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Ten ways to Love: Yeah, but…

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Our 5th installment of Ten ways to love is to:  Answer without arguing. 

Proverbs 17:1  Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.  (KJV)

The Message puts it this way:  1 A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

 

Argument

Argument (Photo credit: andrewmalone)

Anyone who has ever lived with an argumentative person knows exactly how true that statement is.   Have you ever known someone who couldn’t just give a simple answer?  They always have a “yeah, but…” or some other reply explaining why they are ‘special’ and your premise is wrong.  I think all of us answer with an argument at times, but the person who consistently does this is not saying, “I love you.”  They might be saying, “I’m better than you” or “I know better than you”, but not “I love you.”   I find that many of those who make this a consistent habit have no clue what they do to others.  In their mind, they really are special, know better, or simply want to make sense of the question.

English: Northern Mockingbird juveniles at a b...

English: Northern Mockingbird juveniles at a bird bath in Austin, Texas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do you help someone who has no clue?         I don’t know.  That’s a rhetorical question 🙂  If you have the answer, let me know!

 

Since we already know we can’t help others, we can only look at ourselves.  Do we answer with an argument or do we listen and answer without arguing?  Human beings have this unique ability.  It’s called justification.  AND–it works best when pointed at our own behavior.  I of course, never have an issue with this. . . . . ;]  but just in case someone out there does. . . .

 

Anyway, back to the topic.

I have way too many people a person in my life who cannot simply answer a question without argument, and it drives me to distraction at times.  I call her on it, but she comes back with more argument.  This leads to more drama, which leads to anything but a feeling of ‘love’.   Responses often contain “Yeah, but”, “Well, I”, “You don’t”, and “I didn’t mean to” to name a few.   I have to admit I don’t always respond well to this.  Frustration probably tops the list of emotions that pop up.  How do you communicate with someone who doesn’t really hear you?  Instead of hearing what’s said, the arguer hears something they must take exception to.  I guess it’s a form of defensiveness.  I don’t know.  I just know neither party winds up feeling very good afterwards.  Neither person feels very loved or listened to either.

 

A very simplistic example of this:  

Adult:  “Go to bed.”   Child:  “But, I’m not tired!”

Adult:  “Go to bed.”   Child:  “I can’t sleep if I’m not tired.”

Adult:  “Go to bed.”   Child:  “Well, sissy doesn’t have to go to bed now.”

Adult:  “Go to bed.”   Child:  “Can I have a drink.”

and so on.        Can anyone say distraction technique?

The major theme in this scenario is:   “I don’t have to do what you tell me because…..”

 

Pride.  Is pride at the base of the argument.  I think I could argue that it is (tongue in cheek).   Pride and love, real love, do not go together.  In fact, they are diametrically opposed, and offering argument instead of answers says, “I don’t have to” or “I know better” or, well, you get the point.

 

Now for the Vertical

Maybe you never argue instead of answering others.   But how about God?   Do you question Him when He asks you to do something?  Do you have some reason why the commands (already given in the Bible) are for someone else and not you?  After all, you’re not very good at that, or you don’t have time for that, or ….    I don’t think we mean to argue with God, but too often, we do.  We can show Him love by obeying Him without arguing.

 

Sometimes, whether vertical or horizontal, it takes a lot of hard knocks time and maturity to learn how to answer without arguing.

 

What do you think?   Do you know someone like this, and if so, how do you deal with it?  Have you changed this about yourself?  Any tips for doing so?  My posts are often quests, because I don’t know it all.  I’m always interested in how others deal with various aspects of communication, so I hope you’ll share if you have something to say. 🙂

 

 

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You Matter!

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As mentioned earlier in this blog, I have a now defunct blog from a year or two ago that I’m deciding what to do with.  Rather than cause issues until I can make that decision, I am going to share this post in part here with a link to the post.  It is a beautiful story and part of a larger, even more beautiful story that I will probably share as we go.

 
“My friend’s funeral was amazing, as expected. I knew it would be a glorious uplifting, not only of Melissa, but of the God she so faithfully served. During the open mike period, I stood to give a shortened version of a poem I wrote for my mother and then adapted for my friend. Later, her pastor read a testimony she had given in service, and in it she talked about what I had said. Truly a kiss from God.

 
I thought I might retell that story here. I won’t tell it as well as Melissa would have, but here goes. My mother had been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive uterine cancer. After a surgery and several chemo treatments (short version) she was given six months to live and placed on hospice. I spent as much of that time as I could with Mom, helping her physically and emotionally to prepare for the end. During part of that time, Mom kept worrying about her relationship with God and if she had done enough and if she really mattered.”

 

Read the rest of the story here:     Please make any comments here instead of at the other blog. 🙂    AND —

*****The poem included in the post has helped several people since its inception.  Feel free to use it, changing the name of the person.  I would like attribution, but as long as you don’t take credit for it, use your own discretion.  Maybe you needed reminded that you matter to God today.  Maybe you know someone who needs this reminder.  That’s what this poem was written for, so pass it on as a legacy to my beautiful mother and my best friend who now rest in the arms of Jesus.    Thanks, Angie

Prayer Continued: Quotes and Scripture

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prayer..

prayer.. (Photo credit: aronki)

I apologize for any wonky formatting.  WordPress is misbehaving today 🙂  Enjoy!Intercessory prayer might be defined as loving our neighbour on our knees. Charles Bent

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Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden. Corrie Ten Boom

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Anything large enough for a wish to light upon, is large enough to hang a prayer upon. George MacDonald
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As a people of faith, we know that prayer is a powerful instrument. And as one Nation under God, we know that many times our most powerful tool is prayer. Nick Rahall
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By my definition, prayer is consciously hanging out with God. Being with God in a deliberate way. Malcolm Boyd

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Faith and prayer are the vitamins of the soul; man cannot live in health without them. Mahalia Jackson

 

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For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God. Saint Teresa

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Grudge no expense – yield to no opposition – forget fatigue – till, by the strength of prayer and sacrifice, the spirit of love shall have overcome . Maria Weston Chapman

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If any of you should ask me for an epitome of the Christian religion, I should say that it is in one word – prayer. Live and die without prayer, and you will pray long enough when you get to hell. Charles Spurgeon

 

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In our home there was always prayer – aloud, proud and unapologetic. Lyndon B. Johnson

 

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In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words with out a heart. John Bunyan
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More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.   Tennyson
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A Scripture Resource on Prayer
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The Lord's Prayer (1886-1896) from the series ...

The Lord’s Prayer (1886-1896) from the series The Life of Christ, Brooklyn Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God knows the need            Matthew 6:5-8

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How NOT to pray           Matthew 6:5, 7-8

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How To pray           Matthew 6:6; Matthew 6:9-13; Mark 11:25; James 1:5-6

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Pour out your heart in prayer            Psalm 62:7-8
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Pray without ceasing/continually           Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38; Luke 18:1; Luke 21:34-36; Luke 22:40; Luke 22:46; Romans 12:10-12; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6; I Thessalonians 5:17; I Timothy 2:8
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Praying for Others          Matthew 5:43-44; Luke 6:27-28; Ephesians 6:18; I Timothy 2:1-3; James 5:14-16; I John 5:16
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Praying in the Spirit          Jude 20
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The Prayer Faith and of a Righteous Man and of the upright           James 5:15, 16; Proverbs 15:8

Ten ways to love: Unceasing prayer

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prayer..

prayer.. (Photo credit: aronki)

4th on our list is:

4.  Pray without ceasing.   Colossians 1:9  For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

 

Ok, I get that, but how in the world do you pray without ceasing?  Don’t you have to sleep and do other things with your time?   Praying without ceasing is doable, but it is more of a heart attitude than a running prayer.  Prayer should never be out of your thoughts in one form or another.

 

One way to put this: 

Imagine walking with your significant other (or someone you love very much).  You may not be talking with your mouth, but you are constantly aware of that other person.  You reach over to touch them on occasion; you share observations as you go.  You are hyper-aware and know you can instantly have conversation with him or her.  Multiply that by more than you can imagine.

 

We are to be so aware of our Father, that we converse with Him all the time.  You become aware of a need — you talk to Him about it.  You see someone in trouble — you talk to God about it.   You notice a blessing – you thank God for it.  You get the point.  It is an intense, intertwined relationship with Him.  A relationship so deep, He is in your thoughts at all times.  Instead of worry — you pray.  Instead of trying to fix it — you pray.  Everything in your life revolves around Him.

 

Prayer Space.JPG

Prayer Space.JPG (Photo credit: bhsher)

How this works for others is that we constantly pray for them.   My son once screamed at me to stop praying for him, because he knew prayers work.  I personally consider facebook (and other social venues) a ministry.

 

When you:

"Praying Hands" (study for an Apostl...

“Praying Hands” (study for an Apostle figure of the “Heller” altar) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

see needs expressed — lift up the person/situation to God.

see people struggling with sin — lift up the person/situation to God.

a group has covenanted together  to pray for our country and leaders at least once a day.

posting only things that honor — praying for self and discernment to lead people to Him, not away.

pray for people having birthdays

as you read the blog posts you follow, lift up the person in prayer.

be known as a prayer so others will come to you when they have needs.

. . .

 

You get the picture.  When we love someone — we pray for them.   When we pray for someone — we will begin to love them.

 

I hope this post makes sense, and I hope you show love by praying without ceasing.

Generosity continued

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Kindness and generosity of others that need th...

Kindness and generosity of others that need the help The thanks of the people that were helped. Henrietta, TOPS School, age 8, Seattle, University of Washington (Photo credit: Wonderlane)

Quotes on generosity:

It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without  giving. -Braunstein

 

Give what you have.  To someone it may be better  than you dare to think. –Longfellow

 

You do not have to be rich to be generous.  If he has the spirit of true  generosity, a pauper can give like a prince. – Wells

 

Christian giving is God’s divine plan to make us like  Himself; it reveals our religion and bares our souls; it is prophetic and has to  do with the inner sensitiveness and gives a keener vision to His work and plans. – Denison

God has given us two hands-one to receive with and the other to give with.   We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for sharing. – Graham

Scripture on generosity:

Ever Present

Ever Present (Photo credit: JD Hancock)

♥  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.    Luke 12:34      Is your treasure in things or in people?

A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.   Proverbs 11:25   Some might say “what goes around comes around” or invoke a karma like theme here.

♥ . . . It is more blessed to give than to receive.   Acts 20:35c

♥ The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

2 Corinthians 9:6

♥ And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having  enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.    2 Corinthians 9:8

♥ Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16

There are many more 🙂

Generosity

this is NOT Generosity (Photo credit: jwotis)

I have never been able to out give God – how about you?  

Ten Ways to Love: Generosity

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3rd on our list of ways to love (maybe I should have started at 10 and gone to 1?) is:

3.  Give without sparing.    Proverbs 21:26    26 He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.

 

Our previous items have had a rather negative vibe, but, at least for me, this one is positive.  We could look at the greedy person who grabs for self every minute of every day “coveteth greedily all day long,”  but lets look at the righteous/generous person instead.  My grandmother was one such person.  If you needed it (or often just expressed that you liked it) it was yours.  If she heard of (or saw – very aware) a need, she would give what she had, even if she needed it as well.  This was, at times, a frustration for my Grandpa, but he never could stop her.  She loved her Lord, and she was willing to give far beyond the hurting point.  My mother was the same way.  I have indeed a strong legacy of ministry/giving.

 

No Greater Love

No Greater Love (Photo credit: kelsey_lovefusionphoto)

One does not have to be a Christian to give without sparing, but the person who is a Christian shows God’s work in his/her life and God’s love and generosity by becoming more like this.  In a society where people have stopped really communicating with others in person (like over-the-fence, helping-each-other neighboring) to find someone who gives without sparing is a rarity.  This person doesn’t withhold with the idea that he or she might need it later.  They understand that God gives and God will give more if needed.  God takes care of us when we trust in Him.

 

My dad is/was a preacher/pastor.   My parents truly were ministers.  They spent much of their own time, effort, and money to help others in need, even though they were often in need themselves.  God always provided.

 

I can tell you from personal experience as a giver and as a receiver, that giving without sparing makes people feel loved.  Just like Jesus gave it all, WAY above and beyond what we deserved, to show His love to us, we can give love away by giving without sparing.   When people see that you withhold nothing, they know they are loved.

 

For our challenge today:  Do you have an example to share of a time when you gave without sparing or another gave without sparing to you?  How did it make you feel?  How did the other person respond (even if they didn’t know who the giver was)?   I promise you, give without sparing, and you will never regret it.   Have you ever been down and out and someone’s act of giving made all the difference?  {Also — I’d like permission to use your story in a future post, so please let me know – you can do it here or in a blog post linked here. :)}

 

Ten Ways to love: Accusations

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The second statement in our ‘Ten ways to love’ series is this:

Anger

Anger: an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. (Photo credit: baejaar)

2.  Speak without accusing.

The verse:  James 1:19:  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

I find this one very difficult because it’s so hard to keep accusation out at times.   Because it’s more difficult to see my own stuff, I’m afraid I will have to use what I see in others as examples here.  I am not casting the first stone, however, because I can accuse with the best of them at times.

The backhanded question

A certain person is quite good at speaking with accusation behind seemingly innocent words, usually in the form of questions.  “Why is the front door open?”  translates to “Why didn’t you shut the door, do you want to heat the whole world?”   Implied (and often spoken after the statement) is the hard work trying to earn money to pay the bills while everyone else wastes money like it grows on trees.  This is speaking with accusation.

I saw ‘evidence’ and, I know you’re guilty!

Sometimes, we speak with accusing when we haven’t received all the information needed.  This one seldom happens a LOT in relationships.  If you’ve ever caught some of the Maury Povich type shows, you see people coming on with accusation oozing out of their pores!  I saw a text on your phone, so you MUST be having an affair.  “I only slept with 5 people, but I know you’re the dad.  So why aren’t you stepping up to the plate to take care of YOUR child?”   “I saw you look at her, you don’t love me!”    And so on ad nauseam!!!  This way comes by jumping to conclusions and attacking rather than waiting for more information and strangling him in his sleep DISCUSSING it in an adult manner.

How could you?

Sometimes, in a similar vein to above, we assume another’s motives.  It’s entirely possible we’re wrong, but we think we can read minds, so….  Another person I know seems to be able to find a negative motive in most anything.  I probably attribute good motives more than I should, but I’d rather give a person a chance than to assume  wrongly.  People have different love languages (and other filters), and sometimes they mean well, even if the results are not what they intended.  For example, when my husband does something for me, like going to work every day or fixing a problem, he is saying, “I love you!”   Because I did not understand this for a few years, I attributed wrong motives and didn’t believe he loved me.  I was wrong and caused a lot of heartache to myself and him.   Sometimes we can just accept people, and their motives, at face value.

A Person (Man) exclaiming something

A Person (Man) exclaiming something (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Political Debates gone wrong

If you’ve ever watched a debate, and I use that term loosely.  How often do you hear accusations flying?  Uh, yeah, all the time!  Rather than defending one’s own take on the issues, deflection techniques muddy the waters.  Personally, I would rather hear what a candidate believes than the mistakes of his/her opponent.   A person that can stick with the issues and not get sucked into the vortex of distraction gets my respect.  This type of conversation (no matter who is doing the ‘debating’) should keep the focus on the person speaking and not the other person through accusation and idiocy.

The Children

We do this to children all the time.  They bring us a flower and we yell at them for picking it.  They want to hug us, but we accuse them of ‘bugging’ us or being to clingy.

The rest of the story

If you read the next verse in James, it says, ”

20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

 

I memorized this scripture many years ago and use it often to remind me that my anger, accusations, judgments, etc. do not work God’s righteousness.  In fact, they often get in the way and turn others away from God.  In order to show love, it is necessary to tame that tongue and give thought to our words before we allow them out of our mouth.  No one is perfect, but sometimes that extra second of thought will save some heartache for all.

Have you ever jumped to conclusions and wrongly accused someone?   Have you rightly accused them, but to the relationship’s detriment due to the way you handled it?  Have you attributed negative motives to someone and accused them by word or deed?  Do you distract through accusation in a fight, debate, discussion, argument?  Have you brushed a child aside and spoken with accusation to them?  What are some other ways we speak with accusing?

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