Driving In The Wrong Lane

Earlier in the week I made a trip to Wichita by way of the turnpike.  I drove through the toll gate and entered the access ramp.  As I was about to merge into the traffic, I saw a bright orange sign with a warning:  Right Lane Closed Ahead.

As I contemplated the message of the sign, my warped mind thought:  If the right lane is closed, does this mean I have to drive in the wrong lane? 

Since the left lane was the only lane left, I made the decision to take it.   Sometimes we have very few options when we have to make a decision. To make some choices, all that is needed is the flip of a coin and either heads or tails decides a course of action.

Each and every day of our life, decisions need to be made.  Robert Frost wrote of this when he penned The Road Not Taken.  Some will choose to try the comfortable well-travelled path of the known, and others will choose the more adventurous paths of life.

Sadly, the well-travelled path is frequented by the masses and can lead to the wrong destination.  Perhaps we need to be a little more adventurous and take the road less travelled.

We need to hike the trail that Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of when he said:  Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

I’ll close with this thought:  There are two ways a person can spread the light; He can either be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

The Pursuit of Happiness or the Realtionship of Gladness

That people expend a great deal of energy in quest of happiness should come as no surprise.  After all, the Declaration of Independence states:   We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with   Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

I think it is important to note that while a person may pursue happiness, the founding fathers did not guarantee it; and, it is the Creator who has endowed us with the right to pursue it.

Some people have little to show for their life because they have wasted it in pursuit of that which can be fleeting and once attained can be found to be of little substance.  This is the difference between happiness and gladness.  The one is associated more with circumstances while the other is associated with a relationship.

The psalmist wrote:  The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory (Psalm 64:10).  Gladness that is born out of this relationship is something that remains in spite of circumstances.

A careful reading of Matthew 5 shines a curious light on the nature of gladness and to whom it is promised.  Jesus said the glad are the:

  • Poor in spirit
  • Ones who mourn over their sin
  • Meek
  • Ones who hunger and thirst after righteousness
  • Merciful
  • Pure in heart
  • Peacemakers
  • Persecuted

Gladness is not found in some sleazy get-rich-quick scheme, nor is it some cheap gimmick, it comes from a relationship of the heart.  The love of God for man and man’s love for the Christ who died for him.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…..and He has kept on giving and giving…..Think about it!




Moments of Majesty

Our memories have been described as precious gems that we use to reminisce.  Some memories are so vivid and riveted so deeply in the mind that they can never be forgotten.  Memories such as these can be of a tragic nature or they can be remembrances of the more majestic moments of life; and, there are times that the two intersect.

Earlier this week, our nation remembered the tragedy of 9-11.  More than one news report replayed the video of the Twin Towers. Even though my heart ached as I watched, I thought of that day eleven years ago; and,  it was soothed with another memory.

I also remembered the majestic expression of mercy as people from El Dorado, the citizens of Kansas, and people throughout the USA responded to the needs of the survivors.

I can remember how First Christian Church was filled beyond capacity as we hosted the community prayer service.  I can remember my call to Mayor Connie Phillips, and City Manager Stan Stewart.  We mobilized and announced the creation of Kansas Cares.  In a matter of a few weeks, we raised over $100,000 to help the families of the first responders.

In that tragic moment, there was also a moment of majesty.  Majestic moments are those mercy-filled seconds of life when the best of man and the grace of God shine brightest.

We see this scenario throughout the pages of Scripture.  It was seen in the story of Abraham and Isaac, the life of Joseph, the tragic loss experienced by Job, and Paul’s encounter with God on the Damascus road.

The Apostle Matthew records a similar incident:  When Jesus got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But Jesus was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But Jesus said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, “Who this can be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him? (Matthew 8:23-27).

Like the disciples, we will experience the storms of life, and we will feel like we are about to be swamped and overcome by circumstances beyond our control.  These are the times when we may unexpectedly find the presence of God—the mercy-filled majestic moment that calms the waves.

I hope this gives you something to think about.

Surface Similarities With A Depth of Difference

If you are like me, you may know a little about Jane Goodall and the research she did with chimpanzees.  Goodall and other scientists have written about similarities between the DNA of chimps and humans with a genetic commonality as high as 94 to 98%.

This surface similarity doesn’t tell the whole story.  According to an article in the Harvard Gazette, there is a depth of difference:  Among the 3 billion base pairs in the DNA  of both humans and chimpanzees, researchers found differences in 40 million sites.  It is in those sites where the differences between the two species lie.

An article in Scientific American reported that the 2% difference between the genetic composition of a chimp and a human represents at least 15 million changes in our genome . . .

Most of us spend little or no time studying the differences between the genomes of chimp and human.  We do, however, have a lifetime of experience in the perplexing way we as humans interact with each other.

Some people are incredibly kind and compassionate in the way they consistently treat others.  There is a surface similarity in the words kindness and compassion.  In fact, they are so similar; we often fail to note the depth of difference.

When we think of kindness, the qualities that should come to mind are the friendly and generous ways we treat people.   This is a spirit of benevolence that reflects our concern for others.

Compassion on the other hand is the spirit of mercy.  This is the seed that blossomed in the life of the Good Samaritan and moved him to help the badly-beaten man who was in need.

I believe it is possible for us to be kind without being compassionate; however, I don’t think a person can be compassionate without also being kind.  It doesn’t take much thought to know that Jesus calls us to be both.

Note:  The information about chimps and humans is excerpted from A Rat IS A PIG IS A DOG IS A BOY.  This book examines the agenda of the animal rights movement and contrasts it with proponents of animal welfare.