27 July 2007

More lessons from little girls

I have spent a few evenings the last few weeks with my favorite little Burpeau gals. I love spending time with young children. They are so flexible and creative in their thinking. It takes a while to learn limitations and inhibitions. When children are so fresh from the hand of God their theology is centered on how they see Him. I think that is why Jesus advised us to have the faith of a little one. He knew they were clear in their thinking as it is done mostly from the heart.

A couple of weeks ago Julia was talking to the Lord in her bedtime prayers. She always starts with an old favorite.

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
I love guard me through the night,
wake me with the morning light.

Well after the prayer I pointed out the actual phrase is "Thy love guard me". I explained that the word Thy is an old fashioned fancy way of saying you. Now on to the original one of a kind Julia part of her prayer. She followed up her nightly recitation with this.

"Almighty Heavenly God, thanks for all the things you've been gaving us. Now can you give us what we need?"

When she had finished so told me "I like to call Him Heavenly God cause He's in heaven and He's God." I have got to admit she definitely has a point.

Tonight's unique offering was just as sweet. "Thank you God for going back to Heaven after you were Jesus down here, and thanks for leaving a part of you in my heart."

I have to admit, prayer time with Julia is better than many sermons.

Glad He left a part of Himself in my heart too.


25 July 2007

Is this love?

My morning meditation had me in I Corinthians today. Any student of the Bible will recognize this passage tells us much about love.

While I was reading the scripture, I reflected to a conversation I had with a friend earlier this week. She was sharing a story she heard over the lunch table at work from one of her friends. This woman was relaying her frustration in dealing with her family's apparent refusal to acknowledge her work for them. Evidently she is upset over their ability to keep things tidy and help her maintain the home. She has employed many methods to get them to help. She was sharing with the lunch crowd that she felt the effort she put forth was a gift of love for her family and she thought it was not being appreciated. She went on to say how much it hurt to have her love gift ignored.

As I was listening to the whole story one thought kept running through my brain. She obviously doesn't understand what love is. If you are truly expressing love you do so for the sheer joy of giving of yourself to another. The gift is it's own reward. That doesn't mean that you don't enjoy it when you get a positive reward. Everybody likes a pat on the back. It just shouldn't be the motivator for loving.

True love cares more for others than self, is pleased to bring others pleasure, is satisfied by meeting someone else's need.

The most distressing part of this whole story is the fact this woman works at a local church. Church is the place to learn the most about love. Accepting God's love for me causes me to share it with others. I am convinced if you allow God to fill you with His love you have no choice in sharing. You will be filled to overflowing and love should spill out of you onto everyone you encounter. The verses below are often quoted as being a description of the virtues of love. I don't think that is quite right. I find it to be a guide for expressing love. Notice how many of the identifiers of love contain verbs. Verbs connote action.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

I Corinthians 13 4-7
The Message

Later in the chapter we are told that we and our knowledge of God is incomplete but to hold on until we can be made Complete in Him.

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation:

Trust steadily in God,
hope unswervingly,
love extravagantly.
And the best of the three is love.

I Corinthians 13:13
The Message

Seeking God's help to love as extravagantly as I can

24 July 2007

Losing sleep for a good cause

You would think that someone like myself who has great difficulty getting good sleep would not voluntarily give up that precious commodity. Not true. Early on Saturday morning after leaving Borders just after midnight I stayed awake on purpose to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in one night.

So what draws a forty-six year old woman to stay up all night and read a children's book? I have read all of the series and have spent a good deal of time talking with children about the lessons which can be learned from reading for a purpose. This latest offering has spurred many discussions. I would have to say that this is the hallmark of a successful book. I know many will call the Harry Potter series a success because of the revenue it has and continues to generate. I believe it is a success because of all the conversation and real thought it has engendered

Sleep is something which for me is fleeting at best. Having an impact on a child's life is the greatest. The trade off seems more than equitable, I lose some sleep but I get to chat with kids about what they feel and think.