Is your trough too clean?

Pr. 14:4:  “Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; but much increase comes by the strength of an ox. “

At times we think life would be so much easier without kids running around messing up the house, without having to make more trips to the store for food, without people constantly emailing, texting, or dropping by, or without people requiring us to visit and spend time with them.

However, as we see in this verse, that is just not so.  Well, ok…maybe the house would be cleaner if no one was messing it up.  Maybe we would have more money if we weren’t having to restock the refrigerator or entertain guests.  Perhaps we would have more time on our hands if we didn’t have so many people contacting us or counting on us.

Our lives, however, are increased by those around us.  Having people in our lives that care enough about us to come around gives us strength.  Having a family to care for us when it matters is an amazing gift from God.  Having friends reach out and help when we are weak or unable is a blessing like no other.

Sure, our home may be cleaner without little ones leaving messes, but without those little ones, we wouldn’t have giggles, unexpected hugs, imaginative play, or as many trips to the zoo.

Not having people reach out to us may indeed free up our time, but without friends and family who care, we wouldn’t have affection, unexpected gifts, meals when we’re down, or reactions to the new recipe we want to try out.

There is strength in numbers.  There may be a little more work in it for us, but it’s worth any sacrifice on our part.  Without others in our lives, we would simply find ourselves in a very clean, very unscheduled world…all alone.

Let’s make sure to be grateful for the oxen in our lives.  (And I mean that in the very best of ways).   Without them our lives sure would be boring and a lot more lonely.

Grateful for all those messing up my trough,

jamie

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What’s on your tongue?

Pr. 31:26:  “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”

Being around children all day, I am acutely aware that kindness on the tongue is not something that happens by accident.  We are born pretty selfish, self-serving, and self-absorbed.  Tenderness, affection, and courtesy are attributes that take time and training to develop.

That training should not end when we are grown.  As adults, we must make sure that we are still training ourselves to be kind.  It is something that can still be lost if not nurtured.  Where can we find kindness in this world?  I’m glad you asked.  The Word of God teaches us in Eph. 4:32, “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Eph. 5:2 tells us to, “walk in love.”  Ph. 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”  Col. 3:12-13 urges us, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering:  bearing with one another, and forgiving one another…”

I could go on and on.  There are numerous verses about kindness, affection, forgiveness, and bearing with one another.  Why so many?  We were born selfish.  Just as when we were kids, we need constant reminders.  If we are to have the law of kindness on our tongues, men and women alike, we must be sensitive to the rebukes and reminders we find from the Lord.

Also, when we are walking in the Spirit, it is evident by the fruit He produces within us:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  With God at the helm of our lives, this fruit will naturally be brought forth in our lives.

Wisdom and kindness come from the Lord.  If we are tarrying in His presence, studying and absorbing His Word, asking for His guidance throughout our days, and listening for His still-small voice to speak His wisdom, then we will be full of Him and walking in the Spirit.  This is when we will be one who opens their mouth with wisdom, and has the law of kindness on their tongue.

If you want to be someone like that, stick with God.  If He can bring forth water from a rock to refresh thousands, He can certainly help us speak kind words to refresh those around us.  🙂

Blessings,

jamie

 

 

Do it today!

Pr. 27:1:  “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

At church on Sunday our Pastor reminded us that one of us could die at any moment.  He encouraged us to seize the moment we had to tell each other how we felt about one another.  We had a wonderful time of fellowship.  The next day one of our congregation members passed away.  Pastor was right.

I remember when I was 19.  My childhood friend was in a car wreck and some of our mutual friends called in the middle of the night to say she wasn’t expected to make it to morning.  My mom actually spoke to them on the phone, so I didn’t hear the urgency in their voices.  I had to open at work the next day and, being 19, still thought we were invincible.  I determined that I would pray for her and go see her as soon as I left work the next day.  I never imagined she’d actually die.

The knock on my door the next morning informed me I was wrong.  The decision I made haunted me for a long time.  Now, almost 20 years later, I still try to remind myself to speak my feelings of affection while I still have time.  I’m not perfect at it.  I still get distracted, busy with housework, and nervous, but overall I try to share love, affection, and encouragement whenever possible.  I am one of those “huggers.”  🙂

It is fine to plan for the future, but don’t put off until tomorrow the things that truly matter.  Today, determine to spend time with the Lord, express your love and affection for those in your life who truly matter, and reach out to someone you know that needs your touch.  Who knows if you or they will have a tomorrow?

I love and care for you,

jamie