These are a few of the lessons that my Father has taught me over the past few years. Nothing is new here, only realized. They are written on an ongoing basis for my kids. We all have our "proverbs" or learned lessons; some written, some engraved on our hearts. Perhaps He will use these to encourage and challenge you, as He has me. Please forward comments, favorites, disagreements to firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!
We were created to live loved and the wondrous love of God is ever-present, if only we would appreciate its reality. Living "unloved" is the cause of much pain in many people of every culture. loosely from, "The Shack"
Missionaries are not worthy of admiration. People who are surrendered to, and intimate with, Jesus (and humbly like Him) are worthy of admiration regardless of their place of residence or occupation.
Love and affliction both change one’s soil, so that planted seeds can grow.
To selflessly care for one suffering is equally as beautiful as it is to suffer well.
Conflict, difficulty and pain are not expected at a party. All are, however, a given in war. Jesus said to expect which in this life?
Teaching old dogs new tricks (or languages) is a chore!
To love someone often indifferent, antagonistic, self-centered, insensitive, unaware of their "blind spots", and completely different, is the love of marriage. This also describes perfectly God’s love for me.
It’s easier to serve God than to draw close to Him and trust Him. But it is in the drawing close and the trusting that we do the "work of God" and, in so doing, find that which we seek in serving Him.
A wise child is truly a parent’s delight.
Growing older is over-rated. Cherish your youth!
Suffering is no respecter of persons or cultures.
The work and burden are His. HE builds His church. HE heals. We get to participate.
People who live many hours from any medical help break bones and have asthma, headaches, meningitis, diarrhea, lacerations, strokes …
Laughter IS good medicine.
I have seen joy in those desperately poor and misery in those with great wealth.
Even when we serve God in a foreign land, "self" is there.
Why, within the church, do we esteem success, charisma, and confidence when the Head of the church honors and delights in humility?
To work for a simple "Thank you!" seems healthy but pleasing people invariably leads to frustration. Better to work in response to the delight that our Father already has in us.
Maintaining intimacy (love) with God, our wife/husband, our kids, and our friends is a battle against many enemies (none of which are God, our wife/husband, our kids or our friends!).
A man finds a certain, needed fulfillment in his work.
If here exist luck or fortune, then God is either absent or impotent.
People are very much the same anywhere. They both reflect the beauty of their Creator and manifest the wounds of lives lived independently of Him.
Communication, through conversation, is the foundation of any relationship (with God, our spouse, our kids, our friends).
The outcome of obedience often looks differently than what one may expect.
Advice is typically responded to neither immediately, nor exactly in the manner advised.
Wise counsel must be owned to benefit the counseled.
Life is the accumulation of many little lessons learned, many little failures, many little joys, many little special moments. A journey is the accumulation of many small steps toward a destination.
You will not "arrive" in this lifetime. Appreciate the journey.
The wounds caused by a friend or brother ("friendly fire") hurt more profoundly because of a perceived violation of trust.
I can change no one.
"Should" carries burden not from our Father. Those loved don’t know this word.
Pain and illness are worse without transportation, a soft chair, and some savings.
Needs are opportunities for God’s children to approach their Father and inquire if and how they might respond. Our calling is not to meet needs but rather to walk in intimacy with our Father and, from there, He will likely direct us to a particular need (a place where He is preparing the soil for His seeds of love).
To chase after certain results or outcomes is exhausting. We are called rather to "delight in the Lord" and "seek first His kingdom".
God, life, love, and people (including me) are beyond my understanding. Actually, most things are beyond my ability to understand but not beyond my ability to appreciate.
A sense of wonder and a genuine, "Wow!" honor the Creator. Sincere gratitude honors the Giver.
If we look, we will see God’s provision in every situation and we can acknowledge His purposes, though "through a glass dimly".
Trust is gained over time and testing, and can be lost in a moment.
Our enemy frequently whispers suggestions and lies. Jesus constantly knocks at the door of our heart. We choose, moment by moment, who we will invite in, embrace and follow.
To forgive is to free the offender, but even more to free the offended.
God takes special pleasure in bringing life to that which is dead, light to darkness, beauty to that which is broken, freedom to one held captive, and joy to those oppressed.
To trust in God’s love, goodness and control is to live burden-free.
Passion comes and goes but love endures.
To work hard, and to provide for oneself and one’s family, is better than receiving something for nothing.
Encouragement is greatly undervalued and desperately lacking, within the church.
Criticism (speaking ill to another) and slander (speaking ill of another) have more power to harm than physical assault. Most people would never physically assault another, but …
To ask questions and listen is to honor and love.
We all are quite screwed up.
Joy results from focusing on God’s beauty and goodness, not mine.
God’s will for your life has more to do with where you are than where you are to go.
Nothing of value is gained without effort and cost.
Duty and obligation are motivators when love is doubted or unknown.
God prefers to use broken, screwed up people.
I have more than a few regrets. All of them were the result of walking independently of my Father.
Kingdom thoughts: "Father, what do you think about this?" and "Father, what would you have me do (say)?"
Marriage and raising kids are like working a 24 hr shift or living in a hot, bug-infested shack for a week; who you really are is revealed.
I need often to rest and be still.
Facades (the most common: "I have it all together.") are deceptive and harmful. Humility and transparency are edifying.
Fear (of loss, failure, embarrassment, etc,) motivate many decisions in people of every culture.
Expectation of life, people, and ourselves is inversely related to contentment (more expectation = less contentment // less expectation = more contentment).
To lose a known love (through death, rejection, separation) is to be wounded deeply. Jesus said, "I will NEVER leave nor forsake you."
A thankful heart is deeply healing.
Religion is one of our enemy’s most powerful tools.
All people, in every culture, are wounded, broken, weak, and afraid. Some realize it.
A healthy rhythm for living: Pour yourself into work and into relationships and take time to recover.
Learn in order to gain appreciation rather than understanding.
Those who wound you don’t fully realize what they are doing.
To lead is to initiate – in encouraging, serving, listening, forgiving, supporting, steering, correcting, loving…
To trust is to loosen one’s grip.
When we condemn ourselves for our past, we are one person judging another.
Our "illusion of control" excludes God.
God is interested in developing much more in us than ease and prosperity would provide.
Different cultures are fascinating to compare. It’s easy to see our own culture’s strengths and another’s weaknesses, but all cultures have plenty of both.
To be stewards of God’s (and your) resources, to the forgotten river people of the Amazon Basin, is a unique privilege and one that we trust will impact lives and generations. May we all receive more in 2009 from our Father, and give more back to the Giver of all good things, to be used for His purposes.