WHAT’S WITH THE RED LIGHTS?

Sometimes red lights annoy me because their timing is not conducive to my busy schedule. The idea of sitting and waiting is not appealing to me…so sometimes I accelerate and run a yellow light so I don’t have to wait at the red light. You know bad things can happen at red lights too. Someone could rear-end you while you are sitting there waiting on the green light and your turn to go. I had that happen last year. Ever had your car stall and the light turns green and you cannot go? If only you did not catch that red light, then your car would have kept running and you would not have to deal with the embarrassment and frustration of holding up traffic, right? Now having vented my frustration and annoyance with red lights, and before you condemn me as a dangerous lunatic of a guy behind the wheel, let me tell you I understand their necessity. They are there for our protection. They are there to prevent chaos on the road and an orderly arrangement of traffic.
But there is another kind of “red light” that becomes annoying for us too. That concerns the red lights God puts into our path as believers.
I always think of Jonah when I think of the red lights God raises up in front of us.
There was the red light of the storm in Jonah chapter one. God sent the storm. It was God saying to Jonah, you need to stop now because you are on a path I have not chosen for you. And it is not a good path. This kind of red light is really God’s way of showing kindness to Jonah. If Jonah would have repented and made an about face, everyone on the ship would not have had to suffer because of his refusal to obey,including Jonah himself. Running a red light could bring danger to your passengers as well as to you. And that is what happened here. Jonah just ran that red light, went to sleep in the hold, and put all his fellow passengers at risk. When awakened he refused to change his heart and the problem intensified.
Then there was the red light of the fish in Jonah chapter two. I can only imagine his thoughts when he found himself still alive and in a fish’s stomach. Somebody put the brakes on and it was not Jonah! Here was a red light he could not run or avoid. Red lights from God need to be occasions for prayer. When God halts our journey it should be a call to prayer as it was for Jonah. Reading Jonah’s prayer made me realize that Jonah had not had any recent conversations with God about his life direction. This was a distressing time, a lonely time, and a fainting time in his life. Yet, God heard, answered, spared his life, and returned him to the path he had abandoned. Those blessed red lights!
There is one more red light. The red light of the worm. In chapter four Jonah sits down in the sun to see what would happen to Nineveh. He is hot, tired, and a tad bent out of shape. God causes a shade plant to grow up and give him some relief. Then God erects another red light. The plant gets destroyed by a pesky worm. This red light was given to Jonah so he would rethink what is most important in life -plants or people. He was so upset over the dead plant and that blasted worm that he failed to see the people who had never dying souls.  God intends among other things that red lights lead us to adjust our  “to do” lists, our passions, our value assessments, and even our stewardship habits. It is too easy to let slip the most important priorities of our lives for plants and worm frustrations.  Can you welcome the red lights? They are God sent! Think it thru

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“Does the Truth Really Matter anymore?

DOES TRUTH MATTER 3 ????? 

It is that time of year when we are hearing from a lot of presidential hopefuls. I was struck once again at how irrelevant “the truth” seems to be. One candidate when asked about one of her past responsibilities that hinged on what was true answered in these words: “What does it matter?”   We are told to get over it, let it go, stop pushing. Truth used to matter. In days gone by truth was the touchstone by which we were willing to weigh all our actions and decisions. What has happened to us that we can so easily set aside the truth?  I saw a cartoon recently of a little girl with tongue in cheek saying to her parents – “so you want me to tell the truth??? What about the tooth fairy, and the Easter Bunny, and Santa Clause?” Uh, Oh!” She made a very good point to her parents!

Somewhere along the line we diminished the truth ever so slightly and then it became easier to move on to much bigger things.  Now it seems that truth can be set aside casually if the occasion demands and the lie forwards my plans and ambitions. Truth becomes expendable. Political expediency becomes the touchstone for weighing our actions and decisions.

Of course the question then must come to us, so…is it all that important?  What does it really hurt? If goals are accomplished and we are all better off {?} what’s the big deal.

In some matters it may not seem to make that big a difference. But what about when you go to the doctor and he says to you that you are fine after the exam [and yet he knows you are not because he felt a lump or saw something disconcerting on your blood test]. Perhaps he meant well and did not want to upset you.   Perhaps he just thought with time that condition would go away and you would be alright. Really?  You want a doctor who thinks truth is not all that critical? You want a leader who thinks truth does not matter?

It becomes even more sobering when we think of the stakes surrounding life and death, time and eternity.  Some tell us all God wants is for you to do your best. YET…the truth is that unless you come to Christ for salvation, you will die in your sins and live eternally separated from God in hell [Romans 6:23; John 5:24].  All of the sudden, TRUTH REALLY DOES MATTER!  You see if you allow yourself to be conditioned to the notion that truth does not matter, then when the really big issues of life loom, you will be in DEEP TROUBLE.

Granted…sometimes truth is hard to get at, but Jesus put it simply to us in John 14:6 – I AM the way, the truth and the life. Jesus said that knowing him  was embracing the truth and that would free us from that which would destroy us [ John 8:32]. Jesus affirmed that the Bible, God’s Word, is TRUTH [John 17:17]. We do have a touchstone of truth and we had better heed it in the day where truth does not seem to matter anymore. THINK IT THRU…