Monday, May 15, 2023

The Dump (part 2)


Apparently one of the best places to find life lessons is at the city dump.  A few months ago, we saw that God can be found at the dump in the Bahamas.  On a recent trip to Norway to see our daughter, I found Him there too.


Our daughter’s father-in-law (Per Anders) and I were commissioned by my son-in-law to rent a trailer and take a bunch of yard clippings to the dump.  (Lesson for another day but how did we get talked into this???)  Bright and early, we dutifully loaded up the trailer, drove to the dump and unloaded it.  While we were exiting, a large commercial trash truck appeared to maybe be flagging us down, but we didn’t stop to see what he wanted.  A few hundred yards later, I suggested we at least stop and see if there was an issue.  As it turns out, a stabilizing wheel that was supposed to be off the ground had slipped and was dragging on the ground.  We attempted to try and lift the trailer to create enough space to put it back in place, but the trailer was just too heavy.  Since we were going to need another strong back, Per Anders went to see if he could find someone to help.  Just then, the same truck driver was also exiting and stopped to tell us that he had seen the wheel dragging and that’s why he was trying to get our attention.  He said he had recently rented a trailer and had the same issue.  He helped us lift the trailer up so we could put the wheel back in place.  We thanked him and were back on our merry way.


Hebrews 2:18 - Because He himself suffered when he was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.


Things to think about:

·       The man at the dump was attuned to our need because he had experienced the same problem.  He knew what to look for and because of his experience, was sensitive to the same need in others.

·       He saw what we couldn’t see

·       He made an attempt to intervene, but we chose to ignore him

·       It was only when we stopped long enough to look at the situation that we understood we had a problem

·       Not only did we need his insight, we needed his strength

·       Jesus understands us because He became one of us

o   Experience

§  He became fully human

o   Empathy

§  He himself suffered

o   Engagement

§  Isaiah 40:29 - He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.

o   When have you felt the power of Empathy and Engagement from someone else?

·       How do we use our past (or present) pains to see the hurt in others and step in to make a difference?

·       2 Corinthians 1:3-4 - Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Decisions, Good and Bad


Life is about choices and every day we have lots of decisions to make, some big, some small.  We don’t always get it right, and at times we simply make bad decisions.  The incredibly good news though is that God is not limited by our foul-ups, frailties, and foibles.  


Isaiah 30:21 - Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”


Things to think about:

·       The Bible is full of examples of people who made poor decisions          

o   Adam and Eve listening to the serpent and eating the apple

o   Abraham sleeping with Hagar

o   Jacob tricking his father

o   Joseph bragging to his brothers

o   David seducing Bathsheba

o   And on and on and on the list goes

§  In each of these cases, God still did a mighty work through these flawed individuals

§  No matter what you’ve done, God’s not done with you either!

·       In our weaknesses, God’s strength is made all the more obvious

o   But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

·       For some folks, the fear of a mistake can lead to analysis paralysis.  For others, there is a fear of making a commitment, so they don’t commit either way

o   1 Kings 18:21 - Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

o   James 1:6-8 - But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

o   Isaiah 30:21 - Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

§  God doesn’t expect us to have perfect wisdom, that’s His job.  He does expect us though to always be listening and trusting when we do hear from Him.

·       Other times, in our weakness we do make poor judgments

o   Romans 7:21–25:  So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

·       And there is the key, God can deliver us even when we blow it.  While we may have some scar tissue to show for it, it won’t be eternally fatal.

o   Romans 8:1-2 - Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.