Challenge

Some life stuff is hard to cope with, or demands something of us. These posts call us to rise to the challenge, and with God’s help, to overcome.

Safety loose wheel nut indicators

Loose wheel nut indicators. Image from Wikipedia

Out in the car the other day I noticed a massive truck with luminous yellow tags on its wheel nuts.

They are fitted to show immediately if any of the nuts have worked loose.  The points would alter their direction and be very obviously out of line.

I had seen them before, but this time I thought: “How do I know when I am not as “tight” a Christian as I should be? Are there any indicators that flag up to me that I have  eased up in certain areas of life when I should be tight and disciplined? I thought of a few.

  • Grumbling and complaining – Discontentment is a first indicator of a spiritual lack.
  • Not singing – I may not sing out loud much, but usually Christian hymns and songs are going on in my head, with full orchestral accompaniment sometimes! When the music stops, it means I am not living in the spiritual dimension I want to naturally be in. I need to reassess my spiritual life.
  • Worry – There are concerns in life, but trust and reliance on God should deal the with fear and anxiety that erode our peace. When I become unsettled and anxious, I need to get back into tight alignment with God.

If I notice any of these creeping in during a day, then I know that I have something “loose” that needs to be attended to.

What indicators would you add to the list? Are there things that warn you when you are spiritually drifting or becoming slack? Feel free to add them to the comments below.

 

 

This video tells the story of the iconic poster. Thank you Denny Burk for bringing it to my attention.  It reminds me of something that I have been learning recently.

How wonderful to know that we can experience the deep calm that comes through trusting implicitly in God, whatever our circumstances.

Photo by Spike Mafford - Photodisc

Sitting in a self-service restaurant the other day, I saw a mother and her son approaching a table. She carried a tray of food; he had oloy a glass of orangeade. Somehow, in setting down his glass, he knocked it over, spilling the entire contents over the table and chair.

 

“Mu-u-u-u-u-m!!!! he wailed. “Look what you made me do!”
His mother had been several paces away from him and the table was not in the least bit wobbly.
Mum made it clear to her son, “I didn’t make you do it. No one else made you do it. You can’t blame anyone except yourself.”

Clumsy me!
Sometimes I have days when I am particularly clumsy. It’s then I sometimes find myself blaming inanimate objects! I stumble and say, “That stupid shoe lace never stays tied up.” Or once, “That milk jug shouldn’t have been on the corner of the shelf. It stuck out and caught my hand. Look at the state of the fridge now!”
You get the idea.

An entrenched pattern
Like the young lad in the restaurant, we tend to follow a pattern that has been entrenched in human behaviour since Eve said, “The serpent told me…” and Adam said, “The woman gave it to me to eat.”
We live in a blame culture. We may not go so far as litigation and demands for compensation, but it is easy to fall into the way of blaming anyone, or anything, except ourselves for many of the ills that we bring upon ourselves, or which are simply nobody’s fault.

Own up
We can break that pattern – face up to our own carelessness, clumsiness, laziness…whatever has caused the mishap.  If we do that, then, when something happens that is the fault of another person, we will more readily see that we might have done the same, and be more understanding and forgiving.

Go on! Cut yourself a little slack. Understand that you have made a mistake and don’t try to dodge out of it. Repent,  and move on, determined to do better next time. That way you will stop looking to put the blame elsewhere.

It may take a conscious effort, but with God’s help we will find that as we get out of the “it’s-not-my-fault” syndrome, we won’t be grumbling so much and life will be all the sweeter, both for us and for those around us.

Image by Comstock

I once heard of tale of a man who crossed the Atlantic on a great ocean-going liner. He had just enough money to pay for the ticket, but not much else.

A diet that was crackers!

The story relates how he sat in his cabin every night while the other passengers enjoyed sumptuous dining. Each evening he would nibble on a few dry crackers, which he had brought with him, instead of tucking into the oysters, fillet steak and luxurious desserts served above.

What he did not realize was that his fare covered not only his travel, but also all his meals while he was on board!

Heating one room

Recently my blogging kidmin friend Barbara Graves tweeted about an experience she had some time ago.

Barbara and her husband had moved into a new apartment. They were told that there was no domestic heating fuel left in the tank. As Barbara tells it:  “We lived in one room in front of the fireplace for a month.”

Imagine their surprise when they eventually discovered that there was fuel in the tank after all! They had never tried it!

Living below our privileges

No doubt Barbara and her husband can smile about it now, but tragically, the same can be true of us spiritually. God has made provision for so much grace, help and power to be available to all his children. Everything has already been paid for. Yet, too often, we are inclined to be cracker-eating Christians, existing on a minimum diet.

What a shame if we nibble away at the Bible as if it were a dry ration we are obliged to take each day. Instead, we should be reaching out in trust to the Holy Spirit, our Teacher, and asking him to help us to see the rich diet, the tasty feast, that is within the covers. If you can’t enjoy it, ask God to give you an appetite for his Word.

How tragic to be struggling with sin, phobias, anxieties, burdens or anything that weighs us down and ties us up, when we could be tapping into the “fuel tank” that God has made available to us through the empowering of the Holy Spirit. That is an unending supply of God’s grace (the ability to cope with every situation God allows to touch our lives).

Jesus Christ died, defeated death and went back to heaven, so that he could the release the Holy Spirit to this earth. The “meal” has been paid for, the “fuel tank” is full, just waiting for us to turn the tap by prayer and trust.

If we are God’s children, having received Christ, then let’s not live below our privileges. Let’s reach for and use every good thing that God has made available for us.  Jesus didn’t intend that we live on spiritual emergency rations, but on an abundant and rich supply of all we need to glorify God and be victorious for him.

Is there any area in your life where you feel spiritually lacking?
Why should you wait any longer?
Reach out in simple trust and ask God to open your eyes to see all that he has made available for you.

If you need to be made clean from sin

If you need help to overcome a temptation

If you need to be  effective in prayer

If you need to be able to speak to someone about Jesus

If you need to experience God’s guidance

If you need to grow and exercise your gifts and ministries

If you…

…Well, is there anything you would add to your list? What will you trust God for? Will you claim the privilege Christ has paid to give you?

 

Today I came across OverflowToday.com, a site whose tag line is How the gospel can OVERFLOW from you to others.

A recent post there included a three minute video about an opportunity to witness which will come the way of most of us every week – on a Monday!

Kevin Harney (author of Organic Outreach for Ordinary People) spells it out for us.  Anyone can do it. We don’t need to have Bible College training, or be confident with apologetics. Probably all of us have this golden opportunity most weeks.

So, be prepared for it, by giving three minutes of your time to view this intriguing video.



On the OverflowToday site there is also a link for a discussion guide , or an audio download of this brief item.

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SLICES OF MY LIFE are little slivers of my experiences. I have many interests and this blog is my way of keeping track of what I see and learn. Some of it brings a smile to my face, uplifts and encourages me, or makes me think deeply. I hope you enjoy what you read here as much as I enjoy writing it!