One of my daughters teaches 4 year olds at a daycare center. She says many of the children who come into her class have not yet learned basic courtesy; they yell out when they want something, but in line, grab toys from other children. In order to teach better social behavior, she uses something she calls “the kindness crown.” Each time a child demonstrates kindness (see the list above) they get to wear the kindness crown for a while. This positive reinforcement seems to work. She says soon the kids are vying to be helpful and noticing when someone forgets to say “please” and “thank you.”
We can all learn to behave kindly, just like these youngsters. In the book of Romans, Paul tells us to “outdo one another in showing honor.” Anyone can be respectful, polite and kind. It doesn’t require special talents or abilities; it just takes a little forethought and self-control. These simple practices make all our relationships better, and in the end, we’ll win a crown also. We’ll hear these words from Jesus: “well done, good and faithful servant.”
So as soon as you get up today, remember to put on the kindness crown! Your kind behavior will influence others to be kind.
It’s hard to believe that summer is over, and all over the country young people are going back to school. It seemed like a good time to turn to the topic of teaching and learning. Life is a journey, and we never stop learning. Sometimes we want to learn something new because we’re interested and intrigued; other times, learning seems to be forced upon us –we have to familiarize ourselves with new technology, navigate around a new area, or learn how to deal with a health concern. Learning doesn’t just happen in school. Teaching doesn’t have to be an academic exercise, either. Parents and grandparents are teachers by virtue of their life experience. Difficult situations teach us lessons we may not want to learn. Relationships teach us how to get along with others –those who are like us, and those who are different.
So I am hoping this month, the Lutheran ladies will post about what they are learning and who or what is teaching them. They may want to blog about their Bible studies. They may also blog about life experiences that have taught them important truths. What is the most important lesson you have learned? Who or what was your best teacher? Who have you taught? Do you enjoy learning? What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom? All of these questions are food for thought.
As always, the ladies are free to go off topic and post about the things that are close to their hearts. We always want to be open to God’s leading. He loves you and so do I. Happy blogging!
Maybe you’re wondering what these three names have in common, or how I’m going to write one post that deals with these very different men. Well, here goes. I once read that every Christian needs three kinds of people to help them mature in their faith. They need a Paul, a Barnabas and a Timothy.
Your Paul is a person who mentors you; someone who is older, or who has been a Christian longer and can guide you in making wise decisions. For many years my Paul was my Pastor. We met regularly and talked about what I was studying, my prayer life and ways I could serve. He always encouraged me to stretch a little and gave me suggestions.
“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1
Your Barnabas is a spiritual friend and equal; a person who walks by your side. I’ve blogged about my friend, Nancy. She has filled this role for me for many years now. My reunion group sisters fall into this category as well. These are the people who listen to me, pray for me, and support me.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
A Timothy is somebody you can teach. I hope that my daughters and my granddaughter feel they have learned something about being a Christian from my example, imperfect as it is. I actually think of myself as a rather “teachy” person, and I love nothing more than passing on whatever knowledge and understanding I have to others. I see the Lutheran Ladies Connection as just one opportunity to do this.
“Only take heed, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children …” Deuteronomy 4:9-10
How about you? Do you have at least one Paul, Barnabas and Timothy?
Hello! I am glad you have decided to embark on this journey of discovery with me, planted in chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes. Over the next 14 days I will be writing blog posts on the verses King Solomon writes to us in this chapter of this great book. At the end of this post I will include a study map of which verses I will be covering each day. That way, you can read them ahead of time and if you have questions or want to start a discussion on things that stood out to you, we can do that! I want this study to be interactive and I encourage you to keep a journal handy for writing down your thoughts and observations. I also encourage you to write ways that you can apply these verses to your life. A lot of people tell me that in no way is the Bible relevant to today…to that I say, YES WAY! BIBLE stands for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth! All you have to do is open your heart and mind for what God wants to reveal to you while you are reading His Word and I guarantee you He will! If you haven’t already read the blog post to introduce this bible study, please do so, you can find it here on our blog titled… A Time for Everything! by livingwaterdesigns
So, are you ready? Here we go! Today we are going to dive into verse 1…
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. Eccl. 3:1
God is the keeper of time. As hard as it may be to think about sometimes, we are only limited in how much control we have over our time. We can control it, to a point, what we do with the 24 hours God gives us each day but we are not promised an hour from now, sleeping through the night, or even tomorrow. God controls when it is our time to leave our earthly bodies. But until then, God gives us a time and place for everything under the sun, everything under the heavens.
This verse reminds me of the Disney movie, The Lion King. This movie has a special place in my heart because it was the first animated movie my husband George took me to see, and I was pregnant with our first daughter, Kimberly. My favorite part is when Mufasa is doing his morning lessons with Simba about the circles of life. The scene starts by Simba waking his dad Mufasa in the wee hours of the morning. Like any parent, Mufasa wakes groggy, not wanting to get up, but Simba looks at him with that look kids give their parents and says, “You promised!” So Mufasa gets up, yawning, and sets out at sunrise to teach his son valuable lessons about life.
He starts out his lesson by telling Simba, “Everything the light touches is our kingdom. A King’s time as ruler rises and falls like the sun. One day Simba, the sun will set on my time here and will rise with you as the new king.” Simba looks at his father, and the beautiful landscape, in amazement and says, “And this will all be mine?” Mufasa replies, “Everything”, and Simba ponders… “Everything the light touches”. Then comes the questioning that all of us parents get from our children… “What about that shadowy place?”. And Mufasa tries to teach him about boundaries, those dark places that are off limits. “That’s beyond our borders. You must never go there Simba.”, and the questioning continues…”I thought a king can do whatever he wants?” Mufasa replies, “There’s more to being king than getting your way all the time.” Simba, still in awe says, “There’s more?”
Then Mufasa explains the circle of life to him. “Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.” More questioning… “But dad, don’t we eat the antelope?” “Yes Simba, but let me explain. When we die our bodies become the grass and the antelope eat the grass, and so, we are all connected in the great circle of life.”
The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid, are my two favorite Disney movies. So much life lessons if you really pay attention. Here, Mufasa is teaching his son important truths about life, just like King Solomon is teaching us those same truths about life in this chapter of Ecclesiastes… God has a plan for each of our lives and each season has its time. Each part of our lives is connected in the great circle of life, and in each part we have different tasks to carry out for the glory of the kingdom, the Kingdom of God.
As we move along through these truths, I want you to think about the truths God has revealed to you as you have read and studied His Word. I also want you to think about the season of life you are in NOW… not the one you were in last year, or the one you will be in 5 years from now, but today, this very moment in time. In your prayers, thank God for this season you are in, no matter whether it is difficult or a piece of cake. Humble yourself before the throne of Grace and believe that God is giving you opportunities to discover more of Him and His plan for your life…because apart from God we can do nothing. It is in His timing, His control…we just have to be childlike, with an open heart and mind, to hear His whispers.
God loves you and so do I,
P.S. Link to the study map is below. Feel free to print it out…
Photo courtesy of seasonsoflifeproject.tumblr.com
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31
A few days ago, I went to my Aunt’s funeral. When I was thinking about her before the service, the word that came into my mind to describe her was “kind.” Surprisingly, the Pastor who spoke about her used the same word. He had known her since her younger child was born. He said he could not remember her ever saying a harsh word about somebody else. If she was sometimes irritated or angry, she had learned to keep those feelings to herself. She enjoyed children and taught Sunday School for thirty-five years. He also said that she enjoyed cooking and baking. She would often visit the elderly, ill or shut in members of her congregation to take them a meal or a treat. In fact, he told us that when he entered a home to visit, he was often greeted with the words, “Lois Stover has already been here …would you like one of her brownies?” I bet most ministers would love to have a member like that!
Aunt Lois had some gifts–teaching and serving. She invested them in loving others, not only her family but those often ignored or forgotten. The room was filled with people who remembered her caring and kindness. I’ve heard that many will forget what you say, but they will never forget what you do for them. It seemed true in Aunt Lois’s case.
What words will be spoken at your funeral? Will the Pastor say you used your gifts wisely to help others? Or will he struggle to find something worthwhile to commend? Will others remember you as a person they admired and cared for? Or will they be there only out of duty? Will you hear God’s words, “well done, good and faithful servant?” or will He say, “I never knew you.”
Use your talents like the wise servant. Spend them on others.
“Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.'”
Our ‘bread of adversity’ and ‘water of affliction’ are of our own doing. Isaiah was speaking to a population and society that closely mirrors todays cities and social structures. They paid lip service (sometimes) to thier pastors and those they wanted something from. yet thier hearts remained selfishly hard and thier thoughts always turned inward. Only concerned with what would make them more comfortable. The problems facing those people then and us today were/are not the cause of anything God did. In fact I submitt to you that the same way darkness is the absence of light; so to, societies pains are an absence of God.
So many mistakes made, yet here God says, ‘look, I’ve brought you teachers.’ A gift given to us from the same loving Father that whispers just behind is in our ear which direction is best. God wants good for us always. But what we do is stomp the ground, stand firm and promptly run through a dark forest with no path in sight.
Somehow, then and now; we have convinced ourselves and our children after us, that obedience is a slaves punishment. That it could only be meant for torment and mockery. Why then, do troubled children from broken homes, speak of thier parents that do not hold thier children accountable or make them abide by any rules . . . as uncaring? I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard such a child say, ‘They don’t care.’ Ouch. How cruel to know that the people who are supposed to love you the most, don’t see the need to invest time and effort into teaching you.
Obedience is no punishment. It’s quite the opposite. A great and wonderful gift. God is saying “Look child. Let me show you the way.” Why reject such love? A son obeys his father out of love and respect. And in the process gains much more than was expected. A father instructs (a better word for commands) out of love and with great hope.
We have confused obedience in todays world, for something meant for a slave. But would a cruel master seek to better his slave? Why teach and loose control? Much better to keep an ignorant fool that cannot think a way out.
Children obey your father and mother. Soldier obey your sargent. Employee obey your boss. Student obey your teacher. People obey the authorities. Government obey the law and the President. President obey God Almighty.
See no one is exempt. Every knee should bow. Because God came and was obedent unto death. He knelt and washed our feet, He did what we asked of Him, He served and still serves us well. How then can we in arrogance refuse to do our part?
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 11:18-19
I was in South Carolina this week with my daughter and my granddaughter. Both of them said in elementary school, they were taught that the thanksgiving feast was about the pilgrims thanking the Indians for their help in surviving the winter. I explained that although they may have invited the Indians as a gesture and friendship and thanks, the primary intention of the pilgrims was to thank God, who brought them to the new world and graciously provided for them there.
This led me to think about how we all have a responsibility to teach God’s truth, not only our children, but everyone with whom we come in contact. In the anecdote above, you can see how quickly even historical truth can become perverted by the world. If we don’t teach God’s word, in a generation or two, it may be lost. This happened in the Bible (for an example, read about King Josiah in 2 Kings chapters 22 and 23) and it happens today. Martin Luther wrote the catechism so that parents could teach their children about God each day in their own home, not just once a week in church.
So don’t allow Thanksgiving to become “turkey day”. Use it as reminder to have an attitude of thanks every day, all year long. Let your children, your grandchildren, your friends and neighbors know that you are thankful to the God for all that you have and are.
…Older women, likewise, are to be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers or addicted to much wine, but teachers of good. In this way they can train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, managers of their households, kind, and subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be discredited.…Titus 2:3-5
Mother’s Day was Sunday so I just want to say, if you had a praying mother, give thanks. She was one of God’s gifts to you. And if you didn’t, give thanks to the Christian woman who taught you to pray, because I bet there was one.
One of the things I learned on my Via de Cristo weekend is, we are all leaders because we all influence others. I am a shy, private person so even as an active Christian, I never thought of myself as a leader. The Bible tells us otherwise. In the quote above we learn that we are constantly teaching others through our life and our behavior. Did you know that when people are asked who has had the greatest influence on their spiritual life, the most common answer given is “my mother”? I bet grandmothers and other older women are in that mix as well. Did you know that the Bible says many husbands are ” won over without words by the behavior of their wives”?(1 Peter 2:1)
If you are not a mother or wife, you can still teach someone about prayer. I challenge you to watch War Room (mentioned in one of Beth Ann’s posts) to see “passing it on” in action. Each of us can and should be a mentor to someone else.
In the meantime, think about who taught you to pray. Was it your mother, your grandmother, your Sunday School teacher, your friend? Please comment, I am waiting to hear your answer.
God loves you and so do I!
“Through, Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.” Hebrews 13:15
Lutherans are called “the singing church” probably because Martin Luther thought so highly of music. He called it “a fair and glorious gift of God” and said, “besides theology, music is the only art capable of affording peace and joy of the heart.” He wished to see “all arts, principally music, (used) in the service of Him who gave and created them.”
Hymns and spiritual songs can be “the fruit of lips that confess his name.” When we meditate on the words, songs can teach us. When we sing them with God’s love in our heart, they become prayer. In the worship service, we praise God with our songs. Singing together builds community.
I thought it would appropriate this month (and maybe every month) to share a song that captures our theme.
What is your favorite hymn about sacrifice? What have you learned from it?
We want to hear your ideas!