Kindle Countdown Deals


On blind spots and pot shots

Blind spots can certainly steer us in the wrong direction sometimes.

Immediately after church, I climbed into my car, revved up the engine, and cruised down the parking lot row. There, I waited for a turn to merge into the exiting traffic.

One car zipped past me. Then two, three, four, and five cars slipped right by. Not one driver seemed to notice my vehicle, idling and awaiting an entry. None appeared to notice the growing line of cars behind me, either.

I craned my neck to see if there might be some sort of blind spot, like a bush or a shrub or some other visual obstruction that prevented so many drivers from seeing fellow congregants’ cars in queue for turns. Nope, the parking lot was actually graded and bare, midway through a complete construction overhaul. There was nothing to block anyone’s view.

“C’mon, folks,” I thought. “Didn’t the pastoral prayer just mention loving fellowship, hospitality, and kindness for one another?”

Then I felt a sudden jolt in my spirit. Seriously, it hit me like an electric shock.

Looks like I had a blind spot of my own.

That’s sort of how it happens, when God prepares to point out areas where we need to grow and stretch and maybe just get out of His way in our lives. At least, that’s how He often works such lessons in me.

First, He catches me becoming irked about someone else’s behavior or attitude. Then He gently nudges me to reveal how I somehow am doing something all-too-similar.

I’m pretty sure that’s a telltale sign of God’s grace.

He could just let me go along my not-so-merry way, practicing my own variety of double standard until I’m somehow busted out in the open and totally humiliated for it. Or even if that doesn’t happen, He could allow me to veer way off course, missing a ministry opportunity or even falling into some real trouble.

Then He could say, “See? You were annoyed that so-and-so wouldn’t let you into the exiting traffic line after Sunday’s service, but you didn’t even notice that overtired mom standing behind you in line with her antsy kids at the post office. You could have let her go first. Now what do you have to say for yourself?”

Or the Lord might ask, “Remember how you bristled over being ignored when you tried to merge into the church traffic? How do you think I felt when you couldn’t seem to find time to meet with Me this morning? How’s that working for you today, trying to do it all on your own?”

Only God doesn’t usually work that way – at least, not if we’re willing to listen to His gentler reminders.

Our gracious God often offers us quiet guidance. If we heed His alert and repent, allowing Him to change our hearts (again), it’s all good. If we don’t, He may turn up the heat.

Maybe it’s time to look in my own mirror again, before polishing my side-view or rear-view one. It might be time for another adjustment.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5, NIV)

Adapted from public domain photo

Feel free to follow on GooglePlus and Twitter. Don’t miss the Heart of a Ready Writer page on Facebook. You are invited to visit my Amazon author page as well.


Feeling a little scarred, spilled, and scratched this week

You know that expression that claims bad things tend to happen in threes? Well, I’m not given to superstitions. I’m not into following patterns or clich├ęd expectations. Nevertheless, I did experience a trio of terribles in the past few days. Maybe you’ve had such unpleasant intervals in your own life.

First, someone rifled through some of my stuff in a spot where I’d expected it to be safe. Nothing was missing, but more than a few things were totally wrecked. The damage seemed to be perfectly pointless.

Next, I noticed some significant scratching on my car (see photo). I’m pretty sure I know when and where this happened, and I am earnestly trying not to connect the dots to the first incident. 

Photo by LAN/Heart of a Ready Writer. All rights reserved

If those two things were linked, it could point to something truly terrible.

Third, someone near to me has broken trust again. And, although that isn’t exactly an unexpected thing at this point, it’s still a whole lot worse than a couple of possibly random vandalisms.

You might say this whole series of disappointments has left me feeling sort of damaged, dented, and deceived. It would be easy to build a nest in the valley of unwelcome, unacceptance, and unforgiveness.

I’ve been wronged, worked over, and wounded. There’s no denying that.

And it’s left scars of various sorts.

But Jesus knows. My Lord understands scars (see Isaiah 53:4-6). And I believe He weeps – not just for me in my little season of momentary woes, but for those who certainly must carry so many deep hurts that they feel the need to harm others.

Although it may be tempting to take all of these dirty tricks personally, perhaps they really aren’t about me at all.

What sort of inner anger, pain, and shame causes people to abuse or misuse those around them? What force of wickedness draws individuals to make mayhem or misfortune for anyone else?

We know the answers to that question.

We live in a sinful and hurting world.

Sin isn’t just a list of evil deeds. It’s a disease that afflicts mankind (see Isaiah 64:6) and weighs people down. It divides us. It can make us feel agitated, angry, ashamed, cruel, discouraged, dissatisfied, envious, frustrated, greedy, grouchy, hopeless, insecure, lonely, mad, mean-spirited, miserable, overwhelmed, resentful, sad, scared, and even sick – whether we realize it or not.

People struggle under burdens they need not carry. They wrestle with guilt and shame and sorrow and regrets, maybe not even knowing relief can be found. So they sabotage others’ security, fly into foul play, demonstrate deceit, and create casualties (minor or major), simply because they cannot figure out how to unload the unpleasantness under which they stagger.

What might happen, if so many wounded people came to realize that God offers grace, forgiveness, peace, and freedom from blame and shame?

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2, NIV)

God help me.

Now I sit here with scars on my soiled and stained stuff, scars on my car, and scars on my spirit. But He knows, and He hears. He offers healing to restore my soul. And He promises to turn my pain into prayers, my irritation into intercession, and my suspicions into sympathy for those who struggle so severely that they cannot help but inflict their own inner injury upon others.

If I will let Him.

I think sometimes God sends a song that fits a struggle so neatly. Here’s an example.

From the song:

“Give me Your eyes for just one second.
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing.
Give me Your love for humanity.
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted,
The ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten.
Give me Your eyes so I can see.
“Give Me Your Eyes,” by Brandon Heath

Feel free to follow on GooglePlus and Twitter. Don’t miss the Heart of a Ready Writer page on Facebook. You are invited to visit my Amazon author page as well.