were strangers to me.  Now I consider them friends.  Why, I have even been to some of their homes or places of business.  I am comfortable with them. 

Why then, does this one person receive so much notoriety?  She is just one of the group now and shouldn’t she be tolerated and even enjoyed just for being one of the group?

"With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,"

Ephesians 4:2 ESV

My question today … for all of us … is “Could this person be me? Exactly how do others feel in my presence? Am I overbearing and oblivious to other’s reactions?”

Now you can ponder the same thoughts I’ve been having.

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 (NASB)


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