Your tango matters

In a column that Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post wrote regarding the scandals of Generals Petraeus and Allen entitled, “Real Generals of Kabul,” she stated the following: “This is good soap opera, but bad everything else – and so sad for our country. What is wrong with these men? I know, I know. It takes two to tango. But when you’re head of the Central Intelligence Agency – or lead Americans to war – your tango matters more than her tango.” (emphasis mine)

As Christians, our tango matters. When we live for temporal pleasures and do not subjugate ourselves to the discipline demanded for those professing Christ, we do great damage to the Kingdom of God. Our old natures have been “crucified with Christ.” (Galatians 2:20) We must allow Him to rule in our lives and we must become “less and less” as He becomes “greater and greater.” (John 3:30) That means that we may not “get” to watch the same TV shows as others, go to the same movies and concerts as others, read the same books and magazines, or have the same relationships. That means that we must never allow a friendship outside of our marriage to have any place other than friendship, and we need to be exceedingly cautious about that. We must guard our hearts and minds and eyes and ears.

I have read that Billy Graham would never ride alone on an elevator with a woman or have a meal alone with a woman other than his wife. Since I have never met Reverend Graham, I am unable to substantiate those statements. However, the purity required to carry out those ideas is still in need today. With the availability of online messaging and texting in our society, it is entirely possible to have a whole “secret” relationship that erodes the foundation of our marriages.

General Petraeus’s downfall did not come about in the bedroom; it happened much before that in the boardroom. It occurred when he entertained the notion that this intelligent, beautiful, much-younger woman just might possibly be interested in him. Unfortunately for him, he carried out actions following that notion. He was willing to sacrifice a 38-year marriage and a lifelong military career for that ego-stimulating relationship.
Because Petraeus’s tango needed to matter and because ours MUST matter, we ought to do as Billy Graham and not give our enemy any ground. As Christians and as leaders, we have enemies who want to destroy us. They do not go straight for the jugular; downfalls begin much more subtly. The desolation left behind is complete.
General Petraeus is not the first man or woman in power to exercise such poor judgment, nor will he be the last. However, I choose this day that my tango will count for something and that I will not sign the general’s dance card. What about you?

Carefully tangoing,

Lynne

Next post – some more thoughts on leadership

What I did on my summer vacation!!

I finished my undergrad Bible degree this summer and had the privilege of working at my home church as a ministerial intern (the oldest on record, I do believe!!).

In light of that news, here’s what I did on my summer “vacation.”

I worked.  A lot. 

I also laughed with people and cried with people. I visited our senior saints in the nursing home and was highly blessed for having been there. I taught children’s church weekly and was challenged and blessed for having been there. (Kid hugs are THE BEST!) I taught a ladies’ class and rejoiced and mourned. I also figured out that parenting really doesn’t get any easier just because your kids are grown…

I helped at a wedding and some funerals. I fed people. A lot. I answered the phone and ran lots of copies. I ran errands for lots of people. I said the right thing sometimes and I was a hurtful jerk at others. I prayed with a lot of people and was blessed. 

I learned from my pastors and from my coworkers, and I am eternally changed for the privilege. I made new friends and renewed older friendships. 

As with the other staff, I got there early and stayed late. As with the other staff, I worked six days a week most weeks. 

I learned how many people give so sacrificially of their time and resources and was humbled that they would do that – for YEARS!

In summary, I worked. A lot. However, in the process, I was infinitely more blessed than I blessed. I received far more than I gave. I learned a great deal more than I taught. I rejoiced more than I grieved, and I witnessed God’s amazing, boundless, unconditional, eternal love up close and personal. 

I am grateful beyond measure and forever changed.

Humbly,

Lynne 

 

First, kill all the sugar!!!

OH. MY. GOODNESS!!!!!  I have become one of those terrible blogging people who has great intentions and then falls ALL APART when real life happens.  But, I’m back, for now…

Tomorrow, I shall give you one of those horrid “What I did on my summer vacation” essays, but here’s what I have for you for now.

There is a prayer that goes like this:

Dear Lord,

So far today I’ve done all right. 
I haven’t gossiped, cursed, or lost my temper. 
I haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or over indulgent. 
I am really glad about these things.

But, in a few minutes Lord, 
I am going to get out of bed, 
and from then on, 
I’m probably going to need a lot more help.

Thank You, 
In Jesus’ Name 
AMEN

 

Here is my version:

So far today, Lord, I have not consumed any!!

I’ve had no Heath bars. 

I have not beaten up any little girls to get their chocolate chip cookies (gluten free, of course).

I have not gone face first into any Moose tracks ice cream.

I have not sneaked into the kitchen and eaten straight out of the brown sugar bag. (Yes, I’m that disgusting!!)

I have not bathed in sweet tea or installed an IV so that it can be pumped directly into my bloodstream. 

BUT I’m fixin’ to get out of this here bed now and all bets are off as to my behavior if I am subjected to the granular white heroin.  So Your help is appreciated! 

 

I’m trying to make some healthier choices with my life and I’m just thinking that eliminating the 14 pounds of white sugar a day might be a good start. (It’s possible that 14 pounds is a slight exaggeration – see the previous post regarding “The Red-Headed Mississippi Embellisher.”)  I have a couple of upcoming posts regarding these changes, but here’s the start for today.  I’m even going to include a Willy Wonka reference, so stay tuned!

Lanquishingly,

Lynne

26 characters

I love words!  (I believe I have mentioned that here before, though.)  🙂  I am captivated by learning new words; I adore learning new languages; I fancy  reading words; I adore writing words.  I simply cherish what these letters on this page represent.  I find dictionaries and thesauruses fascinating!

The 26 letters of our alphabet are rather akin to the black and white keys on the piano.  As my baby grand (a 1937 Wurlitzer that hubby bought me for Christmas several years ago!!!) sits in my dining room, no noise or beauty emanates from it.  If, however, one of us sits down and properly plays on those ivories, beautiful music proceeds forth.  We can laugh, cry, sing, and be moved by the correct usage of that beautiful piece of furniture.

The same is true for the correct usage of the 26 characters of the English language and the characters of other languages as well.  When put together properly, we have great power!  When put together improperly or crudely, we sound like idiots.  I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln’s quote here –

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

Go, Abe!  What I REALLY wanted to share with you today, though, was someone else who truly loves words as well.  Scott Harrup is the managing editor of Pentecostal Evangel, the weekly magazine for my church’s denomination.  In his editorial on March 25 entitled “20,000 What?”, he wrote the following:

“My first-grade journey to literacy had barely progressed beyond the adventures of Tom, Betty, and Susan when Mom gave me my first ‘real’ book – Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  This wasn’t a ‘Golden Books’ condensation for kids, but a Classic Press Inc. English edition of the groundbreaking 19th century French science-fiction classic.  I attribute much of my love for science fiction today to that fortuitous, though unlikely, choice of a gift.

Prior to Verne, my reading homework included such prose pearls as, ‘Tom said, ‘Mother! Mother! Is Susan here? Is Susan at home?’  The opening of 20,000 Leagues? ‘The year 1866 was signalised by a remarkable incident, a mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon, which doubtless no one has yet forgotten.’  It required the better part of two years to complete the book, with ‘phenomenon’ and many other words expanding my vocabulary.

My original, well-thumbed volume remained in Koindu, Sierra Leone, when a family tragedy during our missionary ministry forced us to return to the States in 1975 with a few hastily filled suitcases.  In 1998, my brother Blake found the same edition in a used bookstore and gave it to me for Christmas.

Mom not only prodded my personal reading, she regularly read to Blake, Obie, and me.  Most significantly, she regularly read from the Bible or from various collections of Bible stories.  With our family’s multigenerational loyalty to the King James Version, I was the recipient of a large KJV study Bible somewhere around the fourth grade.  Its Elizabethan cadences further polished my vocabulary and elocution.

In the ensuing decades, that Book – whether KJV, GNT, NASB, NIV, The Living Bible or The Message – has done far more than nudge me onward in the joys of reading.  It has shaped my soul.  It has pointed me to eternal life.  It has given wisdom for decisions large and small.”

Well stated, Mr. Harrup!  I like one thing that Book has to say about words or books, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”  (John 21:25)

Minding my morphemes,

~Lynne~

 

Rebellion

From several weeks ago in my devotion book, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young:

“I am leading you, step by step, through your life.  Hold My hand in trusting dependence, letting Me guide you through this day.  Your future looks uncertain and feels flimsy – even precarious.  That is how it should be.  Secret things belong to the Lord, and future things are secret things.  When you try to figure out the future, you are grasping at things that are Mine.  This, like all forms of worry, is an act of rebellion:  doubting My promises to care for you.

Whenever you find yourself worrying about the future, repent and return to Me.  I will show you the next step forward, and the one after that, and the one after that.  Relax and enjoy the journey in My Presence, trusting Me to open up the way before you as you go.”

Deuteronomy 29:29; Psalm 32:8

The area in bold is highlighted by me.  OUCH!  You’re welcome.  I wanted someone else to suffer with me.

Worry free,  (for this one second)

~Lynne~

S. O. A. P.

I recently finished a college class about the Pastoral Epistles.  Our professor had us use a method for reading and journaling that was new to me.  I thought I would share it with you.  (Thank you, Dr. Loescher, for the suggestion!!)

S.O.A.P. Bible reading and journaling
SOAP is a method of Bible reading and journaling: Scripture, Observation, Application,
Prayer. It can be used with any daily Bible reading plan.
You’ll need a Bible, a journal and a pen.
S for Scripture
Open your Bible to today’s reading (according to whatever plan you are following).
Take time reading and allow God to speak to you. When you are done, look for a verse
that particularly spoke to you that day, and write it in your journal.
O for Observation
What struck you and caught your attention in what you read? What do you think God
is saying to you in this scripture? Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal Jesus to
you. Paraphrase and write this scripture down in your own words.
A for Application
Personalize what you have read, by asking yourself how it applies to your life right
now. Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise, or
corrections for a particular area of your life. Write how this scripture can apply to you
today.
P for Prayer
This can be as simple as asking God to help you use this scripture, or it may be a
greater insight on what He may be revealing to you. Remember, prayer is a two way
conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say! Now, write it out.

That’s the basics of how you do it.  Here is my entry for 1 Timothy 1 which I turned in to my professor:

 Scripture:

“This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, appointed by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus, who gives us hope.”  (1 Timothy 1:1, NLT)

Observation:

While I don’t mean to be simplistic in this observation, I was completely blown away by the last four words of this one verse as I read through the first chapter of Timothy.  God gives us hope!!!  When life looks desperate and bleak, He GIVES me hope.  I have hope that He will carry me; I have hope that I will spend eternity with Him; I have hope that nothing touches me without His knowledge; I have hope that He works all things together for good.  I have hope that He is my strength and my song; I have hope that I do not have to walk one step on my own.  In summary, I have hope (and the peace that comes with hope) that the world does not possess. 

Application:

Part of 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”  I guess my application of this verse from 1 Timothy would need to be that very admonition.  I try to actively share the hope that I have in Christ Jesus with others.  This world is tough; He provides hope to continue on through the difficulties.  Through my friendships with people (saved and unsaved), I can point them to the source of my peace.  When life seems hopeless, I can share hope.  I was saved because of someone sharing hope with me.  I knew that she had something that I did not possess, and I truly wanted to know what she had.  She shared with me the hope of the Good News of the Gospel.  I want to do that same thing for others.

Prayer:

Thank You, Father, for the hope that ONLY You can provide.  When life seems hopeless, I can know that it is hopeful because You are God and You are hope!  Let me cling to that and remember that.  Then let me go and tell others of You and Your hope.  Thank You that You freely give us good gifts!  Thank You that You are the One “who daily loads us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah” (Psalm 68:19, KJV).

Loaded with benefits,

~Lynne~

Daddy

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!  1 John 3:1 (NLT)

I saw something precious yesterday that I wanted to share with you.  I was walking at a different time than usual when I came upon this beautiful scene.  I curved around on the road and there was this tiny, dark-headed boy obviously waiting for the school bus.  He was standing by himself near a stop sign.  He was so little that his backpack was nearly bigger than him.  As I was coming around a curve behind him, he did not know of my existence until I was almost right alongside him.

I heard him singing to himself as I came up.  I made certain to stay on the other side of the road so as to not startle him.  However, I did startle him a bit.  He looked at me with rather wide eyes and then he did the most precious, trusting thing.

He swung his head around in the other direction to make eye contact with the man whom I had seen standing beside his pickup in the driveway a couple of houses up from the bus stop.  You see, the little boy was scared when he saw this stranger near him all of the sudden, but he immediately checked with his daddy to confirm that all was okay.  I don’t know what Daddy did since I kept on walking and did not watch for his reaction; I do know that the boy only had his eyes back there for just a second and then he turned back to look for the bus.

But it was enough.  It was a security check.  It all happened in just a matter of seconds, but here’s what I’m thinking went through the boy’s mind.  “EEK, stranger…could mean danger.  AHH, Daddy…total protection.” 

That is what my heavenly Father is for me.  TOTAL PROTECTION!  Romans 8:15 tells us this, “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”

I have researched the meaning of that word, “Abba.”  There is much theological discussion on what the “transliteration from Hebrew to Aramaic to Greek” might have meant as the word is orginally an Old Testament one.  Some scholars say that it means, “Daddy.”  Others say that we have taken a 21st-century view of it and made it more familiar with God than it was intended.  BLAH BLAH BLAH

I just know this.  1 John 3:1 says He bestowed such a great love on me that I am HIS CHILD!  Romans 8 says that I no longer have a spirit as that of a fearful slave.  HE ADOPTED ME AS ONE OF HIS OWN.  I may call Him “Daddy.”  That gives me great comfort that when danger approaches, I can immediately cast my eyes to my Daddy and know that He is ever protecting me.

Some of you may have had a difficult relationship with your earthly father.  Please do not frame this discussion within that context.  GOD IS NOT YOUR EARTHLY FATHER!  He is all good, all loving, all caring, and all powerful.  He sent His own Son to die for you so that you may go to heaven and spend eternity with Him.  He only wants good for you.

Have you called Him “Daddy?”  He longs for you to.  He’s watching over you just like the little boy’s daddy was at the bus stop.  However, God is even closer and more powerful.  AND He loves you even more than that daddy loves that little boy.

Loving my Daddy,

~Lynne~