My son, Lee and I have an inside joke that goes something like this: I’ll want him to do something, but he’s not very enthusiastic about it. So I begin to recount all I have done for him – “I carried you nine long months, went under the surgeon’s knife and through the ‘valley of the shadow of death’; I lugged you around and changed your diapers…” (You get the picture? 🙂 ) He rolls his eyes and stops up his ears! We laugh about it and move on. Sometimes it works; usually it doesn’t!
Lee knows I’m just teasing and that I would’ve gone through anything to bring him into this world. (35 years ago today!! Happy Birthday Lee!) Humor aside, our silly little repartee illustrates a deep longing inside each of us – the longing to be appreciated and valued.
One of the quotations in my marriage journal says, “A glorious marriage is sometimes only an appreciation away. “ ~ Debi Pearl. Oh, how true this is! The writer of Proverbs certainly knew about the power of words. In just one passage, out of many, we are reminded that: “Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a person’s lips bring satisfaction.” (Proverbs 18:20 NLT)
Think of eating a fine meal, followed by a yummy dessert. You may sigh and think, “That was awesome!” Now think about this: words of appreciation and affirmation make your spouse and loved ones feel the same way – awesome. Words of appreciation, spoken in love, feed the need inside each one of us to be valued and honored.
Think of it this way: Men never outgrow their need for a cheerleader… Women always want to be the cherished princess. What a privilege we have to speak into our loved ones’ lives and bring them the satisfaction of knowing that no matter the negative, unkind words that may be spoken into their ears, there is someone who believes in them and appreciates all they do.
I love and appreciate you,
A few years ago I read this amazing scientific fact: “The earth’s magnetic field is changing. According to scientists, the magnetic poles are “sliding towards Siberia at 34 miles per year at a speed that has accelerated 36 percent over the past 10 years.” A compass, which relies on magnetic north, can no longer be trusted. The good news is that fluctuations in the magnetic field have occurred throughout history. Just use that GPS and you’ll be fine!” (Our Daily Journey / Jan. 5, 2012)
As I read those words I couldn’t help but think about so many other things in our world that are “sliding toward Siberia!” At one time True North for marriage and the rules that govern society was God’s Word, yet in the world we find ourselves living in today, that has drastically changed for many people. But not for the true people of God!
Followers of Jesus cannot rely on the guidance of this world’s “magnetic field”…the pop stars, talking heads, TV psychologists, politicians…those who desire to pull the direction of truth away from The Book and toward the Abyss. We must not be taken in by lies and half-truths. True North for our lives and homes will always be found solely in the Scripture.
Typing Truth in the GPS…Calculating…Fastest Route … “Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life. Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” ~ Psalm 119:104-105 NLT
You have reached your destination …
At the height of their popularity, the Rock and Roll band, Van Halen, had an interesting demand in their contract: a bowl of M&M’s back stage with all of the brown ones removed. In fact if the band found even one brown M&M in the bowl, the show would be canceled but the band would be fully compensated. When I first read about this I thought, “Wow! Of all the pompous, arrogant attitudes…” But then I read a little further.
The band had nine trucks filled with high tech equipment and a lot of people involved in putting on a show. If the promoter’s hadn’t taken the time to read and follow through with article 126 – no brown M&M’s – what else had they missed?
Ah…that puts it in a different light. Like so many situations in life, the little things mean a lot. Like four little verses in Romans 12. Just four little verses out of thousands, yet if we miss them, we will miss out on God’s best for our lives and relationships.
“10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.
12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.”
Like candy-coated chocolate, how sweet it will be when we not only “read the contract,” but follow through in love.
“The Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry about this?”” ~ Jonah 4:4 NLT
Jonah had an extreme adventure – running from God’s plan for his life, being swallowed whole by a whale, being regurgitated onto dry land, preaching to the Ninevites and then seeing them repent and be spared. He was not happy about God’s forgiveness toward these heathen people, thus prompting the question above.
God is sovereign and holy; knows the end from the beginning; loves with compassion and faithfulness. Everything He does is for our good and His glory; we are just too dumb to see it. We cannot see it, so we must rely on faith to believe that He is good and that His plan is being worked out for a reason, even if we cannot see it or understand it. We can be angry about injustice and evil, but it is never right for us to be angry about things we do not understand or refuse to understand.
Lord God Almighty, sovereign and holy; omniscient and omnipotent… I repent of being angry over things that I cannot understand. I am angry about the lies and captivity of the evil one. I hate Satan with a powerful hatred that impels me do what I can to unveil his ugliness and lead people to the beautiful truth only found in You. But I must not turn my anger toward You when I do not understand why you choose to do the things you do. I submit to Your plan and your purposes. You alone have the right to call the shots and you will always call them correctly. I praise you today for your greatness and for your omniscience. Holy, holy, holy are you Lord God Almighty. Be praised forevermore…
In an effort to increase my vocabulary, I used to receive an email called “Word of the Day.” I was familiar with some of the words; others caused me to say, “huh?” Most days I read through the definition and promptly forgot it. But some of the words made an impression and caused me to pause and ponder.
One such word is velleity (vu-lee-a-tee). Ever heard of it? Ever used it in a sentence? I hadn’t. It is a noun that describes volition in its weakest form; A mere wish, unaccompanied by an effort to obtain it. Ah… now that I am familiar with!
For example – learning to speak Spanish. Oh, I want to. I desire with all my heart to be able to communicate with my dear Hispanic friends. But so far my desire is velleity – a mere wish without the work it takes to make it come true. I’m totally open for the Lord to give me the gift of Spanish tongues, but so far, nothing doing. 🙂
Many times we talk a big talk about having a great marriage… a great prayer life… life-enhancing friendships… but we do little to achieve the goal. We wish things would get better. We hope the situation is going to turn around. But we are unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary for lasting change.
Proverbs 26:15 gives us an apt picture: “The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.” (NIV)
Wishing and hoping will not change our lives. Faith-filled, prayerful action will.
Let’s take our hand out of the dish called complacency, accompany our wishes with some effort and forget “wishing upon a star!” Not only will we find more fulfilling relationships, we will also find ourselves living lives that bring pleasure and glory to “the bright Morning Star.” (Rev. 22:16)
“Now suppose two men quarrel, and one hits the other with a stone or fist, and the injured person does not die but is confined to bed. 19 If he is later able to walk outside again, even with a crutch, the assailant will not be punished but must compensate his victim for lost wages and provide for his full recovery.” ~ Exodus 21: 18-19 NLT
You may be thinking, “Now that’s a special verse to choose for the day before Valentine’s Day!!”
I know, I thought so too, until the Lord led me to consider the difference in the “Law given by Moses” and the “Law of Love” proclaimed by Jesus.
Under the Mosaic Law, you had to provide for someone if you wounded them. You made the mess, you had to clean it up.
But then Jesus comes along and answers a question about how to show love to our neighbor with a story about an outcast Samaritan who went out of his way to take care of a victim of someone else’s crime. (Luke 10:30-37) He didn’t cause the wounds, but the Law of Love led him to compensate and provide healing anyway.
Perhaps you are married to someone who has been victimized by the bandits of abuse and negligence… Perhaps you have a friend with so many “issues” you’ve lost count of them all… The Law of Moses would say, “You didn’t do it, you’re not responsible.” But the Law of Love says, “I may not have been responsible, but I can’t pass by on the other side and pretend that everything’s fine. Through the loving power of Christ, I will help bring healing and wholeness. I will do whatever it takes, whatever the cost, to make a difference.”
This sentiment may not cause Cupid to blush, but it will honor the Lord and deepen the love you have for those God has brought into your life.
Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful Valentine’s Day,
My daughter is a relentless crusader preaching the gospel of health and longevity through the consumption of organic fruits and veggies. She’s relentless and is beginning to wear me down! Although I don’t always purchase organic foods, I do appreciate their value.
Organic crops are raised naturally, without synthetic inputs such as pesticides and genetic modification. The DNA of organic crops has not been tampered with so that pesticides are tolerated. This is a controversial subject with many differing opinions and I don’t understand it all, but I do know this to be true:
Organic or not, if the tree or vine or plant does not bear fruit, it will eventually be chopped down and destroyed.
John the Baptist reminded his listeners of this fact in Matthew 3:10…
“The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
As Christians, God has not called us to be firewood! He desires for our lives to be filled with His fruit – “organically” cultivated without the synthetic inputs of this world. When the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) flourishes in our lives, so will our relationship with God and with our loved ones.
I love the way Paul puts it in Philippians 1:9,11 NLT…
“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding… May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ — for this will bring much glory and praise to God.”… And much peace and happiness to your home!
Dodging the ax,
“He will rescue my soul, untouched, plucked safely from the battle… God, enthroned from ancient times through eternity, will hear my prayers” ~ Ps. 55:18-19 TVB
When all is said and done, God will guard our souls – that inner part of us that drives our emotions and feelings. We may become battle-scarred and weary, but ultimately, we will survive and even thrive because we believe in prayer. We have no desire to “do life” without God’s intervention and presence. We know that no one can pluck us from His hand, (John 10:28) but it’s also a comfort to know that He can pluck us from the battle at any time! I’m so very grateful for this assurance!
Elyon (Stong and Sovereign)… thank You for deliverance, time after time. Thank You for hearing our prayers and always answering them just the way they need to be answered. I don’t know the battles my brothers and sisters in the Lord are facing today, but You do. Please rescue and deliver that precious one who is closest to exhaustion. Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever…
When I send cards I often add the reference to one of my favorite verses: Psalm 20:4. The NIV translates it this way: May He [the Lord] give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
Wow! That is one awesome verse! Sign me up to get the desires of my heart! I can come up with a list in no time flat…
1 – I desire to never have another hot flash!…
2 – I desire to effortlessly lose 20 lbs and keep it off without having to change my eating habits…
3 – I desire to have a husband who can read my mind and meet my every need without me having to hint or ask…
4 – I desire to make a difference in the world without inconveniencing myself in the process…
Okay, I admit this sounds more like a list for a genie in a bottle than the Lord God Almighty. So…read the verse again… “May He give you the desire…” Singular. One desire. Oh my, that changes things!
If I can only have one desire, it must be to live a life that brings honor and glory to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When the day comes that I do that, all my plans will definitely succeed.
What’s your desire??
I was driving down the road one evening when I heard an old Motown tune playing on the radio. The singer was crooning, “Baby I’m in love with you”. It made me think about the people and things that I love and later that night before going to sleep, I told David, “Honey, I don’t just love you, I’m in love with you.”
The next morning, I read this quote in a card: “Being in love is a wonderful thing.”
I thought, “Okay Lord, You’ve got my attention. What are trying to say to me about the difference between loving something and being in love?”
I love music and reading and hiking and beautiful autumn days when a lovely cerulean sky is the backdrop for colors that artists only wish they could produce on canvas…I love my mother’s eight-layer chocolate cake and my mother-in-law’s chicken pot pie…I love to hear the laughter of my grandbabies and holding them close to my heart…
The things I love often provoke a physical/emotional response, but being in love with someone transcends the natural realm. “God is love” (1 John 4:8), so being “in love” is a spiritual issue and demands a response that goes beyond our feelings. It is based on giving, not getting. (John 3:16) It requires sacrifice and service above and beyond the call of duty. (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a) But Love is the very expression of God and has no expiration date! (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Oh yes, being in love is a wonderful thing.
May your hearts be filled with His love for those you are in love with today.