It’s summer at our house and this has been one of the busiest in memory. As a family, we’ve made it a point to have as many friends over as possible. What a joyous time it has been. There have been afternoon Scrabble parties, BBQs, birthday sleepovers, and beach parties.
Our house has been abuzz with screaming children, a barking dog, and so much glorious laughter. I thank God for my husband’s voice as we join hands to say grace. When my eyes scan the circle, before we bow our heads, I’m filled with gratitude for the life I’ve been blessed with. I’m nearly breathless each time my husband begins to give thanks
“Lord, today we thank you for family, friends, and fellowship.”
I’m grateful for the children’s laughter and the sound of footsteps upstairs, as the adults trade stories around the dining room table. I love all of the steamy, mosquito swatting nights that my husband and I have spent in the front yard getting in the last bits of conversation before waving goodbye to our guests. The sudden quiet and wave of exhaustion that overtakes me when my husband turns the lock on the front door is a reminder. Tonight’s party has ended but maybe there will be another tomorrow.
It’s summertime everyone. Enjoy!
“My life for your life.” It’s something our congregation used to say to each other in greeting during a series of teachings our pastor did. It stuck with us. I’m blessed to know there are people in my life who feel this way about me. Without love we have nothing.
I have heard people say friends are hard to come by. If we are in the Body of Christ that shouldn’t be true. I encourage you to reach out to someone today. Everyone needs a friend. Let love rule.
We have a very LARGE dog. He is a Cane Corso who at nearly nine months old, weighs about 90 pounds. The funny thing about this dog is that he does not comprehend his own size or power. We got him when he was only seven weeks old and weighed less than twenty pounds. One of the first things we did was buy a baby gate, to keep him corraled in the kitchen, while we were house training. One of the rules was that he couldn’t jump up on the gate.
Fast forward eight months. My big puppy still doesn’t jump up on the gate. He stands behind it and whimpers for attention but the early conditioning still works. Recently, I was watching him stand behind it trying to get my attention. Although I didn’t tell him, I thought about how easy it would be for him to get past the barrier. Then I thought about myself and how many times have I underestimated my own abilities? I thought about the subdued potential that for far too many of us, isn’t released because of the gates in our lives. All because somewhere along the way we were trained to look over the gate instead of knock it down.
What gates are you standing behind? I encourage you today. Kick them down. I certainly am!
Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.(Psalms 107:15, 16 KJV)
My oldest daughter reminds of myself in many ways. One of them is her intense gift of compassion. She always roots for the underdog, takes on the pain of others, and insists on justice. All qualities of a superhero! I’m glad this is part of who she is. Because of this, I find myself praying for her to develop wisdom. One without the other can be dangerous.
I’ve learned that prayer should always be my first act of compassion. It helps me to focus on what God really needs to do in the situation. The most obvious response isn’t always the best answer. Compassion makes you want to give, be, and do. In some cases that’s exactly what God wants. Then there are the other situations. Sometimes they are the circumstances that really pull on your heart. I’m faced with this more and more in my life. The hard thing is, I’m finding God requiring me to intercede not interfere.
This has not been very easy. I’ve had to say “No” when I’d normally say the opposite. Though I’ve prayed I’ve even felt guilty at times. But, in those instances when I went to work on my knees instead of with my hands, God has let me see the situation turn around. When you are compassionate, people will often come to you before they go to God. Other times they come because what they’ve heard from God doesn’t quite suit their desire.
So, for those reading this who know just what I’m talking about…I’m praying for us. I declare that God will increase our wisdom as He increases our compassion. I declare that He will continue to remind us that the spiritual need is always greater than the physical and when our compassion is moved we will minister to both.
For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6 KJV)
Solomon was a man who asked God for wisdom. He wanted to understand the mysteries of life, just like many of us do. Years ago, I remember praying and asking God to give me wisdom. I had no idea what I was asking. It’s not been easy, but I’ve learned that true understanding comes through experience.
Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity…. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. (Ecclesiastes 1:2, 14 KJV)
I have a friend who joins me in laughing at those two verses. It seems we laugh at those scriptures even more when we’ve really been dealing with serious things. We know that life isn’t always easy but we’ve learned to grab the chance to lighten things up.
Though this life may be puzzling, frustrating, and sometimes overwhelming I know just what wise King Solomon meant later in Ecclesiastes:
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV)
Keep striving, keep pressing and keep His commandments.