Be not proud of face, race, place, or grace.
Be not proud of face, race, place, or grace.
Many years ago, I read a statement that profoundly impacted my way of thinking about that which is most important in life, especially the people in it. It went something like this…..
To better appreciate what you have, you need to become prematurely nostalgic about it.
The point was simple yet profound, I was encouraged to think about the people and things in my life as I would if they were no longer present, but while they still are. Let me elaborate just a bit. When you lose something or someone that you love deeply, it causes you to have a great sense of nostalgia about them, sometimes to the point you can’t remember anything bad.
I am kind of a sentimental type of person, I save letters, drawings from children, baseball trophies, fair ribbons, old jerseys, my letterman jacket, poems I wrote in High School, and the like. On occasion, I am prone to think back with fond memories of growing up.
In fact, just the other day, I saw a beautiful 1967 Datsun pick up which I pointed out to my good friend, Russell Smith. He didn’t seem too impressed even though it had a new paint job. If you know anything about 1967 Datsun pickups, you will know why he wasn’t impressed, but it brought me back to when I was fifteen years old buying my beautiful blue 1967 Datsun pickup. That was the truck that the stick shift fell off in my hand driving down the highway, and that I fixed with a sixteen penny nail bent at just the right angle. That’s the truck I proudly drove around town, frequently with the exhaust filled with holes which made it sound much more like a hot rod than it was.
I think you have the point, I was in the world of nostalgia where only the most blessed memories are remembered. In the present, we often find ourselves focusing on what’s wrong with things rather than what is right and beautiful.
This can be especially true in relationships that are close and have gone through some difficulties. The couple that doesn’t remember why they got married in the first place. The brother who has been offended, that Scripture says is harder to be won than a strong city. The child in whom has suffered in a continual state of hope deferred that makes the heart sick.
Getting back to the place of love and appreciation can be more than a little difficult, especially when trust has been broken. The truth is that I have talked with more than a few people through the years that remember, with fondness, those, who, at one time they couldn’t stand, or had been hurt by. Children that think back and remember the good times. Men and women that ended their marriage, vocalizing that they should have stuck it out because they really loved each other.
It’s a lot like my 1967 Datsun, I love thinking back now, but at the time she really caused me quite a few problems, which Emily’s dad usually ended up fixing. But then again, that really wasn’t that bad because I got to see Emily! I love that old blue truck!
What I am suggesting is that we start thinking about the good in those we have in our lives. The spouse God has given, the children we have been blessed with, and the parents who have put up with us, like we would if we no longer had them in our lives.
We need to get a good case of premature nostalgia, and I think we will love that which we should more, recognizing and appreciating the beauty of life’s blessing’s in the present rather than waiting until they are gone.
Here’s to your blue 1967 Datsun pickup. She’s more beautiful than you can imagine.
Much has been said about the importance of strategic friendships among men and women in the work of the Kingdom of God, to which I would whole heartedly agree. But what about strategic friendships for our children? How should this look? How should this play out?
In this article, I would like to take a different approach and look at the value of strategic friendships in our children’s lives, in a Biblically ordered church setting where peer culture and age segregation are not the norm.
The subject has been on my heart, so last week I sat down with my two oldest daughters, Naomi (17), and Anna (15), on separate occasions for a daddy daughter talk on the subject of friendship. I simply asked… who are your best friends? The answers they gave were both without hesitation, that their mother and one another were their best friends. This was a fact I already knew because it is both verbalized on a regular basis and demonstrated in practice daily.
My desire; however, was to get outside the walls of our home, to the other people that they considered close friends.
What happened next was a deep encouragement to my soul as a father. Both of my daughters lists of closest friends included 5 ladies ranging from as young as age 13 to two women over 50 and a few in between. I thought to myself, how wonderful that they both had godly young women whom they could treat as sisters and older women whom they could treat as mothers (1 Timothy 5:2) and receive the kind of influence that Titus 2 models for us.
I know that to some, what I have just said is weird and they may immediately think that surely my children need more friends their own age. On the contrary, I want to say how marvelous it is to be a part of a church family that allows for both young and old to grow in Christ and community together. A church where it is not abnormal to see a 17 year old praying with or visiting with a 13 year old or a fifty year old. Nor is it freakish to hear a 15 year old list off a woman who has three adult children as one of her dearest friends.
I believe that is the way God intended friendships to be. Older friends that can invest wisdom of years into the life of the younger, who in turn, are often encouraged and invigorated in their own lives because of the friendships that flourish with these younger ladies.
The reality of these kind of strategic friendships is that they are wonderful for both men and women, young and old. These friendships that flourish have also been a blessing to me as a pastor. It has been one of the greatest joys of my life to have other men of God, who are old enough to be my father, befriend me, challenge me, pray for me, and rebuke me on occasion. I also have friends that are young men, new husbands, and new fathers that desire to grow into men of God who lead well.
May God help strategic friendships to flourish in our Biblically ordered homes and churches.
Iron sharpeneth iron; So a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
Daughters of Beauty (Polished)
The illustration of a godly women from my previous post does not end with her strength as a cornerstone, but it also says that she is like a polished cornerstone, which indicates that she is not only strong but BEAUTIFUL! You don’t polish dirt, but you do polish precious stones like rubies and diamonds because when they are polished it helps to bring out there radiance and glory. I think this should be the desire of every mother and father in raising daughters not just to get them ready practically to take care of a household, and to work hard, but that she would be made beautiful with her mind full of truth, her manner filled with grace, and her person well cared for both in her inward and outward adorning. Prov 31, Ruth.
Beauty should not be overlooked because it is “beautiful” and a gift from God. (Please don’t think that I mean merely someones outward attractive beauty) I mean someone who is a beautiful person in every way.
Confident, yet in submission, gracious, yet not a pushover, beautiful in appearance, yet not immodest in either attire or attitude, well educated, yet not high minded, a lover of hospitality but not just for those who are easy to care for in her inner circle, but also stretching forth her hand to the needy who have no means to repay.
May God help us to raise up strong, beautiful, women for the next generation to see the true glory of Christian women faithfully about the work of Christ.
Beautiful in Spirit – Submission to Christ, Father, Husband Eph 5:22-24; 1 Peter 3:5-6
Beautiful in Adornment – Carefully clothing the inside & outside – 1 Tim 2:9; 1 Pet 3:3-5; Ruth 3:3; Prov 31:21-25
Beautiful in her speech – Prov 31:26; Ruth 2:10,13
Beautiful as a women, wife and mother – Prov 31:27-28
Beautiful in Grace – A lover of God – Prov 31:30