Sunday, December 30, 2007

Godtrospective

As I look back on my life, I can search and search and search but I cannot find a time when God was negative with me, or short with me, or angry with me, or impatient with me... or when He focused on my sins. I have been that way with myself (unnecessarily) and others have been that way with me, and I have been that way with others, but yet in this New Covenant in which God has taken our sins away from us, there are no sins for Him to focus on! And the wonderful thing is that even when our behavior doesn't match the state of righteousness that we truly do stand in, I just no longer see God as someone who gets us back on track by beating us up or being angry or impatient with us.

And so I believe that renewing our minds daily in the things of our Lord Jesus Christ has to do with focusing on the truth of who God is rather than focusing on our sins and shortcomings. You know, we're always going to have 20 million things that are "wrong" with us that we could focus on, but yet there is a truth about God and there is also a truth about us that we can focus on that is much more restful and peaceful and oh so much more productive!

In my last post, I used the example of my daughter. When she gets off task in her morning routine (which happens every single morning... it really does... because she really likes taking her time), instead of focusing on how "poorly" she's performing (how late we're going to be if she keeps getting off track), I try to motivate her by looking ahead, and with smiles and with a pleasant voice, etc. And so much more than that, the underlying foundation that we're trying to build in the lives of our kids is that they are dearly loved and accepted at all times, with no exceptions, no matter what.

Although we want them to "perform well" (to do the things we teach them and ask of them), the underlying focus isn't on their performance, but rather on who they are apart from what they do or don't do. Really, when my kids are all grown up, I would much rather have them understand that they are loved and accepted no matter what, than I would have them performing all the things of life perfectly. And here's the wonderful thing. I believe that if they are built up solidly in who they are apart from their performance, their performance will more and more match who they are. What they "do" will simply be natural, and not contrived or forced.

I'm hoping that I can teach them more and more through my actions as well as through my words that God is patient, kind, etc. He is love. They are new creations in Him who don't have to perform for Him, but yet who have good works in front of them that God prepared beforehand that they should walk in them.

In my early walk with Christ, and even leading up to the past few years, I was very introspective and I thought of it as a very positive thing. But yet I've found that it was one of the most unproductive, guilt-producing things that a Christian can do! Well, at least the way that I was going about it. I was constantly looking "within" and measuring my Christian performance. I was weighing my motivations. I was constantly trying to figure out if I was in God's will or not. I was always trying to figure out what it was that I was supposed to be doing for God.

Like I said, if you want a life of guilt and fruitlessness, just focus on yourself. :) But I have slowly changed my introspection to "Godtrospection." I have been joined with God and He is now my life. The Bible says in Hebrews that He has perfected forever His children. The Bible says we have become the righteousness of God in Christ. God has done all the work Himself to make this happen, and so our daily perspective can now be what He has done for us, what He has made us to be. It can be a focus on the truth of who God is, and who we truly are in Him, rather than being a fruitless pondering about how far short we are falling in our actions.

As we rest in Him, and in the truth of who we truly are in Him (rather than focusing on how good or bad our behavior has been), we can look "inside" and begin seeing the truth of our righteousness, our holiness, our unbreakable union with the living God. We can "see" all of this even if we don't really "see" it, if you know what I mean. It's the plain and simple truth that God has made us holy and righteous, and even if we don't always see it in our behavior or in our emotions, we can "see" it by faith. We can see the truth by trusting in what God says. I'm convinced that if we keep preaching and teaching (and listening to) self-improvement sermons, and if we keep focusing on sin, we'll never truly enjoy the abundant life that we have right now in Jesus Christ!

Friday, December 28, 2007

What's right with you

This is the third time I've used the title "What's right with you" for a post here on Grace Roots (See the other two: 6/26/06 and 8/24/07. See also a similar post called Convicted of Righteousness).

In my mind I'm brought back to these thoughts quite often because I know that many of my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world seem to deal more with the question, "What's wrong with me?" than with the truth of "What's right with me." Teachers and preachers - even those with great intentions of helping people live better lives - tend to be focused on what's wrong with the people in their congregations and how to "fix" what's wrong. Just as examples, I can't tell you how many "giving" sermons I've heard in my life. Or how many times I've been told to be a better witness for Christ. Or "how to" do this or "steps to take" to do that. Or the five "R's" of relationships. Can I get any witnesses? ;) I've heard countless methods, steps, principles, laws, rules, plans, etc, all with the intention of having the people of the congregation work on these things so they can become more productive Christians. For a while in my walk with Jesus I thought that was the way it's supposed to be. I knew I wasn't performing perfectly for God and I wanted to improve. I wanted to fix what was wrong about me and become more and more acceptable to God.

Of course I came to find out that that way of living the Christian life is foolishness! It seems right in the eyes of man, but it really does only lead to death. I don't mean physical or spiritual death. I mean death of dreams, death of motivation, death of joy... you get the picture. You eventually find that no matter how hard you try, or what steps you take, or what principles you follow... you still always have a long way to go in order to fix what's wrong with you. Or perhaps you have some "victories," but even after your victories you see that there are twenty million other things that are wrong with you that need fixing. And not only that, but those twenty million other things seem magnified like never before. Once you take a look at God's righteousness, and take steps towards trying to live up to it, whether you fail or whether you think you succeed, your own shortcomings begin to appear so much larger than you originally thought of them.

And so I just want to ask you... Do you find yourself somewhere in the two preceding paragraphs? If so, GET OUT, because the two preceding paragraphs are filled with very bad news!!! In fact, I can honestly tell you that I was becoming slightly depressed while writing them and going back and reading them! I considered removing them and coming from a different angle because I just don't want to take the risk of getting myself or anyone else stuck in the mindset that this life in Christ is about fixing what is wrong with us.

My seven year old girl likes to take her time while getting ready for school in the morning. And that's fine. I've learned to wake her up earlier so that she has all the time she needs. But even so, she very often becomes distracted, and every 10 to 15 minutes I need to prompt her to "stay on task." If I don't, we'll be late for school. I smile when I talk to her and I make it a quick reminder, but yet she feels so bad for "getting behind" that she begins to cry and keeps repeating, "sorry daddy, sorry daddy." It makes me so sad to see her feeling so sad and guilty that she's gotten off track, because I'm not angry with her and I don't come across as angry with her! I've had to tell her over and over again that I'm not angry with her. All that I'm doing is making it so she can enjoy taking her time while not dragging her feet. And so what's happened is that I've discovered new ways to talk with her in the morning, which I'll get to in a minute.

But my example here is basically what I mean about preachers and teachers, even with good intentions, focusing on sin and on what's wrong with people. It's of course not just preachers and teachers. It's parents, authority figures, friends, other church people, etc, etc. When we focus on what's "wrong" with us, it generally yields the opposite of what we intend! We hope it will yield changed lives, fruit, righteous living, etc, but in the long run it yields guilt, despondency, fruitlessness, etc.

And of course in a large section of church society, this focus on sin doesn't come out of good intentions. It comes out of self-righteousness, Pharisaical attitudes and a desire to be in control and to keep the people dependent upon their preaching or their so-called "authority." But no matter the motive, a focus on sin will never yield the fruit that a focus on our righteousness in Christ (that we've freely received as a gift) will yield!

Over the course of this school year so far, I've learned some better ways (I think) to talk with my daughter that don't focus on how far behind she is or how late it's getting, but rather that remind her and encourage her in her current "task." For example, if she's supposed to be getting dressed, but she's instead found a Barbie to play with, I tell her something like, "after you get dressed, I'll get you a fresh cup and you can brush your teeth!" She "remembers" that she was getting dressed and she hops right back to it without even giving a thought as to whether or not daddy was angry with her. And all the time, throughout each and every day when I'm near my kids, I'm talking with them and laughing with them and hugging them and kissing them and telling them how much I love them. That's the most important thing. Even if they were to get "off task" and were late to school every day, I can't imagine for a moment that I would ever stop letting them know how much I love them.

Which leads to my next post, which has to do with God's love for us and the righteousness we have received as a gift, and how He encourages us and motivates us based upon love and righteousness rather than through guilt and condemnation.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

December 26, 2000

Seven years ago today, Lil Sissy seemed perfectly content to just remain in mommy's belly, but big brother wanted her to come on out and see him! She must've been listening because the very next day she "came out." :)

Noelle Come Out!

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Everyone

There's no deep spiritual message in this song... it's just a song that brings me back to the time I lived in England as a boy. Shakin' Stevens was big when I lived there. Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas!

Shakin' Stevens - Merry Christmas Everyone

Monday, December 17, 2007

Missed calls

I tend to think that God is communicating with us all the time, but it's generally not in the ways that we seem to expect. Just as a quick example, my wife and I can know each others thoughts without saying anything. There's body language. There are subtle and not-so-subtle actions that we do that can convey messages to each other. There are "looks" that we can give each other that speak volumes (for better or for worse). There are notes. There are phone calls. You know what I'm saying. The ways we communicate go on and on.

We Christians often seem to want God to speak to us in an audible voice, but yet He communicates in so many other ways. Can you think of some of the ways He communicates with you? The thing about my wife and I is that it has taken us a long time, dating back to when we first met, to truly understand our ways of communicating with each other and what we really mean in our various means of communication. And we're definitely still growing in this! Sometimes we still just don't "get" each other. And I've come to see the same thing in my relationship with God. Sometimes I really know that I know that I know what He is saying to me and sometimes I just don't get it. I'm growing.

In the last post, I spoke about God initiating and us responding. Well, what if we "miss" His call? What if we are too busy or are too lazy or are too loud, etc, etc, to hear Him. I know this has worried me to death in the past.

I'm reminded of a couple of Steve McVey stories here. I'll put them in my own words, but I originally heard them from him. The first one has to do with a father-son relationship. What if the father wants his son to clean his room. He would tell his son to clean his room. What if the son is watching TV and doesn't hear his dad? The dad will simply tell him again. The son may be distracted by this, that or the other thing, but the point of the story is that the father will make sure that the son knows what he wants him to do. It's the father's responsibility to make sure the son has heard him.

I'm allll for quiet times, alone with our Father, but yet in some ways I think they're over-rated. Again... I value my quiet times with my heavenly Father... but so many of the ways in which we've communicated together have not been in "quiet" times. I'm telling the truth here... the Lord spoke audible, clear words to me one time several years ago while I was jamming to a Metallica song! I had been previously been praying about certain things, and the five words He spoke were a direct answer to my prayers. But I never expected to get the answer in the middle of a Metallica song! And by the way, the answer had nothing to do with the actual lyrics of the song. I simply can't explain it, except to say that I believe that God is sovereign and His will will be done!

The second story I want to share here actually happened when Steve was here in Iowa a couple of years ago, visiting my church over a weekend. I believe he's since shared this in a newsletter and perhaps elsewhere. Have you heard his GPS story? In short, he was here in town, driving a rental car (I think) that had a GPS navigation system. He was using it to get to where he was going. I forget the details, but at one crucial point he didn't hear the instructions clearly and he either missed a turn or he turned too early --- and he got off course. The wonderful thing about the GPS device is that it immediately compensated. Instead of saying, "excuse me, you've just messed up and now I can't get you where you were going," the device recalculated the directions from where he was now at! He would still get where he was going, perhaps a little later than planned, but he would still get there...

Can you think of people in the Bible with whom this type of thing happened? Abraham always springs to my mind. God promised him a seed but it wasn't happening as fast as Abraham expected so he tried to make it happen his own way, and he went off course. But even though he "messed up," God still did with him what He had planned to do all along. And what about Balaam? God communicated with him by having his donkey turn and go off the road, crush Balaam's foot against a wall and finally simply lay down underneath him... in three separate attempts to save him from certain death. Each time Balaam got mad and beat the donkey (not knowing why the donkey had done those things). Finally the Lord opened the donkey's mouth. I've never noticed until now, but she never actually told Balaam why she had done those things. She simply said, in my own words, "excuse me but don't you see that I've always been a good donkey for you and I would never intentionally harm you!" It was the Lord Himself who opened Balaam's eyes to see what was actually going on. (See the full story in Numbers 22).

I'm sure there are many more examples, but the overall thing I'm trying to say here is that the Lord dwells in us and He's in a partnership with us. This partnership is lived out, not by us trying to guess what He's saying, but by Him faithfully communicating with us and working in and through us in His ways and in His timing.

I don't think God is in the hurry that we are in...

And I just think we need to relax, chill out, lighten up... all that good stuff (!)... and just go about our lives with the mind that God is always in us and with us. He doesn't want to be "Number One" in our lives. It's so much better than that! He IS our life, and with that in mind we can truly relax and just live, keeping in mind that He is a great communicator.

If we should happen to get mad and beat our donkeys... and don't deny that you've had your own donkey beating experiences (!)... we can know that God is still faithful to save us from ourselves. If we should try to get ahead of Him or if we miss hearing Him, we can know that He is faithful to speak to us and to fulfill His plans in us. I believe I've heard this preached completely wrong in my life in the church. What I hear preached is that God is depending upon us to do His will. I think it's the other way around. We are depending upon Him to initiate His will, and as we simply respond in faith, He carries it out in and through us.

I know this is long, but I'm sure there's more to say on this! Thoughts?

Initiate - Respond

This post is both a continuation of the comments from the last post as well as a response to a post from Matthew. He asks great questions, and while I don't have all the answers by a long stretch, I at least want to attempt to convey my thoughts.

For me when these questions arise, it all boils down to Christ in us, our hope of glory. What I mean by that is, we are in Him and He is in us... all the time.

Just think if He weren't in us, living in that vital union with us. Remember what God's demands are: Perfection. Holiness. Righteousness. Sanctity. Fruit. The list keeps going and going and going... much moreso than that little drummer bunny... :)

IN FACT... lol... this just popped into my head... let me use the Energizer Bunny as an example. How does he keep going and going and going? 1) He has been programmed by a designer to do certain things... he simply responds to the internal program instructions. 2) He does not do the things he was programmed to do in his own strength, but rather he is "energized" by a battery with an ongoing supply.

I know most of us understand this concept - God is the designer and the energizer of our lives in Him - and I know that the questions go much deeper than this simple illustration, but yet it's essentially a good example of the foundation that leads to activity in the Christian life. The Galatians had "run well," having been energized by the Spirit who dwelled in them. They had at one time turned to pure grace. But... now they had turned back to what they originally left... trying to live by the deeds of the flesh and by the law. What was needed to start "running well" again? To turn away from trying to live by the flesh and law, and instead living by pure grace.

So... "how" do we do this? I think this truly involves communication between God and us, in our spirits, but yet I don't think it's as complicated as we've made it out to be. I'll address some of that here and some in my next post. Something that really gets to the heart of this for me is the idea of initiator/responder. God is the initiator and we simply respond to Him. I really think scripture backs this up, not so much in doctrine as in biblical examples of those led by the Spirit. I think Paul's whole ministry was initiated by God, and he simply responded and walked in "the works that God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." At times Paul even had his mind set on some really great things, but for whatever reason the Spirit told him "no," such as when he wanted to go to Asia. So he turned and went elsewhere.

Anyway, what I mean to say here is that I believe it's not up to "us" to come up with ideas and plans as far as what to do with our lives, but we simply abide in Christ, and God initiates the actions and we simply respond. Remember, if it were up to us... think of all the things WE would have to initiate AND carry out! It would be impossible. If we fell short by an inch, it would be utter failure. And the thing is, we fall short by light years!

So... It's really about God's sovereignty (and our lack thereof)! I just can't picture God getting worried, upset, frustrated... or anything of the sort... when it comes to His plans coming to pass. God knows the plans He has for us. We don't really know what it all entails. So He initiates and we respond. And the wonderful thing is, our response is animated by His grace! We partner with Him as He animates our bodies, minds, actions, personalities, gifts, talents, etc, etc.

So what if we "miss" God's calling? Coming next...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

You ran well...

Gal 5: 1-12
1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.
11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!

How had the Galatians formerly been running well? What truth were they not "obeying?" Who and what did hinder them from obeying that truth? Who was troubling them? Considering the context, what was needed for them to "run well" again? (There is, of course, more context than the few verses that I shared).

You know you're in IOWA when...






...it's 14º and someone says to you, "Sure is warmer today, isn't it!" (and they're serious). :)

Yesterday morning when the kids walked to school at 8:30am it was 4º. This morning when I walked into a convenience store a little after 7am (and interacted with the owner, who's the one who made the comment about it being warmer) , it was a balmy 14º! Get out the shorts and tank tops! (For my foreign friends, we're talking fahrenheit degrees here. 14º and 4ºF = -10 and -15ºC respectively).

Actually I think it's so cold because of all the POLITICIANS who are camped out in our state! It should warm up considerably after the "Hawkeye Cauci" (the Iowa Caucuses) are over and done with after January 3.

And now that I think about it... perhaps 14º seems warm to the store owner because he's actually a former state senator. ;)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rest Easy

Post updated 6/3/08 (see update at end of post)

This song by Audio Adrenaline has helped me through many times of fear, uncertainty, restlessness, anxiety... you name it... in my walk with Christ, and I would guess it has done the same for many others. Why? Because I think the verses of this song, as well as the bridge, state many of the thoughts, fears and negative emotions that many Christians deal with... and the chorus addresses the simple, biblical, truthful answer to all of it: Rest Easy.

And here's the thing... We can't deny that each of us, in different ways, deal with these thoughts, fears and negative emotions at times while we're growing in grace. Raise your hand if you rest in the fullness of the perfect truth all the time. I didn't think so. :) These things seem very real to us while we're going through them. However, since they're not based upon the truth of who we are in Christ, we don't want to stay in them. Rather, we want to displace them with the truth of our identity in Christ and with the truth of who God really is. This takes time and patience, but all the while we know that we can rest easy.

Audio Adrenaline - Rest Easy

One more mile 'til I lay rest
I have put myself through this rigid test
But the mile has never ended
No distance has been gained
I do not see greatness I wanted to obtain

Where is my embrace from the race that I have run?
I have kept a steady pace, but still I have not won

Chorus
Rest easy
Have no fear
I love you perfectly
Love drives out fear
I'll take your burden
You take my grace
Rest easy
In my embrace.

I am such a sinner
I fear my evil ways
I fear my imperfection
I fear my final days.
I just want to take control
And snap this rusty chain
Drop my heavy burden
It seems to be in vain

Chorus
Rest easy
Have no fear
I love you perfectly
Love drives out fear
I'll take your burden
You take my grace
Rest easy
In my embrace

Bridge
I am not a bold man even though I want to be
I am just a dreamer with a tender history
Scared of confrontations
I fume all through the night
The world has its hold on me and I just want to fly

The sky... the sky... is open wide
But I cant fly...

'Til I step aside

Chorus
Rest easy
Have no fear
I love you perfectly
And perfect love drives out fear
I'll take your burden
You take my grace
Rest easy
In my embrace
Rest easy, rest easy
Rest easy, in my embrace
Rest easy

There's no video for this song (that I know of) and I couldn't find a full audio version of the song online but here's a 30 second Windows Media or Real Player snippet of the song. If those links don't work, or if you want to sample other Audio A tunes, here's their website. (Make sure your speaker volume is low... a song starts playing immediately). Highlight "MEDIA" and click on "DISCOGRAPHY."

-----

6/3/08 update: Matthew posted a YouTube video for this yesterday. It's simply a blank screen but it includes the full audio. So here it is:

Friday, December 07, 2007

Video - Duty or Love?

I know it's about time, but during this past week I finally got around to doing my latest video for Movement of Grace New Covenant Web TV ("MOG TV"). I originally planned on doing at least one or two every week, but it's been more like one every two or three months! Anyway, this one is called "Duty or Love?" and as of yesterday it's in the current lineup on MOG TV, and it's also archived along with my past ones on my video blog.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Justification by Faith - Oswald Chambers

A recent comment by Gary reminded me of my all-time favorite "Utmost for His Highest" devotional entry. It's dated October 28th, and both last year and this year I spaced off blogging about it, so I may as well do it now while I'm thinking about it!

Here's a snippet:
I am not saved by believing — I simply realize I am saved by believing. And it is not repentance that saves me — repentance is only the sign that I realize what God has done through Christ Jesus. The danger here is putting the emphasis on the effect, instead of on the cause. Is it my obedience, consecration, and dedication that make me right with God? It is never that! I am made right with God because, prior to all of that, Christ died. When I turn to God and by belief accept what God reveals, the miraculous atonement by the Cross of Christ instantly places me into a right relationship with God. And as a result of the supernatural miracle of God’s grace I stand justified, not because I am sorry for my sin, or because I have repented, but because of what Jesus has done. The Spirit of God brings justification with a shattering, radiant light, and I know that I am saved, even though I don’t know how it was accomplished.

I want to add that these words from Chambers sound somewhat "universalist," ("I am not saved by believing") but as far as I know that's not what he was. I take these words not as universalist but as words that put much more hope in the work of Jesus than in my own up and down, back and forth, unsteady belief system.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Grace To Wait - Charles Stanley

The Lord has really been impressing all this "waiting," "resting," "slow cooking," etc, stuff on me lately. I hope I'm not wearing anyone out with all this, but it's really a message that seems to have a lot of talk in the busy Christian world, but not much action. And the ironic thing is that the "action" part means resting and waiting! Of course I'm not talking about an inactive Christian life. Not that I need to qualify this with most of you, but I'm talking about the 'process' of growing in grace, growing in maturity, and in the unfolding, developing and fulfilling of God's plans in our lives.

I heard a really great message from Charles Stanley yesterday as I drove on my job yesterday (still icy in many places, but much better driving conditions than Saturday!).

The Grace To Wait (mp3 file)

I heard so many great things in this message that I wanted to share it. For example, Stanley talks about David being very young when he was told he would be the king of Israel, but many years passed and he went through many, many experiences before any of this came to pass.

Other examples that I've heard recently - and I can't remember if these examples were in this message or in other messages - include Abraham in his old age being told by God that he would have a child... and he and Sarah grew even older before it actually happened! Also, Noah, building the ark. This took years and years, all the while seeing no rain.

Ahhh... to just enjoy the Lord and to walk with Him day by day, trusting that He is faithful.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Ice Ice Baby - Won't You Be My Neighbor

First... What a strange and exhausting day today has been. I think I'll vent about it!
Then... Videos below!

Today has been a strange and exhausting day! A major ice storm has plastered most of Iowa, and I had the "pleasure" of driving in it for several hours for my job. I knew I was in for it when the forecast had been calling for the ice advisory to last from 6am to 3pm, and my job goes from 7am to 3:30pm! The winter weather advisory actually lasts through tomorrow morning, but the ice/sleet/snow mixture was pretty much during the hours of my job.

The day didn't start out too bad. Yesterday evening, with perfectly dry roads, I did some planning and took care of some stuff so I wouldn't have to do it today. So I set out ahead of schedule, making my first stop in my own vehicle. I had called the hospital to make sure they didn't have anything I needed to bring to my first stop, and they told me there was nothing. I made that first stop and then went to the hospital to drop some things off. It's usually a 20 minute drive, but today it was more like 35 minutes, which I expected due to the weather. But then the trouble started. At the hospital, they proceeded to tell me that there was indeed something that needed to go to that first stop! One of the overnight people had missed it, so when I had called, no one knew about it.

So I went to the garage to get a van I usually use on the weekends. By this time it was "icing" pretty good, and I set off on the highway to go back to my first stop. Pretty soon I found my windshield becoming very iced-over, and I wondered why that was happening so quickly. Turns out the heater wasn't working in this van!

Snap!

I had to drive all the way back to the garage to get another van, stopping a couple of times to scrape ice off the windshield. After starting out "ahead," I was now way behind and the forecast was calling for ice all day.

(Iowa has every sort of weather you can imagine. I really, really like having all the seasons, and even though the winters can make my job a little tough, I still really like it. However... days like this can be very irritating!)

So I got in another van that I don't normally drive, and I got the spare key out of the locker to keep in my pocket just in case. In fact, I put the 'regular' key (with buttons to automatically lock and unlock the doors) in my pocket so I could keep the van running all day and keep it locked while I stopped at my places for a few minutes at a time. Well, I stuck the regular key in the van and backed out of the garage. I put the van with the bad heater in the garage and I put my own car in the garage to keep it from getting ice build-up on it. I got back in the new van and started it, and it died right away. I started it again, and it died. And a third time.

MAN! What's UP today??? It was one of those, "GOD, WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO TELL ME!" moments. ;) Back in the day I would've thought He was perhaps punishing me for something. But today I know that sometimes stuff just happens! Well anyway, fortunately I remembered hearing someone a few years ago talk about how the spare key only serves to lock and unlock the vehicle but won't let you drive it. I didn't understand how I was able to back it out of the garage, but I decided to try the other key anyway. Vrooooom.

Ahhhh! At last I could get going. And this is where my 3 hour, 80 mile journey began. My first stop was about 40 miles from the hospital. It was very slow-going. Hey, maybe God's really trying to settle me in this "slow cook" thing. Haha! I arrived at this nursing home, and when I came out of the building, the sleet/ice was still coming down pretty good and someone shouted over to me... "Either they pay you really good money or you're CRAZY!" It's definitely not the first one, and I smiled and told the guy I'm just crazy I guess! And that's when I decided that I would call ahead and ask some of my people if they really needed me today, and I was able to "get out of" a lot of driving. Most Saturdays I drive anywhere from 150 to 200 miles.

Man, I tell ya, the ice did not let up for a minute today! And after it had accumulated a lot, and there had been sort of an ice/snow mixture in the early afternoon, the roads became slightly less slick, but yet the accumulated parts had hardened and you pretty much had to stay in the set of tire tracks that had formed in each lane. If you tried to switch lanes, you were quickly pulled back into your lane! It was very frustrating. On a certain four lane road, I tried to slow down to change lanes, but that wouldn't give me enough "power" to get over the rut. So I would speed up, but that greatly increased the risk of going off the road!

I have to say... yes I am sort of crazy because I do get somewhat of a rush out of this winter weather driving. But days like today can really take a toll on me mentally, with the various snafus as well as the constant decision making involved with navigating icy roads, as well as physically. I know my arms, back and legs will be feeling it in the morning. You just don't realize how many muscles you use when you drive, and how the strenuous driving really wears them out!

Even though I'm venting quite a bit here, I was able to keep a humorous mind about it all, as I usually do. I would walk in my places singing "Ice Ice Baby" or Mr. Rogers "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood..." and I would give people reports of nice sunny weather and great driving conditions outside.

But all in all... I'm glad the day is over!

Time to chill and relax to Vanilla Ice...


Jim Carrey - 'White White Baby'


I used to have this record.
Mister Rogers!

What's the Hurry? ('nuther good "slow cook" link)

Gary has posted a great snippet today from Hannah Whitall Smith's book, "The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life" in a post called "What's the Hurry?." I'm really diggin' it. :) A few great examples are given of real life scenarios in which proper time and a proper process are needed for growth and maturity.

It is good to rest in the Lord. So good, in fact, that the writer of Hebrews says that there is a rest that we should strive (labor, be diligent to) to enter...
(See Hebrews 4:6-11)