viernes, agosto 29, 2014

Choosing a Date/Spouse/Plus One Carefully

Last week, I wrote about the importance of choosing your friends wisely.  This week, I want to repeat that advise, and add a more specific application to it.  You can have many friends; you can only have one significant other.  I want to emphasize here the extreme importance of choosing a potential future spouse with the utmost of care.  As with friends, only more so, you will become-consciously or not-like your spouse.  The nicest, most pleasant and sociable girl around can marry an unsociable jerk, and she will find herself without friends-she is guilty by association, through no fault of her own . . . except a lapse of judgement.  Your spouse will rub off on you, there's just no getting around it.  Maybe this is exactly why Paul says, when speaking of marriage, "Bad company corrupts good character."  If you want to have friends after you are married, you'd better marry someone who's shown himself to be friendly . . . to others, not just to you.  Just as you take notice of how a potential friend interacts with others, be sure and take notice of how any potential significant other treats others . . . and not just when you're looking.

miércoles, agosto 27, 2014

Inspired by Nature.

It is not often that I describe nature as inspiring.  I do not find my spirituality there, nor my salvation.  Salvation is found in Christ alone.  However, I did find much inspiration in nature this weekend.  So did Mr. M.  When we found ourselves both winded after a short uphill climb (albeit at an elevation of over 10,000 ft.), Mr. M was inspired to start doing P90X 3 times a week, and I was inspired to start hiking around town . . . maybe with Persnicketta or Miss Tune, Shaniquah or Shorty . . . or Soobie.)  Since I am practically a published poet and I drive a Subaru, I think it is only to be expected that I also be a hiker.

lunes, agosto 25, 2014

Writing On The Road

This is yet another post written out on a motel paper pad with a motel pen.  I was sitting outside our motel room by the creek when I wrote it.  A very loud group of drunk people had just left for the evening (to go to the casino on the corner-the one where Carol lost all that dough last week), which made it a lot easier for me to read Why We Love The Church by Ted Kluck and Kevin DeYoung. (I don't generally reread books, but this one is definitely worth it.)  As I wrote, our neighbor was playing his guitar.  The wind was rustling through the trees, singing along.  We couldn't have ordered a better night-perfect for reading and writing outside.  I reflected on, and wrote about, the abundant kindnesses of God seen in just that day-from the coffee-fueled walk through the woods in the morning to the Texas-style BBQ we had for dinner.  There was much to be thankful for in between, too:  breakfast with friends (chocolate chip pancakes-that's what I ate, not a description of my friends), amazing views, good conversation, and a nice desire to get out and get moving.

martes, agosto 19, 2014

Number Three . . . Maybe

In my series on the seeing the bright side of getting older, I thought of a third benefit today as I sat reading about a teenager in love.  O, the agony, misery, (and hilarity . . .  for others) of being a teenager in love.  Well enough do I remember the sheer humiliation of having more than 2 strands of hair out of place.  I recall the absolute mortification of pronouncing a word incorrectly, and the certainty that my beau would immediately take me for being completely incompetent and rid himself of me at the first opportunity.  Since I was older (19) when Mr.M and I started dating and talking about marriage, I had left those childish ways behind.  As Judy Garland says, I was a "woman of the world."  As we age, we come to the realization that everybody makes mistakes; and we (those of us who are pleasant company, if I do say so myself) learn to laugh at ourselves.  Life experience shows us we are pretty good at some things, and really bad at others.  The act of living teaches us how much we learn through the act of living.

lunes, agosto 18, 2014

Bigger Than You

Sometimes, many times, we don't understand God.  We often don't know why He's allowing us to experience trials and heartache-but we do know this:  He has good futures planned out for His children (Jeremiah 29:11).  His plans are always for our good and never for our harm.  This is hard to believe at times, when nothing seems to be going right.  God's promise to give us a prosperous future must have been especially hard for Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to believe, especially right before they were about to be thrown into a blazing fire. (Daniel 3.)  But they never wavered in their belief.  They said to the king, the firemaster, "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king.  But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."  (Dan. 3:17,18.)  Even in the midst of our worst trials and greatest heartaches, we must cling to the promises of God. 

sábado, agosto 16, 2014

Literal and Figurative

I am excited to be able to share with you the cover of my book.  I wrote a poem based on the events of today to celebrate. 
"I'm at home with a burrito."
is what I penned
when I got home
from seeing my friend.

Of my whereabouts,
she wanted to stay abreast.
I let her know I was home,
so she could rest.

My message also conveyed
in a figurative way
my fondness for burritos
whether at home or away.

viernes, agosto 15, 2014

Being Too Salty

I've written a lot about being salt and light in the world; that's because Jesus calls His followers to that, so we know it's important.  We've all had dull, unflavorful food . . . food that needs salt.  But have you ever had food that was just too salty?  All you can taste is the salt, and it is sickening.  I know, and I bet you do, too, Christians who are like that.  Maybe it is someone who refuses to enjoy a lazy afternoon in the sun because it is just that . . . lazy, which the Bible calls sin.  This person denies herself one leisurely afternoon because she thinks it is sinfully unproductive to indulge in some rest and relaxation when she could be at home grinding flour.  I once knew a lady who believed it was wrong for a Christian to go to the beach except for the purpose of evangelization.  Now, it is wrong for a Christian who has a real problem with lust to go to the beach and indulge in sin, but for the vast majority of Christians who can enjoy being at the beach and listening to the waves, there is nothing wrong with going to the beach.  That lady who thought it was wrong for all Christians was way too salty.  Who would want to spend time with her?  How can she be salt at all if she refuses to enjoy any of the pleasures of this world?  We want, and must be salt in this world.  We cannot let ourselves become dull or complacent, but neither can we let ourselves become too salty or obsessive.  Our high calling as Christians is moderation.

martes, agosto 12, 2014

Truly Valuing Friendship Means Being Selective

Proverbs 12:26 says that the righteous are cautious in friendship.  I think it is fair to say that smart people are selective about their friends.  There is no denying that you become like the people with whom you spend most of your time.  This is true whether we realize it or not.  It is subtle, sneaky, and it's a slippery slope.  It is also serious . . . so serious that our peeps can be tools of Satan used to draw our hearts away from God.  (Of course, the other, positive side of the coin is that God can use our friends to draw us closer to Him, but I think most of us know that, so I want to expose the possible pits to which we may fall prey.)  I think this friendship talk very much applies to that social media giant to which I will refer as LaceCrook . . . mostly because I don't know how to make that little "R".  I don't see any reason to allow my LaceCrook life to be any different from my real life.  For instance, if Wheatengluten came to my house wanting to be friends, I would ask her why she thinks that's a good idea.  If Wheatengluten were to find me on LaceCrook and ask to be friends, I would ask the same thing.  It is not smart (nor righteous) to be friends with everybody who wants that from us.  I am blessed to know a whole herd and swarm of people who are absolute gems, but I also know a few who, when it comes to friendship-in person or online-it's best to "Just say no."

lunes, agosto 11, 2014

Dear Wheatengluten

It has been almost 20 years since Wheatengluten (an affectionate nickname) and I were at the height, the epitome, the apex, the zenith of our friendship.  I was prompted by nostalgia to read some of her letters to me today, and they were nice . . . very nice; but our friendship is in the past.  As much as I like to analyze and reanalyze things (a definite weakness), the truth is that it was what it was . . . and now even what it was is no more.  I have written recently-it was in a poem, which I removed from my blog so I could instead publish it in a book of collected poems (which will be available in October)-about letting the past stay in the past.  Easier said than done.  God used Wheatengluten to teach me a lot, and He continues to teach me things through the deep friendship we shared so long ago.  I'm sorry to tell you I have no more profound truth to share than to once again encourage you to live in the present.  Learn from your past, pray for your future, and enjoy your life in the present.  (That includes you, dear Wheatengluten.)

viernes, agosto 08, 2014

Average Alien Earthling

I have ordered two books this week:  Radically Normal by Josh Something, and Ordinary by one of my favorite authors, Michael Horton.  You may remember that I recently read The God of the Mundane.  I suppose this is because the more I think about it, the more I realize how mundane, normal, and ordinary my life is . . . and probably yours, too.  I am just a regular human person who lives on earth as an alien and a stranger, and I love Jesus and am devoted to the church for whom He died.

miércoles, agosto 06, 2014

Church Youth Groups and Family Worship

Last night, Mr. M and I watched a documentary on the movement in many churches away from youth groups and toward family worship.  The theory is excellent!  The idea is that parents teach and disciple their children, so there is no need for a special group just for the youth.  That is ideal; unfortunately, we live in a fallen world, a world of broken homes and unbelieving parents.  Hearing the anti-youth group pastors, it became obvious to me that they make a lot of assumptions; they all assumed that every believing youth has believing parents.  Maybe I am alone in this, but I don't think so.  I believed in Jesus, and my parents didn't.  (My mom did, but she didn't see the necessity of teaching me Christian doctrine.)  So where does that leave me?  It would have been great-wonderful!-if my parents had believed and discipled me, but they didn't.  The youth workers discipled me, and taught me so much of what I know of theology and practical Christian living.  What does that mean for me??  It confirms to me the need to have mature Christians in youth ministry, and it gives me a sense of the importance of working with, and discipling, the youth at my church.

martes, agosto 05, 2014

Decorating a Home, Decorating a Life

When Mr.M and I moved into our home, we had some decisions to make.  What would be our decorating theme?  The good Mr.M is a huge gadget guy (both in terms that he is a huge fan of all gadgets, and he is particularly fond of huge gadgets.)  So, our home has a very futuristic element, with huge, shiny electronics hanging from the ceiling and sticking out of the walls, and blinking lights in different shapes and colors everywhere.  I like a more country/cowboy/prairie touch.  I also like a little bit of a nautical theme, so I threw that in, too.  Then there is my office, which doubles as a gym room.  It has walls of bright yellow and orange with some purple trim, and a huge, bright green writing desk.  Our home is eclectic, to say the least.  Our friends are eclectic, too.  We have gregarious friends and quiet friends: extroverted introverts as well as introverted extroverts: poets and lawyers:  actors and accountants:  musicians and scientists: scary-looking and straight-laced . . . you get the idea.  In many ways, the friends who fill our lives, like the decor that fills our home, reflect and define us, so having a wide variety of friends makes us more interesting people.

lunes, agosto 04, 2014

Ancient Paths

Jeremiah 6:16  "This is what the Lord says:  'Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.'"

Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jesus, Peter, James, John, Tabitha, Lydia, Eunice, Lois, St. Augustine, John Knox, Wycliffe, Tyndale, Martin Luther, the Puritans, George Whitfield, W. A. Criswell, Martin Lloyd-Jones, Michael Horton, Elizabeth Elliot, Kevin DeYoung.  What do all these people have in common?  They all walked on the ancient paths of God.  Like them, we must also stay with the ancient paths.  We will find rest for our souls as we are imitators of the faithful men and women who've gone before us.  Many today want instead to be innovators; that is not a good way, not a way wherein we will find rest for our souls.  As Christians, we have a great and Godly heritage that spans the ages, and we must not stray from those ancient, established paths.