The Missed Opportunities of Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve

I’m going to screw this all up.  It should’ve been a better article had I not waited until midnight to write it.  I could’ve been in bed cuddling my two girls had I not wasted time earlier.  I would’ve been sleeping by now if I had made different choices.  We all do it, all day long.  The could have, should have and would have moments of life are all too prevalent in the back of our mind.  I could have been better.  I would have done more.  I should have accomplished more.

Missing cuddle time with my girls is tragic; it’s moments that I will never get back.  Feeling my little one’s fingers stroke my hair as she falls asleep is priceless.  It is a snapshot of time that will never happen again.  When you miss it, you miss it for good.

The same is true for missed ministry opportunities.  I could’ve had my quiet time today if I hadn’t slept in.  I should’ve talked to that person about Christ, but I was scared.  I would’ve volunteered, but no one asked.  When you miss these opportunities, you miss out on the best God has for you in that moment.

God is ever present (Psalm 46:1), always loving, freely giving of grace, hope, love, mercy and joy.  All you need to do is follow Him.  Follow him freely, openly and completely.  Say “yes” to every moment of every day.  Search for opportunities to serve Him.  Talk to the stranger you encounter about Christ.  Serve and give freely of your time and talents.  Seek and ye shall find.

Should’ve, could’ve and would’ve moments in your walk with Christ have eternal consequences.  Today is the day to seize the moment.  Today is the day to walk blindly in faith.  Today is the day to say “I am all yours God.”  Don’t miss the opportunities in Christ, you can never get these moments back.

Romans 12:11 – Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

John12:26 – Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.  My Father will honor the one who serves me.

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

1 Corinthians 13:13 – So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Forgotten People

Who are the forgotten people in your world?  Who are the people that you look past each day, the people who you don’t see?  Maybe it’s an elderly relative in the nursing home, or a coworker that you’ve never really talked to.  It could even be your next door neighbor.  We each have forgotten people in our lives.

Life is busy and life is full.  Too full.  Between home maintenance, job, kids (fur babies count!), relationships, church, God, and on and on, the list never ends.  There’s never time for Me much less anything additional.  But in the busyness, sometimes we don’t stop and look around us.  Who are the people surrounding us in our busyness that are lost, hurting, lonely, and needy?

Those people need someone who will take the time to stop and love them.  Stop and fill not only their earthly need, but also their heavenly need.  Maybe that means having your kids do an art project (checking the ‘mom box’) and delivering the artwork to the nursing home one morning.  Or maybe that means baking some cookies and delivering it to your neighbor.  It could look like you inviting your coworker to lunch.  Write down your favorite Bible verse on a scrap of paper and hand it to the homeless man with a five dollar bill.  Stay late after Bible study one night to hear the heart of a woman in your group.

There will always be hurting people in this world.  It’s not our job to fix them or solve their problems.  But it is our job to see them, to love them, and to share Christ’s love with them.  Look around you.  Look at the hurting people that you see.  Pick one, just one, and love on them today.  Then in a few days pick another and love on them.  Keep loving on people as Christ calls you for His will, for His purpose and for His glory in your life.

Hebrews 13:16 – And do not forget to do good and share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Matthew 5:42 – Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Philippians 2:4 0 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Matthew 5:4-10 says “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”

Photo by Ingo Joseph from Pexels

 

Waving Flag

Trophy Club is a small town in Texas located between the large cities Dallas and Fort Worth.  Yes, everything really is bigger in Texas.  Women’s hair is bigger, our trucks are bigger, our football fields are massive and anything that we do, we do bigger.  And to answer the big question in your mind, no, you don’t typically see people riding their horses to school, but you can’t completely rule it out either.  My 9 year old was just telling me yesterday about a man who got a traffic ticket for riding his horse down the road because he didn’t know it was against the city ordinance.  But that is neither here nor there.

In keeping with the tradition of “bigger”, our town has a large flag pole displayed prominently at the entrance to the town.  It has a large American flag which waves proudly at all times.  It is most beautiful at night.  I truly enjoy driving home late so I can enjoy it’s beauty.  There’s a large spotlight which shines up the pole lighting the entire flag.  The brightly lit flag against the dark night sky is just awe inspiring.  It is the contrast of light against dark, along with the bold proclamation of what the flag stands for, that humbles you.

Think about your life.  What do you stand for?  What values and core attributes do you have waving in the wind for the world to see?  What bold stance are you making?  Are you being light in a dark and fallen world?  Do you shine brightly in the night sky?

I encourage you today to proudly wave your flag for Christ for all to see.  Wave your flag at the top of the flagpole and rejoice for having the freedom in which you can proclaim the love of Christ openly.  Don’t blend in with the night sky.  Be lit up with the spotlight of love, joy, hope, mercy and grace for the hurting world around you.

If more Christians would hoist their flag, turn on the spotlight and be intentional with spreading God’s love, joy, hope, mercy and grace, imagine how different our world would be.  Be that change.

John 8:12 – Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Matthew 5:16 – In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

John 1:5 – The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 8:12 – When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 1:5-9 – This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.  If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Luke 8:16-18 – No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.  For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.  Take care then how you listen, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.  

Bent Pages

Recently a chunk of pages in my bible got bent.  It was in my bag, pages side up, and stuff was put on top of it which bent a bunch of pages.  The ugly kind of bent, not the pretty “I use my bible a lot” kind of bent.  Like right down the middle of the pages big ‘ol chunk bent.  I hate ugly bent pages.  Maybe it’s just my neuroticness (is that a word?) but it makes it look less valued, less desirable, less perfect, in my mind.

I’ve tried to make the pages flat again by setting heavy books on top of it for a few days.  Didn’t work, still looks all bent up.  I thought about the clothes steamer (and the iron) but was worried the pages would disintegrate from the water and heat.  My pages will never be the same again.  The chunk in the middle will always have the appearance of folds and bends and messiness.

My life is full of bent pages too.  Bad decisions, permanent consequences.  Lots of messiness.  Failures.  I tried so long to flatten the folds in my life.  Hide them, cover them up, pretend they didn’t exist.  Overcompensate because of my guilt, my shame, my fear.  It was a failure.  I wasn’t a failure, but my cover up, “I don’t want to admit my failures” was a failure.

Today I stand before you free.  Free from the guilt of divorce.  Free from the shame of a child out of wedlock.  Free of fear of what others think of me.  God set me free.  He gave me hope in a new life.  He gave me joy in his everlasting love.  He gave me mercy in salvation through Jesus Christ his son who died on the cross for me.  He gives me grace in His daily blessings in my life.

You can have the same freedom, the same grace, hope, love, joy, mercy.  Turn the pain over to God.  Literally hand it over to him.  Fall down at his feet and surrender all.  Your pages will never be unbent but they will be made perfect in their imperfection.

2 Corinthians 3:17 – Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

John 3:36 – So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Galatians 5:1 – It is for freedom that Chris has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Acts 13:38-39 – Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.  Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.

Isaiah 61:1 – The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.