Sunday, April 27, 2008

Praise and Proverbs

For sometime now, my Beloved husband Riley & I have read Proverbs almost daily. Sometimes we'd miss a day or two, but for the most part it has become a daily ritual.

For over two months, Riley has been working in Iraq - and email became the communication of choice to continue the daily reading of Proverbs. Today a verse from the 27th Proverb caught my attention.....

V21 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives.

Our son recently created a website he named "ChristRoom" and as a result of sending out information to various churches & to the local newspaper, he was interviewed...and what a nice interview it was.....

And from this, I thought about the word can lift one's spirits beyond measure - and yet, the humble receive it quietly and God smiles. I wrote that in an email to Riley - along with several others we added to our daily routine of reading Proverbs.

Praise indeed lifts the spirits - and how we choose to receive it is a measure of our character. Indeed, our son's reaction was not boastful - but pleased the site was recognized. He has a gift for writing and marketing. No doubt about it, he has chosen wisely how to use this gift.

It was interesting to see others' reactions to the news article. Our church family (Riley's & mine) greeted it with enthusiasm and praised his efforts. My sister was so very impressed with her nephew's recognition - and a woman I've known via email for only two years wrote that she got tears when she read the article. And then there were a few other reactions (lukewarm at best) that left me with a feeling of great uneasiness.

This morning I got a little of the understanding. There's a verse in Proverbs 27 - Verse 19: As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man. Our reactions, our thoughts, our verbal responses are indeed a reflection of our heart. We don't have to be in agreement with each other's beliefs. But I do believe God gave us the power to encourage, praise and uplift others - regardless of our beliefs. The power of the tongue is mighty. We can encourage, uplift, praise and love with simple words.

How sad and lost we become when we choose to use the power of words (or lack of) to do other than encourage or praise. How many opportunities I have missed to say "I'm really proud of what you did"...too many times. No matter how small the deed, we all need that affirmation of "you did a great job there".

I've asked God to please place both those verses in my heart so I can remember them on a daily basis. Giving & receiving are a measure of our being...and may God bless me with that remembrance.


Friday, April 25, 2008

One Brief Moment

Errand day. At first I thought I should walk - especially with the price of gasoline nowadays. Ah - but common sense prevailed. One particular place is over 5 miles from the apartment. Nope, not even on a good day. Maybe in a few weeks I can manage that on my bicycle....

While driving, I had a million thoughts roaming around. Lots of people walking. Some with kids, some old, some young, a few with canes, a few with shopping carts.... And looking closely, I noted a very odd thing. What most of these folks had in common - no one smiled. Save one. One person. Of all the people I saw standing, sitting, or walking - one person with a smile. Imagine the odds. It was a brief sight...nothing spectacular other that that smile. She was alone - standing by a bus stop (so I imagine she was waiting for the city bus) and was leaning on a cane...and smiling.

Suddenly, all was right with the world. Just in that one brief moment I felt God's hand touch me, touch that lovely lady - and His touch was on the entire world.

There's a lot wrong with today's world - but there's a whole lot more right. We are living longer, we are healthier, modern technology is growing by leaps and bounds, we're getting smarter with our money (for the most part), and I believe there's a movement back to God. Oh, there are still those who believe all roads lead to God .... and I pray daily for those who believe that. I know how easy it is to think all religions lead to Him ... I know, I was one of those folks. It seems so much kinder and gentler to believe there's goodness everywhere & it doesn't matter. But after much soul searching (mostly on God's part with me!), I realize I was mistaken - gravely mistaken.

We all take so much for granted. We live in a country like no other. We have our problems, no doubt about it. Someday we may lose the freedom to worship as we choose - to vote if we choose - to say or write as we choose. But right now, this very second, this country has so much more to offer than any country in the world.

All this from seeing someone smile. Isn't that amazing? Isn't that awesome and spirit-filled?

Next time you need to drive to take care of a few errands, notice the people on the streets. See if you find someone smiling. Doesn't matter if it's a big ole goofy grin or a tiny back and thank God for that gift.