The Bus Stop is a series of true stories about my life, people I've worked with and events I've experienced. Of course the names have been changed. I hope these stories will brighten your day with a few laughs as well as give you encouragement. Hopefully you can avoid making some of the mistakes I've made and if you have already made them, then you can identify with me.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Who Shaped Who?

The woodworker draws up plans for his no-god, traces it on a block of wood. He shapes it with chisels and planes into human shape—a beautiful woman, a handsome man, ready to be placed in a chapel. He first cuts down a cedar, or maybe picks out a pine or oak, and lets it grow strong in the forest, nourished by the rain. Then it can serve a double purpose: Part he uses as firewood for keeping warm and baking bread; from the other part he makes a god that he worships—carves it into a god shape and prays before it. With half he makes a fire to warm himself and barbecue his supper. He eats his fill and sits back satisfied with his stomach full and his feet warmed by the fire: "Ah, this is the life." And he still has half left for a god, made to his personal design—a handy, convenient no-god to worship whenever so inclined. Whenever the need strikes him he prays to it, "Save me. You're my god."

Pretty stupid, wouldn't you say? Don't they have eyes in their heads? Are their brains working at all? Doesn't it occur to them to say, "Half of this tree I used for firewood: I baked bread, roasted meat, and enjoyed a good meal. And now I've used the rest to make an abominable no-god. Here I am praying to a stick of wood!" Isaiah 44:13-19

Some of you may think this is ridiculous in this day and age as much as I did, but this is a visible example of what we all do. We may not make idols to worship, but we do try to create God in our own design.

There are those who want to believe that God will make them rich, He could not be a God of love and send people to hell, He is not concerned with our behavior, God encourages adultery, and God isn’t concerned with drunkenness and brawling or many other areas that we have shaped God in our own image. I know you’ve heard the humanistic rhetoric that god is however you see him or what you believe he is. Many look for churches that don’t frown on some of their sinful behaviors. Of course none of these beliefs are based on scripture.

“Remember these things, O Jacob.
Take it seriously, Israel, that you're my servant.
I made you, shaped you: You're my servant.
O Israel, I'll never forget you.
I've wiped the slate of all your wrongdoings.
There's nothing left of your sins.
Come back to me, come back.
I've redeemed you." Isaiah 44:21-22

Many of us are guilty of trying to create God in a manner that makes us feel better. When we know the real truth of God, we don’t need anything else to make us feel better. When we see Him as He really is we can’t help but feel better.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Well Done

No, I’m not talking about how you might like your steak. All of us love to hear those words after we’ve done a good job at something whether it was at work, a performance or maybe just being a good parent. Can you imagine one of your children telling you this? I know it’s up there with fantasy, but we can hope.

Since early in my life this scripture has stuck in my heart. “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21 To this day it still rings in my heart. These are the words I long to hear from my savior.

I do want to use the talents, abilities and gifts Jesus has given me for His purpose and not my own. It’s easy to use those things which are actually His to edify and glorify ourselves. It could be anything from singing, making money or any other talent or ability we have.

We all need to realize that we will all be standing before our Lord someday. What will He say to us? Are those words important to you?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Where's the Towel

I spent most of my life confused, not knowing what I was doing or where I was going. I felt like the marble in a pinball machine bouncing from one thing to another and finally going down the tube. I’ve grown up in church since I was a baby and accepted Jesus at an early age as well. Then I spent most of my life feeling less than and not good enough.

I would go to church camps and seminars and would come home recharged and ready to take on the world because I had been revived and energized only to fall flat on my face in a couple of weeks. I would have a Bible reading and prayer time and memorize scripture by the chapters hoping it would help because the Bible said, “I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11 I just couldn’t seem to get it right. So I would throw in the towel and give up thinking I was just too stupid to understand or I was just too bad of a person to make it.

Over time I would be revived again and take another run at it thinking maybe this time it would be different, but even though I might make it a little further down the road I eventually threw in the towel and gave up again. Each time I felt a little worse than the time before. Guilt had me weighed down so heavily I couldn’t even get up this time. I did a full sprint away from God and went to a place that was horrible. I ate some bitter food.

Then in June 2000 God drew me back in gently revealing things to me I never understood before. I actually started getting excited again and coming back to life. Then in May 2003 God opened my eyes to see Him as He really is and not the lies I had in my head. It was amazing. I later understood that Jesus never left me, He was just waiting for the right time.

During this time of growth all those scriptures I had memorized earlier in my life had started to make since. They would come to me at certain times where God would explain them to me in a way I could understand. I was still skittish as an abused dog and many times I would get scared and start to throw in the towel, but Jesus would carry me on threw. This happened frequently.

The Lord has taught me so much in these past years and it has been so amazing. What really amazed me is I had even forgotten about the towel. Wow! I don’t have one anymore. I’m not saying that I can’t fall again. I’m saying if I threw in the towel I have no where to go but back to where I was and I assure you I don’t want to ever go back there again. It would be like living in a comfortable house in the desert where I had food, drink and air-conditioning and to leave it would mean crossing the desert of 120 degree heat and 1000 miles away from anything. It was a horrible place and no matter what struggles I have now they can’t compare to living a life without God.

The problem I had most of my life was trying to serve God in what I thought was the right thing and in my own power. I thought I had surrendered to God, but I couldn’t surrender when I still had my own desires and plans. It was only when I had nothing left and was flat on my face and cornered was I finally able to surrender. This is why I like to work with people that are over 40. It took this long for me to eat enough dirt and try doing things my own way before I really gave up. I had made a real mess of things.

A verse that really touched me and it still does today is, “And they shall know the truth and the truth will set them free.” John 8:34 When I started realizing the truth the more freedom I received. If you are still confused and want to give up it means that you haven’t found the truth yet. However, you do have to seek it.

I was feeling a little sorry for myself this morning feeling like I just don’t seem to fit anywhere. I’ve had several health problems and still do and so I feel trapped. I felt like God had turned His back on me and really doesn’t have any use for me any longer. I felt like He had set me on the shelf and all I have to do now is wait to die.

It’s times like this is when we are really tested. As long as things are wonderful and going my way I don’t have to trust God. It’s when things look bleak is when my true character stands out. Do I trust God or not. All I have to say is that God has brought me this far and I want to go all the way. I’ve attached a song that God brought to me this morning and I wanted to share it with you. It’s called, “Time to Trust.”