Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Who's Teaching Who

Let no one despise you for your youth, but be the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
1Timothy 4:12

Several years back a woman I know put her son down for a nap and had to deal with him fussing and fighting against her. She finally got him calmed down enough to leave him in the bed to rest... or so she thought.

She had been doing laundry and went back to folding the clean sheets she had pulled out of the dryer. A few minutes later, while taking the sheets to the linen closet, she passed by her son’s bedroom door and heard his little voice.

"D#%$ it!” he said punching his mattress with a balled up fist and an angry look on his face. “D#%$ it," he said again punching the mattress.

Her heart dropped. She knew where he learned that.

On one hand, she was glad he only used that tiny four-letter word instead of one of the many others he had heard come out of her mouth.

On the other hand, she was mortified. She knew the words and the actions he was displaying came from what he had heard and seen from her.

The lesson drove home like an arrow straight to her heart. She realized no matter how small children are, they watch and listen to everything we say and do.

Ashamed of the example she was, she humbly went to him and told him not to say that word or punch the mattress. She told him she was sorry he had learned that from her and told him she would make a change and do better in her actions for him. She made a commitment to herself and her son that day.

She will be the first tell you, be careful what you say or do when it comes to the young people in your life. She will also tell you of the redeeming grace of God; how it has helped her improve each day in the example she leads for her children and other young people in her life.

Her son is now eighteen years old. He controls his temper well and does not use foul language. He and I had a discussion once about the use of foul language. I told him I was proud of him for not talking like that. He told me he can get his point across just as easily and more to the point by keeping his language clean than otherwise. He also said that his friends try not to use those types of words when they are around him. He may not realize it but he is being an example for his friends.

Imagine what he would be like, if his mother had not learned that lesson he taught her sixteen years ago. What if she had not made the choice to change the example she was? He would be just like she was, foul mouthed and acting out in anger.

What kind of example are you setting for the young people in your life?

Father God, thank you for helping me change. Help me to continue to live my life as a good example in word and action for those watching. Amen!

God bless and keep you,

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

An Encouraging Word

Imagine if you will, an image frozen in time. The smiling face peers at you from the other side. It is a photo of a close friend that has no album or a protective sleeve but is tucked between the pages of an album. In the photo your friend is taking a short rest, his uniform blends in with the sandy arid land surrounding him. Though he is resting and a smile is on his face, his weapon is ever at the ready.

I have a good friend who is serving in Iraq. It amazes me that no matter what he sees or experiences; he always has a smile available and an encouraging word. I respect this man. He is an example of integrity, honor and dignity. He starts each day making the choice to serve in order to insure my freedom stays intact. He is also not afraid to share with me his thoughts, concerns and needs in spirit. He is a man of faith. He is there for me if I need him to pray about something and also there for me if I just need to get something off my chest.

He cherishes my friendship and thanks me often for being there for him in spirit and prayer. He knows that I pray for him daily and that knowledge helps him day by day as he goes on patrol or focuses on whatever task he may have for the day.

I try to imagine what it must be like for him in a dry and arid land with only sparse vegetation dotting the landscape. Demolished buildings and burned vehicles also decorate the land where he resides, so far away from his son and his family.

Encouraging as he may be, he has days where he is in need of encouragement. He told me once early in our friendship, that he had given up on hope or the future.

There are those that don’t get letters or support from their families. That’s how is for my friend, if it weren’t  for the contact he has with his teenage son he wouldn’t have anyone. He said that my words of thanks for his service and my encouragement to stay focused on the task at hand and to stay safe, let him know that people do care about what he and the men he serves with is doing. He told me that because of the small step of generosity I took, he no longer is in that dark place he was in.

Do you know someone serving for your freedom? If so, do you lift him or her up with encouragement and support what they are doing? It means so very much to them. It could make a difference in how they face each day. Remember, if we didn’t have those who volunteer to serve and ensure our freedom, we would not have the freedom we enjoy.

I believe it is vital that we let those who serve know they are not alone.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Hoffman Challenge entry

A Hoffman Challenge will take place
at my local quilt guild meeting tomorrow; 6/15/10.

This little bag is what I came up with
to enter in the challenge.   It went
together fairly quickly, as tonight was
the only night I've had to work on it.

I started out using a pattern for a
fabric origamy bag with a drawstring
closure.  As usual, I changed it up a
bit with a strap and a magnetic closure.

Carry on!

Today's Verse:  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.   Romans 12:2 / KJV
As I read today's verse I thought of the transformation in my life since I accepted Christ as my Savior.  I am no longer the foul woman I was, unworthy of God's love.  I now know the love and grace God so freely gives to me though I don't deserve it. 
In that knowledge there is a renewing of mind and spirit that pulls at me to always try to prove and live my life acceptable to the will of God.  It may not always be easy, but I believe it is vital in my walk with God.  I can only grow spiritually when I put aside the old self and take up the new self fully and completely, never turning back to the way things use to be.  
There are times I let "stuff" get in the way of my walk with God and I get in a spiritual funk, if you will.  I am reminded, either by a sermon my pastor has given or by a word or two from a friend, that I need to get back on track with my personal walk and when I do, life seems a little easier to take. 
Being conformed to the world is easy.   Just let your guard down and you will see how easy it is and see how quickly the inner peace begins to fade.  
However, not conforming to the world is work.  It is not easy, but the fruits of that work are worth every struggle and trial you may have to go through to be set apart from the world.  Not conforming to the world is the path to true peace.
So, do you struggle and have trial at this time trying to be set apart from the world?  Carry on my friend.  Don't give up and don't give in to the pressures of the world.   Keep your guard ever vigilant in your walk with God.
God bless and keep you,

Beauty of Giving