Hold Your Tongue

“Do not say bad things about servants to their masters” (Proverbs 30:10).  I love how God’s Word is so practical.

 

When I first started going to church, I did a new believers’ course, and one thing I learnt was that as a Christian, I didn’t rule my own life.  Jesus was the Master and I was His servant.  If I think of myself in that way, surely other Christians are servants too.  Now do you see the challenge?  When we’re told not to say bad things about servants to their masters, if Jesus is our Master, it means we shouldn’t say bad things about one another when we’re praying to God.  That sounds a tall order if you ask me, but it can be helpful.  If instead of rushing to talk about somebody’s faults, we ask for God’s perspective on that person, it could completely change the way we see them.

 

This verse in Proverbs is similar to one in Romans:  “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?  To their own master, servants stand or fall.  And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand” (Romans 14:4).  God knows those who are His, and just like He’ll finish what He started in us, He’ll do the same in them.  Let’s let Him do the judging while we get on with serving.

 

Linking again with Holley’s Coffee for Your Heart.

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Cheer on the Dreamers

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12).

 

Has anyone in your circle of friends had a dream fulfilled?  An engagement?  A new baby?  Their ideal job?  This verse got me thinking about someone who has.

 

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know I love Holley’s writing.  She and her husband Mark had struggled for over 10 years with infertility.  All those shared hopes on their wedding day, only to realise later that she couldn’t pour herself into the next generation.  Motherhood was her dream that seemed impossible, but just recently, God gave her the word ‘Love’ for 2014, and started prompting her heart about older girls – too adult for the fostering system, but still in need of parental support.  Through a ministry called Saving Grace, God put a 20-year-old (now their daughter, Lovelle) into their lives.  It was International Mothers’ Day on Sunday, and they celebrated Mothers’ Day for the first time.

 

I’ve never met Holley in person, but that story makes me smile so much!  Let’s be happy for the ones whose dreams have been realised – yes, but let’s keep them in prayer too.  It can be easy to support people until they’ve had their answer and then forget them.  I remember this post from Jarrod’s blog a couple of years ago because, unusually, he didn’t forget.  He talked about some recent miracles – deaf ears opened, years of pain disappearing … and he asked us to pray for those people afterwards as they gave back their mobility cars or looked for work.

 

The thing is, once your dream’s come true, there’s sure to be a point when reality hits:  When those rose-tinted glasses become … just plain glasses.  I don’t know how much Holley and Lovelle will write about their ups and downs – the other’s habits they find irritating, yesterday’s baggage that comes to the surface when they least expect it … and I don’t know your situation as you read this.  If you’re parenting a new-born, perhaps they’ve been cranky all day, and your biggest accomplishment was to get dressed and put a meal on the table.

 

“A dream fulfilled is a tree of life”, but even healthy trees need maintenance.  I want to encourage you to support the dreamers – beforehand, and when the rubber hits the road.

A Small Thing that Makes a Difference is …

Holley has asked us to write this week about a small thing that makes a difference.  There are many, but if I had to pick one, here’s my choice.  A small thing that makes a difference is … your support.  How you give that support will vary, depending on who you are.  I listened to a conversation just a couple of days ago.  One lady put away her mobile phone and another asked:  “Somebody chasing you?”

“Oh, my daughter.  They keep in-touch every day.”

“That’s nice,” the other lady said.  “My son doesn’t keep in-touch every day.  I’m lucky if I get one call a week.”  Those kind of conversations encourage me to stay close to my family, when the world around us promotes self-sufficiency.  I think keeping in contact with your parents is a great way to honour them.

I’ve also read a book recently about God speaking our love-language, which focuses on expressing love in five main ways.  If touch is your language, you might give hugs to show your support.  If you’re more inclined to serve, you might visit people or help them around the house.

Maybe you speak up for the welfare of animals, or maybe you sponsor a child, giving not only financial, but emotional and spiritual support too, through your letters and prayers.  Mother Teresa said:  “The poor need the work of our hands, the love of our hearts”, and your letters can combine both those.

How do you like to support people?

4 Things for Those Difficult Days

Are you a Christian who has hard days – days when you’re pacing the house in tears, wondering how much longer you can carry on, what you have to contribute, and thinking everyone would be better-off without you?  If you know what I’m talking about, here are some of the things I remind myself on those days:

1.  This earth isn’t all there is.  Others may get the nice holidays or the dreams come true, and maybe one day you’ll have those things too, but your faithfulness will reap a better reward.

2.  Don’t be bitter – because sometimes on the days when God’s refining our characters, we need to face the rubbish in ourselves.  My pastor said just last Sunday:  “If you only live for the present, your trials will make you bitter – not better.”

3.  The Holy Spirit lives in you – yes, even though you might be wondering what kind of a Christian you really are.  If you truly call Jesus your Lord/the Master of your life, you can only do that through the Holy Spirit.  “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6).

4.  You make a difference, and you’re supposed to be here glorifying God.  I think of Enoch in the book of Genesis.  “Enoch walked with God, and then he disappeared because God took him away” (Genesis 5:24).  If God didn’t want us here, surely He would have taken us away.  Our lives are His to take away (not ours), so while God has a plan for us on this earth, let’s live it.

This week’s Coffee for Your Heart prompt has been encouraging words for a hard day.  How would you encourage someone through a difficult time?

Appropriately, Holley Gerth (instigator of Coffee for Your Heart) has released a new book today.  It’s called “You’re Going to be Okay:  Encouraging Truth Your Heart Needs to Hear, Especially on the Hard Days”.  Why not treat yourself or a friend to a copy?

My Beautiful Week

The week started off well.  It was the first Monday of the school-term here in the UK, so I looked forward to ‘Opening the book’ again in the school assembly.  We acted out “Jonah the Groaner”!  I narrated and one of the team had made a big fish out of tubes with material draped over-top, so our Jonah could be sucked into the fish’s mouth.  The kids loved it!  They were laughing so much, I had to wait half a minute before carrying on with the story; I knew I wouldn’t be heard otherwise.  How special.  But do they know?  Do they know how precious their laughter is, how beautiful they are, and did the team know how much I valued working with them?

 

It’s not easy to talk about beauty.  Not easy to say to a friend as she stands with you at your front door:  “When I spend time with you, it reminds me to appreciate life.”  My friends and family are beautiful – the one I haven’t seen for ages who gives me a hug; the one who comes to my rescue when the power’s off and I’m too short to reach the trip switch; the ones who take time to phone or E-mail or talk face-to-face.  Sometimes I tell them, sometimes I don’t.

 

It’s not easy to talk about beauty, but did an encouraging word ever do anyone any harm?  This week’s “Coffee for Your Heart” prompt is to let someone know they’re beautiful just as they are.  I don’t expect everyone I’ve mentioned to be reading this, but to those who are, I hope you get the message.