Monday, January 15, 2018

Love 2018

Your 2018 Word of Truth - Take the Quiz

Can you believe we are already half way through January?  How are the New Year resolutions coming?  I've noticed the gym parking lot is less full, hear that many who have determined to eat better are slowly falling backwards. The excitement of what we want to see in our lives seems to dim when it requires more effort than we expected.

When our weakness is exposed, we can focus on what we want to see in our lives and understand it will take some work. That is one of the reasons I"ve been choosing to have a word for the year instead of many 'want to' things in my life.

I love that a word can be dropped into your heart like a banner over your life. Prayer is the first action, to seek God for a particular word. Perhaps it will be something He wants to develop in your life or wants you to focus/work on.

This year, the Lord dropped a word in my heart and I am embracing it, because it is a quality I want to see developed. The characteristics I long for have been revealed through Scripture along with some carry on attitudes and actions. It is an exciting journey and one I can't wait to see the results at the end of the year.

I recently learned about an online tool to find a word based on a quick survey of who you are and what you are looking to become. Dayspring Word of the Year Link will walk you through and find a word to match your answers. Then you will be equipped with resources and articles to assist you on the journey.

The Dayspring quiz shared my word as LOVE.  Very similar to the word dropped in my heart earlier and I"m excited to be equipped to embrace a new attitude and way of living. Here is a sample of the resources for LOVE:

Three Strategies to Choose Love in 2018

1) Love through prayer. He has commanded us to love, but He does not expect us to do it on our own. Pray for His guidance, and He will direct you. Ask God to help you see people through His eyes. Through God, you can gain the strength to love those who may be difficult to love. Humble yourself before the Lord—because sometimes you may be difficult to love as well.

2) Love through action. Love isn’t all service, but it is a large part of it. We serve Him by loving each other, and we can serve others in love. Put love into action: volunteer, help a neighbor with yard work, or introduce someone to the love found in His Word.

3) Love through attentiveness. Family and friends love to feel loved. Offer recognition of the time and effort put into the dinner on the table, concern when they’re unhappy, or words of affirmation when they need some encouragement. Simply being available can show your love in big ways.

Your word may not be love, but there can never be too much love around!  Through the year, I'll pass on some of the tips and resources which are helping me to develop in the ways of love!

Don't forget to go over to DAYSPRING and take the quiz to find your word of the year!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Drawing Drama

"Save the drama for your Mama" was the mantra at a high school assembly. The principal said he didn't want any drama in his school.  I totally get that, I don't want any drama in my life either!  In fact with three sons I often rejoice at the lack of drama in our home. Girls seem to carry more drama in their lives than boys, so I considered our home 'drama free'.

That was until recently when a little mishap hurt my feelings. I began plotting what I would say in response, in my mind going over and over the offense until I could feel bitterness building up. As a Christian, I knew this was one of those times to do as the Bible says and 'take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ'.  I also knew if I responded as I wanted to, it would cause hard feelings and put a strain on relationships. So, after an inward struggle, I made up my mind to simply wait. Not say or do anything and when the thoughts of unfairness and manipulative emotions came up, recognized the ugly drama they represented.

While waiting a devotion was read that pertained to drama. "Drama happens when unexpected circumstances hit and we are unprepared to handle them."  While no one likes drama, it is true that unexpected things are going to come our way. But, our attitude can help us prepare for them and help us respond in a way that reduces drama, hurt feelings, relationships and all the clutter that comes along.  

As a Christian, every circumstance we encounter is meant to conform us to the image of Christ. With that in mind we can relax as we realize God knows what He's doing.  Everything is in His hands, He knows the outcome and wants to lovingly form us and mold our attitudes to be better equipped to handle it next time. The secret to less drama is to focus on passing the test instead of failing it by reacting badly.

We can either react - usually without thinking it through and risk an explosion and the dangerous aftereffects, or be still and remember this can be used for good and allow God's good to come out of it.  Drama is coming, are you ready for it? 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Guard His Image

One of my Christmas gifts came a bit early. In fact, it was a 'regifting' in a way. A friend had a gift certificate for a manicure in another town and she was unable to get there to redeem it. The day it expired, I had to go to that town to pick up a Christmas gift and was able to use it.

Manicures are a real treat for me and this one was one of the best ever. I usually do my nails myself and then tend to be a bit rough on them, limiting that fresh new manicured look. Since I want this look to last, this time, these nails are getting treated very gently. They get moisturized, avoid activities that would chip them and do all I can to keep that beautiful look.

While striving to keep the nail appearance, a devotion reminded me that as a Christian, I reflect the Father. Do I take the time and effort needed to keep His image clear and beautiful?  

We don't know physically what Jesus looked like, but His actions paint a portrait of His love as He fed the hungry, kneeled in prayer, spoke words of life, forgiveness and love. 

God is always at work in our lives, He refines us from the inside out. He chisels pride and softens our speech. Every day He molds and shapes us. In my heart I long to resemble Him but continue to see more differences than similarities. But, I no longer resemble the life lived before Him.  

As we begin a New Year, and I ponder about reflecting His image, just like my nails, I need to take some action like massaging the oil of the Holy Spirit in my heart to keep it soft.  Walking delicately and gently with others keeps chips and ragged edges from marring  beauty. Parallel using my hands and life to be things of beauty that the Lord can shine through. Reflecting His image can be a beautiful thing and one to guard and protect.  There's a world out there looking for what He looks like. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

What To Get the Husband Who Doesn't Want Anything

What does your husband want for Christmas? I used to envy those who could answer that question right off the bat. For years I agonized over the right gift. Some of the things I love about my sweet hubby is that he is strong, has a determined mind, loves to do things right, loves quality and is mainly a perfectionist. *For those wives who love to surprise their hubbies with gifts, it doesn't work for a perfectionist!
He is almost a complete opposite of me in the gift department. After many gift giving failures, clothes, hobbies, tools, we came to an agreement to purchase things for ourselves if there is an item we really want and spend some special time together over a dinner out. We're both happy and get exactly what we want!  

A recent article shared some gifts for the husband who answers the question "What do you want for Christmas?" with "Nothing". For the man who has everything, here are a few ideas to bless him this Christmas. 

Your undivided attention. Kids or not, women tend to take on a lot this time of year. Finding the perfect gift for everyone on our list, school and/or office parties, baking galore, and trying to pack every Hallmark movie-worthy moment into the holiday season can quickly pull us away from the true meaning of Christmas, and even farther away from our husbands.
This year, offer your husband the gift of your attention. Carve some time out of your hectic holiday schedule to take him out to his favorite restaurant for lunch or dinner and then just sit and listen to how he’s doing and what is going on in his life.

Your involvement in his passions.Engaging in what excites your husband not only expresses your love to him, but it gives you an amazing opportunity to get to know him outside of the day-to-day and strengthens your friendship  Whatever his hobby is, find a way to be a part of it every now and then.

Respect and admiration. The One who created our husbands created them to need—to crave—respect from their wives, their helpers. As wives, it is a way to love our husbands well. Respect = Love. Remind him you couldn’t and wouldn’t want to do life without him. Tell him all the ways he is leading your family well and the many things you adore about him. And while you are at it, thank God for all the ways He made you two so different.

Intimacy. Your husband wants your physical affection far more than any elaborately decorated package under the tree. Here’s an easy present for your husband—no box or gift receipt needed - remind him he is still attractive to you and is the only man who can fill your needs.

Some Slack:.I love this time of year and everything that comes with it—the childlike excitement, red and green decor adorning every square inch of space, the lights and music, Christmas parades, parties and tons of activities. When I expect him to react to all the festivities with the same level of glee and zest as I do, it only causes tension and saps the joy from both our hearts. Finding a balance between activities and down time to relax brings much more happiness and joy. .So instead of expecting him to do, to go, to be, take a moment to gift your husband some slack this Christmas.

Some of the most precious and meaningful gifts cannot be bought., but are priceless. Let's be encouraged this Christmas to give that type of gifts this year. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

What Does Christmas Love Look Like?

During this time of year it is very easy to look at what needs to be done, to turn our focus to the shiny, attractive and business of the Christmas season.  Parties, gifts, food all take time and effort. But our motive is the most important thing. Christmas is all about love - God's love to us in sending His Son. 
This beautiful reminder came through my email and is the perfect tool to refocus my Christmas activities.

1 Corinthians 13 Christmas Style

If I decorate my house perfectly with lovely plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny glass balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas 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 home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of your 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, and 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.