Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Extravagant Love - Undeserved Grace

I have a son, he’s 15. He loves smoothies, grilled food, Japanese food and for his mom to do anything that resembles him being considered her baby boy. So – it was Friday morning quite early and after my two mile walk and my morning devotional time I got in the kitchen and made him a nice tropical fruit smoothie. I failed to mention to you that on Thursday I made sure I had his favorite sandwich bread and sandwich meat in the house so that I could coax his dad into fixing his lunch for him – on this same Friday morning. I drove him to school and went home to begin my day, but alas – he forgot something important at home so I cheerfully took it to him at the school. I got back home and began to start my day, and caught a glimpse of his bedroom – and since it was Friday, I cleaned it up for him. Now cleaning his room is not a daily practice – but today, I cleaned it. While I was cleaning it – I discovered many clothes that needed laundering so what the heck, I did the laundry too. Before I knew it 2pm so I ran downstairs to tidy up before going to pick him up from school. He forgot to tell me that he had something after school – so he was a little late coming out, no need to waste gas so I just waited in the car. When we got home he was starving so I fixed him a nice snack and ordered pizza from his favorite pizza place for dinner. What a Friday! Saturday morning I got up and fixed Hash Brown Stacks – he loves those! Hash browns topped with egg, Canadian bacon and cheese. While he ate breakfast I ran over to a nearby store and picked up coals so that I could grill him a nice lunch – he loves grilled food! Later I took him to the movies because there was a film he really wanted to see – we ate junk food – he loves that! And then finally sleep on Saturday night. Not once did my son say THANKS - HMM?

Sunday morning I woke up and went downstairs and while looking in the fridge I feel arms encompassing my waist – well, it’s my 15 year old and he says “I love you mama!” It has been 48 hours since that Friday morning, not one ‘thank you’ or ‘I appreciate you’ or ‘you da bomb’ – but those four words did it for me. I know I love my son with an extravagant love, not because he has earned it – but because it is my charge, my calling, my privilege to reflect Christ to him, in spite of him.

Ephesians 4:32 tells us to be kind to one another, tenderhearted and forgiving; and that in Hebrews 4:16 we are reminded that God’s throne is a place where we can find grace. Unmerited favor, unwarranted love and undeserved forgiveness – extend it to others just as you have received it.

Now - think about your Friday mornings – you know when the Father provides your food, health, clothing, shelter, transportation, comfort, joy, peace, etc. and you too don’t think about a thank you until Sunday morning and sometimes not even then. I want to challenge you to transform your relationships with your children. Determine to love them extravagantly despite their attitudes, faults and failings. Determine to love them extravagantly whether they are babies or adults. Determine to extend grace to them and reflect the character of God in their lives.

Extravagant love – you have received it, now give it away.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Are You a Teacher?

A teacher affects eternity; she can never tell where her influence stops. ~Henry Brooks Adams

Ladies, we have an assignment.

Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine….guide women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at you, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don't want anyone looking down on God's Message because of their behavior.

 Titus 2:1-5 The Message

"You" was added for emphasis.

When this word was written, a woman's responsibility was to keep a home and the goal was to be married and have children.  These responsibilities and goals have given way to many other aspirations for the modern woman.  We all know that times have changed.

It is still important today that we honor God.  We honor God by keeping first things first.  If you are married with children...then that is the first thing.  Pour into your family as your ministry. If you are not married or have no children, then serve where ever God has placed you.  Do all things as unto the Lord.

No matter the season of life or station in life, we are to lead a life of reverence to God. We should be teaching others to reverence God, too. 

Reverence means to honor, respect, admire and obey.

A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others. ~Author Unknown

Monday, March 1, 2010

Are You Building or Tearing Down?

A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1

Are you tearing down your home?

Have you ever stop to consider how your words affect those around you? Are you using your words to help or encourage someone? Or are your words harsh and spiteful; maybe even inconsiderate? Sarcasm is not funny if the object of the sarcasm is not playing along with your game.

We often take for granted that what we say jokingly is understood to be a joke. If we use what has been shared with us in private to humiliate someone in public, can we be trusted with private information ever again?

I witnessed someone being treated as a joke and taken for granted as a person. The smile this "victim" wore was all but sincere. They just grinned and accepted the comments which were not flattering at all.

A family member experienced ridicule for a goal that someone else deemed to be "a shame". They felt crushed because someone used words to berate what they thought was an excellent idea. The flippant comment made this person cry.

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the words of the wise bring healing. Proverbs 18:12

So, on to the building up business...Are your words affirming to those who hear them? If so, then you are building. Do you use your words to make the people in your home feel they can conquer the world? If so, you are building. Do the people in your home know how you really feel about them? If not, then it's time to go and build some more?

Are you building your home emotionally not structurally? If you are not building yet, go start laying some bricks today. The first brick is asking for forgiveness for tearing your house down. Begin building as soon as you can for one day it may be too late to repair the rubble you have made.

I sincerely hope that you are a wise person and not a foolish person. Build your home...don't tear it down.