Keeping Watch

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It seems there’s a trend developing from my fellow bloggers as of late, that derives lessons and enlightenment garnered from their canine family members. So I thought, I too should explore this opportunity to expand and heighten my spiritual awareness!

As I sat on our deck observing our dog Patches, asking God to reveal something to me through him, I took notice of his posture. He lays there, but almost constantly with his head up, scanning the backyard and trees for potential intruders into his territory. For him, these intruders come in the form of birds, squirrels or the occasional human and their own canine family member, walking through the park behind our house.

When those intruders come, he leaps to his feet and jumps into action. He not only vocalizes his displeasure but pursues them vigorously (though if he ever caught the squirrel, bird or human, he’d likely lick them to death).

This posture reminded me of God’s word to us about being alert and prepared. In Matthew 24, we hear of the Parable of the Ten Virgins. In summary, half of these ladies were prepared for the coming of the bridegroom; they had there heads up and were alert…but the other half were not. Sadly, the door was locked to them and the opportunity lost. Jesus closes this parable in verse 13 by saying; “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour”.

We can often go through our day with blinders on to what Jesus reminds us of so clearly in John 10:10, which is that “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy”.

With the lessons of these two passages alone, I plan on renewing my vigilance as it relates first, to watching for the unwanted squirrels in my life. For us, these squirrels are spiritual attacks. They take all shapes and sizes and come against our homes, our families and the ministries God has placed us in.

Second, I plan to be prepared for any day or hour. When we talk of being prepared, we tend to think of Jesus’ return. But being prepared for that means living out his commands to us on a daily basis; now. That means loving Him with all our heart, soul and mind; and then loving our neighbor as ourselves. If we do those two things well, we’ll be prepared…Prepared for the squirrels, prepared for His return, and all that comes in between.

Let’s keep our heads up and stay alert.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

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Almost every day, my wife Isabell and I take a walk down our street to a trail that leads out of the neighborhood and connects to other trails that lead through a wooded area and around a local park. Just before we exit the neighborhood we pass this 1980 Cadillac Coupe de Ville which is almost always parked in the same spot. Now I have an affinity for classic cars, particularly those dating from the early 60’s to early 70’s. This Cadillac really doesn’t fit with the cars I’m drawn to, but I did admire the pristine condition it was in. While for some of us, 1980 doesn’t sound like ancient history, some who are reading this weren’t even born yet…and after all, this car is 36 years old and so while it doesn’t fit with my definition of a true classic, it is worthy of admiring.

As it brought my thoughts to the classics I love, it also reminded me of the risks of spending too much time “looking back”. Our past experiences are a part of what makes us who we are and should never be completely forgotten. Remembering our joyous past can encourage and strengthen us. Even recalling past hurts, if we’ve gained victory over them, can embolden us for even greater victory ahead.

But the fact is, God’s plan for each us, the path that He would have us follow, is never behind us. We learn this so clearly from the Israelite’s 40 years of wondering in the desert. We read how several times as they grew tired, weary and as their trust wavered, they wanted to go back…Back to Egypt…Back to what was familiar. It’s a temptation we all face from time to time, particularly when things get difficult or don’t unfold the way we had planned or hoped. Like the Israelites, we know in our hearts that our promised land lies ahead, but as we grow weary, we yearn for what we already know…even if it’s not what’s best.

Proverbs 4:11 says “I guide you in the way of wisdom, and lead you along straight paths”. There’s nothing about u-turns in that passage!

Someday I may be blessed to own that ’66 GTO, a ’67 Ford Galaxie 500 or maybe a ’70 Chevelle SS: But I can’t spend too much time dwelling on it or pining over it. God’s plans for me lie in 2016 and beyond, not in the late sixties, the early 80’s…or even in yesterday. God’s best path for me, is always in front of me and so to is yours.