Momentary Glory

As I write this, the 2018 North American International Auto Show is underway in nearby Detroit, the self-proclaimed center of automobile manufacturing worldwide. While science and technology is generally credited with shifting human potential into hyper mode, automotive technology puts all this accumulated know-how on the road and into the hands of everyday men and women.

A driver of older cars myself, I cruised the internet for views about must-have automotive technology for 2018.

1. Connected Mobile Apps - to remotely lock and unlock the doors, check fuel level and tire pressure, and start the car on cold mornings.

2. Teen Driver Technology - notify parents if the car is driven over a certain speed, disable the stereo if seatbelts aren't used, and even keep the stereo from being turned up past 7

3. Adaptive Cruise Control - automatically match the speed of the car in front of you, allow  car to be brought to a complete halt and then resume automatically in stop-and-go traffic

4. LED/Xenon Headlights - LED bulbs that never need replacing, swivel to illuminate around corners and auto-high beams that prevent blinding other drivers while maximizing driver’s view

5. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto - Plug in your smart phone and it replaces the often user-unfriendly do-it-all screens of the automaker with an interface more like the more familiar look your phone offers.

6. USB Ports - every new car comes with one or two, but the Chrysler Pacifica has nine. Some vehicles are even coming with the same 110-volt power outlets that you'll find in your home.

7. Rear Cross-Traffic Alert - sensors alert to approaching vehicles, shopping carts, or pedestrians in low-speed places like parking lots where many accidents occur. Some cars can even automatically brake before a collision occurs.

8. Lane Departure Warning - cameras that determine if a car has drifted across a marked lane line. Some systems even help nudge you back into the proper lane, a life-saver if you were heading into opposing traffic.

9. Automatic Emergency Braking - sensors to determine if a forward collision crash is imminent and automatically applies the brakes to diminish the severity or avoid a crash entirely.

10. 360-degree Camera - that can show a virtual top-down view of your surroundings and avoid the mishaps that insurance claims indicate are the most likely to occur.

Against this technological dazzle, a recent adventure in our family revealed that even the latest and greatest innovations have their limitations. My wife drives our “newest” car, a 2006 SUV declared “pretty basic” by our son whose lease car is one of today’s “electronic-everything” varieties.  However, I just helped him haul his all-of-a-sudden, non-running car to a repair shop due to a mysterious electrical issue triggered by the recent sub-zero cold snap.  The car starts but cannot be put into gear. (Fortunately, the truck we borrowed to pull the car hauler trailer featured an older, “mechanical” shifter that performed reliably!)

Wrote the prophet Isaiah,

“All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
   surely the people are grass.  The grass withers, the flower fades,
   but the word of our God will stand forever." (Isaiah 40: 6-8, ESV)

While we love to boast about our gadgetry and credit technology with taking humanity to new heights, all we are and ever will be pales before the majesty of God, like grass that withers and flowers that fade.  

A good perspective to fall back on when our stuff lets us down, as it surely will.



Top auto technologies in 2018

Poor reception or something else?



I’ve had some conversations lately that were not received as I intended.  Ditto with some of my writing and social media posts.    

As I increasingly resolve to lean into and live for the Lord while also planting seeds of faith every chance I get, I encounter more instances of, shall I say, poor reception.  This despite the Lord’s assurance that the Holy Spirit will give us words to say when our faith is on the line. (Matthew 10:19-20).  

In fairness, the context for Jesus’ assurance regarded more of a “being handed over to the authorities” situation.  Still, some otherwise normal conversations intended to be winsome feel like that, sinking into argumentative debating.

Does the Lord’s word accomplish his purposes even when poorly delivered by the likes of me? While I enter a conversation intending to be loving and responsive, somewhere along the line, another spirit butts in.  Did that nasty retort actually come out of MY mouth?  

Why is it that struggling, sad, or traumatized people are generally more open and attentive to faith conversations?  The hardest to connect with are those who: (a) are doing well in life, at least inasmuch as can be observed or feigned; and, (b) who I am closest to.  In the case of family, multiply the likely disconnect quotient by ten.   

No matter how toughened I think I am, to have my intentions doubted or dismissed by those I am most known to is emotionally deflating.  It's also something I realize I need to get beyond.  

Even Jesus’ experienced this when we visited his hometown during the height of his popularity everywhere else. There Jesus commented, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” … And he was amazed at their unbelief. (Mark 6: 4,6, NLT)

I italicized amazed.  Imagine Jesus amazed by unbelief.  Whose unbelief amazed him?

Unbelief has lots of help, like success in life already noted.  Then there’s that other “presence” I mentioned that is virtually invisible to enlightened moderns but who likes to horn into every opportunity to plant Gospel seeds.  

Warned Paul, “...our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12, NIV)

Here God’s message in Scripture is consistent and often.  The basis of all our hope is not results or even receptive people but the Lord.  Period. You’ll never hear the Lord ask, “How is that working for you?”  Only, “Are you abiding in me?”

No matter how well or badly our attempt to share faith seems, the Holy Spirit is the only one able to bring new believers across the start line.  All the feathers are in God’s cap while none are in ours.  

Help me tell myself to take a deep breath, relax and have some fun with this, to not take myself so seriously.

No matter how much pressure I put on myself, the sobering realization also cited often in Scripture is that most people are not open to the Lord.  Most shut him down or off and prefer to live according to their own intelligence.  Jesus’ “narrow road” analogy is alarmingly in that it easily accommodates everyone who is tuned into God through Christ. (Matthew 7:14)

Check out how God coached Isaiah to approach his prophetic ministry.

He said, “Go and tell these people:

‘Listen continually, but don’t understand!
Look continually, but don’t perceive!’
Make the hearts of these people calloused;
make their ears deaf and their eyes blind!
Otherwise, they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
their hearts might understand and they might repent and be healed.”
(Isaiah 6:9-13, NET)

Ever hear that from a professor on the first day of class? “The road to an A is to listen and understand but every one of you is going to ignore my advice and fail.”   

Distressed, Isaiah replied, “How long, sovereign master?” The Lord’s answer doesn’t paint a pretty picture. (See Isaiah 6: 11-13, NET)

Every Gospel writer picks up Jesus citing this passage, as does Acts and Paul’s letters to the Romans and Corinthians.*

Stand on God’s words and assurances vs. my own assessment about the situations and people I encounter.
— (Note to self)

When I feel cast aside, I need to order myself to fall back and regroup with the Lord!  Instead of rehearsing answers to anticipated objections or questions, more and more I pray that my hope and trust in the Lord is dialed up so I am strong in his assurance that I am covered no matter how things go.

When Jesus engages us, he also assures us that he’s got our backs. not worry about how to respond or what to say. In that hour you will be given what to say. For it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
— Jesus, Matthew 10:19-20


1) Isaiah passage cited in New Testament: Matthew 13:14–15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:39–40; Acts 28:26–27 and in the background of some of Paul’s letters (Rom 11:7; 2 Cor 3:14)  from "The Use of Isaiah in the New Testament" by Donald W. Mills