Monthly Archives: January 2015

You control the thermostat

thermostat and human handSeveral years ago, our pastor and I taught two groups of adults on Wednesday nights: he shared a Bible study with the men and I shared one with the women. It was a new and exciting experience for me and those women were amazing. We had a great time.

That fall, I taught a series that I titled, “You Control the Thermostat.”

Thermostats have caused many problems in relationships. Someone in the house likes it warm and someone else likes it cold. For women, especially as we get to “that age”, the thermostat can be a huge challenge.

When I drive by myself, I love adjusting the temperature control. At times, I will have it on full heat and then a few minutes later the AC will be on.   Sometimes I have the temperature set on full heat WITH the windows open. (I try to control myself when other people are in the car with me. But, as soon as they are gone,  the  temperature fun starts!!)

One Thanksgiving, John and I visited a friend in Montana and our rental car had the most wonderful feature – heated seats!! We later bought portable “bun warmers” for our own vehicle and eventually gave a set to my parents for those long Kansas winters.  Those heaters are great.

Control of the thermostat changes things.

In Galatians 5, Paul wrote: You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (13-15)

We have a choice – we can love others or we can bite and devour them. It is entirely up to us.

So, when someone is being ill tempered and says “this is just how I am,” you know that they have chosen to be that way. And, when they (or we?) say, “I can’t help it,” we know that they (we) are not telling the truth.

It is the truth – we do control our own thermostat.

Admit it: You can do something to take part of the chill out of that relationship.  Do it today.

“My heart is yours”

One day last fall I found myself driving from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to Staunton, Virginia. It is a wonderful drive across the northeast part of South Carolina and the southern part of Virginia. Very little time was spent on our nation’s interstate highways and I had time to see some of the sights around me. I remember so many images of that day:

  • A sign: “we sell minnows and night crawlers”
  • Men putting a new roof on a small church set back into the hills
  • A woman feeding a “herd” of young pigs
  • A sign: “Mega meat sale”
  • Fall leaves
  • K-Love on the radio
  • A crew topping a huge tree
  • The church advertising an upcoming “turkey shoot”
  • The sign in front of a Mom and Pop store: “My heart is yours”

I really loved the “my heart is yours” sign and I have wondered why it was in front of that store. Maybe it was to celebrate a long-lasting marriage. Or perhaps someone was announcing a budding romance. Sadly, it might have been the cry of someone in mourning of a broken relationship or the loss of a loved one. On the other hand, perhaps the sign was announcing results of the turkey shoot or of the “mega meat sale.” (Sorry!)

As we go through our day, we see so many things. Too often we think that we understand what we see. Maybe, just maybe, we need to pause and let the story unfold or remain untold.

 

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (I Corinthians 13:11-12)

A band of brothers

Yesterday’s Sunday School class was so much fun.

I had finished the music portion of the first service at our church and snuck into my classroom where I teach the Middle School class when I saw who was around our table – 8 young men and one youth pastor. For some reason, there were only boys there yesterday and the high schoolers had joined my class for this one Sunday. As soon as I came into the room, the Youth Pastor ran out the back door. I’m pretty sure that he had somewhere that he needed to be, but it could have been that he wanted to unload the responsibility of dealing with this group of “guys.” The smiles around the table made me think that I had better hit the lesson hard – this group could get the toughest of teachers off track!

And so I kicked off the session with some guidance on materials that we would need and plunged head first into the discussion. We watched a DVD summary of what we would be covering and then opened our Bibles and got going.

The lesson started with the story of how David was selected as the future King of Israel. His seven brothers were each considered for the position and then rejected. David (then a very young man) wasn’t even part of the discussion until the priest, Samuel, insisted on meeting him. Each of the older brothers saw that the youngest, the weakest one of them, was selected for the most important of jobs.

And, then, as the history reports, this kid ends up taking up slingshot and stones and kills the biggest and baddest of all enemies – Goliath.

As we continued reading, we learned that not only did David have to deal with jealous and cranky siblings and a giant, but struggled with a troubled boss. King Saul was jealous of David’s success on the battlefield and began a plan to destroy him.

As I watched the young men around the table get into the story, I thought about each one of them. Some are taller than others with muscles that have been worked hard. Others are still just out of grade school, eager to be seen as one of the “guys.” Each has unique talents: school, sports, social, physical, and musical. A couple have families with money; others have never known a “normal” family situation.

But, each one has experienced a “David moment” with someone like a brother, a Goliath or a boss. That moment when someone had looked at them with anger, frustration, jealousy, or blame for reasons that they could not control, could not have predicted. And, for just a few moments, I could see a brotherhood form around the table. Oh, the age and experience differences are too great to keep them together for long; they will be going their own ways.

But, the truth of David’s story touched their hearts and joined them together for our class session. Each looked at the others knowing that that tough times, even when they are winning the battle, will come. But, God will always be there for us. He will not remove those who would cause us harm, but he will be by our side and guide our every step.

As I prayed for the group ending the session, tears filled my eyes. (I didn’t let them see me crying – I’m such a girl!) And, I prayed that in this little community of faith they will not only stand with God but also stand with each other. It was a reminder of our need to gather together

Happy New Year

It is 2015.   Can’t do much about it except grab this year by the ears and get started.

Well, you don’t have to start that right now. Enjoy a few more holiday days of food, fun, and fellowship. We’ll be watching some football at our home and start talking about the 2015 season. Our New Year’s Day bayberry candles are burning and it smells wonderful. There are no festive smells coming from the kitchen; we won’t be cooking today. Instead, our New Year’s feast will involve sharing a huge submarine sandwich that will be served when kick off time comes around later today. My folks and some family members have gathered already in Olathe, Kansas, for a meal of pork roast, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and lots of other goodies. Other family members are gathering across the country; others are alone; and, some are working. We are like any other family – we are not all in one place today and we are not perfect people.

Being a family means that we take care for and about one another. We try to be there for each other in the good times and in the bad. We help out when we can. We worry when they worry and we celebrate when those we love celebrate.

The other day, I suggested a resolution for 2015: “Clean up after yourself.”

Today, I am suggesting a second one: “Care about others.” It isn’t hard, but it can be messy. We will say and do the wrong things. We will forget a birthday or remember an old hurt. At times we will wonder if we are making a difference. Just remember what Jesus said,

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13)John and Jill Christmas 2014

Happy New Year!!

Jill (Just one of God’s kids)