Tag Archive | love

Secret Ingredient

The floating “I Love You” heart for our family tradition of 14 days of intentional acts of love has been tucked back in the drawer for another year. We don’t generally celebrate Valentine’s Day with roses, chocolates, wine and an elaborate night out, but we do enjoy being more intentional in the little ways we show our love to each other. Some days the paper heart shows up several times. Other days, it may only get passed once. Some expressions are easy to capture a photo others are not. These designated two weeks are a good reminder to not take love for granted, and to be mindful of ways we can show love every single day. If you want to know more about this tradition, you can read about it here.

The secret ingredient for any lasting relationship is love!

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Love others as Jesus has loved you!

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT

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No Man Can Tame the Tongue

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverb 15:1

Oh to master this truth at a young age!

When I substitute teach, my 20 minute drive allows me time to pray for the students I’ll be spending the day with. I also pray that I will have patience and gentle responses. There are times when a student enters the classroom angry, and my response has a lot to do in setting the tone for the rest of the class.

In the New Testament book of James, we are told “no man can tame the tongue.” If that’s the case, why bother trying?!

Let’s take a closer look. James 3:7-10

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. (NIV)
We should strive daily to control/tame our tongue because human beings/mankind/people have been made in God’s likeness. As Christ Followers, we should reflect God’s character to all. However, too often we fail.
Often on my way home from school, I reflect on my day…Did I remember to speak gently, patiently, calmly? Did my students see Jesus in me? How can I respond differently next time?
Are you trying to tame your tongue? What steps are you taking?
May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

The Word is “Kind” Part 2

2015 has been quite the year! Throughout these past 12 months I have been on a personal study of the word “KIND”. You can read about that decision HERE. My eyes have been open to the kindness around and in me. However, at first it seemed I was mainly aware of UNkindness.

Have you noticed how negative our society can be?  The daily news bombards us with doom and gloom reporting. TV and social media is full of backstabbing, criticism, lying, and cheating. Workplaces become a battle ground of gossip, jealousy, and sometimes a celebration of someone’s failure. It was disheartening to recognize the magnitude of this ugliness.  In the midst of these observations I was reminded that my word is “Kind” not “unkind”, and Ephesians 4:32 became my verse for the year.

 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

I soon changed my focus to:

  • Intentionally looking for kindness in others
  • Expressing my appreciation when I witness kindness
  • Working on my attitude and behavior to be kind

Kind is a willingness to do good or give pleasure, a sympathetic attitude towards others, having a good or benevolent nature or disposition, considerate, helpful.

One day as I was subbing, I had a student that was being a pest to anyone that came near him. In fact, he had a girl in tears from his unkind words before the morning bell rang! Our day was not off to a great start, and I dreaded what might take place at morning recess. I breathed a quick, “Thank you, Jesus.” prayer when the boy left the basketball game to play with another student. As the class was lining up to return to class, I quietly told the boy I noticed and appreciated how kind he was on recess. The rest of the day was near perfect, and I have not seen the negative behavior on days I’ve been back in his classroom.

Opportunities to be kind present themselves every hour of the day. Growing up, my mom often said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” I oftentimes know very little of the trials others are dealing with. They may be having the very worst day of their life, and I have a choice. I can encourage or discourage.

Love is patient and kind” 1 Corinthians 13:4a.

This word study has been a great and challenging exercise, but more than that it is an ongoing life changer. It takes time and practice to overcome and rise above negativity. My goal was not to merely recognize kindness, but for my life and love to be overflowing with kindness. I have not yet accomplished that goal; I am a work in progress.

Did you choose a word for the year? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Will you be choosing a word for 2016? What will it be?

kind

Maundy Thursday Ponderings

On this Maundy Thursday, I have pondered throughout the day. I wonder; if I had lived when Jesus did, would I have been in the crowd singing praises to Him. Would I have been the one to prepare the “Last Supper”. or clean the “Upper Room” and make sure it was ready for Jesus and his guests?

As the sun begins to set beyond the trees…

sunset                                                                                                              I wonder…

If I had been one of Jesus’ disciples, how would I have felt when he washed my stinky, filthy feet? Would I have been like Peter, protesting, and then requesting Jesus  wash my hands and head as well? What would I have thought when Jesus said “And you disciples are clean but not all of you”? (John 13:10b)

Would I have suspected Judas to be the one Jesus said would betray him?

Maundy means command.  Jesus said to the disciples,

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34,35 NLT

Would I have understood that Jesus wanted me to serve others in love? As Jesus, continued to teach, how much would I have understood. The figures of speech, would I have grasped their meanings? Would I have been able to say with the other disciples,  “Now we understand that you know everything, and there’s no need to question you. From this we believe that you came from God.” (John 16:30 NLT)

How special I would have felt to hear Jesus pray for me and the other disciples. In fact, reading Jesus’ prayer (John 17), I do feel special, loved, cared for, and encouraged. I want to encourage you,dear reader, to read the account of the “Last Supper”. Much can be gleaned from the interaction between Jesus and his disciples immediately before the betrayal and Jesus’ arrest. Don’t miss out on this important part of the Easter story. Read John 13 – 17.

Christmas Shopping Spree

Last evening was one of my favorite events with my 6th grade Bible club girls. Christmas Shopping Spree!  Who wouldn’t enjoy taking a carload of girls shopping?  This annual event is one I look forward to each December.  No matter how diverse their interests, or how cliquish they may be, this is one activity that really helps them gel.

Are you thinking, “Really?! How can that be?”

I do not lie; I am not imagining things. They really do come together as a group!  You see, not one item is purchased for themselves. We are Christmas shopping for a girl about their age, who otherwise may not have any presents to unwrap.

The girls were encouraged to bring a few dollars, then on the way to the store they added up the total amount.  From there, they brainstormed and shopped.  These girls decided to get several small items rather than just one gift. My job was made easy.  I had no squabbling; everyone was included, and they made those dollars stretch.

After making their purchases, we returned to the church for gift wrapping. A couple girls brought homemade items to add so we had a couple boxes filled with goodies.  As they wrapped and signed a Christmas letter, their conversations continued with hopes this girl would have a good Christmas. Shopping for another girl about their age was easy for them. The girls bought items they themselves would enjoy.  What especially warmed my heart was hearing the most precious prayer prayed by one of my 6th grade girls. A prayer for another girl that we only know as a number to keep it confidential. We don’t know the family situation, but a beautiful blessing was prayed for her and her family.

Each year I watch how this Christmas gift shopping and giving pulls these young ladies together.  It is an experience that takes their eyes off themselves, and they embrace the joy in giving to someone in need. It is a small way to show Christ’s love, and follow the command that we should love one another.

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 1 John 3:16-18

Rewind or Pause?

If given a choice, would you choose a rewind button or a pause button for your life? Wouldn’t that be a luxury to be able to rewind and have a do-over, or pause and enjoy the moment a while longer?

Pondering rewind or pause, I initially thought I would choose a pause button because life seems pretty good right now.

  • I have some great relationships with friends and family.
  • Although my body is aging, I am healthy.
  • I have a husband that loves me.
  • I have a job that I enjoy.
  • I am being challenged in my relationship with God.

On the other hand, a rewind button might be best because there have been times I wished I could back up and try again.

  • when hurtful words came out of my mouth
  • when I didn’t take the time to be the friend someone needed
  • when I was so self-absorbed in my own hurt and disappointment that I didn’t notice how it was affecting those around me
  • when I was too busy to read one more book to my pleading child, or pick up the phone just to say “I’m thinking of you and praying for you today.”
  • when I tried to do things my way instead of listening to God’s leading
  • when I didn’t share the saving grace of Jesus with one who was drowning in sin and darkness

In reality, I know I can neither pause nor rewind my life. However, I CAN learn from my mistakes and be grateful for abundant blessings.

 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:12-14 NLT

Leave me your comment: Would you choose a rewind or pause button?

 

For the Love of God

Due to some reading, listening to a couple speakers and a class I’m currently taking, I have been prompted to take a good hard look at my life. Too many times my life revolves around Me, Myself and I.  Me and my husband, Me and my family, Me and…  Do you see the common denominator? Me, Me, My, Me…

Satan loves it when people focus primarily on self, because then our number one focus is not on God.  Satan is the deceiver causing us to think we are better and more important than others.  We fill our schedules to revolve around ourselves.  Too many days are not begun asking, “God, what is it you want me to do today?”, listening to His direction, and then being obedient to go and do.

What would our community be like if all who call themselves “Christian” would follow those steps each morning?  Can you imagine the change if denominational barriers were torn down, or if the status of wealth and popularity no longer caused social discrimination?  What if we truly loved as Jesus loved?

Missionary Amy Carmichael said, “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”  What woud happen if we seriously followed Jesus command to “love your neighbor as yourself?” Matthew 22:39   Daily schedules would no longer revolve around “Me”.   C.T. Studd was a missionary to China, India and Africa.  He said, “If Jesus Christ is God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”  God wants us to be obedient now in spite of our imperfections. What better place is there to get started  than in our own neighborhood and community?

I would like to issue a challenge for the week: Each morning begin the day asking God, “What is it you want me to do today?” Listen for His direction, and then be obedient.  Be intentional in showing the love of Jesus to others in your community.

 ” If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;  but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”    I Corinthians 13:3