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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. 🙂

 

 

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?

Ten Ways to Love: Listening

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The item I’m taking today’s post from is one found on Facebook with no attribution given.  The ideas come straight from Scripture, however.  I printed this and put it in plastic so I could hang it on my ‘prayer wall’ in my bathroom.  It’s been there for a while, reminding me to put the precepts into practice in my life.  It’s amazing how you can read something every day and still walk away and forget it.  However, I want to go a bit deeper with this.  The plan is to share 1 or 2 over several days until we get to 10 in the “Ten ways to love”.

Hearing

Hearing (Photo credit: Keturah Stickann)

1.  Listen without interrupting.  Proverbs 18:13  13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

At first glance, finding the connection to love may be difficult, but if you’ve ever been in a situation where someone kept interrupting you or didn’t really listen, you’ll understand.  As a grandmother, I truly understand this.  You see, when we’re raising our children, we’re usually quite self-absorbed unaware busy.  We try to listen to them, but countless times, we just don’t.  When it comes to grandchildren, however, life has generally slowed down a bit, and we’ve learned a few things about what’s really important in life.  One reason grandparents are so important to a child is that they take the time to actually listen to them–without interrupting.

Listen to me Grandma

My granddaughters will plop down next to me and start talking about something that happened at school (or millions of other topics).  I may have been busy, but I stop and listen to them.  I do this because I love them, and I know how important it is to them to have me really listen.  There are occasions when I have to ask them to wait a minute while I finish something, but they know I’m not going to get caught up in my stuff and forget about them.  They put on shows for me as well.  The shows involve singing, dancing, and whatever else they think off.  I’ve learned to limit them to three shows at a time, but during their show, they have my undivided attention.  Children (and adults) equate listening with love.

Listening blocks
(composit pictures from morguefile.com)

Oh, yeah, I know just what you’re sayingWhen we converse with others (family or not), the tendency to try to guess what they’re trying to say or to plan our next statement rears its ugly head.  We’re not really listening, and we certainly have not really understood their words.  I’ve been there, and I’m guessing you have to.  You’re trying to tell something (important or not) and the other person clearly is not listening.  Today, we often see them checking their phone as we talk.  As a distractable person, I have to plan to focus.  When teaching, I have to be very careful not to get distracted when a student is speaking to me.  It’s not easy, but I know that student will judge whether I care or not by my ability to actually listen.

Well, if I were you . . .

Then there’s the times when I make a statement (usually in support of/against something or someone) when I haven’t heard the whole story – EMBARRASSING!!!  It’s amazing how quickly I can back-peddle when this happens.  A few embarrassing (and hurtful to others) moments has taught me well that I should make sure I understand all aspects of a matter before opening my mouth.  Have you ever experienced this?

How about God?

Do you really listen to Him?  Our prayers often resemble a litany of wants or us doing all the talking with no listening involved.  God speaks to us in several ways, but how often do we listen, really listen?  I confess:  I’m guilty!  We can love God by actually listening to Him (and obeying what we hear).  If anyone deserves our attention, it is God!

What about you?

Do you listen without interrupting?  Do you listen without allowing distractions to pull you away?  Does the person speaking know you’re listening?  Do you interrupt, plan your next statement, check your phone (or even text/take a call), or something else that tells the person speaking:   I do not really care about you enough to listen.   Maybe some of you have pointers on how to listen well (or posts you could share a link to).  Do you think listening without interrupting shows love?  I await your feedback and comments. 🙂

Do you have a blender family?

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I chose the lesson in Ministry, even though it was the midweek lesson, because I wanted to get them talking about ministering to one another.  As a group of 7th – 8th graders (no 9th at this time),  you can imagine what they can be like at times.  Everyone is fair game, and they often think it’s funny to trash one another.  When we have newer people come in, it really becomes a problem.  Each year we work on this and make progress.  Then the year turns over and new students come up while others leave and the whole process starts over again.  I expect that, but I want them to learn to love and minister to one another.  I want them to look beyond certain behaviors and recognize that the disruptive student may have all kinds of things going on in his life.  I want them to welcome even the unlovely into the class.  I want them to become aware of ministry opportunities right at home, and I want them to see others as Jesus sees them.  I want them to get that vertical relationship going so they can better their horizontal ones.  I want….  I think God wants this too, but, like God, I recognize that it’s all a process.  I am content with baby steps at this stage, but I always want to be pushing for more growth while I have them.  They are the ‘plants’ I am responsible for watering and feeding once a week (and beyond).

 

I’m not sure I’ve ever put that in words quite that way before.  As I said, this is a goal, but I would love to see progress in their spiritual (and other) lives before they move on to the next stage of the game – those high school years — gulp!

 

That said, my overarching thing was this:   Why is it so difficult to minister to family (or “family”)? 

 

Now for a short leap into a different aspect of the topic.  My daughter and I took my husband out for dinner tonight for Father’s Day.  As we’re all sitting there, family stuff happens.  You know what I mean, the tongues come out and feelings get hurt.  We don’t mean to hurt one another, but how often we do!!!  We are so kind to strangers, but not those we are close to.  What’s up with that?  {Anne and Ron over at Freedomborn posted a great poem on this subject:  Our Family)

 

Step into my parlor. . .
(original image from morguefile.com)

This is the image that popped in my mind as I listened to the chatter at our table (and of a family sitting near us).  Our families are dumped in the blender.  Our tongues are the blades.  We get together and start slicing, often in the name of “just kidding” or trying to get a laugh, and soon there’s blood and hurt feelings everywhere.  Of course that leaves us with open wounds, maybe not even caused by the person in question, and we add defensiveness to the mix.  I hope your family is not like this, but I’m guessing there are moments (or certain members) when this happens.  It leads to more than hurt feelings.  It leads to broken relationships (horizontal and vertical).  We often justify it or pass it off as just family, but it is wrong.

 

The Bible has a lot to say about the tongue:

  • James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. James 1:25-27 (in Context)
  • James 3:5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! James 3:4-6 (in Context)
  • James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. James 3:5-7 (in Context)
  • James 3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:7-9 (in Context)

 

 

I found this on facebook, and thought it fit well with this topic. 

Back to our original topic.  While my students may jostle each other and things like that at times (esp. boys), the real problem is in the tongue.  My own tongue is not innocent either.  No matter how hard I try to bridle it (or surrender it to God to bridle), it still sometimes slips out of it’s harness and strikes.

 

My point:

Part of ministry is in learning to minister kindness in our words to others.  It’s allowing God to control our tongues and thinking before we speak.  It’s remembering that it’s pretty hard to meet someone’s need when we’re stabbing them with the blade of our tongue.  Kindness is something we should use EVERYWHERE.  Not just with strangers, kindness, encouragement, healing words work with those we are familiar with and love too.

 

Do you minister with kindness even to your family or those you are close to?  Is your tongue a run-a-way blender blade, wreaking havoc on those in it’s path?  Do you have ways that help you remember to be kind to all others?  Anyone have any good teaching ideas for this age group?        For those who write – do your words spread healing and ministry or is your pen like a double edged sword?  Have you struggled with this in the past and found success in learning to minister with kindness, even in your speech or written word?

 

I know none of my readers have problems with this issue, but I’m guessing you all know people who do, so you can understand this post 😀

Blessings and a healing tongue to all of you  .  .   .

Me? A Minister?

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In my class today, we discussed the term:  MINISTRY

When asked what this means, the general answers had to do with something a preacher does.  They didn’t understand that, a person in Christ, IS a minister, at least in the sense that we are all called to minister to others.  We are responsible to minister to those around us who have needs.  Whether the need is physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual, God calls each of us to be AWARE of needs around us.  Once we are aware of a need, He wants us to figure out how to meet that need.

The main points from the lesson:  1.  Ministry is NEEDED.  2.  Ministry is SELFLESS. and  3.  Ministry is VERTICAL (*attribution for these three points is below)

FMSC Distribution Partner - World Harvest Chri...

FMSC Distribution Partner – World Harvest Christian Ministries – (Photo credit: Feed My Starving Children (FMSC))

1.  Ministry is NEEDED.

Not many would argue with the first point.  People all around us are in need.  In fact, we are in need too.  God calls us to meet certain needs for certain people.  If He brings them to your awareness, you are probably the one He wants to work through.  One problem with this, however, is that we often have our head in our own business (or in our computer, cell phone, gaming system, …) and don’t see the needs that pass us by each day.   So our first step in seeing that Ministry is needed is to open our eyes and look outside ourselves.

2.  Ministry is SELFLESS.

Jesus on the wall of the senior Home

Jesus(Photo credit: freestone)

Our passage was Matthew 25:34-40 [see below] where Jesus rewards those who have ministered to Him.  Their response was, “Huh?  What?  When did we ever do anything for you?”  One reason for their surprise might have to do with point 2.  They just ministered as a natural thing.  They didn’t do it for reward.  They did it out of selflessness, and so didn’t see that they had done anything special like:  Minister to Jesus!I mean, if we knew we were ministering to Jesus, I’m guessing many more would step up to the plate.  Unfortunately for us, we minister to Jesus by ministering to ‘the least of these’.  That is that homeless man, the unwashed, the unlovely, etc.  They don’t look like Jesus.  In fact, they might look like someone we would want to stay far away from.  That’s part of the selflessness in ministering.  It’s putting your arm around someone who isn’t lovely or doesn’t smell so good.  It’s about being kind to someone who will then become your shadow because you were kind to them.  It’s about going beyond your own “ickies” and doing it anyway, without a second thought for your own comfort, but an over-arching concern for another human being.

 

Drawing (and idea) by Angela Young
[feel free to use with or without attribution]

3.  Ministry is VERTICAL

In the last point, ministry is about Jesus.  It’s about our relationship with God.  When we do unto the least, we do unto Jesus.  When we grow in our vertical relationship, we become more aware of the horizontal needs around us.  God often sends me people who are Christians but have fallen away from the church and God or people who are grieving.  This is one of my personal ministries because God has gifted me in this area.  While I have certainly ministered in other ways, and seen this type of ministry all my life through my parents, God tends to send me to the people He knows I will be the best help too.  I am also much more likely to have an awareness of those particular needs.

Do you have a personal ministry?  Where do your ministry gifts lie?   Are you willing to minister wherever God calls you?  Are your senses open to the needs of those around you?  Have you ever passed a ministry by because you were too busy or didn’t want to deal with the person?  I have to say yes to every one of these questions, and I must confess to developing a certain apathy at times.   I have also fallen into the “yeah, but I’m tired, I can’t do that, you don’t really need me, ….” syndrome as well.  I suspect I’m not alone.  Today, I confess any apathy in my heart and repent.

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

*3 points of lesson and term AWARE taken from:   Life FOCUS Leader Guide (ISSN:  1945 – 0907; Item 005075013). Summer 2012.  June 17, Midweek plan.  Written by Joel Carter and Anna McKenzie.

Casting Crowns:  Does Anybody Hear Her?     http://youtu.be/viZ6H_2E7iU

Anyone want to give me a lesson in how to get these to embed?  Embed code doesn’t seem to work.  I hope you’ll click the link and listen to it though. 🙂

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