Friday, December 10, 2010

#72 Balancing the Books

Acts 20:35 "remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

Some people love to work with numbers. They love to count the "beans" so to speak and to make sure that each penny is accounted for. For them spending hours pouring over balance sheets and ledgers may bring joy and great satisfaction. Sadly, I am not among these people.

Yes, I want to make sure money is accounted for and that people are paid and there is enough money to cover this expense or that one, but I really do not care about money that much. I was not raised with a lot of money so it is not really something that's important to me in the grand scheme of life.

As we approach the Christmas holiday many are busy shopping and looking for the perfect gift. Others simply go to their selected retailer and buy a handful of gift cards. So much of Christmas is just swapping money I think. You buy a $10 gift that no one really wants and they buy you a $10 gift that you really did not want. You basically swapped money, right?

Shouldn't Christmas be more than just swapping money? Shouldn't it be more about balancing the budget of our lives? How so you may ask? By making Christmas truly about sacrificing for others just like the wise men did for Christ. They traveled for hundreds of miles bearing gifts to honor the King of kings and Lord of lords. They made great sacrifice of time and resources to pay homage to the Messiah. Can we do the same in our modern times? I think we can.

Sure we cannot visit Christ at His home and present gifts like the magi, but Jesus said in Matthew 25:40 'to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' In other words, when you and I seek out the less fortunate of our society and do something good for them then we are essentially doing it for Jesus! The problem comes in when we have a deficit in doing for the less fortunate among us. Christmas is great time to balance the books, to make things right, to be a blessing to the down-trodden, and to reach out in the name of Jesus.

I know many of you who will read this have big hearts and that you often help those around you. If you are among this group I challenge you to inspire others around you by getting them involved in helping others somehow. If you volunteer somewhere invite someone else to go with you sometime. In short, I think we can all do something to be a blessing to the "least" among us. Won't you consider this Christmas season and throughout the year how you might fulfill Christ's words and experience the blessing of giving to the least among us?

Dear Father God,
We thank You for the awesome blessings you have given us. Please inspire us to be more like Jesus in all that we do. Inspire us, please, to look beyond our comfort zones and see others that need a helping hand. Please help us experience the blessing of giving to the least among us.

Friday, December 3, 2010

#71 Obstructed View

Habakkuk 2:4 ...the just shall live by his faith.

Do you recall when you first got your drivers license? I do. I was so excited to have a measure of freedom. Yes, I had to be home when mom and dad told me to be there, but I no longer had to beg people for a ride here or there. Of course I soon found out gas was not free so my availability of funds dictated just how much "freedom" I actually had.

Along with learning how to be conservative with gas and not letting my friends run me all over creation was the job of adapting to those with whom I had to share the roads. It's amazing that before I had my license I did not really pay that much attention to how other people drove. Sure, I saw some crazy things before I was driving, but after I was behind the wheel my eyes were opened to all the nuances of how others operated their vehicles. And honestly some people's driving flat out scared me.

Another thing that bothered me while driving was when I would get behind a large vehicle like a semi truck, big box trucks, or even a school bus. When you get stuck behind a large vehicle it makes it hard to see around and know what's coming. These vehicles also drive much slower than smaller ones. Having driven a truck for several years I now know that big trucks move slower because of their gearing and the heavy loads they haul, but as a lead-footed teenager I hated following bigger vehicles. Yes, because they were slow but mainly because I could not see around them. It was sort of like being partially blinded.

The reality is that I was so bothered by following those vehicles because they limited my control of the situation. Sometimes I would get so impatient that I would attempt to pass those vehicles even when it was not safe to do so. How may times did my guardian angel have to reach out and save me from myself? Life is just like that some times. We get behind a big problem that is not being resolved fast enough for our liking and we become impatient and when our impatience builds up the stress drives us mad and to the point where we make rash, even foolish decisions.

One of the great things about being a Christian is that we can take a different approach to life. Yes, big problems come into the lives of God's people and even we as Christians get overly anxious or excited from time to time, but one of the awesome things about being a Christian is that we have a connection to the God of the universe, our Redeemer Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. And while our emotional and spiritual vision may become obstructed from time to time as big, slow, awkward problems end up in front of us, we must never forget that we serve a God whose vision and insight is never blocked by anyone or anything.

So the next time you feel trapped by one of life's big problems why not take time to stand still and let God help you get around it? It may take longer than we want for it to, but if we will patiently wait upon the Lord He will always deliver us from each situation is His time. Adopting this approach to life will give us that Christian walk that is dependent upon faith and not mere human sight or reasoning.

Dear Father,
We give You thanks for being such an awesome God. Thank You for taking care of all of our needs even when we do not see it or appreciate it. Please help us, Lord, to learn to let You lead in all areas of life. We want You to clear our view so we may see what You want us to see. We ask these things in Jesus' name, Amen.