Who knows?

Sooner or later, all drivers are forced to make a decision. We asks the question in our minds, “Which road do I take?”

I was on a two-week trip to England many years ago. As it happens, I was given a car by some friends and was able to drive all over the location where we were staying. It was great, but two things you will learn quickly when driving a car in England: First, the driver side is on the right side of the car. You can imagine the confusion that initially grips you when you are turning left and you realize you normally would be dozing off, people watching or staring out at the scenery. And then it hits you – YOU ARE DRIVING, NOT YOUR PASSENGER! Secondly, when driving in England there are many nooks and crannies and roads, none of which look wide enough to fit a motorcycle, let alone a vehicle. And you have to get your map out and figure it all out!

If you don’t have a map, you a re in trouble. If you are male, you are even in more trouble because you will not get out of the car to ask someone for directions. But if you do, take care – if you have just arrived from American soil, you might have a hard time understanding half of what they tell you! (Contrary to what you have heard, English spoken in the “mother tongue” still qualifies as a foreign language!) When all is lost, we throw up our arms and say, “Who knows?” It is then that we have to say a prayer and hope for a miracle. Funny how we eventually get where we need to. Coincidence? Divine Providence? Hmmm.

Someone knew. They guided us all the way.

I remember the shear terror that gripped me when I graduated from High School. “What am I gonna do now?” I asked this over and over in my head that whole post-graduation summer. I had virtually ZERO aspirations, being a very talented procrastinator, party animal extraordinaire and carefree / no-thought-for-tomorrow kind of guy.

I played the fool all through high school. And the most foolish of all things – I actually thought I could live this way indefinitely. But God knew differently.

That’s the thing; God knew.

When I was at the end of my rope, my back against the proverbial wall during my first year of college, I couldn’t take the despair and fear anymore. I needed God to show me. I needed God to tell me my future.

You know what’s funny? He didn’t tell me anything about my future… except that I was going the wrong way! It was as if that RED SIGN on the Freeway Exit Ramp that says “WRONG WAY” was placed in front of my face. God called out to me and told me it was time to grow up, get up, and get going with my future – His way.

I don’t know where my path will lead me in the coming days. I would guess, if I did know, I would probably freak out anyway.

Tarot Cards? Palm Reading? Horoscope?

Really?

I think it’s much more fun to trust God and know as LITTLE AS POSSIBLE of my future. That’s me. If I was told when I and where I would meet my wife exactly, I probably would have messed it up somehow. I may have tried to speed up the process. Or worse yet, I may not have felt the necessary freedom to make the right choice in the first place.

All I can tell you is this – I STILL don’t know where I am going! I STILL don’t know my future. God knows. I guess, that’s really all we need to know.

Who knows? God does. And because of that, you can trust Him to guide you every step of the way.

Until next time,

Jeff

Photo used by permission. Flickr / Creative Commons License

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Are you beautiful?

Are you beautiful?

It’s good to be beautiful in America.

It has been said that a beautiful person can achieve great success in our society, even without being talented. Looks is sometimes the deciding factor in hiring certain employees in many organizations.

Every day, someone in charge of hiring is looking over various applications, and choosing the less qualified person because of their looks. Age of course, is part of that as well. But if you are older yet beautiful, you still have a great chance. People who work in retail treat you better when you are beautiful. They smile, feel better about you, and sometimes they will bend the rules and give you what you ask for, because your beautiful.

When your beautiful, everyone wants to be your friend. When your beautiful, you don’t have to pay as much as the others; and in some cases, you may not have to pay at all.

When your beautiful, they give you the honored seats, the attention and focus. When your beautiful, they will treat you with respect. When your beautiful, they will roll out the red carpet. When you are beautiful, they will make you a star.

If we are not careful, we will treat people this same way in our churches.

Do we pay special attention to the beautiful people, while giving the less beautiful people a passing glance, or patronizing word of greeting? Do we make the beautiful people the guest of honor in our presence, while taking a step back from the unattractive?

I am sure God understands our discomfort, or reticence to embrace the ugly people; especially the dirty, smelly, ugly people. On the other hand, how many angels have we dissed because they were ugly?

“But Angels are beautiful in the Bible!”

Uh, right, but they apparently also enjoy sneaking around incognito in eclectic costumes and acting like strangers in need. (Hebrews 13:2)  Lot comes to mind here; as two angels who came to him masquerading as men.

God loves beautiful people. He calls us to be beautiful. Here is the problem – God doesn’t look at the outside, and He doesn’t care about the outward appearance (I Samuel 16:7  “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart”), God wants us to be beautiful on the inside.

You may be an outwardly beautiful person. You may be dressed to the nines, or trendy and stylish. There is nothing wrong with that. If you want to succeed in this world, it is only wise to look your best. You may be blessed with an attractive body and face. That is certainly not a crime – God gave you that “blessing”. But the problem is – we are mistaken if we think our outward appearance is what pleases God. It’s not.

Your inner beauty is truly BEAUTY DEFINED from God’s point of view. Your inner beauty is what is attractive to God.

Proverbs says a beautiful woman who shows no discretion is like a pig with a ring in its snout. (Proverbs 11:22)

You might be beautiful on the outside, but are you filled with envy and jealousy and greed? You might be hot, but are you also full of selfish thoughts and lustful passions? You might be smokin’, but are you full of hate and anger and bitterness?

Do people give you honor and praise for your outward looks? Watch out! Looks can distract us from the God who is unimpressed with your pretty face.

Was Christ really outwardly as beautiful as artists typically depict? We do know that he was not especially attractive on the outside. (Isaiah 53:2) So then why do we call him beautiful? Because of his heart! His unbounding love! His compassion! His empathy! His tenderness! His care!

If Jesus came to our church this Sunday as he looked when he walked the earth, he would have come as a relatively poor person, with no physically drawing looks, and most likely wearing quite humble clothing.

We might miss him. We may not greet him. Some would not talk to him. Others maybe cordial, but perhaps also suspecting. But he would be beautiful! The most beautiful of all!

So the sum of it all is this – Be attractive to God!

Be truly beautiful in your heart.

That’s REAL beauty.