We’ve all heard or read that Jesus is our best friend. If a best friend is someone with whom I can feel free to share anything going on in my life, without being condemned, I agree. He’s the only one I can do that with. But he’s also my Savior and my God. I’m in awe of him! There’s no other friend I’m in awe of. None! Jesus called his disciples his friends, and they became so close they occasionally questioned his decisions. We realize they didn’t fully understand at the time, but we don’t have that excuse. We know he’s part of the holy Trinity. Yes, he loves us, but Jesus is God! Omnipotent, omniscient, eternal Creator God! Even as I draw closer to him in relationship, I never want to forget that!
As I approached the top of the hill, school was over and I saw no vehicles there, but slowed anyway. As I came over the hill, I saw flashing red and blue lights behind me. Oh no! Sure enough, the policewoman said I had broken the speed limit. Not happy, I explained I had slowed down, but to no avail. I told her I hadn’t gotten a ticket in all the time I had been in Texas. She wasn’t impressed. I didn’t think it was fair. Finally, she gave me the ticket and as she walked away, said, “It’s just a warning.” Why does submitting to authority automatically cause an adverse reaction? I came up with all kinds of excuses although her radar showed my car had picked up speed and exceeded the speed limit coming down the hill. Shows once again a part of my nature that could use some work.
“I hope I never recover, that I can maintain what I feel now. I don’t want to lose it. It’s so much larger than me and life.” After landing from his rocket voyage into space this week, William Shatner became emotional as he described shooting through what he called the blue line of atmosphere that separates us from the blackness of space. This thin blue covering and then black space, he said, like life and death. It made him realize how vulnerable and fragile we are here on earth. As Shatner (Star Trek’s Captain Kirk) floated in the dead blackness of space, he saw how unique we really are as a planet. His words made me think, though he doesn’t call himself a Christian, it doesn’t keep him from receiving a message from God.
Do you ever question whether or not you are doing enough as a Christian? Unhappily, I do at times, especially now that I’m not able to do as much as I used to. It’s as if I don’t remember that God knows I’m old and slow. He created the various phases of life and realizes our physical limitations. But as a follower of Jesus Christ even our age doesn’t stop us, as the apostle Paul writes, from clothing ourselves with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” It doesn’t stop us from forgiving others or of being generous as well. Wherever we are and under whatever circumstances, the light of our Savior can shine through us. So-o-o, whether young or old, tend to your lamps!
Esther 4:13-14: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Italics mine.) In reading Mordecai’s impassioned plea to Esther, I hadn’t noticed until pointed out to me that even though Mordecai feared for the lives of himself, Esther and their family, he still had faith in God’s deliverance of his people. Though he personally would lose his life, he knew God’s promises to his chosen people would not fail. In his time of despair, he never doubted God’s promises.
Last Sunday during a prayer session before Zoom church, a member said he felt Spirit-inspired to express his appreciation for our 40-something year-old pastor. It was a tribute to how our young pastor has guided us, even through the difficulties of this pandemic, to a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. Other members echoed his heartfelt words. We know God placed our pastor and his wife in our church area because we as an older congregation had a real need for what they had to give. Have you noticed, sometimes you don’t know what you need until God gives it to you. October is Pastor Appreciation month and this Sunday is Pastor Appreciation Day. Let’s show our pastors some love!
Dallas Willard encouraged his students, and through his writings us, to memorize sections of the Bible. He especially recommended Colossians 3:1-17. When you read those verses, you will see why. They are words to live by daily as a Christian. In my attempt to memorize this long section, I’m working to instill these words in my consciousness. Rid yourself of evil desires, greed and anger, clothe yourself in compassion and kindness and love for others. Beautiful words, but more than words, a way of life, Christ’s way of life. Through Christ we are to live these words every day. Christ’s way is to be a light in the darkness of this world. Let’s be different. Let’s be that light!
“Oh, no! Watch out, Blaze! Whew, that was close!” The neighbors down the way have a dog named Blaze. Not sure his breed, but he’s about the size of a lab and he’s gold colored with white streaks. This beautiful dog rarely gets out of his yard but occasionally he manages. He was happily nosing around the road near my front yard and was so focused he didn’t notice the gray pickup truck speeding toward him. He looked up at the last second and jumped back from the road. Then he ran as fast as he could all the way back home. How human of him, I thought. We venture out into the world, feeling free and adventuresome, and when we get in trouble we run to the safe arms of our heavenly Father. Aren’t we glad he always welcomes us back!
Last Sunday when we took communion at the end of our Zoom church services, our pastor referred to communion as our spiritual fuel for the week. I like that analogy. When I think of our Savior’s love, a love so profound that he lived and died for every single person ever born or will be born, I’m astounded by that depth of sacrificial love! I desperately need that reminder because his holy commandment is also to love others, just as he loves me. Bear with each other, forgive each other and love each other. Not always so easy, folks! That’s when that spiritual fuel has to come into play. As the song says, he is our food, our drink and the air we breathe. He is our everything!
C.S. Lewis didn’t own a car so he walked a lot. He loved his daily walks and enjoyed hiking for days with his friends around the English countryside. What is so meaningful to me, especially when he was walking alone, are his descriptions of what he saw. His walks weren’t just to get somewhere else or for exercise, he enjoyed what he experienced. He describes sounds, smells, cloud formations, flowers, trees, insects and other creatures he meets, in glowing detail. God gave us senses for our enjoyment, but we can be so distracted by what life throws at us that we can miss out on the joys God intended. Do we gulp down that first cup of coffee without fully sensing the aroma, the warmth, the sweetness or creaminess of whatever we add to it. How about mowing the yard or weeding our gardens, just chores or meaningful times with God’s nature? Let’s live in the moment!