Are you as dumb as they think you are?

We are living in a world that seems to be run by fear and an overwhelming belief that people are too dumb to think for themselves. i have recently been “fact-checked” for a couple of cartoon posts. That’s right, cartoons. If you need to be told that there is some hyperbole associated with a cartoon, perhaps you are as dumb as these fact-checkers think you are! i, on the other hand, have more faith in your intelligence.

Did you know that the Pharisees fact-checked Jesus during His time? “21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”22 When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God.” Luke 5:21-25

Here is another example: “22 Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw.23 And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.”25 Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. 26 And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.” Matthew 12:22-27

No one wants to consider opposing views because it calls into question their understanding. Pride is a significant factor in one’s ability to hear and at least try to see another’s perspective. i am reminded of my grandfather’s advice to me when i was younger, “Don’t ever think that you know everything so that you remain teachable. But, you need to know your stuff too so that you can discern truth from lies.” Being open to others’ ideas doesn’t mean you have to believe them; however, it will give you several things. One, it will provide you with perspective. Two, it will provide you with empathy. C, it will allow you a voice. No one enjoys talking to a know-it-all.

This is where Jesus’ examples are relatable to today. Jesus’, responses were in both cases, educational. He didn’t scream or silence them; He simply showed them. They had every opportunity to believe, but their pride got in the way of genuinely seeing who He was. Let us not get so distracted by our current world that we forget who Jesus is or that we are to be living examples of faith. We need to be open to the opinions of others while at the same time understanding not only God’s Word but also the definitions of science. Silencing the voices of opposition is what the Pharisees did . . . we cannot fall into that trap.

You are loved,

cj

A living parable

Adventure through life like it’s a parable. What is a parable, you ask? Well, simply, it is a story with spiritual meaning or application. Imagine, if you will, every situation, every conversation, everything you read or watch, becoming a parable. It can if you simply ask the question, “what does Jesus want to say to me through this . . .?”

“He put another parable before them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown, it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’” Matthew 13:31-32 ESV

This is obviously talking about how the Kindom of heaven may have small beginnings but grows beyond what one would expect. Life is a bunch of mustard seeds. Every word you speak. Thought you think. Choice you make. These seeds grow. It is why it is essential to choose your words wisely, be quick to listen, and slow to speak. It is why we need to take every thought captive and bring it before the Lord that we not be ruled by our limited understanding but by the Truth of God’s Word. It is also why we must choose wisely, be doers of the word; whatever we do in word or deed should glorify God.

Could you imagine the impact one could have if they started to think of everything they do as the beginning of a parable? Considering what a word or action would later produce is kind of common sense, but sometimes although the idea is there, the actual thought is not. You might say it would be too much pressure. i disagree. i view it as an adventure! It’s like one of those old choose your adventure books. You read a little and then your character faces a choice. In the book whatever you choose, you turn to a particular page and continue the story, some outcomes are good and some are not so good. However, unlike most choose your own adventure books, most of our day to day choices are redeemable. That should give us some hope.

i have been living this parable life idea now for some time, and i can honestly say that my life has become a great adventure! i don’t always make the right decision, but i am constantly learning and growing and experiencing life with a desire to have the mind of Christ, the hands and feet of Christ, the words of Christ, the love of Christ.

Join me in my adventure in being a living parable.

You are loved,

cj

We made it!

my writing has grown more sporadic. i have been finding it difficult to think of what to write, and then when i do have a topic, it doesn’t flow as easily to the keys. i start and then delete and then stop. i am determined this time to sit here until i have written something, anything, and then post it. Why? i don’t know other than i feel compelled to write and beat the distraction and the lack of self-confidence that are my biggest detractors or deterrents.

i was inspired yesterday through a very sad encounter. She was an elderly woman, in her seventies, i would guess but with early onset of dementia or Alzheimers. She was frail, slow, with thinning hair. i picked her up from the cancer clinic, so i can only assume she was or is or had been dealing with that as well. She was, at this moment, very alone. i wondered as i realized more and more of her condition; where was her family, her friends, anyone?

But there i was and although the situation was frustrating, it was so, not because of her, but because i desired to help. Yet, i was limited and didn’t precisely understand fully what she was dealing with, which made helping a shot in the dark. i had some help that i sought from a couple of receptionists from the clinic. Who in the midst of it were as heartbroken and frustraited as i was.

i tried to imagine from her perspective, you know, walk in her shoes, what would i be thinking, and having never experienced such a thing it made it nearly impossible, however, as all turned out to be good in the end. i was able to help her, and now reflecting on it, i can see some spiritual application.

The spiritual relm is a mystery to us, in fact, God in large part is a mystery to us. We have some understanding through the fully man and also fully God, Jesus, even still we don’t fully understand. Paul writes it this way; “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I now in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) Earlier Paul wrote:

Yet among the mature, we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” 1 Corinthians 2:6-8

As i helped this woman get home, you could see her mind coming back; she began to recognize her surroundings and her confidence returning. Bit by bit and mile by mile, she knew more, recognized more until we pulled into her building. She exclaimed, “We made it!” i feel this way as i walk with Jesus, bit by bit and mile by mile, i know more and understand more, and i look forward to one day pulling into heaven and exclaiming, “i made it! by the grace of God, i made it!”

You are loved,

cj

You might be the answer . . .

i was in my mid 20’s and married to the mother of my boys. We had hit a rough financial spot, and i had spent the week in prayer. i would go down to the harbor in Dana Point. There was a place where the storm wall met the beach that created fantastic tide pools. The waves would crash upon the rocks at low tide with great force making for a spectacular water show. This was my prayer closet every morning, and i loved it. It was here that i brought all my worries and concerns and financial needs to the Lord and tried my hardest to leave them there in faith.

A week had gone by, and we were growing increasingly desperate for relief when came a knock on the door. It was our neighbor Carlos; he said, “Good morning, i have been restless all week. My wife and I came into some extra money unexpectedly after having a dream to give you money. I ignored the dream and bought a new TV. We got the TV home and plugged it in, but the screen blew, and it didn’t work. That night I had another dream about giving you the money. Again I ignored the dream and that morning went down and exchanged the TV. The same thing happened, and it happened again yesterday. Three times total. Last night I had the dream again, and I can’t ignore the dream anymore. So here is a check, please accept it; I don’t understand why but if I am not obedient, I am afraid I will never sleep without that dream.”

We did accept it, and after he left and I had gone inside, i opened the check, and it was for the exact dollar amount we needed for our financial shortfall. The EXACT amount! To this day, i have a dollar in the Bible i used down at the harbor as a memorial to God’s faithfulness. i had prayed for a week; God set out to answer that prayer as soon as i started to pray. Finally, through the obedience of our neighbor and friend, the answer arrived. i think about when Daniel fasted and prayed, and 21 days had gone by before getting an answer to a pressing vision he had. You can read the account in Daniel 10.

Now i am no Daniel, but i find it intriguing to think that as we pray that within the heavens, battles are being fought. Also, that the ruler of this world and his many minions are fervently fighting to delay answers to prayers. Have you felt led through a dream or vision a pinch of the heart to help someone and failed to do so? Could it be that the devil would have you distracted from being the very answer to someones prayer? If the devil can get you to focus on yourself, you will miss the need of your neighbor.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks about giving to the needy in this way. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you; they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:1-4

Earlier, He said this: “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:42) Now i didn’t make known our need, and my only begging if one would call it that was making my petition to the Lord. God moved Carlos to be the answer to that prayer. His willingness to be obedient in giving was a blessing to us and actually to him! i want to be careful here because i don’t want to give folks the wrong impression of being obedient. Our reward is often in heaven, however for Carlos and his wife, that weekend at a company picnic, they won a drawing for a TV! Coincedence? Maybe, maybe not.

Here is my question for us, what dream or vision is God giving you? Who is he leading you to reach out to, to lend a hand to, or perhaps even help through money or groceries? You might just be the answer to someone’s prayer, don’t delay the response any longer, giving temporary victory to the evil one.

You are loved,

cj

this is The Way . . .

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for thiers is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the mercifull, for they shall recieve mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you
.” (Matthew 5:3-12)

These are more than just statements; they are a code, a way of life, a call to action, for those of us who would consider ourselves children of The Way. When you break them down word by word and understand the definitions, they take on a more profound life than they already present. Let us begin by understanding the word blessed.

Blessed, by its very definition, sets the stage for each statement. The word means consecrated, sacred, holy, sanctified, and favored. Each of these words deepens the meaning and statement to come. Those that “are the” are blessed. We of The Way, who walk according to these beatitudes, should have a spring in our step, and oomph in our prayers, and a hope rooted in our hearts.

Blessed are the . . .

Poor in spirit, this can be described like this, ‘a steadfast dependence on God’s grace and provision.’ When we understand that without God, we are empty of meaning, we can recognize more clearly that with God, we have a clear purpose. (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Mourn, to feel or express sorrow, even for sin, both personal and that of the world. If we remove sin from the world by worldly morality, there is no sin to mourn. This is a dangerous practice that is more than prevalent in and outside the church. We must remember the WHOLE of Gods word. (Romans 6:1; 6:15; 1 John 3:6,9)

Meek defined is, humbly patient or quiet in nature as under provocation from others. We cannot get into the ‘cancel culture’ that is so big today. We must begin to find ways to speak truth in love. We can be, and should be, angry at many things in this world. However, it must be a righteous anger. (Ephesains 4:15,26)

Hunger and thirst for righteousness. We have to desire God and His righteousness like that of food and water. Without either, our bodies will wither and die . . . the same is true for us spiritually, we need to seek Him above all else. Only then will we be satisfied. (Psalm 34:8; 1 Peter 2:1-3)

Merciful, full of mercy; compassionate, possessing the attribute of mercy; exercising forbearance or pity; not revengeful or cruel; be gracious. First, forbearance is refraining from enforcement, and pity is empathy, sympathetic sorrow for one suffering, distressed, or unhappy. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before you throw your stones at them. (Psalm 41:1)

Pure in heart, like the heartfelt plea of David in Psalm 51, “create in me a clean heart oh God and renew a right spirit within me.” We must desire a life free from anything different, of inferior to the Word of God, or anything that is contaminated by the world. (James 1:27; Hebrews 10:19-25; 2 Timothy 2:22-26)

Peacemakers; a person, group, or nation that tries to make peace, especially by reconciling parties who disagree, quarrel, or fight. It sounds like we need some peacemakers in Washington. We as The Way must begin to breech the conversation even with the knowledge that we will be persecuted! (Romans 12:18; Hebrews 12:14; Psalm 34:14)

Persecuted, to pursue with harassing, especially because of religious or political beliefs . . . If we truly stand on the Word of God, we can expect to be persecuted and even more so as we see the day of the Lord approaching. This should not deter us but embolden us to continue to seek justice and righteousness. (Matthew 10:16-22; 2 Timothy 3:1-5)

We have a message of hope and redemption that the world desperately needs but is becoming increasingly blind to . . . that does not relieve us of our responsibility to share the Gospel. These beatitudes are a road map to life in Christ; we need to begin to live them out! The world needs Jesus. “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:8-10)

You are loved,

cj

. . . there can be no wrong?

If there is no right, there can be no wrong, and if there is no wrong, then the phrase, “Do what thou wilt, shall be the whole of the law,” becomes completely understandable. The idea of “You do you, or whatever makes you happy!” This first saying, “Do what thou wilt . . .” was that of the person accredited with starting the new age movement we see today. i wrote last week about right becoming wrong and wrong right, and as i have thought about it this week, we are witnessing the transition happen before our very eyes. This should be troublesome for all believers of the Way. Not in a fearful way but in an awakening sort of way. We can no longer sit by . . . our silence, is our consent.

The new age movement uses the terms we use. They will refer to light and that we are all stars and light. But their appetite is selfish. It goes back to the garden, and the tree, and satan. “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” “Did God actually say, . . .?” Satan was a lying serpent then, and he is a lying serpent today. Yet, he disguises himself as an angel of light. This is how Paul describes it in his second letter to the Corinthians. “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” i have thought about what it would look like to be the light of the world or a lamp on a stand. There are some street preachers here where i live. One guy who has a microphone and speaker stands on a ladder and preaches. Another guy says nothing; he simply walks all over town with a sign that reads very clearly, “Jesus is our only hope.” i don’t feel called to either of those, but there is no doubt that they are being light. One thing is for certain when we are silent to the sins of this world; we are the opposite of light.

We are living in a time in history that i believe was foretold of by Paul to Timothy. “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” He goes on later to say this: “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5; 4:1-4)

This hasn’t only happened outside the Church with the new age mantra, “Do what thou wilt,” but also inside the church, and it is time for the remnant of the Way to “hunger and thirst for righteousness, for (we) shall be satisfied.” Finally, let me close with Jesus, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?” Matthew 16:24-28

Be the light . . .

You are loved,

cj

All Creation Longs for Redemption

i have written recently, twice actually, on what i see as troubled waters ahead. As i was doing my reading today in God’s Word, i was reminded of how creation longs for redemption as those in Christ. There is an uptick in global earthquakes, just yesterday a 7.0 quake hit off the coast of Turkey, leaving hundreds dead, buildings in ruin, and lives devastated. Volcanic activity is also increasing with magma on the move under the surface. Not to mention the sporadic wild weather being experienced, along with devastating fires.

After creation, “God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” He created everything to work in concert. Like a synergetic masterpiece, everything working together for good and creating humans to be the caretakers. When man sinned, falling from God’s perfect plan, creation suffered along with us. The plan of redemption that God mapped out isn’t just for us humans, but the whole of creation and creation is longing for it!

Here is the part in Romans that got me thinking about this:

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8)

As we get closer to the Lord’s return, creation will become more volatile and unpredictable. Even humanity as the war around us in the Heavenly’s begins to manifest itself among us. Like a woman in labor about to give birth so will the pains be for all of creation. However, for us with Christ our hope isn’t in what we see around us but in what we know is coming. This is not a time to cower but to pray and live as saints, the sons and daughters of the Most High! So fear not and look up for our redemption draws near.

“Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:28

You are loved,

cj

Lessons from Shiloh

Do you have a dog? i do, and he is the best dog in the world. His name is Shiloh, he is a Mini-Aussie, and if my neighbor could get away with it, he most certainly would dognap my boy. He goes on every trip i take now, the countless trips to Colorado, and now most recently, my trips to Vegas to see my boys. He is an amazing traveler. He understands the concept of a pit-stop, jumping out of the car, doing his business quickly and jumping right back into the car without hesitation. He loves sitting out on our deck and just enjoying the fresh air as well as long walks. He enjoys his belly being rubbed, his chin being scratched as well as just below the ears. Once you start he won’t let you stop either.

When we are on a walk, i have him tethered on a leash. He doesn’t often pull but will take as much slack as i give him. When we reach the light, if it’s green, we walk right through, of course. However, if it’s red, we will stop, i will stop, and he will walk until either his slack is used up, and he is caught back, looking at me like, “let’s go!” or i say, “woah” or “stop” or “wait” or “sit.” He then will look up at me as he sits and wags his little nub of a tail, which is more hair than a nub actually. When we get back to the house, as we walk up the stairs, i will take the leash off, and he will head to the door. He stops, looks back, and waits for me. He will look at me and then the door as if to say, “Ok, open the door now.” He can be a tad impatient. Ok, maybe more than a tad. He doesn’t like waiting, doesn’t understand the why, especially at the light.

Jonny Lang is known for singing the blues, but he also sings gospel and rock, a songwriter and guitarist. He is very talented and one of my favorite musicians. i have seen him live, and he doesn’t disappoint. Two of my favorite songs, That Great Day, and Red Light, can be heard on my playlist and often i will hit repeat because i get lost in the lyric. The idea behind Red Light is the way life can change, decisions made, good ones and bad ones. It’s the pause.

God often uses red lights in our life; of course, He also uses yellow and green. Like Shiloh, if we aren’t tethered to Him, we will walk right into oncoming traffic. If we are tethered to Him when He stops at the light, and our slack runs out, that jolt can cause you to look back as to say, “let’s go!” Not realizing the danger that is just ahead. His word to us, “woah” or slow down, take it easy, we’ll get there. Or perhaps, “stop” that is not the direction i want for you. The hardest sometimes is “wait” because we want to know why and we rarely get the answer. “Sit” is also hard as we don’t often want to sit; we want to go and go fast. Yet, the reality is that each of these prompts is for our benefit. His desire for us is pure and Holy. We need to be willing to listen.

Some of you will say, “who wants to be tethered? The answer is nobody does. Yet, there is one who’s an example to us, both free and tethered.

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all that He Himself is doing.” John 5:19-20

So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on My own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And He who sent Me is with Me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” John 8:28-29

i often wonder what Shiloh is thinking when he sits at the light, usually very patiently, even still eagerly awaiting the words, “let’s go.” i want to be like him, i desired to be tethered to the Lord, walking with Him so closely that i not only sense His presence i hear His voice and His gentle reminders, warnings, and commands. Woah, stop, wait, and sit. my favorite prompt now is sit, “sit in My presence, sit with Me, let’s hangout together, tell me about your day, how are you feeling?” Yes, i like to sit in His presence. Today may you find yourself tethered to Jesus, and may you obey His Word.

You are loved,

cj

Hold my Beer

“The End is Near! Repent and Believe in the Name of Jesus!” i can see the apocalyptic signs now. You know the ones in all the movies about calamity and destruction. Of course, they are always portrayed as the morons, even if there is significant destruction. There was a street preacher the other day on a major intersection in Billings. He was standing on a ladder, he had a microphone, and his message was, “repent!” It got me to thinking and that is always a dangerous thing.

Way back in January, i had been watching the “YouTube” fringe news, and as i did, i became aware of the impending pandemic, even as many in the mainstream either didn’t report it or said there is nothing to see here. i began to stock up on things just in case. Not in an alarming way and not all at once, just a little here and a little there is all. i told those close to me, “hey, it might be nothing, but better safe than sorry.” i also mentioned some other things, and those things, although without fanfare, did come about as well.

i am not Nostradamus, i don’t pretend to know the future; however, i think 2021 is about to tell 2020, “Hold my Beer!”

i have a gut feeling i am not the only one who thinks this way. i also have a feeling that as others become more vocal, we will be portrayed, like the movies, as morons, kooks, and extremists. They will say things like, “how many times has the world almost ended since 2000? Remember Y2K? And who could argue? We have been desensitized and, in a sense, programmed to react this way. But even this is prophetic.

knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.“” 2 Peter‬ ‭3:3-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

i am simply writing this to say, stay alert, stay vigilant, stay in the word . . . And it wouldn’t hurt to maybe stock up on things like water, non-perishable foods, vitamins, and some paper products. Be smart. Have a plan. If 2020 is any indication, 2021 is going to be a wild ride, and i have a feeling we aren’t long for the Trumpet blast.

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:50-52

Take Joy in the Simple Things

Take joy in the simple things. i recently had to go to the County Treasurers Office for some vehicle registration stuff. Some of you go to a DMV, others to MVD, here in Montana, we go to the County Treasurer for such things as vehicle registrations and Title work. Especially if you want to expedite the process. When i arrived, i had to take a number, wait outside until my number came up on the screen, then go inside and stand in a line. There i waited for my number again. Once inside i went to the counter.

Now the process goes like this when the office receives your title work and processes it; they then send you a postcard. When you receive a postcard, it gives you instructions on how to make an appointment and avoid the number line described above. i had not received a postcard; my temporary registration was due to expire, and with my current form of employment, that was a huge problem. So as i began to explain this to the clerk, she just kept on stating that due to the current state of life with Covid, they were easily 90 days behind schedule and that all temporary registrations were automatically extended and no paper would be needed.

Great, but when you are dealing with an automated and digital platform, this doesn’t cut it. As i tried to explain my situation and my present flux in life and my travels to and from various places, she sought the assistance of another clerk. After a few minutes, it was determined that they were unable to help me out. i needed to go to another place, talk to another person, and find out on their end what was going on first. So i did.

i was given a date, i waited two days beyond that and went back to the Treasurers’ office. To make a reservation would have landed me well beyond the expiration date of my registration, so i once again went anticipating a long wait. i simply prayed as i headed downtown, “Lord, please make a way for this to be done today. Help me to explain clearly and give the person on the other side of the counter compassion.”

i arrived and didn’t have to wait outside, i was second in line inside and waited only a few minutes. Once inside i went to the clerk, and since i knew the process and i was attempting to expedite it, i went into my story. She looked . . . flummoxed. She went through the common answers as her mind was programmed to do, postcard, wait, appointment, 90 days, etc. etc . . . “Jesus, please,” i thought.

Ma’am, i understand the process; here is my concern, and i am not sure how to fix this without your help. She changed, her face changed, her posture changed . . . she looked at me and could see, i am sure, the desperation. “When did the other office send your paperwork?” “At the latest, Friday, according to their title department.” She got up and went into a side room where you could visibly see stacks of paperwork, like a Sunday morning comic strip, or a scene from a movie where the person is overloaded with piles of paperwork. i thought as i stood there, “no wonder nobody wants to go in there!” She came back out a few minutes later, “All i can say is, it was meant to be.” my paperwork was right ON TOP!

She completed my paperwork, printed out my registration, handed me plates, and smiled and said, “It was meant to be.” i was so blessed at that moment. With a choked up smile and watery eyes, i said, “thank you! i really appreciate this. You have no idea what a burden of worry has been lifted.” Her response, “it was meant to be.” As i turned to walk out, i said, “may the Lord bless you abundantly.” i had no postcard, no paperwork, no answers, but i had Jesus. Some might chalk this up to chance. Sure. But if you would have seen the change in her spirit as i prayed, “Jesus, please.”

i think of the persistent widow and what Jesus teaches through the parable in Luke 18:1-8. Here is just the end of His thought.

“And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly.” Luke 18:6-8

And in the sermon on the mount, Jesus talks about not worrying here in Matthew 6:25-34, but again here is just the ending of His thought.

“But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:33-34

Each day i am learning anew what it means not to worry and to take joy in the simple things of life. So to you, i say, take joy in the simple things.

You are loved,

cj