Monday, September 26, 2011

Double Burn

I made a decision to return to school almost a year ago now.  Yes that would be a really good idea.  I gathered all my information and began the process of enrolling.  Next all I had to do was to wait for the fall semester to start.  It is now well underway and I have to say, it is quite the experience.  I enjoy meeting new people and learning new things.  I’m learning a lot about myself as well.  Things like how I budget my time and what is important to me.  I know you have heard that saying, “Burning a candle at both ends” before, well that is pretty much how I have felt.  I have been trying to figure out how to balance all my normal duties and then fit homework from four classes in!  It is a little tricky! 

As I was attempting to do my homework this weekend, the attempt was fruitless; a thought was brought to my mind.  God reminded me about being a candle and how we are supposed to burn.  Then a picture of a candle burning at both ends came into my head.  A candle burning at both ends would be even brighter.  We as human beings tend to think that burning our candle at both ends is a stressful thing.  What if we turned that around and looked at it from a different perspective.

"No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.” ~ Luke 8:16 (NLT)

"No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.” ~ Luke 11:13 (NLT)

We not only light our candles and lamps but we place them in a spot where it can shine the brightest.  It is placed high so that its light can be allowed to reach the furthest it can go.  Now what if that candle or lamp had another end to it that could be lit?  I know what the “burning the candle at both ends” means and that it will burn out faster.  What if we looked at it through a different set of eyes?  There are two ways I would like to explore thinking about this.  One way being; the light would shine so much brighter if there were another source.  It could reach further out than one source.  With God being the wax or oil that allows us to burn, we won’t ever run out of fuel.  The second way of thinking would be this.  What if we had one side burning bright for all the people we see regularly, even people we bump into from time to time?  However, what about those people that we might meet at a new time in our life?  There are season of changes in our life and new adventures arise and along with that comes new people as well.  These people may not be people you see every day but they are people that need to be able to see in a dark world.  What if we looked at our candle or lamp and asked God to give us another source for burning?  One for the friends and family we have already and another for the people that need a little more light.  All you have to do is ask God to help you shine brighter and He will provide the fuel for the continual brighter light.  Both ends burning for the glory of God!  What a thought! 

Challenge for this week. . .  Are you shinning bright for every soul that enters your life?  Are you reserving your light for only a certain few?  Do you have a desire to be as bright as you possibly can or are you content to just let a little light shine and call that good enough?  Do you light your light but leave it on the floor so that it can’t spread out into the darkness?  I dare you to give the “double burn” a try and see how God can move!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Don't just run to run!

Deep breath!  My heart feels as if it will beat out of my chest.  My water bottle is empty!  I think I need to get some new running shoes; these ones are about worn out.  I need to make sure I have the proper clothing to wear so I don’t over heat.  Training for this marathon is a lot harder than I ever thought it was going to be.  I need to make sure I understand the path to take or I am sure to get lost.  There seems to be many different paths I could take, how will I know what one is the right one?  Am I ready for this?  I better be because it has started and it is too late now!  I’m running a race that started about 26 years ago.  So I guess it might be time to check my gear and make sure it doesn’t have too much wear.

OK so no I’m not talking about running an actual marathon!  But I am talking about one that is way more important!  We all run!  There are times in our lives that we run faster than other times.  There are sometimes we decide it is time for a rest stop.  But the race is still going on.  When I was younger, I ran and I ran fast!  However it was in the wrong direction.  There were things that happened in my life that I didn’t know how to deal with so I ran from them.  Most of the time I ran right into another problem!  Boy that was smart now wasn't it!  It was just sprinkling where I ran from.  Now I am running in a huge thunder and lightning storm.  YIKES!  It got pretty scary to say the least.  Dealing with problems and issues are always hard.  We can find ourselves turning a blind eye to them sometimes in hopes that they will just disappear.  I don’t know about you but I do know that for me, it NEVER happened that way.  Thinking that I could avoid them only made them worse.  But I did run! 

The path for my race has taken many different paths from when I first started out.  Many I chose, some I let God choose for me.  Sometimes I wonder how far I would be now if I only would have allowed Him to choose the path more often.  We all have problems along our paths.  You still run no matter what you decide to do with those problems.  But I began to wonder what direction I was running in.  It is hard to continue to run to what we view as a problem but God views as a growing lesson.  I still find myself wanting to run from the “problem” and just not deal with it.  It would relieve the pressure and weight it adds to me while running.  If someone says or does something to me that I don’t like, sometimes I would like to not face it head on and deal with it.  Sometimes I wish I could turn a blind eye and say “Oh well!”  Then I’m reminded what God has said.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” ~ Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)

So we are to not only just run the race we are supposed to do so with endurance.  That means for the long haul.  There are things along the way that will try to trip us up.  If we make sure we have the right kind of running shoes, a full water bottle, and light weight clothing, we can do it for the long haul.  Don’t allow those issues in our path weigh us down so we get tripped up.  In the grand scheme of things is the issue really that big?  Scripture says that it “easily” trips us up!  So my answer to that question would be NO it isn’t.  Not if it easily trips us! 

So this is my challenge . . .  Do you still feel like you’re still training for the race?  Have you not continuously made sure you were fully prepared?  Have you allowed those little things easily trip you up and cause you to run in a different direction?  Are you scared of running where God wants you to run because of what He might ask of you?  Well I’m here to tell you that the training is over!  Get new running shoes on those feet and run brothers and sisters, RUN!  Fill your water bottle with strength from God.  Clothe yourself with family and friends that run with you!  Run this race with passion and compassion,  strength and love,  hope and reassurance, and most of all RUN with a lighter load!