The thing that spooks me

I’m not a huge fan of Halloween.

In fact, I’m usually glad when October passes and we begin to look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas—my favorite holidays. 

There is one thing that really does spook me about Halloween: the fact that it seems to roll around a lot faster these days. 

I’d always heard . . .

People who have seen their fiftieth birthday and beyond are probably agreeing with the last statement I made, while those in their thirties and forties might not. I’ve always thought it is so odd that when people reach a less-scheduled, slower time of life it seems like time flies on a Concorde jet. (And that illustration is probably only for the people old enough to know what the Concorde jet was.) 

It seems like the passage of time should slow down when we slow down, not the other way around. A friend told me something that I won’t forget. She and I both love to travel and see new things. She said she had always heard: 

The decade of the sixties means “go-go.”
The decade of the seventies means “slow go.”
And, the decade of the eighties means “no go” or “rarely goes.” 

Traveling is going to be high on my list of priorities! (Yes, that is a hint to my age!) I just think it’s important to use our “fourth quarter” to win the game. 

When I sat at my dad’s funeral, I remember thanking the Lord because I had few regrets. It is an important standard for my earthly life and my spiritual life. 

Good advice should be followed

Wisdom is hearing good advice and taking it! 

As you read these words, I’m on a plane, returning from a wonderful time in Vermont. The leaves are just beginning to turn in the mountains and hiking the beautiful trails was an amazing experience. I have a lot of pictures that I will want to keep. 

As I hiked the trails, I couldn’t help but appreciate this good advice from Scripture too. James was the half-brother of Jesus and probably became the leader of the Christian church in Jerusalem after Peter was forced to flee. What would it be like to have grown up with Jesus as the older brother, worked with him, been upset with him in public, and then later learn that this person you had known your whole life was the long-awaited Messiah? 

I imagine James had his share of regrets over a few moments with Jesus. 

In the letter that bears his name, James gave Christians some great practical advice. He said, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:13–15). 

I sometimes wonder if that was advice Jesus had given his younger brother during their growing-up years. 

Why is it we naturally look down the road making plans that often don’t come to pass? I don’t think James was suggesting we don’t have goals or dreams. Instead, James was saying that we should all be abundantly aware of the fact that walking closely with God’s Spirit doesn’t include a five-year plan. 

In fact, I’m not sure it includes a five-day plan very often! 

Our life is an ethereal mist

Halloween gets one thing right. Have you ever noticed when Hollywood wants something to be scary it usually occurs at night, with a heavy fog or mist? That’s practically biblical! 

James said our lives are just a mist that appears for a little while and vanishes. He wasn’t meaning to scare us but to teach us how much we should value every day. 

James wanted us to know that the most important use of our time was to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that” (4:15). I’m glad it was the Lord’s will for Jim and me to hike the mountains of Vermont and enjoy the beauty of the changing season. Nature is truly one of the most elaborate displays of the greatness of God. 

Seasons change and so do the pages of our calendars

This is a short blog post because, well, I’ve been on vacation! I’m in the “go-go” decade of my life, and I plan to follow my friend’s good advice. 

I hope I will follow James’ good advice as well, for the rest of my life. The seasons come and go. In fact, they are beginning to come and go more quickly every year! I do want to enjoy every moment of my life until the Lord chooses for the mist to become my life eternal. 

Until then, if it’s God’s will, I’m going to live, work, and travel according to whatever plans I make that God can honor and bless.  

The changing seasons are our constant reminder.

God didn’t have to create our world with changing seasons. He didn’t have to cause the leaves to turn glorious colors and then fall to the ground. The trees will be bare until, once again, the leaves bloom in the spring.  

God created this world as a reminder that we are always moving forward. Time is always passing, and our days on earth are passing.  

The key to living this life well is to take James’ advice. Make plans, do “this and that,” and allow God to interrupt and redirect our lives at any moment. He is Lord. His will is for us to accomplish everything he has planned for our earthly lives—so that he can fully bless our eternal life in heaven. 

Honestly, if my heavenly view could look like Vermont in the fall, I would be thrilled! 

Enjoy whatever God has planned for you to do this week and every week that follows. We will have a lot to look forward to because we have chosen to walk through life with him.

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