Selfie Sunday

If you’re familiar with Instagram, you may know that there are certain types of pictures you post on certain days.  Sunday is the day you’re supposed to share a picture that you’ve taken of yourself and so it’s called “Selfie Sunday.”  I’m not going to pick on Instagram or make big deal out of that, but I do find it a little ironic that “Selfie Sunday” falls on the Lord’s day.  All Instagram aside, I wonder if we are sometimes guilty of turning the Lord’s day into Selfie Sunday?

  • Am I so distracted by others around me or my own problems that I am disengaged during worship?
  • Do I ever feel like I am checking off my to-do list by putting in one hour of praise?
  • Do I take advantage of all the people I’ll see at worship by trying to promote my business or sell a product?
  • Am I too eager to get on with my day that I skip lingering and fellowshipping with my brothers and sisters in Christ?
  • Do I enable my own shyness by refusing to greet visitors or encourage those around me?
  • Once worship is over, do I go about my day without letting the words of the hymns and lessons penetrate my heart?

I enjoy reading about the early 1900’s, and I’ve learned that many Christians back then tried to devote their entire Sundays to God.  Even after worship, they would study their Bibles in their own homes, find a quiet place to meditate, or gather with friends to sing songs.  Doesn’t that sound spiritually refreshing?  Is there anything wrong with watching a game on Sunday afternoon or getting some extra work done?  Of course not.  But I can’t help but think we might have things a little out of balance and that looking for ways to spend more time focusing on our Father and less time on ourselves couldn’t hurt.

“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness” (Psalm 29:2).

Prayer for Today:  Thank you, Lord, for giving us a day each week in which we can worship and praise You for Your goodness and holiness.

Photo credit: Mendy Moore

 

 

Ain’t No Big Deal

Neal and I had the privilege of spending some time with a man who is a talented, well-known speaker, TV evangelist, university board member, and very beloved preacher, husband, and grandfather.  This distinguished man spoke of a time when he would retire and have someone take his place.  When I made some comment about the difficulty of finding a man brave enough to try and fill his big shoes, he said, “Ain’t no big deal.”  He was absolutely serious.  He wasn’t being falsely modest, but rather giving me a glimpse of the deep humility that has earned him the love and respect of all who know him.  He really is a great man who has done great things and who is admired by a great many, but in his own eyes he “ain’t no big deal.”  Just think how having that same kind of attitude could affect our own lives:

When I am slighted or rejected…

When I am ignored, neglected, overlooked…

When I am criticized…

When I don’t get the recognition I think I deserve…

Ain’t no big deal.  If we are seeking to be servants of Christ, then HIS notice is all we need or crave.  And He does notice (Jeremiah 17:10; Hebrews 4:13).  Genuine humility affects other times in our lives, too:

When I am praised or lifted up…

When I am sought after…

When I am awarded…

When I am thanked…

Ain’t no big deal.  While those feel-good moments can be gratifying, we know that everything we do is through God’s power and ability for the purpose of growing the kingdom.  And prayerfully, we do it all for HIS glory (Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:3).  Neither vainglory nor false humility belong in Christian hearts.

Prayer for Today:  Thank you, Lord, for exposing us to such a humble servant of Yours.  May we all strive to have that genuine mind of Christ.

 

 

A “New” Favorite Song

For years my favorite song has been “Living by Faith” because the words remind me not to worry when God is in control.  Another song, however, has been on my heart lately.  It was written in the early 1800’s, but I only learned it a couple of years ago.  The song is “Prince of Peace, Control My Will.”  The words of all four verses resonate with me.  I pray these words for myself and for those I love, so I thought I’d share them with you today in case you’d like to do the same.

Prince of Peace, control my will;
Bid the struggling heart be still;
Bid my fears and doubtings cease,
Hush my spirit into peace.

Thou hast bought me with Thy blood,
Opened wide the gate to God;
Peace I ask, but peace must be,
Lord, in being one with Thee.

May Thy will, not mine, be done;
May Thy will and mine be one;
Chase these doubtings from my heart,
Now Thy perfect peace impart.

Savior, at Thy feet I fall,
Thou my life, my God, my all;
Let Thy happy servant be
One forevermore with Thee!

The words to this song have been attributed to both Mary Barber (1801-1884) and Mary Shindler (1810-1883).  If you are unfamiliar with it, you can click on the link below to hear it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKpiF74_D10

Prayer for Today:  Truly, control my will, Lord.  May it ever be in line with Yours.

Photo credit: ingodsimage.com

Easy, Practical Ways to Shine this Week

Not only is it Monday, it’s Monday after the time change.  What better time to stand out and make a difference?!  Here’s a little checklist of ways we can shine the Light one day at a time, every day this week.

___ Smile warmly at everyone.  Smile as soon as you see your spouse, your children, neighbors, co-workers, store clerks, teachers, bus drivers, and even the ones who are being inconsiderate.

___Offer sincere compliments.  Thoughtful remarks warm hearts.  Let’s remind others that Christians are kind.  Let’s be the ones who use our speech to brighten someone’s day.  “A compliment is verbal sunshine” (Robert Orben).

___Share the Word somehow.  It can be done naturally.  We can just slip it into routine conversations by saying something like, “That reminds me of a verse I read this morning…”

___Refrain from complaining.  Everyone hears enough of it as it is.  What will happen if we determine to go the entire day without voicing a single complaint?  Those around us will be blessed and so will our own hearts.

___Focus on others.  Maybe this one isn’t all that easy, but what an impact we can make by taking our minds off of ourselves!  I’m tired.  I don’t feel great.  I’ve got a boatload of work to do.  While those thoughts may be true, let’s focus more on everyone around us.  She must be so tired…how can I make her life a little easier?  

A short list is a manageable one.  The things on this list aren’t rocket science, but they sure stand out.  And at the end of each day we won’t regret the forethought and effort it took to look a little more like Christ.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Prayer for Today:  Be with us, Lord, as we look for ways to glorify You.

 

 

 

Marital Alzheimer’s

I watched my grandma ever so slowly succumb to Alzheimer’s.  It started with what seemed like innocent forgetfulness or simply not paying attention.  Then one day I was riding in the backseat of a car with her and she turned to me and fearfully asked, “Who are you?!”  Almost from that moment on her family became strangers to her.

Grandma’s battle with Alzheimer’s was heart-wrenching, especially for her husband.  Grandma, in her dementia, accused the man who had faithfully loved and cared for her of horrible things.  She used ugly words and would say things that just weren’t true, as if she were rewriting their history.  She forgot her love for him.  She forgot their precious memories.  It was tragic, but at least we all knew it wasn’t really Grandma.

Since Alzheimer’s is supposedly hereditary, I began researching how to prevent it.  Now I park in different places in a parking lot, do crossword puzzles, change up the daily routine of getting dressed, eat certain foods, etc.  I continue to look for ways to combat or at least delay it.  I don’t want to put Neal through the painful things my grandpa endured.

Sometimes we suffer from marital Alzheimer’s.  Amnesia is one of the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s.  “Amnesia” is from the Greek, meaning “without memory.”  If we’re not careful, there can be a memory deficit in our marriages.

  • We forget what drew us to our spouse in the first place.
  • We forget the vows we made, the good intentions we had.
  • We forget that marriage is a commitment in which there are God-given guidelines.

So we make harsh accusations or rewrite history.  And then one day, after sleeping in the same bed with the same person for years, we wake up and ask, “Who ARE you?”

Perhaps you see some warning signs in your own marriage.  Do you feel disconnected?  Has intimacy become a distant memory?  Do you have a hard time recalling when you last held hands?  Thankfully, there are some ways we can prevent marital Alzheimer’s.

1.  Take care of yourself.  The better you feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually, the better you act.  Eat right and exercise daily.  Spend time in the Word.  Pray often.  Get rid of emotional downers like resentment, worry, or guilt by addressing them.

2.  Stay connected.  Invest quality time in your marriage by making it a priority and protecting it.  The empty nest syndrome can catch couples off guard.  Reconnect now so you’ll still know each other when it’s just the two of you.  Make sure a portion of each day includes face to face time without the interference of devices.  Ladies, this means we need to log out of Facebook or Pinterest when our husband comes home.  We don’t want him to think we’d rather spend time connecting with hundreds of cyber friends than with him.

3.  Take your vitamins.  Just as there are several vitamins and supplements touted to prevent memory loss, there are things you can do to boost your relationship.  Study the Bible together.  Attend marriage seminars.  Find out (again) what’s important to your spouse and invest in it.

4.  Change up your routine.  Is your marriage in a rut?  Change things up by doing something different and unexpected.  Dress up for supper (even if it’s pizza), light candles, or eat in a different room.  Meet your spouse at work for a cup of coffee.  Change your hairstyle.  Go visiting together and call it a date.  Be creative and think of ways to keep things fresh and interesting.

It’s heart-breaking to see someone in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s.  It’s painful for those who love that person, too.  But it’s even more tragic to see a marriage succumb to forgotten love and lost memories.  Let’s embrace our marriages so we can enjoy healthy closeness and happiness from the altar to the nursing home.

Prayer for Today:  May we actively protect our marriages, Lord, by staying close to You and to each other.

*This post can also be found at http://proverbs14verse1.blogspot.com/2014/03/wise-woman-linkup_12.html.

Photo credit:  Anna Dodgen

I See Good People

You find what you’re looking for, right?   I appreciate all those who use social media to encourage others and there are lots!  Below you’ll find just a glimpse of all the good people I’ve seen this past week.  Enjoy, and happy Monday!

1.  Tweeted by Allen Webster:

To free yourself from guilt, you must practice the 4 R’s:

  •  Repentance Acts 8:22
  • Restitution Lk. 19:8
  • Reformation Rm. 6:4
  • Rejoicing Psa. 51:12

2.  Because I LOVE it when spouses encourage each other, here’s a post by Kara Davidson to her husband (with permission, of course):

You did an amazing job with your sermons the past few weeks! Linder is so blessed to have two outstanding ministers! Love you!

3.  Beautiful, beautiful blog post about anxiety by Emily Hatfield…prepare to be touched:

http://emilyhat.com/be-anxious-for-nothing/

4.  Sweet friend Wendy Chesser keeping it real on facebook:

Ya know, when you are asked to lead a prayer for a Ladies event (and you are too embarrassed to say no) and you want the truth about how you did….just ask your 14 year-old daughter, who replied to my asking, by saying, “Well, it was nice, but….you kinda’ made this giant sniff and everybody heard the snot rattle in your nose”…just like to apologize for that!!! ;O)”

5.  From my favorite humorist, Celine Sparks:

I thought I would count a different kind of sheep in order to get to sleep last night. I would think of a preacher for each letter of the alphabet (first name). I got all the way to Alan Highers.

6.  Under the category of Practical and Outstanding, Neal Pollard‘s blog article about what to do when you’re given the cold shoulder:

http://preacherpollard.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/warming-up-the-cold-shoulder/

7.  Wise facebook post from consummate encourager, Jeff Archey:

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Ps. 139:14). Was reading this AM and it brought to mind the commercial of the couple at the concert looking for their little boy and they looked on the stage and there he was…seated at the piano of the world renowned entertainer everyone gathered to see. The little boy was playing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” as a child would when the entertainer walked up behind him, paused and looked and said, “Keep playing.” The famous pianist added in notes and melodies and it harmonized beautifully. Like that little child, we as children of God have days that may be gloomy and down; sometime boring to ourselves and others. But as we are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” our Father God grants us individuals and moments that brings forth the melodies in our lives and it harmonizes beautifully to His glory. Look for them daily…it starts with me…and you.  Let’s keep playing…and keep living.”

8.  New on the scene:

-Written by Christian young men, check out “Let No One Look Down” on facebook       and at their blog site:

http://redbirdsfan6.wordpress.com/

-Terrific posts by Shanna Anderson!  Follow her new blog and be sure to like her facebook page as well (Life in the Cleft):

http://lifeinthecleft.com/

Prayer for Today:  Bless those, Lord, who encourage others by their words and actions.

*This post can also be found at http://proverbs14verse1.blogspot.com/2014/03/wise-woman-linkup.html.

Writers of “Let No One Look Down” (Photo credit: Neal Pollard)