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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Say it isn't so!"

"It was a big marshmallow bunny...with a shot gun?!"
There are terrible injustices in life...terrible ones. Car bomb kills 17 in Afghanistan...Local hiker plunges to her death...22 slaughtered in New Towne shooting!...15 year-old high school junior diagnosed with brain cancer...LA plane skids, kills 5...46% first USA marriages end in divorce...Tribal prejudices predict famine...Detroit blight... 

Untimely frustration and disappointment and the pain of injustice assumes many's never humorous to those experiencing it. I don't need to give you more examples--it's all around us, close and distant. And how should we qualify or compare one tragic injustice to or against another? Can't...they're all BAD. 

Something deep inside us argues that life just shouldn't be unjust; it shouldn't be this way. Bad things, people, circumstances, happenings,...bad stuff shouldn't exist; and if it happens, it should get fixed! Someone should make life different. Someone should promise or guarantee different outcomes than tragedies--injustices--or someone should pay! Right?!

Exactomundo. It's why Jesus Christ came...and wept (John 11:35)....then, summarily, he proceeded to do "the fixing deed." He gave himself up to die, in part to fix the ultimate "injustice," forever separation from God and from one another (Romans 3:23; 6:23; John 3:14-16).

OK, so why do we still see and experience injustices...why are they still happening all around us, right here in our lives, near by, and far away in the lives of other people? Didn't the fixing deed work?

Consider this. 85% of my original family members still live in Pacific Northwest. Consequently, I experience some predictable, growing discomfort the longer it's been between visits. When I make arrangements to visit (purchase a plane ticket, make arrangements for transportation, etc.) I realize a visceral decrease in m discomfort--because I know I will soon, at the scheduled time, be there and be with them. Tangibly, that promise is represented by the ticket in my hand. In the meantime, I'm still here and they're still in the Northwest.    

OK, so what? Here's a two-piece very simplistic answer to that comparatively more complicated question, "Didn't the fixing deed work?" Jesus Christ--the GOD-MAN (John 1:1-4)--purchased a ticket for each of us that promises our being re-united with both God and our friends and loved ones. It's for a future scheduled flight. In the meantime, yes, there's some living and dealing with everyday life to do (I Peter 1:3-7)--waiting for the flight. You're waiting; everybody's and waiting.

So yes, the injustices will continue to happen...for a while. 

Do your friends...have their tickets in hand!? Then let's make sure everyone knows about em...

 ...the Good News.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Of Lions and Pussy Cats...

Perspective. It's amazing to me how much difference just 24 hours can make. Why am I saying that? Because only yesterday I was "looking at" the same things I'm seeing very differently today--just 24 hours later.

No, I don't mean I saw a LION yesterday that's a pussy cat today--but that's how it feels sometimes. Right!? So, I've learned to respond to my own situations and, perhaps, to a tense deliberating friend with words like, "Give it some time; go get some exercise, eat a great meal and talk to another friend before you make that important decision." In a stressful and sticky situation, however, I'm so aware how immediacy's demands can drive a quick decision.

Now...I'm great with decisiveness, but there's a big difference between informed decisiveness and often repeated or just plain untimely mistakes. (Of course, that's an awareness that drives the thinking behind Smarter Romance.) Consider becoming an expert at these "Four Life Axioms"--well, that's what I call them. I discovered how personally constructive they can be when it comes to making really important decisions.

Ax1: Passion and idolatry are kissing cousins.
Being passionate about stuff can be good and it really can help to distinguish us from one another. But my passion can run rough shod over people and even my other priorities. For example, focusing intently and perhaps insensitively on a career goal or a dating relationship, at the expense of my family responsibilities or close friends, is a tragedy in the making. Saying the axiom in another way, "Don't let your passions become idols."

Ax2: Moderation is a person's oldest and best friend.
Spring boarding from Axiom 1, the Apostle Paul's injunction, "Let your moderation be known to all men" (Philippians 4:5) continues its theme, but strategically twists it. Moderation keeps us from going overboard, from "gettin our underwear in a wad," from letting the excesses we find in even good disciplines cloud our vision.

Ax3: Fear is helpful--not directive!
This is particularly true when it comes to goal achievement. Fear is necessary and protective, but it's strength and forcefulness can prevent our pursuit of important, valuable, and even necessary achievements. So, I challenge myself to use my fear response as an appropriate, timely reminder of possible danger. Then I explore the situation from a safe distance with inputs from other wise people before I make my move--whatever that will be. And that doesn't mean I have to do what they say, but I benefit greatly from their perspective and insight. "In the multitude of counselors there is safety" (Proverbs 11:14). 

Ax4: People take priority over things.
A biblical focused life puts people first (John 13:35), so the needs of other people must be in our life-goal's "cross hairs." And believe me because I'm no extrovert--rather a social introvert, so this is a hard one for me, and perhaps you too? But it's the way we're supposed to live life, growing this acquired skill "muscle." Yes, it comes easier for some people than for others, and that's OK...just more challenging sometimes.

So, do you have any LIONS staring you down?