Teachable Moments

Midweek Meditation: Call Your Children To Be Disciples, Not Just Christians

As we approach the weekend, I would encourage you to take a minute to stop. It is so easy to get caught up in the busy pace of our world, but I want to encourage you to choose the gospel pace, the pace that puts the things of Christ before the things of this world. It is not an easy choice, but a deliberate day by day choosing. Take a minute or five today to meditate on the following quote from my last blog, Call Your Children to Become Disciples, Not Just Christians, and verses, then close your time with the Puritan prayer. 

May this time of meditation be sweet and refreshing to your soul, dear reader!
Blessings Abundant, 
Elizabeth

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.” 
   Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Romans 12:1 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Ephesians 5:1-2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Matthew 16:24-26 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”
    *All verses are in ESV

Devotion – A Puritan Prayer

God of my end, it is my greatest, noblest pleasure to be acquainted with You and with my rational, immortal soul; it is sweet and entertaining to look into my being when all my powers and passions are united and engaged in pursuit of You, when my soul longs and passionately breathes after conformity to You and the full enjoyment of You; no hours pass away with so much pleasure as those spent in communion with You and with my heart.

O how desirable, how profitable to the Christian life is a spirit of holy watchfulness and godly jealousy over myself when my soul is afraid of nothing except grieving and offending You, the blessed God, my Father and friend, whom I then love and long to please, rather than be happy in myself! Knowing, as I do, that this is the pious temper, worthy of the highest ambition, and closest pursuit of intelligent creatures and holy Christians, may my joy derive from glorifying and delighting You. I long to fill all my time for You, whether at home or in the way; to place all my concerns in Your hands; to be entirely at Your disposal, having no will or interest of my own. Help me to live to You for ever, to make You my last and only end, so that I may never more in one instance love my sinful self.
Author and Date Unknown

Teachable Moments

Love and Laughter

Ask children what “love” is and you will end up laughing until you cry.  But that shouldn’t surprise us as love and laughter are good friends. Let’s see what some of our little people say about love:

  • Love is when my Mom helps me up after I’ve scraped my knee even though she’s telling me “get up and deal with it
  • How do you find love?  Get a girlfriend, kiss her, rule the world.
  • In one word describe love:  Puppies!  (Lots and lots of puppies!)
  • What is love (asked to a 4-year-old)?  His answer, “Does anyone really know?”
  • What is love (asked to a 6-year-old)?  Her answer, “If you don’t know, I wouldn’t be asking me.”
  • How do you know if you should marry someone you love?  One 7-year-old says, “They cook good and will answer the phone for you when someone calls that annoys you.”
  • What does love feel like? A tiny tot’s answer,  “It’s squishy inside and makes my Mom cry happy tears.
  • How do you know if someone loves you (asked to a 5-year-old)?  “They’ll do whatever I want for my whole life.”  (Keep dreamin’ kid!)

These answers make us smile and show that even love has a funny side.  It’s a good thing to be reminded that love can be whimsical, humorous and endearing. Yes, love is serious business, but it’s so serious we shouldn’t take it too seriously.  Taking love too seriously feels similarly to when I got a permanent as a Sophomore in High School and kept the perm rods and solution in for 10 minutes too long.  More was definitely not better – I ended up looking like a wet poodle after putting their paw in an electrical outlet – frazzled looking and definitely discouraged.

How do we keep the serious business of laughter in our love life?  The following 5 pieces of advice may be just the recipe for improving your love life, whether you are thinking romance or with your kids or in your friendships at work and church.

  • A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Prov. 17:22)   When you are feeling your worst or life is falling apart, look for joy, seek it out and don’t neglect it’s absence.  Make it a goal to have a moment of laughter every day, no matter your circumstances.
  • Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief. (Prov. 14:13)  Laughter may only last for a moment, but that moment can change your day. Change your day, day by day, and you change your life. Don’t worry about the short shelf-life of laughter, for nothing lasts forever.  Better a moment of laughter than a full day without none.
  • Everyone’s sense of humor is different. Don’t expect to laugh at the same thing with your spouse, children or friends and try not to argue over what is funny or what is not.  Nothing kills humor like criticism. Embrace “humor diversity” and let all enjoy what they will. There is enough in life to quarrel about than what each of us finds funny.
  • Remember, humor may be temporary, but so are disagreements.  In a survey asking couples who have been married for more than 40 years what their secrets were to a lasting relationship, most said to avoid characterizing their relationships by either over-emphasizing the conflicts or under-emphasizing the fun.  Neither extreme is healthy and leads to a dramatic lifestyle which never works out well for anyone.
  • Why is something funny? Because it’s true – don’t deny it.  Nothing is more humorous than a sense of the ridiculous when we look at life in an honest way. One of my favorite memes explored the idea of how Christians tend to become possessive of where they sit in church, even if they have only sat there a few times. “If I’ve sat there, it’s my spot and if you sit in it, I will give you the death stare.” Why do I find this funny?  Because it is true! In 30 years of being a Pastor’s wife, I’ve seen the death stare happen over and over again many a Sunday morning.  Laughing at ourselves is good for us and can, if we let it, improve our relationships; it helps to laugh at ourselves and encourages our love for another to grow.
  • BONUS:  Always take advice from Mary Poppins, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down” and “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap, the job’s a game.”  Sugar and fun indeed make life better.

Dear Reader, as February begins, the month typically focused on “love,” may we take the subject of love seriously, but not too seriously. Let’s take time to enjoy the love God has for us through Christ and laugh at the ridiculous and seek the joy that awaits, no matter our daily circumstances. Did you laugh with your loved ones today, enjoying them and the moment? If not, it’s not too late -the day isn’t over yet!

Celebrating the love I have for each of you and so thankful we are thinking our way through life together.  

Fondly yours, with love and laughter, Elizabeth