Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Staying in the RIGHT lane

I saw in the news today where New Yorkers have the worst reputation for being impatient drivers...DUH..I think we all knew that one! I will say one thing for New Yorkers...they've learned how to get where they're going much faster than drivers I've seen in other cities. Actually, I think they get a bad rap, because I love the way they do a few things. Unlike my more southern friends, New Yorkers don't start lining up single file when they see a sign that says something like "5 miles - right lane closed". No, New Yorkers will take all available space in both lanes and allow one another to "take turns" at the merging point. But watch out if you are not quick enough to take your turn...you will get a horn or two, and maybe a few other "pleasantries" thrown your way. Please take it from someone who has lived both in NY and further south and west....sitting in traffic is no picnic but the New Yorkers are much more effective in getting through it.

Speaking of traffic and drivers, I find myself in "grace challenges" when presented with "LEFT" lane drivers. I'm sorry if you are one, but its time someone mentioned the obvious....It's annoying! See, I told you it was a grace challenge for me. I have to constantly ask God's forgiveness for my impatience in this area. I mean, what part of "stay in the right lane unless passing" did people not understand when reading their driver's learning manual? I think it's pretty much an across-the-board concept in all driver's manuals, yet many individuals just naturally gravitate to the left lane and stay there....Help me Lord! Living in NY for so many years really rubbed off on me -and I'm sure I'm a much better driver for it!

But if you think about it, staying in the RIGHT lane just makes sense. That goes for all areas of life - not just traffic. You can operate safely in the right lane and let those moving at a faster pace go around you if they need to. However, if you're poking along in the left lane, you are, no doubt, in the wrong lane and you're operating out of your sweet spot. In all humility, I say, "Get back in the right lane"!

God created us all with special gifts and purposes. We aren't operating at maximum capacity if we are not in the right lane doing the right thing. We could even be impeding others' progress. In the right lane we can operate in our giftedness until something slows us down. Then, when there is an opening, we can move into the left lane and sail smoothly past our roadblocks. That's the way it's supposed to work. We aren't always supposed to stay in the fast lane.

Case in point - I love music. I love to sing. I love to worship my Lord in song. Yet, I don't want to sit in the left lane with my singing ability and I'm certainly not passing anyone. You see, I'm not a great singer...just mediocre...so I know I need to stay in my lane. I certainly don't need to try to get in the left lane with the big dogs on that one. That's okay; I'll just stay on the right and toot my horn when I need to:-)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Stop whining and start worshipping!

It's the beginning of June. Most people in the country are enjoying baseball, hotdogs and apple pie about now. In Rockford, IL, its in the 50's! Not exactly Club Med, but a vast improvement over the frozen winters we experience out here. We don't really have much of a spring here and it can get to you after living in milder climates like Kentucky and Colorado. I can start to feel sorry for my luck sometimes, then I'm reminded that I asked for, no I prayed for, this assignment. God answered our prayers to be used by him in any way he chose, anywhere he chose. And here I am forgetting that he's just being faithful. Me? I'm being an Israelite!

When I read about the Israelites in the bible, what do I see? I see people who are forgetful of God's goodness; people who are ungrateful for how they've been blessed; people who complain about the little inconveniences despite the huge blessings. Wow, I'm no different it seems. Looks like I need more than just a little sunshine....I need a complete attitude adjustment! Yes, this human flesh needs a little reminder now and then that I need to re-examine my priorties. I got just that reminder this week, as I was reading an excerpt from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's Decision newsletter. It was a past article written by Corrie Ten Boom - one who knew true adversity, was blessed much and served much. If I could be just a little bit more like her in spirit and in deed, I know I wouldn't worry about little things like weather and sunshine as much. I might begin to see that every life that is touched or helped through something Bill and/or I have done, said or written for the glory of Christ is well worth riding out less than ideal climate. Besides, those summer months here are pretty nice when they do come and I'll appreciate them even more. Consider me well convicted. I don't want to act like an Israelite anymore. I ask for God's forgiveness and ask him to allow me to continue to serve with joy where he has led us. I'm ready to stop whining and start worhipping:o)

Here's the article by Corrie Ten Boom:

Serving With Joy Where God Leads Us
One morning I spoke in a church in Copenhagen, Denmark. The text was Romans 12:1: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship” (NIV).

I told my audience that they had to give their bodies as a pleasing sacrifice to the Lord. I said that although I was an elderly woman, I still wanted to give myself completely to Jesus and do what He desired me to do and go where he desired me to go—to be obedient even to the point of death.

After the service, two nurses approached me. They invited me for a cup of coffee in their apartment. I was very tired. A cup of coffee seemed very appealing, and I gratefully accepted their invitation. But I was not prepared for the steep climb to their room. Many of the houses in Copenhagen are very old and have no elevators, and the nurses lived on the 10th floor. …

“Oh Lord, I don’t think I can make it,” I said. But the nurses were so insistent that I didn’t dare refuse. When I at last reached the fifth floor, my old heart was beating heavily and my legs refused to go a step further. I saw a chair and sat down. I said to the nurses, “Go on to your room. When I’ve rested I’ll come too.”

I asked the Lord, “Why do I have to walk up so many flights of stairs after such a busy day, Lord?” The answer came immediately: “Because there will be such a great blessing up there. It will even give joy to the angels of God.” I looked at the winding stairs, which I could see going on right to the top. I thought, Maybe I am going to Heaven. That will give joy to the angels. I counted the steps. There were a hundred or more.

But if God said the work would make the angels rejoice, I had to go. I stood up and started to climb again. At last I reached the 10th floor, and when I arrived in the nurses’ room, I found a table brightly laid. The meal had been prepared by the parents of one of the nurses. I knew I only had a little time, and I knew that in one way or another, God was going to give a blessing. So I started a conversation.

“Tell me,” I asked the nurse’s mother, “was it long ago that you got to know the Lord Jesus?”

“I have never met Him,” she said, a little surprised at my question.

I said, “Don’t you want to come to Him? He loves you. I have talked about Him in more than 60 countries, and I have never met anyone who regretted giving his heart to Jesus, and neither will you if you do.”

I opened the Bible and read her texts that made salvation through the Lord Jesus very clear. She listened with great interest. Then I asked, “Shall we speak together with the Lord?” I prayed and both the nurses prayed with me. At last, the mother put her hands together and said, “Lord Jesus, I actually know a great deal about You. I just read the Bible, but I now pray for You to come into my heart. I need salvation and cleansing. I know that You died on the cross for the sins of the whole world and for my sin, too. Please Lord Jesus, come into my heart and make me a child of God. Amen.”

I looked up and saw tears of joy on the faces of the young nurses. They had prayed so much for this couple, and now their prayers were being answered. I turned to the father, who had quietly listened to everything. “What do you think of this?” I asked.

“I have never made a decision for the Lord Jesus,” he said seriously, “but I have listened to everything you said to my wife, and I now know the way. I will pray to Jesus, too, for Him to save me.” He bowed his head, and from his lips came a joyful, serious prayer as he gave his life to Jesus Christ. I know that there were angels around us who were praising God. It says in the Bible that the angels rejoice over every sinner who repents.
“Thank You, Lord,” I whispered, as I went down the many stairs, “that you let me walk up all these steps to the top. The next time, Lord, help Corrie ten Boom listen to her own sermons, so that I am ready to go where You lead, even if it is steps up to the 10th floor.”

The late Corrie Ten Boom wrote the international best-seller “The Hiding Place,” which was made into a World Wide Pictures movie. Both told her inspiring story of faith and forgiveness in the face of the Nazi Holocaust. Taken by permission from “Reflections of God’s Glory,” ©1999 Stichting Trans World Radio Voor Nederland en Belgie and published by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Mich. This meditation was originally broadcast over Trans World Radio in Dutch and then translated into English.