If you've been reading our blog for any length of time, you can quickly discern the writer of the week! I tend to think in terms of "object lessons" and this was a week of random thoughts for me! Not that they necessarily reflect any specific thing that is going on in my own life, but simply observations that came to mind. I thought I'd share two of them and well, when I got to the content of the second one, a little more discovery for me took place. Perhaps they are tied together in some way and have a significant message for one or more of you who are reading today. I pray God uses these thoughts and object lessons to speak and stir your heart to seek Him more intently.
Random thought #1 - Damaged Borders or Boundaries
How are your boundaries holding up? Are you giving in or standing firm?!
These are the borders that you have placed in your life to help you move toward a goal, stay spiritually/morally clean, or keep you safe or on track. Remember that broken borders work as a two way door!
This break in the fence...my border, caused me to peer into a window of spiritual truth and ask myself some questions!
When a boundary is cracked open either by damage, significant circumstances, or curiosity, a choice is made. When being a little lenient, overtaken by a weak moment, or simply neglect, a domino effect is released! What was once just a crack is now a gap. Before you know it, it becomes a gapping hole no longer keeping out the undesired. The ugly creeps in, crossing and invading the border. Do I quickly repair that hole or do I let its neglect become a larger problem? What is equally as bad, is the fact that now others clearly see that the border is damaged, reflecting perhaps a sinful or unhealthy activity. As friends or spouses, is encouragement offered or even help to repair that border? Maybe when it is noticed, you just shake your head, say a little prayer, and hope they will pull it together. I hope not! A little compassion, courage, and confrontation may be what is in order. Just be sure to do it with a loving attitude, sincerity, and covered in prayer! Be sure there's not a beam in your own eye, first! (Matt. 7: 3-5) It is good to have someone, a friend, whom you trust and who loves you to help keep you accountable. Are you that friend to anyone? Perhaps they need you and don't know how to ask. There is always the risk of rejection, but I believe truth given in love will always move toward deeper, trusting friendships & marriages. It's the exercise of "risk taking" that reveals an honest heart of trust and love.
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” Proverbs 27: 6
“Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me; It is oil upon the head;
Do not let my head refuse it, For still my prayer is against their wicked deeds.” Psalm 141:5
“Iron sharpeneth iron;
So a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17
“Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” Proverbs 27: 5
Today in church, our pastor hit on a very important element that I believe goes well with my blog. It's a simple truth but not always easy to do: Love One Another! As he touched on this topic, I asked myself, do I really love well? Apart from loving those who persecute you, though that is important, how well do I love even my closest of friends or family? Since we are designed for relationships, this scripture kinda hit me:
"Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart..." 1 Peter 1:22
Yeah, it was the "fervently" part that got me, meaning - displaying a passionate intensity - stretching beyond. The other part that hit me was "from the heart." Which in fact is from a true and pure heart, one that is honest and seeks not with selfish intent. Can we say that we really love like this? How do we show it. Revealing our love for one another is the Christian badge! What would the world look like if we put ourselves to the side and lived to truly love others...fervently and purely?
Random thought #2 - Together we are strong!
I had another porch moment as I was watering my beautiful and brilliant mandevillia! Take a look at these pictures and see if you get the same message I did!
This crazy vine has discovered the art of attaching itself to other vines. Also remember that each is an extension of the only One Strong Root. As they intertwine and grow together, they become stronger. The wind doesn't blow it as easily, it becomes less fragile, they seemingly move together with purpose seeking a place to grow together, help in the climb, and display fruit (Flowers!)
So the running theme of my random thoughts seems to be the importance of living life with others. We need one another! I mean, truly NEED. Relationships are essential. We are weak on our own but strong when another is present.
Jesus knew the importance of assembling a core circle of friends. Each had their own particular gift and personality. Within that circle, He had an inner circle which was much smaller. The bond that these shared would in fact help change the world. The most important relationship that needs nurturing is ours with the Father. What a sweet and unforgettable taste when we spend time pursuing Him. Building relationship with Him causes earthly relationships to be more meaningful.
Think about those with whom are in the story of your life. Those outside of your family circle.
Do you have a core of relationships to do life with? Do you have an inner circle?
Are you showing your fervent love by encouraging and admonishing? How have you been loved by others this past week? Let me encourage you to touch base with your inner circle of life partners. Touch base with an honest and pure level of stretching beyond - passionate intensity - fervent and sincere love from your heart.
If you find yourself questioning whether or not you have such a group of people, perhaps it's time for you to show yourself friendly. It requires vulnerability, honesty, and devoted time to develop such a circle. The reward is sweet!
A person who has friends, shows himself friendly...Prov. 18:24
When I look at that twisted vine, I am reminded that even though it is supported by other vines, it's life does not exist because of the others. It exists and grows as a direct result of being an extension from the main vine. Together with the other vines, this mandevillia displays its beauty as it is supported and strengthened. A lesson that we can all learn.
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