In a Ditch?


When my niece was out on her own and my sister hadn’t heard from her in a while, she would call and ask her daughter if she was in a ditch. I can just hear her saying it! Thankfully we can laugh about it now because my niece was always found to be safe and well.

I’ve posed that same question to my students in the classroom many times over the years since. It seems each concept builds on the one before it. By missing class or not asking questions when they don’t understand, my students put themselves at risk of falling behind or getting lost. When that happens, they find themselves in a proverbial ditch! The more time that passes before they get the help they need, the deeper the ditch becomes. Without help, they find they can’t claw their way out. And so it is with life.

God has good plans for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11). If we stay close, He’ll show us the way. (I can just hear Pastor Dave saying “it’s simple, but it ain’t easy!” after writing that sentence.) God has no trouble keeping His end of the bargain. The problem is on my end. Perhaps you can relate.  Life is full of distractions and temptations that take my focus off Him. When I look down, I veer off the path. Without intervention, it isn’t long before I find myself in a ditch. The longer my focus is on the things of this world, the further I sink.

Are you in a ditch? I have good news to share from the Apostle PaulI am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 NLT)

I have this picture etched in my mind—I look up from the ditch and have to shield my eyes from the light radiating from Jesus. He’s standing at the edge of the ditch with an outstretched, loving hand, just longing to pull me out and put me back on the path to the hope and future that He has planned for me (Jeremiah 29:11). I just need to look up, fix my gaze on Him and reach for His hand. Can you see it too? He wants to do the same for you! If you, like me, are struggling to stay on the path, just look up. And then reach for Him.  NOTHING can separate us from His love.

May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. (Ephesians 3:18 NLT)


The Technology Challenge


“It’s only as smart as the person using it!” As a math teacher, I have uttered those words to my students on more than one occasion. There have been times when I have gotten downright frustrated by my students’ dependence on calculators. Often, any math sense they have is tossed out the window when they have a calculator in their hands. They just assume the calculator is displaying the correct answer without giving it a second thought. But what if they unknowingly hit the wrong key? Addition produces a different answer than subtraction. 94 is not the same as 49. Calculators are wonderful tools and certainly save us time; however, the beholder still has to supply the brainpower! And so it is with smartphones. What a great tool to have at our disposal, but if we’re not careful, we can easily lose our sense and become dependent on that too.

Based on my morning, I think I might be guilty! I have the Bible App downloaded on my phone and tablet and it is generally the first app I open in the morning. I am currently working through two different reading plans. The daily devotion/reading in the one plan was quite thought-provoking this morning. The gist of it was, “What if we consulted with God as often as we “consulted” our cell phones?” How many times do you check your phone/electronic device each day for emails, texts, the score of the game, the weather, social media, etc.? That’s what I thought. I DO have company! I am not saying it’s bad, but we can certainly end up with misplaced priorities if we are not careful.

After reading that devotion this morning, by the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I challenged myself to go to the Bible App, read His Word, and say a prayer each time I felt compelled to check my phone/tablet for whatever reason. Well, let’s just say I feel very closely connected to the Father at the moment!  So far I have been looking at verses that I’ve highlighted, bookmarked or created an image of in recent days. By rising to the challenge I have greatly increased my daily communication with God and the challenge is only 5 hours old!

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. (Hebrews 4:12 NLT)

Sustaining this challenge will lead to transformation, but will also require a conscious effort on my part. By getting into His Word, His Word will get into me.  The same is true for you. Care to join me in this challenge? I’d love the company. Pardon me for cutting this short, but I must go check my phone to see what messages my friend Jesus has for me!

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV)