Monday, February 13, 2012

Don't Get Derailed!

Have you ever set up a toy train track?  I've done it a million times or more with my little boy.  He LOVED toy train sets when he was a toddler so we have owned quite a few of them. I could probably set them up with my eyes closed.  I love putting the tracks in different configurations.  And once the tracks are in place, the most important part of the set up is making sure the train stays on the tracks.  If the wheels of the train are not in line with the tracks, the train will fly off the tracks and crash.  And if you've got more than one car on your train, then everything behind the first car will crash as well.  But, if the train is set up correctly on the tracks, then it is fun to watch the train dance around the tracks through the different places it should go.

God brought this to my mind this morning as I was thinking about His purpose in my life.  There have been times in my life when I didn't line up with God's tracks (plans) for my life.  And guess what happened?!?!?!   I derailed and crashed.  It was not a fun experience, but I have to say it's because of my own choices and not by God's design.  And, when I crashed, everyone walking behind me crashed too.  YIKES!  My own poor choices affected others.  That really stinks!

I'm thankful that God is a grace-giving God.  Even if we've derailed, He allows us to get back on the tracks.  Today I feel like my wheels are on the right tracks. I am seeking Him daily.  I am asking Him what His plan is for my day rather than just going about my plan.  I am reading His Word, and trying to avoid the words that the world is trying to pour into me.  I'm trying to surround myself with godly mentors to help me grow in this daily walk with the Lord.  Life is not perfect, but I know when I climb up a hill I will get to the other side as long as I stay on the right tracks.

What's your train track looking like today?  Is it the right track you are own, or are you headed in the wrong direction?  Do you have only one wheel on God's tracks, or do you have all four wheels focused on Him and His plan for your life?  God is a grace-giving God.  Why not stop and ask Him to get you on the right track today?  He loves you so!

Jesus, thank you for your love for us. Jeremiah 29:11 says You have a plan for our lives, and it's a good plan.  Help me to stay in line with Your plan so I don't mess up my life and the lives of those around me.  Help me to keep my eyes focused on You and Your holy train tracks for my life.  Thanks for letting me get back on the right track when I have taken my eyes off of you and crashed.  I am amazed by the grace and mercy you extend to me.  I simply love You, Lord. ~ Amen

Christmas 2005.  Nate saying, "Choo chooo!"

Monday, February 6, 2012

From Your Heart

Have you ever seen a teakettle when it gets hot?  I love cooking instant grits, so I get to see this quite often.  You pour water in the pot, put the lid on the pot, and finally put it on the stove on high.  Then you just wait.  When the water gets boiling hot, steam gushes out the top and it starts screaming to let you know it's had enough heat.  Water was put inside the pot, and now it's coming out of the top of the pot in the form of steam. 

We're like that you know.  We scream out things when we're over the heat and we've had enough.  You know it.  You've seen it.  You've experienced it.  You do it.

This last week this is what I've seen come screaming out of people when they've been put over some heat:
  • anger
  • rage
  • resentment
  • sarcasm
  • laughter
  • prayer
  • kindness
  • consideration
  • tears
  • bitterness
  • humbleness

Why is it that all these different emotions and attitudes can come screaming out of us when we are over the flames?  What makes us respond differently to heated situations?  Well,  it goes back to what we put in our personal teakettle, which is really your heart!  Whatever we fill up with will ultimately be what we scream out when we are heated up.  If you are filling up on junk, then it's likely junk will spew out of you.  If you are filling up on godly things, then it's likely that godly things will flow out of you. 

Think about the last time you responded in a heated situation.  Did you yell?  Did you demand your own way?  Or, did you try to understand the other party better? Did you consider the other person's feelings or wants? 

We are all given OPPORTUNITIES to pour into and onto other people.  I have to tell you that I want to pour Jesus into and onto the other people I come in contact with.  Sometimes it's hard, but I would much rather them see Jesus than the ugly old me.  And honestly, the ones that make me the hottest are the ones that need Jesus more!!! 

Whether you communicating face to face, email to email, Facebook message to Facebook message, text to text, or blog to blog,  think about what is pouring out of you. 

Matthew 15:18 says,"But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you."
Lord, help me to fill my heart up with You and Your Word.  When I'm giving opportunities that present themselves as heat, please help me to pour into and onto that person Your Words....words of love and patience and kindness.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for putting up with me.  Thank you that you have been merciful to me.  Help me to be merciful to others.  In Your Son's Name ~ Amen