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I heard someone recently say, “Getting old is not for sissies.” They were referring to the increased aches and pains that are a normal part of the aging process. The moving parts of our bodies tend to show effects of the wear and tear of years.

Advancing years may bring with it some new realities. Days turn into weeks and weeks become months which lead to years and decades. The mileage of all that time can take a toll on the physical body and on the mind.

If one is not careful, growing old can be negative. Fretting over the things that are not like they used to be can cripple our thinking. If unchecked, focusing on the things that are lost, or at least diminished, is an unhealthy practice and will dampen our enthusiasm for the life that remains.

Time marches on and so can we even when the years pile up. But we do not have to grow “old.”  Growing old is a simple matter of chronology. Growing “older” is an attitude- a state of mind. Rather than focusing on the limitations and often failing health of advancing years, we can embrace the new realities and recognize the advantages.

Andy Rooney was an American radio and television writer who was best known for his weekly broadcast “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney”, a part of the CBS News program 60 Minutes from 1978 to 2011. His final regular appearance on 60 Minutes aired on October 2, 2011. He died one month later on November 4, 2011 at age 92.

Rooney said, “It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.” A prayer of Moses in the Bible (Psalm 90) extols the eternity of God and the transitory nature of humanity. He observes that “We live for seventy years or so (with luck we might make it to eighty), and what do we have to show for it? Trouble. Toil and trouble and a marker in the graveyard.” Then he asks God to “Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well!” (Psalm 90:10-12, The Message).

We have a choice as we age. We can resent the loss of our youthfulness or we can choose to maximize the benefits of our years of experience. Academy Award winning actress Sophia Loren suggests, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”

Larry Minnix retired after many years in mental health and aging care professions. In his recently published book, “Hallowed Ground- Stories of Successful Aging,” he offers twelve secrets to aging well. One of the secrets is to “cultivate an attitude of perseverance.” He says that as you age you can adopt one of three attitudes. One approach to life is to see yourself as a Victim focusing on disease, decline, and dependency. A second possibility is to be a Denier and surround yourself with artificial trappings and practice avoidance. The best alternative suggested by Minnix is one of perseverance where one accepts aging and adaptations needed to make the most of it. Mitch Albom, author of Tuesdays with Morrie, agrees with Dr. Minnix and counsels us to simply “embrace aging.”

Hallowed Ground: Stories of Successful Aging

Job is a wealthy man in the Bible who is said to be “blameless” and “upright,” always careful to avoid doing evil.  Nevertheless he suffers incredibly horrible circumstances. Three of his friends come to visit him. After several days with him they share their thoughts on his afflictions in long, poetic statements. After one of them has given his take on things, Job replies, “As you say, older men like me are wise. They understand. But true wisdom and power are God’s. He alone knows what we should do; He understands” (Job 12:12-13)

I agree with those who encourage us to live life fully (at all ages) and recognize with Job that following God’s guidance in those years is the key to a life of fulfillment and contentment.

Jamie Jenkins

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Nicholas D. Kristof writes for the New York Times. In an article entitled “Media should try to fight, not spread, fear and lies,” he had an interesting observation about fake news and biased reporting.

Often information is passed on by the media and everyday people without verifying its truthfulness. Fact checking can be time consuming and tedious but Kristof adds an interesting angle on the way we process information.

According to this journalist, social psychology experiments have found that when people are presented with factual corrections that contradict their beliefs, they may cling to mistaken beliefs more strongly than ever. This is called the “backfire effect.” I had never heard this term before so I decided to check it out.

In 2006, Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler at The University of Michigan and Georgia State University created fake newspaper articles about polarizing political issues. The articles were written in a way which would confirm a widespread misconception about certain ideas in American politics. As soon as a person read a fake article, researchers then handed over a true article which corrected the first.

They repeated the experiment with several “hot button” issues like stem cell research and tax reform. Again they found corrections tended to increase the strength of the participants’ misconceptions. This was consistent even when people on opposing sides of the issue read the same articles and then the same corrections. When new evidence was interpreted as threatening to their beliefs, the corrections backfired. Instead of changing what people believed, their beliefs were strengthened.

This is nothing new. Hundreds of years ago Francis Bacon (1561-1626) said, “The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects and despises, or else by some distinction sets aside and rejects, in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former conclusion may remain inviolate.”

Psychologist Thomas Gilovich, Professor of Psychology at Cornell University concludes, “When examining evidence relevant to a given belief, people are inclined to see what they expect to see, and conclude what they expect to conclude.”

I do not intend to suggest that a person should be open to just anything. I am not suggesting that we discard our understanding or position on any issue. I believe there are some absolutes in life. All things are not negotiable. Strong convictions and firm beliefs are desirable but we need to be open to the possibility that there is a different perspective that we have not yet seen. We could be mistaken. Our opinions (beliefs) might be subject to correction. There could be more than one way to look at a particular topic.  

God, help us to be open to truth!

Jamie Jenkins

Dan Fogelberg was a successful singer/songwriter with a string of platinum-selling albums and singles in the 1970s, the early ’80s, and a long career afterward. His debut album, “Home Free,” was recorded in Nashville, in 1972.

This gifted man was born into a musical family in Peoria, IL, where his father was an established musician, teacher, and bandleader. Unlike many boys his age, he was more interested in music than sports. His first instrument was the piano. His personal musical turning point came in the early ’60s, before he’d reached his teens. A gift of an old Hawaiian guitar from his grandfather introduced him to the instrument that would soon replace the piano.

One song for which Fogelberg is best remembered is The Leader of the Band from his album The Innocent Age, released in 1981. It was written as a tribute to his father who was still alive at the time of its release. His father died one year later but not before this hit song made him a celebrity with numerous media interviews interested in him as its inspiration.

The Leader of the Band is one of Fogelberg’s most personal songs. One biographer said “it expressed something that many children have trouble articulating: a love for their father. The intimacy of the song actually broadened its appeal and it became one of his most enduring songs.”

One line in the song, “Thank you for the freedom when it came my time go,” refers to the time Dan decided to drop out of college in the middle of a semester to pursue music. Although his father was disappointed, he supported his son’s decision and told him to try it for a year.

The song’s lyrics described Fogelberg’s father in the following manner:

A quiet man of music denied a simpler fate
He tried to be a soldier once, but his music wouldn’t wait
He earned his love through discipline, a thundering velvet hand
His gentle means of sculpting souls took me years to understand

The songwriter then goes on to say:
The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul
My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man
I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band

The Leader of the Band is a memorable song that stands on its own merits. It is not a “Christian song” but it contains a reminder for Christians of our role in the world and who we are supposed to be. Jesus said that He came to show us what our Heavenly Father was like. He said, “If you have seen me, you have seen my Father” (John 14:7-10). And he added, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21). Our calling is to be the “living legacy of the Leader of the Band.”

God help us to fulfill our calling.

Jamie Jenkins

I often forget how fortunate I am. I tend to take things for granted. That has probably never been more truthful than in my marriage. I have not always been as thoughtful and considerate as I should have been. I have been too focused on myself, my work, or something else more than my wife and family.

Some would say that I am a lucky man and they would be right. But I realize that I am more than “lucky.” I am blessed by God.

Tomorrow marks 50 years of marriage to Lena. December 28, 1968 is the most important day of my life next to the day that I decided to follow Jesus. Three days after Christmas a half-century ago I said yes to the questions: “Will you have this woman to be your wife, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor, and keep her in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?”

I have fulfilled those promises but I have not always been as sensitive and helpful as I could have been. Nevertheless, Lena has loved me and stayed with me for all these years. That has not always been easy. There have been many challenges but I am grateful to her and to God that we are still together and still in love.

I am acutely aware that the blessings of life are not always deserved or earned. That is certainly the case in my marriage. When I first met and dated the woman who would become my wife I had no idea how strong she was and how supportive she would be to me through many changes and difficult times. We have traveled together, literally and figuratively, through territories that we could not have imagined at the beginning of our journey.

My life partner and I are very different personalities. We have different strengths and gifts. We have not always been in lock step but we have always been together. There have been many times we have disagreed but I have never doubted her sincerity or her devotion to me and our family.

Daniel Boone said, “All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife.” I don’t have a good gun. I have never had a horse of any kind. But I do have a good wife!

Someone said, “Of all the home remedies, a good wife is best.” I can affirm that to be true in my life and family. I agree with Thomas Edison, “A man’s best friend is a good wife.” Lena is and always will be my best friend.

Thank you God, for sustaining Lena and me for 50 years of marriage and for helping us to stay in love with each other.

Jamie Jenkins

 

In just a few days it will Christmas Day, the day we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. At Christmas Eve services the night before, people all over the world will sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!”

On the evening the Bethlehem Baby was born there were shepherds nearby tending their flocks. Their everyday routine. Suddenly the scene changed and an angel appeared among them and the surroundings lit up. They were understandably terrified. Then the angel told them not to be afraid. Oh sure!

Right in the middle of their workaday world an angel appears and the landscape lights up. What are they expected to feel if not fear?

Then the angel said, ““I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. For this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Good news! Great joy! A Savior!

The shepherds responded by rushing to see for themselves what the angel proclaimed. Seeing was believing and they told everyone they met what the angel had said about this child.

It has been more than twenty centuries since that event in Bethlehem. Millions have heard the story and have believed. Millions others have heard but have not believed. One reason for this unbelief might be that we who follow Christ have not been the joyful creatures that we should be.

The shepherds rejoiced at the good news of a Savior. They returned to their work “glorifying and praising God.” The Apostle Paul suggests that we who have been redeemed by that same Jesus should likewise be filled with joy- not only at Christmas but at all times. “Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4, TLB)

Teilhard de Chardin, says, “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.” Acknowledging the Presence of God in our lives will not only enrich our living, it will also be contagious. Mother Teresa suggests that “Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.”

Be joyful for a Savior has come!

Jamie Jenkins

 

It’s been said that music can transport our minds to days gone by. Certainly, the songs we sing at Christmas time prove all of this to be true. When I hear the Christmas carols, my mind is flooded with memories.

To enhance your appreciation of the Christmas carols I want to offer a little background information on a few of the favorites.

  • “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is probably one of our oldest carols. It is a traditional Christmas carol- actually an Advent song- dating back to the 12th century and follows a monastery-like chant. The lyrics were originally written in Latin. The author/composer is unknown. It is believed that the melody is of French origin

All of the attributions to the coming Messiah are from the Old Testament except “Emmanuel,” which is found both in Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23. Matthew quotes Isaiah virtually verbatim—“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel”—with the exception that Matthew adds the phrase: “which being interpreted is, God with us.”

  • “Joy to the World” is based on a psalm and celebrates Christ’s second coming much more than the first. This favorite Christmas hymn is the result of a collaboration of at least three people and draws its initial inspiration not from the Christmas narrative in Luke 2, but from Psalm 98.

The three collaborators: In 1719 Isaac Watts wrote a paraphrase of Psalm 98 and included it in his hymnal, “Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament.” George Frederic Handel (1685-1759), the popular German-born composer, provided the musical phrases. Lowell Mason (1792-1872), a Boston music educator, assured that this tune and text would appear together in the United States.

  • “Silent Night” is one of two hymns (the other is The Old Rugged Cross) that were played for the first time on the guitar. A Catholic priest, Joseph Mohr, wrote “Stille Nacht” and because the organ at Father Mohr’s church was broken, he asked Franz Gruber to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for the Christmas Eve mass in 1818 at Oberndorf, a village near Salzburg, Austria.

Over the years, because the original manuscript had been lost, Mohr’s name was forgotten and although Gruber was known to be the composer, the melody was variously attributed to Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven. However, a manuscript was discovered in 1995 in Mohr’s handwriting and dated by researchers as c. 1820. This is the earliest manuscript that exists and the only one in Mohr’s handwriting.

  • “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”– In 1627, the English Puritan parliament abolished the celebration of Christmas and all other “worldly festivals.” For the remainder of the seventeenth century and well into the eighteenth, hymn carols were hard to come by, but there was an exception.

John and Charles Wesley had aroused the anger of the Anglican Church in England by their Armenian doctrine of “free grace.” However, because of a printer’s mistake, one of Charles’ poems was printed in the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer. The hymn, originally entitled “Hark, How All the Welkin Rings” with 10 verses, was actually Charles’ “Hymn for Christmas Day.” The church fathers weren’t too happy about it.

Although angered by Wesley’s inclusion in the prayer book, the church fathers concluded that at least the song would only be used once a year and would probably fade into oblivion.

  • “O Little Town of Bethlehem”- Phillips Brooks, Pastor of the Church of the Holy Trinity, in Philadelphia, visited the Holy Land on Christmas Eve 1865. In a letter dated Saturday, December 30, 1865, Phillips Brooks shared with his father what happened next: “After an early dinner, we took our horses and rode to Bethlehem. It was only about two hours when we came to the town. It is a good-looking town, better built than any other we have seen in Palestine. The great Church of the Nativity is its most prominent object; it is shared by the Greeks, Latins and Armenians.”

Under the Church of the Nativity there is a grotto and a 14-point silver star on marble stone which tradition says marks the place where Jesus was born. That Christmas Eve of 1865, Phillips Brooks wrote, “I was standing in the old church at Bethlehem, close to the spot where Jesus was born, when the whole church was ringing hour after hour with the splendid hymns of praise to God, how again and again it seemed as if I could hear voices that I knew well, telling each of the ‘Wonderful Night’ of the Saviour’s birth.” Brooks closed the letter by describing the horseback ride to a field outside Bethlehem where tradition says the shepherds first saw the star of Bethlehem.

Three years later, back in America, preparing the Christmas service for the Sunday School, he remembered that Christmas Eve in Bethlehem. From his mind’s eye, he would record this experience of standing in the fields surrounding the holy place and thinking of how it might have been that night when God sent forth His Son, born of a virgin, to a little town– the little town of Bethlehem

  • “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”- Edmund Sears was born on April 6, 1810, in Sandisfield, Massachusetts. He graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York, received a doctor’s degree from Harvard and pastored three small churches in Wayland, Lancaster and Weston, Massachusetts. He died in 1876 and would have been forgotten by most except for one little detail.

In 1846, he penned a Christmas poem, entitled Peace on Earth, and put it in his desk where it would stay for the next three years. In 1849, he sent Peace on Earth to the publisher of Boston’s Christian Register. A year went by until finally, for Christmas of 1850, the poem was put in print. Richard Willis, a graduate of Yale and music critic for the New York Tribune added music.

There are many more songs of Christmas that bring back memories and inspire us and some very interesting stories about their origins. I hope that the music of Christmas will help to bring the Spirit of the Christ Child into your life and into the world.

Jamie Jenkins

In the Christian Church Advent is the period preceding the Christmas season. It begins on the Sunday nearest November 30, the feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle, and covers four Sundays. This year Advent began last Sunday, December 2.

The word advent, from Latin, means “the coming.” As the Christmas season has become more secular, with advertisers urging holiday gift-givers to buy and buy some more, Advent still focuses more on the observance of ancient customs. Christian families find quiet moments lighting candles in the Advent wreath, and children use Advent calendars to count the days until Christmas.

It is unknown when the period of preparation for Christmas that is now called Advent first began – it was certainly in existence from about 480. Some have even said it goes back to the time of the Twelve Apostles or that it was founded by Saint Peter himself. This has led to the conclusion that it is “impossible to claim with confidence a credible explanation of the origin of Advent”.

Originally, it was a time when converts to Christianity readied themselves for baptism. Advent was considered a pre-Christmas season of Lent when Christians devoted themselves to prayer and fasting. By the 6th century, however, Roman Christians had tied Advent to the coming of Christ. But the “coming” they had in mind was not Christ’s first coming in the manger in Bethlehem, but his second coming in the clouds as the judge of the world.

Advent hymns are not “Christmas” songs. They are ‘waiting” songs. Songs that help us anticipate the coming of Christ, which is celebrated on Christmas Day. “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is one of my favorites.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,

And ransom captive Israel,

That mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel

This hymn is a prayer that anticipates the coming of Christ to the earth. His coming as the Messiah (“deliverer”) was first prophesied in the sixth century B.C., when the Jews were captive in Babylon. For centuries thereafter, faithful Hebrews looked for their Messiah with great longing and expectation, echoing the prayer that he would “ransom captive Israel.”

Jesus Christ the Redeemer—capstone of man’s longing through the ages—is addressed in the first stanza of this hymn as “Emmanuel.” From beginning to end, all the stanzas of the hymn remind us of Christ’s first advent, and project our attention to His second coming.

An Advent Prayer in the United Methodist Hymnal (#201) helps prepare us for a proper celebration of Christmas.

Merciful God, you sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation.

Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may celebrate aright the coming of the nativity and may await with joy the coming of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen.

May this be our prayer as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Jamie Jenkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Without music, life is a journey through a desert.” I don’t know if I fully agree with that statement by Pat Conroy but I do believe music is one of God’s greatest gifts.

I enjoy music. Many different kinds. Secular and sacred. Instrumental and vocal. Although I like music I do not know enough to really appreciate it. My understanding is limited regarding the gifts and efforts of songwriters, composers, arrangers, musicians, and vocalists.

Next to the Bible the hymns of the Church have fed my soul more than anything else.  I cannot imagine a life of faith without sacred music. The solid theology and the strong words of hymn  writers like Charles Wesley, Isaac Watts, John Newton, Fanny Crosby, Philip Bliss, and countless others are invaluable. Hymns like Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah, How Great Thou Art, Amazing Grace, Rock of Ages, and Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing have helped to lay sound foundations for Christians of many generations.

Much of more modern Christian music has also inspired me and lifted my spirits. Larry Norman, Andrae Crouch, Third Day, Amy Grant, Chris Tomlin, Michael W. Smith, James Cleveland, Keith Green and countless others have made valuable contributions through contemporary Christian music.

I listen to Christian music on the outward bound leg of my morning walks and Bible readings on my return home. My morning routine helps get me started on the right track with a more spiritual emphasis. It is secular music in the afternoon walk.

God uses music of all kinds to speak to me. To encourage and inspire me. To challenge and guide me.

Beyond my love for sacred music, blues and jazz are my favorite genres. The list of great blues and jazz musicians from the past and the present includes B.B. King, Etta James, Nina Simone, Billie Holliday, Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Jellyroll Morton, Diana Krall, Bill Withers, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Harry Connick, Jr., Duke Ellington, and Bonnie Raitt.

For a good number of years when I was home on Saturday night I listened to the music of the Ben Tucker Trio on the radio as they performed from Hard Hearted Hannah’s in Savannah. Following them was the Jim Collum Jazz Band and Riverwalk Jazz Live from the Landing in San Antonio.

It has been said that every bad situation is a blues song waiting to be written. B.B. King said, “Blues is a tonic for whatever ails you. I could play the blues and then not be blue anymore.” Wynton Marsalis adds, “Everything comes out in blues music: joy, pain, struggle. Blues is affirmation with absolute elegance.”

Dixieland Jazz is different from the blues. This music is often associated with New Orleans where it originated in the early 20th century and later flourished in Chicago after World War I. When Joe “Fingers” Webster and his River City Jazzmen play the Muskrat Ramble Medley, try as you will but you cannot keep your feet from tapping and a smile breaking out on your face.

Like Dixieland Jazz, Bluegrass music gets your toes tapping and your hands clapping. This form of music is named after the Blue Grass Boys, a band led by Bill Monroe, a Kentucky mandolin player and songwriter, who is considered “the father of bluegrass.” My father thought that Bill Monroe, banjo playing Earl Scruggs and guitarist Lester Flatt were the greatest.

I am convinced that you cannot be unhappy when you are listening to Bluegrass or Dixieland Jazz.

Aaron Copland said, “To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.” Thank God for music that entertains, educates, and inspires.

Jamie Jenkins

In my quieter moments I realize how blessed I am. When I think about it I marvel at the richness of my life. Each year has grown better than the last.

On this National Day of Thanksgiving there are more things to be thankful for than I can begin to imagine but below are a few.

I AM THANKFUL FOR…

A warm and dry place to sleep at night.

A safe neighborhood.

Good friends.

My good wife of 50 years (come December 28).

My three wonderful children and their equally wonderful spouses.

My two exceptional grandchildren.

The call of God on my life and God’s willingness to let me serve in the Church.

The opportunity to learn from my mistakes.

The privilege and freedom to vote.

People who allow me to disagree with them without demonizing me.

Teachers.

Clean water.

Retirement.

Good health.

Freedom of religion.

A good sermon- and I hear one every Sunday at my church.

A good church choir- and I hear one every Sunday at my church.

The opportunity to travel and experience this great big wonderful world.

The amazing advances in modern medicine.

Music that entertains, inspires, and instructs.

Technology- when it works.

A reliable automobile that gets me where I want to go.

Folks who do what they say they will do when they say they will do it.

People who say “You’re welcome” instead of “No problem” when I say “Thank you.”

Ice cream.

A winning season for the Braves and Atlanta United.

Coffee in the morning.

Volunteers who serve with no expectation of reward.

The forgiveness of my sins and the grace of God to keep on forgiving.

The following Prayer of Thanksgiving was offered during last Sunday’s worship service. I share it with you today.

Gracious God, creator of all things, you have given us much to be thankful for: this place of worship, the blessings of this day, the world around us.

Apart from you we can do nothing. With you we can do everything. By the power of your Holy Spirit we live and serve you at home, at work, and at play.

We remember how much we have, in the face of a world that says we need more. We are reminded of your graciousness as we see those who go without. Yet in the face of little, you give us much.

The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Give us the courage and the strength to put our hands to plow your fields. As we do, help us to remember the laborers who first shared with us the Good News.

As we prepare to gather with family to give thanks and feast upon the blessing s of a day set apart for rest, Bread of Heaven, Water of Life, fill us until we want for nothing. Pour out yourself for us. Let us take, eat, and see that the Lord is good.

With grateful hearts we give thanks. Amen.

Jamie Jenkins

 

When a friend of mine is driving he will ask his passengers, “If you were going to (wherever they are going), which way would you go?” This is a wise decision since he has a poor sense of direction.

It’s alright to ask for assistance when driving. After all, isn’t that what we are doing when we enter a destination into our GPS? It’s another thing when the advice is unsolicited.  Like “You should be in the lane to the right.” Or, “The light is about to change.” Or, “Better slow down, you’re going to get a ticket.” You know the kind. Nobody likes backseat drivers.

I wonder if God feels the same about people who offer advice and instruction to the Almighty. The Creator offers direction but it is questioned. An alternative is offered but a “better” way is suggested.

Humans are created with the ability to make choices- to think for themselves- but we are finite beings who cannot always see clearly. Our vision is limited but God sees all things from beginning to end. Nevertheless we often offer God advice on what is best for us. In effect, we are backseat drivers on the road of life. We want God to be in the driver’s seat but we feel out of control and so we second guess God’s ability to guide us in the right direction.

I am willing to allow God to be in the driver’s seat but I seem to assume the right to be a backseat driver. To question God’s knowledge and wisdom. To doubt that God knows what is best for me. Joyce Meyer says, “Trusting God is simply believing that He loves you and knowing He’s good, He has the power to help you, and He wants to help you.”

I want to do what God wants me to do, how God wants me to do it, and when God wants me to do it. I believe that God knows and cares about all of the circumstances of my life. I don’t really want to be a contrarian- but often I am. I seek to live like a Child of God and to conduct myself in a manner that honors God but I find it difficult not to be a backseat driver.

The psalmist said, “(God), You will show me the path that leads to life; your presence fills me with joy and brings me pleasure forever” (Psalm 16:11, GNT).

I agree with the psalmist. I know it is true! But I guess I am like the man who said to Jesus, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). With that confession, my prayer and hope is reflected in the hymn by Joseph Gilmore.

Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.

He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful foll’wer I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

Jamie Jenkins