Small Town Blessings
I got back on the road today after spending the last week in Indianapolis getting the old house ready for sale. I was busy trying to get caught up on phone calls from the car and before I knew it, I had missed a turn and was driving straight south in to southern Indiana. Now I was headed to Evansville, so it wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but it was apparent to me that it would take longer than normal to get to my destination. Good thing I had plenty of time before my first appointment.
At first, I was a little annoyed that I had missed the turn, but soon I started to really enjoy the drive. I had the navigation system going so I knew the general direction I was headed, but decided to go with the flow and just try to chill out. Sometime late morning I passed Bloomington, IN and then I was off to Bedford, a small community famous for several local celebrities who hailed from there. Soon, I was in Mitchell, IN; home of Gemini astronaut Gus Grissom, one of the three astronauts killed on the ground in a fire while testing the Apollo capsule before the re-design with the quick escape hatch.
Many years ago, Janet and I visited the little museum there and the memories came flooding back. For an instant, I almost tried to find the place, along with Grissom’s boyhood home, but I thought better of it and kept on driving. I happened to notice the billboard as I was heading out of town – you know, one of those religious ones with a verse on it. And then, the further south I travelled, the greater the number of billboards I saw. And each one had a different verse.
I was struck by the intensity of the faith of the people in the small towns I travelled through. Yard signs, posters and the billboards I already mentioned dotted the landscape much more frequently than they do further north in Indianapolis and Carmel, where we live. There were some intense ones – like the ones ordering people to “REPENT” and others, more laid back but nonetheless designed to cause people to think about the kingdom of God. Pretty soon, I couldn’t go a minute or two without seeing another sign representing somebody’s faith. It was kind of awesome and if you asked me to re-trace my steps on how I got here this evening, I couldn’t do it.
But make no mistake, it was a real treat to kick back and enjoy the beautiful scenery and the continual references to God. The verse for tonight is from Hebrews 13:15, a verse that reminds me of what I experienced today – the continual praise of God. The author of Hebrews tells us, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.” The people of southern Indiana sure got this right!
My encouragement this evening is to remind you that God wants our praise. And you can’t go wrong praising the God of the universe. Believe me, being constantly reminded of God can’t help but make each of us better people. My prayer is that you will not only praise God but that you will also live your faith and profess it to others as the people in southern Indiana demonstrated to me today. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…