A few days ago an adventurous, two-year-old slipped unnoticed out of his daycare facility in a neighboring town. Unescorted, he ambled over to a busy road where an alert motorist spotted the lad and returned him to a much-relieved search party. His mother told reporters she was sure the driver had saved her baby’s life.
We adults are prone to wander off on our own at times, often arriving in harm’s way. “Like sheep without a shepherd” is one simile used in the Bible to describe a life lived apart from God’s watchful care. “All we like sheep have gone astray.”
So, have you placed your destiny In the strong, loving arms of the Good Shepherd?
Springtime in Seattle is a sight for sore, soggy eyes. The dark drapery of evergreens backdrops an outburst of reds, pinks, yellows, whites, lavenders and blues. Gardeners and passersby exchange smiles as they ogle radiant “rhodies,” dazzling azaleas, Japanese cherry blossoms and a rainbow of early-riser forsythia and magnolias. These eye-popping, fragrant, new flora are welcomed by choruses of returning robins and other Canada-bound frequent flyers.
Interesting that our Creator unveiled His artistic, floral gift in a garden and referred to Himself as “the Rose of Sharon” and the “Lily of the Valley.” Roses are admired universally; lilies are praised for their purity. Those who love and follow this Rose are themselves a multi-colored bouquet, plucked from diverse soils of sin and made pure in God’s sight by His grace and their faith.
This heavenly Rose and Lily invites you to come back to the garden, choose to root your life in Him, then bloom where you’re planted.
I brain-cramp when Daylight Savings Time rolls around. What does “spring forward” mean? It’s supposed to give us an added hour of sunlight, especially welcome in a cloudy clime. But isn’t that stealing an hour from darkness? So much for eight hours of sleep. And, by the way, which clocks reset automatically for DST?
In the very, very beginning we read, “Then God commanded, ‘Let there be light’ – and light appeared. God was pleased with what He saw. Then He separated light from darkness, and He named the light ‘Day’ and the darkness ‘Night.’ Evening passed and morning came – that was the first day.”
Could it be any simpler? It seems that anytime we add the human element, confusion is the result. The Creator Himself, in whose image we all were made, called His followers “the Light of the world.”
In light of that, are you ready to spring forward?
What’s your recipe for achieving world peace? What are the tools at your disposal?
There’s human intelligence, common courtesy, goodwill, compassion, fear, government, diplomacy, espionage, sanctions, arms build-up, intimidation, anarchy, combat, terrorism, peaceful demonstration, rioting, insurgency, pacifism, media, commerce, labor, alliances, religion, academia, the lessons of history, et al.
We’re groping to find a formula for harmony that works for everybody. Perhaps our expectations are unrealistic. Is this as good as it gets?
Maybe you recall Tony Bennett singing, “If I ruled the world, every man would say the world was his friend. There’d be happiness that no man could end. No, my friend, not if I ruled the world. Every head would be held up high. There’d be sunshine in everyone’s sky. If the day ever dawned when I ruled the world.”
Even if each of us could take a crack at ruling the world, we’d all fail. There’s only one “Prince of Peace.” When He was here 2,000 years ago, He said there would be no peace until He returns. Nailed to a cross, He made peace with you by name.
Some say Robert Frost’s poetic piece de resistance of 1916 may be “the most popular piece of literature ever written by an American.” You may recall how The Road Not Taken ends:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
This year you’ll come to a fork where two or more choices will present themselves arrayed in all their tempting colors. How will you choose which to take? What will be the outcome? Whom will it affect? Can you live with the results? Why so?
King Solomon’s counsel may be the one least taken, albeit the wisest:
“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
That next fork is just ahead. Which way are you leaning?
Which of these ad headlines is more appealing: “Free Worries” or “Worry-Free?”
The New Testament’s most prolific writer says it’s possible to have no anxiety! Think of all the time that would free up for you.
When you place your life in the hands of the One who made you and loves you with no strings, He guarantees to convert all that happens to you to your advantage! With that truth tucked under your wing, you can tell the Lord all your cares, then relax and enjoy His supernatural peace. Paul’s advice is “Don’t sweat anything!”
“The rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.” This is Fort McHenry in 1814. Sadly, this also describes devilish acts in today’s Baltimore, Ferguson, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, Orlando, Dallas, Baton Rouge, Columbus, the Middle East, Munich, Nice, Paris, Brussels and too many more.
When asked, “What will happen to show that it’s the time for Your coming and the end of the age,” Jesus replied, “You’ll hear the noise of battles close by and the news of battles far away; but do not be troubled. Such things must happen, but they do not mean that the end has come. Countries will fight each other; kingdoms will attack one another. There will be famines and earthquakes everywhere. … When that day will come, the Father alone knows. … So then, you must always be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you are not expecting Him.”
He came first at Christmas. He promised to return. Ready? Or not?
The only piano instrumental to hit Billboard’s #1 spot is Roger Williams’ 1955 chart-topper, “Autumn Leaves.” It “covered” the 1945 original, a French song entitled “Les Feuilles Mortes” (literally, “The Dead Leaves”).
Autumn splashes us with a palette of warm, earthy tones, easing the transition from summer’s scorching colors. But all too soon autumn leaves. Trees that proudly modeled fall’s finery are stripped of their moment in the sun, now barely a memory.
Our lives parallel nature’s predictable pattern. A seedling bursts forth into a bud that blossoms into its role in life’s bouquet. Then comes the chill of the next cycle, graying the landscape. Finally, the helpless leaf drifts to the soil below.
Our Creator’s half-brother James writes, “You don’t even know what your life tomorrow will be! You are like a puff of smoke which appears for a moment and then disappears. What you should say is this: ‘If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that.’”
On the face of it the event we celebrate on October 31st seems innocent. Parents and their kiddos get to act silly together, visit neighbors they avoid the rest of the year, and spend an evening not staring at the tube. All good stuff, right?
Oh, but the flip side is the risk taken by little goblins dashing across streets without looking, bagging a million calories, knocking on the doors of total strangers, damage done by pranksters’ “tricks,” and the emphasis on the devilish and weird.
Come to think of it, the mask is an appropo symbol for Halloween. Whether worn by fun-seeking children or looting protestors, it hides one’s identity. Deception was the first tripwire that soiled our paradise-planet. The Carpenter from Nazareth warned, “Don’t fall prey to deception.”