Escape Ramps

>> Monday, March 25, 2013

Returning home from a recent trip to Boise required that I drive on one of the most hazardous stretches of road along westbound Interstate 84 … commonly called Cabbage Hill. The road drops about 2,000 feet in six miles … with twists and double hairpin turns at a six percent downgrade.  Long before I reached the descent, roadside signs appeared to warn me of the upcoming danger … and explained about the escape ramps located at Milepost 221 and 220.

Since I’ve driven that highway many times, I knew what was ahead.

The first escape ramp came into view. I had no need to use it … and no one else had plowed into the gravel. Around a few more turns … and there it was … Milepost 220 with a semi embedded in the ramp. Two tow trucks … with lights flashing … had arrived. Several men were talking beside the stuck truck.

I tried to imagine what it had been like for that driver … picking up speed … barreling around curves … out of control … searching for the escape ramp.

Life can be like that sometimes. One thing leads to another. Before we know it, life seems out of control. On our wild ride downward, we look frantically for a way out. And then we see it … the escape ramp.
The Bible is full of warning signs … telling us of the danger if we continue our wayward lifestyle. And then it explains everything we need to know to stop our dangerous descent.

We just have to read it.

“By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. Everything’s falling apart on me, God; put me together again with your Word. The wicked do their best to throw me off track, but I don’t swerve an inch from your course. I concentrate on doing exactly what you say.” Psalm 119:105…112 (MSG)


Wind Gusts ... and God

>> Thursday, March 21, 2013

The wind was gusting up to 40 MPH as I began my drive to Boise. Heading south toward Oregon, the blasts to the side of my car caused me to have a tight grip on the steering wheel. As my hands jerked back and forth trying to keep going in a straight line, I compared myself to a NASCAR driver with a loose racecar.

It would make for a long trip. 

After crossing into Oregon and changing freeways, the wind no longer caused issues. In fact, I was being pushed down the highway … with the wind at my back.

What a difference that made.

Isn’t life just like that? We feel we are being blasted on every side … trying to keep a tight grip on what’s happening. As we are buffeted, we have choices. Do we keep going the way we are traveling … or do we change directions?

If we decide to let God be in charge of the direction, it makes all the difference in the world.

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve … but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 (NIV)


Counting the Chimes

>> Saturday, March 16, 2013

In the quiet of the house, I counted the chimes the clock sounded out … seven times. Yet I knew I had begun ironing at 1:30 … probably 30 minutes ago. The knowledge that our wonderful timepiece no longer worked correctly gave me pause. The purchase had been a gift from God … in the form of a tax refund. Years ago, my husband, John, and I had spotted it at Costco … the only one. And we agreed we both liked it … which was unusual. But the purchase just wasn’t in our budget.

And then … on the way home from the store … our accountant called to tell us the good news. The refund amount exactly covered the price.

We did a U-turn.
Over the years I’ve counted on that clock. Wherever I was in my home, I knew what time it was without looking. Especially in the night, when I didn’t want to disturb John, I lay in the dark counting the chimes … to see if it was close enough to morning to just get up.

Now I could no longer count on it.
As I ironed, I thought of people who have crossed my path … become someone I could count on … solid in their faith and wisdom. Yet something happened to cause them to become unreliable. My thoughts turned to me. Have I been that person? When I speak forth … can others count on me?

Can they count on you?

“People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life.” Romans 1:21-22 (MSG)


Tangaled Cords

>> Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Today the young and hip use ear buds when they listen to their iPods. I am neither … so I use headphones. I keep them in a container in my car along with other items to use when I exercise.

This morning, when I stepped on the treadmill and tried to place the headphones on my head … I couldn’t. The cord was just too tangled … full of spirals and knots. So I stood with my feet straddled on the edges of the belt while I worked on untangling the cord. Then the thought hit me … even if I didn’t get the cord straightened out; the sound from the podcast would still be flowing … right through the mess … and into the earphones.

That’s just like life … and God.

My life has been quite a tangled mess at times. And I’ve been sure I could take care of all those spirals and knots by myself. So I worked and worked at it. And the whole time, God was still speaking.

I just wasn’t listening. 

“I’ve called, but you’ve turned a deaf ear; I’ve reached out to you, but you’ve ignored Me.” Proverbs 1:24 (MSG)


There is Only One Key That Works

>> Thursday, March 7, 2013

I drove to the gym even though the sky was still dark. If I didn’t get my exercise done now, I wouldn’t do it. Years of experience had taught me that. There was an empty parking space right in front of the gym door. After turning off the car, I gathered the necessary items … key card to get in the door, bottle of water, piece of paper with my five different routines, my headphones and my iPhone. Then I reached in the zipper pocket on my purse where I kept my car key and added that to my items needed. 

The way to lock my car … after making sure you have the key … is to push on a black button on the car handle. The car beeps to let you know it’s locked. So I pushed on the black button. The sound of a high-pitched whine filled the air. Puzzled, I made sure I had my key in my hand. Sure enough. So I tried again. Another whine.

After three tries, I knew my car lock was broken. Now what to do?

I walked to the front door of the gym where light was shining through the glass door. Maybe I could see if there was something wrong with the key. Imagine my surprise when it didn’t look like my key. It took a moment for me to realize my error. My husband and I had taken my boss’s car to the airport the night before … so he could drive home after landing. I had placed his car key in the zipper pocket on my purse to give to him when I went to work.  
I was trying to lock my car with his car key. When I traded his key for mine, it worked.

That happens in life too. In every area of our life, we can repeatedly use the wrong key. Maybe it’s a parenting issue. We think if we just push harder … or longer … it will work. But the high-pitched whine continues as we try to make our way through the darkness. It’s only when we move to the Light that we can see we’re holding the wrong key.

There’s only one Key that works.

“I have a special word of caution for you who are sure that you have it all together yourselves and, because you know God’s revealed Word inside and out, feel qualified to guide others through their blind alleys and dark nights and confused emotions to God. While you are guiding others, who is going to guide you?” 2 Peter 2:19-21 (MSG)


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