Saturday, February 28, 2009

Proverb to Ponder

Proverbs 28:23

He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor
than he who has a flattering tongue.

I have come to understand and respect the value of a rebuke from a close friend. I talked a little about it here. I used to really hesitate to return the favor, especially for one friend in particular. I would always start by saying "I didn't want to tell you this, but..." She came to dread those words. One day she brought the above verse to my attention.  In time, I began to see the value in speaking truth into the lives of people who value it. 

Please note - this is not some thing to be taken lightly.  I don't recommend assuming that some one is interested in your opinion.  Proverbs also speaks about wise men loving to be rebuked.  I think it's important to have a conversation and a mutual understanding about these matters.  

One of my favorite pastors once made a really good point about holding non-believers to our standards.  He talked about Paul's writings and the fact that he was writing to the church. Fellow believers who had willingly entered into an accountability relationship.  He made the point that Love is not rude, and when we point out sin where our opinion wasn't requested?  That's rude.  I have to agree.  Such a simple way to look at, yet so very true.  I think the tendency to do the opposite is what has earned so many Christians the reputation of being judgmental.  Wouldn't you agree?  I think holding a mirror up to anyone who didn't invite you to do so is most likely not going to be well received.  Something to think about...

Tomorrow is March 1st!  Who is with me for the Proverb a Day Challenge?  Just read 1 chapter of Proverbs each day!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Today's Proverb

Okay - it was bugging me that I was talking about a Proverb that didn't come from the same day's reading. Now I will be caught up and referencing a Proverb that comes from the chapter that corresponds to the date.

Sorry, I'm neurotic like that....

Proverbs 27:2

Let another praise you and not your own mouth; someone else and not your own lips.

It really bugs me when people toot their own horn. Well, I should clarify. It bugs me when people do something that they feel led to do, and say that they did it for God's glory, but then they tooted their own horn about having done it. I have these tendencies, of course, so that's why I notice it when others do it. Ugh.  I wrote in my Bible next to this verse "credit". Wanting credit when we deserve no credit. Our righteousness is as filthy rags.

I often say after a delicious meal or dessert that I've prepared, "Not to toot my own horn, but toot toot."  This is so not what I'm talking about, but I bet I'll still feel like a jerk when I say it from now on....  ;)


Some days this Proverb to Ponder will be harder than others. Picking just one, that is...

I think I'll go with 26:22

The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to man's inmost points.

I've been pondering gossip for awhile. A few months ago I started thinking about it a lot, and discussing it with a good friend. I have some thoughts, but would love to have your input.

What constitutes gossip? I don't think it's as simple as "talking about other people". My friend got married. I talk about it. My other friend has a sick baby, and I talk about that too. I don't consider either of these gossiping.

So far, I think the biggest elements are motive and content. Why are you sharing what you are sharing? I'm sure we've all experienced that feeling of really wanting to share information that isn't ours to share. The whole choice morsels business... Maybe whatever we want to share isn't scandalous and maybe it's totally appropriate to share. But what is the motive? Do we come from a place of pride, judgement or trying to make ourselves feel better?

What do you think constitutes gossip? How do you guard your heart and mind against this? I once heard someone talk about their policy where gossip was concerned. I love it and have adopted it as my own.

1. I will not gossip.
2. I will not be gossiped to.
3. I hope to not be gossiped about.

I'd love your input! Do share!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Proverb to Ponder

If you missed my last post, you might want to read it.

Today's Proverb to Ponder is Proverbs 25:28

Like a city whose walls are broken down
is a man who lacks self-control.

Every time I read this verse I think the same thing. I found it fitting that I read it last night, after making my Lent choice.

I always think this. A broken down city wall is a problem, right? Especially if you lived in the days of King Solomon. When your city wall is broken down, there is no control of what comes in and what goes out. How true when we let our self-control slide.

Incoming. Too much facebook. Not enough Jesus. Outgoing. Too much negativity. Not enough gratitude, praise and encouragement.

So reading it last night just helped to set my resolve. I will do something different. I'm back on my regimen. A Proverb a day. 5 Psalms a day. I'm also committing to at least one day of my Beth Moore Study To Live is Christ. If it isn't finished in the 40 days, it will be very close.

So friends, I'd love for you to do a couple of things.

1. Leave a comment if you read regularly. I'd love to know who I'm accountable to.
2. Let me know if you'd like to start the Proverb a Day challenge. March is a great month to kick it off. There's one chapter for every day of the month.
3. If you decide to do #2, we can ponder together. I would love that. Add your thoughts in comments, and if enough people climb on board, maybe I can see about inviting Mr. Linky to the party.

Things will be different.... At least for 40 days.

I gave up facebook for Lent.

It was hard. That's why I knew it was the right choice. Don't get me wrong. I love connecting with old friends from school and jobs I had approximately 100 years ago. I always have and always will love people and find myself attached permanently to anyone who I ever had the pleasure of being with on a daily basis.

But there is someone who I've been neglecting. And I ain't having it no mo'.

For the past two months, our sleep has been a little squirrely, and therefore my schedule/routine has been greatly effected. I used to spend Chloe's first two hour nap with the Lord, but now that can't be counted on to happen. Or sometimes, due to the rough night/lack of sleep - I need to go back to bed.

Here's the rub. I ALWAYS find time for facebook. And as true as my second paragraph is, namely the last sentence, I was WASTING a lot of precious time. I need to sit at Jesus feet every day. I need to focus 100% of my attention on my daughter laughing and playing for a time each day. There will be plenty of time for facebook when she's a teenager and won't have anything to do with me.

So - I've decided to implement a little bloggy accountability. Every day - I will be posting about something that struck me in my Tryst. It might be the meaty posts you have come to expect here, or it may be as simple as a Proverb to Ponder. But I am vowing, at the very least - for the next 40 days, to get back to The Trysting Place, daily. My hope is that after 40 days, it will be a habit that will be very hard to break.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I just finished reading a book that I've been wanting to read for a long time.  The Shack.  Based on what I found when I googled it,(after reading it - I hate to have anything ruined for me when reading a book) it sounds like it's a little controversial.  I love me some controversy...

Not really, but I do find myself immersed  in this debate.  Not because I want to be, but seemingly because it's right where God wants me.

I'll let you in on a little secret.  I'm wrestling with Scripture where predestination and freewill are concerned.  I feel like both are biblical and somehow they live together in perfect harmony, but I haven't quite been able to hum the tune myself.  Several pastors that I respect come in on opposite sides of the ring on this one, and that leaves me a little baffled.

The thought of "being taken captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy," (Col 2:8) makes me nervous.  I also want to "avoid foolish controversies and arguments and quarrels about the law." (Titus 3:9) *Scriptures are the Rachel version, adapted from the NIV...*

Ultimately, I want to know the true heart and mind of God and not just some traditional belief system that has been passed down through generation after generation of broken, busted up people.  Know what I mean?

So, back to The Shack.  This novel paints a beautiful picture of the God I believe to be real.  Yes - it is a fictional book, and this version of "God" comes from a human perspective.  Flawed? Most likely - unless this human we speak of is Jesus.  Possibly right on?  I'd like to hope so.

One of my favorite parts of the book is when "God" (I use quotes because that is not the actual name of the character in the book, and it is after all a fictional book...) is talking about forgiveness and redemption.

"Forgiveness is not about forgetting, it's about letting go of another person's throat."  Isn't that good?  Love it.
When asked "don't you forget our sins?" Here is how "God" answers:

"I am God. I forget nothing.  I know everything. So forgetting for me is the choice to limit myself.  Son, because of Jesus, there is now no law demanding that I bring your sins back to mind.  They are gone when it comes to you and me, and they run no interference in our relationship."

Redemption.  Paying our tab, so we don't have to worry about.  The cost of sin is death.  Death is separation from God. That's the last thing that God wants, so He picks up our tab.  He wants, longs for relationship with us.  He knows that we aren't capable of it on our own, so He makes a way.  What the Law was powerless to do, God did. Period.

I've often thought about redemption and what it really means.  I've thought about how millions of Americans would love to see a certain terrorist strung up to pay for his sins against us, against humanity.  But what does God want?  Redemption.  Some people are beyond redemption, you might say.  To which I would say, False.

Case in point.  Join me in Acts chapter 7.  Let's pick it up at the very end where Stephen is being stoned.

Starting with verse  57.
57At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Chapter 8
And Saul was there, giving approval to his death.
On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.

Then in chapter 9

1Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.

Not exactly the guy you would expect to write the majority of the books of the New Testament, right? 


Paul's redemption story begins in the very next verse.  If you've never read the book of Acts, (which I hadn't until last year.  I have no idea why...) shut your computer off and immediately find your Bible and read it.  If you haven't read it in a long time, do the same.  If you wonder what they Church or we as Christ followers are supposed to look like...  Read it.  Seriously.  

In the meantime, take Matthew 6:27-28 to heart.  You just might have the opportunity to be part of some one's redemption story.

Matthew 6:27-28
"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rock your Spouses World For Valentine's Day

I mentioned that my husband and I read The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, right? Well, let me just tell you... Applying the concepts of this book HAS WORKED FOR US!

I'm currently working on a device to assist me in kicking myself for not reading this book four or five years ago when I actually bought it. If I had known then, what I know now...

If you're husband is like mine, he may not jump at the chance to read a book you recommend. I was a little worried about putting myself out there. Again. I'll be honest, I was a little desperate. I was formulating my back up plan if he didn't cooperate. I'm REALLY glad he did. I had no good ideas for a back up plan... If this is you - be very careful how you approach it with hubby. Delivery is everything.

When I told my husband that I had read the book and felt like it could really help us with issues we've been dealing with for the entire 10 years (almost) we've been married, I was as serious as a heart attack. When I told him that one of the couples used as an example in the book described us PERFECTLY and it revolutionized their marriage, I think I got his attention. I told him that I believed that if we were willing to implement the concepts in the book, that we would likely see an immediate difference. I had no idea how right I was. 

Let me also just say that we have made a concerted effort to communicate well no matter how hard or unnatural it may be at times, and we truly have a wonderful marriage.  We were not, however, speaking each others primary love language.  We were doing what all people do - we were communicating love to each other in our own primary love language.  That's what you do unless you know better.

So, I challenge you. If you don't know with absolute certainty what your spouse's (or children or friend's)primary love language is, you should really find out. Don't guess, don't assume. If you haven't read the book, read it! You won't regret it. You can also take a quick quiz here. 

What better way to bless your spouse for Valentine's day?  Love them in the language that they can understand best.  Help them to understand how to do the same for you!  Make it a Valentine's day you'll never forget.  I know ours will be one for the record books!

For more great tips, visit Rocks in My Dryer.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Quality Time... my primary love language. Closely followed by Words of Affirmation. If you spend time with me while telling me how great I am, I will likely follow you home and be your loyal friend forever.

Seriously, though.

I read The Five Love Languages last week and it confirmed a ton of stuff that I intuitively knew to be true, corrected some things I was confused about and overall, knocked my socks off. Frank and I have been on a pretty steady course over the past 5 - 7 years, but being of the imperfect human variety, we do have our moments. I can see this book making those fewer and farther in between. He's reading it now. Be still my beating heart.

I always thought that receiving gifts was my primary love language. FALSE. Learning that QT is my true primary love language has made sense of a lot of stuff I've been thinking about and dealing with over the past year or two.

You see, your love language isn't reserved for your spouse alone. Friends and family have the ability to fill your love tank, when they CHOOSE to love you in the correct love language. Since many people (especially in my circle of friends and family) have no knowledge of such things, it's no wonder I've been on fumes the majority of my life.

When it comes to love, I'm evidently multi-lingual. Good thing, or I may have died of starvation a long time ago. As I read the book, I realized that I really am able to receive love in all forms, and even tend to speak it in most forms. I had a hard time deciding which was primary as I read through the five chapters outlining each of the languages. Quality time, Words of Affirmation, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. As I read in depth about each, I found myself feeling like I could argue my point for just about all of them. I took the quiz at the end, and it was hands down QT. The highest score you could get is a 12 and I had an 11. Words came in at 8 and it was basically a three way tie with low numbers for the other three.

So now I understand why it's so sad to me when seasons of life no longer permit for those all day hang out sessions. Why it's so hard to reach out to new friends, knowing there isn't enough QT to go around for the old ones. I tend to be one of those people who goes deep with anyone that I call friend, and that takes some serious time. Time that people my age, including myself, do not have. I feel like time spent together that can't be quality is a waste. I hate going to the movies with someone who I don't have much time with, because I'd rather sit face to face and talk for our two precious hours. I pretty much hate talking on the phone, these days. It's not quality.

I look forward to being more intentional, now that I'm armed with knowledge that I can't pretend I don't know. If you haven't read the book. Do it. If you have, do it again. You won't be sorry.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Real Friendship

I was reading in Proverbs 27 the other day. On the 27th, actually... Some of the best verses on friendship can be found there.

Verse 5

Better is open rebuke, than hidden love.

If you've never had a friend that you could say ANYTHING to, in LOVE with GENTLENESS. You should give it a try. There is nothing like it. The only thing better is knowing that the same person will say anything to you, and with the same love and gentleness.

Verse 9

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel.

Perfume and incense only give me a headache, but the rest I agree with wholeheartedly.

Verse 17

As iron sharpens iron, so one man (or in this case woman) sharpens another.

Feathers don't sharpen feathers. Sometimes it's hard. This means it might hurt, but the result is worth it.

Friends like these are few and far between. If you find one, don't let her go. Sometimes, you won't have a choice, but when you do - don't let her go.

Monday, February 2, 2009

My heart is broken...

for people I don't know.

I'm so thankful for God's grace and goodness and for the fact that the families for whom my heart breaks know Him.

Please join me in praying for these families...

The family of Tuesday, as they mourn the loss of their beautiful daughter.

This family. Read the urgent prayer request.

Pray for baby Trey. Born much too early, but God is bigger.