God Sees All who Walk the Plank

A play day at the beach! What a treat for the two moms and the six children!

Cousins Vera and Jeane, now adults and living hours away from each other, relished the spa resort moments as they sipped lemonade on the hot summer day. They enjoyed the sun from their chairs while watching their kids.

“Hey Cousin!” Jeane chuckled, “Look at us in a ‘spa resort’ for the weekend!”

Vera shook with laughter, “Yeah, isn’t it?”

For their weekend getaway was just an economy motel sharing one room with two beds and several roll-away cots. By the time they’d checked in, the ladies could only get a second-story room.

Both moms watched all the kids from six to nine years old carefully as their room was right next to the stairway—a new experience for the children! Still, the weekend was the ladies’ gift—their husbands had given them the time away from home while the two men moonlighted for family vacation money.

“Mom! Look at me! I can jump down the stairs!” cried Bruce.

“And me! I can skip down the stairs super fast!” and Josie bounced down and ended up with a skinned knee. The girl howled with pain.

In the middle of all the racket, Mark, behind the moms’ chairs, topped it all. Once and for all, he proved that myth is false—that moms have eyes in the backs of their heads.

“Hey, Mom! Look at me! I’m walking the plank!”

And the wee boy in wobbly sandals was balancing on the edge of the balcony railing!

Jeane gasped. Had it been her own child, she would have come up with a string of never-to-be-forgotten consequences. Threats like that today would be called child abuse.

Vera seemed to remain calm as she passed up all threats and settled on, “Mark,” she began slowly. “We frown on that!”

Jeane held her breath, We frown on that?! What kind of discipline is that?

“Ah, Mom, I wanted to walk the plank!”

Perhaps it is surprising with risks children sometimes take that any survived to adulthood!

It also may be surprising that parenting and discipline take so many forms. Frowning. Threats. Isolation. Loss of privileges. Kid’s stuff?  Not always. Every choice has a consequence, even for grown-ups.

God disciplines us because he cares for us. He corrects us to hone us into the men and women he wants us to be. Our Creator is our GPS [Global Positioning System]. He gives us free updates and maps in the Bible.

From King Solomon’s wisdom come these words: “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” [Proverbs 3:12]

God does have eyes in the back of his head. He cares enough for us that he watches us “walk the plank” and gives us the right consequences to remind us to follow him. When you’re wobbling as you walk the plank, reach out for him!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

Be Ye Doers of the Word or Just Exercising Thy Lips? by Jo Russell

“Honey, you promised you would join the gym after we got married and you moved here. That’s something I always admired about you – that you take care of yourself. But months have gone by and you haven’t. When are you going to enroll?” Carol asked her senior husband of six months.

“When I can afford it,” the senior explained.

Carol sighed. That sounds like an excuse. She had dragged her new husband, Paul, off  to the gym and introduced him to members their age and also the gym owner, Lynn. She discussed the plans available, classes, tutoring, and extra services. “Not yet,” he assured the owner and Carol. “But soon.”

But day after day, Paul returned from his office, changed into comfortable clothes, and sighed as he collapsed into his recliner. “I’m going to kick back for a while.” And the recliner cooperated, closing in on him like a hot dog in a bun.

“How about going for a walk? It will be good for both of us.”

“Can’t. The critters are comfortable and kickin’ back. Look where the dog is.”  He patted the dogs’ head and the curly-haired canine smiled in appreciation.

Later while on a picnic at the park, Paul and Carol spotted a breathless runner. She was the size of a single sliced French green bean. It was Lynn, the owner of the gym.

“Hey, Carol, Paul! It’s great to see you! I’m really looking forward to your both coming to the gym together. Paul, it will be so good for you and your health issues!”

At the only grocery store in town, Paul paused before the meat counter when Rick, a regular at the gym, greeted him. “Hey, Paul, we’ve missed seeing you and getting to know you at our workouts. It’s fun! Hope you’ll be joining us soon.”

The world is closing in on me. Why don’t people just leave me alone?  Paul groused. More time passed. The recliner continued winning Paul’s attention. Carol dropped the subject of the gym.

“Paul, I’ve accepted that you’ve decided not to join the gym at all. You’ve just been exercising your lips when you said you would. So I’m going to let you kick back – every afternoon and evening, every day. I am sure you aren’t the first, but I can see it now on your death certificate” she spread her arms dramatically as if reading from a movie marquis, “‘cause of death: cemented to his La-Z-Boy.’”

Paul’s eyes widened in surprise, “What?!”

When Monday came, Paul showed up at the gym while Carol and the crowd were working out.

“What are you doing here?” she wanted to know.

“Joining the gym. It’s a matter of exercising the right parts.” Not just the lips.

And once he did, Paul was pumping iron along with all the others on a regular basis. He formed new friendships. His health improved. Later, without guilt or excuses, he could relax in the La-Z-Boy.

When it comes to reading the Bible, learning God’s ways, and following his lifestyle guides, one needs to plunge into action.

It may be easier to read along and think, What a great idea! I think Bill needs to do that! Or Hmmm. I’ll do that when I have more time.

But more time isn’t the key. It’s the decision to follow God and doing what it takes – workouts of the heart and soul.

James, Jesus’ half-brother, a disciple and believer that Jesus is God, wrote, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” [James 1:22-25 NIV]

Being a doer of God’s word results in new friends, a new life, better spiritual health, and a future worth the effort. It rounds out a life experience far deeper and richer than just exercising the lips. Being a doer is a true measure of a life changed by God. It still leaves time for just kicking back in the La-Z-Boy.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

Freeze the Cookies? Never! by Jo Russell

Paul stepped off the bathroom scale at home with a smile on his face as he shouted his cry of victory, “Since the last time I weighed, I lost four pounds! Inches, too! Wow! This hasn’t happened for a while!”

Once Paul and Carol decided to win their personal battle of the bulge, both had given up candy, French fries, cake, and decadent desserts. It was tough. Instead of ice cream, the newlyweds satisfied their cravings with kisses, hugs, fruit, healthy eating and trips to the gym. Still, the scale had become a serious contender for their time and attention.

“I’m proud of you!” Carol, responded to Paul’s achievement. Now and then, Carol baked goodies with reduced amounts of sugar and oil. “Does that mean you want me to freeze the rest of the chocolate chip cookies I made yesterday?”

“I didn’t say that!” he gasped. “Freeze the cookies? Never!”

Long term commitment takes gumption and determination—whether it’s changing a habit, a lifestyle, or a life. It’s tough, but takes one to the finish.

In the same way that following God’s laws means making a long term commitment that is worth it.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” [Joshua 1:7-8]

And power like God’s can overcome even the worst of contenders – and the best of cookies.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

Counting the Cost to Race for Jesus By Jo Russell

“I’m ready for the bike race next week!” Pete called out to his teen friends as they wheeled their racing two-wheelers into his yard for a training ride. “Just give me a minute to finish fixing this flat.”

Pete installed a strip cut from a plastic milk carton along the channel of the tire. “See I don’t even have to buy a tube!”

“And will that work?” Jack asked doubtfully.

“I’d bet my lucky socks on it!” the novice bicyclist affirmed. “I know it’s true because I read it in a bicycling magazine a few days ago! It’s great! This is absolutely free! I didn’t have any extra money anyway!”

Sometimes a promise of “This is an experience you’ll never forget!” could be a good thing. This wasn’t.

More than an hour later with nothing between towns but tumbleweeds and coyotes, the three wound down a country back road as Pete sprinted ahead. Then he wobbled and slowed down with panic in his eyes. Pete regained control of the two-wheeler as he and the bike staggered to a stop. Jack and Artie passed him. “Hey, guys! Stop! I’ve got a flat!”

“Great!” groaned Artie. You don’t have a tube, right?”

“Nope.”

“My extra won’t fit on your wheel. Anybody remember a phone?”

“I guess in all the excitement we forgot.”

“I’ll head into town and call your folks,” Jack offered. He pedaled to the nearest phone eight miles and many minutes away.

Artie and Pete turned around for the long walk home with their bikes. Pete reddened and added, “I guess we’re getting the exercise after all – even if it’s not the way we planned.”

With town more than a dozen miles away, Artie glared at him, “I’ll take your lucky socks when we get home.”

When Pete’s parents showed up, they loaded the teens and their bikes.

“Pete! This is your fault!  We’re stopping to buy an inner tube right now. You owe us.”

At the twenty-mile race a week later, Artie was wearing Pete’s lucky socks when Pete sprinted ahead to draft behind the lead racers. But without his lucky socks, Pete felt undressed. In a burst of speed, his friends zipped ahead of Pete and caught up with the lead racers.

Then something dark as a meatloaf dropped off  Pete’s  bike – the seat! Seven miles later still pedaling and standing, a red-faced Pete turned on the steam for a sprint  across the finish line. His friends had finished long before. “Couldn’t sit down,” Pete explained. “We’ll have to find the seat somewhere back there!”

With nothing between the beginning and the end of the race but tumbleweeds and coyotes, the three couldn’t find it.

“I guess I can’t ride anymore,” Pete lamented.

But his friends continued training, got stronger, developed endurance and skills. They won again and again.

Pete had figured the cost of the race at only the entry fee. But had Pete really determined the cost of the rides and the races?

No. Pete could have checked his bicycle before and after each ride, oiling parts and doing routine maintenance as he looked to see that everything was working well—and that he kept his pants as well as his seat on.

Instead, he brought surprises into his life and that of his friends. Not the good kind!

Just as Jesus cautions us to count the cost of preparing, he warns that we need to count the cost of following him. “Suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” [Luke 14:31-33]

Living the Christian life – each day and each year and each decade – has a cost. It’s commitment. It’s taking a stand. It’s claiming Christ even in the face of ridicule or persecution.

It may cost friends – and bring you new ones. It may cost money and time. The Christian life may change your career and your focus.

But in running the race with Christ as your coach and trainer, you’ll emerge as the winner in all things that count.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

The 100-Yard Chapel Sprint By Jo Russell

According to caring dog trainers, good canine behavior starts with simple commands: “Come,” “Sit,” “Stay” and “Heel.” The last command is translated “behaves sensibly on a leash.”

Fletcher, the basset hound, towed the twelve-year-old, Rick, around the block like a lawn tractor. He bolted to strangers for a treat. He followed his nose to places where no dog had ever been. He was, most of the time, lovable, but not perfect. Often, it took him several tries to get things right.

In the summer church camp where the Charlene and son lived and worked, they welcomed new groups every week and worked with guests. Fletcher stayed home. Once the family pet got used to the boring routine,  the dog wasn’t happy sticking to the yard around the family’s log cabin. There were eighty-two wooded acres of camp that needed the talents of his nose. After a ride home from a picnic with Charlene and her son, Fletcher bolted from the truck into the trees, heading for music and people who would love his sad eyes and smooth coat. Petting and the snacks were guaranteed with this crowd.

“Rick!” Charlene called to her son. “Catch Fletcher! Run!” The lanky twelve-year-old sprinted along a dirt path after the dog, but without a leash. His first strategy was to check behind the cafeteria where the staff tossed leftovers on the slope, like sandwiches and waffles. Fletcher loved to lick up leftovers, and Rick found him there. Not for long. The powerful muscled dog pulled away from the boy at a run as his legs churned to the wide open chapel doors. Fletcher’s ears twirled like batons. He barked in joyful rhythm to the music inside, and then dashed down the aisle. As he whirled around and headed to the open door, the dog stopped for a moment.

Just then Charlene drove up in the truck with the leash. She heard laughter through the open doors of the chapel. Dangling his favorite snack, a piece of bread, out the window, she shouted,  “Here, Fletcher!”

And at last, the canine followed directions as he sniffed his way to the truck.

Someone laughed, “That dog must be an evangelist!”

Even though the dog flunked some commands, God used Fletcher that day as several came to the altar that day chuckling. It was a time anyone could change their heart and life with Jesus, and humor nudged each along.

God’s call is to all who are imperfect. He may use us as we are or hone us with new experiences to be even better. He might even give us more chances to get it right.

But best of all, He’s not finished with us yet.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and  website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.] 

Where, Oh Where, is Self-Control through the Season of Sweets? By Jo Russell

Don’t kid yourself. When the seasons change and the bulk sacks of sweet snacks remind a shopper that the holiday season has begun, any red-blooded sweet-tooth will tell you that eating delicious goodies doesn’t come to a high by until the first official day of winter. The Season of Sweets spans an entire six month period from October to March. The only thing that changes is the color of M & M’s from orange to green.

This is a challenge for anyone old enough to know that nutrition and exercise are the keys to health.  Senior Susie simply admitted, “It’s hard to stay on the carrot pedestal!”

Years before, after a life-threatening crisis, Susie had lost 40 pounds and mostly embraced a healthy lifestyle. She didn’t let anyone forget it. She chimed out advice, whether someone wanted to hear it or not.

“To lose weight, drink more water; eat more veggies, less bread and fewer carbs.”

She sneer at ice cream. “Pure chemical poisoning! Never!”

It’s a wonder someone didn’t corner her in an alley and clobber her with a cake pan.

But this year, the season’s sweets pummeled Susie’s self-control, and she fell off the carrot pedestal in four hours flat. With “trunk or treat” events taking the place of children going door to door for candy, Susie was stuck with bowls of goodies.  Didn’t some researchers decide recently that dark chocolate is good for one’s health? In that case, Susie’s stash would keep her in good health until spring. But just after Thanksgiving, she only had five Tootsie Rolls left.

Surely, Susie rationalized; she could quiet this craving with good food! So she ate fruit and a dinner salad. The Tootsie Rolls were still calling to her. She ate cheese. She dreamed of red and green M & M’s. Susie worked out at the gym, remembering how many laps she had to swim to work off even the dressing on her salad, much more for the M & M’s.

Finally, she admitted she couldn’t do it alone. She needed help in a big way. Where had her self-control gone? Who could help? God. He invented chocolate as well as carrots, after all.  Regaining self-control would help her in all other areas of her life, including shopping the season’s sales.

Self-control is a desirable trait to infuse into one’s habits and spirit. “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” [Galatians 5:22 NIV].

But isn’t applying self-control a tall order? For we are to control what we eat, what we say, what we think, and what we do. The plus side is one doesn’t have to do it alone. Not Susie. Not you. Not anyone.

When David wrote the Psalm that follows, he was in much more danger than falling off a carrot pedestal.  “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.” Psalm 28:7.  He fled from one place to another, pursued by armies of enemies. Surely Susie could trust a God like this to come to her aid as He did with David.

With God’s help, we can turn down temptation, defeat enemies and sweets, and trust in Him to regain self-control. And the benefits are worth it.  If we should fall off a carrot pedestal, we’re falling right into God’s arms – right where we belong.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and  website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.] 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grand Theft Ice Cream by Jo Russell

Ice cream! Steak! Pizza! Every month when the large food truck delivered orders to families in the rural ranching area, it was like Christmas! What a relief! To the busy cattle-ranching crews, they appreciated the prepared frozen food as a gift of time as well.

Nearly dark when the truck roared into the circular drive of the Peterson’s ranch house, the driver wasn’t surprised to see the neighbors, the Monroes, rush over.

Soon all were poring over the colorful catalogs that guaranteed great gourmet meals with a minimum of effort, plus ice cream in bulk that would hold them over for the next month.

While the two ranch families were busy with their choices for the next delivery day, the food truck driver heard a racket outside in the drive. He glanced up to see a shadowy someone helping himself to cases of food and ice cream from the truck.

“Stop!” he yelled, running toward the truck. “Call 9-1-1!”

When the families ran outside, the thief spewed gravel as he sped out of the driveway in his dusty sedan. Identification was easy. They gave the sheriff his license number.

Not long after, a sheriff’s deputy pulled the driver over on a dusty country road. “I bought all this stuff! I didn’t do anything!” the driver claimed. But he had no receipt. His timing and license number incriminated him. Besides, the evidence was melting all over the back seat – chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, English toffee bars, and butter-soft frozen pizza. Worst of all, he was already on probation. Busted!

We all know that wrong doing is not restricted to Grand Theft Ice Cream. Are we ever guilty? Aren’t we pretty good people who do pretty good things most of the time?

Ever done anything that reaped red-faced embarrassment like gossip or envied something someone else has? Ever break a promise? Take something that didn’t belong to you? Fail to help someone who genuinely needed it when you could have?

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” is stated in Romans 3:23. Wow! Even though we are “pretty good people.” Busted!

A local pastor commented that when any of us do the wrong thing, we may find it hard to accept that we can be forgiven. “They don’t know where to begin,” Pastor Dave added, then explained that it has to start with the old-fashioned word and action involved in “repentance.” The action is two-fold: to feel regret and to return to God.

So begin with baby steps, recognizing that you didn’t make the right choice. Are you sorry enough to turn away from doing that again? Can you ask God to accept your apology? Of course! He reaches out with love and forgiveness.

What does God do with our wrongs? He forgives them and they are gone. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12 [NIV].

A fresh start! A new beginning! It’s a gift that’s better than Christmas and as sweet as ice cream!

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]

Reach for the Sky By Jo Russell

Long before landscaping help and a watering system transformed my yard to lovely, it was a jungle of weeds and grass. Weeding on the installment plan simply had not worked. The yard was way past weed eaters and pruning shears. Now I needed a crew with machetes to break the trail, followed by a bulldozer.

My first spring in the house, I looked outside at a bed full of silk flowers among the weeds. Who would have put them there? Having been raised in desert where wayward eggs fried on the summer sidewalks, I knew nothing of tulips but wire-enforced leaves and fraying cloth blossoms.

But as I touched them, I realized these felt just like flowers! In fact, they looked  real! Mother Nature’s bright tulips turned the brittle brown landscape to red, yellow, white, purple, fuchsia, and rainbow! Only the beauty of the flowers had been camouflaged by the grass that cupped around them like a wall.

Once I had the materials to transform the yard and finish a walkway next to the bed of flowers, I weeded the spring bulbs so you could see their lithe stems and thick leaves. But without the grass around, they collapsed! They lay splayed on the ground like roadkill. I felt terrible!

The next morning I considered what to do. Bamboo skewers and twine would keep the flowers upright. I gathered them up and covered my eyes as I peeked around the corner at the tulips. But after a night of rest, the colorful blossoms were reaching to God! They didn’t need the grass to hold them up any longer, only the chance to stand on their own. They became stronger, more beautiful and larger than ever before.

The flowers that now stood on their own reminded me that sometimes we need to pull away from relationships that keep us from God. I thought with sadness of some of my family members and friends’ grown children who were influenced into addictions by those around them. Some broke ties with the friends who led them into bad habits; some did not, causing continued pain to themselves and all around them.

It is painful to break ties, but God gives us strength to stand, grow and flourish. He guides us to new relationships and a new direction so that we become stronger and more beautiful than ever.

For spiritual strength, you need to persevere through tough times, too. Read Hebrews 12:11 in the New Testament: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

How can unhealthy relationships in your life be pruned for better results?

 

The “God Loves You” House by Jo Russell

Someone soaped our front windows and it wasn’t even close to Halloween!
Spurred to action, I cleaned the scribbles off first, then took a thick orange bar and wrote “God Loves You!” across the front picture windows.

I asked my teen sons to clean the windows later in the month, but by that time, window washing would have been smearing ice over the glass because of the winter temperatures. Also the word “windows” was not in their vocabulary nor their agenda. They simply don’t do suds and glass.

The prominent message turned out to be useful. “Turn left on Center, then find the ‘God Loves You’ house on the corner!” Or, “Our house has bright accent colors and a ‘God Loves You’ message on the front windows.”

As weeks went by and winter turned to spring, my sons walked by the message daily, failing to notice. Wholesome outdoor activities continued in the front yard with friends while I was still at work. Soon I found a film clip starring my teens. One son had been jumping a bicycle over four other young men lying in the front yard like sardines. The “God Loves You” message was bright in the background. Soon after, I heard from angry, wet neighbors who had been squirted with a hose through their car window. I lectured about the “God loves you” mission statement at our house.

One of my sons brought up the topic of the windows.

“When are you going to clean them off?”

“Remember, I asked you to do it. Actually, I thought it was a great message in the neighborhood. Did you notice no one has tried to soap the windows since?”

“Yeah, but no one has washed them, either.”

“I wasn’t planning to wash them until summer. I am growing to like it very much!”

“Geez, Mom! You’re embarrassing us!” The two teens disappeared inside and came out with rags and the window cleaner. They worked until the picture windows shined like crystal.

Soon after, I was headed out the door to the dusty truck with an orange bar of soap. One of my sons stopped me to demand, “Where are you going with that?”

“I thought many in the community could benefit from a ‘God loves you’ message on the back window of the truck! Don’t you?”

I didn’t get a chance to soap my message on the vehicle. My young men washed the truck and shined all the windows, too. God surely does work in mysterious ways!

Motherhood is a job that deserves, but never gets a nomination for the Presidential Motherhood Medal of Honor. Moms are in the line of fire in enemy territory. Women learn that to stay steadfast in raising children is like trying to keep a car steady as when you just had a tire blow out. In Proverbs 20:11, Solomon penned these words: “Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.”

Moms, stick to your agenda and your standards. The troops will come around.

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing, 2011. For more chuckles, check her weekly blog on Button-to-God.com.]

Do Red Trucks Have More Fun? By Jo Russell

Glancing at my watch after I spewed gravel in an arch while parking for a meeting, I grumbled, “Shoot! Ten minutes late! I hate this!”

Dashing inside, I explained to Richard, the leader, “Sorry for being tardy. I have always heard that red vehicles get stopped more. Guess research is right!”

Richard studied me with a smile, and then remarked, “Actually, I know for sure that drivers of red pick-ups, like yours, get pulled over for breaking the law.”

Yep. Police Officer David had called Richard, his dad, before I got there. Busted! Fellow church member David was serving his first day on the job. He had to pull me over for speeding. The young man’s face had been as red as my truck. After several decades of driving down the main drag, I couldn’t claim ignorance of the speed limit.

It was time for me to take responsibility for my own actions. The color of my pick-up was not the problem. It was my foot on the gas pedal.
Remembering the large donation for a previous speeding fine, I flinched.

However, God had gotten my attention. The message: slow down!
“Do not make light of the Lord’s discipline and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” Hebrew 12:5-6. God loves me and wants me uninjured and able to do His work.

But just as we as parents had corrected our children, God disciples us. Don’t miss the motive for it all: He loves us. That’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing, 2011. For more chuckles, check her weekly blog on Button-to-God.com.]