1
Expecting Nothing in Return
2
What Are You Practicing?
3
Do Not Awaken Love
4
Following Instructions
5
God Only Gave

Expecting Nothing in Return

It was camping day at school and all the kids were supposed to bring a flashlight. Our kid didn’t have one so I let her borrow mine. At the bus stop, I took a moment to explain to her the importance of taking care of someone else’s stuff when you are borrowing it. That means you have to bring it back exactly as it is. You cannot throw it around or draw on it. It’s not yours. And if it gets broken or lost, you have to replace it.

I gave that little speech in part because the concept of borrowing is hard to understand when you’re six. You think, it’s in my hand’s so it must be mine. I also chose this moment to teach this lesson because, well, to be real honest, I really liked that flashlight. It’s the perfect size to fit in my purse. It’s a beautiful blue color and it has LED lights. I wanted it returned to me in good shape. I was happy to lend it out, as long as I could be assured that it would return unharmed.

This past Sunday, our middle school girl’s class had a lesson on the topic, “Love Your Enemies.” The passage came from Luke 6:27-36.

And I must admit – I felt a good eye roll coming on as I sighed and thought, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Love your enemies. Got it.” It was as if the Devil wanted me to shut my mind down before approaching Scripture. This passage is extremely familiar to me so I felt my mind drifting as I read along…

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What Are You Practicing?

Happy Spring! Along with the 80 degree weather (which I love) come the weeds in my yard (which I despise). It’s time for me to be driven completely mad by those little guys. I felt like I left my yard in pretty good shape before winter. I had worked weekly to remove the weeds.

But they’re back.

Isn’t that just like the sin in our lives? We wack at them, pull at them, and scream at them. Yet they keep popping their resilient heads up.

This winter, I’ve been studying the Abide Bible study by Jen Wilkin & Flower Mound Women’s Bible study group. She has walked us through 1, 2, & 3 John with weekly homework and a podcast. One of my biggest takeaways is that we are either practicing righteousness or we are practicing lawlessness/unrighteousness/sin. Each time I speak, dwell on a thought, or make an action, I am either practicing my obedience to God or I’m practicing my disobedience.

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Do Not Awaken Love

Much of my spare time over the past month has been spent reading and studying about relationships in the 21st century and what the Bible says about them. I’ll be honest – it’s been a weird month. For Sunday School material we’ve been teaching the True Love Project which features some very intense stories about sexual intimacy within the confines of marriage. Each week has two videos so I watch at least 30 minutes of someone else teaching the topic.

And then I was tasked with writing a post on Biblical Manhood for a separate writing project. I braved the rickety wooden stairs into the attic to find my high school journal. In it was the list of character traits that I prayed God would be instilling in my future spouse, should He see fit for me to marry one day. That assignment led me down the path of dating a Godly man even further. Then to comply with DCS (Department of Children’s Services) rules, Kevin and I had to take a 3 hour class on fostering children who have been sexually abused. Meanwhile, I read Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance (this is NOT a recommendation) about relationships today and why finding the “right” person can be so difficult.

So where have all these thoughts on relationships and physical intimacy led me over the past month? What one verse would I give to sum up my thoughts? It would be this repeating refrain from Song of Solomon:

Young women of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and the wild does of the field:
do not stir up or awaken love
until the appropriate time.
Song of Solomon 2:7 and 3:5 (and 8:4 paraphrased)

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Following Instructions

I never realized how many rules our house has. When it was just my husband and me, the rules were unspoken. We picked up our shoes from the living room and put them in our closet, flushed the toilet after using it, wore jackets when it was cold outside, and so on. But when a child was added to our household, suddenly it seemed our home overflowed with rules. The unspoken rules were spoken, written, and posted on the wall. Even rules I never thought to create were repeatedly enforced.

The rules keep us safe and keep us sane (okay, maybe they just keep me sane – by my sanity is crucial to the continuance of our safe household!) Rules teach us to obey authority figures, make decisions, and experience both the negative and positive results of our choices.

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God Only Gave

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Our six year old’s first memory verse for the Awana program at church was the first verse, to our knowledge, that she’s ever read.

For God so loved the world that He only gave His Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have an eternal life. John 3:16

That’s how she recited it to me for a week. It was so close to being accurate. Read it again if you just skimmed through it. What was her big mistake?

God only gave His Son! She had no idea why this placement of the word “only” changed the meaning so drastically. Because God didn’t just only give His Son. He gave His only Son!

The Lord of this universe sacrificed His dearly loved Son so that we would have a way back into a right relationship with Him! Now that’s love!

When I love, I don’t usually love perfectly. I love the way my child memorized the verse. I only give part of myself. I only do enough to be convincing some days. Rarely do I give up everything of myself.

Praise the Lord that His love shines brightly through the verse of John 3:16. It’s one that I am far too often tempted to skim over since I’m confident in my knowledge of it. But God used this moment last week to remind me that His word is still active and living. Even in a verse that I’ve known my entire life He is able to draw me closer to Himself.

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