Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Laughable Laws

Some people live by the motto, "Rules are made to be broken." I see this philosophy played out especially on the highways. For instance: Driving north on highway 75 through Sherman as you approach the downtown area there is a very conspicuous yellow sign accompanied by flashing yellow lights that directs all through traffic to merge to the left hand lane. Being a naturally-born rule keeper, I dutifully merge to the left and correspondingly decrease my speed as mandated by the speed limits signs. I traveled this route several times over the last month and almost without exception as I pulled to the left and decreased my speed others would pass me on the right. Warning signs and flashing lights didn't faze them - this was a rule to be broken!

At face value, this is a rule that seems to have no reasonable explanation for someone passing through our fair region. The right hand lane doesn’t close, there is no impediment, there seems to be no logical explanation for merging left when you have a perfectly clear right hand lane to travel in! However, if you have ever tried to enter highway 75 from downtown Sherman at that particular interchange you know exactly why the through traffic is directed to the left lane. The rule allows incoming traffic the necessary time and space to successfully merge into the flow of highway traffic. Given the limited merge lane, a free and clear right lane makes it much safer for all involved.

Here's my point - Even if a rule doesn’t make sense to you, that doesn’t mean the rule doesn’t make sense. Even if a rule doesn't make sense to you, that doesn’t give you the right to disregard that rule.

Christianity is much more than keeping rules, but let's admit it - God does give us a lot of rules. And at times, some of His rules may not make any sense to us, but simply disregarding them could be disastrous!

"Laws are made to be broken" is an extremely dangerous spiritual philosophy to live by! Just as some of our civic laws may not make sense, sometimes God's laws may not make sense, but simply disregarding them could be disastrous! As the saying goes, "Ours is not to question why, ours is but to do or die."

A board game my family played over the holidays has a category Laughable Laws -- crazy rules that seem to make no sense. For example, in Alabama, it is illegal to throw salt on a railroad track. In Massachusetts you're not allowed to keep a mule on the second story of any residence. These silly laws seem to make little if any sense, but I'm sure if research was done there was some logical explanation for them. Rules are not made without some rationale. Rules are not made just for the sake of making rules.

God does not give us rules and laws just for the sake of making them. God's laws all have some rationale, and whether or not we understand that rationale is no excuse to disregard them. God doesn’t make any laughable laws. They are all designed for our own benefit.

So when you see those signs accompanied by flashing yellow lights, do what they say! Someone's looking out for you.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Three CY's for a Successful New Year

As we begin a new year I hope all of you have resolved to make this year a year of spiritual growth. Here are a few tips to help that come to pass:

Make church, prayer, fellowship, and service a habit in your life. Rarely, if ever, does anyone reach a goal haphazardly. If you want to be more spiritual by the end of 2012 it will come as a result of a conscious effort. Jesus says in Matthew 7:24, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” We are influenced by the things we hear. Consistently hear the voice of God in your life and put those words into practice - making them a part of your life.

Don’t give up when you fail. You will fail, but God will always be there to get you back on your feet. God is a God of forgiveness and second (and third, fourth ...) chances. Listen to the words of John in 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” God will not give up on you when you fail, so why should you?

Be optimistic. Not only do we mess up, but others around us mess up and we often have to deal with negative circumstances. When plunged under the water of stress, problems, and doubt be a person who rises back to the top. During those times our hope is so critical. Always believe that with God things will get better in time. Hear Paul in Romans 8:28, 31: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”