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October 26, 2008

eyes of hope

If you've ever had a regular job, you know that gossip is par for the course. Indeed, I've never had to pay a coworker to give me information about a supervisor. Coworkers have their hobby horses which seem never to go out to pasture. Even between people who work closely, there is bitterness and anger. To someone who wants to follow the royal law of Scripture, this is a challenge.

While I don't want to be too specific about my current situation, like most jobs, there is some discontent among the employees. Both fact and fiction are tossed around the room in the supervisor's absence. If what others sometimes insinuate were true, I would have a petty, unfair boss. When others gossip about my boss, whom God says I am to respect, I have had to try to learn to keep hope in view. Above the haze, I have found a boss who is calm, patient and has a good sense of humour. He is a good teacher and a manager who rewards good work and shows grace. In fact, I've even like working for him. Imagine that!

How can my coworkers and I describe the same man in such disparate ways? Are we really talking about the same man? How often are our circumstances shaped by the perspective we have chosen? I work for a kind boss, they work for a "lazy" one. We work for the same man, but "love always hopes."

Joining in slander is like agreeing to live in a pit of vipers. Bad-mouthers feed one another's discontent and dissension. Why would I align myself with such base behaviour? Not only does it set a negative tone to my life, but I could just as easily be the next smack-talk target. Through this situation, the Lord is teaching me to look up, in hope, and to expect the best. I don't have to live in the pit. "Set your mind on things above, where Christ is seated." He keeps me singing.

While we can't always choose our circumstances in life, we can choose hope. While "detail work" is also needed, sometimes I need to step back and think about "whatever is true" (Phil. 4:8). I need...
To appreciate the godly qualities in my friends' lives, instead of judging them for their shortfalls.
To see the dishes that got washed, and not the ones that got left in the sink.
To dismiss a small frustration with the body of Christ, and count my many blessings.
To choose to live with hope.
To forgive as I've been forgiven.
To refuse to lie down in the mess made by gossip.
To be raised up by Truth.
To live with the big picture in mind.
To choose a divine viewpoint.

That's choosing to see life through eyes of hope.

October 17, 2008

teaching the books of the Bible to kids

Recently I had the opportunity to teach the books of the Bible to some sweet kids... Two good resources I found for this venture:

Books of the Bible Song [link]
(I played the song for them straight from You Tube on my laptop. The kids really liked the song and would sing it even when it wasn't playing...this reminded me of the power of teaching truth through music. Unfortunately, there's a weird portion of the song between the Old and New Testaments; we didn't learn that part.)

Books of the Bible flashcards [link]
(I got these free flashcards printed on thicker stock and these were a great resource. We had relays and races to see who could put the books in order first, played memory, etc.) We learned the "sections" of the Bible, which I termed
OT: laws, history, poems, prophecy, and
NT: history, letters and Revelation
Partly due to an oversight of mine, I don't think the kids learned the epistles ("letters") very well, but overall they did a great job. We mostly studied a little bit about the books and their sections and played related games, although one time we drew one or two illustrations for each section of the Bible. Again, the kids were were great: Job (Poems section) had empty animal pens around him and Joshua (OT History section), a wild wilderness dog. :)

October 09, 2008

"hopitality seeks to serve"

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend here in Canada, I hope you will be either showing or enjoying hospitality. Let's keep the right perspective.

A Karen Mains quote from her Open Heart, Open Home via Jess' Making Home:
"Entertaining has little to do with real hospitality. Secular entertaining is a terrible bondage. Its source is human pride. Demanding perfecting, fostering the urge to impress, it is a rigorous taskmaster that enslaves. In contrast, scriptural hospitality is a freedom that liberates.

Entertaining says, 'I want to impress you with my beautiful home, my clever decorating, my gourmet cooking.' Hospitality, however, seeks to minister. It says, 'This home is not mine. It is truly a gift from my Master. I am His servant, and I use it as He desires. Hospitality does not try to impress but to serve."
It is amazing how a human perspective can so skew something that is seemingly "neutral" (there is no neutrality!). So let's be hospitable, as unto Christ, who came not to be served but to serve.