August 18

Gossip….

The dictionary defines gossip as “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.”  And James exhorts us to bridle our tongues.

I’ve always known how easy it is to start and spread gossip and today that was confirmed yet again as we heard some gossip at school that was unconfirmed.  What a shame that we cannot refrain from spreading gossip and yet it is so easy to do.  Maybe we are feeling upset by a certain course of events, or maybe we have emotions that are out of control.  Whatever the reason, it is easy to lapse into gossip and disregard the consequences of our actions.

It seems that gossip is almost a way of life.  Even talking about the news or certain figures in the public eye, people say things that are gossip rather than the actual words of the person in question.  And it is so easy to do.  We think we are justified in our speech because of the circumstances or what we perceive to be unacceptable to others.

We really need to stop and give ourselves a reality check, see if what we are saying can be backed up with facts and truth.  If not, we need to withdraw our words, utter an apology, and move on to action rather than speculation about another person.  The worst thing about gossip is that we slip into that mode so easily and we don’t even consider events down the road a bit.  We must force ourselves to see gossip for what it truly is and stop back from it and redirect our thoughts and our mouths.

Father, help us all, me included, to stop gossiping.  Help us to remember you and your words and save us from the error of judgment we make when we don’t take the time to really consider the words we are about to utter.  Thank you for loving us and helping us.  Amen.

Matthew 12:36

August 17

Bouncing rain….

Yes, bouncing rain.  Yesterday when the rain was pouring down on my deck, I looked out my window and as the rain came down and hit the deck it appeared as round orbs and bounced up off the deck.

It was really interesting to see this phenomenon and I thought it was bouncing rain.  I can’t remember ever seeing this before in spite of the fact that I have seen it rain very hard in the past.  It didn’t last very long, but it was intriguing.

Things are not always what they seem.  Remember the story of Haman in the book of Esther? He was pleased that the gallows he had planned for Mordecai was being built. He did not know, but ultimately he was the one hung on that very same gallows because the king ordered it.

This makes us stop and take pause.  We must look to see how things really are, not how they appear.  Once we determine how things are, then we can act.

Father, thank you for giving us sight to see how things are in our world.  Help me not to act when I see things as they appear, but to really look to see how they.  I love you. Amen.

Esther 5:1-14

 

August 16

Unsung heroes…

Last night when I went to the hospital, my time coincided with their eating time.  I noticed that the women were all at one table and the men were at another table.  There were some single individuals in other spots around the room and some residents who must be fed were at another table.

One man who is usually pretty congenial stated loudly that he was not eating the food served.  The CNA taking care of him tried to offer many other suggestions and he just kept answering in a loud and rather angry voice that he didn’t want anything.  Then another resident who is in a wheelchair and has suffered a stroke and cannot speak started “talking” loudly and he too refused to eat.  The CNA usually feeds him.  He managed to unlock his chair and wheel himself to the hall.  She went and brought him back and he still refused to eat.

Through all of this the CNA smiled and talked in a nice voice and continued to try to get these men to eat.  They were having none of it and did not treat her in a very kind way.

It reminded me of the Pharisees in the Bible who were always criticizing Jesus and trying to find ways to stop his ministry.  He simply continued to speak to people, to heal people and to teach the crowds about love, about God.

We too have opportunities daily to do God’s work of kindness and love in our community in our lives and we don’t always meet those characteristics in return.  But the key point here is that the CNA, like Jesus, never stopped being kind and loving.  We need to do the same.

Father, thank you for the examples of others, for the example of Jesus.  Help me to be kind, loving and thoughtful regardless of how I am treated by others.  Amen.

John 13:35

August 15

EGR…..

Extra grace required…. These are the folks for whom lots of grace is needed as we meet and work with them.  They require more grace than other folks usually need.  They may need extra help, more listening skills on our part, patience and a host of other characteristics.

I believe that if we can recognize these folks and remember to ask God to help us give them that extra amount of grace, it is less difficult for us to work with them.

Lately I have had a lot of EGR folks in my life.  It is helping me develop patience in large quantities.  Sometimes patience is not easy for me even though I thought I had a lot of it before I started this job.  Now, I definitely need more patience in my life and especially as I deal with these people.

“You will keep your friends if you forgive them, but you will lose your friends if you keep talking about what they did wrong” (Proverbs 17:9 CEV).  In addition to being able to give extra grace we must not gossip about them to others.  This is a chief requirement for EGR persons and one that is the hardest to fill.  It is so easy to gossip about these people, but we must resist this tendency and give them even more grace.

I love grace.  Jesus gives it to me in abundance.  I can do not less for EGR persons.

Father, help me give the grace you have so abundantly bestowed on me.  Keep me from gossip.  Amen.

Proverbs 17:9

 

August 14

Rough spots…

I don’t believe that God sends rough spots to you to teach you, but I do think  he allows them to help you grow.

I know I have been experiencing some difficult times and I am learning to exercise patience because of them.  I feel certain that God wants me to learn from these experiences and that he will give me opportunities to share that learning with others in similar rough spots.

Think of Abraham Lincoln or Susan B. Anthony.  Each of these leaders along with countless others exhibited great leadership in tough times.  They acted boldly and decisively and we remember them because of their actions and their character.

We demonstrate our character in our responses to others, to situations and to our environment.  I am learning to exhibit patience as I go through these rough spots and I am trying to use that patience each time a rough spot presents itself to me.   The Bible tells me that I must be patient in tribulation (in hard times).  The Message tells me not to quit in hard times and to pray all the harder.  So that’s good advice.  The minute hard times or rough spots occur, I need to turn to God with my situation and then be patient and listen for His word. Specifically I need to be careful. The Scripture (Message) says “Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant.”  To me this all adds us to being patient and keeping my eyes on Jesus through the rough spot.  It is easy to get derailed, but I can keep pushing ahead if I just remember to lean on him.

Father, your word is the best reminder I know.  Help me to keep those words in mind when I hit rough spots and am tempted to lose my temper or give up.  I know you will give me the help I need.  Just turn me to you.  I love you and thank you for blessing me.  Amen.

Romans 12:12

 

August 13

Memories…

We are learning about God looking on the heart of David in the Bible rather than the outside as Samuel had thought.  I asked the kids what stories they remembered about David and only one child could tell me a story about David.

I thought this was interesting as kids typically tell you that they know all about a particular Bible character and don’t want to hear about him again.  I think this may be truer of older kids and I plan to pay attention to the age of the kids who say this, but most of the time they usually remember something.

This just reinforces my belief that you can never repeat a Bible story too many times. There is always something more to learn.

I was also interested to hear a second grade girl and a fourth grade boy comparing notes on their siblings, a 16 year old and an 11 year old.  Both kids agreed that their brothers just played video games and watched You Tube all the time in their opinion.  From what I have observed of students in school, playing video games and watching You Tube seem to be consuming passions.  I have seen kids miss turning in work or even completing it due to these activities.

I’m for more parental monitoring and especially the content of these games and videos.  I believe we need to help our kids see the value in other activities and in spending some time learning the stories and truths of the Bible.  I don’t think we have to knock them over their heads with it, but we do need to move them along in this way.

It is our responsibility and should be our goal as parents and teachers.

Father, help me to set a good example for others and to encourage them to limit video games and You Tube videos.  Help me to teach them about you and your words.  Amen.

Proverbs 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:16

 

 

August 13

Travel…

My grandson made it home today and his jam survived the trip too.  I had him put each jar in a sock and double the sock.  I put them in different places in the suitcase and they all weathered the travel very well.  He did not think my technique would work, but I thought it was worth a chance.

It’s funny the things that work and the way we pack.  My husband was notorious for packing at the last minute.  That is definitely not my style, but I just used to lay out my stuff a day or so in advance and then not worry about it and it always worked out well.

I think we all have our styles of many things and we learn to tolerate or accept the styles of others.  Sometimes there is only one style and we discover that we need to go that way or risk problems. Jesus made it clear that he was the way, the truth and the life and it seemed to take the children of Israel years and years to discover God’s style and the people in the New Testament His style.  The quicker we make that discovery and then abide by it, the sooner we will have the joy  we seek.

As his children we need to infuse the joy of Jesus into every situation we can.  We need to double the joy of others.  Their style matters little.  What matters is living for Jesus with joy.

Father, thank you for the joy which can be ours if we accept it.  Help me to follow you and to look to you for guidance and wisdom.  Let style drop away.  Amen.

Romans 15:13