Thursday, February 14, 2013

Free the Love

On Mt Soledad in La Jolla, CA

I love the Lord. He's the best listener, hearing my prayers day after day, year after year. He loved me first, and now my life is one long thank-you note back to God. "I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live." (Psalm 116:1-2)

I love my Norman H. Taylor, and I love him freely, richly, deeply. I wasn't just mouthing the words when we said our wedding vows over 30 years ago. We've seen better, worse, richer, poorer, sickness, health, and God has sustained us through it all. We are different, but yet we are one. "And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh." (Mark 10:8) I've learned from my widow friends (including my widowed Mom) to love my Norman without reservation.

Family vacation in Pensacola, FL

I love my children: Austen, Hillary, and Collin. They are as unique as gemstones, and they make our lives brilliantly full. We've had good days, not so good, instructions, corrections and firm rebukes, and yet God has deepened the love between us all. "Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward." (Psalm 127:3) It's fascinating that God refers to our children as "rewards."

Celebrating Mom's Birthday
I love my Mom, my sisters and their families. One of my nieces is sitting in a hospital room with her daughter (my great-niece), getting a broken arm mended as I write this. I am positive that my  niece is feeling great loving relief that it is just a broken bone and not something much worse. "This is my commmandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." (John 15:12)

I love my sister friends who are scattered all over this globe. One of my sister friends lives in Peru, but she may as well be next door with technology allowing us to send notes and photos with a click. Another sister friend lives in Romania, and yet another in Nigeria, and several in Mexico, and in too many other countries and states to name. I never take for granted the heart-gift of friendship. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)

Life is truly a vapor, lived out in moments. We are not guaranteed a full day of heartbeats. Have you been holding back on freely loving the people in your life? God sure didn't hold back.

Free the love. Love freely.

"Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." (I John 4:11)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Avoid Talking Lingo

I had phone coffee with a new Christian recently, and she asked me this: "What is Psa?" (I had written down some Psalms for her to read, not realizing that Psa. meant nothing to her eyes.)

When we've been saved for years, we tend to speak in shorthand that is only understood by those who read shorthand. It's better to spell things out, and to remember when we didn't know our way around in the Bible. (Turn in the Bible to Zech-a-WHO?)

This was her next question: "Romans 10:13...Does that mean chapter 10 and verse 13?" This baby Christian wanted to share the Gospel with her dying father in plain English, and when I reviewed that verse with her, I had abbreviated the reference, forgetting that "ten-thirteen" would be foreign to her ears.

Romans ten-thirteen. I know what that means, and you (probably) know what that means, but do you remember when you didn't know? I learned a good lesson from this new Christian. She taught me to slow down and ditch the lingo.

This reminds me of the story in the book of Acts where Philip was helping the man from Ethiopia to understand a passage from Isaiah. The Ethiopian man didn't understand what he was reading, and wanted to know more, so he asked Philip to help him:

"And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired that Philip would come up and sit with him." (Acts chapter 8, verses 30-31)

When working with a young Christian, speak plain English, and if something needs further explanation, take the time to break it down into bite-sized pieces. The Bible doesn't indicate how long these two men spent in study and discussion of this passage, but we do see that it ultimately led to the Ethiopian man getting saved and baptized (Acts 8:35-39).

The next time you catch yourself talking "lingo" to a new Christian, slow down and translate your words. "I'm going to sing a special today" may mean something to you, but if I were a brand new Christian, I'd think you didn't know how to finish your sentences! You're going to sing a special?

A special what?

"So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? For ye shall speak into the air." (First Corinthians: chapter 14, verse nine)

Do You Know What You Have?

Someone out there may be struggling with this holiday called Valentine's Day, and I can relate.  This is my third Valentine's...