Posted in Family, forgiveness, life, loving others, Scripture

The Ding Doctor

Come, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are crimson red, they will be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18

Remember to keep your eye on the ball.  That’s a really important truth if you are playing baseball but if you are pulling into your garage…well, there’s more to it than that.

Several years ago I was coming home from work at the office.  As I was pulling into the driveway I noticed that my granddaughter Faith, who was only seven at the time, was playing in the garage.  Ever the careful Papa, I stopped to give her plenty of time to get clear of the car.  She was playing with her wagon and then moved the wagon out of my way.

Our my garage isn’t very deep, so I have a tennis ball hanging from the ceiling to remind me how far I can pull forward before hitting the wall. It’s a great idea…I probably need to patent it. So like a cruise ship captain I carefully began to dock the ship.  I had my eyes on two things.  First, my granddaughter Faith.  She was well out of the way, but again, you can’t be too careful.  The other was the tennis ball.  When the ball touched the windshield it was time to stop.  It was a great plan.  Almost.

You see, something had changed and I didn’t know it. Unknown to me, Faith had wrapped the cord that was holding the tennis ball around something and it moved the ball toward the wall and away from the car just about a foot.  So…I watched Faith—check. I watched the ball—check.  The one thing I didn’t watch was the wall.  Oops.

You can see this one coming. I hit the wall.  Now I was going really slow, so theoretically, I should have survived with little or no damage.  Well, theoretically anyway.  You see, before the wall was a hot water heat radiator.  I had figured that into the equation when I had hung the ball so no deal.  But, and it was a BIG but, sitting on top of the radiator was a leaf blower.  Now wait…don’t give me that look.  Don’t you store your leaf blower on top of your radiator?  Well anyway, when I hit the radiator, the leaf blower fell onto my hood—my nice shiny, dent-free hood and I gave birth to a nice, large ding—dead center and about a foot up from the front edge. Bummer.

Yup, bummer indeed.  There I was trying to do all the right things and ended up messing up big time.  You probably aren’t aware of this, but I am pretty particular about my car and that ding might as well have been the size of a moon crater. I was devastated. If that ding had been anywhere but the hood, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal but there it was—for all to see and ask about. Can you imagine explaining that one?  My once perfect hood was no longer perfect—and it was obvious.  That’s one thing about dings—they are usually very obvious—especially on nice shiny hoods. Sigh.

Did you know we have something in common with my dinged car hood?  Yup, we all have dings.  There’s not a perfect one in the bunch.  The Bible says “All have sinned…”  We are all “dinged up”.  As a matter of fact, unlike my hood which was perfect, we were born dinged. And not only that.  We constantly get more dings every day. We are like a ding factory. The question now becomes, “what are we going to do about it?”  One thing was obvious, I couldn’t fix that ding and we can’t fix our sin problem either.  So what’s the answer?  Well, I found the Ding Doctor.

My friend Terry told me about a guy who could get dings out of doors, hoods, or whatever. I went to see him and amazingly, with a lot of skill, he was able to make that ding disappear—vanish—like it was never there.  After he had worked his magic, I couldn’t thank him enough.  But I know something better than that. There is another Ding Doctor who can take care of our sin dings.  His name is Jesus.  No matter how big the failure, no matter how massive the sin—He is ready and willing to forgive us.  And when He gets done…well, believe it or not, you are “better than new”.  God says in the book of Isaiah which is in the Old Testament part of the Bible “Come, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are crimson red, they will be like wool.” How about that?!

Just saying, if you get a ding in your car, you might want to check out the Ding Doctor.  If you have managed to ding up your life, and remember we all have, you might want to see THE Ding Doctor.  There is not a life ding He can’t fix or a sin He can’t forgive.  If your ding looks like a total loss—don’t give up.  Trust me, He can take care of it.  He’s got this.

Posted in Family, Grace, gratitude, life, Scripture, thankful, travel

Mustang Sally

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.” Psalm 37:4

It was a dream come true.  Several years ago, I was invited to speak at a conference way up north in Illinois.  How far north?  Well just about as far as you can go.  It seems you could see the Artic circle from where we were going.  For some reason, it might have been the car was due an oil change or just because, I decided to rent a car for the trip. I checked the local Enterprise car rental and they had a great rate, so I booked one online.  About 4:00 pm I went to the car rental place to pick up my plain Jane little car and that’s when I found that God had sent a love note.

I went into the office and waited just a moment for the agent to help me.  She shuffled some papers around and said, “You know I don’t have a compact car to give you.  I’m going to have to give you a Mustang convertible instead.”  I couldn’t believe it.  I had wanted to drive a Mustang since I was 12. While I didn’t get to own it permanently, for three whole days it was mine. I felt like I had just won the lottery!

We finished up the paperwork and she handed me the keys.  I walked outside and there she sat.  A new Mustang convertible with all the bells and whistles!  I felt cool just holding the keys.  I mashed the button on the remote and lights came on and the doors unlocked.  I opened the door and slid into the seat and was pretty certain I had died and gone to heaven. One of the first things I noticed was the quality of this American made car. Things had certainly changed since the 70’s.

The Mustang had more incredibly cool gadgets than I had ever seen in one car.  Gadgets like an incredible audio system, totally cool wheels, auto/manual shift, backup camera, keyless entry and start and on and on.  It seemed that everything you could possibly want on a car was there. This thing was “tricked out”.  For those who don’t know what that term means, it is something like it was customized–loaded with options and believe me it was! Not only had God given me the car of my dreams for three whole days but He had sent one that was loaded!

Well, we made the trip and I played Mr. Cool the entire time.  Sunglasses, my best smile and the coy look that said, “Oh yeah, it’s mine.”  I just didn’t share that it was only mine for three days.  Just as all good things have to come to an end, on Monday my Cinderella Mustang had to go back to Enterprise. However, I will never forget the time that God sent me a Mustang to drive.  It gave new meaning to that place in the Bible where it says, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.”

Now imagine my surprise when I went to the Ford website and discovered that my Mustang wasn’t “tricked out” at all.  In fact, all those cool features were “standard.”  In other words, every Mustang had those features included with no extra charge.  How about that–buy the car and get the options–not some plain Jane, “let’s crawl to the next light Mustang”, but one that caused people to look…”a head turner.” Buy the car and get the cool throw in with the deal.  I can remember when the base price got you four wheels and engine. Not so anymore. Ford did a great job in the quality and what you got for the money–but not to the point I’m ready to go out and buy one.

Here’s the deal:  God trumps Ford hands down–not even in the ball park.   I sometimes wonder if we understand all that we get when we receive God’s amazing grace through His Son Jesus: unconditional love, peace beyond understanding, unlimited acceptance, an incredible purpose and reason to live, the opportunity to make a difference–to be a part of something so big that we can’t even understand it all.  And that is not just for the Billy Grahams of the world but rather for every believer, every follower of Christ.  Amazingly, that’s not even the tip of the iceberg!

Some people love to drop names—you know, they are talking and they will say how they know so and so.  Well, check this out.  If you know Jesus, you know the creator of it all.  And you just don’t know Him…you know Him up front and personal.  And His Father is your Father and He is your Dearest Father.  He just waits for you to talk with Him every day.  And He enjoys blessing you. Be sure and thank Him for the fact that the life He gives us is not barebones but loaded to the max.  You know, when God does something, He always does it well and does it big–how about that?

As you journey this week, how about spending some time celebrating and thanking God for His incredible, unbelievable salvation? And if you get just a tad overwhelmed—and honestly who doesn’t—just remember who you know and Who knows you.  You can rest in Him.  He’s got this.