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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

No Wonder . . .

I ride a bicycle to work every day. I get to watch drivers in a unique way. I have the time to see what they are actually doing while they drive to and from work, back and forth to get their children from school, on their ways to pay bills or go to the grocery store and just going over to see friends. I watch them eat, talk and text on their cell phones, hold their dogs in their laps, read the paper, play musical instruments and smooch with their significant others. They rarely (like winning the lottery rarely) stop before turning on a red light. They must believe that a yellow light means that you hit the accelerator and that a red light is optional. They hardly look both ways before crossing an intersection. No wonder car insurance is so high.

I often eat out with my staff or just with my wife. It is one of the leisurely things I really enjoy. Most of the places are inexpensive- a little nicer than Taco Bell but way short or Ruth Chris. Most of the people who enter these restaurants are obese. Obesity is the cause for much of the sickness we have in America. No wonder health insurance is so high.

My wife works in a hospital. Many people are there through injuries. Some have led a healthy lifestyle but for some unforeseen reason are sick. Many of them are there because of smoking related illness. These hospitals have had to ban smoking on their property. Even the people visiting the patients couldn't go through a visit without smoking a cigarette. No wonder the hospitals are full.

My church is across the street from a high school. I see lots of fine young men and women in this high school. They give evidence of having studied and have a bright future. I also see lots of students whose main concern is Guitar Hero. They are not preparing for their future. Their hope is to work at the video store part time after graduation while still living with their parents who should have no say on how they live their lives. No wonder so many young people are being led by those who promise the biggest handout.

I am a pastor. Often people come to me for marital counseling. They come after things have gotten to the crisis stage. They didn't even know they had problems until one of the couple decided for a divorce. These people are often members of my church. I look at the problems in their lives and their sporadic church attendance. They say they come all the time but the records indicate that they come twice a month. That may seem like all the time but realize they are depending upon four hours a month to keep everything in their life in order. In other words, they are expecting 52 hours a year (if they come every other week) to affect the other 8,708 hours of their year. That's .002296% of their time which will affect the other 99.99771% of their time. No wonder marriages are in trouble.

Sure, people want to fix the problems but they don't see them as cause and effect. Why are things like they are? Is it the insurance companies fault that people are having so many car wrecks? Is it the restaurants' fault that people are obese? Is it the hospitals' fault that they are full? Is it the schools' fault that young people are purposeless in their lives? Is it the churches' fault that marriages are falling apart? No, it is the fault of those who have not taken responsibility for their lives.

People do not want to address problems where they lie. They want to fix problems without making people responsible for their own decisions. The first step in fixing a problem is to place responsibility on those who are the most responsible for the problem. 

I am a believer in grace. I say let's not kick the people for what they have done but celebrate their decisions to be responsible. God does not honor continued sinfulness. He receives sinners. To those who want their lives to be different I would say:

Drive responsibly. Stop doing things that distract you from the road. Obey the traffic laws as they were written.

Get in a program that will help you lose weight. You will need some significant help to accomplish something which took years to develop. Pray hard for God will help you do so.

Stop doing things which hurt your health. If you smoke stop. If you are getting too much caffeine cut back. Get into a program that will help. Cigarette addiction is a very strong enemy. See it as an enemy and go to your Heavenly Father with the problem. Get His help and those others who can help you beat the addiction.

Find your purpose in your life. God has wonderful plans and is willing to share them with you. I doubt it will be working at the video store. Pray that God will show you His plan and commit your life to it.

Make sure your marriage has a strong faith foundation. Yes, go to church but also include spiritual language in your daily speech. Pray together and live out the Christian life when you are not in church. It used to be said that the family that prays together; stays together. That has never changed.

Remember that God has a solution no matter how badly you have messed up your life. It may be that He will take you home to heaven to be with Him. It may be that He will heal you of your problems. No matter what, His way is the best for you. 

If you take responsibility and go to your Lord things will significantly change for your better. 

No wonder!

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