Thursday, April 27, 2017

happy trails to you

The best tuners, the winning tuners, always seem to get more power from their motors somehow.  Skill, luck, experience, or a combination thereof, they do what it takes to win, to get that extra horsepower, and make it work.   But my friend Meredith tells me of a different type of horsepower, and the loving way she unlocked it.  Years ago when in high school, she rescued an abused horse, one that would let no man or saddle near him.  Beaten down, she decided she was going to rescue this horse and restore him, so after school she went to the barn where he was kept, released him into the corral, and would sit in the middle of it reading a book.  Not demanding of the horse, but just being there, quietly and kindly.  For over year, much longer than I would have lasted, this was her daily exercise, summer and winter, which can be brutal in New Jersey.  Until one afternoon, the horse came up and nuzzled her, he finally trusted her, and the relationship took on a new meaning.  It would still be months until she could put a saddle on him, but they grew together in love, the horse trusted his new master, and some time after would allow her to saddle him, and finally ride him.  It took years for the horse to trust, to be healed of abuse, but Meredith stuck it out, and the end result is miraculous.  That extra horsepower she was looking for, came down to one horse and one horsepower, only revealed, then finally released in love.  A horse whose spirit had been broken, trusted again, it had been saved from previous abuses.  Only love would change its heart, and that love can only come from a loving master who is willing to sacrifice the time and effort to see it through.
Many of us fall into the category of the abused horse.  Life has beaten us down, friends desert us, religion just burdens us more, and soon we withdraw, not trusting anyone, or anything, including ourselves.  We retreat to a stall, and go through the days in a trance, life has no meaning.  And then the spirit moves on us, the Jesus we may have heard about in Sunday school, or read about in the Bible becomes more than just a Sunday message.  As the spirit kindles God’s love for us, we see Jesus calling to us, but not demanding.  Offering love, coming down to our level, even if it takes getting down in the dirt.  Slowly all the hope we lost begins to come back, but a real hope not based on opinions, but on love.  Not on feelings, but of the spirit.  Words that before confused, now have meaning, deep meanings that cannot be expressed any other way but Jesus.  A love that loves you as you are, but doesn’t want to leave you that way.  One that may appear tough, but is really tender.  One that is personal, where you are not just another face in the crowd, or case number.  Jesus becomes real because he is real, and soon your life grows with him.  You nuzzle up close to him, and finally when you are ready, on goes the saddle, and the horsepower that was hidden is revealed.  You are a new creature in Christ, the old is passed away.  The saddle, the yoke of Jesus fits perfectly, and you look forward to the ride, and the next one.  Where will we go today?  And it will never end.....and we give thanks.
In giving thanks, we come face to face with reality.  We recognize God in the situations, and how his mercy calls us, his grace saves us, and the spirit guides us.  We find God is along for the ride, he is the ride, and the ride goes on forever.  Maybe not always the smoothest ride, but when we take his yoke, the saddle we have seems to fit better, we ride farther, and trust more.  Where once we were godless and all about ourselves, now we reach out to others as he has reached out to us.  We forgive because he has forgiven us, we show compassion because he shows us compassion, and we love because he loved us first. 
The groundwork that was laid before the beginning comes forth in our lives, and we are victorious.  We still face trials and temptations, but now we trust the one who saved us and loves us.  Love in the form of Jesus Christ is the panacea, and nothing else will ever satisfy.  It is in our total surrender that we like the horse get to know the loving master, and lives are changed.  If a horse has that much sense, what about us?  Isn’t it time to leave the barn and get out in the corral where the action is?  Where the spirit is calling, waiting patiently for our answer?  But do not be confused between waiting and delaying, we walk by faith, delaying the call can be deadly, and why would you not want to be at peace today?  Were, are the beatings that much fun you won’t give them up?
My favorite cowboy once sung “happy trails to you, until we meet again..” Leonard Slye, aka Roy Rogers today has his personal horse Trigger stuffed in his museum.  Trigger nor Roy ride anymore, Roy knew Jesus and rides in heaven.  Trigger was only his earthly mount.  Jesus took him home to heaven.  Today may the spirit guide you on happy trails that lead to Jesus.  As he sits waiting, don’t delay.  A ride like no other is waiting, and there is nothing like getting back in the saddle.  That search for that elusive extra horsepower may be right in front of you and you don’t see it.  Power not found nor shown on any dyno, only revealed through a loving God who wants to have his children back.  And gave his own son to do it.  So stop horsing around.....saddle up and ride.  Until we meet again...
love with compassion,

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

the ride is not measured in miles alone

Touring bikes have changed over the years, but then so have those who tour by motorcycle.  When I first started riding, it was BMW or Harley, an occasional Moto Guzzi, and the  bigger the better.  Then the Gold Wing arrived in 1975, and changed all that.  Shaft drive, 1000 cc, with Honda on the tank promising it to be reliable, the market changed almost overnight.  My friend Geno, who thought there was BMW and other bought one.  Vetter made Windjammers for them, and soon they morphed from 1000 cc and 4 cylinders, to 1200, then 1500, and now 1800 with six cylinders.  Weighing over 1000 pounds....add a plush animal, sound system, and enough junk from Kuryakin to make it personal just like everyone else’s, and yes, the touring bikes have changed.  Where once it was maybe add a windshield and some bags, most were bungeed on using Army surplus, to today fresh from the factory, color matched and built in.  Somewhere along the way what  touring bike is and was went astray.  But how about the riders...
It takes a special person to be a touring rider.  A love of the road, going places for the first time, eating local meals and crossing time zones and social barriers, and we do it on all types of bikes.  When BMW came out with the GS 37 years ago, the touring crowd laughed.  But they aren’t laughing now, they are riding them.  Fast, comfortable, long travel soft suspension, good handling, great mileage, and when the road stops you don’t have too.  And the Adventure bike was born, which I have been riding for over 13 years now.  Which now seems to be the standard long distance bike for touring.  From Triumph’s Tiger, Yamaha’s Tenare, Moto Guzzi’s Stelvio, and ones from Honda, Ducati, Suzuki, and even Buell had one, they are the ticket to ride.  Maybe best told to me by an old man we met in Silver City, who had ridden from Davis, California.  He didn’t need no half ton monster, he rides.   Amen to that.  Even more interesting is the fact many who ride Adventure bikes have Harleys in their garages, but never ride them.  Seems riding and cruising are two different things, if you gotta ask, you might not understand.  But the basic adventure bike too is growing in size, and weight, and with all the options available, you can build your own, making it a Gold Wing of a different sort along the way. Talking with those we meet on trips who ride them, we seem to know something the others don’t, and won’t listen to.  Adventure bikes are fun, are comfortable, and remind us of the dirt bikes we started on.  The hair may get grayer, the step slower, and the pace not as fast, but the rider never grew up.  You can sell a young man’s bike to an older man, but a young man won’t buy an old man’s bike.  Some quit riding because they got old, some got old because they quit riding.  How many miles of smiles do you remember and are you missing today? 
When some come to Jesus, that which is the beginning for them is the end.  They are saved, but never get the benefits of his Lordship.  They aren’t changed on the outside, maybe on the inside, and still live like hell, when he promises more.  I see many tested today who have filled churches forever, and crater under the weight of being tested.  They have never travelled with Jesus, only read the travelogues, and have the knowledge, just not any experience.  Like the line of black Harleys, or Gold Wings that all look the same, what they bought into is not what they got.  For any bike is useless until it is ridden, and grace and mercy must be experienced.  You think you can teach them, but you must experience Jesus to experience mercy, and grace.  Yet I hear the grumblings among denominations, who believe their church is the only one, and all else others, who fall short.  It has become popular to add a tag line to your church, but where is the spirit in it?  How many Christian lives have become overweight like touring bikes, putt putting around the neighborhood, claiming they own a motorcycle, when we claim we ride them.  They have superior knowledge, just not the relationship, and isn’t the relationship we sought from religion?  Didn’t we buy our first bike and others to go farther?  Has your religion become so burdened and overweight you don’t ride it anymore?  Do you ever wish to go back to the first time Jesus became real in your life?  Are you cruising when you are really seeking adventure?
Each denomination or church started out to do it better, different than the old one.  Looking back, do you look ahead?  Do you wish Jesus to be Lord, or are you just playing church?  Is the spirit guiding, or the church?  Have you confused the separation of church and state with the separation of Jesus and religion?  How have you influenced the world for him?  Maybe a quote by Bruce McLaren, who died young, a championship racer.  A time when auto racing was much more dangerous, and the monetary rewards fewer.  When his team mate died too young, he is quoted:
[On the death of team mate Timmy Mayer] “The news that he had died instantly was a terrible shock to all of us, but who is to say that he had not seen more, done more and learned more in his few years than many people do in a lifetime? To do something well is so worthwhile that to die trying to do it better cannot be foolhardy. It would be a waste of life to do nothing with one's ability, for I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.”
May I add to that knowing Jesus as Lord.  Do you call him Lord but not do the things he asks?  Do you fill a pew, is your life all about you?  Each time a racer steps into a race car, he knows it may be his last race.  Competition takes a toll on the body, and can be deadly.  So is religion.  Make sure you are buckled into the spirit, and that Jesus is your Lord.  To live for him is not foolhardy, and it would be a waste of your earthly life if you did nothing with the gifts he has given you.  Many have mastered years in the church, but never got out of it.  I rather brag on what Jesus has done in my life, the testimonies of achievement, that unless he was Lord would have been failures.  Maybe as touring Christians, sojourners we are called, travellers here just passing through, we need to adjust our ride.  We all need more adventure, Jesus never changes, it is up to us to change.  A marksmen is known by his aim, not his arrows.  Are you all about arrows or your aim?  Is your aim Jesus?
Motorcycling is still about the ride, the way you ride is your choice.  And what you ride.  Don’t forget who you ride with, that is the most important.  For riding, like life needs Jesus, and without him, you are an accident waiting to happen, for in this world you will have tribulation, that ought to build your faith.  Bet that one doesn’t show up in many Bible promise boxes!  But the truth is we will all die, and all unexpectedly.  Today may be your last ride, your last race, your last chance to know Jesus.  He who has an ear let him hear what the spirit is saying.  The ride is not measured in years alone....what will they say about your passing?  Better yet, what will they say about your life?  To live for Jesus is not foolhardy.  Life is an adventure, ride it.....
love with compassion,

Monday, April 24, 2017

next gas 80 miles

HEADLINE-4/24/1908  Jacob Murdock and his family embark on a trip to cross the United States in a car. Their trip from LA to New York City in a 1908 Packard "Thirty" touring car will take 32 days.
I can still remember my first trip across the US of A, and how big it was to this Jersey boy.  How the farther west I rode, the farther the distance between the cities, and how it became a game of survival at times making sure I had enough gas to get to the next station.  Which all came back tome this last week when riding in new areas of Arizona.  Suddenly I was that 21 year old kid again, with excitement ahead on new roads, and having to plan my gas stops.  Which cannot always be trusted by the freeway signs, as many exits claiming services only lead to ghost like stations where they once stood.  Which only become more important gas stops when off the interstates, and signs warning “nest gas 80 miles.”  I found myself filling up even if I only needed a gallon or two, because I was never sure if a town mentioned was even a town, or just an intersection, or even had gas.  For instance, if I had planned to gas up in Mule Creek, New Mexico, I would have found only a post office, a shed on a dirt parking lot under some trees, but with the ADA approved handicap parking area.   But no gas.  In Buckhorn, a friendly greeting, but no gas.  Same in Rodeo, a café, but no gas.  Providing extra excitement not found by those who travel only the freeways.  But the ride made it all worth it...
Before I-10 went through Arizona and New Mexico, US 80 was the route of choice.  There was no other.  Making a detour off the freeway to Douglas, it was 80 miles of beautiful country, very limited traffic, and no gas.  Stopping in Rodeo for a soda, was the only people we saw until Douglas, if you don’t count the Sheriff off the side of the road who waved hello as we passed at 85 mph.  A friendly wave, he must not see many people out his way.  But soon after, still miles from the safety of the interstate, when gas was only 40 miles apart, somehow we felt safer.  The world suddenly shrinking.  And after reading the news of this date about Jacob Murdock and his family, my mind wonders just what they thought, what he was thinking, and what dangers lay ahead for him.  No freeways, really no roads, the US highway system was still 18 years away, how did he figure his trip?  What did he use to guide him?  How man times did his family say “turn back?”  How many times did he think the same thing?  What possessed him to make the trip in the first place?  How did he get 32 days off of work?  And that was only one way!
There are so many people mentioned in the Bible what many emulate.  They even name their kids Bible names, hoping to appear stylish, or that their kids will be Godlike.  Maybe hoping it is a blessing upon them, but never realizing that to be a hero, you must do something heroic.  Or become a great sinner.  Not too many Judas’ found in churches today.  But how about Noah and Abraham?  Two famous men, but men who took great chances when trusting God.  Who both set out on trips they had never planned for, but took anyway, knowing only that God’s grace was with them.  No study guides, no road maps, no signs to warn of what was ahead.  They both went by faith, not knowing the where, the why, maybe the how, the when-now, and only the who to keep them going faithfully. 
How many times did Abraham wonder when his next rest stop would be?  He too was traveling across desert, uncharted territory with no map.  What if the next station was closed?  What if they had no gas?  What if?  I wonder how many times he asked “what if?” only to be assured by God to trust him, and not himself.  Maybe giving a new insight to Proverbs 3:5, and not leaning on your own understanding.  How many times did Noah want to give up, his Grandfather Methuselah just passing, and unable to go to him for advice.  Maybe he questioned God, “I’m 600 years old, I’m too old to start another career.”  Abraham seems young at 80 compared to him.  But he kept on, and we can only imagine the private conversations between the two men in the spirit.  Conversations not mentioned in scripture, for words could not contain the full impact or how personal they were to each man.  Words to encourage, to direct, to offer rest and relief.  Words from a loving father to two men that he would trust with his dream.  And who would make history.  That without them, the Jewish race and all of mankind would have ended.  And you worry about what?
When God orders our steps, they are not orders in the “do this or suffer the consequences” always.  When he orders them, they take shape, they have a purpose, and your trip will be well established.  With some trips, like our last weeks ride just for enjoyment.  A blessing from him, where we could see his handiwork, be guided trusting him, and spend some time alone with Jesus.  No wonder God invented motorcycles, and the roads to ride them on.  And for six days, three states, and 1800 miles, we had a time with Jesus not found in church.  We got to experience some of Abraham and Noah, out on the road, where the action is.  I had studied the maps, read about the roads, but until I rode them, could have never imagined the beauty of them.  A relationship with Jesus is the same way, reading about him, studying about him, memorizing his word is not bad, but nothing like knowing him personally.  To know his voice like Abraham did, and to trust him to guide you even when the map says different. To find grace like Noah did in the midst of the world, they were on the same road, just going the wrong direction.  They had to trust God so many times when their low fuel light came on, but he never failed them.  Nor does he us, the importance of walking in the spirit.  We do not know what lies ahead, for Abraham it was a family and then a generation that turned into a race.  For Noah it was the first time it rained, the first flood, and finally a dove, the spirit telling him the waters had receded, and dry land was ahead.  All because they trusted God....
Are you looking ahead to the destination but not considering the trip?  The trip is where Jesus is revealed, on earth as it is in heaven.  We are all on a trip, trusting being the best option for those who know Jesus.  Who else but Jesus would know when we need gas?  What road to take and the dangers ahead?  What things interest us and bless us?  If that spirit of Abraham and Noah has long faded from you, rekindle it again today.  The sign may warn of no gas, but God knows better.  In every situation, every decision today, we will get the opportunity to trust God.  To let his spirit lead.  With a word of let and toilet, two words only difference being an I.  Do you let God, or do you end up in the toilet?  Both Noah and Abraham let God direct.  What map are you following?  Does God lead or you?  We get to read about both men after, I wonder how the conversations with them would have been before or during?  We live during, what is your conversation?  To let God, or go to the toilet?  Abraham obeyed even though he did not know where he was going.  On our last trip we thought we did, the Lord made it better.  Travel with him today, trust his judgments for you.  If you call him Lord, do you obey, or look for a detour?  Jacob Murdock in 1908 took his family along.  So did Noah.  God gave Abraham one along the way.  The same way we are to make disciples, along the way.  We are all on the road to somewhere.....what do you do when the next gas is only 80 miles away?  And you are on empty?  What would you do in Abraham’s place?  Maybe if we read it as “I have a new and exciting ride for you, with blessings untold, and a future you won’t believe or cannot imagine,” would you go then?  would you leave it all behind to follow?  Would you pick up your cross after laying down your life to follow Jesus?  Well would you? 
No word from Mrs. Murdock or the life it must be lived.  The best rides are the ones ridden in trust.  There was a reason God calls it the Promised Land.  And still is.  I wonder, if Jacob Murdock after taking the trip still had the desire to travel more?  Probably, for like walking with God, one trip is never enough.  So many roads, so little time.  Only one Jesus. Who do you spend yours with? 
love with compassion,

Thursday, April 13, 2017

a bird that always flies in the fog is a dingbat

When interviewed about playing Archie Bunker, Carroll O’Connor commented it was easy to do, for he was just the opposite of Archie, and he was acting.  Based upon preconceptions, stereotypes, and prejudices at the time.  So was Archie Bunker really just an act, or was he more real than we would like to admit?  Looking back I wish I had paid more attention to the making of history than just reading about it now, but I knew many like Archie Bunker.  And sides of them that revealed a depth of character beneath the rough façade.  For Archie it was all about his family, as the name of the show attested to, All in the Family.  Edith may be a dingbat, but could be because she knew Archie would protect her and always provide. She saw his weaknesses as forms of love and never doubted his love for her.  It was Archie and the Archies like him that quit high school and enlisted in WWII.  It was the Archies that worked overtime to put food on his table, to provide clothes and a home for his family.  It was the Archies who when someone was hurt or out of work, were the first to reach into their pockets and help out.  Maintaining a gruff and complaining exterior, a tender heart hidden beneath.  It was the Archies who loved their country, and risked ridicule by openly admitting it.  He, they may sound prejudice, but the real prejudice was the elitest take on him, who never gave, but only took.  Who complained and never brought forth any solutions.  He wasn’t afraid to call a spade a dirty shovel if it was one, he was prejudiced, we all are, he wasn’t afraid to be who he was.  And because of that, we either hate him or love him. 
Then there was Meathead, who never contributed a thing, but constantly criticized the hand that fed him, that housed him, that gave him shelter.  He would get a degree, and become just another dark suit in the business world, but when his car needed fixing, or his bank wouldn’t loan him the money, Archie always came through.  One lived ideals, the other lived a life.  One had an education, the other had the experience.  One studied, one applied. One earned a paycheck, the other helped him spend it.  Maybe Archie wasn’t the bad guy O’Connor played him to be.  What may sound prejudice, and probably was, was truth we didn’t want to face up to.  So we made fun of it, condemned it, and pronounced ourselves above it all.  We would never act that least not where anyone could see.
In a strange way both Archie and Meathead represent the church of today.  One is outspoken out doing it, taking care of the poor, recognizing the truth of who people are and not being afraid to recognize a dirty shovel when they see one.  This church is more like Archie, streetwise and tough, yet compassionate and taking care of needs.  It respects God, honors God, and trusts God, and to the world appears uncaring, because it tells the truth.  Because it lives it, and because when things are needed, they are who we turn to.  They git ‘er done, they work the overtime, go after the one while the church of today brags on the 99.  The real church will never be rich, will never be famous, and will always be prejudiced against because it tells the truth.  The church I talk of is more like Archie, rough and loving, not afraid to stand up for what is right, and responsible.  Its values are based on and found in Jesus, and it relies on the spirit, knowing it has a job to do, and the message of the gospel is more important than the messengers sending it.  But the most important thing is Jesus, and not confusing the church for him.  This church isn’t perfect, but growing from within.  Meeting the needs of people, ministering to those who it encounters, showing no prejudice except for love.
Yet the first church of Meathead flourishes today.  They brag on numbers, on talking about social inequities, having meetings and agreeing times are tough, then heading of in their BMW’s in the burbs.  Looking good in public, they really are the extension of the Pharisees that hated Jesus, and made it rough for him.  They are religious, but have no love in them, checking Jesus at the door so as to not offend anyone.  They are the goats that Jesus came to separate from the sheep, really wolves in sheep clothing. They are the church that looks good, but made Jesus sick to the point of throwing up.  They are Meatheads, appear in all denominations, and while the real church is out ministering, they are still debating the location of the tomb.  Not knowing they are already entombed in religion and dead.  They are the goat smell in religion, confusing it for the fragrance of the spirit.  They criticize Archie’s church, but never lend a hand to help it either.  Its pastors hiding behind a pulpit, joining in with other like minded believers, and calling it church.  They are the dingbats, flying in the fog and not knowing it.  They smell like goats!  No wonder Jesus threw up!
So to all you short guys called Shorty, big guys named Tiny, skinny guys called Slim, and blondes called Whitey, we love you.  We only joke with those we love, because the others are so prejudiced, so insecure they don’t get it.  They forget the spirit, brag on their legalism, and hinder the gospel from going forth.  They have all the radio stations set to KWVE, memorize a verse a day, and have read all the pastor’s books.  Yet wouldn’t know Jesus if he showed up in their pajamas!  They forget that nicknames are a show of affection, reserved for those who love, denying even a basic relationship with man, let alone God.  Their perfection is their biggest flaw....
So maybe Archie’s church ain’t perfect.  Look at the disciples, the men chosen personally by Jesus.  He uses the fools to show up the foolish, and loves us all despite us.  God loves Archie Bunker so much he sent Jesus to die for him.  The evidence, an empty cross, and an empty tomb.  As opposed to an empty heart. 
“Didn’t need no welfare state,” nope we had the church.    “Everybody pulled his weight,” so pick up your cross and follow Jesus.  Get back to him today, and before they pass, know today is the day! Those truly are the days! 
For Archie like the gospel is simple so we get it, and free so we can afford it. Dingbats get it, how about you Meatheads?
love with compassion,

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

one afternoon in an off camber parking lot

From time to time I am given a bike from Triumph that has been a buy back under California’s Lemon Law.  Sometimes to confirm the complaint, sometimes to confirm the repair.  Last summer I was given a like new Tiger Explorer, the big one, with the customer complaint “it loses power momentarily under acceleration,” which the dealer couldn’t fix.  One quick trip around the block confirmed it, but liking the bike, kept it for 1000 miles, just to confirm it.  The problem was there was no problem with the bike, it was either the dealer, not uncommon, or the owner who will never admit to their failure.  But in fact, the bike was doing exactly what it was trained to do, when the traction control was on, and it sensed rear wheel slippage, it cut out power momentarily.  Something easily duplicated, even my wife’s Mustang with traction control will not spin the tires, but with it off, whoopee!  The owner didn’t know or hadn’t been told how the traction control worked, and had it replaced with another one of the same model.  Which will do the same thing!  By not knowing or being told or opening up his owner’s manual, he will be faced with another bike that is running as it should, and reacting as it should under the circumstances.  He will always fault the bike which isn’t the problem.  A lesson to all until it happens to you...
We were riding our new touring bike, a 2015 Tiger 800, and decided to ride up to Oak Glen for the afternoon.  Knowing it was a magnet for traffic and parking, we felt safe on the bike, knowing we can navigate where other cage bound drivers cannot.  And all went well until we encountered the off camber parking lot.  The signs were there, the rows of mini vans parked askew, funny how when one parks out of line, the others feel a responsibility to follow suit.  It was off camber, leaning the wrong way, meaning I had to park uphill against the hill, and it had pea gravel.  Any one could mean disaster, but together get out the iodine and bandages.  We had walked the ground after I felt I had parked safely, and when going to leave had underestimated the skill it would take in leaving.  Trying to balance the wrong way on little stones on two wheels is hard, going up hill is harder, and when the traction kicks in, you look like an idiot.  Every time my rear wheel would slip, the motor cut out, and every time it did, it seemed the viewing audience grew.  And after losing count of how many on/off and on again starts, I finally made it.  Switching off the traction control would have made the ride out easy, one burn out and off I would have gone.  A simple solution to a self induced wound and I know better.  Which was only compounded when reminded by Theresa “why didn’t you just coast down the hill and go out the other exit?” 
So beware of off camber parking lots, and people who think they know what they are doing.  Stupid know no boundaries, and is an equal opportunity employer.  Always looking for another victim.  Happens to Christians too, when we are caught off guard and react differently than we know to.  Or were trained to, or as we do in church.  We go along doing the things we are taught, assuming they are right, until faced with a situation, and react differently.  And of course, the accuser or well meaning brother would never have acted that way in a similar situation.  After all, he’s a Christian and has all the answers.  Sadly he never has been in a situation where he lost traction, at least that he will admit.  He attends the right church, drives the right car, listens to the right radio stations, has lunch with the pastor, has been to Israel, gives to missions, and his kids raised in the church are almost as perfect.  Perfection being his biggest flaw, for his life is not real.  And dealing with these idiots, sorry they are, until they face a situation where they cannot control it, and must trust God, are all talk.  They live an off camber life with reality, and miss out on the things of God in their ordered world.  They don’t suffer, and when others do they must be in sin.  Or out of fellowship, not in the word, or not studying enough to be approved.  God sees things differently, and in Malachi refers to the trials we endure as perfecting us.  As silver is heated, the impurities rise to the top and are skimmed off, repeatedly until the silver smith can see his reflection in the liquid.  The clearer the reflection, the purer the refinement.  It takes years in our lives to be changed, and only in death will we become perfect.  To those of us who cannot see clearly, it is refreshing to know our problems are working out in our favor, and perfecting us.  And why God has installed a spiritual traction control in our lives so that when we are about to skid off the road, we are warned, and saved.  But like cars and bikes, it can be over ridden or turned off, and we can skid and burnout when least expected. 
I find it even more interesting this was written some 1500 years before mirrors were invented.  Maybe if Lot’s wife had a mirror she might not have looked back.  But where you look you will follow, and we are going forward, losing traction and balance, but regaining it by God’s love, by Jesus’ forgiveness.  We fail, he never does, yet when we don’t get our own way, we try other sources to ease the pain, when all we have it already there for us in the form of the holy spirit.  Losing traction, life out of control, quit spinning your wheels.  God has everything under control, it is the throttle hand of your heart that controls how you react.  Too much brake or throttle, you stoppie or wheelie.  But power under control, meekness, allows a smooth take off, smooth acceleration,and better times, both on and off the clock.  You can be ignorant and not know, or know and still spin out like I did, either way you’re gonna crash sooner or later. 
In every trial you get a chance to experience Christ personally.  To be refined by fire, to have the impurities removed from your life.  I should have known better than to park where I did, and even should have known to turn off the traction control on the rocks.  Only in the midst of it did I remember, but I was out by then.  God will take you through the fire, the the parking lot, and show a way out you didn’t know existed.  All the time spending time with you that you wouldn’t have.  All things work together to those who love the Lord, and when Jesus is your Lord, you have fulfilled his purpose for you.  You now have the keys to ride with him.....
So don’t spend the time or your ride in just church or a parking lot.  Get out and live what you have been taught, to prove God right and all men liars.  To maybe lose control and fall back on Jesus, to trust him as you never have before.  Twist your spiritual throttle and see all the Jesus you can.  Read the book, address the problem, let God be God, and enjoy the ride.  Funny, I cannot remember anything else about the day, only losing traction.  Despite all my years of riding and skills, a momentary lapse of judgment almost cost me.  Don’t make the same mistake, learn from mine.  And foremost remember that after fiery trials, the silver is priceless.  Pure.  Or you can buy Tanzanite for a lot less....some only want the sparkle, they miss the time spent with the master craftsman.  Who does your life reflect?  You may be surprised when you look in your mirror.  Snow White was....if only she had  listened to the dwarfs....
love with compassion,