In The Driver's Seat

Knowing that God goes before us and often leads us out of harms way gives me a wonderful sense of security. I hope I never forget that He brings me into the spacious places David talked about in Psalm 18. And it would be easy to continue to cruise along life’s highways and byways, staying safe, and never venturing down some unexplored path. Yet I think in order to experience spiritual growth, we should all look for opportunities to step out of our comfort zones.

While our reliance on God in all aspects of our lives is crucial to an intimate relationship with the Creator of the Universe, I don’t believe we are to live our lives isolated from the world. Taking the gospel to all the earth is the impetus for missionaries who carry the truth around the globe. Many are called into that ministry. But what about those of us who aren’t?

Some serve in various ways within the parameters of church. Others serve in well known organizations like the Salvation Army, reaching out and meeting needs, regardless of a person’s faith or beliefs.

But I believe we must go beyond the walls of churches or organizations and actively live our faith. In other words, WE must be in the driver’s seat, leading others who don’t know the way.

It comes first by making our stand as Christians, identifying ourselves as followers of Christ. “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35, NLT

Once we do so, then we have a responsibility to not only be an example to others in word and deed, but be willing to clear the way for them so they too can come into a spacious place.

It can be something as inconsequential as a smile to a stranger or as significant as financially helping someone in need. It could be taking the time to pray WITH someone who is struggling through difficult circumstances or encouraging a neighbor who lives alone. There are a thousand and one ways each of us could touch a person who doesn’t know God’s truth. Too often, I believe we think presenting the plan of salvation is the answer. But if we look at Jesus’ life, we’ll see a man full of compassion for the lost. He met their needs. Can we say the same for ourselves?

“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” 1 Peter 5:2-4, NIV

Blessings, Francine

Traffic Patterns

When you’ve lived in a semi-small town for as long as I have, you know the quickest routes, the easy short cuts, and which streets to avoid at certain times of the day. In other words, you know the traffic patterns by heart. And, when you leave for work as early as I do -- 5 a.m. each morning -- you also have few distractions and almost no traffic hassels.

In my town, many of the stop lights are “tripped” when a car approaches them during slow traffic times. I’ve learned that while having this convenience that changes the light almost automatically, I can count on having to come to a dead stop before the light actually turns green. Slightly annoying for an A-type personality like myself.

But today I learned something while following behind another car. As I was traveling up one of the main arteries through town, there was another vehicle ahead of me. We both pretty much stayed within the speed limit but there was enough distance between us that the other vehicle “tripped” the sensor to change the light before I even had to put on my brakes. I can honestly say it was one of the nicer drives to work. And it got me to thinking.

While, we as Christians, strive to follow our leader, I wonder how many times He’s cleared the way ahead of us to give us a smooth ride. Certainly most of us may recognize it when we are manuevering through difficult times or battling some of those mental traffic patterns that have a tendency to clog our thoughts and sometimes bring our peace to a screeching halt.

I have to think that there are more times than we realize when our Creator trips the sensor to allow us to peacefully steer clear of obstacles or other stumbling blocks without us even realizing it.

Maybe we should recognize that some of our unencumbered paths aren’t because of what we do but because Jesus has cleared the way before us, altering our spiritual and personal traffic patterns, and has steered us into more spacious places.

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. Psalm 18:19, NIV

Blessings, Francine

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