Who are you?

Tigger_pose_Ah, the Hundred Acre Woods! It’s filled with those loving characters created by A.A. Milne. As I was reading a story from the Winnie-the-Pooh collection it came to mind that we all may be characterized by one of those personalities! So, who are you? I would like to think that I’m Piglet—sweet and lovable, but, if I’m honest, I’m a Tigger. I relate to his bouncy, happy-go-lucky character. But it made me wonder if I’m also as annoying as Tigger can be to his friends! Hmmm! I’ll need to think on that one! Perhaps I need to make some changes!

So, which Bible character are you? That may take more thought and be more beneficial in shaping you into who God wants you to be. Of course, as women, we all want to be the Proverbs thirty-one wife or picture ourselves as an Abigail or Esther, but the truth of the matter is, as my husband was preaching on the woman at the well, I realized that I was very much like her! No, I didn’t have five husbands and never lived with a man, but her whole demeanor and self-righteous attitude really struck an uncomfortable chord with me! Her past did somewhat resonate with my own pre-salvation life, as much as it could for a seventeen-year-old. And while her salvation experience sparked an 180-degree turnaround, mine was more of a five year slow U-turn as I eventually joined a strong Bible-preaching church. Each bi-weekly gathering filled my heart and soul with God’s amazing truths, and I was ready to receive the milk of the Word. It drastically changed my life!

Ultimately, the answer to the question, “Who are you?” needs to be Jesus Christ. As His followers, we will spend our days on this earth trying to be more like Him. It’s an amazing process and truly takes a lifetime to accomplish! We will not reach perfection until we see Him face to face, but every day, as we read His Word and talk to Him in prayer, that two-way communication has its way of molding us into His image if we are willing to allow it to shape us. Our sweet Savior is so patient with us! His love is beyond our human understanding in its greatness—it’s “unconditionalness!” But then, He sees us through an eternal lens, whereas we are only given a pair of finite glasses!

John said it the best:

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,

are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 3:18

Advertisements

Talent or Tenacity?

I’ID-100197640ve been teaching piano lessons now for over forty years, and I’ve had a lot of different students!  Some have gone on to college, majoring in music, while others didn’t make it past the first year!  I’ve noticed something over the years, and my conclusion may surprise you:

I’d rather have a student who is disciplined than one who is talented.

Talent is a gift from God.  There is nothing we can do as a parent to give our children talent. It is such a shame to see talent wasted, especially when the talent is wasted because a child has not been trained to be disciplined.  We often quote Proverbs 6:22

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Once again, I turn to my dear friend, Matthew Henry—a seventeenth-century commentator whose writing seems timeless! I admit, he can be a bit verbose, but the treasured insights are worth the digging:

A great duty charged, particularly to those that are the parents and instructors of children, in order to the propagating of wisdom, that it may not die with them:  Train up children in that age of vanity, to keep them from the sins and snares of it, in that learning age, to prepare them for what they are designed for. Catechise them; initiate them; keep them under discipline. Train them as soldiers, who are taught to handle their arms, keep rank, and observe the word of command. Train them up, not in the way they would go (the bias of their corrupt hearts would draw them aside), but in the way they should go, the way in which, if you love them, you would have them go. Train up a child according as he is capable (as some take it), with a gentle hand, as nurses feed children, little and often, Also see, Deuteronomy 6:7.

 A good reason for it, taken from the great advantage of this care and pains with children: When they grow up, when they grow old, it is to be hoped, they will not depart from it.  Good impressions made upon them then will abide upon them all their days. Ordinarily the vessel retains the savor with which it was first seasoned. Many indeed have departed from the good way in which they were trained up; Solomon himself did so. But early training may be a means of their recovering themselves, as it is supposed Solomon did.  At least the parents will have the comfort of having done their duty and used the means.

Having a talented child and not training them to be diligent is like having the sharpest knife you can afford but using the wrong side to try to cut something!  Frustration and discouragement is the result of such foolishness: for the student, the teacher, and the parent.

This is not an article on “how to train your child,” but a challenge to do it.  I’m convinced that most of us know WHAT to do; we just aren’t consistent ourselves in DOING it, perhaps because we are not disciplined ourselves.  Our own desires get in the way of training our children.  OUCH!  That may seem harsh, but I’m afraid it is often the truth. It is HARD to train children.  It is tiring, frustrating, at times, confusing, but oh, iit is worth all the effort!

As a mother of three grown children, it is with great joy that I’m able to visit their homes and see successful living.  What do I mean by that?  They are making right choices, sticking by the stuff, and raising godly children.  Our family get-togethers are sweet because children listen and adults think of others. There is joy, joy, joy in this old heart.  Are their lives bump-free? No, but they are proving God to be true to His Word!

So, take the challenge. You can do this! Start small and be successful in one tiny area.  Maybe it’s the mandate to make the bed every morning.  Perhaps it’s the underwear drawer: match the socks and fold the undies! 🙂 You will NEVER regret instilling the tenacity to do right into your children!  That’s a promise from God:

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Image courtesy of amenic181 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Perfect Shell, or Finally Home!

ID-10042440What makes the perfect seashell?  Last week I enjoyed a morning stroll on the beach.  Usually, that’s my husband’s routine; however, since his fall in March, long walks are still a trial. This vacation was a step into the unknown: How much would he be able to walk or enjoy the beach? Certainly, life has been altered in so many ways, even our ocean activities, and I want to take a moment to praise the Lord for my dear husband’s patient endurance.  He’s a gem!

So, as I walked the beach, I looked for shells–perfect shell: the ones that are unbroken.  And although they were small, I found plenty.  However, after chatting with a fellow shell-gatherer—one who looked to be an expert—I started looking for unusual shells, even if they were broken.  What a treasure trove!  It makes me wonder about all the creatures that live in the sea!  AND, I stand in awe at the incredibly limitless creativity of the Creator’s Hand!

So what is the perfect shell?  Its size?  No blemishes?  Its unusual coloring?  Imagine finding a huge conch shell, completely intact, beautifully colored—just sitting there on the sand, waiting for you to pick it up!  How did it get there? Where did it come from?

Well, I’m no expert, but I do know that some sea creature gave up his home to give me that shell!  Perhaps he did his part in the food chain!  Then the current brought the shell to shore.  Tossed over and over again on the ocean floor, it finally reached the end of its journey—amazingly, in one piece!  What a rare find!

When that shell comes crashing down upon a rock by the force of water, it may break.  We look at brokenness as a good thing and it is; however, it is the refined character that has been developed because of the God-given trials which becomes the rare treasure.

For a large shell to make it to shore in one piece is even more incredible.  Year after year, the shell grows, housing its creature and avoiding any life-threatening crashes or the appetite of another sea creature.  Then, for whatever the reason, the life is gone and the shell goes tumbling.

As a new member of the senior saints’ group, may I share an observation? Old age is not for wimps; in fact, we need to be preparing for our senior years all through life.  I once read that a cantankerous young person will be a very cantankerous old person!  Sadly, I often watch as older saints grumble and growl out their discontentment with this present evil world, wishing for the old days.  I’ve even witnessed dear saints of God giving up on their churches and pastors over problems which they could have possibly rectified.  I’m not talking about giving up doctrine or compromising, I’m talking about unsanctified reactions, and our age does not matter when we consider the following list in Proverbs 16:

These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

  1. A proud look – pride often reveals its ugly head as we grow older, especially if we’ve lived a lifetime taking the credit for those accomplishments which God has allowed us to have.
  2. A lying tongue – even the smallest falsehood is hateful to God, including the lies we tell ourselves.
  3. And hands that shed innocent blood – character assassination happens all the time!
  4. An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations – yikes! Just because we’re older and living in an empty nest does not give us the right to lower the standard for our eye-gate, which will in turn show up in our imaginations.  Too often, our standard is set because of our children and not because of the desire to have ” a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.” (Acts 24:16)
  5. Feet that be swift in running to mischief – gossip? Our feet may not be as fast as they used to be, but our tongues never slow down!
  6. A false witness that speaketh lies – As a pastor’s wife, I’ve been amazed at the things that have been said against my husband, and I KNOW that the speaker is convinced that it is true.  It’s that much sadder to me when it comes from an older saint who should have sown a more discerning character.
  7. He that soweth discord among brethren. This admonition is a constant reminder for me to keep my words kind. Couple them with Philippians 4:8, and you have a stage for successful speech at any age!

A rare shell – one that has withstood the tests of the sea and came to shore in one piece!

A rare find – a Christian who has withstood the tests of time and comes to that celestial shore with no regrets!

…just think of stepping on the shore and find heaven,

of touching a hand and finding it God’s,

of breathing new air and finding it celestial,

of waking up in glory and finding it home.

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. Job 23:10

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Brains or Trains, and Other Shortcoming

IMG_5895Well, our Winter Wonderland is back with about four inches of fresh snow, so I thought it would be a good day to take Pepper, our black Cocker Spaniel dog, for a walk.  It was beautiful! I’ve come to realize that some things aren’t as important to some people as they are to others, like getting out into God’s creation to enjoy His beauty but more importantly, His presence; but for me, those times are invaluable.

However, it wasn’t long until I realized that the fluffy white stuff was hiding a solid layer of ice.  Anderson Lane is not used much and is rarely completely plowed; so all the rain we had gotten made the road VERY slippery – so much so, that I finally succumbed to gravity.  Ice is so unforgiving!  It was not a pleasant walk; however, it did accomplish two goals: 1. Exercise (Linda Haught’s voice echoed in my ears as I lifted my knees over the piles of snow on the side of the road!), and 2. I met with God.

As I reviewed my morning, I must say that I had already learned several lessons that I’ll share later; however one rose to the top, and it wasn’t the walk that triggered it.

I’m reading through the Bible this year, using a new plan (you can purchase it for a whopping $.35 at http://store.flpublishers.net/church-resources/bible-reading-plan/bible-reading-plan). It’s very unique and I’d like to use it again, so I made a copy of it so I could scribble on it.

Sometimes I thank God for the brain He gave me, then other times I think of the joke: When God passed out brains, I thought He said trains and I missed mine!  I wanted to write the dates on the card, but January first did not hit on a Sunday.  This really challenged me.  (Maybe I shouldn’t tell you this!)  When Tom looked at the card, he asked, “What are all these scribbles?”  So, I decided to make a new card this morning AND use pencil!!  After about six tries and a LOT of time, I have my card the way I want it!  I really wanted to quit!  Who cares what day it is!! But it was one of those times when I was determined to finish the job!

Do you have moments or projects like that – they try your patience, and you have a hard time finishing them?  One of my favorite quotes is: Character is what it takes to stop you!  This was just a small task, but it made me realize how little character I have – I nearly quite several times.  Would it have mattered?  Only to me – I would have looked at that piece of paper every day and been reminded of my failure.

Finish the job, finish the job, get it done!

Finish the job, finish the job, then have fun;

When you have a task to do – never quit until you’re through.

Finish the job – get it done!  (Thank you, Patch the Pirate!)

No matter how big or small, keep at it!  (And here’s some of the best advice I’ve ever received: if it takes less than two minutes to do – do it now, then you save yourself a whole lot of time and effort remembering to do it later!  THAT was life changing for me!) Keep cleaning, sorting, teaching, spanking, reading, watching, sweeping, listening, caring, loving… the list is endless, but the rewards are often out of this world!  Finishing the job often boils down to consistency – an essential ingredient for the parent as well as the dedicated Christian.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

(I usually only quote the first part, but the older I get, the more the second part speaks loudly!)