Living With a Capital “L”


Here is what I learned from Dr. Charles Stanley, In Touch Ministries, on February 19th. He said, “You’re young and useful at any age if you’re still planning for tomorrow.”

Some of the ways to plan for tomorrow begin with a capital L. 

Learning…learn something new every day; I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; Psalm 32:8

Loving…love is the best feeling in the world; 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13 says it all.

Laughing…laughter is having an internal massage; A cheerful heart is good medicine…Proverbs 17:22

Leaving…your past behind. Don’t live with your junk. (Dr. Stanley)

Longing…long to know your purpose in life and then fulfill it. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)

Looking…your best. You feel your best and do your best when you look your best. (Dr. Stanley)

Labouring…working…You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Psalm 128:2 NIV

Leaning…on the Lord…Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; Proverbs 3:5

Listening…to God…Whoever has ears, let them hear. Matthew 11:15 (NIV)

These are just a few of the ways we can live with a capital L. It’s what I learned on February 19th.

 

 

 

Some of Life’s Lessons – #1


While cleaning out old files I came across this internet printout from 2005 called Life’s Lessons. Of course, I’m all about life’s lessons which is probably the reason I printed it and kept it. I’m going to share over the next few days. Here is number one.

Kindness Counts – During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired, and in her 50’s, but how could I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank.. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. “Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say ‘hello’. I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy

Accepting a Challenge


Today, (I’m writing this on Sunday evening), I was challenged to take our choir’s anthem, “What Does the Lord Require?” and blog about it. The song comes from a scripture: Micah 6:8: “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

So, here’s the challenge. How about if we ask what we require of each other.

Would we not require justice as defined in the Mirriam-Webster dictionary: the quality of being just, impartial, or fair.

Would we require kindness? Wikipedia says this about kindness: Kindness is a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition, and concern for others.

And if we don’t believe in walking humbly with our God, would we not at least want to walk humbly with each other? I experienced walking humbly in Whistler just over a week ago when due to deep snow and icy conditions, my steps were guided by my daughter and daughter-in-law, one on either side of me.

Walking humbly with each other takes on the characteristics of protecting from hurts, offering comfort, being supportive, forgetting self while uplifting others…these are just some of the ways we can walk humbly with others.

Today I was required to accept a challenge and it makes me happy to know that there are many ways to look at words, whether they are in a song, sermon, scripture or sentence, and humbly learn a lesson from them. Are you up to the challenge of doing justice, loving kindness and humbly walking with your God or your fellow people? I believe that most people do so on a daily basis…and those who don’t?

 

When Will They Ever Learn?


Peter, Paul, and Mary’s hit song of 1962, “Where Have all the Flowers Gone” came on my music channel today. It brought tears to my eyes realizing that in all these years we still haven’t learned.

We haven’t learned to stop the killing…killing of our fellow human and killing of our environment. We haven’t learned to forgive, or how not to carry a grudge. We haven’t learned to love unconditionally, to pray without ceasing. We haven’t learned to say “I’m sorry” and mean it, nor have we learned that doing nothing to reconcile a situation is the same as promoting war instead of peace.

Most people who write these kinds of songs are thinkers, and in their own way are reaching out to the world through their words. But is the world listening? When will we ever learn, oh, when will we ever learn?

Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful. Titus 3:1

Birds of a Feather


“Birds of a feather flock together”. This is a quote that has been around for years, no, centuries. I take it to mean that the same kind of creature prefers the company of its own kind.

This post is about birds but also about the human experience. This morning I woke up feeling a little unsettled with myself…feeling as though my life is not meeting God’s expectations…and wondering just how I am going to remedy that. It was one of those moments where one feels unworthy for whatever reason; not just in God’s eyes but in the eyes of friends and family.

So, I took my feelings to my “prayer chair” which overlooks a garden containing a bird bath, feeder, flowers, and trees. Within minutes the yard was filled with birds. These were not “birds of a feather”. There was a blue jay and a cardinal sitting together on the fence. There were sparrows and a yellow finch quenching their thirst together. A red-headed woodpecker seemed to be teaching his youngster how to get this job done, when the mom showed up and joined in. Two mourning doves were doing their thing on the garage roof; you know what doves are like, billing and cooing all over the place.

There were two birds I didn’t recognize and had never seen before. They were a brownish yellowy color with a touch of orange or red on the back of their heads, and when they spread their wings to fly their backs were all white. I’ll look them up later.

Now I marveled at all this, especially when the cardinal and blue jay came and rested on my deck railing. I was in awe and wondered out loud why I was being treated to such a spectacular show of nature. It’s over now. There’s not a bird in the yard.

This whole scene helped to lighten my mood but the clincher was this. It was time for my daily devotional and when I opened my Bible, this is what I read in Luke 12:24 “Consider the ravens; they do not sow or reap…yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds.”

Birds of a feather? I was happy to see so many different species of feathers this morning, and happier still to receive the message they brought.

 

 

Accept, Learn, and Let Go


Here’s a quote that came my way yesterday. It may have made it to this blog before but, no matter, it is worth repeating:

“There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, and people we can’t live without but have to let go.” The author is unknown.

This makes me think of a young couple who are living this quote right now, right here in Ontario, Canada. Their three precious children, ages nine, five and two years old…two sons and a daughter…and their maternal grandfather were killed when a car driven by a drunk driver crashed into this family’s minivan last September.

This young couple has to accept that their children will never return to them. They have to learn how to live the rest of their lives with this knowledge. They also have to let go of the people they can’t live without. Heartbreaking.

The quote may also apply to many of us in our day-to-day lives if we stop to think about it…really think about it. Things that we don’t want to happen to us do happen and we have to accept them; there are things we don’t want to know but have to learn; and people we can’t live without but have to let go. It’s all part of life and all life is a learning experience.

We can only hope to get it right.

 

Look Inside


Believe it or not, a Shop-Vac reinforced a valuable life lesson for me a few days ago. I had bought the machine to clean up a carpet full of paint chips scraped from a water damaged ceiling. Thinking the Vac was ready to go, I removed it from the carton, plugged it in and began sucking up the aforementioned debris. I couldn`t help thinking it would be easier to move if it had wheels.

Whoa! Something was definitely wrong when a fine film of dust covered everything in the room. “My Old Man’s a Dustman”, a 1960’s hit by Lonnie Donegan, came to mind.

I quickly checked the carton for a product manual. There was none. Moreover the  top of the carton read, “Never operate vacuum without filters installed. And then I read, “Helpful Shop-Vac attachments and quality filters (sold separately, not included with this vacuum).“ This advice was printed on a side of the carton. Well, the dust damage was already done and I wanted rid of the paint chips, so proceeded to clean the carpet, filter or no.

The next day, I purchased the filters and was given a manual. After reading the instructions, I lifted the top off the vacuum and lo and behold, inside were the filter, manual, and casters…inside! (Needless to say, everything was covered in dust and ground up paint chips).

It reminded me of the time one of my daughters cooked her first Christmas turkey without removing the gizzards from inside the bird. She didn`t think to look inside.

And now, I had made the same mistake. Everything I needed was inside that shop-vac. I didn`t think to look inside…just as everything I need in my life is inside me. Jesus tells us in John 14:20: “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.“

Thank you, God, for another lesson in My Precious Life!

Soul Searching


My soul has always held a deep fascination for me because I can never quite grasp the full concept of it. Therefore, I’m taking a six week course called Soul Keeping. It is based on a book by John Ortberg, pastor, writer, and speaker in Menlo Park, California.

Last night his video touched on a passage from Dallas Willard’s book, Renovation of the Heart:

“Our soul is like an inner stream of water, which gives strength, direction and harmony to every other element of our life. When that stream is as it should be, we are constantly refreshed and exuberant in all we do because our soul itself is then profusely rooted in the vastness of God and his kingdom, including nature; and all else within us is enlivened and directed by that stream. Therefore we are in harmony with God, reality, and the rest of human nature and nature at large.”

I also learned that the four parts of a human being are soul, body, mind, will. The soul encompasses the other three parts and the course goes into each of these aspects of our being. I was aware of these four parts but unsure of their order.

This course promises to be a very good learning experience and may give me the answers to my soul searching.

 

Life is for Learning


Here is something I found in one of my journals. Unfortunately I didn’t make note of the source, but think it is worth sharing.

Your life is a learning process–you can become wiser only by learning. Sometimes you might have to attract making a painful mistake to learn something important, but after the mistake, you have far greater wisdom. Wisdom cannot be bought with money–it can only be acquired by living life. With wisdom comes strength, courage, knowing, and an ever increasing peace.

This post is a duplicate of one titled About Wisdom posted on August 19, 2014. I didn’t do this intentionally, but I think I’ll let it stand, mainly because Solomon’s wisdom has been a recent topic.

 

 

Learn from the Best


This quote by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe was in part responsible for me writing my book, My Precious Life. Procrastination had prolonged my beginning it until I read this quote for the umpteenth time, and along with the encouragement from my family, finally sat down and seized the very minute on December 26, 2012.

Here then is Goethe’s famous quote:

Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute.

What you can do, or dream you can, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

Only engage and then the mind grows heated;

Begin and then the work will be completed.

I am pleased to say the work has been completed and My Precious Life is the result of finally seizing the minute.

I love learning from the best.