FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


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Lost

I loved my dad.

As my grandmother used to say, “Better than Peter loved the Lord!

But he was, undoubtedly, one of the worse drivers in the world.  He is remembered for saying (and believing and practicing) things like, “The yellow light means hurry up ’cause the red light is coming,” and “The sign means STOP – if you see something coming.”  He would leave home late every morning then speed like a race car driver trying to get to work on time.  He’d pass cars, trucks, school buses…, you name it.  He’d pass in a no passing zone and pass two, three or four vehicles at a time.  He was notorious for driving on fumes and for leaving my mom’s car with an empty tank.  He never wanted to ask for instructions and frequently took a more “scenic route” to places – His term for being lost.  And even though he drove on fumes, when taking that scenic route he’d say, “You’re not lost if you still have gas.”

Call it what he wanted, he was often lost.

There are a lot of lost people in the world.  They don’t want to call it that either.

But if you do not know Jesus as your personal Savior, you are lost. (John 3:36, Mark 16:16 ESV)

When someone is lost, they need help.  They need direction.  They need someone who knows the way and who can and will share that way.

I’ve been lost.  I remember driving a group of colleagues to a conference.  We went to what was then a large city for us. These were pre-GPS and pre-cell phone days.  Attempting to travel from the hotel to a restaurant and back, we got lost.  We drove for hours, and the distance between the hotel and restaurant was less than 10 miles!  We tried to find someone to help us, but there wasn’t a cop in site, which was probably good since at one point they told me to back up (on the Interstate), and I did.  We had missed an exit!  What we did find were people who didn’t know how to give directions!

Some people don’t realize they’re lost.  Others, like my dad, deny it.  As Christians, we are called to the lost – to find them, to seek them out, to show them the way!  That’s our greatest charge and our greatest challenge, to be witnesses to the lost.  Matthew 28:19-20a (CEB) makes it clear:  “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you…” 

When is the last time you showed someone the way to Christ?  When is the last time you were His witness?  Can’t remember?  That’s a problem.  Never?  That’s an even bigger problem?  Don’t think it’s your job?  Whoa, that’s like a whole other category – way beyond “problem!”  Read Matthew again; pick any translation you like.  They all read, “Go!”  None say, “Go, if you like” or “Go, when you feel up to it.”  You won’t find one that tells you to “Go, when you get the time or at your convenience.”  I didn’t check them all, but I looked at several – English Standard, New King James, Amplified, The Message, American Standard, Common English, New Life, New American Standard, Revised Standard Version Catholic and New Living.  They all read, “Go.”

Go.

This week.  Today.  Now.

Go.

Tomorrow.  The next day.  The day after that.

Go.

Not one time.  Not every now and then.  Not only at Easter or Christmas.

Go.

Consistently.  Courageously.  In the Name and under the authority and power of Christ.

Go.

Someone is lost, and they need YOU!

RESOURCES

Touch One Life in 2015:  http://billygraham.org/landingpages/touch-one-life/


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You are HERE

How did we survive before GPS?  I mean really!

When I learned to drive, road maps were all the rage.  I have very vivid images of my dad sitting at the kitchen table with his maps spread out and a World Atlas at his fingertips.  He would sit there for hours planning our family vacations, mapping the routes, making note of the connections, turns and exits.  I thought he and my sister were amazing the way they could recall and discuss highway numbers… “Turn right onto 42 and go about 37 miles then take NC 97 North to 301.  You’ll go about 12 miles then merge onto Interstate 95 North.”

I well remember my first solo trip with a road map.  Like Daddy, I sat at the kitchen table, spread the map, made my markings and jotted notes.  I was going on a job interview and, worried enough about that, I wanted the travel to be uneventful.  I even used the little scale in the bottom corner of the map to calculate mileage and approximate time.  All along the way, though, I had to keep stopping on the side of the road to consult my trusty road map.

Three things are important when planning a trip using a map – knowing where you are, where you need to end and which direction you need to travel to get there!  And therein lies the beauty of GPS.  The screen shot always includes a big arrow indicating YOU ARE HERE.  That’s good news to any driver!

Want some even better news?  Not only are you “HERE,” so is God!  He is everywhere!  He is with you!

Joshua 1:9 (ESV) reminds us to be strong, courageous and without fear or dismay because the Lord, our God, is with us wherever we go. Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV) echoes the same encouragement adding a reminder that He will never leave nor forsake us. David asked, “Where shall I go from your Spirit?  Or where shall I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7-10, ESV) In the heavens, in Sheol, in the uttermost part of the sea – even there David said we find God’s hand which shall lead us and hold us!

I find that latter thought to be particularly encouraging because I live in the boondocks, and I frequently drive rural highways.  This means I regularly lose signals for my telephone and GPS.  The “GPS Lady” often tells me she is rerouting.  I suppose rerouting sounds better than “I don’t have a clue where you are.”  When the GPS loses its signal, I am left to go it alone trying to read road signs while I drive.  That is not only frustrating, it is unnerving, especially if I am traveling an unfamiliar and not well-marked route.  Whenever the signal reconnects, the GPS offers instructions to correct whatever mis-turns I may have taken and tries to get me back on track.  It’s rare, but sometimes GPS cannot get it right and I have to rely on other sources like stopping strangers to ask for instructions or accessing Google Maps on my cell phone.

Our God never loses connection with us though we sometimes choose to ignore the promptings of His Holy Spirit.  Now there are times when I know better than the “GPS Lady.”  She tells me to turn left and I am looking at a ONE WAY sign or a ROAD CLOSED sign, so I know not to follow her directions. But our God gets it right 100% of the time! Isaiah 40:13-14 asks, “Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has informed Him? With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge and informed Him of the way of understanding?” The answer is NO ONE! He is omniscient and omnipresent, so He knows and He is with us. He is also faithful, so we can trust that He is with us, just as He promised, wherever we are.

There are times when we ignore God’s directions or believe that we know better.  Surely when God has us on a route that is bumpy or one that is twisted or winding or scary or lonesome or dark even, He has made a mistake, somehow gotten it wrong.  No, it is not God that has gotten it wrong, it is our perspective that is limited while God is finite.

Question God?  Be puzzled by His directions?  Surely, but never doubt.  Even Abraham had questions about God’s directions and decisions (e.g. the destruction of Sodom), but Abraham obeyed in faith.  He never mocked, rebelled or cursed God.  Abraham knew what we can know as children of God and that is that God is Here, right here with you!

THIS WEEK earnestly seek God’s direction for your life.  Charles Stanley offers seven words that will help us in seeking His direction. Study, meditate and pray on one word each day this week. (Cleansing, Surrendering, Asking, Meditating, Believing, Waiting, Receiving). Find more at:  http://www.intouch.org/you/article-archive/content?topic=seeking_god_s_guidance_article#.VMV5UrAo7IU