Sunday, February 21, 2016

What It Used To Say

You've seen them, the bands made of rubber that people so often wear around their wrists. My guess is they became really popular with the yellow LIVESTRONG bracelets popularized by Lance Armstrong as a reminder to the the dangers of cancer. I've worn a number of them, from a pizza brand to a FROG message (Fully Rely On God), from a Houston Texans' Arian Foster band to a band I really liked, one from the Israeli Red Cross. Back in the fall, one of my favorite students, Maggie, gave me a new one, the one pictured above. Our congregation is very involved in the community. Our members, at the request of the Houston Police Department, ride along with officers on patrol, often in the middle of the night. We jointly operate a Winnebago with the police which goes into tough neighborhoods and offers a positive presence. Maggie's dad, Larry, is our prison minister and does wonderful work in reaching out to the incarcerated with the Word of God. Not surprisingly, the blue bracelet from Maggie read PRAY 4 POLICE in white letters. When I received her gift, I took off my Arian Foster band and gave it to one of my students who plays on our football team. I'm just not one of those guys who can handle two wristlets at once. I like the new one- matches my eyes and Sally tells me I need all the help I can get!

If you are a regular reader, you might remember that I swim every day and usually twice, morning and evening. Several weeks ago, I looked at my bracelet and read.............. nothing. The chlorine in the pool, I am guessing, had bleached away the reminder to call upon God to watch over those in law enforcement in their work. Now, there is nothing to distinguish it from any of the other tens of thousands of like wrist bands. It could have been an ad or a favorite slogan or something profane or hopefully, WWJD? I still wear it- it's comfortable and there is nothing to replace it with. Besides, I KNOW what it said, The trouble is, if it's also for the benefit of others, that benefit is gone.

You know, the words on the band didn't fade away at all at once. I'm sure it was slow and steady, eroded gradually by the bleach in the pool. I didn't notice until it was gone. It just kind of drifted away on me. People do the same. We drift from friendships, from marriages, from loyalties, from our homes. It isn't intentional, I'm convinced. It's often neglect leading to lack of interest leading to whatever comes up next. We've seen it spiritually as well. The brother or sister who fellowships less and less until we notice they've disappeared. Any of us can succumb. The busyness of our lives nudges us away from prayer and study and gathering with the saints and it happens so slowly we are caught off guard. The writer of Hebrews warned us in chapter 2 and verse 1:
We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.
Careful attention to the source of our lives- that's the key. Look in the mirror. Take our spiritual pulse. Pray for revival and re-dedicate to studying the Bible. Don't let the message the world needs to see in us wash down the drain. And if you have a new band for a guy in Houston, my wrist is up for grabs!

Applicable quote of the day:
“Continents drift, and so do hearts.”
John Mark Green 

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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