Monday, January 17, 2011

What Was I Going to Put Here for a Title?

Reminders. I'm amazed at how many I need. God, in His sovereignty, allowed someone in the past to invent Post-it-Notes because He knew I would be born! I live in a yellow-sticker world.

I drive a pickup truck that has a yellow sticker on the windshield put there graciously by the oil and lube folks who hope it will remind me that my oil needs to be changed. When my truck gets low on gas, an annoying noise dings and a yellow light comes on to remind me to get gas. When my tires need inflating, my dashboard flashes a yellow icon that looks like a flat tire. My truck is filled with electronic Post-it-Notes!

Why do I need to be reminded of so many things? Maybe I'm ADD. I don't know. I've made a few (34) appointments to get tested, but something else always came up and I missed the appointments. I understand why I need to be reminded to do routine tasks. They're minor. It's the important stuff that shouldn't require a hai-karate slap. I shouldn't go fuzzy on the big things.

But I do. We all do.

Many of the most popular phrases of our existence, whether they are on bumper stickers or in our Bibles, are reminders of important stuff.

"Seek first the kingdom of God..." is the key to having our priorities right. It's the motto that should drive our motor. Do we? Do we wake up every morning locked in on what God wants? Or do we need reminding?

"Live, laugh, love..." are words that decorate our homes and color our imaginations to remind us how we ought to redeem every moment we've been given. Do we? Do we truly live, savoring every moment of every day? Or do we frequently coast, occasionally trudge, or set our mental gauges on "Just Get Me Through This Day"? Do we laugh? Really laugh. Unrestricted laughter that makes squeaking or snorting noises. The kind of laughter that doubles us over and barely stops long enough to let us breathe. Do we love? Love isn't words or feelings alone. Love is action. Love loves. Love lets others know we thought enough of them to do something unexpected. We should never need a reminder to love.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart...and your neighbor as yourself." The Bible is obsessed with this one. From Genesis to maps, we are reminded to love God and each other. God is crazy about love because He's crazy about you. Do we? Do we love Him and each other? If love is action and not words or feelings alone, how much love is God getting from you? From me? How about that neighbor? Is he/she feeling the love? Oh, how oft we need reminding.

"Don't worry. Be happy." Four words. Two statements of two letters each. We know them, sing them, and are familiar with the two dots of eyes, the upward smiling curve in a circle of....YELLOW (another Post-it-Note) that symbolizes the saying. But are we? Are we happy and worry-free? Some of us are medicated with happy pills and still can't find our sweet spot. We are like the camel who said, "I don't care what anybody says, I'm thirsty!" In spite of the "don't-worry-be-happy" montra, we do worry and we aren't always happy. So we need reminding.

These reminders have become familiar to us through repetition. They are necessary for us because we lose focus. We all need occasional reminders more than occasionally.

So, what's the point of all this? I don't know. I got distracted. Let me scroll back up and read. Oh yeah. We need reminders of the important because we are easily distracted by the urgent. I'm not advocating the need for group meetings. Even if we organized an RA group (Reminders Anonymous), I'd forget to show up.

Just consider this a Post-it-Note of the important in your life. I don't know the details of the most important notes of your existence, but I'm sure it involves love. Consider yourself reminded!

Perry Crisp

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Four Big Days

"So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12).

The Bible speaks often of the number of our days. Even if the Bible didn't tell us, we would still know that our days are numbered. An afternoon walk through a cemetery, reading tombstones, would provide us with the sobering news that a number will be placed on the other side of our dash. We also know that the number of days rarely reaches 36,500.

Let's be gracious and say that you and I live 36,510 days. We both reach and barely pass 100 years. I've already used up nearly half of mine and it really seems to have gone by fast. Life has a heavy foot. The days in the rearview are mostly a blur. Job called them a shadow and said they move faster than a weaver's shuttle. The Psalmist and James describe life as a vapor that appears for a brief time and then disappears.

Depressing? It can be. Especially when you read about Job's life and then check out his philosophy, "We were born yesterday, and know nothing because our days on earth are a shadow" (Job 8:9).

So much for our frequently used line of self-defense, "Do you think I was born yesterday?"

Job's answer? "Yup."

Compared to eternity. Compared to God. We were born yesterday and will die tomorrow when you compare our life to His. No wonder our dash is so small. We aren't even a hiccup on the timeline of human history. On the chart of eternity? No microscope could find us compared to the God who has no beginning, no dash, no expiration date, and no tombstone. A grave tried to hold His Son once, but failed.

Speaking of His Son...

Of the days numbered on the chart of human history, there are three that are significant to the world: The day of Christ's birth, the day of Christ's death, and the day of Christ's resurrection. Those three days changed everything!

You don't have to count very high to "gain a heart of wisdom." Once you realize the significance of those three days, you are on your way to a very important fourth day. Your day of grace. Your spiritual birthday. Mine came in the fifteenth year of my life. A couple of months after my 5,475th day of oxygen, I confessed to God that I was a sinner and invited Jesus Christ to be my personal Savior. God forgave me. Jesus saved me. That day became the center point of the pendulum swing of my life. No matter how many ticks of the clock I have left on this earth, everything changed that day.

My soul was moved out of time's control and into eternity's vault. The promise from God's Word is that I now belong to Him and will spend eternity with Him before the tombstone carver can chisel the date on the other side of the dash.

Three days changed history. The fourth one changes eternity. Today is a great day for your fourth. I pray you will accept God's gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ and invite Him into your life today.

Briefly Yours, Eternally His...
Perry Crisp