If I had to pick a theme for this week it would be based on Philippians 1:9-11 from yesterday and Colossians 4:5-6, "Conduct yourselves with wisdom towards outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." (NASB)
I like to think it a sign that my love is abounding more and more that I am becoming more concerned about how I interact with the rest of the world, and how my interactions reflect on God. With the political climate in this country there has come a lot of ugly talk, from those on both sides. Neither likes to admit it about themselves, but is quick to point it out in others. I see the same thing happening in the church in this country.
My son reminded me of something that happened to him while he was studying abroad in Australia. A person on the street offered him a Bible. He refused it with a "no thank you," as he has all the Bibles he needs and thought it better to give it to someone who needed one. Immediately he was loudly barraged with how he is going to hell and needs to confess his sin and... well it left him with a bitter taste in his mouth for Christians. This from a young man who has an amazing heart for the Lord. Imagine how a non-believer would feel.
I experienced a similar thing this week, and how the tone changed once they realized they were speaking to another Christian. Why was it okay to be ugly when they did not know who I was? Is this really how we treat the outside world? Those verses in Colossians are spinning in my head and heart. In the midst of this I came across two wonderful posts from some fellow bloggers that are challenging me in the area of how I relate, not just to those who differ politically, but also those within the church with whom I may disagree.
Learning to Love your Haters- Courtney over on Good Morning Girls, where I first learned about the SOAP method of Bible study by-the-way, has written a very good post.
For You It's Sin, For Me It's Service -Tim Challis provided me with another good challenge. How easy it is to see the speck in someone else's eye and neglect the ugly plank in my own. Great piece of satire here that gets us to take a serious look inside.
Things I love...
And now to share some things I have loved about this week.
Matthew and Dr. Miller arrive in Nicaragua to take part in dedicating a new telescope. Always good to hear your son has arrived at his destinations safely and is having a great time. Judging from his Facebook posts to me I think the boy is enjoying his VIP treatment.
Free quilt pattern from Pam Bono. I am not sure if the link on the left for the pattern will work if you are not an American Quilters Society member.
New fabric arrivals in my studio make me happy.
The Rainbow Batiks on top will eventually end up in a Lone Star quilt- my challenge goal for myself this year is to learn to make one.
The Blues were a gift to myself .
I just could not pass up the coupon
from one of my favorite quilt shops in Texas
for $10 off a $25 purchase on Valentines day.
Bright spots in my quilt studio, thanks to some thoughtful friends
And finally; enjoying the first tastes of asparagus for the year
Click here for my Roasted Asparagus recipe.
It is kind of a misty, drizzly day here in Texas this morning. We need all the moisture we can get so I am not complaining. It just does not make for a bright and cheery photo from the backyard. Except for the oleander in the foreground there is not a hint of green, of life. I know some of us are feeling much like that. We struggle with pain, both physical and emotional. We have hearts that are bruised, wounded one way or another. Maybe life looks bleak because we are out of work, or alone. Personally I am in the grip of grief over the loss of one who was very special to me. Tears are so near the surface and my mind is filled with memories of a precious friend and mentor. But I press on. That is what Paul tells us to do in the book of Philippians. That is where I have decided to immerse myself for the coming weeks.
I read a little article about the best way to study the Bible. So many have so many thoughts on this subject. I cannot attest to it being "the best" but I have decided to give it a whirl this year. So today I sat down with Philippians and read it straight through three times. It is a short book of just four chapters; in my Bible it takes up just 5 pages. Next week I plan to begin a SOAP study through this book that I will share on the Sitting at His Feet page of this site. Until then I will be reading it straight through several more times. I am excited. I thought about sharing a few verses that jumped out at me as I read, but so many did that I would be sitting here writing for much longer than I intended. Instead I will share the few, that jumped out every time: "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (If you have known grief you know the wonderful power of the peace that God gives.) "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." (That is exciting!) "Do all things without grumbling or disputing." (Oh dear, I am not sure I like where that one is going right now...) "To write the same things is no trouble to me,and it is a safeguard to you." (Can it be that we need to be reminded over and over for our own benefit of some of the very basic things regarding the riches we have in Christ?) "I press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Even on those dreariest of days I need to press on- I have so much more to say, but you will just have to wait until we get to chapter 3 verse 14 for the rest of the story.)
Someone most dear to me responded with this after reading my post yesterday regarding my statement about Pinterest being a dangerous place with "lots of photos to inspire you and every once in a while I actually follow through with some ideas"
This is one of the reasons we should live in the community of brothers and sisters in Christ. As we share in their lives as they seek to serve God, one of their examples might just inspire others to ‘actually follow through with some ideas’. Similarly, I believe we should share our stories, thereby we might encourage some brother or sister in Christ to follow our example of serving Our Lord.
Perhaps that is why this next verse stood out today. "Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us." (I am certainly no Paul, but I do hope you will be encouraged to follow my example and dig deeper into this book and learn from what Paul has to share.)
Grace and peace to you,
I am a wife, a mother, a quilter, and most of all a follower of Jesus Christ.
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