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Deal With It!  

A popular meme explains, “If a man says he’ll fix it, there’s no need to nag him every six months.”

Sadly, it took me just about that long to respond when our car’s automatic sensor suggested one of the tires was low. I got out and walked around, visually inspecting all four tires. They looked good—not a bit under-inflated.

Because everything looked fine, I concluded the car’s sensor had gone bad. In my experience, they often have. But the low-pressure message didn't go away. So, I put a gauge on all four tires, and sure enough, one of them—the rear passenger’s—was low. I pumped it up, the warning went away, and life was good.

About a week later…the same scenario. This time, I immediately put air in the rear passenger tire. All seemed well, but  I was still suspicious of the car’s sensor. My wife? She was suspicious that our tire had a problem—like a nail.

Nevertheless, I faithfully pumped air into that tire again and again—for several months. Finally, I set up an appointment with the tire shop at Diana's request. You already know what happened—they found a nail.

So, it wasn’t the sensor’s fault. The sensor was speaking the truth. The problem was me and my disbelief--the quiet belief that "I knew better." Think of the hassle we could have saved, let alone the mileage we might have gained from a properly inflated tire.

Likewise, God regularly speaks a word of warning or correction into our lives. He uses a verse of Scripture or prompting from the Holy Spirit. But we often ignore the alert, making our own inspection of the issue, falsely concluding that everything is just fine--or "fine enough."

But God alone is the gauge. Not us. And when He points out a problem, there's no use ignoring, avoiding, or delaying (again, think of the hassle we create for ourselves!). The very moment the Holy Spirit puts His finger on an issue is the time to deal with it. Not six hours, six days, or six months from now.

 

Pay careful attention to Him and obey His voice; do not rebel against Him.

-Exodus 23:21

 
Rapture Thoughts  

Admit it.

You’ve had some weird dreams. Meeting a celebrity. Being a celebrity. On the run. Shot at. Whatever.

Recently, in the wee hours of the morning, I heard a tumultuous sound—like many voices shouting. At once, I realized it was the rapture, that “glorious appearing” of Jesus Himself. Short on breath, long on adrenalin, I jolted awake.

Jesus…here…now? Concerns about unsaved family members tempered my shock and awe. What about friends whose salvation I'd been praying for? Two emotions hijacked my soul—regret and sadness. Regret at not working harder to share Christ. Sadness at time wasted—things left undone.

Biblically speaking, the real rapture (not my early morning dream) will be instantaneous. Of course, it will be overwhelmingly awesome to be with our Savior, Jesus, at last, and forever. How could it be anything less?

Still, that dream left me with a strong impression of unfinished business—things I need to care for.

Jesus really is coming back. And someday, the last opportunity to share Christ really will be gone. But we have today. We have this moment.

People need Jesus.

We know Jesus.

Why should there be unfinished business when He returns?

 
Your Mind on Parade`  

It’s a small town with a big parade: Princeton, Illinois.

Every year, this city of 7,589 people hosts what they call the Homestead Festival. Under a big yellow tent, folks chow down pork butterfly sandwiches grilled in the town square by the Pork Producers Association. But the most prominent event is the parade—some two hours long!

When you think about it, parades are curious things. They offer a warm welcome to whimsy: people walking on stilts, or driving motorized flying carpets, or firing tee-shirt cannons.

Of course, the Homestead festival has taken all of this to new heights. Candy? You walk home with enough to feed the entire neighborhood at Halloween. But we’ve also seen folks hand out frisbees, ice cream tokens, full-sized water bottles, and even hotdogs. This year, one guy was handing out wristwatches—for real!

Parades are where politicians go to meet and greet, where banks and businesses try to win customers. Parades are curious things. But they are also a strangely fitting metaphor for the mind.

Consider. Every time you speak, your mind is on parade. You go public with what was previously private. High stepping down the public square are words for all to hear. Words that can hurt or heal. Words that can never be taken back. Words that can change the destiny of a life.

Little else is more public than a parade.

Little else is more sobering than knowing that your mind is on parade with every word you speak.

What is your parade saying about you?

Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.

Psalm 141:3

 
Taught by a Tower  

When touring Copenhagen, don’t miss the steeple climb at the Church of Our Savior (completed in 1695). Some 400 steps elevate you to a panoramic city view, with the last 150 steps wrapping around the outside of the spire. It's a unique—and at times frightening—hike.

One glance upward from the foot of the tower, and your mind can’t help but envision Proverbs 18:10, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run into it and are safe.” At the entrance to the church, a banner announces, “The tower is open.” But take note. The Lord—our Strong Tower—is never not open. He’s always ready to welcome us, enfold us, protect us.

As you climb up the ancient steps, you pass by some massive bells, one weighing more than 4,400 pounds, and a sign that reads: "Warning: The Bells are Ringing." In other words, if you're climbing, expect some sound!

That notice in multiple languages recalls the urgency of Hebrews 3:15, “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled.” 

After some mild huffing and puffing, I reached the pinnacle. And yes, the view really is spectacular. One website claims you can see all the way to Sweden.

But I was more intrigued by a claim made in a brochure describing the tower structure (completed after the church, in 1752). It explains, "Christ is on the top of a golden globe with the victory banner."

Well, I saw that golden globe, but of course, I did not see Jesus. Further, I can assure you, He is not on the top of a golden globe in Denmark. An imperfect metal image of the Savior might well be fastened there, but Jesus the King is seated at the right hand of the Father.

Some day, every eye will see Him. And we won’t even have to climb a tower! Don’t you hope that day is soon? Come, Lord Jesus, come!

 

 

 

 

 

 
Don't Feed the Fears  

Donna Munson considered the black bears that swarmed across her land in southwestern Colorado as her pets. As such, she fed them dog food and kitchen scraps. She would poke the food through a metal fence she built around her porch. According to neighbors, as many as fourteen bears would gather on her property at a time.

One of those bears slashed through Donna's fence on a Friday, dragging her body underneath it. The bear then killed and ate Munson.

You may never have fed a bear. But I’m pretty sure you’ve done something just as deadly. You’ve fed your fear.

What does it mean to feed your fears? It means to fixate on them. It means to give them a spacious bedroom in your mind allowing them to roam the hallways of your soul freely, all night long. It means to engage in endless What if? and What then? questions. (I’m guilty!).

But what if we fed our faith rather than our fears? In Psalm 56:3, David (who knew a few things about fear) wrote, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” Note the wording here. David says, “When I am afraid.” Meaning fear is normal. It happens to all of us. But trust—the kind that moves us through those fears—that’s a matter of choice. Every time.

We’ve trusted Christ to save us from hell and the hideousness of our sins. Can we not also trust Him for other things? Fearful things?

Here’s the bottom line: Fears are fed or fought every time you encounter them! The difference is always our decision to trust—or not trust—Christ.

Fears are unavoidable. Feeding them is.

Don’t feed your fears—feed your faith!

 
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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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