Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How Close Can I Get?

I heard of a story once about a group of teenagers that went into a church leaders office seeking guidance. One asked, "How close to the line can we go before our actions become a sin."

The response was, "That attitude itself is a sin."

Sinning is when our intentional actions go against our understanding of the will of God's.  If that's the case, than sinning of the mind is having our intentional thoughts go against that same understanding of the will of God.

The question the teenagers posted above wasn't one of the desire to do good. They wanted to know how bad they could be before it was too bad.

They're focus wasn't on righteousness, but finding a consented level of wickedness, to live in.

As they walked along the precipice of a dangerous cliff, they wanted to know how close the edge they could come without falling. The leader was trying to teach then that they should be focusing on changing their desire to staying as far away from the cliff as possible.

I found that very interesting.

Then I wondered how that translates to us as adults.

Based on what we understand is the will of God for us--His commandments and His personal direction for us-- do we actively seek to live our lives close to that line...just close enough not to go over?

I don't ever recall Jesus saying, "Straight is the way, and narrow is that path....but you can totally walk the edge the whole way because you don't want to fully embrace the path..."

He says, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."  Not 'almost keep them,' and 'begrudgingly keep them.'

There are a lot of things that tempt us to walk that line: pride, popularity, fun, selfish desires, the accolades of man, etc.

But there are much better reasons for staying away from the line.

Consider this:  If the Savior were walking down that road, do you think He would walk on the edge while He entertains how close He can go without leaving the road? Or do you suppose He walks down the center, having purpose in every step.

So, if you want to be near to the Savior, where are you going to put yourself?

That's right. In the center, as far away from the edges as possible- right next to Him.

The steps that we take in this life leave a print. Where will you footprints show you have walked?

The thoughts we have, the intentions and desires we feed, all leave prints on our hearts and minds.

This makes me ask myself some questions: How close is my path to His? and What can I do to get closer to Him.

That's the first step: focus on getting closer to the Savior and His ways, not closer to the edge. 

Where you look is where you will go. So, ask yourself: Where do you really want to be? And who do you want to be next to?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How Cool is Prayer?

Can I just tell you now much I love to pray.

"Send one up." That's how my father-in-law refers to saying a prayer.

Sometimes I think we think of prayer as words that are said, as though it is an activity that involves just yourself, or the people in the room.

But when we pray, it is much more than that.

When we pray, we truly do send up to heaven our desires, our gratitude and our love. The words we pray in our hearts, or from our mouths, don't just stop at the ceiling.  They reach through the ceiling, beyond the clouds, and reach the heart of God.

Think about that for a second.

At any time, at any moment in your life, you can speak to God.

And He will hear you.

It 's like having your own phone line to Him.

I love that! I love that the God who created this earth loves me so much that He has given me a way to speak directly to Him. AND, out of all the names He goes by, He wants me to call Him Father.

How cool is that?

And not only does He want to hear us, but He wants to talk back. He has things He wants us to know, direction He wants to give, peace He wants to offer, strength He wants to bestow, gifts He wants to give.

And is simply waiting for us to come to Him and ask.

Again- how cool is that?!

Throughout my life I've had many wonderful experiences with prayer, too many to share, and some too personal I couldn't share here. But, I want you to know that I know prayer is real. I knew He hears me, and cares about me. I know He speaks to me.

And it's the same for you, too.

How cool is that?

Monday, February 25, 2013

What Language Do You Speak?

I met a woman over the weekend who spoke to me of the 5 languages of love:

1. Words of affirmation
2. Quality time
3. Physical touch
4. Gifts
5. Service

She made an interesting observation that most people speak in the language they wish others would speak to them.

For example, if a person gives a lot of compliments, than the language of affirmation is important to them. If the person gives quality time to others, then quality time is important to them. If a person gives gifts to others to express their love, then gifts are important to them, etc.

She mentioned the language that she loves is quality time. That is how she shows her affection, that is what she loves.

I wondered if that rule is hard and fast: you speak the language you desire yourself. So, I thought a lot about it this weekend. (I love things that make me think.)

I enjoy recognizing the strengths and goodness in people and letting them know the positive things I see about them. So, I guess the language of affirming words is the language I speak. But, does that mean it's the language I want to hear?

What do you think? What language do you speak? And do you speak the same language you wish others would speak  you?

For me, I think I might be a little different. I do love words of affirmation now and then  (IF they are sincere) but I really value time more. I love the idea that there are certain people I love to just be with, and they love to be with me. We don't have to shower each other with compliments, or give gifts (although- again- not bad things.) I just love being with them.

Although I tend to offer lots of words of affirmation (because I believe in the power of words, and I really do think we don't hear enough positive things spoken to ourselves- especially by ourselves) I feel so much more love when someone simply says, "I want to be with you." Whether it's sitting by someone at lunch, going to a movie, or even connecting over the phone.

But that's just me.

I know some who are not comfortable expressing themselves verbally, or even socially, so they give gifts to show their love. Others give service. Other give hugs ( I do love a good hug- but, if you're going to hug me, use two arms please. If you're going to do it, do it right. Lol.)

I don't think any language is bad, if real love is behind it. (Anything can be tainted and/or ruined if it is given falsely or their intentions are duplicitous.)

So, I'm curious. What language do you think you speak? Is it the same language you want people to speak to you?