Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I have two friends, Matt and Sarah, I call them. Having done a lot of traveling in my missionary work in the last few years, I met Matt on the internet. He was my early guide to discovering how to get to particular places I’d never been before, even gave me the miles and travel time to get there. I called him MATT QUEST. Get it! Anyway he was always up-to-date on the best way to get where I was going. He was connected!

My second friend was Sarah. I met her first at Walmart, in the electronics department. Actually, I never met her, just heard her voice. She also had connections, but once we “met” she operated solo based on her education to that point, and was exclusively my personal guide. I continued to seek counsel from Matt in my pre-journey planning, but enjoyed the connection with Sarah during the journey. Frankly, at times her voice kept my “road-hypnosis” at bay, thus keeping me alert.

One of the things I discovered after some time was the fact that Matt and Sarah sometimes did not agree. Having printed out a copy of Matt’s directions, then comparing them with the moment-by-moment vocals from Sarah, major discrepancies occurred. These times were signaled by a crisp and very deliberate tone from Sarah:


This would be accompanied by a visual map on Sarah’s visually projected screen which I had attached to the center of my windshield for easy viewing. She would display an arrow indicating I had missed a turn and must turn-around at the first opportunity. The longer I delayed in doing so, the more she would repeat the command, until at last she would relent and formulate a new route to my intended destination. I confess that sometimes I purposely would ignore her instructions out of my own desire to continue on the road we were using, either because I had some prior knowledge of what I wanted to do or was following Matt’s provided hard copy.

Having seen the maps Sarah would display, I noted that at times when a very new road had been opened since our guide/driver relationship began, she would have my vehicle imaged out in the middle of a field. I quickly realized that I needed to provide for her some updated training on current conditions. This, in fact, continues to bring Matt and Sarah back into close alignment as they guide me into the unfamiliar.

About the relationships I’ve described there are two things that continue to amaze me. Matt’s ability is becoming much more understandable with the computer age and its ability to chart and produce the stats that it does, so my amazement here has settled somewhat. Now Sarah’s has a degree of complexity that still is mind boggling. While driving, she knows exactly where I am at any one point, regardless of the presence of a road or not. I’m told that she is CONNECTED with a mechanical entity above called a satellite, and that this orbiting device and its “partners in space” send continuous signals to Sarah and her many “partners on earth” to keep each of their “charges” instantly aware of their placement and surroundings. That totally causes my head to swim.

MY CONCLUSIONS: First, Matt’s value is in the pre-planning and determining the where and when of my journey. For this I need to make focused and deliberate decisions. Everything from fuel to arrival requirements is involved, in addition to any stops or purposes along the way. Having made all of these decisions, I take Matt’s map in hand and begin.

Secondly, as I begin the journey, I give Sarah information regarding my destination and any of the stops along the way. I then give her the “GO” to connect with her sky partner. Of course, prior to the journey, I give her lead to update her knowledge of the current lay of the land. I then trust my guides to keep me on track.

Now, recently, I’ve been seeing some advertisements that, gratefully, don’t apply to my ability to trust Sarah or Matt. Have you seen the one an insurance company uses to describe one man’s “Sarah” named “Mayhem”? Unlike Sarah’s unswerving attention to correct instructions, this one takes delight in giving wrong directions and putting “his” charge in jeopardy. His RE-CALCULATING is totally a LEFT TURN!


FIRST, you and I are engaged every day in a journey called life. This trip both requires movement toward a definite destination, as well as, moment by moment stops and routing to get us there. Decisions are needed that must be based upon TRUE information from a GUIDE that is completely trustworthy and will help us plan toward the goal, and do so with proper personal health to meet the requirements of the destination. HEAVEN and relationship with GOD is the goal, and life’s journey is to prepare and make the trip, using the RIGHT directions to keep us fit for the destination. Our “MATT” for our journey is GOD THROUGH HIS HOLY WORD, THE BIBLE! There is nothing more updated on all the routes and dangers that lie ahead, along with the resources needed to cope with the twists and turns we will encounter. We must TRUST it completely, however. Picking and choosing only those easier WORD directions, and going-off on our own whims and ignorance will only confuse our route and lead us to dead-ends and life “time” wasted side roads that will only weary and frustrate our journey.

SECONDLY, our journey’s moment-by-moment progress has not only the foundational map but a completely present “SARAH” to give us the necessary turns to keep us on track. This Sarah is GOD THROUGH HIS HOLY SPIRIT. This GUIDE, too, is CONNECTED to that which is ABOVE, higher and more perfect than even the best of satellite computers. By this connection, GOD, Who is constantly in touch with us and everything that is before us, is ever with us, giving instruction and directions. And never fear that GOD will use tactics of deceit like “MAYHEM” (i.e., the Devil), who is a constant threat to try to lead one’s journey into danger, and this is the reason one must keep to the leading voice of the HOLY SPIRIT Guide. Trust this HOLY GUIDE, for He will lead you into all truth. John 16:13f records Jesus’ words about the Holy Spirit, “…when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”

One final thought. There are times when we do and will fail to follow our “SARAH’s” counsel, and even “MATT’s”, as well. When we do, and we are on a path that was not their counsel but our own decision to depart, we will not hear an audible “RE-CALCULATING! TURN AROUND!” For on the road of life there is no retracing or redoing a journey past. No turning back the hands of the clock. That path is now not open to us! Our need is to recognize we have sinned, have departed from the way that is true, and confess it to our GUIDE, Who in turn conveys it to Our Lord Jesus Who stands to intercede with GOD, THE FATHER in Heaven. Instantly, a “RE_CALCULATION” will have already been made, giving us the best new way available in our life journey. And note this, it will ALWAYS BE A RIGHT TURN!

Be encouraged, fellow travelers on THE WAY!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


This photo I took while on my trip to Israel last March.  I was visiting the site of old Caesarea on the Mediterranean coastline.  Amid the ancient structures of this city where Paul the Apostle was a prisoner, judged and then sent to Rome, I found several flower gardens.  There I found what I was later informed was a Bergeranthus scapiger, one of the many kinds of stalkless mesembryanthemums, succulent flowering plants that do well in that climate. (I did think it interesting that my last name appeared in the middle of the latter term.) As I walked this particular bloom caught my eye, and I had a opportunity to capture this Israeli BEE at his appointed task.

Now, Shakespeare’s Hamlet soliloquy did not have the insect in mind when he penned those famous words “To be or not to be”, but perhaps the BE he referred to can be seen in the very existence of the tiny BEE itself.  I confess that the picture I have used was taken, not to illustrate my thoughts in this blog per say, however, it serves to launch them, nevertheless.

Actually the BEE itself reminds me of the Bee Movie that I watched a while back.  Let me give you a brief synopsis of the storyline.  Barry, a young bee of the in-hive working class, having graduated from college, now considers his options.  Against his traditional parents, his dream is bigger than even his physical attributes would allow, and he sets out to discover where he belongs and where he can make a difference.  In short, he leaves the hive, encounters the taboo world of interacting with people, and discovers that humans have been stealing bee honey for ages without any payment considerations. Drawing upon his education, he sues humanity for damages and wins for the bees a monopoly on their product.  The results: the stock of honey grows to the point that the bees retire.  This creates a world that speedily loses its agricultural reproductive cycle and comes to the edge of ruin.  Barry, who’s earlier victory for the bees precipitated the collapse, now turns his attention to reclaiming what he has learned is the truth about how the world must operate and his BEE-part within it.  Together, a cooperative of human and bee “being” is re-established and the world is saved.  Finally, Barry discovers his new role of being a part of the army of necture gatherers.

Now, the application from this “B-movie” and my “B-photo”: Shakespeare’s quote almost fits the typical teenage mindset today. 

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them…”

Like Barry the Bee, the matter of BEEING or BEING to not only the young but young at heart is a question that is troubling.  Strong emotions push beyond patient waiting to consider one’s true identity and place of worth upon this complex factory called Earth.  Considering why we were made falls in sad second place to the more exciting draw of myriads of DOING choices, and the even more tempting HAVING ever more of the tangible stuff that causes the eyes to sparkle with want.

Unsatisfied with BEING A BEE, Barry wanted the experiences of spreading his wings before he even realized why he had them.  His journey led him to things he found pleasurable and through these he came to some wrong conclusions about what his life was all about.  True enough, he thought there was injustice regarding the ownership of the honey and tried to brave the system to correct it, but in so doing almost destroyed the very thing that gave his fellow bees their purpose for BEING and ultimately, their DOING, as well.

In your hast to push the experience and possession envelope a little farther, have you sometimes failed to weigh the primary matter of who you are and how that impacts your world for good or bad?  I call that “getting the cart before the horse”, to coin an oft’ quoted phrase.  Take Barry, for instance.  He is a BEE who’s BEING is BEEING.  He is part of a cycle of life that produces honey in such abundance that it is more than the bees themselves could ever use.  It becomes the delightful sweet of life – even a healthy one at that – that feeds man and beasts like the relatives of Yogi Bear.  And in the process of performing that sacrificial act of service, the pollination of the world’s vegetation keeps the whole system in order.  That’s BEING to be proud of with DOING that grows out of it, not the other way around.

Another thought surfaced for me from the “Bee Movie” before I sum up and close this blog.  Barry’s search in the movie writer’s mind seems to have begun with a dream to do something different.  Nothing wrong with dreaming.  For many it is the impetus for pursuing excellence.  Let me borrow another phrase from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, just a few lines down from the quote’s beginning.

“To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life…”

In Barry’s mind he saw an unfulfilled dream wasted on an “eight-to-five” factory job that he was “promised” that he would have for the rest of his life.  That flies in the face of everyman’s dream.  Stuck without a way to grow does not appeal to anyone I’ve met.  I empathize with Barry, however, the difference in his dream’s perception is not understanding that even an “eight-to-five” BEE can find fulfillment DOING what his BEING says is right and makes a difference in the world.

On the matter of BEING, consider Shakespeare’s lines which refer to death as an end to the heartaches of searching for purposeful life.  He refers to death as sleep, and in that sleep, “perchance to dream”, and dreams, the state of BEING in the afterlife.  Indeed, it should make us “pause”.  Truly for the Christian life is to BE first a matter of BEING, with DOING as a very real overflow of who we have discovered ourselves to BE.  In this way, our future life with the One Who Created us in His image will reflect more of Who He IS than what we have DONE to make ourselves worthy. 

Paul gives us a further word of BEING challenge in Philippians 2:5 when he wrote “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”  Oh, how much better our lives would be DOING if our minds would BE so indwelt!

BE encouraged, my friends.  TO BE IS THE ANSWER!