3 signs along the way

I love to drive.  Five days in the last two weeks gave me that satisfaction.  Seeing the hills and valleys of the Blue Ridge was so refreshing. I like seeing the landscape change and appreciating the differences place to place.  It gives you the time to be ready to arrive at your destination.

Every once in a while, some sign on the road would catch my eye and get me thinking on some spiritual truth behind it.  Here are three that I could not forget….

Independence Exit 14

Oh, were it that easy to recognize when I’m going my own way!  IN a sense, temptation is like the road sign, isn’t it?  You’re driving along and see the first sign – maybe 10 miles out.  Gives you time to think about it but your mind wanders.  Then there’s the next sign – the thought comes back, Then there’s the two mile warning, one mile, half mile, and there it is – the exit ramp to Independence.  All too familiar.

You’re in the right hands.  Holy Spirit Hospital

Who else knows the depth of my heart?  Who else intercedes for me when I can’t put words to what is going on?  Will I bring my hurting soul to the right place for healing & comfort?  or will I pursue those on my own terms?  Coming to God with our hurts, wounds and suffering is our first step.  Letting others in on what is happening in our souls is another place where healing takes place as we take in the grace others extend to us in those places.  This is the Body of Christ at work, the Holy Spirit Hospital (no connection to the actual hospital system).

5 miles ahead  “Home of a saint”

  Do we have to travel 5 miles to find one?  I do realize the sign was for a recognized canonized saint, but I was thinking about the everyday folks who follow Jesus –  hospitable, generous, forgiving, and do the right thing.  The ones who bring the casseroles when someone is sick, or will drop what they’re doing because a neighbor needs help.  Please, Lord – that there would be these people in every neighborhood.

Sorry that there are no photos, but really, I was driving :)

What signs along the way have prompted fresh insights for you?

He calls us friends

As I wrote the previous post on true riches being in our relationships, I couldn’t help thinking about what Jesus said to His disciples the night before He died.

  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

What an incredible statement.  No power distance here.  No insistence on position.  Around the table, sharing a Passover meal together, He called them friends, knowing exactly who they were.  Friends share all kinds of things, depending on the level of trust – desires, motivations, struggles, aspirations, failures, joys.

His qualification for that word was sharing His heart with them – all that He had learned from the Father, He had shared with them.  Servants do as they are told; friends understand their friend’s heart.

His disciples were not His only friends.  He was known as a “friend of sinners” because He ate with people outside the socially acceptable circles.  He was criticized for that kind of love, for receiving hospitality from unlikely sources.

Something about Jesus’ calling to Zaccheus, who had climbed a tree in order to see Him, “I must come to  your house today!” brings a sense of the openness of Jesus, the welcoming of people that He lived.  That act, seeing and reaching out to Zaccheus, has kind of captured me.  It required a change in His line of sight- He had to look up to see him.  Jesus has this way of noticing people and inviting them in.

He both draws us into His circle of intimacy when we love Him and welcomes those who are seeking Him.   And somehow, we are the link that He’s counting on.

You know how it is when you want one group of your friends to meet another set of friends?  I think that’s how it’s supposed to be with Jesus.  My knowing Him means that His circle of friends expands because I know He wants to meet those I meet everyday.  He is seeking each one out and wooing them.  And He’s given us the privilege of making the introductions!

The question is –  am I willing to be the visible demonstration of His extending hand of friendship today?  I have to believe the world will be a more welcoming place if I am.

open hand

What do you think?  how can we reflect the love of Jesus to those we encounter everyday?

 

 

on friendship

“Remember, George, no man is a failure who has friends.”

It's_A_Wonderful_Life

The movie, It’s a Wonderful Life,with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, is one of our family favorites. In the years before DVDs or even VHS, my dad was the one who would search the TV listings for when it would be showing on TV.  On Christmas Eve, after the presents were opened, we would almost always watch it together – those of us who could still keep our eyes open.  To this day, my brother and all of us get teary when we watch the old black and white film. You can call us sappy, but we won’t care.

We know the truth of the message of that movie. Every Christmas, even our gift exchanges remind us that what is truly great is the gift of knowing each other. Every birthday is a thanksgiving day for the gift of the person to us.

True riches are in our relationships – with God and with each other.

As I celebrated a birthday this past week, I have been reminded of that treasure. Some generous friends set the table for a feast of laughter and memories in honor of the occasion.  We savored moments that we have spent together over a delicious dinner.  I walked away full from more than the food, filled up by the moments we re-lived together.

I am enriched by each person God has brought into my life- some for just one or two conversations that are life-changing, others for decades of friendship that are sustaining and life-giving.

And to my friends, I want to say …

You have helped me to know God.

You have helped me to grow.

You have helped me to love better.

You have helped me hang in there when the going was tough.

You have brought both truth and comfort.

You have helped me celebrate milestones and achievements.

You have brought laughter and  joy.

You have brought understanding and insight.

You have brought practical help.

You have brought affirmation of gifts.

You have listened.

You have given me your time.

You have given me yourselves.

Thank you for your love and friendship; I am enriched in knowing you.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.