Category Archives: relationships

Love Might Win the Wayward in Your Life [REPOST]

Standard

 

This hit home for me:

If you are paired with a prodigal, you know pain. Few trials slice as deeply as the spouse who goes rogue, the child who rebels, or the sibling who spins out of control. Rejecting their role and shutting out those that love them, wayward souls thunder with reckless entitlement, myopic selfishness, and chaotic, grief-instigating choices.

It’s a world of indescribable, emotional turmoil. Here’s some reasons why.

You flog yourself with the “why-stick” — why is this happening to them? Why is this happening to us? To me? Why? Whack. Whack. Whack. “Why?” is a cross that lovers of the wayward carry.

Often, they carry an ironic shame, too. With the wayward, a subtle paradox appears: the prodigal acts shamefully and feels justified — you love them sacrificially and feel ashamed. It’s a hellish twist on the idea of justification — their shame imputed to you.

Additionally, prodigals possess a dangerous, life-sucking power. They siphon the fuel out of those who love them in a “weariness-war.” The effects of this power take you beyond mere fatigue to a mind-enfeebling, soul-sapping, confidence-wrecking, depression-inciting, bone-tiring exhaustion.

What the Wayward Want

1. Choices Without Consequences

For someone fleeing from God, freedom is typically the ability to pursue desires without the burden of responsibility for their decision. John, infatuated with another woman, left Sally and their marriage of ten years in pursuit of freedom. When this appeared unstable to a judge, and Sally was awarded custody of the kids, John was outraged. Why?

A prodigal doesn’t typically engage in moral reasoning, so consequences strike them as offensive, unjust, or excessive. They fail to see that true freedom recognizes and honors the God-installed fences that define the borders between good and bad, wisdom and folly, sowing and reaping.

2. Autonomy Without Accountability

Wayward people want autonomy without the rule of love. They want a world where their wants are met without question or accountability. For the prodigal, life is about indulging desire, not accepting responsibility. The results are often disastrous.

Charlene is rarely cooperative, often stoned, and has little tolerance for discussion about how she spends her time or money. Charlene seeks a world where she can freely indulge and never explain. When accountability comes knocking, she withdraws behind an impenetrable emotional wall of unfettered autonomy, away from meddlesome scrutiny.

Few things plant a family in the manure of dysfunction quicker than feeding the delusion that one can live autonomously, yet dependent; unaccountable, yet family-funded.

What the Wayward Need

Ask the average Joe or Jaclyn about “love,” and their answers will skim the shallow pond of sentimental feelings, magnetic attraction, or the thrill of someone who makes them feel alive. Christians reject the merely sentimental and embrace a more robust vision of love. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us” (1 John 3: 16).

At the eternal core of biblical love, we find a rugged cross. Blood-drenched yet triumphantly empty, this cross testifies to a promise-keeping love that goes beyond trifling sentiment. Think of it as “rugged love” — a love with teeth!

Love is rugged when it is

  • strong enough to face evil;
  • tenacious enough to do good;
  • courageous enough to enforce consequences;
  • sturdy enough to be patient;
  • resilient enough to forgive;
  • trusting enough to pray boldly.

Consider just two examples.

Strong Enough to Face Evil

Pete knows Becky is a serial adulterer, but he says nothing. Claire believes her brother is on drugs, but she won’t probe. Tammy overlooks the cruel comments her husband makes about her in public. Though each situation is distinct, they are all connected by a common compromise: Pete, Claire, and Tammy are all tolerating evil. If you ask them why, they say they do it all for love.

The Bible says, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil” (Romans 12:9). True and genuine love abhors evil. It means that we have eyes to see evil and the courage to respond to it. Sin and folly inhabit the soul of the wayward like unwelcome squatters. If these vices are ever to be expelled, they can’t be ignored or hidden, but must be honestly named and exposed.

Love goes beyond prodigal management to the deeper power of gospel application.

The gospel of God’s justification of evil people does not deny evil. In fact, the gospel shows us God’s deepest feelings about evil — he abhors it. “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18). God’s wrath is his settled and determined response to injustice, sin, rebellion, and evil. The gospel showcases how God met radical depravity with genuine, rugged love.

Let’s face it, loving like this is not simple or easy for us. To get here, you need to experience this love yourself, a love so sturdy that it enables you to face your biggest fears — rejection, anxiety over the unknown, failure. Giving rugged love begins by receiving the rugged love of God and holding fast to the promises of the gospel, knowing that he will never leave us or abandon us (Hebrews 13:5) and that he is truly with us until the end (Matthew 28:20).

Tenacious Enough to Do Good

Naming evil is an important step, but it is only a first step. Love is made rugged by a tenacious commitment to “not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

By doing positive good — responding with godly, rugged love — we overcome the evil that has been done. But if things deteriorate, we need to be ready for the painful reality that love may require letting a prodigal go. In the heart-breaking act of letting go, our intent is not to punish the person or to retaliate for what they have done to us. We must not meet evil with evil. When we do, everyone loses, and no one gets loved.

Rather, we let go as a way to do good.

Doing good requires tenacity, because the moments when it’s most necessary are the same moments when it’s most difficult. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

Desperate Times Need Deeper Love

Anyone embracing rugged love faces huge emotional hurdles. It feels like we are piling on, almost as if we saw a drunk stumble in the street and decided to kick him to teach him a lesson. But if we’re serious about helping people enslaved in selfishness, we will find faith to think honestly and deeply about the gracious grit of genuine love.

Don’t be afraid. Speak the truth in love, and trust Jesus. He may surprise you.

Musings on…. My Dream Ministry

Standard

I am going through the Penn Foster Veterinary Technician program online. 50 years old and going back to college. not so easy.

Perfectionism is killing my vibe.

But lately my dreams are leading me in a different direction. The idea of a clearinghouse for stuff comes to mind.

A place to have tables set up for different ministries that want different things.

Crayon Initiative, Operation Christmas Child, eyeglass ministry, bible and book ministry. Foster care ministries.

I picture a huge front room with tables in a circle with the different ministries advertising on the tables, boxes and brochures, lists of items needed.

I picture a website with the ministries and items wanted, hours open and requirements for the ministry.

This wouldn’t be open to the public unless the ministry did a food or clothes pantry and they were there to organize the pick ups.

Ministries would have to pick up donations weekly or when needed and we would have hours that people could drop their items off.

I’m thinking noon to 9, Tuesday through Saturday.

We would need volunteers for manning the bldg. Money for rent, utilities, and postage for the ministries that are not in state/town.

The ministries would be anything…animal related, religious or not, people, here, in country, out of country.

Bonus!

My son has a desire to have a bldg for nonprofits to rent an office space for little rent.

If we could find a bldg that did both, that would be super.

Even a house type setting would be good, or a warehouse. I’m not sure what would work the best.

I don’t really know where to begin… I’m thinking of contacting some ministries that I am interested in and having them send over some artwork or tri fold or info for the website and table.

Then just use my house or garage, altho hubby doesn’t want me to use garage.

Sigh, why can’t I just have unlimited income to get this started?

Let me know your thoughts!!

Here is a link to the ministry page

Hope Mercantile Collective

 

Musings on ~ Recognition and Rewards

Standard

Matthew 6:1-6 English Standard Version (ESV)

Giving to the Needy

6 -1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

~~

Matthew Henry states:

6:1-4 Our Lord next warned against hypocrisy and outward show in religious duties.

What we do, must be done from an inward principle, that we may be approved of God, not that we may be praised of men. In these verses we are cautioned against hypocrisy in giving alms.

Take heed of it. It is a subtle sin; and vain-glory creeps into what we do, before we are aware. But the duty is not the less necessary and excellent for being abused by hypocrites to serve their pride.

The doom Christ passes, at first may seem a promise, but it is their reward; not the reward God promises to those who do good, but the reward hypocrites promise themselves, and a poor reward it is; they did it to be seen of men, and they are seen of men.

When we take least notice of our good deeds ourselves, God takes most notice of them. He will reward thee; not as a master who gives his servant what he earns, and no more, but as a Father who gives abundantly to his son that serves him.

~~

as I was looking this up I was hoping the meaning was different than what i knew to be true. I have been feeling a bit under appreciated and i know I shouldn’t because of the whole ‘treasures in heaven’ thing.

I do do the things I do for God and I want His kudos, but it just seems like no one else cares. I bust my butt helping people, networking, doing extra… blah…. I guess it doesn’t mean much in the big scheme of things. I will just keep doing what I do and loving on people and helping.

</end rant>

 

Musings on.. The Best Question Ever

Standard

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Best-Question-Ever-Foolproof/dp/1590524624

I tried really hard to hate this book, but man, oh man, is it good.

Simple, concise, a bit of funny and chock full of wisdom.

This Quote from the book was my favorite and its in the back at the A-HA moment where Andy Stanley, Pastor and Pastors kid, states “Wisdom begins when we recognize the God is God and then respond accordingly. The proper response, of course, is surrender.”

 

The quote: Every single day we benefit from the way God designed things to work. Everything we claim to have created in our human endeavors finds its ultimate source in something God created that we simply discovered and manipulated. Every time we take a breath, we declare our dependency upon and submission to the Father physically. Why then are we hesitate to submit our will? …..The beginning of wisdom is recognition of and submission to the One who designed things to work the way things work. 

The chapters explain how the best question ever relates to time, money and morality.

I love the way he explains the 5 things we do with our money

  1. spend it
  2. repay debt
  3. pay taxes
  4. save it
  5. give it

and how that list should be flipped upside down according to the best question ever.

The making a list with the four words:

Physically

Relationally

Professionally

Spiritually

and writing behind them one thing you can begin doing that, if done consistently, would have a positive effect on that component of your life.

You have to be honest when you answer questions in this book and look deep inside to answer the best question ever.

It is worth the quick read.

 

Ephesians 5: 15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

 

A Most Uncomfortable Question and the courage to ask it.

The Home Engineer

Musings on….. God Values Actions Above Words

Standard
Matthew 21:28-32 New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Two Sons

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

~~

One commentary here

Answer: The Parable of the Two Sons can be found in Matthew 21:28-32. The basic story is of a man with two sons who told them to go work in the vineyard. The first son refused, but later obeyed and went. The second son initially expressed obedience, but actually disobeyed and refused to work in the vineyard. The son who ultimately did the will of his father was the first son because he eventually obeyed. Jesus then likens the first son to tax collectors and prostitutes—the outcasts of Jewish society—because they believed John the Baptist and accepted “the way of righteousness” (v. 32), in spite of their initial disobedience to the Law.

~~

Matthew 21:28-32

These five verses are a parable, not to the disciples, but to the chief priests and elders of the people, whose heritage or fine credentials alone would not give them the right to continue to rule. He tells the story of a son who says he will work and then does not as opposed to a son who says he will not but repents and does his father’s wishes. The former son is the leadership of Israel who agreed to the covenant but rejected it. The latter son is the publicans and harlots whose lives were sinful but who were willing to repent. Similarly, in I Corinthians 1:26-31, Paul attests that Christ will build His church through the weak and base, not the ones men think should be first. From here

~~

This clears it up a bit and dumbs it down: from here

Yes or No? A Parable of Two Sons

Theme: Faithfulness in our service to God and to others. Proper 21 (26) Year A
Object: A rake and some trash bags
Scripture: The Parable of the Two Sons: Matthew 21:28-32
Has your mother or your father ever asked you to help out around the house by doing some chores? I’m sure that has probably happened to you. This morning I am going to tell a story about a father who had two sons named John and William. One day dad walked into John’s room to find him building a model airplane. “John, we had a lot of wind last night and there are leaves scattered all over the yard. Would you please rake the leaves and put them in these trash bags?” dad asked.

“Aw Dad, I don’t have time to rake the leaves. I am working on this model airplane and I really want to finish it today,” John answered.

The father turned and left the room and went to look for William. He found William watching TV. “William, there are a lot of leaves in the yard. Would you please rake the leaves and put them in these bags?” dad asked.

“Sure, I’d be glad to,” William answered.

“Great!” said dad. “I’ll leave the rake and the trash bags in the yard.”

After his father left, John began to think about what he had asked him to to do. “I can rake the leaves and still have plenty of time to finish my model airplane later,” John thought to himself. He went outside and began raking the leaves.

When dad returned home, he saw John raking leaves. “Where is William?” dad asked.

“I don’t know. The last time I saw him he was watching TV,” John replied.

When dad went into the house, guess what he saw? There sat William, still watching TV! I wonder which of the two sons pleased his father? John, who said he wouldn’t rake the leaves, but did — or William, who said he would rake the leaves, but didn’t?

In our Bible lesson today, Jesus told a similar story to show how different people obey what God has called them to do. In Jesus’ parable of the two sons, the father asked both sons to go and work in his vineyard. Just as the two boys in my story, one son answered, “No,” but went and worked. The other son answered “yes” did not go. In telling the story, Jesus wanted us to realize that what we do is more important than what we say we will do. Jesus wants us to answer, “Yes,” when he tells us to “Love one another,” but what he really wants is for us to love one another! Jesus wants us to answer, “Yes,” when he says,”Follow me,” but what he really wants is for us to follow him! That’s the kind of child I want to be. Isn’t it the kind of child you want to be?

Father, sometimes we say, “Yes,” but our actions say, “No.” Help us to be faithful to do what you have called us to do. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

~~

So after reading all that and realizing who Jesus was talking about; the pharisees VS the jewish believers and what He was talking about; believing John’s gospel about Jesus, I still can’t quite grasp my mind around it. Probably because I am a sinful human, but for me personal, I hate hate hate when someone says something negative or says no, then will turn around and do whatever that thing was they were against in the beginning.

As I type this, I realize it is because I want that said person or persons to want to do what I say, to do what I say, to agree and acknowledge what I say.

I don’t know, maybe it’s the mom in me too. I think of this parable when I think of parenting. Do we want to hear our kid[s] say no to us?

But I guess, in the end, If Jesus is ok with hearing NO, then seeing the opposite action because of a softening of the heart then I must be too.

~~felt good getting into a musings post…. been ruminating on that parable for a while.

~Kristina

How to Fiercely Love and Protect Someone in Difficult Times

Standard

Remember you cannot control anyone else. Just YOURself.

1. Cry with them

2. Laugh with them

3. Listen to them

4. Keep your mouth shut.

a. Seriously. Unless they specifically ask for opinion, advice, help. Keep it zipped.

b. Be prepared to have kind, good and sane advice for them.

5. Follow this easy guide…

1 Corinthians 13  (NIV)

4 Love is patient, love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 

6. Keep in touch. Send a note, a card, encourage. Keep doing it. Especially with a death, people forget that the survivor still lives and has to go on. Fiercely loving them means being in it for the long haul.

7. Empathy: : the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this.

8. Take into consideration [empathy] what they are going through. Emotions run high and they are scared, sad, mad, depressed, sometimes in a chokingly exhausting way.

9. Offer to help [and only help them in #5 ways] Bring a meal, babysit, run errands, go to mtgs with them, sit in mourning with them, forgive the people they forgive, love the people they choose to love.

10. Keep your mouth shut. Keep your hands and feet close. Delete all distractions from your life that interfere with fiercely loving your friend/family member.

11. You can only control YOURself.

12. Last but never ever least. Pray. If you are not a praying person. Do whatever, meditate, light candles, etc. Just do it.

Please feel free to comment below if you have any other advice for fiercely loving others in difficult times.

*Dedicated to those who have suffered loss. I love you.