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Archive for October, 2014

Pronouns

Some time back I received a letter from someone that really landed wrong. It’s possible you could read this letter and not feel what I felt. The letter was full of appreciation and words that seemed kind. My husband read the letter and didn’t think it sounded too bad.  Why did it land wrong on me? The lack of personal pronouns. The letter was filled with short phrases without personal pronouns. Compare these two sentences: Appreciate you guys. I appreciate you guys. The only difference is the word “I”. It can make a difference though. What does a lack of personal pronouns communicate? Well, it could mean several things. I know I thought in the case of the letter, it meant that they were purposely communicating their lack of true warmth. I sensed they wanted me to know they didn’t really care. I might be wrong, but it did put the thought in my head.

Maybe the lack of personal pronouns is just a casual writing style. I know I can be prone to writing in a casual way. In the right setting when you are expressing casual things, it may be perfectly appropriate. Another reason people speak without personal pronouns is that they are in a hurry. I often catch myself responding to something serious in this casual way. Have you ever responded to a serious request with one word? How often I’ve jotted out a message of ,”Praying!” And I do pray…but how much more impactful is the sentence, “I am praying for you.”? Or maybe I say, “So sorry!”, instead of “I’m so sorry!” When you take the time to invest yourself into your sentences, it communicates care. It communicates love. It says, “I’m in this with you.”

God is all about the personal pronouns. He invests Himself in us.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous righthand.”

The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.

“Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine,” declares the Lord GOD.

Has there ever been a greater mismatched pair than God and His people? Let’s see… The immense, all-powerful, all-knowing, holy, perfect God has chosen weak, sinful, ungrateful people with whom to give Himself.  And He doesn’t just redeem us to save us in general. If He were to save us and then send us to some remote place away from Himself to live, He would be more than generous. But God does more than that. He redeems us to bring us to Himself. He gives Himself to unworthy creatures.

I want to be like Christ. I want to invest myself in others. Maybe the start to engaging my heart is to take care how I speak to others.

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1287

That’s my number. It’s not a number with a lot of cachet…but it’s mine. Let me explain. For some reason, I have been wanting to develop the discipline of writing. Yesterday, one of the writers I follow on twitter…We’ll call him Jeff.. issued a challenge to write 500 words every day for 31 days. Admittedly, when I decided to jump in without thinking it through properly, I had no idea of the commitment required to write 500 words. It wasn’t until I wrote my first post for the challenge yesterday that I was even cognizant of my word count. Actually, I didn’t even make 500 words. Trying not to be a legalist, I submitted my post anyway. The idea behind the challenge is that to develop the craft of writing you actually have to write. Seems logical. I know I always need some kind of pressure to change anything in my life. I figured if I committed to do something, maybe that would be enough reason to actually write. We’ll see about that. =) One of the first steps in the challenge was to link up my blog with the list of people doing it. That’s where the number comes in… My blog is the 1287th blog in the list. I was amazed that so many people were doing the challenge. To see more about the challenge, go here http://my500words.com/

As I was reflecting on why I feel the need to write, I came up with a few thoughts. First, it is not any desire to publish a book or even to be read. I usually don’t tell anyone I’ve written and I’m always a little surprised when anyone reads it. The best reason I can come up with for why I feel the desire to write is that I expect it to help me think. John Piper once said that he doesn’t know what he thinks until he writes. I get that. The act of writing disciplines my mind to decide what I really think. It’s all too easy for me to be lazy and not crystallize what I think. Ultimately, we act on what we think. I believe living a life of purposeful action is a good thing and I need help to do it.

One of the directives on building the habit of writing is that you are supposed to just write and not edit. That’s hard for me. I’ve noticed that when I do write, I take a lot of time to do it. Now, that’s not a bad thing in general. If you are going to take the time to say something, you ought to try to say it well. But because it takes me so long, I can use that as a reason not to write. I think just trying to get thoughts down on “paper”, without editing the heck out of it will help me. Writing every day will also make me stretch in regards to what I’m writing. I can’t wait to see what comes out when I “have to” write.

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No Words

Scripture

Psalm 19

Observation

God speaks because He is loving to speak of what is truly lovely.

Application

I’ve been quiet recently. I mean…I’m always kind of quiet. My nature is to not speak unless the situation seems to demand it. I think I’ve always taken to heart the Abraham Lincoln quote…”Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” That seems like it should be a proverb. Maybe there are already enough proverbs about guarding your tongue. Anyway…back to my thought. My quiet has been self-imposed and I’m not sure why except that something in me felt the need to withdraw from places where I used to speak;  places like facebook, twitter, this blog.  Today, as I read Psalm 19, I was struck by something very obvious…but yet today it meant something personal. The Psalm is about the revelation of God through nature and through His Word. Today the “speaking” words were jumping out at me.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

Then…the second half of the psalm is about His law, statutes, precepts, commands, fear, and decrees. All things we can’t know unless He speaks. Then…the conclusion…

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

Be acceptable in Your sight,

O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

And so the revelation this morning was our God speaks. We have no way of knowing Him if He doesn’t speak. He’s spoken to us through His creation and His Word. Jesus Himself is known as the Word (John 1:1). So, it gets personal for me because I’m not speaking. I think an ongoing pattern of non-speaking is sin. At least, I think non-speaking for me at this time is sin. How can I not speak, when He has shown me great and wonderful things.  I know the King. Seeing beauty compels me to speak. And as long as my speaking is acceptable in His sight, then I have nothing to fear from speaking.

Prayer

Lord, You are MY rock. Lord you are MY redeemer. Thank you for personally reaching down into the muck and mire and setting my feet upon a rock. THE rock. Jesus. The rock of the object of my confession of faith. Jesus is who He said He was.  Upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. Praise God.

 

 

 

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