Easier Road Sometimes is Harder Road

“No one stares up at the Northern Lights and says, ‘Wow, I’m incredible.’” Pete Grieg
Many of my hikes are taken in places where there can appear to be easier than other paths to take.
Pictured is one of them. The dirt path on the way out was full of ruts I needed to avoid in order to not twist my ankles. So when I got to the point where I needed to turn back home, I noticed this opening in the fence.
Entering that opening would make my return walk shorter and easier. I had a choice to make. I could enter the opening and walk on the easier paved path saving twisted ankles. Or, I could by pass the opening and take the longer more difficult path home.
Obviously, I wanted to take the shorter and easier path until I remembered an important fact. I took the easier route before only to discover there was no such opening at the other end!
My shorter route then became much, much longer as I had to back track to the fence opening; and then, take the longer more difficult route home.
Our walks with Jesus are much like this opening in the fence. Life is not about easy! It’s about loving Him. And sometimes, the longer, more difficult route is best because of what Jesus wants us to experience with Him.
Filter your choices through Jesus. He is the Way/Path to real living in these very uncertain times in which we find ourselves.
If not, hopefully, you’ll learn from your mistakes like I did.

Threat or Threatened

“A battleship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what it was made for.” Anonymous
I’ve played sports all my life; and, I’ve never ever had an opponent do something to me while I sat on the sidelines. Why? I’m not in the game; and thus, am no threat.
Once I stepped onto the field of play, however, I’ve now become a threat. They must make a plan to keep me from defeating them.
Right now, with so many born-again Christians sitting on the sidelines (listening to and following their own “Christianized” dreams and goals), Satan gets a lot of credit for doing nothing!
Real spiritual attack comes from being in the game, which means listening to and following Jesus, not self, every day everywhere.
If this isn’t you, it’s time to repent and be who the Father made you – a secure child of God who experiences His presence and victory as you go about your daily living.
As you do, you’ll fulfill a purpose for being here (Matt. 28) despite the increased spiritual warfare that comes with it.
Be a threat to your enemy, not threatened by him. He’s a loser because he follows himself. You’re a winner because you’re in and follow Jesus.
Our current world needs you to get into the game!

Live the Life Jesus Gave You

If you don’t conquer it today, it will control you tomorrow.
Jesus and the twelve were walking toward Jerusalem. This journey caused great fear in His men. Why? They were heading straight into the center of a storm.
At that time, the Israeli government wanted Jesus dead; and, He knew it. Jesus could play it safe and stay home. Or, He could keep walking into Jerusalem. He chose the latter.
He told His men as they walked, “Hey guys, don’t be afraid. This is the life I came to live! Yes, I am going into the midst of a thunderous storm. And, yes, I know I’m going to die in that storm. But guess what? That’s a good thing as I’m going to rise to life again! I will fulfill the purpose I came to earth to accomplish.”
Just like Jesus, you’re an awesome piece of artwork created with a purpose that, in the Spirit’s power, you’re fully capable of accomplishing (Eph. 2:10).
Playing it safe will not get the job done. Listening to and following Him will – even if that means heading into a storm, like death.
Jesus follower, do you believe that when you leave this planet you’re going to heaven to live with Him forever? If you do, live the life He gave you…today.
Stop listening to the superstar athletes or politicians who tell you to play it safe, stay home.
Keep listening to Jesus. If He says stay home, stay home. This is loving Him. If He says head into the storm, head into the storm. This is also loving Him. Either way, there must be someone who needs to see and hear Him through you wherever you might be.
People are afraid. These people need to see Jesus’ love in the lives of those who follow Him, despite the storms. This is not a safe walk, but one of faith that will be rewarded with life today, tomorrow and eternity.

Love Your Neighbor

If you spend your time being judgmental of others, you have little time to love them.
The NIV translates Psalms 33:5 as, “The earth is full of His unfailing love.” The word translated love, can also be “goodness” and “kindness”. Can you imagine life on this planet without God being around to do this?
Read no further than the book of Judges. It describes a period of Israeli history when the people removed God from their national identity and replaced Him with themselves (Jud. 17:6). The story ends in chaos.
The US started this process in the ‘60’s, whereas, the rest of Western Civilization started much earlier.
Whenever there is no “higher power” to whom all of humanity – no matter economic status, race or gender – is accountable, humanity itself becomes the higher power. No clear standard of right and wrong will ensue and chaos eventually follows.
This is why God instructed people to love their neighbors. When you don’t have neighbors (e.g. live on a deserted island by yourself), who cares what you do?
When you decide to live in a neighborhood, however, there must be agreed upon standards of behavior (“common sense”) on how to get along with your neighbors.
Does it ring a bell about the current situation in America? Maybe, but, I’m talking about the current situation in the American Church!
Only 17% of those who claim to love and follow Jesus, filter their life’s decisions through the Word of God. In other words, 83% have made themselves out to be god.
Kind of sounds like the church Jesus talked about in Laodicea where He was not invited to their meeting, doesn’t it (Rev. 3:20)?
Love, goodness, kindness must start with you and me, brothers and sisters (Gal. 5:22).
If you are part 17%, please keep living and talking about Jesus. Our neighborhoods need lots of love, goodness and kindness flowing into them at the moment.
If you are not, maybe it’s time to make Jesus Lord of your life, not just Savior. Your neighbors sure hope you do.

Time Lived

Too much time spent on yesterday can lead to regrets; too much time spent on tomorrow can lead to worry, so spend much time today on rejoicing, which can lead to peace.
I stopped counting how many people who’ve said, “I can’t wait for this Covid thing to be over.”

That’s just another way of saying, “I can’t wait until tomorrow comes.” How do you know tomorrow will come? We are not guaranteed the next minute, let alone tomorrow.
Life is lived in the moment with Jesus. We are to never stop talking with Him. We are told to continually thank Him. Isn’t this what “to rejoice in the Lord always” means?
Length of life on this planet is not guaranteed. Eternal life, which is lived out in a succession of moments, is because Jesus is and gives that life right now.
Time spent on what Jesus did in the past leads to rejoicing in the present and peace about tomorrow. He is in control, even when it doesn’t “look” like it.
Focus on Jesus, the solver of life’s events. As you do, you can be the witness He asks you to be to those who are focused on the events of rather than on life itself.