There ain’t nothing like a two-lane road

There ain’t nothing like a two-lane road

two lane road

Where am I “going” with this?  (bad pun)  But maybe not so much.  I have lived in the inner city, the glorious suburbs, and now in a quiet little town.  I’ve watched race riots as a boy. I have lived in apartments that don’t qualify for being called a place to live.  I’ve lived in a suburban home with my parents that brings back some great memories. And now for the last 18 years or so, I have lived in a quiet little town. Not much happens here. I’ve witnessed growth in this town.  I’ve seen housing developments being started and new homes being purchased.  I’ve noticed an increase in traffic in my small town.  But yet, right now, I love it here.

We are filled with so much junk that being busy is the norm.  I can’t remember the last time when I looked at my calendar and found it empty.  This week, as I write, my schedule and commitments are many.  The only day open to relax is tomorrow.  That’s it.  Again, being busy is the norm.  This isn’t new to many people. We hear it in conversations all the time and we get excited sometimes to tell anyone who will listen that we can’t believe how busy we are and we don’t have time for anything more.

AND THEN… let’s talk about the time it takes to go from one appointment to the next.  Sometimes we don’t have a lot extra time to spare.  So our option is to hit the Interstates and drive as fast as we can, sometimes exceeding the speed limit. Driving recklessly. Our schedules and appointments dictate what road we use.  The Interstates have some advantages but sometimes very busy.  They are multi-lane extensions of our day that enable a multitude of vehicles to travel all at the same time.  It’s an efficient way to travel. Many travelers use the Interstates.

I, on the other hand, use two-lane roads to travel. It’s because of where I live and what I need to do.  I am retired.  My schedule, though busy, keeps me off the Interstates unless my wife and I are taking weekends away or even vacation.  We feel much safer driving.

What’s my point?  The point is where is our attention.  When we’re driving along the multi-lane highway, the extension of our day, there is more to be aware of.

It can be very stressful.  We continue down the road watching our left and our right.  We’re using the rear view mirror.  We’re watching our rear and certainly our front.  We see detours.  Closed lanes.  And then the crazy drivers.  Sorry.  And then, when we need to exit we find ourselves in the wrong lane.  HELP!!!

On the two-lane road, there’s not as much going on around you.  Now I know that I am a different kind of sample.  My living in the rural country enables me to stay away from the highways.  I am privileged.  Yes, I’ll even call it blessed.

My dissertation of road travel is a microcosm of life itself.  Our lives are busy.  Daily travel lines up with the craziness of our schedules.  The stress is the same if the choice is to move at the fastest pace possible.  Busy = Use the Highway.  That’s the only way.  Our attention is held hostage. We’re looking left and right and then left again.  So that is why I say, “There ain’t nothing like a two-lane road”.

When our lives get so busy that our attention is consumed by the “stuff”, that should be a problem not the norm.  It can even infiltrate our spiritual life.  Our relationship with God is affected in lots of the same ways.  We have less time to read our Bible, to meditate on the Word of God.  And yes, we take less and less time to pray.  And isn’t that what this blog page is all about?  I think, at least for me, it’s time to get off of the high speed interstate and get back on the two-lane road.  Slowing down is ok.  Really. It gives us all the time to enjoy God’s presence.  I can talk to Him knowing full well that He listens to me.  It’s a great time to pray.  Now it’s a good idea not to close your eyes when praying.  All kidding aside, the two-lane road opens us a lot of opportunities.

Friend, we need to slow down and realize there are other options in my very busy life.  One of those is to remain in a close relationship with Jesus.  Jesus said in the Bible in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

As we find ourselves burdened with whatever is taking our eyes and attention away from Jesus, get off the highway and move over to the two-lane road.  There’s lots to experience when we focus on Jesus.  And there’s lots to see when we take the time to look.

Don’t believe me. Believe God.

Isaiah 32:17-19 NKJV – In His rest

The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings and in quiet resting places, though hail comes down on the forest, and the city is brought low in humiliation.

The Holy Spirit brings a sense of well-being, contentment and wholeness to believers whatever their outward circumstances. Peace is therefore an indication of the Holy Spirit’s presence. What an incredible promise and thought. Especially in the times in which we live. It seems that there is torment and turmoil on every corner.

We find that the Holy Spirit brings peace of mind to those facing difficult decisions. “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 1:19 NKJV) My wife and I have been in a season of challenge and some might say, “a season of struggle”. There have been times over the last several months where our faith has been fully tested. Our trust was challenged it seemed almost every day.

But one of the things we found as God walked with us during this time was God’s amazing desire to gather us up. God brought us out of the situation as we called upon His name and brought us to a spiritual rest where the peace of God truly surpassed all understanding. It continues to be in those quiet times when all that is left is God, do we find our greatest strength and joy. This rest is promised to all who place their trust in God. Spiritual rest is found only in God. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV)

This is God-given assurance. It’s a promise to all of us. This assurance produces spiritual maturity and stability, so that believers may withstand the adverse conditions of life. Friend, we will stumble and sometimes forget the powerful assurance that God gives to us through the promises of His Word. We are human. But we have hope. Hope in the One who defeated all temptation, all struggle, all circumstances, and all sin. The Resurrection power of Jesus Christ conquers all that we face. When grounded in God, hope provides the motivation to live the Christian life even in the face of trouble and un-rest.

Heavenly Father, thank You that we can place our trust and faith in You and Your Word. God, we live in a world tossed around by turmoil and un-rest. But Praise God that we don’t have to fear because through You and Your loving care we have hope. We come to You Lord with our cares and struggles and place them before Your throne. We lift up our praises to You and thank You for delivering us. Holy Spirit come and encourage us as we walk together to fulfill Your plan. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Don’t’ believe me, believe God!

Colossians 3:15 NKJV – The peace of God

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

Sometimes we choose to live our lives outside of the peace of God. Yet as believers, we are called to be a lighthouse for the Lord; to be a showcase of the reconciliation and peace Jesus Christ has brought to us. The world should see in us His love, His forgiveness and His grace. Sometimes we choose to take hold of the world instead of taking hold of the hand of Jesus.

Peace is found only in God and is maintained through having a close relationship with Him. John 15: 4 says, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” Here Jesus emphasizes a steadfastness needed in a relationship with Him. This personal relationship begins with faith. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1 NKJV)

So why do you suppose we would want to live outside of the peace of God. I believe it’s a trust and submission issue. Failure to trust may be a result of a betrayal of trust in the past. But we can be assured that God will not fail us. We can put our trust in God’s power and strength, His unfailing love, and certainly in God’s salvation through His Son, Jesus. Trust in God is nurtured through His revealed truth.

Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1 NKJV) The faithfulness of Jesus in shown in His character because He is the truth. He is the way. He is life. (John 14:6 NKJV) The peace that is found in Jesus Christ is a supreme remedy for all of our fears and it is a legacy that He left for each and every one of us because we are His heirs.

When was the last time we prayed for the peace of God to be upon us, our spouses, our children, our families, our friends, our church, etc?   The world is a fallen place. The world does not look out for us and cares not for our peaceful existence. The peace of God can only be found in Jesus and a relationship with Him. Join me as we make it a part of daily prayer that the peace of God would rule in our hearts and the in lives around us. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27 NKJV)

Dear Lord, thank You that the peace we need to live in this world is found only in You. Thank You that You are constantly watching over us and waiting for us to simply submit to You. May we always walk in Your hand as You guide and direct us. May the peace of God rule in our hearts and the hearts of those around us. Forgive us Lord when we place our trust in the world to help us get through the day. May we turn back towards You in repentance and receive Your forgiveness and restoration. We love You Lord, and pray in Your Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV – Cast all our cares upon You

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

A dear friend of mine from Florida, Bob, posted this prayer one day and it caused me to stop what I was doing, read it again, and pray. Thanks Bob!

Prayer of the day: Father God. Thank you for your reminders that we need never carry things alone. That many times, the burden we carry is not ours at all. Thank you that you have reassured us over and over that you care for each of your children and will never let even one of them go. Amen

I needed this reminder that the Lord is with me at every moment, at every step. God never leaves me alone. And He is able to carry the load of my life if I allow Him to do so. When I think about what constitutes the “load of my life”, it’s consists of my work, being able to get by in this world, the worries I have that my children are fine, being able to support my wife as a husband should, just being able to keep a smile on my face living in this world today. Some of you might say, “Now wait a minute! Aren’t you supposed to get through all this? You’re a Christian! Your faith should sustain you.”

Like I said before, “I needed this reminder.” My faith in the Lord does sustain me. I live in the knowledge of who God is and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) Yet, there are times we all fall into the snare of the enemy and discouragement and worry takes over. Today’s post is about releasing our worry to God.

When we release our worry to God, He is there to take care of it and take it away; replacing it with His peace.   It’s all about letting go. God’s desire is for all of us to walk with Him in total confidence of His saving grace and His love for us. But sometimes we get in the way of that. It’s like saying to God, “Lord, I just have a few things I need to take care of. I’ll catch up to you in just a minute or so.” That’s pride. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24 NKJV) Our union with Jesus Christ is the basis for our encouragement. It brings into our lives all of the benefits of being a child of God. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)

The Message paraphrase says this in Proverbs 29:23, “Pride lands you flat on your face; humility prepares you for honors.” The recipe for releasing worry and the pride that sometimes goes along with it, is PRAYER. It seems to always be about PRAYER. Maybe that’s why God reminds us to, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV)

Lord, thank You for Your reminders that You love us and care for us and that You desire that we need not to carry our burdens alone. You are with us always; even to the end of the age. Help us to remember to pray and to allow You to move in our lives so that we can walk with You in freedom and humility. You are our God and we are Your children. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Isaiah 26:3 NKJV – What kind of peace do you desire?

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

I don’t know about you, but I desire to be at peace all the time. Life’s tough enough to be constantly agitated or disturbed. One of the things that I don’t like is coming home from work and bringing home “the office”. Or some might say bring home “work”. What I mean to say is that sometimes the work environment gets to be so stressful that you literally bring home that stress and the emotions that go with it. I despise not being at peace when I come home.

I love my wife, Nancy, so much that I try not to bring the worries and troubles of the office home with me. As a matter of fact, one of my greatest joys is to see Nancy’s smile. If I were to bring home all of the disturbances that occur at work, I might miss that bright smile. And that would break my heart.

What this scripture verse is reminding us to do is to keep our thoughts and our minds fixed on God. When we do that, it demonstrates our trust in Him. This is accomplished through prayer and meditation. The Apostle Paul writes, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” and he follows with, “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:7-9 NKJV) Hallelujah!

Our foundational verse in the Book of Isaiah is a promise from God. It doesn’t say that God might, it says that God will. And what kind of peace does God promise? Perfect peace. Peace that is perfect in all ways with no lack or defect. Let’s fix our minds on God and trust Him and let’s carry with us His perfect peace. You never know when God might use you to demonstrate His perfect peace to someone else. What an opportunity that would be to share the love of Jesus.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your perfect peace. Thank You for this promise. As we set our thoughts on You, pour out Your peace upon us. Forgive us Lord when we allow the stresses of this world to overtake us. Help us to turn our eyes upon You, our Lord. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!