I am definitely a warm weather person, and would rather head to the beach than the slopes any day.
I DO love the four seasons here in Illinois, but am always ready for the arrival of Spring, and warm temperatures. I really do try to not be a negative person, but I probably do complain about the cold a little too much…
“I don’t wanna get out of my warm covers!”
“My toes are cold!”
“My glasses are fogging up!”
“I take a hot shower, then freeze when I get out!”
BUT, in my efforts to stay warm, I tend to stay in more. Coffee tastes even better. I get to enjoy my fireplace. AND, I get to wear my favorite comfy sweatshirt…
Another benefit to staying in more is that I can play “catch-up” on things around the house: filing and taxes, purging and redecorating. (I simplified the Christmas fireplace transition this year, by giving it a vintage feel that only meant a few adjustments to carry it over into January/February.) If you look closely, you can find four changes! (Remember those hidden pictures from the Highlights magazine? I used to love those!)
The other thing I’ve been behind on (confession time) is my Scripture Memory Challenge. I memorize verses with my 5th and 6th graders every week, but my goal to memorize a verse from every book in the Bible had been on the back burner until after our Madagascar trip and the holidays. I am in Psalms, and choosing only one verse from this book proved to be difficult. There are many that I had already memorized, and some that I knew from years of Bible Study. Many of them are in songs that we sing today, and are easily stuck in my head.
The process to find a new one to memorize became a journey. I read and re-read Psalms, (not a bad thing!) hoping that one would “jump out” at me, but that only added to my highlights and underlining, so I had a hard time choosing…
Not by coincidence, as 2015 rolled around, I began to see this verse popping up all over social media. Even though I already had this one memorized (though I couldn’t quote the LOCATION), I challenged my class to commit it to memory this week, and decided to choose it for my Scripture Challenge:
WORDS do matter. They hurt or they heal. They build up or they tear down. Honoring the Lord means that we control our tongue.
For the one who wants to love life
and to see good days
must keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit,
and he must turn away from evil
and do what is good.
He must seek peace and pursue it.
1 Peter 3:9-11
This verse in Psalms doesn’t end with “the words of my mouth”–it includes “and the meditation of my heart“. God knows that we are often guilty of not just saying the wrong things, but having the wrong attitude even when we are saying something that might be true or noteworthy. We can say, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” without ever really being sorry. We use sarcasm to criticize. We say things in a passive-aggressive way hoping that the real meaning behind our words will hit home like a dagger.
I know that I’m not the only one guilty, but I can and should take responsibility for my own words and the attitudes behind them. God knows the intention of our hearts and if our intention is for anything but to build up and encourage, then we are doing just the opposite. Plain and simple.
This world we live in cannot be perfect because we’re made up of imperfect people. Giving grace and assuming the best in others goes a long way to building a healthy relationship–whether it’s your marriage, a friend, a fellow believer, or co-worker.
It may not hurt my witness to complain about the cold, and I am going to try to curb that temptation, but even more importantly, I want it to serve as a reminder to me that negativity and criticism certainly won’t warm the heart of another and often damages our credibility as a Christ-follower.
I have to say, my resolution for 2014 is still close to my heart:
NOTE: if you’d like to read more on this subject, PROVERBS 31 Ministries posted an excellent article, titled R-E-S-P-E-C-T, you can find here: http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/r-e-s-p-e-c-t/