Thirst for Wisdom

Confession: I’m struggling with a work situation.

In our current environment we are pioneers treading through dangerous territory. The valley of the shadow of death, if you will. My company is a tiny island of engineering refuge in a large, corporate world that is fraught with challenges. Our paths are uncharted. The natives are restless and not looking out for our best interest. Even our collective best interest. Morale amongst the natives is low and there are many amongst them who seem bent on our failure, probably with a mistaken belief that our failure will translate to their success.

That’s the easy part of the situation. The tricky part is that a member of my small team is putting our mission at risk. His role is new, he’s moving from engineer to manager. This is a challenge for anyone. Lots of good engineers have tried and failed in their efforts to make the transition.

The biggest problem seems to be that I’m delegating assignments that are either not getting done or, in order to get them done, I’m having to go two or three rounds of debate about whether they should be done.

Proverbs 14:23 “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads to poverty.”

We have a lot of work to do, but our roles don’t line up with the work needs. I sincerely need the help to get through what is currently on my plate. I don’t want to spend more time debating the work than it would take to do the work myself.

Another problem is that when the ball I hand off is dropped, I’m getting excuses and lies by way of explanation. My temper is truly being tested in the face of squirrelly conversations, in the absence of straight answers, in the absence of responsibility being acknowledged.

Proverbs 14:29 “A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.”

I’m trying to be patient as my patience is surely being tried. Lies and self-aggrandizement are poison in our well-water. We cannot survive if one of our members is bringing us into a pit.

Proverbs 14:34 “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”

The falsehoods told for whatever purpose, no matter how small they may seem, are a sin.

Proverbs 14:25 “A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful.”

I could fill a volume with references to lies, deceit, false witnesses…and the Truth. Last night I updated my Twitter/Facebook status to say I’m “ignoring the lies and seeking the voice of Truth.” If I ever doubted that God follows me in my social network, I will set those doubts aside. I sought and found a response.

“Say what you need to say.”

Today I plan to say what I need to say. To say it openly, honestly, from my wide-open heart. To say it with love. To say it calmly with the Wisdom offered by the Spirit.

God, let your Holy Spirit be with me today. Give me the words and the patience to speak to the heart of the matter. Let me avoid the foolishness and folly that muddies the water so we can focus on your will. Help me to be your witness today and every day.

Amen.

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Tips for Better Living

Today I’m making a statement about social networks – the good, the bad and the ugly of today’s shrunken world of electronic communication.

The good: The “A Woman Inspired” Webinar, the network of support found in blogging, tweeting and Facebook status that lets us keep in touch with people we would never normally stay in touch with…. There is a lot to be said for the benefits of social networking.

The bad: Stalkers, lurkers, trolls and spammers. I’m going to focus on some Twitter-weirdness.

I’m new to Twitter. My primary audience is my sisters. I’m tickled to stay in communication with them throughout the day. I also have a few followers that are part of my social circle – people I know through work or church. Then there are a few followers that seem to be part of a marketing experiment.


I love that this person opens their Twitter account with “waiting for my boyfriend” and 2 days later lets us know she signed up for “cupidmarket” – a free dating site. Hmmm. I wonder how the boyfriend feels about that. I’ve been watching this person’s stats for a few days. Four days after opening their account they are following almost 2,000 others. And they have an impressive 278 followers. I believe a large number of those must be folks who blindly follow anyone who follows them. The last 3 updates are all about the marketing campaign. Maybe this is where the money is?

If that example isn’t strange enough, there’s another one who opened their account a few weeks ago. I’ve only been tracking for a couple of days, but theirs is a study of the inverse phenomenon:
As they “un-follow” people their following goes up? I’d share some of their witty updates, but apparently they have never posted anything. Nothing. It’s all a big blank. Yet they have 703 followers. Am I missing something?

I can see how people get sideways about followers. Imagine being able to measure your popularity “real-time”. Imagine that by offering your friendship to thousands, hundreds affirm you. There’s no greater criteria than passive interest. This is American Idol gone weird.

The Ugly: Good judgment regarding social constraint seems to be lost in a world where every thought and impulse can be shared with millions. People don’t have to be followers to be privy to updates. In fact, we can watch entire wars play out.

I pieced together the back and forth between the two primary warring parties, include a side battle with someone who stepped in to defend one of the parties. The back and forth took up 3 pages of text. I’ve included a sample. This is the end of the battle. There’s a link to Miss B’s blog where she emoted all of her anger and angst about the situation. There’s a nice note about making up. There’s an ironic note about the offensive #magpie that started it all. … But there was a time when this sort of exchange would have happened privately. I do not think the world is a better place for the sharing of accusations and defenses.

My tip for today: Just because it’s easy to share, doesn’t make it right.

From Proverbs 14:12, there is a way that seems right, but it leads to death. Spiritual death. Death of our souls. Death by a thousand tweets. Guard yourself and refrain from hitting “publish” when you know in your heart that what you are spreading is poison.

Monday Blueprint Madness

You know, they do say **it rolls downhill…

Following on last week’s theme of poorly placed potties, I thought I’d highlight this throne. Maybe it’s the purple walls, maybe it’s the ascent, but never has a toilet so conveyed such a sense of supremacy.

The message today is this: “Don’t become arrogant and hardened with pride, lest you be deposed and stripped of your glory.” (based on Daniel 5:20)

Café Chat April 24th

Today’s topic (continuation of last week’s topic):

On a scale of 1-10, with a 10 representing the strongest, rate how you do with reading and studying the Bible. Why did you rate yourself as you did?

If you are struggling with reading God’s Word, make a list of possible stumbling blocks.

Make a list of how we can grow closer to Jesus through the reading and studying of God’s Word.

I am giving myself a score of “8.5” – and here’s why…. If a “0” means I’m not reading the Bible at all, and a “10” means I’m reading the Bible all day long, I’d have to give myself a lower score. I’m letting a “10” mean “reading the Bible as much as possible, applying the Bible to your life and bringing the Word to others.”

One of my co-workers told me last week he’s Catholic “we don’t read the Bible, we read the Bulletin.” Maybe that sounds harsh, but I’m an Episcopalian (Catholic-lite) and I knew exactly what he meant. I’ve gone to Church my whole life and through the liturgy I thought I knew the Bible. I taught Sunday School for 15 years! I felt pretty comfortable in my knowledge. Then I attended my first Bible study (Beth Moore’s “Believing God”) and my life changed completely.

In the last year I’ve completed the “Stepping Up” and “Esther” studies by Beth Moore. I’m working my way through Tommy Tenney’s study of Esther “Finding Favor with the King” and I’m currently participating in Beth Moore’s “Daniel” study. I’m also reading the Bible In A Year and I’m often blown away by revelations.

If you are a regular visitor to this site, you know that I often tie scripture to life lessons (whether in reference to toilets or purses). I try to find ways to make the Word relevant to my world today – and it’s not a difficult exercise. God speaks to us through His Word and He wants us to know the message is as meaningful today as it was yesterday and as it will be tomorrow!

Here’s a list of how we can grow closer to Jesus through reading and studying God’s word:
1) Accept that Jesus is the Word.
2) Seek discernment through the written words of the Bible. Daily devotionals that reference scripture are a powerful way to make the word relevant to life messages.
3) Make a daily habit of reading something (even if it’s only one verse) from the Bible.
4) Make a commitment to study something (even if it’s only one verse) every week. Reading is fine, but sometimes we need to really chew and digest the word if we’re going to graduate from milk to solid food!
5) Don’t limit your reading/studying to the New Testament. God’s grace is far more meaningful if we understand the foundation and history. After reading Deuteronomy, the significance of the references to Jesus as the temple left me speechless, then evangelical!

Sometimes I get so excited I want to run around telling Bible stories. To everyone! And when I get to where I can make that practice integral to my life, maybe I’ll bump my score to “9”.

Praise God for His Glory!

Thirst for Wisdom

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you *think* you are on track with God’s will, however things just don’t seem to be going the way you think they should? In reading the Old Testament, I came across a piece of our history that really opened my eyes up.

God promised the Israelites the Promised Land. The land that flowed with milk and honey. God promised that He would back the Israelites as they drove the residents out of the land. In many cases the natives were wiped out. In other cases, the natives were enslaved. But…in some cases the natives were neither driven out, wiped out, nor enslaved. What’s up with that? How could God make a promise, then not follow through?

Well…that promise is contingent on right behavior. The angel of the Lord explained to the Israelites that they had disobeyed God and therefor God did not drive out the natives, but allowed them to be thorns in the sides of His people. Although God explained his expectations time and time again, at every opportunity the Israelites “turned from the ways of their fathers” and worshiped other gods. God would raise up judges to lead the people and they would straighten their acts up for a while, but inevitably in the absence of such a leader the people would corrupt themselves with evil practices and stubborn ways. So God decided to forever test the people to see if they would keep the way of the Lord and walk in it.

Isn’t this describing us today? How easily we find ourselves distracted by the world. It’s so easy to chase the “almighty dollar” or spend hours watching mindless television. Why are we so enamored with “American Idol” or “America’s Next Top Model”? How can we break free from the obsession that claim our hearts and minds and devote ourselves wholly to God? In the absence of temptation, such devotion would be meaningless. In the midst of temptation, such devotion is without measure.

God knows the depths of our love and our despair. Only God can measure our devotion. But in our hearts we know if our devotion to God is tainted by our devotion to the next episode of our favorite program or if our love is pure. We will always be tested. Tempted. Drawn away. It is up to us to have the discipline to fight that temptation and distraction. To turn to Him again and again. To learn from history and to seek the high road.

Praise God for His patience with us!

Tips for Better Living

Sunday our oldest grandson celebrated his 4th birthday. His birthday was 4/5 but {insert long story} the celebration was 4/19, way up north near Syracuse, NY. Deep in the heart of Texas, we celebrated our youngest grandson’s baptism. Ironically, the outfit worn by the youngest g-son was purchased for our oldest grandson’s baptism.
After I bought this outfit for the oldest g-son’s baptism, a cold front came through (it was December, so I guess that sort of freaky nature business should be expected). I ran out and bought a warmer outfit (long sleeves and pants). BCF wouldn’t take the original outfit back! It hung in our entry closet, with tag, with receipt clipped to tag over 3 years.

Meanwhile, we’ve been patiently waiting for D#2 to arrange for her son’s baptism. And she did. And so we found ourselves this Saturday, stopping by to see if the outfit might happen to fit (it’s size “18mos” and he’s only 10 mos). Surprise! Surprise! Saints be praised! It could NOT have been a better fit. Totally made to order.

And, he could not have been a better angel on this special day. He didn’t fuss or fidget at all! He has a history of crying at men with facial hair, but somehow our priest’s facial hair didn’t phase him.

For reference, from December ’04,our oldest grandson’s baptism:

It’s this kinda thing that keeps me from breaking free from my packrat tendencies.

But, I also see God’s hand at work. How can I not? It was a beautiful service and I’m delighted to welcome our youngest family member into the family of Christ!

Alleluia!

“Chris is risen,” pass the “Hoy Spirit,” praise the “Price of Peace.” (3 classic typos noted in the Baptism service. My family will look back fondly on these new reverent references…but that’s the subject for another post entirely.)

My tip for today: Trust God in all things. Amen.

Monday Blueprint Madness

I’m amused by the horrors posted on Lovely Listings. I’m finding this to be a pot o’ gold for funny pictures, although not all are blueprint goofs. Fortunately, there are a few I can pick on. Here’s one that made me giggle:

Is this really for people with ultra-long legs? The average joe will be left with their footsies swinging. Orienting this potty back to the wall would make a little more sense….but not much. This is next to the hot water heater, right? Is the water heater really in the shower?

It does look like maybe the toilet has been pulled from its original position and left sitting there for someone else to deal with, but I’m not sure I would have included this photo in my on-line sales pitch.

In case you think the Bible doesn’t have anything to say about bathrooms: “Designate a place … where you can go to relieve yourself.” (Deuteronomy 23:12) This is a good tip in general for homeowners. Bathrooms should be dedicated, not combined with utility rooms or other functional areas. And if your bathroom is a fixer-upper, don’t include photos that reflect the impossible nature of the work to be done!

Peace,