Friday, August 17, 2012

G, F, F, and S

As long as I can remember, I’ve had strong fingernails. Because of this strength, I have had a perfect set of natural nails on more occasions than I could possibly count.

My fingernails have also led me into trouble…I was told to cut my nails after an encounter with my sister in the middle of the night. She got the worst of it.

Through my high school years, I was told on multiple occasions that I should consider being a hand model. I had no idea what that was at the time and never pursued that career, but the time for hand modeling is over for me!

In 8th grade, I recall changing the color of my nail polish daily to match my chosen outfit. This from the fashionista that I was…my idea of the perfect outfit consisted of a skirt with Converse basketball sneakers.

I must admit, I’m not as enthralled by my fingernails as I was then. There are days that I spend a little extra time on them and they look pretty good. But in the scheme of life, beautiful fingernails really don’t seem so important.

So what is important? My daily encounters. Encounters with God, family, friends, and strangers.

First and foremost, my daily encounter with God must top my list. If I do not spend time with Him, learning from His Word and communicating with Him, the rest of the encounters might as well be tossed into the trash can. I can guarantee that my personal relationship with God and how intimate I am with Him determines how I react to every other encounter throughout my day.

David knew how important this element was. In Psalm 73:25-26 (NIV) David cried out to God with these words. “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” What words to live by!

My interaction with my family must be important as well. My family must see and know the good in me. But sometimes I can get bogged down with a project or consumed by another element and my family gets the worst of me. How I long to rid my life of this inconsistency. Praising God and cursing man with the same tongue (James 3:10).

It is only with God’s strength and wisdom that I can be the woman of noble character that Solomon wrote about in Proverbs 31. With God, I can be a wife worth far more than rubies. With God, I can speak with wisdom and faithful instruction. With God, I am called blessed by my children. With God, I have a chance to be His imitator and live a life of love among my loved ones.

Friendship is so precious. My “girlfriend” time is so valuable to me. But sometimes, if we are not careful, ugliness can join in the conversation. Gossip, idle talk, boasting, and busybodiness just might make it to the table. But we can see from Scripture what our conversations should include.

Colossians 4:6 (NIV) says, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Full of grace. That means for everyone and everything that is discussed with friends. Don’t allow Satan to ruin something beautiful in friendships. Ask God to be in the middle of those gatherings. It will make a difference.

And then there are the strangers I encounter. How am I to engage with them? In Matthew 25:35, 40 (NIV), Jesus said, “For I was hungry ad you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in…I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” We are to treat strangers like we would treat Jesus.

In Hebrews 13:2 (NIV), we see more information about strangers. “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” You never know who you might be speaking to. Use words of kindness, gentleness, graciousness regardless of who you encounter.

These daily encounters are important in my life. Not that I have achieved these goals. But I try. I remember Paul’s words in Philippians when I miss the mark. “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13b-14 – NIV)

My day is just beginning and so far I’m off to a good start, but it is only 7:30 a.m. I have a long way to go. However, being on this journey with Jesus makes the days so much sweeter. It makes me so much sweeter. And in turn, makes my encounters so much sweeter. I pray you can say the same.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,


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