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Devotion Lessons at 1AM

This post is going to take some backstory explaining.  Please bear with me.

I live in an apartment at the farm.  It is right above the office (very convenient) and it is behind a big room that is used for barn dances and is rented out to groups as a meeting room (not so convenient).  Usually it’s not a problem…sometimes there are noisy groups in there but they usually leave before I am ready to sleep.

Two days ago, in my morning devotions I read this verse that hit me hard. (Yes, this connects…wait for it.)

“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,  to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”

Titus 3:1-2

Hmmm….really convicting verse, huh?  I pondered it for a while.  Submissive, okay….be obedient, got it…..ready for every good work….hmmm.   I thought about that one for a while.  But the part that hit me is the very last section:  ‘to show perfect courtesy toward all people.’  WHAT does that mean?  What is perfect courtesy anyway?  I’ve heard a lot about ‘common’ courtesy but what does perfect courtesy look like?

I then proceeded to show that verse to the other office ladies and we thought about it together.  We put it up around the office.  But I was still undecided….what is perfect courtesy?  So I did what I do every time I need to clarify the meaning of something. I looked courtesy up in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.

COURTESY, n.

1. Elegance or politeness of manners; especially, politeness connected with kindness; civility; complaisance; as, the gentleman shows great courtesy to strangers; he treats his friends with great courtesy.

 

2. An act of civility or respect; an act of kindness or favor performed with politeness.

 

Wow.  I have to do THAT perfectly?  I would say that common courtesy does not have to have kindness associated with it.  I mean, you can be courteous without being kind sometimes.

Now, you may be wondering what all this has to do with my apartment being by the meeting room.  I’ll tell you.

 

Yesterday, a church group came in that has that room rented.  They are all from Kenya and have never been here before. My first premonitions came when I used the restroom in the middle of the day and I could hear them very clearly from there.  My second concern came when I found out they have that room rented for three days.

After work yesterday, I went up to my room and I have to pass through that meeting room to get there.  They were up there whooping and hollering, moaning and walking around in big circles in the room.  And they all stared at me as I passed through….kind of awkward moment.  I then proceeded to go back downstairs and ask one of my bosses if I could borrow his back stairway key for a couple days. After I explained, he quickly handed it over.

That group was in that room last night until 1AM.  Singing, moaning, hollering.  I lay in my bed thinking all sorts of awful thoughts about them.  And then, (of course it had to happen) I remembered the verse that I’ve been thinking about for a couple days now.  And it wasn’t the perfect courtesy part that hit me this time…it was the ‘toward all people’ part. I am called, I am commanded by my Lord and Savior to show love and courtesy toward every one I meet. Including the hard people on the phone, the stiff workers at Walmart, and the incompetent phone service technicians.  Including that church from Kenya.

Now, you may ask why I am writing this post at 7AM in the morning after such a rough night.  Well, I decided not to go to the YMCA this morning to work out because I wanted to get some more sleep. Your next question may be, AGAIN why are you writing this?

That church group is back in…7AM this morning and all I hear is music and singing that I don’t understand.

Lord, please help me today to show your love and perfect courtesy toward these people.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2013 in witness

 

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Encouragement

The other day, we got an interesting and rather long phone call in the office.  The other secretary took it but we all heard it since it was so quiet. It was quite obvious form the conversation that it was a displeased camper Mom and that it had something to do with Catholicism.  When she got off the phone, we all just looked at her expectantly.

First off, the lady was not mad at all. She just wanted to know it this was a “safe” camp for Catholics to attend. Do we intentionally try to undermine Catholic beliefs?  Her daughters have been campers for years but something had happened this past summer. Her daughter came home full of doubts as to some of the Catholic rituals. Also, she had been telling her friends in her Catholic school that evolution was not correct and was promoting Creationism.  She also said that when her daughter was at camp they discussed the pope and her daughter wasn’t convinced she really agreed with the idea of a pope anymore.  The mother was concerned; her daughter’s faith was being torn down.

Now, this mom didn’t want anything said to the counselor because she really liked her and didn’t really think she was intentionally doing this.

What she didn’t know was that I work in the office……and I was her daughter’s counselor.

I remember that week so clearly. It was the only week I had older girls (age 11-12) and I had at least 3 who were Catholic. So of course it was a topic of conversation during Bible Study. Not because I brought it up, but THEY did!  (As a side note:  I don’t remember talking about the pope at all that week. But she certainly could have formed her own opinions!)  We did talk about who we should pray to and such things as that. I mean, when we started to study the Bible, these girls had questions. “If the Bible says that, then why do we do this?”  I always stressed that YES you can be a Catholic and be saved!  Of course you can!  Also, God is the only one who can see a person’s heart and I can’t tell anybody if they’re saved or not.

That’s what I stressed to all my Catholic campers.  Apparently, this Mom thought that we were anti-Catholic here when we aren’t really.  However, what she meant for a slight reprimand, got me so excited!

I got to see some more fruits from camp.  How this girl was challenged by Scripture and how it applies to her life!  It’s encouraging to me and…

I’m going to pray for this young lady.

 

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2013 in camp

 

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Shifting Ideas

It’s amazing to me how God molds us.  How we think we’ve got our lives planned out the way we want them and then he gives us something totally different.  It’s hard to grasp, to conform ourselves to God’s way and the opportunities He has set before us rather than our own plans.

Now, if you’ve read this post, you know about my love and passion for home.  I thought I had it all figured out. I wanted to stay home and be a blessing to those around me.  If God chose for me to marry someday, fine.  And if he had other plans, fine.  I had learned that contentment is found in the Lord and not in circumstances. I was enjoying my time serving my family and church family.  I was home, where I loved to be and with the people I loved, serving the God I love.

Then came summer and my service changed forms. I was five hours away from home, working 6 days a week.  I had amazing opportunities to share Christ’s love with those I had never met and to grow in my faith as well.  At times, I was very homesick and there were times when I learned about things that I didn’t want to know, but the rewards far out-wayed the costs.

Before camp was even over, I was asked to consider becoming the camp secretary. Wait God, that wasn’t the plan. How can I leave home and my family?  I talked to my parents and they were all for it.  A new, great opportunity to grow in Christ’s love and to serve him in a different environment than ever before.  I was still torn.  I remember calling home one day and I talked to Bethany.  She said, “Mommy told Becca and me that you might be staying at camp and you will NEVER come home again.”  I remember talking to Mom (who quickly set Bethany to rights about the whole thing) crying and telling her that I didn’t want to become one of those big sisters whose younger siblings barely know. I wanted them to know me, not know about me.  To be close and for us to be able to know what the other is thinking and feeling.   My mom is so comforting.  She told me of the great ways she was planning for us to stay in touch and it was because they loved me so much that they didn’t want me to leave.

God slowly helped me grasp the idea.  In the process, He has caused me to rethink the idea of a stay-at-home daughter.  I reread that post I wrote before and found this line:

A stay-at-home daughter is one who has chosen to stay under her Dad’s and Mom’s protection…

I thought about that and realized something: it’s still true.  You can live five hours from your parents and still be under their protection and authority.  You can be a stay-at-home daughter and not live with your parents.

Like so many other things, it’s a heart issue.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in staying home

 

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