Nothing Personal

This is so amazingly applicable and useful, I wanted to share it!! You go, Heather!!

Running the Race

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
(Romans 12:9-10)

All around me are relationships in crisis.

From common and trite forms of sibling contention to damaged marriages gasping out a final breath and everything in between, I have seen a great deal of contention.

But there are also marriages which are thriving. Siblings who truly adore one another. I know of marriages – my own included –  which have been salvaged only because the foundation is built on God even when every other part crumbled. Many of these are growing deeper in an active, genuine, and practical love day by day.

What’s the difference?

In several – though not all – cases, the conflict arises from a most intriguing dichotomy of human nature: our tendency to expect others to assume our…

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It was a set-up!

chess-2489553_1920I don’t play Chess.  That is to say, I know the basic rules, but like football, there are more intricacies than I care to ponder.  What little I know, however, helps me to appreciate those that really are quite adept at the game. 

As I understand it, the goal is to capture the opponent’s king.  Period.  That’s the goal.  It doesn’t matter how many pieces you have left when that king bows to your strategic prowess.  It doesn’t matter which piece gets the king; even a pawn can do that!  Every piece has a specific function and, yes, there are sacrifices to be made along the way.  It’s all a challenge, not of chance, but of resiliently setting up the next move, anticipating each opportunity, and patiently allowing the plan to unfold. 

I imagine true chess masters can also recognize the strategy of their opponent.  They’ve seen this move before, and won’t allow the trap to entangle them. 

A comment that I’ve not quite been able to live down from one of our family reunions was when I asked if anyone would like to play a “quick game of Chess”, not wholly unlike asking for a quick game of Monopoly.  Such a thing does not exist, (unless you’re playing with me, I suppose.)

Hmmmm….

Patience in life is not one of our culturally intrinsic qualities.  Spiritually, however, it is a must.  I love God’s “suddenlies”, His intervening grace when what I’ve been praying for happens “above and beyond all I can ask or imagine”.  Like when Peter was miraculously released from prison and was left standing to knock on the door of the praying disciples.  Or when the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles as the same Peter was in the middle of his discourse to them about Jesus.  Or the initial “Light, be!” in Genesis chapter one.

Yeah, those are nice.

Unfortunately, I’m not quite so great concerning God’s “set ups”.  I want to mentally and emotionally check things off my prayer list a little faster than seems to be happening in my very linear timeline and limited perspective.  There are relationships I desperately want restored.  There are needs I don’t see being met.

Then I remember: the goal is the king.  And I’m not a mere pawn, but a servant, with moves in the game that are assigned to me specifically.  I cannot do what a knight or a rook or a queen can do, but I can be part of the set up for the end result, protecting my King and going after the opponent’s. 

And, importantly, allowing myself to be moved, empowered, guided by the Master, regardless of personal sacrifice in the interest of the Goal, will require learning to hear Him more acutely.  That is my foremost strategy.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

My second is tenacity.  As much as I would love a sudden “checkmate” on my formidable enemy, my Master has other things in mind that by necessity must be set up.  I may not (probably won’t) see or understand what He is doing in the present tense, but that does not preclude my responsibility to hang in there. 

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

chess-2776289_1920The game isn’t over yet.

Your move.

John 10:27; Galatians 6:9 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Recycling” is not for wimps.

paper-2357299_1920
Anybody else remember this guy??

I’m a recycler.  I haven’t always been, however.  I grew up with learning that respect the environment meant putting trash in the bin. We grew up with Smokey the Forest Ranger teaching us how to not start forest fires (he must have grown up in California…) and there was some commercial about a Native American with a tear in his eye.

So in essence, if I was to be a responsible citizen, everything went, um….into the landfill.

Out of sight, out of mind.  (Ouch.) Continue reading ““Recycling” is not for wimps.”

Just do it!

I can only imagine how many trips to the bank the folks who came up with that Nike slogan have made.  That, and their very recognizable “swoosh” mark, created by Carolyn Davidson, then a graphic design student at Portland State U.  Phil Knight, the company’s co-founder, wanted a design to convey speed and motion.  With this in mind, Mr. Knight chose this representation of Nike’s wing. And, of course, with Nike being the Greek goddess of victory, that must have seemed appropriate to the branding department. 

I also think their phrase “Just Do It” is brilliant.  I see plenty of young competitors in my school nurse’s office with minor bump and bruises due to their budding athletic experience.  I have to remind myself that at this stage, these kids are on the steep end of the learning curve when it comes to sore muscles and growling coaches.  For most of them, it’s a matter of ice, NSAIDs, maybe a little taping, no whining allowed, back to class. Continue reading “Just do it!”

Snack time!

popcorn-1085072_1920I love to eat.  In recent years, it has been showing a bit more than in the past. 

One of my challenges, when it comes to food, other than the fact that I live in a place of overabundance and a culture of overindulgence, is that I have a touch of hypoglycemia.  Low blood sugar, that is.  Hypoglycemia isn’t mere hunger pangs and gastro-growling.  Hypoglycemia manifests itself in things like blurring of vision, headache, jitteriness, and irritability.  When it hits, I’ll grab just about anything besides what I should since the craving for sugar is my body’s way to sustain life, even though it may be temporary. Continue reading “Snack time!”

A friend indeed

I don’t quite know what male-bonding looks like, but sister love can go something like this:

A true girlfriend will tell you when something’s amiss that is not showing up in the mirror.

A true girlfriend gives you her last Shout wipe when you spill grape juice on the front of your blouse.

A true girlfriend doesn’t mind (too much) that you snore at the lady’s weekend retreat.

And so it goes…

I like finding true comradeship in the most unlikely places—it’s actually something easily taken for granted. True friends don’t grow on trees; they grow in compost, in the refuse and throw-away parts of our lives.  When it all hits the fan, true friends are at their best.

Here are a few of my favorite examples: Continue reading “A friend indeed”

Archie Bunker rides again?

Does anyone out there remember William F. Buckley?  I enjoyed just listening to him, even if I didn’t understand all the multisyllabic words he used!

“The best defense against usurpatory government is an assertive citizenry.”   

See?  My word processor automatically underlines “usurpatory” in red, which means even my computer doesn’t understand the word!  But here’s one that’s pretty clear:

I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.”  Continue reading “Archie Bunker rides again?”

In other words…

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“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.  And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’  These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”  — Jesus 

**Special credit to Mike Ridenour at New Hope for Dry Bones.  Check it out!!

Matthew 6:28-34  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Told you so!”

Now, there’s a phrase we typically enjoy saying, but  we universally hate hearing!

I love the way Paul does it, however.  Here’s a quick backstory:

Falsely accused by his own countrymen, Paul has played his “I’m a Roman citizen” card and appealed to the Supreme Court, (i.e., Caesar), which gives him a one-way all expenses paid trip to the capitol.  This meant a voyage by sea, which could be tricky based on the time of year.  Putting in at one less-than-luxurious small town port, the sailors think they can make it to the next spot before the weather turns bad. Continue reading ““Told you so!””

Your turf, or mine?

I love the description of the rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem under Nehemiah’s close eye.  We read phrases like “next to him”, and “beside him” throughout the narrative as each family group takes responsibility for a part of the reconstruction.

Obviously, Nehemiah couldn’t accomplish the project on his own; it may have been his vision, but the people’s participation was not only expected, but necessary.  There’s a lesson for the church right there—pastors can’t do it all; in fact, not even most of the work in building God’s kingdom. Continue reading “Your turf, or mine?”