It’s Mother’s Day. The supermarket will be swamped with children, old and young, picking up last minute cards and flowers. Facebook is full of sappy Mother’s Day sentiments. Preachers will feel obliged to preach “Mother’s Day” sermons. Restaurants will be packed so moms won’t have to cook one day.
Sorry but I’m not a big fan of all this. My mom has passed but don’t get me wrong there are lots of women in my life who are mothers and who I greatly appreciated: my wife, my daughter, my grand daughter, my daughter in law. My problem with Mother’s Day and similar days for other special people is that the persons honored expect to be honored on these days. That’s fine but it just points out how bad we are at making these people feel special year round.
If the only day you kiss or do something special for your mom is Mother’s Day, bad on you. Our lives are special because of all the special people in them. I just spent a few days with my wife celebrating our anniversary. I try real hard to make sure she knows how I feel as often as possible. It’s just wrong that special people only hear they are special on certain days. The only mothers who will feel really bad today are those whose kids forget or whose expressed sentiments are not sincere.
Pastors are some of the folks who are never properly appreciated. They often just hear from the complainers who are loud. For every person with a beef there are at least 10 who think things are going great.
Hug and thank your mom today if you are so blessed to still have her around, but promise yourself that next year you will make her feel special all year so that Mother’s Day won’t be such a big deal. While you are at it, make some other folks feel special: like your Dad or your kids or your spouse or your best friend or, if you are a real radical: your Pastor.
Love you all the mothers in my life. Love you too Pastor.
Rose and I decided to go out of town for a few days to “get away” and celebrate our anniversary. We chose to stay at a hotel in the French Quarter in New Orleans. What were we thinking? At 4:30 this morning the noise was still incredible coming from Bourbon Street. We are not French Quarter people. We are certainly not Bourbon Street people. We would have been better off in a nice small hotel in the Garden District. We like to have a balcony and this hotel has one, but with that comes much we didn’t want and didn’t need.
It’s amazing how quickly made and ill conceived some of our choices are. I like the fact that we made a last minute decision. I like to think we are not too old to have a sense of adventure when includes some quick decisions. I just wish we had made a better one. We still had a good time and it only affected three days of our lives. Some of our decisions have so much more impact and for such a long time.
We sometimes have such a stake in our decisions that, even after we recognize we made a mistake, we insist on pushing forward on a path that is completely wrong for us. One bad decision can lead us to another and then another. Soon we are far away from where we know we should be. It’s like these GPS programs on our smart phones. When we first wander from the route we are advised to “make a u turn” but soon the program recalculates and draws up a new route to our destination. In life we are not always, that wise. Sometimes when far from our original path, we abandon our original destination and head some place else, or, no place at all.
If you find yourself at a place with no idea how you got there, isn’t it time to pray? It’s more important to consider where you need to be and how to get there, than to stubbornly attempt to press on a road that leads to no where or to no where good.
It may be too late to completely benefit from the trip God had originally planned for you, but it’s not to late to recalculate and get to where He wants you to be now. God is a God of multiple Plan Bs.
Look around, consider, and put yourself back on the right path and
My daughter broke her ankle a few weeks ago and can’t put any weight on it for a while. She can’t stay alone so she has been alternating weeks with Rose and I and with a friend. It’s been a bit of a hassle for everyone because she is used to living alone and we are not use to having a week long guest.
But it’s also been a blessing. She and I both work from the house so we spend hours together in the same room doing our work. We have both picked up interest in each other’s TV viewing habits. I have learned more about her life and work and loves. Our relationship has been great (at least since the teenage hormones wore off); but in the last few weeks it has been “refreshed.” We are both probably pretty relieved when our week is over and a break is coming. But I also know when this period of alternating weeks is over I will miss her greatly.
I have “refreshed” my memory at how cool, funny and lovely she is and how much she relies on Jesus.
She is leaving for a week today and my wife and I are going to “refresh” our relationship with a three night visit to New Orleans to celebrate our anniversary. This refreshing thing is pretty cool.
When stressful situations come into our lives we have a variety of reactions. Many of them negative. Perhaps we should learn in such situations to identify our key positive relationships and “refresh” them. When troubled waters come, and they will, we tend to focus on the trouble and forget the great things and the great people we have in our lives.
I know that some tough times are ahead and I am already focusing on some relationships that need some “refreshing.” I start with the Lord and consider some of his people who have been encouragers and positive influences in my life. A warning. In trouble times, we may learn that some relationships don’t need to be “refreshed.” They need to be terminated. We all hate the idea of losing people in our lives or “failing” at relationships. But not all relationships are positive, not all draw us to Jesus, not all lift us up, and bless our hearts. Some do the opposite and life is too short to waste time on those and to not really enjoy the ones that bless.
Focus on and Refresh the good ones and be blessed.
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. Hebrews 5:13
One of the great things about doing prison ministry is that your audience knows they are sinners. The state has formally proclaimed it. It makes presenting the real gospel so much easier. That’s one of the great problems of witnessing to free people. They don’t think they are sinners. Most people think they are basically “good.” It’s easy to look around and find someone “badder” than ourselves. They don’t see any real need for Jesus.
Because of this challenge, sometimes we short circuit the true salvation message problem by presenting Jesus, not as an answer to the problem of our sin, but as a kind of self-improvement guru. By doing this we eliminate the “problem” of talking about “sin” and repentance. We tell folks Jesus can make our lives better and we can be happier. That’s very true, but it tries to present the solution without addressing the problem. It also leaves the “believer” confused about the process of sanctification.
The truth is we are sinners. In fact, we are much worse than we are willing to admit. It’s kind of like an onion. We can’t handle the depth of our depravity all at once. When we come to Christ, He shows us our sinfulness by layers. As each layer is revealed and dealt with through his grace, another layer is revealed.
Because we don’t confront the issues of sinfulness with the new believer, he becomes confused about the Christian Walk, the difference between milk and meat. If we view Christianity as a self-improvement program, we begin to think that the meat consists of more sophisticated methods, more complicated teachings, more biblical detail. In fact, the meat is confronting the deeper issues of righteousness. The Christian Walk is a process of becoming more like Christ, more righteous. That process consists of recognizing sin, confessing it, and turning from it – that’s our part. Cleansing us and strengthening us – that’s what He does.
To the new Christian, not stealing is pretty good. To the more mature, giving away what we have becomes the standard. To the new guy, not committing adultery is the standard, to the mature, not looking upon a woman with adulterous thoughts becomes the standard. To the new guy, going to services once a week is plenty, as we mature we can’t get enough of being with our Lord and His people. To the new guy, the Christian life is giving up something, to the mature, it’s gaining the whole world.