Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Volcanos and Life

It sure doesn’t take much to mess things up in life.  A volcano erupts in Iceland.  On television or the internet we see spectacular pictures of the eruption.  It causes real hardship for people living nearby but we don’t think much about it, or about them.  A couple days pass and the volcano is spewing ash high into the air, right up where aircraft fly.  Suddenly there are no aircraft flying near Iceland.  The ash cloud drifts and soon there are no aircraft flying in Europe.  All of a sudden a volcanic eruption in Iceland is a huge international crisis.  Cancelled flights have people stranded all across the world.  Airlines, just recovering from the worst recession in 90 years are once again teetering on the brink of financial collapse.  And what happens?  Stranded travellers want their governments to do something.  Airlines will soon be asking for financial help.  Suddenly everyone wants someone else to look after them.  That’s human nature. 

Human nature.  We want to live our own lives, have our own way, do our own thing, but when real trouble comes, we want someone to bail us out.  Someone else needs to do something to get me out of this mess.  Someone else is responsible.  Life, and our eventual death, is no different.  Many people want to live as they please, do their own thing, but at the end want God to take care of them.  They want to ignore God all their lives, then have Him take care of them after it is all over. 

God is wonderful.  He is kind and merciful.  He will take to me heaven, but it is on His terms, not mine.  He is God.  He can dictate terms and His terms are pretty straightforward.  We need to honestly ask Him to forgive us for not doing things His way.  We must put our faith in Jesus as the one who will save us from our sins, the things we’ve done that aren’t what God wants us to do.  We must agree to turn to God and try to live for Him.  The terms are easy to understand and the payoff, the return on investment, is incredible, yet few choose to take God up on His offer.  It’s our selfishness and pride.  We want to do it our way and we don’t want to submit to anyone else’s authority, not even God’s. 

The volcano spews ash and fire and brimstone.  People are extremely inconvenienced.  Who is going to help?  In the case of life and death and judgement, God in His infinite mercy has provided a safety line.  He will help.  I just can’t believe that so few people are willing to grab hold of the line, grab hold of Jesus.  At the end we will find out that there are no negotiations about heaven, hell and eternity.  We have a lifetime to choose, but once life is over there are no more choices.  Our choice must be made while we are still alive.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Instruction Manual

I was working on an engine last weekend, something I don’t do much of at all.  I’m not the mechanical type.  I can change the oil, change the spark plugs and filters and do simple things, but after that I’m lost.  It’s stuff I’ve never done.  The day actually went well.  I was following a set of very good instructions and the three hour job only took about four hours. I thought that was pretty good for my first time.  When you have good instructions it sure makes things easy.

The engine got me to thinking about life.  Christians always want to know the secret to a good life.  They want to know God’s will, how to live a joyous, victorious life.  Many get really upset at God because He doesn’t tell them what to do.  But you know what?  Most of God’s will for us is already given to us in the Bible.  Probably 80 percent or more.  It is a wonderful instruction manual on how to live that joyous life and many Christians don’t even bother to look at it.  It’s all there: relationships, marriage, money, kids, planning ideas, employer-employee relations and of course salvation and the key to joy.  It’s all laid out for us, but people, Christians, don’t really read and pay attention to it.  It’s like trying to work on an engine for the first time and ignoring the instruction manual. 

There are other things in life that aren’t in the instruction manual, things like, “Which job should I take.”  I’ve come to the conclusion that if we pay attention to the 80 percent of God’s will that is give to us, He will let us know what to do about the 20 percent that isn’t there.  On the other hand, if we ignore what He has already given us in the Bible, why on earth would he even bother to help us with the last bit.  And you know, maybe he does show people the last bit, but they are so used to not paying attention that they miss the last bit as well. 

Want a really fulfilled life?  Ask Jesus to be your Saviour and live within you, and then follow the instruction manual.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New and Exciting!

I was skiing the other day and conditions were fantastic.  The season ends in a few days at Manning Park where we ski, yet ski conditions are as good as they have been at any time during the year.  Over the last few days over 70 centimetres of fluffy light snow has fallen.  There is a base of almost 3 metres of snow on the ground.  Skiing is incredible right now.  So why end the ski season so early?  Simple.  There are almost no people left skiing.  Everyone is out playing golf and tennis.  They are jogging and riding their bikes.  It’s spring.  Lots of snow, wonderful skiing, no skiers.  It’s the same every year.  Manning Park closes for the season because of a lack of skiers, even though the conditions are fantastic.  It’s almost a really bad April Fools joke.

People are amazing.  We get so excited about something, but as soon as the novelty wears off we move on to something else.  In December skiers are out on slopes which have barely enough snow to cover the rocks.  They want to be skiing after a summer away from the slopes.  A couple of months later they’re done for the season.   Throughout life people jump on something new, soon tire of it and move on to something else. Even marriage is often the same.  No long term commitment, people stay together as long as things are new and exciting, then walk away looking for someone else who will be new and exciting for a while.  And in our Christian faith?  The Bible teaches us that many people get all excited about Christianity, get involved, but after a while fall away.  Why?  They were excited about Christianity, not about Jesus.  They didn’t really ever have a personal relationship with Jesus, just a relationship with the precepts of Christianity.  When we truly know Jesus, when we allow Him to enter and change us, the excitement lasts for a lifetime as God’s Holy Spirit lives within us, challenging and helping us through each day.