What is an “ambush?” Dictionaries define it as “lying in wait to make a surprise attack.” An ambush is basically a military strategy, employed by those who wish to do harm.
But suppose the one lying in wait was not intent on evil, but on good? Suppose the element of surprise was only an avenue to intensify delight? (Think the surprise party. Think God.)
We know God takes pleasure in giving good gifts to His children. And often they come in surprising ways. The job you didn’t think you were going to get. The reconciliation you thought would never happen. The medical reports that came back clear.
When all signs point in the wrong direction, God may be “hiding in the woods,” waiting to ambush with a manifestation of His love. We shouldn’t be surprised, but we are. And I can imagine God chuckles when He sees our amazement.
Thanksgiving is a good time to look back and remember the times we were “ambushed” by God’s blessings. The things we didn’t expect, didn’t deserve, and maybe didn’t even pray about. And yet they came. Surprise!
I will focus on the undeserved blessings I have received, and give thanks.
The election season is over. The results are in. What does that mean for our country? What does it mean for Christians here and across the land? What’s next?
Our first obligation, according to scripture, is to pray for those in authority. They need wisdom, just as Solomon needed wisdom when he became king of Israel. Prayer will lift our eyes to God’s higher purposes and help us see beyond the moment. Prayer gives us hope for the future.
Pray for the restoration of order in our cities. Whatever your viewpoint, we know God is a God of order, not of chaos.
Finally, grasp the opportunity to share God’s love. Since 85% of evangelicals and born-again Christians voted for the president-elect, we all may be seen as “the bad guys.” This is the time to openly share God’s message of faith and hope with those who are fearful and disappointed. It’s not the time to push political views or to continue the personality assassinations. In the end, the government is not our savior. Jesus is!
This week, I will seek to sow peace where there is turbulence; hope where there is despair; kindness where there is anger; and love where there is hate.
Dental x-rays do not lie. When cracks appear around a critical wisdom tooth with an old filling, “wisdom” dictates a crown.
Dentist: “Do you have any questions?”
Patient: Yes. What is: 1. The process? 2. The pain? 3. The price?
The answer: Two hours of grinding and drilling, with numbed gums, for a cool $1200. Two weeks later, the crown is set in place, restoring the tooth.
This three-point plan can be transferred to the area of spiritual growth. If our lives are to be restored to the perfection God intends, there is a process. We must submit to the removal of old “fixes,” and allow the Holy Spirit to drill deep into the heart to remove the decay, then grind us into the shape He desires. Is there pain? Yes! Seeing our sin for what it is is always painful. Making confession and restitution hurts our pride and lays bare our need of new construction. The price includes the consequences for wrong decisions.
In the end, the crown God promises covers more than an old tooth. He crowns our lives with blessing, acceptance, forgiveness and love.
I will allow God to remove anything that prevents me from receiving and giving love as He intends.
No one looks forward to a funeral. Saying that last goodbye can be heart-wrenching. Marking the end of life, however, is as important as marking its beginning. It brings us to a point of reflection on the meaning of life.
The funeral is a time to remember the good. When a funeral brings a family together, it provides an opportunity to relive shared experiences. The bonds that unite can be strengthened.
It is a time to release any painful memories or regrets. Unresolved issues are best forgiven and forgotten. There is no revenge beyond the grave.
It is a time to realize the brevity of life. Years pass swiftly and cannot be reclaimed. Now is the time to make dreams come true; to express love and appreciation; to fulfill your purpose in life.
It is a time to reset priorities. To rethink where your life is headed. To decide what is most important. To invest in what will truly last.
Funerals bring us face to face with our mortality. They present an inescapable reality. For the Christian, that reality stretches beyond the casket. Death is only a transition. The body, an empty chrysalis. The spirit has taken wings. The resurrection has robbed death of its fear. In Christ, there is only life, followed by eternal life in His presence.
I will re-evaluate my priorities and keep eternity in view. “Only one life, twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”