Tracy: Love is Responding

My dear friend Tracy really sees the poetry of life, she seeks after Wisdom and she loves the Lord. I am so glad she shares her heart with us. Won’t you make her feel welcome by posting a comment below?
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Consider the multiple modes of communication which bless our eyes, ears, and fingertips.  Words with family, friends, and acquaintances are a cybersecond away.  Alexander Graham Bell would be quite astounded and impressed.

Are we utilizing this gift of communication in a way that pleases the Lord?  In a way that builds and grows our relationships with Him and others?

Recently  a friend sent me a fairly long email.  At the time when I received the message , I was simply scanning over messages, not lingering.  Naturally, I made a mental note to return to the message when I had more time to respond.

Webster’s defines time as “duration considered independent of any system of measurement.  The sample sentence from his classical dictionary is by Chaucer…”The time wasteth night and day.”  “Wasteth”.  Britta wrote a post on procrastination which described me quite well, unfortunately.

Due to my delay, my friend’s email message was now overcome by a plethora of others and slipped further and further off of my page and in turn, out of my mind.

Two weeks later, I ran into this friend, who had deliberately crafted a message for me.  She was concerned she had offended me by the text in her email.   The one I didn’t read.  Oh, how I cringed with regret and apology.  And my neglect of her disturbed her sense of internal peace.

Studying how God calls us to respond in relationship to Him
might unlock clues to our relationships with others.

 
In order for growth to occur, God requires response.  In Hebrews 4:2, we see that the good news reached the people of Israel, but it did not benefit them, “because it did not meet with faith.”  They did not respond.

We see in Hebrews, chapter 11, where God requires a response of faith….”But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him ”  (Hebrews 11:6).

Paul cries out to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 6:11-13, ” O Corinthians!  We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open.  You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.  Now in return for the same, you also be open.” Respond!!!

God is represented in Scripture as pleading with men:

  • “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 1:18)
  • “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden , and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28_
  • In His conversation with the rich young ruler Jesus says, ” If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come, follow Me”  (Matthew 19:21).
  • In John 5:6, when Jesus saw a man who had not walked for 38 years, He said to him, ” Do you want to be made well?”

God requires our response.

Our intentional, deliberate Lord initiates the fruits of the Spirit with “love , joy, and then peace”.  I wonder if I might transfer this to our relationships with one another.  When someone reaches out in love, the response we give in return produces JOY and in turn provides peace of mind for the sender.  She /He is not left to question and wonder about possible offense.  1 John 4:19 declares,”We love Him because He first loved us.”  Love will not reach you, unless you respond.

Once again, I am placed in an opportunity to grow.  There will be no progress unless I respond to Him and others.  I am reminded  to “widen my heart” and consider others first.  The offering of peace in relationship might be concealed in something as simple as an offering of response.  How would you respond today?

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Investing in Compassion…

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Did I ever tell you that our family sponsors two boys through Compassion International?  We get letters with fantastic drawings from the other side of the world (India) and south of the Equator (Colombia).  I read the translator’s typed text.  But I get to see the original writing too.  I get to touch their handwriting.  The letters are always composed of somewhat formal, elegantly-written, and tremendously grateful words.

I am reminded of how casually our Western culture takes letter writing.  We ditched letters when email came along — letters took too long to arrive.  We ditched Email when texting came along — people stopped checking email and texts were just so much faster.  I am guilty of this.  I am a horrible correspondent.

Our boys always sign their letters as “Your son.”  Your son.  Extended family.  International relations.  Amazing.

Sponsoring one child costs about as much as eating out for one meal, for a family of four.  But instead of Pizza or Pei Wei, your money buys medical care, food, education, encouragement. Life.

Who knew that life was so cheap?  In truth, we all know it is really very precious.  Watch this video and think about the priceless gift of life.  And, if you don’t already, please consider sponsoring a child.  Or two.  You can speak life into death with your words and your financial support.  You can sign up in the right sidebar of my home page or at the end of this video (please refresh the page if it doesn’t appear below).

 

Hey!  Let me know in the comments if you currently sponsor a child.  If so, what is your favorite thing about Compassion International?  If not, will you join me today?

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Wisdom is Taught by Kindness

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If you ever meet me, I am sure to quote my mother before too long.  Or tell a story about her.  My relationship with her is so deep and wide that it often spills into my conversations, even though she lives far, far away from me.  And even though I only see her a few times a year, these days.

Early on in my marriage, my husband nicknamed my mother “Mommasaid”, because I was always saying, “Momma said this” or, “Momma said that.”  Even now, she is listed my email contacts as “Mommasaid”.  As an aside, “Mommasaid” must be uttered quickly, for it to sound right.  The emphasis is on the “mom” and the “said” parts, and it has the same rhythm of the words “valentine” or “summertime” or “porcupine.”  I just thought you might want to hear it in your mind the right way.  You’re welcome.

God orders your life in such a way as to shower you with wisdom.  So don’t miss it.  Sometimes He uses a person, like Mommasaid, who shares wisdom from His Word.  Sometimes He uses experiences in His World to grow us in wisdom.

author arbiter of wisdom

So you can imagine how grateful I am that He has gifted my children with wonderful teachers.  For two years, Josh and Grace have had the blessing of learning from my dear friend Tracy at our homeschool community weekly.  And there are many others who influence them, including friends at church, and music, marital arts, and dance instructors.

As I sat last week, watching my daughter in dance class, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the gift of her ballet instructor.  My shy girl is blossoming under her hand.  Gracie is tall and very lean.  She has grown 3.5 inches in the last year!  I always knew she would outpace me in the height department, and that day is coming soon.  To that end, I never wanted her to slouch.  And so, ballet.

giftWe named our dear girl “Grace” because of its biblical meaning: we see her as a underserved gift.  But I realized later, that her name could set an expectation for her; so ballet seemed to be one way to help her grow in physical grace.  At age 11, she can be all pointy knees and elbows, but she is beginning to hold her head higher and meet your gaze with a smile. I think that dance is growing her confidence and her comfort with herself.  

Last week, I was looking through that expansive glass window at the young dancers — girls, ages 10 to 16.  They were at the barre and their instructor was watching them, speaking encouragement and correction.  It is obvious that she really cares for the girls and that she loves dance.  She is a natural teacher.  This is what came to my mind:

I see in my daughter’s tall, generous, joyful ballet teacher…I see a graceful tree.  I know this tree was once a little sapling too.  But she grew taller and stronger and began to branch out.  When, she first blossomed as a performer, I am sure it was wonderful.  But now, there are many young saplings that she is pruning with her fine eye for detail and with her carefully placed words.  These young dancers, some sparkling with promise, and others simply sparkling with pleasure — these are extensions of that graceful tree, that was once a sapling herself.  And this work that she is doing now must be the sweetest yet.  I am sure that in the heart of every dancer there will always be a performer.  But when a performer is able to step out of the spotlight to allow it shine on someone else, it is a most beautiful and selfless act.  Maybe this is real success? The ability to grow the love of beauty and the pleasure in hard work, in someone else.

I love how God provides just what we need.  Last week, I talked about how He has provided me with experiences to teach me that His Word is Truth.  Yet, I see how He also gifts us with particular people who can walk with us into unfamiliar territories and teach us how to navigate through new seasons with increasing confidence.  He is kind like that.

So how has God provided for you in this way?  Where are you finding Wisdom?  Who is mentoring you, or your husband or children?  Please share in the comments!

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Memory Verse Monday: 14 April

Prov 4.5..7

Face to Face Friday: Growing Up in Him

A Video Bible Study:
Elizabeth George’s “Putting on a Gentle and Quiet Spirit”
Lesson Seven

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Today’s video post reminds us that sins can prevent us from enjoying relationship with God.  And that relationship with God is what frees us from sin.  Our scripture is this:

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious (1 Peter 2:1-3).

 
Two key points are that we need to DISCARD bad behaviors and ways of operating and DESIRE the Word.
 

 
And I want to encourage you to check out Biblegateway.com for easy access to the Word.  There are Reading Plans, Devotionals (this is the one I get in my inbox), AudioBibles, Dictionaries, and more.  You can read the Bible is hundreds of different languages/translations, compare versions side by side, look at cross references and you can also do a keyword or topical search.  Here are the results for the keyword searches for a few terms from our study today.

I love Biblegateway!  I use it many times every day.  I love the app too; I always have my Bible in my purse now.  I hope that it will be helpful to you as you desire the pure milk of the word!

Tell me, have you ever used Biblegateway?  Do you like it?  How is God using His Word to work in your heart these days?

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