Are they singing along?

Pr. 25:20:  “Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather, and like vinegar on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.”

This is an interesting verse.  Of course we want to cheer up those around us who have a heavy heart, but this verse is speaking more about not showing a caring attitude toward those around us who are hurting.

When we were camping a few weeks ago, there was one night when I was so cold that I couldn’t sleep.  At some point, my husband became aware of how cold I was and he gave me his toboggan.  Normally, I would have tried to refuse, worrying that he might need it; however, that night I was so cold I was almost in pain and I certainly wasn’t sleeping at all.  I accepted the toboggan with only an intense thank you.

Him giving me that garment when I needed it most was like such a relief, and was the start of a more restful and pleasant night.

Most of us care.  I have no doubt that most of us care enough to try to offer help and encouragement to someone who is hurting or in need.  Sometimes, however, we can be moving so fast or be so consumed in our own affairs that we maybe don’t notice their pain.  When we’re singing our songs of cheer, it’s good to take notice if those around us aren’t singing along.  If we recognize a long face in the presence of our cheer, we may need to stop and find out if there is some encouragement needed.

We don’t want people to think we don’t care.  Of course we don’t want them to hurt.  It’s certainly ok for sing songs of cheer; however, upon noticing a heavy heart around us, we need to be quick to show concern and to offer a warm garment of encouragement.  It may just be the start of a more restful and pleasant pilgrimage.

Carrying an extra garment,

jamie

Advertisements

The protection of a loving Father

Pr. 19:16:  “He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, but he who is careless of his ways will die.”

Usually, we are the laid-back kind of parents who not only allow their kids to play in rain puddles, but enjoy watching them do so.  We let our kids climb on rocks and walk across things as though those things are balance beams.  We don’t mind when our kids jump off of things, etc.

When we got to Niagara Falls earlier this month; however, all that changed.  As parents, we noticed the strong presence of slippery surfaces all around that park.  Since it was our goal to have an injury-free vacation, our easygoing attitudes turned a bit more tense.

Our kids weren’t being overly careless when they tried to climb and walk on the rocks at Niagara.  They weren’t trying to get hurt when they wanted to run on the water-soaked steps at the bottom of falls.  They’re just kids and they can’t yet see around all the corners.

It’s our job, as their guardians, to set them up for success.  A desire to not see them injured meant that we had to be a bit more strict with our rules.

This verse reminds me of how God protects us.  He has given us commandments to keep us safe and set us up for success.  He wants not just abundant life for us, but also eternal life.  Even when we’re not intentionally being careless, His loving protection is already in place to keep us safe.

His commandments will also help us in those moments when we feel like being intentionally careless.  He doesn’t tell us not to steal just to keep us bound.  There are consequences to stealing, and following His commandments will keep us from those consequences.

Isn’t He good?  Just as we didn’t want our kids to be injured, break bones, or die on the slippery rocks of our vacation world, God doesn’t want us to be injured, become broken, or die here in this world.  He is a loving Provider, caring for His own.

Thank you, Lord, for preparing my way, directing my steps, and giving me wise guidance along the way.  As much as I’ve already been hurt, I can’t imagine how much worse it would have been without You.  I am glad You are a Father who cares. 

Thankful for His commandments,

jamie

Keeping calm because you understand

Pr. 17:27:  “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.”

Sometimes it’s what we don’t say that makes all the difference.

Although we aren’t “rebel-rousers,” getting into all kinds of mischief, Donnie and I upset someone on our vacation last week.  We apparently broke a rule, and boy did the person in charge get upset.

At first we thought he was just letting us know, since it was clear that we were unaware.  By the time he got done talking at us, he was so upset that he called the police.  Donnie’s version of this story is different than mine…apparently there were lots of words that Donnie spared when we were confronted by this man.  I was kind of in shock at the level of anger he was displaying.

We both remained calm and simply told the man that he should do what he thought was best.  30 minutes later, the police pulled up and spoke to us.  We admitted to breaking the rule and apologized that it was because of our actions that he had to drive out to where we were.  The police officer was very nice and understanding of the circumstance, simply insisting that we no longer break the rules.

I know how many other ways that situation could have gone.  There could have been yelling, fighting, etc. between us and the man or even us and the police officer.  Someone certainly could have been arrested.  We could have been rude and gotten a ticket.  We could have even pushed our side and maybe ‘put the man in his place’, but certainly not offered mercy.

I am thankful for role knowledge and understanding took in our lives in that moment.  After the man spoke to us, our kids, who were with us, were upset.  They were worried that we would be arrested, or that even they would.  We were able to use that as a teaching moment.

Had we gotten upset, said every word that crossed our minds, or argued and fought, we would not have been able to calmly and unquestionably show and tell our kids that God takes care of us.  No matter what happens, we told them, God takes care of us; and we showed that by behaving as though we really believed it.  And God, indeed took care of us.

Our kids were able to see an example of how choosing to be calm and spare your words can truly work best.  That’s especially good at their age, when they think that almost anything is worth arguing about.  ha!  No matter how things turn out, choosing to trust God is never the wrong decision.

It’s clear that all this wisdom and understanding we’re gaining from God’s Word is truly worth more than gold or silver.  Keeping a situation from blazing out of control is priceless.

Calmly preparing to enter my day,

jamie

 

Any love on this menu?

Pr. 15:17:  “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred.”

I have been to dinners/breakfasts where there was some level of tension, although perhaps not pure hatred.  It is always an uncomfortable experience.  No matter what magnificent meal has been prepared, no matter what other company is present, or how pretty the table setting may be, the tension is so heavy that it makes the fork hard to lift.

Our accommodations during our family vacation last week were a nice 8-person tent.  Packing our car as lightly as possible meant that all meals were planned in advanced, dehydrated, and bagged for each day to ensure that they took up less space and were camp stove ready.  We didn’t have anything that would be considered gourmet, but those meals were some of the best of my life.  🙂

Because there were no distractions, we spent our meals playing games, enjoying beautiful views, laughing, and talking about our day and our plans.  Each meal, no matter what we ate, was wonderful.  (Even beyond the fact that everything tastes even better to me when eaten while camping)

I am thankful for a family full of love.  I am also thankful for the reminder that perfection is over-rated.  The most important thing in our lives, outside of God, is relationship.  When we focus on building and growing our relationships first, the menu just no longer matters.  It’s the experience that counts.

Planning some delectable relationship time for dinner tonight,

jamie

Is this really the right way?

Pr. 14:8:  “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit.”

We just got back from a wonderful driving vacation where we covered about 2,000 miles.  A crucial part of that trip was the map.  Without that map, we would not have known where to go.  We had a very specific route and order that we wanted to follow.  Just to be sure, we had it on paper and on the gps.  We wanted to ensure we got where we desired to go when we desired to be there.

This verse speaks to us about how important it is to truly understand our way.  The destination we have in mind for ourselves is good, but we have to choose the path that will get us there.  Not all paths lead to a life full of integrity.  Not all paths lead to a good reputation, a faithful marriage, a life of missions, the job or ministry to which we feel led, or even to heaven.

Keeping our final destination in mind, we cannot deceive ourselves into thinking that another path will still end at the same spot.  We also cannot allow others to deceive us, telling us it’s ok to take another path.

With help from the best guide of all, The Holy Spirit, we must strive to understand our way; whether it will lead us to our desired destination or not.  We cannot become lackadaisical on our journey, allowing ourselves to wander down paths that lead us in another direction.

Speaking specifically to heaven, there is but One way.  His name is Jesus Christ.  No matter how many detours the world throws our way, we must use prudence to understand the truth.

Staying alert,

jamie