Monday, March 26, 2012

The Importance of Relationship

Building relationships in Athens
Missionaries to refugees in Greece are staying at our home this week.  Tonight they told a group of people about their ministry and one key thing that stood out to  me was the reason Christianity attracts the Muslims they work with.  They live out what they say.

As they build relationships with the refugees at Helping Hands, the people begin to ask questions about why the missionaries believe in Christ.  They're taught the facts about Christ coming to earth, his crucifixion, and resurrection from the dead.  But the key reason people make a decision to follow Christ is they see that the missionaries' lives reflect what they believe and teach, unlike many of the religious leaders they've heard in the past.

When Ilir said this, it made me think.  How do I come across to others?  Do they see someone whose life reflects that of Christ?  I hope so, but I need to keep this in mind as I relate to everyone whose path I cross.  

What about you?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I Want a Do Over

I Want A Do-Over

When I was in elementary school, one of the popular toys for kids was Etch-a-Sketch, a gray screen you could draw pictures on by turning the knobs on the bottom.  If you liked

the picture, you showed it to all your friends.  If not, you shook it, the screen went blank, and you could start over.  We made endless pictures, using our imaginations, and turning the ideas into pieces of “art.” Then we’d start over with a blank screen to create our next masterpiece.

God does that with us too.  He starts with a blank slate, decides what he wants to make of our lives, and begins creating His work.

.  “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10.

God doesn’t make mistakes, but He knows when we do. He points it out to us, and gives us another chance to start over, wiping the slate clean.  And we get as many “do-overs” as we need because He loves us.  I’m sure glad He loves me and gives me so many chances when I blow it.

Can anyone else relate?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Phone Books Saved My Life

Phone Books

God has some of the most unusual ways of taking care of us sometimes.  One summer I took a temporary job delivering the yellow pages.  

We lived in the mountains and the nearest city was 30 miles away.  I neared the on-ramp to the freeway and began to accelerate when an oncoming car made an illegal left turn directly in my path. In order to avoid a collision, I swerved, running off the road.  When I ran off the embankment, I landed in a ditch near the gas station. 

By all rights, the car should have flipped, landed upside down, and left me with serious injuries.  But, since I had about 50 phone books in my trunk, the car stayed upright.  I was shaken, but suffered no injuries.  The car had a few dents, but nothing like if it had flipped and landed on its side, or upside down.    

I didn’t even think about what could’ve happened. Only when I told a friend about it later and she said I was fortunate the car hadn’t rolled did I realize I’d been spared from worse. The phone books may have saved my life.  They at least saved me from consequences that would’ve been much worse. 

God works in mysterious ways.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Getting back up again

I fell as I walked Tommy this morning.  We were more than halfway home but I lost my balance and hit the pavement.  Fortunately, I’d let go of Tommy and braced myself w/my hands to avoid hitting my face.  My left knee wasn’t so lucky. Though I wore sweats, I scraped up my knee, causing it to bleed.  I got up again and came home, walking slower and more carefully. 

I'm thankful for a few things here.  There wasn't any traffic at that hour, as it was mid-morning. And I only scraped my knee. It could've been a lot worse. 

Sounds like life in general.  When we fall along the way, we get back up again.  There are consequences, but we'll arrive eventually, even if it takes longer.  The wound(s) will heal but it takes time.  

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Detours Along The Way

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jer. 29:13

I headed to my doctor’s appointment one morning. I’d never been there before, and I don’t have a GPS, but I’d looked up the address ahead of time. Armed with my map and directions, I headed out, confident I’d find the building without a problem. But there were some “bumps in the road” so to speak.

The landmarks I passed bolstered my confidence that was headed the right direction, until I happened upon an unexpected problem—road construction. Orange cones blocked the road, and a detour sign directed traffic to the left, through a residential neighborhood. Where am I now? I asked myself. Concerned, but not too worried, I drove among the houses, following the detour signs. As I passed each one, I reminded myself that my destination was back to the right and further up the road.

Eventually, I made it back to a main street. I turned right and backtracked to the street I’d been traveling originally. Looking around, I saw that I needed to turn left in order to get to the doctor’s office. Ten minutes later, I reached my destination.

When I parked the car, it occurred to me that because I’d kept my destination and its location in mind, I was able to find my way there—despite being sidetracked by a detour.

This happens to me in other areas of my life too. I set out toward a goal but get distracted. Before I know it, I’m headed a different direction. I get confused, sometimes lost along the way. So, I have to regain my bearings and turn back toward my original destination.  As long as I remember where I’m headed, I’ll get there eventually, even if I take a detour or two.