Category Archives: Life

On the Surface

Standard

image

1 Samuel 16:7
English Standard Version (ESV)
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

I love that God finds my beauty on the inside and not on the surface. Sometimes it’s not a pleasant experience to look in the mirror because time is not forgiving and gravity takes it’s toll. Some people are blessed to have a good genes and they retain their figure and youthful look but for most of us, it’s a daily struggle to be one of ‘the beautiful people’.

Often, a thought builds in my mind and I feel led to share what ends up becoming a full article. Sometimes, I am fueled by outrage at a current event and have to address it immediately. There are times though, where a subtle conversation or comment shared in passing is repeated over the course of time. When this happens, I know I have received a prompting from God to share what He is revealing to me.

I spend some time, not by choice, at the dermatologist several times a year reversing sun damage in the hopes to prevent skin cancer from surfacing. As a teen, I spent hours soaking in the sun as I tried to obtain a golden tan. Unsuccessful in most attempts, I would end up suffering from burns and the resulting peels that revealed only freckles and no tan. Unfortunately, I never learned and repeated this process so much over the years that now I have to reverse the damage that took years to build. Frequently, the damage to cells in your body take place years before the evidence of the resulting skin cancer can be seen. I’ve been told that typically, the length of time from initial damage to visible results can span ten years. I think there’s a lesson to learn here….(besides the obvious of avoiding sun damage). How long does it take for damage to reach the surface?

In casual conversation, I mentioned to a friend that she has flawless skin and she looked really great. After thanking me for the comment, which was genuine admiration, she clouded for a second before she said that my compliment made up for years of feeling ugly because she couldn’t tan. She was always more pale than her friends and didn’t feel like one of the “beautiful people.” I can relate because I’m so pale that I can literally blind people from the sun’s reflection off my skin. I felt immediately humbled to receive a glimpse into what had been years of suffering that my friend had experienced. In her case, she has emerged as the recipient of flawless and youthful skin because she avoided the sun. The feeling of beauty is only skin deep though because the feeling of inadequacy runs deeper than the surface.

Later, the same week, I was talking to another friend and somehow the conversation turned to her years of feeling invisible. In her youth, she had been heavier and always felt as if she was completely invisible to the world. As she matured, she lost weight and became more comfortable with herself so that people started noticing her. The attention she received could have easily gone to her head but she knew that regardless of what she looked like, the real person could only be known from the inside out. She said it was eye opening to see that people want to associate with those they perceive to be beautiful, so much so, that sometimes it’s hard to know who your real friends might be.

How many other people feel like this? How many neighbors, co-workers or relatives are suffering from what lies below the surface? If it takes ten years for some skin cancers to surface, how long does it take for emotional scars or feelings of inadequacy to become apparent? How many people do you know who are suffering in silence? Are you someone who has a hidden hurt? It’s such a comfort to know that there is One who looks past the surface and not only knows the real you but who can also hold and heal those secret scars. God knows you and He loves you! Psalm 139:13 New International Version (NIV) says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” How awesome is that! Not only does God see you and know you, He is the one who created the inner most you. He formed your soul and knows your secret thoughts and painful past. Turn those hurts that you have held on to for years over to Him and let Him free you from long held feelings of inadequacy.

“For man looks on the outside but God looks on the heart!”

Two Words

Standard

image

There are two words that I’ve really grown to dislike. I might even go as far as to say that I detest and resent them. Used separately they are fine and normal words, but combined they convey restrictions that God never intended to be placed upon man.

POLITICALLY CORRECT

These two words have become such a source of irritation to me that I feel the necessity to expose why we should not strive to be politically correct. When someone you know is suffering, shouldn’t you be able to pray with them or express that you are praying for them? Prayer is my first action when I hear of a loved one or friend in need, however my second thought is to make sure the expression of this action might not offend anyone within hearing distance. When a conversation at work turns to a theoretical hopefulness of eternal life, why are we not allowed to simply speak up and assure our co-workers that eternal life is not only a hope but rather a promise if we only believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ? Why are churches feeling the need to change their charters to reflect the belief that marriage is an act between a man and a woman? Why have schools taken prayer and God out of school? Why do we limit and silence the beliefs of many in order to pacify the few?

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS – that’s why. And I’ll take it a step further and say that EVILNESS is a more appropriate answer. All the good and right that God put in place when He created man has either already been or is in the process of being perverted by Satan. The spiritual battle taking place between God and His heavenly armies and Satan and his demons has moved so near and become so intense that humans can almost hear the battle sounds with our limited hearing. The feeling of immense anticipation is so strong that people across the globe are taking note. The Holy Spirit is directing Christians to speak out loudly to friends and family because it won’t be too much longer before the curtain that conceals the supernatural dimension is raised and all hell will literally break loose on earth. Satan is working overtime to move all humans to a global way of thinking. If everyone on earth were to be like minded then political correctness would be political mandate. How close are we to this? You tell me! Read the morning headlines…..we are nano seconds away from universal chaos on all fronts: political, financial, spiritual and physical. Only God’s great love for mankind is delaying this action. He could easily split the heavens wide open and demand that all acknowledge the truth in His thunderous voice yet He has given each one of us a choice to find Him. He has made His presence known throughout all of creation. Everything, seen and unseen, reflects His presence so that no one can claim ignorance of His existence. He has commanded that Christians go into the world and preach His gospel to every person. There should be absolutely no excuse for anyone not to believe, love and worship Almighty God…but for the pervasiveness of POLITICAL CORRECTNESS.

The agenda of the current White House administration is directly opposed to everything that is fundamentally right. Our founding fathers established a nation whose pursuits were life, liberty and happiness. Each day brings the uncovering of a new liberty stripped from American citizens. With rapid fire, the Constitutional Amendments are being shot into the abyss. True and genuine happiness has been replaced by temporal enjoyment of possessions. As long as the average citizen’s lifestyle is not affected, they remain lulled into passivity. Life… The lives of countless thousands American soldiers have been altered either for years or permanently and now we are being pushed into another war. When potus said we won’t be going to ground in Syria, you better know that we are already there. In spite of all of these daily occurrences, the art of POLITICAL CORRECTNESS has silenced the moral majority of this great nation. It is high time that we stand up and speak boldly for Truth – in more ways than one. Shake the liberty tree with patriotic passion and don’t let anyone prevent you from pointing eyes to Jesus. We should not be policed by POLITICAL MANDATE, which is where we are quickly headed. We answer to a Higher Authority, but it’s your choice as to how you choose to use your voice. Choose wisely, because time is running out!

You are There

Standard

In the stillness of the evening, You are there. Lord, You are there. In the rushing of the water, as it rolls on down the stream, You are there. Lord, you are there. In the brightness of the sunshine, and in the twinkling of the stars, in the majesty of mountains, yet in the smallness of my heart – as I look all around me, You are there.

You are there, with Your arms outstretched and open. You are there, just to heal a heart that’s broken. In the center of my life, like a beacon that shines brightly, for now and for always – You are there

imagePhoto credit:  bing nature images

Not My Home

Standard

“Home Sweet Home”….”There’s No Place Like Home”….”Home is Where the Heart Is”……”Home Where I Belong”….I could go on and on.  There are so many references to home in our everyday vernacular, idioms and weaved into every fabric of our memories and plans.  Home is where we should feel safe and loved.  Many people across America grew up in the same home that they currently live in today.  Home is  different things to different people.  Home can be a brick ranch with a white picket fence, an apartment in the middle of town or a shack at the beach.  Regardless of where you live, your home is an investment.  Maybe your investment is not financial but rather an investment of time.  My home reflects me:  my personality, my likes, my hobbies and the comfort I want for my family.  I have spent hours painting, cleaning, polishing and decorating in order to create a home that I am proud to live in and show off to friends and family.  I figure that I spend about forty percent of each day at home, so why not make my home a place I feel welcome and happy?  In fact, I have lived with this motto for so long that I have spent more time decorating and loving my earthly home that I have neglected, for the most part, my investment in my heavenly home.  I would even venture to guess that I have spent more time decorating my virtual home on Pinterest than cultivating treasures for eternity.  When I examine this fact, I can view my priorities as seen from God’s perspective and it makes me sad.  I’m sure it breaks His heart.  After all, He told us in Matthew 6:19, “Stop storing up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.”  This is not an optional statement.  If you know anything about grammar, then you will recognize that this verse begins with a verb behind a subject that is an “understood you”.  Basically, Jesus said “You, stop!”  If I told my children to stop in that manner, it would be viewed as a command.  Are you following this?  God gave Moses the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament.  The “Thou Shalt Nots” are such a part of society (at least it used to be) that most of us know some or all of the Ten Commandments.  The legal parameters of America were founded on these commands.  IF we know what’s good for us, we will listen when God commands.  Here He is, in Matthew 6:19, commanding us to stop decorating our homes on earth where they will rot and can be robbed.  Instead, in the next verse He says, “Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.”

So much of my time, I say my time as I cannot speak for anyone but myself, is spent on useless things that I think are important but when put into the perspective of eternity are actually useless.  What a waste of the precious time and resources that God has given me to use for Him.  Obviously, He wants us to enjoy life or He would not have created an ocean for us to play in or sunsets for our visual delight, but He wants us to live like Jesus who had no prized possessions that eventually become idols because He was “about his Father’s business”.  Ultimately, this is not my home.   My heart is longing for my eternal home where I will live with my Father forever.  I hope I can keep this in mind as I continue on my journey.  I want to continue decorating my home…. my heavenly home.

In Matthew 19:21, Jesus told a wealthy young man who had asked Him what he needed to do in order to inherit the Kingdom of God, “sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven”.  This life will be over in the blink of an eye and before I am ready, I will be kneeling in front of the Creator of everything.  It will be my greatest honor to be able to place crowns at His feet.  “Lord, please help my focus to be on eternal treasures and to keep my eyes on You!”

An Apple in a Bunch

Standard

Bright and shiny, firm and polished, the Golden Delicious apple seemed to call to me from across the room.  I had recently gone to our local produce grocer and loaded up on fruits and veggies for the week.  To the dismay of my children, I have started a “whole foods” lifestyle change and replaced junk food with natural food so there is now an abundance of fruit in our home.  I have found that I am not as hungry as I used to be and I no longer crave the quick sugar fix that a cookie brings because my taste buds would rather have cold watermelon or, in this case, a shiny apple.
The first thing I do after purchasing fruit and veggies is to wash everything.  I rinse, sometimes scrub, and then rinse again to make sure that there is no residue left on fruit that might be grabbed to eat in a hurry.  While washing, I also inspect for any signs of damage or bruising that I might have missed in the store.  When I am satisfied that my apples are clean, to the best of my ability, I then display them in a fruit bowl in hopes that my family will get the subliminal message to eat fruit.  Sometimes it works but it is going to take a while to change bad food habits that have been in place for many years.  Today, I was the one whose eyes were drawn to the fruit and the subliminal message transferred to action when I plucked that golden apple out of the bowl and started munching.  I have a certain way that I eat apples.  I start in the middle and work my way around the circumference and the move up in the same pattern.  When I reach the top of the apple I then return to the middle and make my way down.  I’m not sure why or how I started this process, nevertheless this is my apple eating pattern.  So, I started in the middle, as usual, and ate while I read a book that I was particularly engrossed in reading.  Thankfully, I glanced down at the apple while flipping the page of my book.  I noticed that something was not quite right in its appearance.  Just below the surface, which is why I hadn’t  see this earlier, there was an area that had rotted.  Yuck!  That observation ended the eating of that apple.  I could easily have cut the rotten area out and then the rest of the apple would have been fine to eat, but once that image had made it from my eyes to my brain, my mouth subsequently lost the desire to eat.  The thought of eating something that rottenness had touched is just unappealing.  My mind made the quick leap from the glimpse of the small bruised patch in my apple to a smelly trash can swarming with flies and producing a foul stench.  Extreme, yes, but regardless, the rapid images flooded my mind’s vision and propelled me to throw the apple I had just recently been enjoying into the garbage.  Over the course of a lifetime, there are many similar events that will take place, so I am quite certain everyone is able to identify with this experience.  It’s not unusual for something to appear as perfect on the outside while just below the surface lies an imperfection.  At least with a completely rotten piece of fruit, I would have been forewarned and known not to eat it.
Sometimes it takes an experience like this to let us know, in a way that we can understand, how God feels about our behavior sometimes.  Galations 5:9 says,”A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”  In other words, one rotten apple can spoil the bunch or, in my case, a bite of apple containing a rotten section can ruin the entire taste of apple.  As Christians, we have a responsibility to live in a way that shines the light of Jesus to everyone around us.  To whom much is given, much is required and we, as those who are newly alive in Christ, have been given all that God could give.  When we act in a way that mimics regular people who have not experienced the gift of salvation then we create an area of rot in the “apple”.  As we grumble and complain to others or perhaps judge anyone but ourselves, or even just act sad or depressed then we enlarge that rotten spot.  Pretty soon we have infected those around us so that they either spoil alongside us or we repel them and drive them away from ever seeing the light of the Lord.  I know I have been guilty of this many times.  Thankfully, I belong to the God of many chances and the only One who can create a fresh and new apple from one that is bruised or rotting. God tells us in Isaiah 43:25, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.” (NKJV)
Even if you have experienced the Christianity of a “rotten or bruised apple”, won’t you give God a chance?  I speak from experience when I say that He has given me many chances!

Putting Words in My Mouth

Standard

I love May in the South!!  The warm Southern breeze usually sails in sometime in the early afternoon hours, just in time to cool the day off from the noon heat.  As luck would have it, I had a moment of free time to enjoy this airy sensation while going back to work from a late lunch.  As I paused to fully take in the moment, I overheard a woman talking on her cell phone.  I did not have to try too hard to hear what she was saying, and I would not really work hard to eavesdrop – unless it involved a birthday present for me….lol!  It was clearly evident to me, judging by the volume of her retort to whoever was on the receiving end of her conversation, that she was irritated to the point of exasperation.  In one final, breathless gasp, before disconnecting her call, she bellowed, “I wish you would just stop putting words in my mouth!”  Wow!  This sentence pushed my thoughts in a completely different direction than I’m sure she intended.  What if God could put His words into my mouth?  I could certainly save myself a lot of grief and trouble.  I might be more encouraging and less likely to tear down others.  What would it take for this to happen?

How delightful that God has put his words in my mouth.” ~ Psalm 119:3

How blessed we are that God always provides for us long before we ever think or need to ask Him for help.  He has always had a plan for our lives!  These plans for our success have been in place since before the beginning of time.  Not only did He start compiling His words of truth and guidance in written form, in the very language that we speak every day so that we could understand and relate to them, He also gave us His Spirit to direct our thoughts and actions.

I am free to do anything I want to do.  I can listen to anything that I want to hear as well as watch anything that I want to watch.  Although I have the Holy Spirit inside to guide my actions, words and thoughts, I do not have to listen to Him if I choose not to pay attention to what He says.  God gives all people free reign to make their own choices.  If I choose to watch Barney or Sesame Street all day, it won’t take long before I might be caught singing nursery rhymes or skipping.  If I choose to watch karate or kung-foo action shows, I might easily start kicking and chopping.  We are products of our environment.  It does not take much reasoning to follow this line of thinking and connect it to training for successful living.  If I choose to fill my mind with God’s words then I will be more likely to speak and act in the way He wants.

Over 2000 years ago, David wrote in Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against You.   This is the secret to success, written for my eyes many centuries ago!  If I want God to put His words in my mouth then I might want to know His words.  In the same way that I would practice any other hobby or vocation, I must practice being a Christian in order to become the best that I can be.  In my efforts to make every moment count and to really know Christ, I am going to challenge myself (and you!) to “HIDE GOD’S WORD IN MY HEART”!  Feel free to post ways that you are actively trying to do this.  (I write verses on index cards to keep in my car and pull out while waiting in a parking lot or on errands – repetitive reading helps me remember).

I have put My words in your mouth and hidden you safely in My hand.” ~ Isaiah 51:16

Full Access

Standard

I have a key card or an “access card” that allows me to enter my office building, parking lot and restricted areas.  Without this card I am unable to access these sites.  I become  a person non-grata without my access card.  I can knock as long and and as loud as I want and I will not be able to enter.  I can sit at the gate to the parking lot but never gain access without my access card.  If I forget to bring it with me at any point, I am out of luck.

Aren’t you glad that we have Open Access to our Heavenly Father any time and all the time!  We are privileged to be able to go into His presence for any reason and He encourages us to do so.  We do not need a special key card that we have to carry and present in order to gain His attention.  We have only to believe that His son, Jesus, paid the price required as the penalty for sins by taking our place and dying on the cross.  This gift did not end there or Jesus would have been just like any other person on earth who died and was buried.  Three days after His death, He rose from the grave forever canceling the death penalty required for our sin.  This gave us Open Access as well.

Ephesians 3:12 “In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” ~NIV

In the beginning of the Israelite history, as documented both in the Old and New Testament, only the High Priest would be allowed to speak with God directly in His presence.  The priest could enter into the Holy of Holies inside the Temple in Jerusalem where God resided inside the Ark of the Covenant.  He could do this only once a year.  The Holy of Holies area was separated from the rest of the temple by a veil (curtain) that hung from a very high ceiling. At the exact moment of Jesus’ death on the cross that very veil was ripped in half from the top to the bottom (no human hand could reach that high) thereby exposing God’s presence to all mankind.

Hebrews 10:19-23  “And so, dear brothers and sisters,we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. “

 God gave us this Open Access card to allow us full access to Him.  I want to take every opportunity to use this access and communicate with Him.  Make every moment count in your life for eternity’s sake and get to know the God who made you, who loves you, and whom you will see the minute you awake from death into life and see Him face to face.
Psalms 27:4 “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.” ~ KJV
Aside

Did you ever play the game ‘telephone’ when you were younger?  That was a favorite of mine.  The game worked best with a large group and the results were usually very comical!  Everyone sat in a circle.  One person started the game by whispering a phrase or story to the person next to them who would repeat what they heard (or what they thought they heard) to the person next to them.  This process would continue until the story got back to the person who originally started the game.  The original story would be revealed as well as the story that had made it’s way around the circle and through many ears and translations.  The two stories never matched and really took on a life of it’s own.  One of the reasons that the story did not remain intact is that people hear what they want to hear.  Perhaps one of the translators was distracted and only heard half of the story and then made up the part they missed.  Perhaps, and this is the reason I tend to place most weight on, people anticipate what the story might be and as their focus is on their own anticipated outcome, they miss the actual information being passed to them.  This game taught many lessons to my group of friends and I:  Don’t believe everything you hear; Gossip can be painful and untrue; Lies spread like wildfire and never end the way you intend…..the lessons that can be drawn from this game are innumerable.

I was thinking about this game today as I heard about a young lady whose feelings were crushed as a result of a conversation that she didn’t hear.  She saw people whispering and immediately imagined that they could only be talking about her.  This propelled her to criticize herself as she pinpointed the root of the imagined conversation.  ‘Her outfit must be out of style, although she had recently purchased it and thought it looked alright when she got dressed this morning.’  ‘She must look ugly today.  She was definitely having a bad hair day so that must be the topic.’  ‘Her work production was down and she is probably about to be called into her bosses’ office for discipline.”  On an on these thoughts ran through her mind until she had worked herself into a migraine and overwhelming sadness.  In reality, her co-workers were talking about a picnic they were planning for the following weekend.  The conversation had absolutely nothing to do with her and yet, she had made herself sick as a result of her runaway imagination.  Has this ever happened to you?  I can raise my hand to admit that I am guilty of presuming myself the topic of secret conversations.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  How silly!  We have enough trouble to deal with that we know about without creating trouble where there is none.  If we would only keep our eyes on Him, we could avoid so much hurt and suffering!

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!  Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.”  Isaiah 26:3-4 (New Living Translation)

I love this verse!  I am making a concerted effort to keep my focus on Jesus, where my thoughts and focus should be rather than down in the weeds of imagination.  Please join me in this effort.  Leave comments of encouragement or suggestions to help myself and others as we endeavor to keep our eyes on Jesus!

Telephone

Laundry Day

Standard

I have two teenage boys.  Combine that with white clothes, and…..yup, you get the picture.  Dirty clothes, all the time!  I am convinced that even if the t-shirts or socks stay clean and white, the wearer feels it necessary to soil the item, just on principle.  Sometimes, I can’t even identify the crud and muck that is attached to their clothes.   I’m pretty sure that I don’t want to know what food has been ground in and how long it has been attached to the clothes that I am examining.  I am most certain that I don’t want to inhale the aroma that I refer to as “the stink” as it permeates the house.  A mother’s love truly knows no limits, although my limits frequently come close to being breached.  This morning was no exception.  I had laundry baskets lined up and ready to start sorting this morning.  Before I could even get to my older son’s pile, the overwhelming stench of ripe mildew almost drew tears from my eyes.  Yuck!

I know that I have told my son that wet swimming trunks and clothes need to be hung to dry before placing with other clothes.  He studied the process of mold creation in science.  This is not a new concept to my child.  It is amazing to see the disconnect between cleanliness and my son.  I will most certainly deal with him later, but for the moment I bit my tongue and dug into the dirt.  A little pre-wash, some laundry soap, a generous dousing of Clorox and 45 minutes later……white clothes!  Almost as good as new but a slight dinge still remained.  Sometimes I have been able to get close to the original white, but the creative stains that have found their way into my laundry are just too strong to completely disappear.

This process got me thinking.  I am that dirty shirt.  Maybe I don’t carry the stains on the outside where they are visible to the human eye, but without a doubt, I am a filthy rag.  “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”  Isaiah 64:6 (NIV).  Obviously, I am speaking metaphorically, but there is never a day that I have not piled dirt into my life.  Sometimes the dirt may take the form of  impatience with other drivers (this is a definite occurrence on a daily basis), other times I may lose my temper (this one, too).  Regardless of the enormity or smallness of my uncleanliness, dirt is dirt.  In order to become clean, I need to be washed.  Just as my laundry cannot wash itself, neither can I clean myself.  I am not capable.  Only One who is perfectly clean can perform this action.  Psalm 51:7 says, wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”  (NIV) Even the strongest, industrial strength Clorox cannot make something whiter than snow.

When I believed in the death and resurrection of  Jesus as the penalty for my sins, He washed me perfectly clean.  This is a promise I can claim for all eternity!  I am His and He is mine.  How beautiful and precious is this gift of clean clothes!  I am so thankful that I am washed by His blood and the stains, stink and dirt is forever gone and completely forgotten!

“I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me,Jeremiah 33:8 (NIV).

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”  Isaiah 43:25 (NIV)

Replacement Vehicle

Standard

“But you walked away from your first love – why?  What’s going on with you anyway?…”  Revelations 2:4  (The Message)

 

Routine 30,000 mile vehicle checkup!  This is the calendar greeting that awakened me from my sleep this morning.  I set my calendar notifications to alert me an hour before my actual appointment time as I simply cannot remember things the way I used  to remember them.  (I blame this on child birth, along with gray hair and weight gain.).  Unfortunately, there is no snooze capability on my calendar setting, so up I jumped.

 

When I arrived at the dealership to check my vehicle in for it’s scheduled service, I was told that they were off schedule (at 9am, no less) and that they would not be finished until around 4pm.  Rrgghh!  I really wasn’t trying to work on patience today, but I guess God had a different plan.  Actually, He did better than a lesson in patience.  He allowed the last replacement or “loaner” vehicle on the lot to be available for my use.  I anticipated a not so good car or over-used mini van but was pleasantly surprised to be assigned a new 2012 model.  This car drove like a dream!  It had all the bells and whistles, state of the art everything.  I left the lot with a huge, goofy smile on my face.  In my mind, I looked like Christie Brinkley driving the car next to Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Vacation.  I’m sure I looked more like Wilma Flinstone on a bad hair day but nevertheless, I was wearing a 1000 mega watt smile.  As I was cruising (yes, I said it) down the freeway, I started thinking abut the marketing genius who decided to place new cars of the same make into driver’s hands as they obtained service on their slightly older models.  What better way to entice people to want this newer and better car than to have them drive one when they are completely unprepared for this type of subliminal assault.  Before I was 2 miles down the road, I was convinced that I needed this new car.  My old car didn’t have the radio media screen.  It didn’t have the super quiet air conditioner that this new model did, and it sure didn’t have the keyless ignition.  I had been driving the Model-T version of cars (no wonder I looked like Wilma!), while other people who drove this new car where so much more sophisticated.  It’s amazing how quickly we can become dissatisfied with something that, only minutes before, we loved!

I had left my first love, so to speak.

 

It didn’t take me even a nano second to connect the dots to what I believe God wanted me to take away from this experience:  He is my first love.  How many times do I turn away from Him?  Although I can’t be pulled out of His hand and I am forever sealed into His family, I can still walk away from His side.  He gave me that choice hoping that I would desire to walk next to Him and not turn away.  I thought of the Old Testament story of the golden calf.  Exodus 32:1 tells how the Israelites were so fickle that when Moses had not returned from his trip up Mt. Sinai, they begged Aaron to make them a graven image in gold of a cow so that they could worship it.  I have always thought this to be absurd that anyone with a semblance of intelligence would want to worship a golden cow that they had made with their own hands…..but, yet, here I was  loving this car and allowing it to take my focus off of the One whose hands hold all of creation.  “Things” become idols in our hearts when we desire them more than anything.  It’s easy to let those things that we enjoy become things over which we obsess.

 

What are some things you know have become an obsession in your life?  Once you can identify these areas, whether things or people, then you can re-prioritize and place God back where He belongs – on the throne of your heart!

 

“You shall have no other gods before Me,”Exodus 20:3  (NIV)

Picture Credit: http://www.43things.com