Thursday, December 05, 2013
Not many spend much time looking in the rear view mirror while they're driving forward. Yet it is always good to check it now and then to see what's coming up behind you. I would also suppose that many don't consider looking backward as they plow forward through life. This can be a dreadful mistake. Did you know that history has a habit of repeating itself? A simple example of this is found in families. You've heard it said that fruit doesn't fall far from the tree; well this is a simple example of history repeating itself in families. But it can also repeat itself in our own lives. The problem is that we often don't look backward before we move forward. Confused? Let me try to explain. It is often said that our past is a good predictor of our future. Although this doesn't have to be so, it often is. Why? Let me simply that it is because we don't look at our past in a way that we can make course corrections for our future. Looking back over our pasts can be a great way of learning. The mistakes we've made, the attitudes we've had, and the behavior that we've exhibited can all be changed, if we choose to. Looking backward can be a way of reflecting on what our future may hold. We can have the opportunity to ask ourselves if we want to continue on the same path we've been traveling, or if we want to make a change. Change is wonderful, but we will also find that our old habits die-hard. Learning from our past means that we have to make a consecrated effort to change direction to get to where we really want to go. I've learned, and am still learning, that I have control of my destiny. Although it's true that I can't control what happens to me, I can control how I deal and respond to it. It's the same with my past. I might not be able to change my past, but I certainly have the ability to change my future. The choice is ultimately mine, but it will take looking in the rear view mirror as I go. By doing this on a regular basis we each will have a better chance of having a more positive outcome for our future. Think about it.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
I’m up early again this morning getting ready to head out for my third sailing lesson. I’ve always wanted to sail, but life and opportunity never seemed to connect. Recently I obtained a small sailboat and I found that a local sailing club was having a sailing camp, so I signed up. I’m learning some things that I never would have thought about had I not embarked upon this adventure. I’ve had canoes and kayaks, and I’ve ridden in powerboats. Each one of these can go where you want them to go simply by pointing them and applying power. This is not so with a sailboat. To sail you need wind and as I’ve learned from flying kites, not all wind is the same. Yesterday, we actually didn’t get to sail because there wasn’t enough wind. We would look out across the lake for wind lines but we couldn’t find any. Because we were on a 26-foot cruiser, we had an outboard to get us to where we wanted to go, but no wind. We didn’t catch any wind until late in the afternoon when we were heading back to the dock. When we have sailed, it is slow going. To catch the wind you have to angle the sail and ride a course which maybe at a right angle from where you heading. Always watching the direction of the wind enables the sailor to utilize the power of the wind to move through the water. As I’ve been going through this experience I’ve realized that sailing is like following God, you have to be observant to know the direction he is moving in. The Holy Spirit, often thought of as wind, is said to blow where he wills, to follow you will have to know how to read the signs. It also involves patience. Because sailing is dependent upon the wind, it’s direction and power will determine how you will proceed. One who is dependent upon God will also need to move in His direction and under His power to be successful. The problem is, we are often in a hurry and we want things done now. I’m learning how to read the signs so as to catch the wind. When I’ve read them correctly, I’m sailing. The same is true with following God. Are you reading the signs? Think about it.
I’m sitting at the dinning room table looking out the window on one of those bitterly cold northeast days. It’s snowing lightly and the wind is blowing. Although I’d like to go out with the dog for a walk, I’m thinking that it isn’t a good idea. They say that the wind chill factor is a bombing -15 below zero. It’s not my welfare I’m concerned about, but rather the dog. Seeing that I looked like a man with a lot of energy with no place to spend it, my wife graciously produced a honey-do-list, which further deterred the idea of a long walk. While contemplating where to start on my wife’s list I couldn’t help notice the birds at the feeder. Undeterred by the weather, the birds were busy gathering their food. Even the resident squirrel showed up to get his share. Inside the house the cat and dog were watching the activity outside with much desire. Fortunately there is a large sliding glass door that separates everyone from trouble. All of this activity and nobody seems to be concerned about the cold temperature outside except me, and I’m beginning to wonder what I’m so concerned about too. It seems that we all allow external influences to affect our choices. For example we look at the long range forecast to determine what we’re going to do next weekend. We listen to the news, be it the weather or not, and make many choices as to how we’re going to live. Often the reason people lock their doors is not because they’ve ever experienced anything but they’ve heard on the news that there are bad people out there that are looking for unlocked homes to break in to. It’s not surprising that people don’t trust others anymore. When I was a kid we didn’t have much news to influence us. We got up and did what needed to be done without concern of what the weather was going to be and if a boogieman showed up we dealt with it and moved on. Jesus said to focus on the Kingdom of God and don’t worry about all the other stuff, (Mt 6:33). Sounds like good advice in light of the world’s problems. Think about it.