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Delighting in my God, I desire to dwell in His pleasure and to help others experience true delight.

"Delight Yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your judgment as the noonday.  
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;..." Ps 37:4-7a

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

One Word Choice - Love

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Visiting Gaye Idle at Captive Heart blog several days ago, I was intrigued by the one word challenge about which she wrote.  She referred to a book by Debbie Macomber, One Perfect Word,  as well as a facebook link where Debbie talks about the idea of the book.    Later, I googled “One Word” and found that this is apparently an idea claimed by several on the web.  I am not sure who came up with it first, but I thought I would try the challenge of choosing one word as a focal point for growth for the year.   

So I prayed about it over the course of the next few days.  Several words came to mind as possibilities.  ‘Delight’ was an obvious one, but it may have actually been a word given to me in years past without my realizing I even had a word.  I thought perhaps ‘fast’ was the word, until it became clear to me that the Lord was actually leading me to focus on ‘love’.  What makes me think so?  

Well I happened to be introduced to the idea of "One word" in early February, so love was in the air.  I might have been lulled into thinking it really is not the word for me; it just happens to be the word of the day.  However, in circumstances unrelated to Valentine mania, the word love continued to arise. and I became convinced this is the word the Lord wants me to focus on.  It is one of those words I think I know a whole lot about, but I’m sure I will find I know very little and have much more to learn.  I am so excited about opening my heart to what the Lord will teach me, will grow in me.

I have thus been paying careful attention each time I come across the word love, especially in my Bible reading.  Today, it presented itself in 1 Corinthians 14:1, “Pursue Love.”  What a great passage for mediation.  Here are my journal notes:

Pursue - Seek, go after, be persistent, continue at it until you have found it.

Love - God is love, to put others before myself, to put God first, action and emotion, compassion, kindness, generosity, to recognize all belongs to God, the essence of freedom.

I will be persistent in continuing to seek God and His character and nature, to understand Him and His will for my life, to seek to clothe myself in Christlikeness, compassion, kindness, generosity.  To dwell in God’s pleasure, were true freedom from all that is not love lies.  To hold all with an open hand rather than a clenched fist for none of it is really mine though all is mine as an inheritor of the kingdom a child of God.

Pursue Love.  

Oh precious Lord, let me pursue Love.  May I delight in Your love.  Amen.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

My Beloved, You Teach Me What Love Is

The Promise by Robert Sexton

This week's

You are my beloved because you have my heart.  You have helped me be more than I would have been alone.  You are willing to put up with me in my worst.

I read at “Heart Choices” a beautiful thought.  To paraphrase:  You are my beloved because sometimes I feel so in love with you, and when I don’t feel quite so in love, I choose to love you because that is love.  It wraps up emotion with action and commitment.  It goes beyond what I feel, but is what I feel as well.  I choose to love you, my beloved, and with every step of that choice, the love grows and you are more my beloved each day.

For Now and Ever by Robert Sexton

I love you because He first loved me.  The precious love of my Jesus makes me more able to conquer my selfishness and appreciate just how beautiful you are.  You are the blessed, beloved partner given by God, and I rejoice that I have you, my beloved.

Five minutes are up, 
but I have more to say to my beloved.

My beloved, how blessed I really am to have you:

To care for me when I am unable to do for myself.  
To be an example of love and selflessness not only to me but to our children and others whose lives you touch. 
To listen to me whine and not pass judgment and then lift me up so I whine that much less.
To laugh with and to make me laugh.
To be part of my cheerleading squad and to cheer you on as well.
To be a co-laborer for Christ with me.
To share the journey of life until we are those two waddling older folks walking the lane together. 

The Vow by Robert Sexton

Through you and with you, I am learning what love is, my beloved.

In Our Time by Robert Sexton

To see more of the work of Robert Sexton, click here.

Five Minute Friday

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What is Your Definition of Open-mindedness?

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There is a lot of talk about tolerance of all and about being open-minded to new views, those other than your own.  What does it mean, though, to be open-minded?  Do we confuse the two, tolerance and open-mindedness? 

According to the dictionary, to be open-minded is to be "willing to consider new ideas, unprejudiced, non-judgmental".  However, if you think about it to its conclusion, to what end do we want to be open?  Do we want to be open to new ideas just to be pulled in any direction?  Is it good to be open to anything without any thought given to it?  Should I not ponder to what I am opening up and come to some conclusion as to its value?  Should I not consider whether it contributes to my understanding of truth and how to communicate truth to those who may be "open" to falsehood?


I am not talking about preferences, jewelry or no jewelry, long hair or short hair, dressy or casual, which flavor I prefer or do I do it one way or another.  However, when it has bearing on life's greater questions, should we not give pause to consider connections to truth?  What we are open to does matter.  What we think and do does matter in the grand scheme of things.  I want to be willing to listen, to hear what you think, but though I don’t want to pass judgement on you to criticize or condemn, I must make a judgement as to whether your ideas are sensible or wise or true.  

Critical thinking is a skill to be desired and cultivated.  To think critically is to evaluate and analyze an issue in order to come to a conclusion as to its relationship to truth.  Yet we get the concept of critical thinking mixed up with that of criticizing, that is expressing disapproval and then not on the ideas being conveyed but on the one conveying.  In so doing we commit the fallacy of equivocation when in fact a little critical thinking and open-mindedness is in order.  It isn’t about ridicule or disrespect, but about having an inquiring mind of one’s own in which we appreciate and consider opposing viewpoints while coming to an understanding of what is best supported by the evidence and leads one to a fuller understanding of truth.

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Tolerating your right to believe what you will does not mean I have to embrace or be open to it as equal to truth.  That is just ridiculous.  It is convoluted.  It's wrong.  Isn't it interesting that those who confuse tolerance and open-mindedness making them one and the same are often the very ones who malign those holding opposing viewpoints to their own with no critical thinking whatsoever.  They don't want tolerance of equal but opposing ideas.  They want submission to their ideas as superior.

So I have come up with my own definition to how I would like to be open-minded.  Here it is. 

 Open-mindedness:  Respectfully listening and considering the ideas of others because I would rather be right than validate my opinion.  

What do you think?  Help me refine my definition if you will or give me your thoughts on what you think being open-minded should look like.  Until then, I do have strong opinions on things, but I am open-minded enough to respectfully listen and consider what you have to say, because I would rather be right than validate my own opinion.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Signing on the A to Z April (2013) Challenge List

Laid up in bed after knee surgery, I have had a chance to navigate the electronic devices and internet sites often left to scant snippets of time I don’t have.  I was able to set up wireless to the new dvd player in our bedroom to watch   Netflix or Amazon prime when hubby or the kids have commandeered the living room tv.  I am especially proud of this feat as my children, whom I usually turn to for these acts of magic, were unable to figure it out.

Among the other practical pleasures I've been pursuing is visiting the blogs of friends which I enjoy doing almost as much as eating chocolate - almost.  It was fun to catch up on the musings and profundities of those much wiser than myself as well as just getting a glimpse at what might be going on in their lives.  In the last three months I have only blogged once, last Friday, quite off my original goal of twice weekly, and had not visited at all any other blogs for most of that time either, also quite off my goal.  So being incapacitated has its advantages.  It may just be the spur to get me back to blogging.  I hope so.

Visiting friends and seeing what they were writing or preparing to write brought to my attention the A to Z Challenge.  The history of A to Z  began in 2010 when Arlie Bird, or Lee as he signs his name, of Tossing it out  more or less on a whim decided to celebrate his 200th follower by posing a challenge.  And 4 years later what an explosion.  Arlie now has thousands of visitors and followers and has started something that has become a phenomenon all its own.  

I must admit I was a bit dubious about taking the challenge.  I wondered if there was something I was missing.  Is it possible that it is more than it seems?  What would I step into if I signed up for this challenge?  

So to relieve my concerns, I checked out Mr. Bird’s website and those of several other of the A to Z hosts.  I think I am safe.  I plan to visit them all in the coming days.  I also hope to keep to the contract of checking out at least 5 A to Z contributors each day during the challenge.  Yes, I signed my name to the list.  Check it out.  You too might find it a challenge worth taking like the many hundreds of others, including me, who have already signed on.   I think it will be a fun adventure.  Thanks Lee!  And thanks Elizabeth of Transitional-Woman for my first exposure to the possibilities of this challenge.

Just ot help me remember, I am number 641 on the list.

Friday, February 1, 2013

NOT Becoming the Proverbial Hated Mother-in-Law

I haven’t written in my blog for some time now.  It wasn’t a purposeful sabbatical on my part.  Life just happened and squeezed it out of my routine.  I don’t know if I will be able to achieve my goal of twice a week anytime in the near future, but I do hope I can take some time now and again to practice encouraging others through this blog.  I am delving in again with this week’s five-minute-Friday word:  afraid.

We all have things that we are afraid of.  If we sat and thought about them all the time, it could be terribly debilitating, and is for some.  But there are day to day things that do nag at one that can also be a distraction and are best to just tackle and address.  For me most of those things that I am afraid of are relational.  I am afraid I am not doing enough.  I am afraid I might offend or hurt someone somehow.  I am afraid I am not being who I should be to adequately be Christ’s representative to those around me.  I find a daily pow-wow with God keeps me humble and at peace with these fears.

There are other relational things I am afraid of as well on a more immediate basis, and that is what I will just write for five minutes about today.  

So here goes.

I am about to become a mother-in-law in a few months.  It is something I have thought about for long before my kids were even old enough to consider marriage.  I didn’t want to become the proverbial mother-in-law, with fangs and claws, hated by all.  Why is your mother someone you hold dear, well, some of us at certain ages anyway, but all of a sudden when you think of the mother-in-law, someone dear to you’s mother, you have this image of the one no one wants to have around.  It is that image I am afraid of having an association with.

Apparently I am not alone.  I decided to look into this and talk to folks about it.  This is not an unusual concern.  Of course mother-in-laws are not evil meddlers who are always in your business, but they are certainly characterized as such.  There are tensions that arise in all relationships because other relationships develop and change the relationship you had, whether that be adding children to a family, or adding a husband or wife to the familial equation.  Even new friends or business associations change how we may relate to others we already have a relationship with.  

Being determined not to become that image, I may be swinging the other way.  I do want to continue to have a relationship after all with my son and future daughter-in-law.  The change one undergoes as a parent is hard.  First we are given this responsibility for this new person that we know very little about how to handle.  We have to take on someone who is totally dependent on us for everything their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.  As we get a handle on what we are doing, we have to train them how to be independent of us.  Then we have to learn to let go and take on the role of advisor.  Before you know it, even giving advice is unwelcome and considered meddling.  

So I am determined to tread carefully, to try to only give advice when asked and even then cautiously, and to NOT, under any circumstances, become what I fear, a hated, meddling mother-in-law.  

Five minutes:  STOP.

The Lord has created us for relationship.  There is nothing more important than our relationship with God first, and then our relationship with others, foremost those closest to us in our family.  If we invest much of ourselves in those relationships, it can be bitter-sweet as we experience them changing in all of the forms that change takes.  Yet if we keep our eyes on the Lord, and let Him work in us, stretching and refining us through these changes, it is an incredibly rich growth experience.  

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