What if I begin the New Year with full assurance of God’s love?
What if I begin the New Year knowing I am in a right relationship with God?
What if I choose to look more like Jesus and less like the world in 2016?
What if I read and mediate on God’s Word every day?
What if I let go and let God?
Psalm 91 (NLT)
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. 3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. 4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. 5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. 6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. 7 Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. 8 Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, 10 no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. 11 For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. 12 They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. 13 You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. 15 When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. 16 I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
While driving to work the other morning, I became a little frustrated with the cars that were creeping along, potentially causing delays or even fender benders. My mind immediately raced to these typical thoughts, “Must be an accident, or someone got pulled over by a police officer.” Then I looked up and read the electronic highway sign that simply stated: Avoid Distractions—Just Drive. Now this struck me as rather funny! Yes, curiosity got the best of me as I looked around for the distraction that I should avoid. The only thing I saw was an old blown-out tire lying on the side of the road. Not much of a distraction, but sure enough, the cars all slowed down to look at a useless piece of rubber.
It dawned on me after my slight delay, that from time to time, this is what happens to me in my faith journey. All too often useless distractions keep me from moving along at a steady pace, and delay me from reaching the spiritual goals God in Christ Jesus prepared for me in advance. (Ephesians 2:10)
See if you can relate to any of these so-called distractions in life.
Overlooked for a promotion at work
Cross words spoken in the “heat of the moment”
Much-needed vacation plans fall through
Relocation due to “unforeseen” circumstances
Breach of confidentiality
Death of a loved one
Over committed lifestyle (busyness)
My intent is definitely not meant to minimize the genuine hurt, pain, and frustration that these real life distractions can cause. Rather, my aim is to remind myself and others who may share the same goal: To leave a legacy of sincere faith in Christ to the next generation, we must “JUST DRIVE!”
This earth is NOT our forever home. Distractions happen in our fallen/sinful world all the time. We’ve been warned of this by God, so why do we always seem so surprised when we come across distractions in our lives? One of the most obvious reasons to me is that our present culture sets us up for failure (distractions intended to delay or even stop our faith journey into wholeness (holy living).
Present Weakness and Resurrection Life (2 Corinthians 4:1-18) (NIV)
4 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Conclusion: I know that we can’t always avoid the deep sorrows of life or even overlook a “useless” piece of rubber lying in our peripheral vision, but I do believe that when the distractions of life come (and they will), God’s strong desire for us is to….“JUST DRIVE!”
Remain faithful to God’s Word
Surrender our will to the Lord’s will
Keep our eyes on Christ, not on our distractions (This takes the Holy Spirit’s power.)
Don’t compromise our safety (salvation) by willfully disobeying God’s laws
Keep our destination (heaven) in clear view
Challenge to Parents/Grandparents: When the trials or distractions of life come your way, remember, we have a responsibility to our children/grandchildren to keep driving, and to finish the race of faith strong!
In 2 Timothy Paul joyfully recalls Timothy’s upbringing:
“I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5).
Later in Chapter 4, Paul realizes that his earthly ministry is quickly coming to a close and exhorts Timothy to follow in his footsteps, by faithfully proclaiming the good news of Christ.
Paul then concludes: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
At the end of the day, it is my hope and prayer, that our family will all be able to echo the same words as Paul.
Over the past several years, I've blogged about my greatest passion--intentionally passing my faith in Christ to the next generation, beginning with my family.
I've been married to Jeff forever! We love spending time with our three children, six grandchildren, two son-in-laws, and our dog, Pepper.
Jeff and I gratefully serve as Pastor and wife at St. Paul's Church of the Nazarene, Kansas City, MO; where people love God and each other.
Holding His Hand, my newest blog (2016) is dedicated to my mom, Audrey Lewis, who learned to trust in Jesus during her battle with cancer.