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What if our lives came with an owner’s manual?

IMG_8856If automobiles come with an owner’s manual, surely there must be one for me. No responsible manufacturer would slap a human together without an owner’s manual. Let’s see. Here’s what’s listed in the Quick Reference for my Ford Escape.

Instrument panel/vehicle display … For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. ~ I Corinthians 13:12

Steering … While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” ~ Matthew 17:5

Navigation Listen to my voice, and do all that I command you. So shall you be my people, and I will be your God, ~ Jeremiah 11:4

Sync with my cellular … But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. ~ Matthew 6:6.  

Remote Key entry/ AKA “intelligent access” … But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, ~ John 1:12

Windshield Wipers … He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”~ Revelation 21:4

Spare tire and tools … In this life you will have trouble I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” ~ John 16:33

“Comfort settings” … Comfort my people, Israel Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. ~ Isaiah 40:1

Fuel/Refueling/Transmission … God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. ~ Gen 1:29

Temperature/climate control … Do not let the sun set on your anger. ~ Eph 4:26

Lighting/Interior Lights/High Beams … I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, the eyes of your heart so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints. ~ Ephesians 1:17-18

Safety restraints … Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. ~ Psalm 139:7-10

Brakes/ Traction control …  I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. ~ Psalm 16:8

Towing/Carrying a load … For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:30

Roadside Emergencies … Call to me and I will answer you. ~ Jeremiah 33:3

Vehicle care and maintenance … You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ~ Mark 12:30-31

Extended Warranties Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5

Cruise control … I can’t find this one in the manual. Perhaps the manufacturer intended for me to keep my eyes on the road and my mind alert for break lights ahead, lane closures or construction zones.  “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. ~ Matthew 16:24

Ironic, isn’t it, that after a basic driver’s ed course and a few hours behind the wheel, we just step on the gas and learn how to break in order to take the curves without crashing.

What if we read The Manual?

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Thank God for Windex

windshield issuesHow does the gunk get on the INSIDE of my windshield?

I know about acid rain and air pollution. I get that the trees dispense pollen and the birds do occasionally poop mid flight. And of course there are the unfortunate bugs that come to their final resting place on the windshield of my car. It’s dirty out there.

But how does stuff get on the inside? And, more importantly, why don’t I notice it until the sun is shining directly in my eyes as I drive due east on a Friday morning?

Thankful to have arrived home safe and sound and before anything else I Windex my windshield – on the inside. Squirt and wipe. Spray and wipe. Trying to get all those annoying corners and not leave too many streaks.

I admire my work and turn over the damp paper towel I have used to see what I have netted. Nothing. There is no evidence whatsoever of the grime that obscured my vision. Except that now I can see clearly through my windshield.

I wonder what else is seeping into my life and clouding my vision. Thank Goodness for the blinding Sunshine. And Windex, my scum remover. I probably shouldn’t wait so long between washings.

How would Jesus drive?

Just move. Be still. Just move. Be still. I feel like I’m stuck in city traffic. Life is not very fuel efficient these days.

I began this thought yesterday when I saw a late model 4-door idling at the light after our lane of traffic was well on its way. His license plate read “Gewgle.” Funny. I didn’t have to look to know the driver was texting or checking email while waiting for the light. His stillness when the rest of us were moving confirmed it.

But then, as we all proceed …a smidge above the speed limit, here comes Gewgle in the right hand lane, zipping along, passing the line of cars to dive in ahead just before the 2 lanes merge. From stopped to 60 in 30 seconds. So he can be first in line.

I was in no hurry, so instead of feeling irritated, I pondered instead. (another lesson right there!) How ironic that we live life this way. Stopped and then speeding to the stop again. We ping between extremes. Life’s version of interval training. On the one hand, we’re to “Just move” because we’re too sedentary for our own good. On the other, we’re to “Just be still” so we can rest and restore. Our answer: the gewgle life.

It’s not very fuel efficient. And that’s destroying the Ozone layer.

God is not about destruction. Not for us and not for the rest of his creation. I don’t think 0-60-0-60 is his game plan. I do think He attends the gas pump. My grandmother called it the filling station. And perhaps that is the better name. He’s the one who comes to our window and asks if we’d like high test or regular. And we say, “fill it up with regular.” And He does. Along with washing our windows and bringing us the sales receipt. He fills us with fuel and serves us with a friendly smile. In our neighborhood He even knew us by name.

Mr. Gewgle is too young to remember this, I’m quite sure. Have we really left those days behind? Can we remember that what fills us is meant to be used conscientiously and not haphazardly? It’s meant to take us a good long way before we need a refill.

Oh, for sure, God meant for us to hit the road once He’d filled up our tank. God gives us strength, and we’re meant to go out and use it. Sometimes we need to hit the gas. Sometimes we need to brake. Most the time we’re meant to travel the speed limit, along with the other cars to the destination He has in mind. We’ve got plenty of fuel for that trip. But if we floor it we’ll likely be walking to the next filling station.

Which isn’t a bad thing. Just a reminder that He’s filled our tank, too. Of course, it’s so embarrassing to walk past all those other motorists who are stifling a laugh or, around here, perhaps shaking a fist. Kind of a tortoise and the hare moment.

Yesterday, Mr. Gewgle sprinted into first position only to be stopped at the red light at the top of the hill. Behind him sat 3 motorists blinking to turn right. Mr. Gewgle’s intention was straight ahead. His failure to yield prevented the others from proceeding on their way.

I wonder if our mad dashes do this to the prescribed order of God. Both impede traffic and waste gas.

I expect that some of us need to slow down and some of us need to speed up to reach our God-speed. The pace that maximizes our fuel efficiency and gets us to our destination safely. This sounds very much more like how Jesus would drive.

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