HEATING THINGS UP!

It is that time of year; the heat is on; not only the heat of summer, but the heat of the championship races. Over the next few weeks things come into focus and start to sort themselves out. When we face the heat how do you respond? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Racing has its way of sorting things out, the pressure cooker of summer determines who has what it takes to withstand the heat and position themselves for the stretch run. The teams that can make it through the heat without wilting are prepared to finish the race. I always look to this time of year for an indication of who is prepared to persevere.

We need to prepare the same way in life, we will face pressure and heat. How well we prepare indicates if we will persevere. The writer of Chronicles gives us some guidance toward that. Here is an Old Testament passage that will help.

 2 Chronicles 7:13-16; “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

Let me provide a little background to this passage. Solomon, David’s son, had completed the temple of our Lord. God responded to that completion with these verses. God explained that when we face difficulties we need to come into the house of God, kneel before his throne, confess our sins and pray with all our heart.

God promised to always be there, to see and listen when His people come before him and show him the respect He deserves as God, he will hear and heal.

Where do we turn when the going gets tough? Where do we go for answers when the questions are beyond our understanding? What do we do when we realize we have no control over the situations of our lives? There is only one place to turn, we must come before God and seek His direction.

The great thing to remember is that if we come before God with humility and seeking forgiveness, He will hear and heal. That is His promise and He has the power and authority to keep it.

So how do we respond when the heat is turned up? Here is an illustration that can help see the different ways we can respond. Which one most reflects our tendency?

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma.

The daughter then asked. “What does it mean?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity—boiling water—but each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a soft heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my outside look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another lever?

How do we handle Adversity? Are we a Carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

2 Chronicles 7:13-16; “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

A GENTLE GIANT- This past week saw the passing of a true gentle man Johnson Jones. As I reflected on his smile and genuine love for our sport I lamented not taking the time to sit with him for more than a few minutes. We all seem so busy but when someone leaves us we realize maybe we should have made more time.

I was reading Richie Pallai Jr’s comments about his relationship with Johnson and I realized I missed something. I missed an opportunity to know better a man who fought through health challenges to be with the family he loved, racers.

We will miss his presence, the grace he had in spite of his difficulties and his smile. We will miss his knowledge of many racing facts. We will lament not making more of an effort to truly know Johnson.

We will however have his memory and the influence he brought, his desire to treat people with respect and be happy with the opportunities we have been provided in spite of the obstacles. Godspeed my friend.

Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.

1.8.2016
 

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