Looking for Clouds on a Sunny Day

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Let’s be honest, even those of us with the sunniest of dispositions, still have occasional cloudy days. Paul tells us to be content in all circumstances but for most of us, that’s a journey rather than a destination.

Having said that, we’ve all encountered people who could find a cloud in a cloudless sky. In fact, on the sunniest of days, you’ll find these folks hunting for a storm cloud to crouch under and somehow or other, they’ll find one. I’m hoping that’s not you. I recently engaged a man that was new to our area. Many of you know that I live in Colorado Springs; a city that enjoys 325 days of sunshine per year. In fact, as I write this, we are 2 1/2 months into 2017 and have had less than 1/5 of an inch of rain! Makes for beautiful days but dry, crunchy lawns (see, there’s that cloud!).

Anyway, as I engaged this man, I quickly felt the clouds gathering over this otherwise sunny day. As I asked him how he liked the area, I heard nothing about the abundant sunshine, the warm days even in the middle of winter, the low humidity or the breathtaking beauty all around us. No, what I heard about was that it’s too windy! True enough…We do have our share of windy days here at the base of the Rockies and my only rub with that, is that I’ve had many a bad hair day because of it. But this guy was bald…How bad could a windy day be?

So for me, instead of focusing on the stiff breeze and whatever inconvenience it may pose, I choose to stay still and listen to the sounds of comfort and peace it creates as it flows through the towering pine trees. This then, draws my attention back to the sunshine and amazing beauty God has placed me in the middle of…No clouds here!

My point is this: If we want to look for a cloud, we can always find one. This world gives us plenty of opportunity to find a fly in our soup. But does that one fly; that one bad bowl of soup, erase all the wonderful bowls of soup we’ve had over our lives? Will we expect to find a fly in every future bowl of soup we might eat? Will we never eat soup again because of that one bowl? And let’s not forget, there are millions in this world who would give anything for your bowl of soup…fly and all.

So let’s take the advice of James when he says: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…”; and while we’re at it, let’s remember that a bad hair day or even a fly in our soup, is at it’s worst, a first world trial. And if your current trial is more significant, I know that bits and pieces of joy can be found even in the midst of it. Just choose to ignore the fly, look for the best in the wind and know that the ultimate plans He has for you are good ones.

 

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Landing in a Different Place

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As young kids, many of us grew up spending many a summer day on school playgrounds or in neighborhood parks. All it took was a slide, set of swings, see-saw or old fashioned merry-go-round to keep us entertained for hours.

As younger children, it didn’t bother us (or even dawn on us) that while that simple playground equipment provided hours of fun, it didn’t really take us anywhere. You can cover miles on a slide, set of swings or merry-go-round but you’ll end up landing in the same place that you started. It was only as we got a little older and perhaps, more mature that we had a desire for things with more meat to them. Things where you would know whether or not you were making progress. There was a goal, or a score or an end game of some type that you were striving for.

Our spiritual journey is (or should be) much like that. We should be striving and growing to look more like Christ each day. ¬†Read Hebrews 5:12-14. Here the author tells us that if we consider ourselves mature believers, we should be teaching, not still needing to be re-taught basic truths…That we should by now, be weaned from infants milk to solid food.

We often say that God is always moving, and that we of course, should be moving with Him. But like with the pillar of fire and the cloud found in Exodus 13:21, God’s movement and our movement with Him, is never meant to lead us back to the same place in which we started.

In other words, we should no longer be content with the slide or the swings, which always leaves us in the same place. We should be “playing” with things that challenge, inspire and transform us…We should in effect, wake up each day having moved forward; having landed in a different place; and having taken a role in encouraging¬†others to land in a different place as well.