Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Genuine Interest

Genuine Interest

When we are genuinely interested in others,
a graciousness comes over us that is compelling. (Sarah Breathnach)

Marita Bonner wrote in 1926, “We should not talk to people as if they were strange hard shells that we have to crack open to get inside.
We should talk as if we were already in the shell. In their very shell.”

Most of us have harried moments in our day, but by taking the time to step outside our own sphere to embrace others we open ourselves up to the power of the Holy Spirit who can then work in and through us. (S.B.)

Do I?
Greet everyone with a warm smile? ____________________________________________________________________________
Do I rush my encounters with people? ____________________________________________________________________________
Do I really take time to pray for others? ____________________________________________________________________________
Do I take time to pray WITH others? ____________________________________________________________________________
Do I listen attentively to them? ____________________________________________________________________________
Does everyone I speak to believe that I care for them? ____________________________________________________________________________
Do I lavish Jesus’ love on others? ____________________________________________________________________________

List someone that this is difficult to do with:


I Corinthians 13
                                                    Ephesians 4:2-3

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Unglued....more things that spoke to me

More quotes from Lysa TerKeurst's book Unglued:

pg 54 - We must bring all of our raw reactions under the authority of Jesus. Our best efforts at human reasoning and will power can't tame us. (See James 3:7-12)

"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom." James 3:13 - Our words must be spoken in the wisdom that comes from humility!
When we are humble, we realize our honesty can't be one-sided. We make an effort to see the situation from the other person's vantage point. And when we are wise, we pause and measure our words to the get at the heart of the issue without sabotaging the heart of our offender.

pg 64 - The secret to healthy conflict resolution isn't taking an against-me stance, but realizing it's all of us against Satan....he's the real enemy.

Crafting a Graceful Response Template
1. Begin by honoring the one offended. 
2. Keep your response short and full of grace. 
3. End by extending compassion. 

Choosing a gentle reply doesn't mean that you are week; it actually means you posses a rare and Godly strength. (FYI: I know that technically you are not supposed to capitalize the "G" in Godly. However, I switched over to "godly" for a while and just can't do it. So sorry if it bugs you but I am referencing a behavior that is in line with my Father God thus I must capitalize the "G" even in "God'ly'".)

pg 69 - My job is to be obedient to God in the midst of my own set of issues. 

pg 72 - When someone else's actions or statements threaten to pull me into a bad place, I have a choice. I do. It may not feel like it. In fact, it may feel like I'm a slave to my feelings - but I'm not. Feelings are indicators, not dictators. They can indicate there is a situation I need to deal with but they shouldn't dictate  how I react. I have a choice!

pg 73 - The answer to keeping God's power with me and working in me to produce self-control is letting God's Word get inside me.

pg 76 - Sometimes a girl can get worn out, wonder if she's ever going to stop exploding and feel like giving up. But before I give up, I've got to learn to hush up!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Unglued - My favorite quotes

I just finished reading Unglued: Making Wise Choises in the midst of raw emotions by Lysa TerKeurst.

It was fabulous.

For me anyways.

Here's some of my favorite excerpts: 

pg 13 - I know what it's like to praise God one minute and yell at my child the next. ;-(

pg 15 - Imperfect changes are slow steps of progress wrapped in grace....imperfect progress!

pg 16 - God gave us emotions. Emotions allow us to feel as we experience life. Because we feel, we connect. God gave me emotions so I could experience life, not destroy it! There is a gentle discipline to it all.

pg 16 - It's all about making PROGRESS!

pg 22 - Renewing our minds with God's Word and new thoughts is crucial. New thoughts come from new perspectives. 

pg 23 - I CAN face things that are out of my control and not ACT out of control. 

pg 28 - We can't always fix our circumstances, but we can fix our minds on God

Pg 33 - Labels are awful. They imprision us in categories that are hard to escape. BUT labels only stick if I let them!

pg 34 - O God, chisel me. I don't want to be locked in my hard places forever. I want to be free. I want to be all that You have in mind for me to be. 

"You are a chosen people, a royal preisthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." I Peter 2:9

pg 40 - Perspective: A messy closet does not make me a mess. It makes me a child of God who has a messy closet!

pg 44 - Exploding means pushing emotions outward. A rush of feelings surge up and out of our mouths and bring a whole host of love-lies with them - stern words, harsh looks, raised voices, condemning attitudes, and demonstrative gestures.  

pg 44 - The telltale sign of being an exploder is not the decible level but having REACTIONS that feel good in the moment because it gets the YUCK OUT. But when we realize how we've spewed on others and the hurt we've caused, the regret falls heavy. Yes, we regret exploding, but we'll either deflect that regret by blaming someone else for our actions or we'll ingest that regreat by shaming ourselves. 

pg 46 - Exploders aren't always loud in conveying their point, but they do use their words and tone to make sure the other person FEELS their point. 

pg 52 - Kind. Smart. Important. That's who I am. And that's how I act and react a lot of the time. But not all the time. Especially when I feel unglued and the integrity of my soul unravels. 

pg 52 - Soul integity is the heart of what we're after. Soul integirty is honesty that's Godly. 

pg 53 - In realtiy, some "honesty" is just emotional spewing! That's why we need Godly honesty - honesty reined in by the Holy Spirit. 


More of my favorite points tomorrow....

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Savoring Each Moment

"We do not lose heart. 
Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary,
 but the things which are not seen are eternal." 
2 Cor 4:16-18

To experience happiness we must train ourselves to live in this moment, to savor it for what it is, not running ahead in anticipation of some future date nor lagging behind in the paralysis of the past. With wholeness and sensitivity we must live in the here and now. "But what if I don't like the here and now?" you ask. "What if my present moment is one of disappointment or impairment or heartache? How then do I savor that moment?" Good questions. And the answers reside in the first and most profound principle for the art of savoring life: Pleasure lies in the heart, not in the happenstance. Our circumstances may be dreadful and riddled with reasons for discouragement or sorrow, but that doesn't mean those moments are utterly devoid of happiness. Those special savored moments of fun, reflection, happiness, and pleasure give us a tiny taste of what eternity with Christ will one day be like.  -  Luci Swindoll in You Bring the Confetti

"Oh taste and see that the Lord is good; 
Blessed is the man who trust in Him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him. 
The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing." 
Psalm 34:8-10

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Lord, help me never forget the things You've taught me!

"My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart, for they will give you a long and satisfying life." Proverbs 3:1-2

"Never let loyalty and kindness get away from you! Wear them like a necklace; write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will gain a good reputation." Proverbs 3:3-4

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your path." Proverbs 3:5-6

Lord, help me never forget the things that You have taught me. Things I have learned in Sunday School as a child. Sermons preached at camp meetings and college and everyday church....even a few TV sermons along the way. Scripture that I have stored from Your Word. Convictions the Holy Spirit has placed on my heart.

Lord, I desire to store Your commands in my heart. I want to have them in the forefront of my mind. If it's Your will, I would love to live a long and satisfying life. I know that only comes through walking with You in wisdom. Please help me do that.

Lord, I desire to be loyal. To You. To my husband. To my children. To my family. To my church family. To acquaintances. I really want to show kindness to those very same people. I need Your help when it's hard to be kind. When my emotions are raw or my frustration levels are high or it just doesn't seem to matter. I know that You desire me to wear kindness wherever I go. In my home. With my neighbors. With family and friends and strangers alike.  I am aware that having favor with You brings the greatest joy this life can offer. Having favor with people isn't half bad either. Your Word says that a good reputation is more valuable than fine gold. I desire to have a name that people associate with You. Not me. Not because of the things that I've done, but rather a reputation that honors You and points people to You.

Lord, trust isn't always easy. Some things just seem out of my hands. Yet, I know that You "work all things together for good to those who love You and are called according to Your purpose". Your Word never returns void and because of that I know I can trust You. But sometimes "knowing" and "doing" are two separate things. Often completely void of each other. My own wisdom has proven itself lacking, faulty, and in dire need of repair much more often than naught. I need the wisdom that only You can give.

Lord, I desire to seek You and Your will for my life. Have You noticed that I've been saying "if it's Your will" much more lately? Of course You have. I am aware that Your will is SOOOOO much more comprehensive, whole, fulfilling, loving, eternal, and  focused than mine. Mine is short-sited and temporal. Yours sees the big picture and knows what's around the next corner. Maybe I need to get knocked off the horse, so to speak, in order to miss a much bigger trial that would have hit me if I wouldn't have fallen. Or perhaps a blessing is waiting in a most unexpected place that only You know about. I want to trust You. I desire to seek Your will. I want to have Your wisdom, not my own. I fail daily. I fail by the hour and even minute somedays. Yet, You are faithful. Your mercies are new every morning. You have never left me and You promise to never forsake me. I trust that. Really, I do. With all my heart!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Boy Wanted

This "want ad" appeared in the early part of the last century. By Frank Crane

A boy that stands straight, sits straight, acts straight, and talks straight.
A boy whose fingernails are not in mourning, whose ears are clean, whose shoes are polished, whose clothes are brushed, whose hair is combed, and whose teeth are well cared for;
A boy who listens carefully when he is spoken to, who asks questions when he does not understand, and does not ask questions about things that are none of his business;
A boy that moves quickly and makes as little noise about it as possible;
A boy who whistles in the street, but does not whistle where he ought to keep still;
A boy who looks cheerful, has a ready smile for everybody, and never sulks;
A boy who is polite to every man and respectful to every woman and girl;
A boy who does not smoke cigarettes and has no desire to learn how;
A boy who is more eagar to know how to speak good English than to talk slang;
A boy that never bullies other boys nor allows other boys to bully him;
A boy who, when he does not know a thing, says, "I don't know," and when he has made a mistake says, "I'm sorry," and when he is asked to do a things says, "I'll try";
A boy who looks you right in the eye and tells the truth every time;
A boy who is eager to read good books;
A boy who would rather put in his spare time at the YMCA gymnasuium than to gamble for pennies in a back room;
A boy who does not want to be "smart" nor in any wise to attract attention;
A boy who would rather lose his job or be expelled from school than to tell a lie or be a cad;
A boy whom other boys like;
A boy who is at ease in the company of girls;
A boy who is not sorry for himself, and not forever thinking and talking about himself;
A boy who is friendly with his mother, and more intimate with her than anyone else;
A boy who makes you feel good when he is around;
A boy who is not goody-goody, a prig, or a little pharisee, but just healthy, happy, and full of life.
This boy is wanted everywhere. The family wants him, the school wants him, the office wants him, the boys want him, the girls want him, all creation wants him.

Ummhhh, I believe we will begin working through this list.... :-)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Mother Matters

2 Kings 22 reminds me that a mother matters!

  • Josiah was eight years old when the became king.
  • His mother was Jedidah.
  • He did what was pleasing in the Lord's sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. 
  • He did not turn aside from doing right. 
As I read through 2 Kings 22, I couldn't help thinking of what a brave mother that Josiah had. She must have guarded his heart well. The previous two chapters talk about how wicked his grandfather, King Manessah, and father, King Amon, were. So wicked that God said that he would turn total destruction on Judah because of their sins.

Jedidah must have trained her son in private. She must have had a Godly upbringing that she wanted desperately to instill in her child. Why do I believe she was desperate? Because Judah wasn't a little wicked. It was miserably wicked. I do not believe there were moms' Scripture studies or support groups for homeschoolers. No. I believe that she knew the responsibility that lay squarely on her shoulders since her son would one day become the king. 

Would he follow the pattern of his father? His grandfather was a very wicked man who had greatly angered the Lord. She must have known all of this. She also must have know the Living God who had once delivered her people long ago from the hands of slavery. Her parents surely passed that down to her and now her desire was to pass that down to her son. No just any son. A son that would one day become king. 

That day came much sooner than she thought. Only two years into King Amon's reign he was killed. That left her 8 year old son, Josiah, to be king. Was she relived? Scared? Excited? Terrified? Determined? 
Who knows? How would you feel if your 8 year old son became king? I personally don't believe it would be the joy ride some may think. Especially back then. Woman did not have say in matters. Her son would have basically been handed over to the advisors of the land. Those that were his fathers advisors. Men that were wicked as he had been. An 8 year old boy with power and fame and money...plus surrounded by and being led by wicked men. It doesn't sound like a fairy tale to a Godly mother

My mind believes that she was a bit panicked thinking that she hadn't had enough time.
This is only speculation of course, but my heart things that she was a bit desperate for answers
How could this be happening so suddenly. If only she had had more time to train him
Was he ready? 
Would he listen to her any longer since he was now surrounded by "advisors" that she had no control over?
Perhaps she was overjoyed and rejoiced that his father had died when Josiah was so young so that his influence wouldn't rest on him any longer. Only God knows?

But one thing I am quite sure of.....

She must have prayed! A lot! 

Joshiah did what was pleasing in the Lord's sight. 
He began restoration on the Temple of the Lord. 
While doing that, Hilkiah, the Hight Priest, found the Book of the Law. (vs 8)
The Court Secretary, Shaphan, returned to the king and read it to him. 
King Johiah tore his clothes in despair (vs 11) and had his adviser, Asaiah, go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for him and the people of all Judah. (vs 13). 
God said He would keep His word to destroy Judah because of their wickedness. BUT because King Josiah had humbled himself and wept in repentance, God heard him and promised to not send disaster until after King Josiah had died. However, King Josiah didn't leave it at that. he began a Spiritual Reformation with all the people of Judah. 

Mothers make a difference. 
Mothers matter. 
Mothers can lead their children in the ways of the Lord even with wicked fathers. 
She, Jedidah, was the minority in Judah. 
Others were not following God. 
She must have felt frightened and alone yet strengthened by faith to raise up her son, Johiah, to be a Godly king. Unlike so many generations before him. 
Yes, fathers are supposed to be the spiritual leaders, but that is not always the case. So others must protect, pray over, teach, train, and guide their children toward Jesus. Not just give in to the circumstances that surround them! Even when fathers are leading the home in a Godly manner, mothers are instrumental and key in the daily ins and outs and character building process!!!

Lord, help me never give in to the world around me! Help me always remember that my children were born for Your purpose. Help me prioritize! Help me discipline well. Help me love purely. Help me instill Your law in their heart's. Oh God, I surely will mess them up! Speak through me. Help me mother them with excellence. I can't do this in my own strength or wisdom. Help me be like Jedidah who went against the culture and raised a God-honoring leader!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Repose is a quality undervalued...

"In the clamor one is irresistibly drawn to the woman who sits gracefully relaxed, keeps her hands still, talks in a low voice and listens with responsive eyes and smile. She creates a spell around her, charming to the ear, the eye, and the mind." Good Housekeeping 1947

This is not a quality that I readily posses!

"Sits gracefully relaxed" - I have never been very graceful. I find it boring to just sit. Relaxing is not something that comes easily to me. I like to stay busy. Doing. Creating. Learning. Reading. Teaching.

"Keeps her hands still" - Again, not something that is easy for me. I find my mind wondering. Wondering what I could be doing, cleaning, making.

"Talks in a low voice" - We're still not hitting any winners.

"Listens with responsive eyes and smile" - Other mothers perhaps. Well, laying in bed is my favorite time with the kids because that's when I can just sink into the moment and listen. But what about during the day?

"She creates a spell around her" - Do my children always want to be around me? What about my husband? Others? I am not blind or dumb enough to believe they do. I want to think that the majority of the time I behave in a way that draws people to me instead of away from me. However, it's only by the power of the Holy Spirit that I can accomplish this. Not me.

In times past, when a quality or character trait was brought to my attention that I did not feel fit well into my personality I would brush it off, believe God only meant that for the more introvert type. "That's not how He made me. I'm an extrovert. I'm a doer. I'm loud. I'm outgoing." Yet, through the years I have learned that although God made us each with specific traits and personalities, with each of those comes good and bad characteristics. Things that we naturally posses and others that we need to grow into. Hopefully a bit of wisdom has opened me to the fact that perhaps.....I need more repose.

Repose (noun)
1. the state of being @ rest; sleep
Psalm 91:1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2. peaceful; tranquility; calm
Psalm 107:30 They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.

3. Dignified calmness, composure
Proverbs 31:25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

Sure, I could use some more of those in my life this year!

I don't believe that I will write down the same ol' resolutions that seem to be a revolving door on my January 1st calendar....pay off this bill, eat healthier, exercise more, do this, do that.

I believe this year is a year of focusing on the "big" stuff. Well, actually the "little" things that no one else sees but I know need fixed. Things God desires to see brought into alignment with His will. Those are the items that need priority. As for the others, I will always have another bill to pay. Eating healthy and exercising will be a habit that I must keep returning to my entire life. There will always be another drawer to clean, wall to paint, floor to scrub. But those don't matter for eternity or even make me feel better here on earth if I'm not doing them with an attitude of peace and calm. Sure, they help me feel more organized and clean and healthy, which in turns brings a freedom to do other things, but today....January 1st, 2013, I'm going to start with a prayer to have more repose.

"And now let us welcome the New Year,
Full of things that have never been." 
~Rainier Maria Rilke