Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas 1 Corinthians 13

I received this from a friend of mine, Mr. Cowden, from Oklahoma. I'm sure he won't mind my passing it on. Enjoy!

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny balls; but, do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of holiday cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime; but, do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity; but, do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir's cantata; but, do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and tablelinens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way. Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust...
But giving the gift of love will endure. (The preceding is a paraphrase of the "Love" chapter - 1 Corinthians 13 - received from our friend June)
You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.

Psalm 127:3 How are we cherishing this gift/reward?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Morning Worship

I have a special spot where I like to meet with God in the morning.

The kids have come to know where my special spot is, as they often see me there. I used to try to always make sure that I was done with my morning worship before they woke up, but schedules changed and things got rearranged and now they are often stirring while I'm reading my Bible and praying.

I used to have an almost vigilante approach toward "protecting my worship time" so that I wasn't disturbed. Now, like this morning, it is the greatest joy to have my little girl climb up next to me and snuggle as I read and pray. Sometimes I pray out loud with her. Sometimes I read some of the things I'm studying to the boys when they come out.

There are times when I have to ask them to be quiet, and they are eager to do so, because they know how special this time is to me. I praise the Lord that over the years He has helped me to see that it's not whether the worship time is 'perfect' or not, but whether or not my heart is turned to Him with the faith of a little child.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Squeeze My Feet

Both of the boys celebrated birthdays recently. Their birthdays are 15 days apart. It certainly makes for an interesting November, when you add in Thanksgiving and my mom's birthday as well. November ends up being a feasting and party month! No wonder I can never fit into that great Christmas outfit!

We went shopping with Matthew's birthday money. He got to pick out some cool toys and some great shoes and a new pack of socks. Normally, I would just buy whatever hits me at the moment, but I wanted him to learn how to make decisions on what he would like.

Karl likes ankle socks. Michael likes long socks. Both of them hate tube socks. So, what was Matthew's emerging preferences? I asked him what kind of socks he would like to get. His answer was simple. I want socks that squeeze my feet, so they don't fall off.

Matthew does have some socks that really need to disappear, but they are favorites. They are old and worn out and loose fitting from being stretched out so much, yet he still wears them. I'm slowly removing these unworthy items from his drawers, favorites or not. But he knew enough to know he wanted tight fitting socks. Socks that squeezed his feet, so they wouldn't fall off.

The words were precious. The lesson even better. Matthew was speaking from his heart. He didn't know how to say I want tight fitting socks, but he knew how to say he wanted socks that squeezed his feet. In his 5 year old honesty and sincerity, he got his message across.

Sometimes, I think we don't talk to God enough, because we are afraid of saying things like, I want socks that squeeze my feet. Somehow we've been brainwashed to think that if we don't use "thee's and thou's" in our prayers that we aren't praying properly. I'm all for reverance, don't get me wrong, but God doesn't want us to rend our garments, He wants us to rend our hearts. Look it up!

So, I'm going to take a lesson from my 5 year old. The next time I want to tell God something really important to me, I'm just going to say it how I feel it, even if it's not King James English or whatever. God understands me. He created me. He'd much rather me talk to Him, than try to learn how to speak in a way that is not natural for me.